ORDNANCE BUREAU, Richmond, December 5, 1862.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: The purchases of ordnance and ordnance stores in foreign markets on Government account are made by Major Caleb Huse, C. S. artillery, who resides in London, and whose address is No. 38 Clarendon Road, Notting Hill, London West. Major Huse was detailed for this duty in April, 1861.
His instructions directed his attention chiefly to the purchase of small-arms, but his list embraced all the most necessary supplies. Under these instructions he has purchased arms to the number of 157,000 and large quantities of gunpowder, some artillery, infantry equipments, harness, swords, percussion-caps, saltpeter, lead, &c.
In addition to ordnance stores, using a rare forecast, he has purchased and shipped large supplies of clothing, blankets, cloth, and shoes for the Quartermaster's Department without special orders to do so.
Of course a large proportion of his purchases have fallen into the hands of the enemy.
To pay for these purchases funds have been from time to time sent to him by the Treasury Department, on requisitions from the War Department, amounting in the aggregate to $3,095. 18. These have been wholly inadequate to his wants and have fallen far short of our requisitions. He was consequently in debt at latest advices to the amount of @444,850, a sum equivalent, when the value of exchange is considered, to $5,925,402 of our currently.
While this capacity for running in debt is the best evidence of the ability of Major Huse, the debt is a matter that calls for immediate attention.
An agent, Mr. Norman S. Walker, was lately dispatched with $2,000,000 in bonds of the Confederate States.
The instructions to Mr. Walker direct him to return to Bermuda after the disposition of the bonds in England and after conference with Major Huse.
He is to remain there as a resident disbursing agent, and is, in conjunction with Mr. S. G. Porter, charged with the transfer of the cargoes of the Harriet Pinckney, now there, and other ships hereafter to arrive, to the ports of the Confederate States.
It is respectfully urged that further and immediate steps should be taken by the Treasury Department to supply funds for the liquidation of this indebtedness.
A large part of the cargoes have been landed at Nassau, and thence transmitted to the ports of the Confederate States in fast steamers. Their destination has lately been changed to Bermuda, where several most valuable cargoes are now awaiting transportation. It appears to me to be the appropriate duty of the Navy Department to assist in the running in of these cargoes; but if the burden of it is to be borne entirely by the War Department it is highly important that light-draft steamers should be purchased and used solely for the transportation of cargoes from Bermuda.
I have made this statement for the information of the Honorable Secretary of War, at the suggestion of the Assistant Secretary of War,