War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0222 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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Columbus within a very few days, and is now compelled to revoke the privilege conceded to Augusta. Firemen are not included in the exemptions specified in the act of October 11 on that subject. Classes of men quite as necessary to the well-being of a community or not exempt; and the action of the Department in allowing such an exempt; and the action of the Department in allowing such an exemption is questionable in point of law, and cannot but promote discontent among the people. You will, therefore, proceed to enroll persons as conscripts without reference to any exemption or claim to exemption as firemen. The rule that has been applied in other cities must be adopted for Augusta.

For Secretary of War.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Secretary of War.


Hon. J. A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War:

SIR: Your attention is respectfully requested to the Government niter service. When called upon to organize this service the superintendent submitted, among other essentials to a rapid and certain increase of supplies, that the officers appointed or detailed should possess special qualifications; the agents to be active business men of good standing; the laborers able-bodied men, and from the generally exposed service that the larger proportion must come form army details, conscripts, and free negro impressments; 3,000 was named as a maximum, including slave labor wherever it could be used. This was approved and the necessary orders were issued. A printed copy of the more important is inclosed. * Work was fairly commenced in May last, and up to the close of October the Bureau returns gave for niter produced and collected, 200,820 pounds; niter from Mexico delivered east of the Mississippi, 38,000 pounds; total, 238,820 pounds. Nitrified material in niter sheds, 120,000 cubic feet, and increasing rapidly. Correct returns from the several ordnance offices for European niter imported have not been all received, but the entire importation probably exceeds the home production. The per diem yield of this production has steadily increased from 200 pounds in April to somewhat over 2,000 pounds in October. This yield very nearly meets the present demands of the service, if not quite. The labor return of force engaged in the production of niter and the supervision of lead mining and sulphur for October gave 1,117 white employed, including agents, clerks, contractors, and laborers, in all the niter districts. The office employed are generally exempts, form physical disability and other causes, but the field work and localities demand it. A large number of free negroes impressed, together with about 200 slaves, compose the residue of the working force. During the winter the demands for powder must increase from the more frequent use of heavy ordnance. Arrivals form abroad are likely to decrease,, and from the shorter days and inclement weather the home production is more likely to diminish than increase.


*Not found.