War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0344 CORRESPONDENCE, etc.

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in every respect is equal to the Government works at Enfield. Since it was first put in operation it has been constantly employed by the British Government, and they have work on hand for this Government which will require eighteen months to complete. The rifles made at this establishment interchange in every part and with perfect accuracy. The importance of the principle of interchange of parts I need not dwell upon. It is fully recognized by the war departments of every civilized nation. The London Armory Company is the only establishment in Europe, excepting the Government armories, that works upon this principle. It seems to me highly important to obtain rifles from this company, if possible. I found that they were willing to entertain a proposition for 10,000 but not for anything less than that number. After conferring freely with the commissioners and receiving from them an entire approval of my action, I proposed to take from the London Armory Company 10,000 Enfiled rifles of the latest government pattern, with bayonet, scabbard, extra nipple, snap-cap, and stopper complete for pounds 3 16s. 6d. This price is somewhat above the limit given in my instruction from Major Gorgas, and I engaged to take 10,000 instead of 8,000. Under all the circumstances, I believed myself not only justified, but required, to go beyond my orders.

The necessity of the Confederacy arming at once is so great, judging from the accounts that appear in the papers, that if I could in any way obtain arms that I thought would be serviceable I should purchase without delay, and I have little doubt that I would be able to send or bring them to some port of the Confederacy. The arms are not to be had, however. Everything has been taken by the agents from the Northern States, and the quantity which they have secured is very small, and many of them of indifferent quality. They have paid enormous prices, and worthless muskets are now held at fabulous prices. One man had orders to purchase 60,000. They were not to be had. He would have contracted with the London Armory Company for all that could furnish for a year to come, but his instructions were to obtain the whole number within two months. The next steamer will without doubt, as I learn from a reliable source, bring orders for him to close with that company. The greatest number this company can supply is about 1,300 per month. They are under a contract to supply the North with 100 per week for three months, the contract to cease with one week's notice. If the company accepts my proposition this notice will be given, and at least 1,200 Enfield rifles that would go North will be secured for the Confederate Government. The company will accept my proposition if they can obtain a release from their contract with the Government. This they have no doubt they will be able to obtain. Application has been made, and an answer will be obtained in a day or two. If I could have offered to take 20,000 they would have broken with the Government. This, however, was so far beyond my instructions that I could not make the offer.

The cost ol be about $195,000. I brought with me but $50,000. Bill of exchange for $50,000 more has since arrived. Even this would have been quite insufficient for me to anything with had it not been for Mr. Prioleau, of the firm of Fraser, Trenholm $ Co. This gentleman has most generously assumed the responsibility of the entire contract. I beg leave to express the hope that the Government of the Confederacy will lose no time in forwarding to me $100,000, that I may deposit the same with Messrs. Fraser, Trenholm & Co., to meet the payment as they come due. Since Messrs. Fraser, Trenholm & Co., are really taking upon themselves the responsibility