War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0029 CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES.

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and private account, but work has been seriously interrupted by the advance of the enemy. Two fine caves (private) were taken and the works destroyed. Two Government caves, together with the potash works near Chattanooga, have been temporarily stopped from the same cause. The Nickajack and Lookout Caves were shelled during the attack of June 5, but it has been deemed advisable to continue operations, though at a loss, at the Lookout and partially at the Nickajack, to reassure private parties. The yield from Tennessee must continue uncertain until the country becomes more settled.

In Northern Alabama the presence of the enemy has occasioned a general suspension of work, including the valuable Santa Cave. But two or three caves are now worked. More will soon be started by Bureau agents and under a contract made with the owner of the Cahaba Powder Mill.

In lower Alabama a vigorous effort is being made to induce planters in the limestone and marl counties to work plantation earth, but the results have not yet been reported.

In Mississippi the Bureau has an agent for similar objects, to attend also to receipts from Tennessee and the west, and to explore the northeastern counties.

In Florida the most promising cave localities have been examined, but thus far with unpromising results, the caves being sly wet. Attention has therefore been given to plantation earth. The superintendent has commenced work on Government account and already reports a small return.

The trans Mississippi. -The recent transfer of the Texan contracts to this office have rendered an organization necessary west of the Mississippi. A party of three, selected for this service and under charge of Captain Read, start this week under the following instructions: To arrange in Texas, if practicable, a regular transportation of receipts from Mexico; to examine and, if miners can be procured, to start lead mines in Arkansas; to examine a reported saline deposit of value near New Iberia, La., and to have work resumed in the very valuable caves of upper Arkansas as soon as accessible.

Results: From April 15 to June 1 about 25,000 pounds of niter were collected and forwarded; from June 1 to July 1, 24,393 pounds, with 10,945 pounds on hand subject to order. From obvious causes, the collection of tools and materials, construction of furnaces, and the instruction of agents and foremen, work was not fairly commenced on Government caves until late in June. On the other hand the large Arkansas percentage made previous to May 1, 17,000 pounds, cannot again appear on our returns until the events of the war permit. The yield during August will probably be from 1,600 to 2,000 pounds per working day. It should have been over 2,500 pounds per day, but the prevailing anxiety to save the crops, the unwillingness to send negroes far from home and the consequent scarcity of labor, and the lamentable condition of public transportation have prevented. The last two drawbacks are receiving the earnest and anxious attention of the Bureau, and when met should raise the hone niter production to 3,000 pounds per diem.

Mining service. -The most available lead veins of the Confederacy are being surveyed and registered. Under the great scarcity of mining labor it has been thought advisable to concentrate our small force upon leading mines that promise the quickest results. By a change of contract the yield of the Wythe lead mines, Virginia, has been doubled within the past month and will soon be raised to three and one-half