DescriptionAutograph Endorsement Signed by South Carolina Governor Francis W. Pickens, 1862. Francis W. Pickens was a fervent supporter of states rights who strongly supported the Confederate cause and did everything within his power to further it.
Lengthy AES as "F.W. Pickens." One page, 7.5" x 11" lined paper, n.p. [Columbia, South Carolina], December 8, 1862. Being an "Estimate of expenses of construction and conduct of Saltpetre Plantation for the Quarter beginning Jan. 1st 1863 and ending March 31st 1863." At the opening of the war, the Confederate Army suffered a terrible shortage of saltpeter which was necessary to create gunpowder. Governor Pickens quickly began working to supply the Confederate States with the needed supplies by contracting Dr. W. Hutson Ford to scout out a location and develop a plan to build and operate what was then called a saltpeter plantation. Here Dr. Ford has provided the Governor with an estimate of the costs involved in building and operating such a plant, and has signed the document twice. On verso, Governor Pickens pens a lengthy endorsement, in part: "Referred to [unintelligible] Tupper Esq. - with a request that he has it presented to the Committee of Ways & Means as an estimate of the expenses of the Saltpetre Plantation per quarter... It will be seen also that the production of saltpeter will be $150 per day or about $4500 a month and will be 2/3 more than the expenses." Document is lightly age toned.
In Convention Documents: Report of the Special Committee of 21 from September 1862, Pickens wrote about the development of this plant, in part: "Five acres of land were leased for this purpose... and the necessary sheds, buildings, &c., constructed. What quantity of nitre may be expected... cannot now be accurately stated, but it is hoped and expected that after a period of from eight to twelve months... we may obtain at least one thousand pounds daily which would make one thousand three hundred and thirty-three pounds gunpowder."
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