Contracts in triplicate have been entered into with several parties on the lines (or near to them) of the Georgia Central, South Western, and Macon and Brunswick R. Roads, for the supply of large quantities of lumber required for the armory buildings. It will be well to keep these contracts before you, with a view to having them complied with as to time; but a few weeks grace may be allowed in each case, without detriment to the work in hand, provided the contractor has done the best he could to comply with the terms of his contract. The contract with Messrs. Delletre and Dykes, on the M. and Brunswick R. R. should be looked after especially, as the price agreed upon is much below all others, and the parties took the contracts in anticipation of the track of the R. R. being extended to the location of their new mill by the middle of May instant and that has been my expectation also. It would be well to send down at an early date some competent person, (Mr. Fuss or Mr. Schwaab) to examine into the progress of this contract, and also that the laying of the R. R. track. The lumber included in this contract is very special and important, being to a great extent for the heavy timbers for the roofs. Up to the present time, all the contractors have done very well in supplying lumber but the question of transportation is one of some difficulty, and will require special attention in order to secure cars on which to bring the way the lumber from the mills. All the bills of lumber prepared by Mr. Schwaab, C. E. for the main building to be erected this year, have been contracted for but some dry lumber for the window sills, frames &c.&c. will yet have to be procured. A verbal contract was made by me with Mr. Asa Thompson for the supply of 30 thousand feet of dry lumber three and one half inches by 14 inches by 20 feet long, at the price of $20 per M. delivered on the cars at Eufaula, Alabama. None of this has been received. Arrangements had better therefore, be made to send down some cars to Eufaula, and Mr. Thompson should be notified of the fact. This had better be attended to as soon as possible, as the lumber is required for immediate use.
A contract has been made with Thomas Alexander for laying stone foundations for the armory buildings, a condition of which is that he shall lay not less than five hundred perches of masonry per month. In consequence of the difficulty of obtaining competent Masons, he has not been able to realize this condition up to the present time. In order to prevent him from abandoning his contract, I have made a verbal agreement with him to the effect that he shall make every exertion in his power to do all the work he can, and he has obligated himself to employee any good masons I may be able to obtain for his work, at the rate of five dollars per day, and efforts should be made to assist him in obtaining competent masons, as such are now in general demand, and they command high wages. In case higher wages than five dollars per day should be necessarily paid by Mr. Alexander for masons, I think a corresponding increase of the contract price may be fairly allowed, on the basis of three perches of masonry laid per day by each Mason. Should all efforts fail to secure from the contractor the requisite amount of work, which should not be less than five hundred perches per month, it will be necessary to consider the policy of entering into another contract with him to deliver at the armory grounds sufficient stone and sand for laying that amount of work, and the government to employee masons to put up the work. He has already intimated his willingness to deliver stone at the price of $9.50 per week per perch. The delivery of sand would, I presume, increase this price. It would be preferable, however, to pay him any price, within reason, to do the whole work. The vigorous prosecution of this work is of the utmost importance, and should be closely watched in as much as no bricks can be laid until these foundation walls are completed to a certain extent, which can be explained by Mr. Schwaab, the architect in charge.
Two contracts have been made with Messrs. Wood, Meador and Co. of Stone Mountain, Ga. for the supply of dressed stone required for the armory buildings. They have been delivering work on their contract from time to time, and there is a good prospect of their complying with their obligations. Their heaviest job is the heavy stone coping for the main building, and it would be well to inquire occasionally into their progress with this part of the work. A contract has been entered into with James F. Dever, of the Van Wert, Polk County, Ga. for the supply of roofing slate, and he has commenced making deliveries. The government is under obligation to him to supply some of detailed workmen, as specified in the contract; but as yet the details from the Army have not been granted, because of the unwillingness of the Commanding General to spare any of his men, particularly those in the Artillery. A reference to the correspondence on this subject will throw light upon it for your information. Mr. Dever is a reliable man, a member of the Legislature, and means to comply with his obligations under this contract, if it be possible. He should be assisted in every consistent way, as this contract is a most important one, and there is no other contractor to undertake a similar contract. My contract with him is jointly with Captain J. W. Mallet, Superintendent C. S. Laboratories, who has charge of the erection of the other public buildings near the city of Macon. The deliveries of slate are to be equally divided between the Armory and Laboratory.
A contract has been entered into with W. C. Yonge, of Yongesboro, Russell County, Alabama for the supply of best quality lime, and some deliveries have been made. He will continue to deliver from time to time as requisitions are made on him, which should be in multiples of 76 barrels, that number being one car load.
A contract has been made with Horace Powers, of Eufaula, Alabama for the supply of 500,000 red bricks from that point, and about 136,000 have been delivered up to the present time. The Secretary of War directs that cars for the transportation of those remaining cannot be supplied. Mr. Powers will therefore be paid, at the full contract price of $10 per M. for all of the bricks that had been delivered; and I consider the government bound to pay him for the whole 500,000 when delivered at the point of shipment, unless he agrees to release the government from their obligation, as he is not responsible for the inability of the S. W. R. R. to furnish transportation for the bricks.
A contract has been entered into with Jesse Jones of Monroe County, Ga. for the supply of 8000 Gun Stocks of Black Walnut. It is very desirable that this contract should be complied with, and further contracts of a similar character should be entered into if possible. It would be well to advertise for proposals to supply Black Walnut gun stocks, and I think the price up 75 cents each sufficiently high, at the present time.
Work in hand.
The work in a hand consists of the preparation of machined gun stocks for the Richmond Armory, the fabrication of machinery etc. for the Macon Armory, and the erection of the Armory buildings.
The intention is to supply 2000 stocks per month to the Richmond Armory, and a messenger is to be dispatched with them as frequently as lots of 1000 are ready for shipment. The number of 2000 per month should be turned out if the department is well managed, and this department should be closely looked after, as the work is liable to get behind hand, if not specially urged on. The further supply of guns stocks in the rough from the Depot at Danville, Virginia should be attended to in order to prevent suspension of the work in this department. Colonel Gorgas has recently been written to on the subject, which letter you will please refer to.
The fabrication of machinery it is desired may be pushed forward as rapidly as the limited number of machinists etc. employed will allow. This department is controlled by Mr. Hiram Herrington, Master Machinist, who has been furnished with a written memorandum of the work to be done during my absence, and to which you are referred for information. The force of machinists and smiths should be increased if possible, as there is shop room and machinery sufficient to employ many more workmen. Castings for machinery etc. are supplied by Messrs. Schofield and Bro. of Macon, at a price above [ ] cents per pound, the iron been furnished by the government. Should the prices of labor, coke etc. be materially reduced in future, a corresponding reduction should be made in the price paid for the castings.
The erection of the Armory buildings should be pushed forward with all the energy possible. The purpose is to erect and get under roof this year the main building, in addition to the proof house, which is now ready, or nearly so, for the slate to be put on. The intention is to use this building (the proof house) for the purposes of the carpenter's and joiner's department and there will be erected in it a wood planing and tonguing and grooving machine, a circular saw, a jig-saw, and mortising machine. The planing machine is now on hand, the fig-saw is being constructed in the machine department. The circular saw bench is yet to be constructed in the machine Department and the mortising machine is to be purchased. It had better be advertised for, as there are many throughout the country. The above machinery will be erected temporarily in the proof house, and will be driven by an engine and boiler to be temporarily erected outside the building. The engine and boiler of on hand. Special effort should be made to put up this machinery at the earliest period possible, and get it in operation as it will all be required in the preparation of the first tier of window frames, which, if not ready in time, will delay the brick work. The early completion of all that relates to this building and its temporary purposes is most important and should have special attention. Consult Mr. Schwaab and Mr. Herrington in relation thereto.
The stone foundations should be put in as rapidly as possible, and no time should be lost in connection with the this part of the work, as the erection of the whole superstructure depends upon the completion of the foundation walls.
The brick work in the carpenters' work will be done by workmen employed by the government. Also the grading, filling etc. of the grounds. Mr. Schwaab, Architect and C.E. has charge of all the building operations, and will direct the same, in accordance with the approved plans and elevations. He will be referred to for all information in relation thereto. The removal, for the purpose of filling inside the armory enclosure, of the bank of earth immediately opposite to the front entrance to the armory grounds, and between it and the R. R. it is desired may be effected as soon as possible. After which the grading of the ground west of the building site may be completed.
The inspection of pistols supplied by Messrs. Spiller and Burr of Atlanta, Georgia is made at this Armory, by order of Colonel Gorgas, and will be attended to by Mr. H. Herrington, Master Machinist, who is familiar with the subject. The pistols, when accepted, will be forwarded to Major M. H. Wright, Commanding Atlanta Arsenal, who will pay for them on your certificate of acceptance, in accordance with the terms of the contract, a copy of which will be left with you. Any pistols that may be rejected, will be returned to the contractors. Mr. Herrington had better make a written report of the inspection of each lot of pistols, a copy of which should be sent to the contractors for their information. In this way defects may be pointed out, and measures adopted to prevent their recurrence. Messrs. Spiller and Burr are to fabricate a model, or standard pistol, at the expense of the government, which should be completed as soon as possible, in order that a full set of inspecting gauges may be made therefrom, in this Armory. It may be necessary to render them some assistance in this connection, by loaning them a competent workman or two to get up the model pistol. I think it will be well for Mr. Herrington to be sent up occasionally to see that the prescribed proof is complied with, and to examine the work in progress, and make any suggestions calculated to facilitate the work that may seem necessary.
Authority from Colonel Gorgas has been requested, to break up, and strike from the Property Return of this Armory, a number of cast iron machines etc. received from Holly Springs, Mississippi, which will not be used as such, because of their inferior design and construction. The iron in them will be of more value than the machines in their present shapes. When Colonel Gorgas's authority to break them up is received, they may be broken up, and the materials taken up on the Property Return as such, and made use of as required. Some of the heavier castings may be of soft iron, which is much needed in making castings for machinery. Colonel Gorgas has authorized the construction of six platform cars for service of this Armory. They should be put in hand soon as possible.
James H. Burton, Superintendent.
C. S. Armory, Macon, Ga.
May 5th, 1863.
May 5th, 1863.
© 1998 Matthew W. Norman. All rights reserved.