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Smith Stansbury's Letter to Maj. Caleb Huse


Smith Stansbury's Letter to Maj. Caleb Huse


Stansbury details a letter from Col Gorgas stating the dire need for saltpeter in Savannah for the foundries to continue operating


Smith Stansbury


Vandiver, Frank E., Edit. Confederate Blockade Running Through Bermuda (Austin, TX., University of Texas Press. 1947)


July 20th, 1863


Swing, Matt



Original Format



Major Caleb Huse.
Major: I have the honor to enclose herewith copy of letter of instructions from Colonel J. Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance, dated May 19th, 1863. Also copy of letter from Lieut. Colonel I.M. St. John, Chief of the Nitre and Mining Bureau, with Endorsement of Colonel Gorgas.
It is to the latter that I would respectfully call your special attention.
We are in urgent want of Saltpetre to keep our powder works at Augusta, Ga. in operation.
The capacity of the Mills is to produce five thousand pounds (5000) pounds per working diem of ten hours, or ten to twelve thousand pounds working day and night, and this could be nearly doubled by certain improvements.
The supplies of Saltpetre are from 1st Running the Blockade, 2nd The limestone caves of Va., Tenn., etc 3rd The Nitre Beds--
The last will hardly yield anything for a year to come, and the supply from No. 2 is very uncertain.
You are doubtless aware that is was the policy of the old U.S. Government to accumulate a Stock of this material in time of peace, and a certain amount of money was annually appropriated for the purpose.
At the commencement of war, the supply at the North was quite large, there being over two millions of pounds at Frankford Arsenal alone. The deficiency in the supply of lead has at times been very embarrassing, and the importance of having always on hand largely of this material, cannot be overestimated.
We are also in need of percussion caps, and it would well to send over four or five millions as soon as possible.
I will show my letter to Major Walker before mailing it, and he will doubtless, add a line.

Smith Stansbury, Major

St. George's, Bermuda
July 20th, 1863.


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Smith Stansbury, Smith Stansbury's Letter to Maj. Caleb Huse, Civil War Era NC, accessed April 17, 2024,