War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0958 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

abroad were introduced in vessels specially bought by the Government for that purpose. We had instructed officers barely sufficient for an army of ten regiments, and forty times that number were in the field. The regiments furnished from the different States were to be organized, their staffs appointed, and their wants supplied, the whole through the agency of citizens selected from civil pursuits and entirely ignorant of the office they were selected to fill. The difficulties presented in the performance of duties so varied and so onerous, with means so inadequate, would have been absolutely insurmountable but for the generous and earnest support and co-operation of the people, who, with unsurpassed devotion, have supplied the deficiencies of the Department. It is but bare justice to add that seldom has a public officer been aided by more earnest, intelligent, and unremitting labor and zeal than have been displayed by the chiefs of the different bureaus of the Department. I now proceed to state with some detail the measures adopted by the Department from time to time for the supply of arms and munitions of war, so far as it is deemed prudent at the present time to make them public. It was in the middle of April, as before remarked, that the agents of the Department were dispatched to Europe with a part of the small appropriations then at the disposal of the Government. They were instructed to purchase 6,000 rifle muskets and 250 tons of gunpowder. the danger of arrest in the United States compelled circuitous travel and delayed their arrival in England till late in May. By the 1st of June a conditional contract was made for the manufacture of 10,000 arms in London. The state of public affairs in Europe had caused the pre-engagement of all manufacturing establishments in the early spring. In the language of the agent, chase except arms and cannon, and of these there were none except some worthless muskets of various caliber and patterns. France, Spain, and Belgium were visited in the vain attempt to purchase arms ready-made, and finally we were reduced to the necessity of contracting with manufacturers for their delivery as fast as they could be made.

The entire deliveries at the various manufactures, amounting altogether to 91,000 stand of arms, will have been completed within the next two months, although but about 15,000 have yet been received within the Confederacy. The purchase necessary for supplying gun-powder, rifle cannon, and military equipments of all kinds were also made abroad, and as most of these could be obtained ready-made they have been received in considerable quantities and as rapidly as they could prudently be imported. Large quantities of medicines, blankets, and equipments of all kinds have reached the Government, and within the last six weeks the Department has received fifty-five tons of gun-powder of its own importation and sixty-five tons imported by private citizens. The total purchases abroad have amounted to more than $2,500,000. Early attempts were also made by the Department to purchase military supplies in Canada, Cuba, and Mexico, both on the sea-board and in the interior, but these markets furnished resources too limited to be of much value. but it was to the development of our own resources at home and to the establishment of arsenals, foundries, powder mills, and workshops that the attention of the Department was more specially directed. Owing to the cessation of foreign commerce it became apparent that the stock of raw material for the manufacture of artillery, small-arms, gunpowder, and military equipments