Richmond, March 12, 1862.
Hon. J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to inclose two papers, to which I beg your attention. The first,* and perhaps most important, is to confide to a separate body of officers the extraction of niter from the caves, and the construction and supervision of niter beds. The bureau, with its limited force of officers, is entirely unable to pay due attention to the subject without neglect of other duties not less important I have already selected the person whom I shall recommend to the chief position, and the selection of his assistants should be left to him. A military organization connected with this bureau will, I am sure, be more profitable in the execution of this vital duty than agents employed at salaries and not responsible to a court-martial. The second is that organization of the bureau which I deem necessary to the proper execution of its duties. At present there is no responsibility on the part of officers doing ordnance duty in the field to the head of the bureau, and I fear there is great waste and some neglect-waste which the means of the bureau can ill afford. This organization would supply responsible officers to the principal commands. The increased rank for the war to ordnance officers at arsenals would be an act of grace to those officers which would, I am sure, allay many heartburnings, and would cost but little. Many of these officers would be general officers had they been allowed to exercise their own choice. It is unjust not to accord this little claim to officers whose work is no less conductive to the success of the war than the more active duties of the field.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Ordnance.
AN ACT for the organization of the Bureau of Artillery and Ordnance.
SECTION. 1. The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the ordnance duties devolved on the Corps of Artillery by the fifth section of the act entitled "An act for the organization of the Army of the Confederate States of America," approved March 6, 1861, shall be performed by a bureau to be styled the Bureau of Artillery and Ordnance.
SEC. 2. Said bureau shall be changed with supplying all ordnance and ordnance stores required, and shall have charge of the arsenals, depots, &c., for the manufacture and distribution of supplies to the Army, of the national armories, and of the powder mills, and of all other establishments that may hereafter be purchased or erected for the manufacture of ordnance and ordnance stores for the Confederate States.
SEC. 3. Said bureau shall consist of the following officers, viz: One colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, four majors, twelve captains (to be nominated by the President), and of as many lieutenants detailed from the lieutenants of the Army and for such time as the service may require.
SEC. 4. The colonel of said bureau shall, unless otherwise directed by the President, be stationed at the seat of government, or at head-
*Not found as an inclosure, but see act of April 11, 1862, p. 1054.