W. N. Smith Compiled Service Record, M331, National Archives

C. S. Arsenal, Richmond
Dec. 17th, 1864

Dr. Garnett,

Dear Sir,

In January 1861 I was called from Washington to Richmond to establish a Laboratory department under the authority of our late Secretary of War G. W. Randolph, then chairman of the State Military Committee in the Legislature of Virginia. I entered at once on duty, and had neither tools or skilled operatives and a limited supply of Machines, and succeeded in establishing the most complete and extensive department of the kind in the Confederacy. I served fifteen (15) years practically on Ordnance duty in the Army and Navy of the United States. I now command between 700 and 800 female operatives and Males. A short time since I resigned the position of Military Store Keeper, as the pay was small, it being insufficient for my sustenance and the position not in accordance with my duties, they being connected with the Artillery branch of the Service. I now desire to be commissioned in the Artillery Service of the Regular Army of the Confederate States, with separate command of the Laboratory department of Richmond, and beg that if you can you will assist me. I feel warranted in saying that the Chief of Ordnance is pleased with my cause of administration, which has been under his immediate observation since June 13th 1861. My age is 29 years, my place of birth Prince George County, Maryland, and am a resident of said State. My administration for the past four years ought to be a sufficient guarantee for giving me a suitable commission.

Very Truly,
Your obdt Servt:
W. N. Smith
Genl Supt.

Respectfully referred to his Excellency the President.

A most excellent officer but the rules governing the appointment of Artillery officers for Ordnance duty would probably exclude him – appointments being now assigned to grade of 2nd Lieut.
No remuneration can be too great for his services if measured by his value and his assiduity.

J. Gorgas

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