War of the Rebellion: Serial 122 Page 0278 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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There is a large cannon foundry in Liege, where the Government manufactures rifled cannon, and has sold them to various Governments. In answer to my application the Minister of War informs me that they will sell no more, having determined to employ their works to their full capacity for the change in that arm which the Government is about to make in its service, and that they will thus be employed for two years. I presume that any desired amount of cannon of old pattern (smooth-bore) could be purchased of different Governments, and it strikes me that the most expeditious method of supplying ourselves with rifled cannon would be to procure these and have them rifled in our own workshops. I have little doubt that some rifled cannon, but not in large quantities, can be procured in Prussia and Sweden. They furnished many for the war in Piedmont. The iron guns of the latter are esteemed the best of that material in Europe. The steel cannon made in Prussia surpass anything of the kind yet known. I have already informed you of the rule of the French Government respecting parting with rifled cannon; it will part with none. I think that we might procure from it as a great favor 25,000 or 30,000 Minie rifles. Such was the impression drawn from my conversation with M. Thouvenel on the subject.

It seems to me highly important that an agent acquainted with the language and authorities should be employed to go immediately to Northern Europe, to see what could be procured of the various German Governments or that of Sweden and at the private manufactories. Speculation will soon be excited in view of this new demand from the United States, and the prices will be greatly augmented. As an instance in point, I will mention that an order was given but last week in Birmingham for 20,000 muskets for one of our States at Pound 5 apiece, the price of which the day previous was Pound 2 10s., and it is to be presumed that these merchants will make speculative purchases over Europe to meet the new demand from our side of the Atlantic.

There is one other subject in this connection which I deem not inappropriate to bring to your notice. I observe that the President is about to increase very largely the number of men in the standing or Regular Army. It has occurred to me that in view of the preference likely to be given to the volunteer service, and the consequent difficulty of procuring a sufficient number of army recruits through the ordinary channels at home, it might be advisable to seek them erman Legion of 10,000 men for the Crimean war was recruited by England in Hamburg, and were excellent soldiers. I have not doubt the same number of able-bodied men who have been in the army could be obtained there now in a few weeks for the bounty of steerage passage to the United States. I have many applications, as I doubt not have all our legations and consulates in Northern Europe, from men desirous of serving in our Army-among these quite a large proportion of officers; and I am certain there would be no difficulty in procuring, if desired, large numbers of soldiers who have seen active service in the army.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,



Washington, June 19, 1861.


Secretary of War:

SIR: Recent liberal issues of muskets have reduced our stock below what it ought to be to meet prospective demands. There should be