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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 37. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Work of the Ordnance Bureau of the war Department of the Confederate States, 1861-5. (search)
abor. As regards the materials for making gun powder, search was made for nitre earth, and considerable quantities were obtained from caves in Tennessee, Georgia and North Alabama, as also from old buildings, cellars, plantation quarters and tobacco barns. Col. I. M. St. John was, in 1862, given separate charge of this work, and developed it systematically on a large scale. He also established artificial nitre beds at Columbia and Charleston, S. C., Augusta and Savannah, Ga., Selma and Mobile, Ala., and elsewhere. The end of the war had come before these beds had become ripe enough to be leached, but it was estimated that by that time they already contained some three or four million pounds of salt-petre. In fact, much the larger part of the nitre used at the Augusta powder mill came in through the blockade. Sulphur was early secured, as there were found at New Orleans several hundred tons intended for use in sugar making. For the third ingredient of powder, namely charcoal, rec