War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0587 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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was asked for or granted. Such was the state of affairs and practice of this office when on the 15th of September, 1863, I assumed, by order of the Secretary of War, the control of the Ordnance Department. By reference to the records of this office I find that the annual estimate was transmitted to the Secretary of War on the 23rd of October following, and was doubtless prepared same days before. Entering so unexpectedly, and without nay solicitation on my part, upon duties of such magnitude and grave responsibility, I was compelled for the time being to be borne along by the current and established routine of business which I found claiming my attees, and to acquiesce and confide in the experience and faithfulness of thosntil I could fully acquaint myself with the duties of my position, and be able to decide intelligently upon such matters as came before me. The duty of preparing the annual estimate devolved upon my principal military assistant, and relying upon his knowledge, integrity, and zeal, I approved his action in the premises, not doubting that the estimate devolved upon my principal military assistant, and relying upon his knowledge, integrity, and zeal, I approved his action in the premises, not doubting that the estimate was prepared with care, and that it was based upon the well-matured wants of the service, and upon such a basis as the experience of the past and the prospects of the future best afforded. As already intimated, I did not at the time, know do I now, know of any "general plans for improving the manufacturing capacity of the arsenals upon which this estimate was predicated," as its preparation was entirely instructed to my principal assistant. Upon referring this portion of your letter to Captain Balch, he informs me that he did not put any plans he may have had on this subject in writing when he prepared the estimate, and as they therefore do not form part of the archives of the office, the presumption is that they were of such an indefinite character as did not render them of sufficient interest to preserve, which latter course devised. My understanding of the matter, however, is, and always has been, that it was proposed to enlarge and extend the scale of operations at the principal arsenals so as to render these establishments as productive and profitable as possible to the Government, and the sum requested was roundly stated as the amount that would probably be required to carry out this purpose, leaving it to the future to determine what would be the best application of the money if Congress should see fit to appropriate it.

Second. You will state upon what specific date these plans are based, the nature of the data, and how they have been obtained, and the general principles which have governed the Bureau in assigning under these plans to each arsenal its appropriate work.

As I have already shown as the reason for the enlargement of this appropriation the existence only of a purpose of general principle, and not of any programme or matured and well-defined plan of action, it follows necessarily that no specific date existed at the period when this estimate was prepared; otherwise I would have been derelict in duty in not having submitted them for the consideration of the Secretary of War along with the estimate; for the law requires estimates of appropriations to be as specific and explicit as the circumstances of the case admit of. From the Statutes at Large I cite as follows:

That it shall be the duty of the several heads of Department in communication estimates of appropriations to Congress to specify as nearly as may be convenient the sources from which such estimates are derived and the calculations upon which they are founded.

(Section 14, act of August 26,1 862.)