Confederate Niter & Mining Corps, Manuscript Archive
Lot comprised of 20 receipts, inventory logs, memos, most from May 1864 to the end of the Civil War. Many are contracts between the Memphis & Charleston Railroad and the Confederate Niter & Mining Corps for lease of engines ("Iuka" and "West Tennessee" and their tenders) and cars for the transport of ore and cotton. For example, the receipt from Nov. 13, 1864 is for Box cars No. 107 and 139 and Flat car No. 468 ("in good running order"). There are also two lists of machinery leased to the government by the railroad, such as 1 Salt Cutting Machine, Complete (2000.00), 1 Screw Cutting Lathe Swing, Complete (2360.00), 1 Large Drill Press, Complete (2500.00), 2 Large Ratchet Jacks (650.00), etc., (9 pages, approx. 8.5 x 13.5 in.), with Wm. Richardson Hunt's signature across one page. There is one lease agreement on the Niter and Mining Service letterhead with Hunt's name printed at top.
The Niter and Mining Corps was a military unit that supplied the Confederacy with essential minerals and metals needed for the war effort. It began as an informal effort on the part of officers overseeing mining activities. Niter (saltpeter) is an essential part of gunpowder, but other minerals are also needed: lead, copper, iron, coal, etc. In June 1863 the Confederate Congress finally authorized the Niter and Mining Bureau as an independent office within the War Department. However, toward the end of the war, as able-bodied soldiers became harder to come by, the men were assigned occasional combat duty.
A rare grouping from a little-known military department.
Accompanying the lot is a set of blank Confederate Pension forms (Soldier or Sailor and Widow - Class 1, 2, and 3) and a group of three documents from 1811 from Claiborne County, Mississippi Territory (statehood did not come until 1817) regarding court cases adjudicated by J. Harmon(?), Esq.
Variable as expected. Early documents somewhat brittle. Many of the receipts on small scraps of paper (which was becoming ever more scarce in the South).