for this class of guns, in addition to their other work, was stated in the same letter at 612 for the year 1864, at which rate it would take seven years to produce the quantity required.
The following table exhibits the deficiency in the number of these guns expected to be received in the present year to date, and based on the estimated capacity of the founders engaged in the manufacture:
From January 1 to August 15, 15-inch 10-inch 8-inch Total
Anticipated receipts 70 260 65 395
Actual receipts 55 93 26 174
Deficiency 15 167 39 221
This deficiency is chiefly attributable to the fact that in consequence of the high prices asked by Messrs. Charles Knap & Co., C. Alger & Co., the principal founders, it was not deemed advisable by the War Department in March last to accede to their terms, and such guns as they have delivered in the present year were due on order given prior to January 1, 1864.
Messrs. Seyfert, McManus & Co., of Reading, Pa., accepted a contract for seventy-five 8-inch and 10-inch guns at 10 1/2 cents per pound, which they have nearly filled. We are now paying 13 cents a pound for 8-inch siege mortars and howitzers.
I inclose a memorandum from the Navy Ordnance Bureau showing the prices now being paid by them for heavy guns. As the magnitude of the work is such as will require years to execute it, and as its accomplishment is of vital importance to the defense of our harbors and sea-ports, I think no time should be lost in expending the money appropriated by Congress for the armament of fortifications, in order to avoid any further rise in the price of material and labor; and I request that I be authorized to make contracts for a definite number of guns to be delivered in specified times, and on the most favorable terms I can negotiate after due investigation, to be approved by you. As the want of a Government establishment of this kind makes us entirely dependent upon private parties, whose capital and experience enables them to exercise a monopoly of this kind of work, I consider the interest of the Government will suffer far more from the interruption in the supply of guns than from any dubious excess in the gains of the manufacturers.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. D. RAMSAY,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Ordnance.
Washington City, August 19, 1864.
Authority to raise a company of colored troops for 100 days cannot be given.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.