ness among mechanics employed and detailed. I have here gathered some good machinery, and intend increasing it from time to time; also erecting buildings for arsenal, magazine, shops, &c. (in addition to those already in position), and putting up a large reverberatory furnace. This department has now at this point 100,000 pounds flat bar railroad iron, 70,000 pounds road and flat bar iron, 100 kegs nails, and-tons of pig-iron.
There are ordnance workshops at Houston, Tex., and an arsenal of construction at San Antonio. There is powder-mill at this last-named point belonging to a contractor, of no great value, as far as I am able to learn.
I have contracts for supplies of stores in quantity, for which payment is to be made in cotton. Contractors have now en route to and close upon Marshall 30,000 pounds of lead 50,000 pounds of English powder, trace-chains, wood screws, canvas, axes, flannel, paper, files, cones, &c. Fair quantities of these important articles are now coming forward, but a fatality has attended the introduction of arms, accouterments, cartridge paper, and acids into this department. A great many arms many arms have been captured and lost while in transit from Richmond and other points east of the Mississippi, some 7,000 or 8,000 stand having been taken into Vicksburg for safety, and there lost. Not long ago a vessel with 12,000 stand was captured off the coast of Mexico while trying to run in, and still more recently another, having on board 10,000 guns, 5,000,000 percussion caps, and 2,000,000 rounds small-arms ammunition, turn in just off the mouth of the Rio Grande, and had succeeded in getting ashore only 4,600 guns of he whole cargo, when she was seized and taken off by a French cruiser. I have no information going to show whether these arms were the property of contractors or already belonged to the Government and sent around from Bermuda.
This department should have at least 30,000 more guns, about a third of them for cavalry. Accouterments are also wanted in quantity, material and workmen having been so scarce as to prevent a supply being provided by manufacture.
Funds are badly needed. A million dollars sent to the depository at Alexandria, La., intended for use of this department, was turned over to quartermaster's department, District of West Louisiana, by the depositary. This action will check my operations materially.
I state, in conclusion, without hesitancy, that did we have the 30,000 additional arms and accouterments and a supply of percussion caps, that I could provide for all other wants of my department.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOS. G. RHETT,
Major and Chief of Ordnance and Artillery, Trans-Miss. Dept.