ORDNANCE OFFICE, August 15, 1864.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
I have the honor to acknowledge your instructions of this day "to state whether the supply of gunpowder and small-arm ammunition is adequate to the present wants of the service, and whether such arrangements have been made for future supplies as will be equal to the probable future wants of the service. Also whether there is a deficiency in the supply of any kind of ammunition," and to report as follows:
We have on hand at this time, or rather on the day of the last weekly statements received at this office, the 6th instant, viz: Musket cartridges, 159,000,000; pistol cartridges, 18,000,000; copper cartridges, 6,924,709. We have an ample supply of cartridges for carbines of other descriptions to meet all calls. The demand for carbine cartridges is principally for Sharps, Burnsides, and Spencers. For Sharps we have on hard 7,817,000, and orders and contracts for 4,764,650. Sharps to be delivered at the rate of 325,000, and Burnsides 180,000 per week. For Spencer and other copper cartridge carbine besides those on hand we have outstanding contracts and orders for 23,500,000, which are now being delivered at the rate of 250,000 per week. After the 7th proximo this rate will be increased to 280,000, after the 25th to 580,000, and after that time to 880,000. Besides these Frankford will in a few days produce 10,000 daily, to be increased to 100,000 as fast as possible.
In addition to the foregoing Mr. J. Goldmark had accepted an offer to make 9,000,000, but declined when he ascertained that his bond would have to equal the value of his contract. He, however, accepted order for 1,000,000, and I have written to ascertain if he would fulfill the contract first offered if the penalty of the bond was greatly reduced. If he accepts, our supplies of these cartridges will be greatly in advance of the probable demand.
Of gunpowder we have on hand 13,000 barrels of all kinds, and outstanding contracts for 5,156 barrels more. Owing to the excessive drought of this season, and to the explosion of some of the mills, our receipts have been considerably reduced, and the great consumption of musket and mortar powder has greatlykinds; but of cannon powder we have an ample supply, and the inspector of powder has been instructed to urge the manufacturers to increase the delivery of powder of these kinds- mortar and musket.
Of artillery ammunition we have an ample supply on hand to meet all probable requisitions, and have been able to meet all calls, with the exception of that for Coehorn mortars. Of this kind but little had been used during the war previous to the operations before Petersburg. The call for the siege train embraced only 8,000 of these, which were duly provided; but many more have been supplied, and the present demand is more than we can supply, but the contracts recently awarded for 24-pounder shells will, I trust, in a few days enable us to supply all that will probably be needed.
Of lead we have an ample supply.
If it were possible to have any approximate date upon which to base the supply of ammunition for the Army, the duty would be both simple and satisfactory; but such has been the wanton waste as to defy all calculation. This subject has now attracted the serious