War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0588 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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Wherever the usual items of such estimates vary materially in amount from other appropriations ordinarily asked for the object named, and especially from the appropriation granted for the same object for the year next preceding, the estimates shall be accompanies by minute and full explanations setting forth the reasons and grounds upon which the amounts are required.

(Section 2, act of June 17, 1864.)

If such date had been obtained they were never communicated to me, and as I find no official record of any, and as Captain Balch informs me it is impossible for him to reply to these questions, I think it may be safely taken for granted that the amount of the estimate and its contemplated application were based upon other considerations than specific data.

Indeed, is it reasonable to suppose that I could have investigated and so thoroughly acquainted myself with the entire wants of the Ordnance Office, even if I had devoted myself exclusively to its accomplishment, as to have encompassed and make provision for all its deficiencies, and to have prospectively assigned and concentrated at each post its most appropriate work in the limited period which elapsed between my taking charge of the Ordnance Bureau and the transmission of tThird. You will also state what progress has been made in the detailed statement and estimates for the necessary shops, laboratories, and store-houses, and what means have been adopted to secure to the Government for its use in these shops and laboratories the benefit of the valuable experience in manufacturing material of war gained during the past three years.

In reply to this question, the following summary exhibits what has been done up to the present time:

Manufacture of copper cartridge cases.-Manor Laidley, commanding the Frankfort Arsenal, was directed October 3, 1863, to prepare plans and estimates for a rolling-mill and buildings of sufficient capacity to manufacture 20,000,000 copper cases for the self-priming cartridge, 3,000,000 friction-tubes or cannon- primers, and 259,000,000 percussion caps per annum. These instructions were subsequently modified so as to increase the number of cartridge cases to 100,000,000 and the number of caps to 450,000,000. Major Laidley forwarded the revised plan and estimate May 21, 1864. They were submitted for your approval June 25, and were returned approved June 27, 1864. The elevations have not yet been fully decided upon. Major Laidley's capacity at present for manufacturing these articles is as follows: Friction- tubes, 2,500,000 per annum; percussion caps, 115,000 per annum; copper cases- expects in one week from date to manufacture 10,000 per day, in a month 25,000 per day, and as soon thereafter as the necessary machinery can be procured 100,000 per day, or 31,000,000 per annum, which will be the limit until the new shops are erected.

Manufacture of muskets.-On the 31st of September, 1863, Major Dyer was directed to prepare plans and estimates for an armory capable of making 500 muskets per day of ten hours, based on the experience gained at the Springfield Armory during the war. The drawings and estimates were received at this office on the 6th of February last. The elevations have been instructed to an experienced architect, but have yet been completed.

On the 3rd of June last I had the honor to call your attention at length to the importance and propriety of establishing another national armory in the West, at Rock Island, Ill., not only for the