at Richmond has sent me authority to draw to the amount of a million and a half for ordnance; but as he has omitted to state who to draw upon, I could only refer his letters to the commanding general, and up to this date I have been unable to get the first dollar for the expenses of the department. Under these circumstances, I must refer you for all information as to the procuring of ordnance supplies to Major T. G. Rhett, chief of ordnance and artillery, on the staff of Lieutenant-General Smith.
The Niter and Mining Corps are employed as follows:
1st. Mr. Thomas G. Clemson, in charge of iron works, has the furnace in Marion County in blast; is making pig-iron and castings. He is about erecting another furnace in Davis County, in the same neighborhood, and propose to put up a third in Anderson County, near the Trinity River.
2nd. Major Isaac Read and Lieutenants Sprigg and Harrison, in charge of niter works and other mining operations. As the niter caves in Northern Arkansas and the lead mine in Sevier County have all been abandoned from the approach of the enemy, Major Read has gone with all the force at his disposal to work the very productive niter caves in Western Texas. These caves already yielded a good deal of niter, and Major Read is confident we can get from them all that we require. There is now a year's supply on hand, provided the powder-mill to be established here was at work, which it is not likely to be for some time. Sulphur and copperas are also being obtained by this department.
3rd. For procuring lead, niter, &c., by purchase, Captain R. H. Temple has been stationed at San Antonio, and has procured, these articles to the extent of his ability.
The supply of such articles is sufficient, except iron, of which we want an unlimited quantity, and I have directed every exertion to be made to proceed with this manufacture.
All of which is respectfully submitted by your obedient servant,
Major General and Chief of Bureau of Ordnance, Trans-Miss. Dept.
OFFICE OF CHIEF OF ORDNANCE AND ARTILLERY,
Shreveport, La., January 19, 1864.
Major J. P. JOHNSON,
Assistant Adjutant and Inspector-General:
MAJOR: I am unable, from the absence of most of my officers from their posts (several being on a board of examiners at Camden, and others absent to appear before said board), to furnish you with as full a report as I could wish, and will therefore confine myself for the present to those points which seemed most important, viz, ammunition, powder, lead, and caps. From reports furnished my office, there are about 150,000 pounds of powder in this department, 140,000 pounds niter, and about 30,000 pounds of sulphur. These supplies are being increased by shipments from Mexico, and I will in this way be enabled to supply the needs of my department, if the enemy do not cut us off from the Rio Grande. Caps can only be obtained in small quantities, and are bought up wherever they can be found. Lead is supplied from Mexico, and there are several hundred thousand pounds on the way, besides sufficient for present consumption in depot at Marshall, Tex. I am putting up at Marshall, Tex., powder-mills and cap-machines, which, when finished, will supply all that can be used; and the other works, such as