Biography of C. F. M. Garnett

 Since "Colonel" Garnett was not in the Confederate military, there is no biography of him in the National Archives service records. Below is my biography of the man

Photo from Tennessee State Library & Archives

The date of the photograph is unknown, but appears to be about 1860.

   Charles Fenton Mercer Garnett was born October 7, 1810 in Essex County, Virginia. He was the Chief Engineer for the construction of the Raleigh & Gaston RR, selecting and laying out the route, then supervising the construction from 1836 until completion. He was Superintendent for a year or so. On February 7, 1842 he took over the Chief Engineer's position on the Western & Atlantic RR. He selected the location for the depot for the southern terminal and then selected the name Marthasville for what eventually became Atlanta. 1848 and 1849 found Garnett the Chief Engineer of the Nashville & Chattanooga RR. In 1850, he was Chief Engineer of the Virginia & Tennessee RR when, on April 29th, he was selected Chief Engineer for the Memphis & Charleston RR. He conducted a preliminary reconnaissance of the route and announced it at a meeting in Tuscumbia, Alabama. From 1856 through 1859, he was the Chief Engineer of the Dom Pedro II RR, the first railroad in Brazil.
   Garnett was 51 when the War started. He was living with the family of a probable brother, Theodore L., a farmer north of Richmond, in Hanover County. Charles was worth $18,000 in real estate and $45,000 in personal estate (probably shares of stock in the railroads he had constructed). His railroad experience was called on when it became necessary for someone to determine which railroad iron should be removed from some roads and given to more important roads. He was made a member of the Commission to Collect and Distribute Iron (in the Engineer Bureau) and shortly became its main member, since he was the only one who did not have another job in the Army. In 1863, his office in Richmond was located at the corner of Bank and 10th Streets, on the 3rd floor.
   In 1844, Garnett was a lay delegate to the Episcopal Church General Convention, in Philadelphia. He never married and died March 6, 1886 in Norfolk, Virginia.
   A George W. Garnett, also from Virginia and with an extensive business background in New York, was appointed to a position in the Treasury Department. I assume this is a brother of Charles.
April 17, 1862 Writes regarding effect of impressment of slaves between Richmond and Fredericksburg
NA, QMR 3-17-62
April 19, 1862 Recommended an engineer for an Engineer Corps position
June 2, 1863 Secretary of War requested to allow the removal of the Roanoke Valley RR rails
June 4, 1863 Appointed to Commission to determine which railroad's iron could be taken for the benefit of more important railroads. Capt. George E. Walker, Engineer Corps, was the other member of the Commission
June 8, 1863 Removing the rails of the Roanoke Valley RR
June 9, 1863 East Tennessee & Virginia RR requested iron; referred to Iron Commission
NA, ENG 6-9H-63
June 10, 1863 Given additional duties as Iron Commissioner
June 11, 1863 Commissioners request authority to replace taken rail with replacement new iron plus seven percent per year. Forwarded to Secretary of War
NA, ENG 6-11A-63
June 13, 1863 South Side RR wants to remove the Petersburg to City Point rail to use in maintaining their main line; Commission to investigate
NA, ENG 6-13-63
Commissioners recommend Virginia & Tennessee RR be given 25 tons pig iron
NA, ENG 6-13A-63
Port Walthall iron removal to be reviewed
Recommends removing the iron of the Tennessee & Alabama RR and it was approved
June 16, 1863 Gilmer approves plan to use iron removed in the state where removed, when possible
June 18, 1863 Commissioners directed to work with the Richmond & Danville RR to remove some just-removed Seaboard & Roanoke RR iron
NA, ENG 6-18-63
June 20, 1863 Received response from Secretary of War and Secretary of Navy regarding removal of Atlantic, Tennessee & Ohio RR iron
NA, ENG 6-20-63
June 22, 1863 Removing iron from Fredericksburg to Acquia Creek
NA, ENG 6-22A-63
NA, ENG 6-23A-63
NA, ENG 7-16B-63
NA, ENG 7-17B-63
NA, ENG 7-17D-63
NA, ENG 7-18B-63
NA, ENG 7-18E-63
NA, ENG 7-20B-63
NA, ENG 9-10-63
NA, ENG 10-6-63
NA, ENG 10-12-63
NA, ENG 10-27-63
NA, ENG 10-29-63
NA, ENG 11-14A-63
NA, RF&P 11-25-63
June 24, 1863 Recommendations regarding taking iron from Fredericksburg north
NA, ENGR 6-24-63
Recommendations regarding repairing the South Side RR
NA, ENGR 6-24A-63
June 26, 1863 Removing Roanoke Valley RR iron
NA, ENG 6-26-63
NA, ENG 7-3-63
NA, ENG 7-16A-63
NA, ENG 7-16D-63
NA, ENG 8-8A-63
NA, ENG 8-29B-63
NA, ENG 10-12-63
July 1, 1863 Ordered to save new rails and have only old ones rolled for gunboat armor
NA, ENG 7-1C-63
July 6, 1863 Noted that Commissioners were corresponding with Capt. Lee, Eng. about collecting RR material near Winchester
July 7, 1863 Purchased furniture for office
July 10, 1863 Gives Seaboard & Roanoke RR a certificate for $110,000 worth of RR iron
July 11, 1863 Pays Richmond & York River RR for use of flats for removing iron
July 14, 1863 Pays for office sign
July 16, 1863 Forwards a letter from D. H. Kenney to the Engineer Bureau (Engineer Bureau Letters Received})
Asks for instructions as Dr, Smith objects to the method of valuing the iron taken from the Roanoke Valley RR (Engineer Bureau Letters Received)
July 18, 1863 Ordered to buy or impress the iron of the Mississippi, Gainesville & Tuscaloosa RR
NA, ENG 7-18-63
Investigate request for rails for a Selma spur
NA, ENG 7-18C-63
July 21, 1863 Rails can be provided to build a spur on the Alabama & Tennessee River RR
NA, ENG 7-21-63
Proposes plan for paying for Iron Commission expenses
Told by Sims to have the "Florida road" iron taken up and given to Pollard
July 24, 1863 Requests funds to pay expenses of operations near Fredericksburg, Va. (Engineer Bureau Letters Received)
Pays support worker
NA, RR 7-24A-63
July 25, 1863 Makes recommendation regarding connection between Georgia and Florida railroads
July 31, 1863 Requests that the costs for removing rails be paid by the nearest post Quartermaster
NA, ENG 7-31-63
August 1, 1863 Salvaging locomotive and wheels from Allen Plantation RR
NA, ENG 8-1-63
NA, RR 8-15-63
NA, AP 9-21-63
August 3, 1863 Informs Engineer Bureau that remaining Alabama & Florida (of Florida) RR can be removed
August 4, 1863 Proposes payment from RR companies for iron received
August 11, 1863 Iron removal in Alabama and Mississippi
August 15, 1863 Paid for retrieving an engine from Allen's Plantation
August 24, 1863 Paid to have Iron Commission documents copied
August 27, 1863 Directed to get locomotive and flats for Piedmont RR from Sims
Reported to have recently met with President of Alabama & Florida (of Florida) RR in Richmond
August 29, 1863 Ordered to expedite the iron for the Piedmont RR
NA, ENG 8-29B-63
NA, ENG 10-12-63
NA, ENG 11-20A-63
NA, ENG 1-20A-64
NA, ENG 2-15B-64
NA, ENG 2-22J-64
NA, ENG 3-28D-64
President South Side RR told to work with him to make effective use of old iron
Employs expert for arbitration of impressed iron of the Roanoke Valley RR
September 3, 1863 Gives opinion regarding iron for the Blue Mountain RR
NA, ENGR 9-3A-63
September 4, 1863 Referring possibility of furnishing iron for the Blue Mountain RR
September 7, 1863 Saving iron and rolling stock from the other side of the Pearl River (north of Montgomery, Ala.)
September 12, 1863 Sued by the Alabama & Florida (of Florida) RR
September 18, 1863 Presents to the Bureau various questions in regard to the Southern RRs
NA, ENGR 9-18-63
Refers statement and protest of the Mississippi, Gainesville & Tuscaloosa RR
NA, ENGR 9-18A-63
September 20, 1863 Carrying out the request from the Secretary of the Navy for Brunswick & Florida RR iron
NA, ENG 9-20-63
NA, ENG 10-3-63
September 22, 1863 Had an injunction against him in the Richmond Courts relating to the removal of the iron of the Roanoke Valley RR
NP, RD 9-22-63
NP, RD 9-23-63
NP, RD 9-28-63
September 23, 1863 Ordered to consider removing Tallahassee RR at the same time as the Florida RR
NA, ENG 9-23-63
September 24, 1863 Makes suggestions regarding impressment operations (Engineer Bureau Letters Received)
September 30, 1863 Dealing with court cases
October 2, 1863 Secretary of War lets Garnett give bond to disburse up to $5,000
NA, ENG 10-2-63
NA, ENGR 10-2-63
October 3, 1863 Impressing iron on the Brunswick & Albany RR
October 8, 1863 Kenney asks for help with Pemberton getting rolling stock from west of Pearl
October 16, 1863 Informed of Gen. Johnston's difficulty in relaying railroad
Pays for removal of Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac RR iron
Requests payment of expenses for Brunswick & Albany RR iron removal
NA, B&A 10-16-63
Recommends addition of an officer to the Iron Commission
October 22, 1863 Gilmer orders Rives to get Garnett to remove iron in northern Virginia
NA, DSCGF 10-22-63
October 23, 1863 Secretary of War agrees that removed iron is Government freight
NA, ENG 10-23C-63
October 28, 1863 Major Minor Meriwether joins Garnett as second member on Commission
NA, ENG 10-28-63
NA, ENG 10-29-63
Buys tools for office
October 29, 1863 Removing iron from Orange & Alexandria RR and Mississippi Central RR
NA, ENG 10-29-63
NA, DSCGF 11-7-63
October 30, 1863 Requests permission to employ a particular agent in eastern North Carolina to acquire iron
NA, ENG 10-30-63
Recommends handling of iron and recommends removal of Tallahassee RR
NA, ENGR 10-30-63
Recommends length of time for repayment for the Lawton & Live Oak RR
NA, ENGR 10-30A-63
October 31, 1863 Reports that completion of Alabama & Mississippi Rivers RR is making satisfactory progress
NA, ENG 10-31C-63
Pays Iron Commission Agent
November 2, 1863 Construction of Lawton & Live Oak connection
November 7, 1863 Reported to be in charge of the repairs between Demopolis and McDowell
NA, ENG 11-7-63
"Colonel" Garnett's status clarified
NA, ENG 11-7A-63
November 12, 1863 Joins Chief of Engineer Bureau in asking General Johnston's Chief Engineer to devote time and attention to making repairs of railroads with a view of saving iron and machinery.
NA, ENG 11-12-63
November 14, 1863 Requested to advise on the relative value of scrap iron to heavy rail.
NA, ENG 11-14-63
November 16, 1863 Ideas for connecting Georgia and Florida
NA, ENGR 11-16-63
November 19, 1863 Reports on status of court case with Alabama & Florida (of Florida) RR and possible compromise
NA, ENGR 11-19-63
November 24, 1863 Kinney's slow progress reported to Garnett
NA, ENG 11-24-63
November 25, 1863 Paid for freight on RR spikes and chairs from near Fredericksburg to Richmond
Arranged for payment for Brunswick & Albany RR iron removal
NA, B&A 11-25-63
December 5, 1863 Was reported to be on duty in Richmond
December 11, 1863 Ordered to report on the impressment of the Laurens RR
NA, ENG 12-11A-63
NA, ENG 12-21-63
NA, ENG 1-28A-64
NA, ENG 2-22G-64
NA, ENG 2-25A-64
Forwards copy of certificate given to Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac RR
NA, ENGR 12-11-63
December 31, 1863 Requests payment for Mr. Fairbanks
January 4, 1864 Reports receiving 49 tons old iron from Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac RR
NA, ENG 1-4A-64
NA, ENGR 1-15-64
January 6, 1864 Plans to meet Major Meriwether to discuss removal of iron from the Florida RR
NA, ENG 1-6-64
January 7, 1864 Authorized, with Maj. Meriwether, to purchase or impress the iron on the Florida RR, the Tallahassee RR, and 19 miles of the Florida, Atlantic & Gulf Central RR
NA, ENG 1-7-64
NA, ENGR 1-7-64
NA, ENG 1-9-64
NA, ENG 1-9C-64
NA, ENG 2-22H-64
January 14, 1864 Ordered to make another attempt to get the iron between Fredericksburg and Acquia Creek
NA, ENG 1-14-64
NA, ENG 1-22-64
NA, ENG 1-26A-64
NA, ENG 3-14A-64
NA, RR 3-15-64
NA, RR 3-15A-64
Requests Whitford ship rails to Greensboro
January 20, 1864 Receives letter from President, South Carolina RR
NA, ENG 1-20-64
January 22, 1864 Ordered to renew efforts to retrieve iron from Fredericksburg area and from the Rogersville & Jefferson RR
NA, ENG 1-22-64
Forwards proposal regarding building the Augusta & Columbia RR
NA, ENGR 1-22-64
January 28, 1864 Authorized to remove 10 miles of Wilmington, Charlotte & Rutherford RR
NA, ENG 1-28A-64
MISC, WC&R 2-27-64
February 4, 1864 Requested to provide 30 kegs of railroad spikes
NA, ENG 2-4B-64
February 9, 1864 Urges taking iron from Wilmington, Charlotte & Rutherford RR to maintain the Wilmington & Manchester RR
NA, ENGR 2-9-64
February 12, 1864 Recommends approval of Sims' plan to take iron from a RR
February 13, 1864 Proposal to add the Eastern Division of the Wilmington, Charlotte & Rutherford RR to the list of roads to be despoiled is sent to the Secretary of Was
NA, ENG 2-13A-64
February 22, 1864 Informs Rives that Savannah, Albany & Gulf RR will not construct the Lawton to Live Oak connection.
Ordered to forward Lauren RR papers to Rives and discuss them with the Secretary of War
Has Memminger document sent to him for reply
Ordered to support the Piedmont RR construction
February 23, 1864 Requests permission to take up the King's Mountain RR
NA, ENG 2-23-64
NA, ENG 3-1C-64
NA, ENG 3-24A-64
NA, ENG 5-2C-64
February 24, 1864 Is requested to change the distribution of some RR track
Needs wagons and teams to remove iron from Fredericksburg area
NA, ENGR 2-24-64
NA, ENGR 2-25A-64
February 25, 1864 Asked if iron can be found for the extension of the Virginia Central RR from Jackson's River to Covington
NA, ENG 2-25B-64
Pays for removing rails from the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac RR
February 27, 1864 Is reported to have recommended the removal of iron from the Wilmington, Charlotte & Rutherford RR
March 1, 1864 Requested permission to remove the iron from the Mobile & Spring Hill RR
NA, ENG 3-1A-64
March 7, 1864 Question of removing iron from the Atlantic, Tennessee & Ohio RR raised
NA, ENG 3-7A-64
NA, ENG 3-24A-64
NA, ENG 4-2A-64
NA, ENG 4-29C-64
NA, ENG 8-8A-64
NA, ENG 8-8B-64
NA, ATO 8-25-64
March 8, 1864 Requested to provide the amount and cost of the iron provided for the Piedmont RR
NA, ENG 3-8-64
NA, ENGR 3-9-64
March 10, 1864 Received suggestions on impressing Florida iron
NA, ENG 3-10-64
March 11, 1864 Received request for iron for the Wilmington & Weldon RR
NA, ENG 3-11-64
Agrees with plan for use of Richmond & Danville RR iron
NA, ENG 3-11A-64
March 14, 1864 Requested to provide additional information about the proposed Columbia to Augusta RR
NA, ENG 3-14B-64
NA, ENG 3-24-64
NA, ENG 4-14A-64
March 17, 1864 Directed to remove the iron from the Mississippi, Gainesville & Tuscaloosa RR
NA, ENG 3-17-64
Approves transfer of RR iron to Sims
March 22, 1864 Reports the amount due to the Roanoke Valley RR
March 28, 1864 Was issued shovels and picks in Richmond
NA, ENG 3-28C-64
April 2, 1864 Involved in moving the iron apparently removed from the Roanoke Valley RR for use on the Piedmont RR
NA, ENG 4-2B-64
April 9, 1864 Requests a man be detailed to him as a railroad expert
NA, ENG 4-9-64
April 12, 1864 Pays for shoeing and wagon work
April 13, 1864 Requests immediate detail of an officer to get iron for the Piedmont RR
NA, ENG 4-13-64
April 22, 1864 Paid for removal of rails from the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac RR
Paid for removal of rails from the Roanoke Valley RR
April 25, 1864 Letter regarding chairs and rails referred to him
NA, ENG 4-25-64
April 29, 1864 Telegram forwarded to him regarding iron for the Wilmington & Manchester RR
NA, ENG 4-29-64
Told to await Gen. Gilmer's instructions regarding Florida RR iron issue
NA, ENG 4-29A-64
NA, ENG 5-24-64
April ?, 1864 Paid freight for iron from near Fredericksburg to Richmond
May 14, 1864 Meriwether reports on the status of seizing Florida RR iron
May 17, 1864 Ordered to find a mile of iron on the Richmond & York River RR and get it to the Richmond & Petersburg RR for repairs
May 18, 1864 Makes agreement with Richmond & York River RR for iron
May 19, 1864 Ordered to report on the status of shipment of iron just removed from Richmond & York River RR
NA, ENG 5-19E-64
NA, ENG 5-20-64
May 31, 1864 Comments on Alabama & Florida (of Florida) RR case
June 8, 1864 Ordered to create a reserve of 2 miles of RR iron in Richmond
NA, ENG 6-8-64
June 10, 1864 Was reported to have stored RR iron in Richmond for repair of Virginia Central RR
June 22, 1864 Iron for Central (of Georgia) RR
NA, ENGR 6-22A-64
June 23, 1864 Reports on the difficulty of procuring RR iron
NA, ENG 6-23A-64
Reports on the urgent need for 1 mile iron for the Piedmont RR and iron for the Wilmington & Manchester RR
NA, ENG 6-23B-64
Supported in plan to impress Richmond & York River RR iron
June 24, 1864 Requested to return to Richmond immediately since there may be a requirement for iron for the Richmond & Danville RR. Was evidently at home in ill health.
NA, ENG 6-24F-64
NA, ENG 6-24H-64
Involved in plan to impress the Eastern Division of the Wilmington, Charlotte & Rutherford RR
Has designated roads to have rails taken to support the Richmond & Danville RR
June 25, 1864 Rives replies to several RR matters
July 1, 1864 Authorizes interest payment on iron from Seaboard & Roanoke RR
July 5, 1864 Requests lawyer be assigned to the Commission
NA, ENG 7-5B-64
July 8, 1864 Reports giving a certificate of indebtedness to the Seaboard & Roanoke RR
NA, ENG 7-8A-64
July 9, 1864 Proposal regarding Atlantic, Tennessee & Ohio RR iron
July 23, 1864 Buys 5 cars and 1 set of truck wheels from the Allen Plantation RR
NA, AP 7-23-64
July 29, 1864 RR iron and turntable being sent to him from Gordonsville
NA, QM 7-29-64
August 12, 1864 Ordered to get from the Richmond & Danville RR the flat rail that was replaced by T rail
NA, ENG 8-12A-64
Ordered to remove iron from the Orange & Alexandria RR
NA, ENG 8-12B-64
August 15, 1864 Mentioned as wanting to remove Seaboard & Roanoke RR iron for repairs
August 25, 1864 Purchases 476 tons of Atlantic, Tennessee & Ohio RR iron, laid on the Piedmont RR
NA, ATO 8-25-64
August 26, 1864 Comments on claim from the Alabama & Florida (of Florida) RR
September 1, 1864 Questioned interest to be paid to RR companies on certificates
NA, ENGR 9-1-64
September 3, 1864 Sends Chatham RR papers to Bureau
NA, ENGR 9-3-64
September 8, 1864 Receives approval of Capt. Walker claim
September 9, 1864 Signs account for iron removed from Brunswick & Albany RR
September 19, 1864 Asks Seaboard & Roanoke RR interest be paid to its President
NA, ENGR 9-19-64
September 21, 1864 Seaboard & Roanoke RR iron bill
September 27, 1864 Impressment of Lauren RR iron
NA, ENGR 9-27-64
September 30, 1864 Capt. E. T. D. Myers added to the Iron Commission
OR Series 4, Vol. 3, Page 694
His expenditures for the quarter
October 28, 1864 Interest for Alabama & Florida (of Florida) RR
NA, QMR 10-28-64
October 31, 1864 Personal letter

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