Information Compiled by
Member of General Roswell Ripley Camp - SCV
Circular for Confederate headstones; proposal by the Blue Ridge Marble Company
"OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER FOR MARKING GRAVES OF CONFEDERATE DEAD"
"1800 F Street NW.,"
"Washington, D.C., April 5, 1907"
"Proposals for Confederate Headstones.-Office of Commissioner for Marking Graves of Confederate Dead, 1800 F street NW., Washington D.C., April 5, 1907. Sealed proposals in triplicate will be received here until 10 a.m., May 8, 1907, and then opened for furnishing 20,000 American White Marble Headstones, conforming to standard and specifications. Quantity specified subject in increase or decrease of not to exceed 50 per cent. Guarantee in amount of 10 per cent of bid will be required. Unguaranteed bids will not be considered. Early deliveries essential. Standard sample on exhibition here and at office of Depot Quartermaster, Boston, Mass. Information furnished on application here. Government reserves right to reject or accept any or all bids, or any portion thereof. Envelopes to be indorsed ""Proposals for Confederate Headstones,"" and addressed to William Elliott, Commissioner for Marking Graves of Confederate Dead"
"SPECIFICATIONS FOR HEADSTONES"
"To be of American white marble, in slabs not less than 39 inches long, 12 inches wide, and a uniform thickness of 4 inches throughout, with bottoms square and at right angles to sides, of fine grain, good texture, and hard; of grades known to the trade as Number 1, Average, and Best Number 2, and in all respects equal in quality to the sample exhibited as standard in this office and in the Depot Quartermaster's Office, at Boston, Mass.; the top of the stone to be sloped from the center to each side with a one-third (1/3) pitch, and the edges slightly rounded; that portion of each stone which will be above ground when set (20 inches from top) to be sand rubbed; each stone to be inscribed with the number of the grave (if required) , the name of the occupant (if known), his rank (if other than a private), the name of the organization to which he belonged, and the letters""C.S.A."" all on one face. If the name is not known, then the word ""Unknown,"" and the letters ""C.S.A."" simply shall be inscribed. The figures and letters composing the inscriptions to be V-sunk, one (1) inch in length and three-sixteenths (3/16) of an inch deep; the letters and figures of the inscriptions to be accurately spaced and aligned, properly and tastefully arranged, and smoothly and carefully cut. Abbreviations may be made in the Christian name of the decedent, and in his rank, as also in the name of his organization, providing that all such abbreviations shall be made in accordance with the list of inscriptions to be furnished by this office. In all cases of abbreviation, and wherever required, proper punctuation shall be observed. In all cases the inscription of the name will be cut on the stone in a curve. The work on the stone to be neat and strictly workman-like in all respects."
"GENERAL INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS TO BIDDERS"
1. The whole or any portion of the number of headstones advertised for may be bid for, but proposals are only desired from persons actually manufacturing or dealing in articles specified in the advertisement.
2. Bidders are requested to examine, if practicable, the standard sample and specifications referred to above, so that proposals may be submitted with a full knowledge of requirements. Where such examination is impracticable, it may be stated that these headstones are required to be of American while marble, fine grain, good texture, and hard; of grades known to the trade as Number 1, Average, and Best Number 2. The headstones furnished will be rigidly inspected by an employee of the Department, and an absolute compliance with said standard and specifications insisted upon, those headstones not fulfilling the above requirements being rejected and others required to be supplied in their places and the expense of the contractor.
3. Bids based upon samples differing from this standard and specifications will under no circumstances be considered.
4. Bidders are informed that all contracts will provide that the contracting officer shall have the right at all times in inspect in person and be duly authorized agents the headstones in process of manufacture, and to reject any materials or workmanship not conforming to requirements.
5. When the articles bid for are of foreign manufacture the cost of duty should be added, as no bid providing for free entry of goods which it is proposed to import from abroad will be entertained.
6. Bidders must state in their proposals the point at which they propose to deliver the headstones, and state the price per stone for which they will furnish the number bid for; also furnish a sample of the marble they propose to use in case contract is awarded to them.
7. After being inspected and accepted, the headstones must be carefully and securely boxed or crated separately by the contractor, and delivered on cars ready for shipment. The headstones must be so boxed or crated that the inscription will be fully covered. The outside of the boxes or crates to be planed, and to be marked by the contractor with name and address of consignee and number of headstone according to printed list. All expense of handling the headstones while being inspected must be borne by the contractor.
8. Printed lists of inscriptions will be furnished the contractor by this office from time to time.
9. Bidders must state in their proposals the average number of headstones they propose to deliver weekly, commencing Mary 23, 1907, should contract be awarded to them, and no proposition should be made which they are not positive they can absolutely fulfill. A strict compliance with this rule will be insisted upon.
10. Bidders are informed that in cases where the advertisements contain the provision that the quantities specified may be increased to a stated per cent, they must specify in their bid the time and rate of delivery of the increase, should it be so ordered.
11. Printed forms for proposals, embracing the required bidder's guarantee, will be furnished from this office on application, and these forms only should be used in making proposals.
12. Proposals should be prepared in strict accordance with the requirements made known in this circular of instructions to bidders, and a copy of the same should be attached thereto and from part of the proposal.
13. Proposals should be in triplicate, and signed by the bidder's name in full, and when a firm is the bidder the member thereof who signs the bid should give the post-office address of the firm and the names of the individuals comprising the firm, and the address of each."
The following is the proposal from the Blue Ridge Marble Company who won the bid
"PROPOSAL FOR CONFEDERATE HEADSTONES"
"MAY 4, 1907"
"TO WILLIAM ELLIOTT, COMMISSIONER 1800 F STREET WASHINGTON, D.C."
"We propose to furnish and deliver on cars at Nelson, Georgia twenty thousand (20,000) marble headstones in size and finish according to specifications in advertisement and circular dated April 5, 1907, copy of which is attached hereto for two and ninety hundredths dollars ($2.90) each. The marble we propose to use is Kennesaw Georgia Marble in quality equal to sample submitted and labeled ""from the Blue Ridge Marble Company, Nelson, Georgia. Sample of Kennesaw Georgia Marble submitted in connection with proposal to furnish Confederate headstones. The average number of headstones we propose to deliver weekly is six hundred (600) If awarded contract for headstones in excess of twenty thousand (20,000) we propose to deliver the excess number at an average rate of six hundred (600) per week, said deliveries to commence in three days from last delivery on contract for 20,000 headstones. We will begin work in ten (10) days from time of signing contract."
The government hired a Marble expert to get his opinion of the marble used at the Blue Ridge Marble Company. The following is his report
"Washington D.C., May 18, 1907"
"Col. Wm. Elliott, Commissioner for Marking Graves of Confederate Dead, 1800 F Street N.W. Washington, D.C."
"Sir: As per request, I have to-day examined the two samples of Georgia Marble headstones that are offered as samples by the Blue Ridge Marble Company, of Nelson, Ga., for headstones for the graves of the dead Confederate prisoners of war, and I should say to you that they would come fully up to the specifications, and that this particular marble is far better than the standard samples, especially as to the lasting qualities. I have seen this particular marble used in the way of window sills where it has been in the building for over one hundred and fifty years and then did not show the slightest signs of disintegration, and I wish to say that this test is the severest a piece of marble can be put to.
I do not exactly remember the exact analysis of this marble at this time, but it is almost a pure bicarbonate of lime, bicarbonate of lime being about 99 per cent.
I might also state that all white marble, except that which is quarried at Servezza, Italy, is extremely soft, and the fact usually is that the more color you find in marble the harder it is. Of course, it is needless to say that the Servezza marble would be prohibitive for the use of these headstones for the reason that the cost of it is $24.00 per cubic foot, so that the material would cost $30.00 for each headstone.
I have been in the marble business in Washington for 26 years and what I say to you above is from experience. Very respectfully, " (Can't make out name)