War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0027 CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES.

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sulphur, and incidentally to all mineral information useful to the Department. Previous to this organization public attention had been extensively directed by the Ordnance Department to the manufacture of niter. Works has been commenced and a considerable amount of private capital invested in Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Eastern Tennessee, and Western Virginia, by unfortunately in one of the important caves in operation passed into the hands of the enemy, and that cave (in Bartow County, Ga.), under faulty management, produced not one-third its capacity. Of the smaller caves, the owners had generally become discouraged or indifferent. On the 1st of May last the entire home production of niter from all sources within the Confederate States, as ascertained from the powder-mill books, did not reach an average per diem of 500 pounds. Under these adverse circumstances the following plan of operations was submitted to the Department and approved:

First. To explore rapidly, but with system, for nicer caves and deposits.

Second. To stimulate private enterprise by circular and newspaper publications, personal appeal, and instruction, and by affording facilities for work in prompt payment and a liberal supply of tools and utensils.

Third. When advisable, to start work on Government account.

This plan of exploration embraced all the Confederate States subdivided into districts, and with the offices named in No. 1 of the accompanying papers. * As rapidly as competent agents could be found a commencement was made in each district, and during May the survey was in full progress. Known localities were first examined and afterward new ground; the case were explored, earth tested, and when practicable measured, and the results communicated to the Richmond office to be mapped and registered. The survey is still incomplete, but enough has been developed to determined the question of our interior resources. Exhibit sheets on file in the Bureau office already contain entries of caves and nitrous deposits sufficient in quantity and quality to met the ordinary demands of the Confederate Army until niter beds can be made to yield. But our power to work these natural deposits is controlled by three conditions-labor, hostile interruption, and transportation. As this exploration went on the Bureau agents spared no effort to induce private parties to work tobacco barns, old cellars, and artificial niter beds-and these efforts are continued. In particular districts much has thus been accomplished; but the general result has made clear the fact that a large and regular supply from private sources cannot enter into the estimates of the Department. work has accordingly been commenced on Government account, and to the full extent that time and means at command permitted.

On August 1 the furnaces were up and work under way at sixteen Governments caves, with an average force of 272 white hands and 115 negroes. This does not include labor on private works. The locality for niter-producing case in the Confederate States can be approximately referred to the lines of secondary limestone, which are shown in brown tint on the accompanying map No. 2. * Two important belts of primary limestone are indicated by the green tint. Available caves

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*Not found.

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