Today in History:

33 Series III Volume I- Serial 122 - Union Letters, Orders, Reports


WASHINGTON, January 8, 1861.

Honorable JOSEPH HOLT,

Secretary of War:

DEAR SIR: It has long been a custom of the War Department to permit the States to draw their respective quotas of arms one year in advance. Virginia has drawn hers for this year. Two companies in every district want arms from our State and we cannot furnish them. Governor Letcher informs me he will draw on you for them if you will honor his order. Please inform me what you will do in the premises. Before Governor Floyd resigned I had assurances from his chief clerk, Colonel Drinkard, that he would grant the arms. An early answer is desired.

Your friend and obedient servant,


ORDNANCE OFFICE, Washington, January 8, 1861.

Honorable JOSEPH HOLT,

Secretary of War:

SIR: In my last annual report, dated 30th of October, 1861, I had the honor, among other matters, to state as follows:

The number of arms manufactured at the national armories during the last year was not as great as the available fund s would have justified. This diminution is in a measure attributable to the diversion of armory operations from the manufacture of arms of the established model to the alteration of arms according to plans of patentees and to getting up models of arms for inventors. Our store of muskets of all kings at this time does not exceed 530,00, dispersed among the arsenals fo the country- nowhere more than 130,000 arms being together. As this supply of arms is applicable to the equipment of the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the militia of the country, it is certainly too small, and every effort should be made to increase the number of our new-model guns, whilst no further reduction by sale fo the old-model serviceable arms hose be allowed until our arsenals are better supplied. Our store of muskets has in former years reached nearly 700,000, and was not then considered too great for the country, as we evidenced by ther liberal appropriations made for the further increase and for the construction of more perfect and productive machinery for the fabrication of small-arms. * * *

Since that date 127,655 serviceable muskets altered to percussion have been ordered ot be sold, many of which have already been disposed of and passed out of the possession of Government. I have now respectfully to recommend that no more arms on the orders already given be disposed of, and that no further sales be made except in the manner authorized by the act of March 3, 1825.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel of Ordnance.




Acting Secretary of War ad interim.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, January 10,1 861.

Honorable JOHN T. HARRIS,

House of Representatives:

SIR: In reply to your note of the 8th instant, I have the honor to state that, in the present unhappily excited state of the public mind,