AR, PR 7/1/1863 CE

Annual Report of the Port Royal RR
as of July 1, 1863
Chief Engineer's Report
Engineer's Office, Owen's X Roads
Barnwell District, S. C., August, 1863
To the President and Directors of the Port Royal Rail Road Company
   While entering upon a report of the progress of the grading for the year which has just transpired, it is but proper to remark upon the occasion we have for thankfulness for the undisturbed prosecution of the work during the continued raging of the war on our soil; a war without a precedent in history.
   To have kept alive an enterprise of this character amidst this life and death struggle of our Confederacy, were cause for congratulation, but when it is known that our progress ha been steady, and our operations conducted within the estimated cost of the work, it is as surprising as it certainly is gratifying.
   Of the contract of Messrs. Hudson, Lane & Co., there is nothing further to be said than in the last annual report. No steps have been taken by these contractors towards the resumption of their work, nor, as far as I am aware, has any communication on the subject passed between the contracting parties.
   What was recommended in August lat occurs to me equally advisable now, viz: that these contractors be urged to inform the Company what are their present position and intentions in reference to their contract.
   The work on the Section of seventeen (17) miles, let to Messrs. Goethe & Chisolm, has been prosecuted uninterruptedly to the present time, and though I have been disappointed in the expectation of reporting its completion at this meeting, it is proper to state that all reasonable efforts have been made by Mr. Henry Goethe toward this end. The embarrassing circumstances of the times have operated to defeat such efforts.
   Of the seventeen miles composing this contract, there are but four (4) which are not entirely finished. Of these, the 31st Section is the only one upon which no grading has been done; the 30th is far advanced towards completion; while the 28th and 29th Sections each have some little work to be done before being received from the contractors. One and three-quarters (1 3/4) miles would probably represent the entire distance to be graded.
   The number of hands employed is quite small, owing to the difficulty (almost impossibility) of procuring tools, and the great scarcity and high prices of provisions.
   Succeeding the latter contract is the portion of Road upon which are engaged the negroes under the immediate control of the Company. This project of employing the negroes of the refugees, referred to at the last annual meeting as an untried experiment, has resulted in complete success.
   While the scale of operations has been small, only about one hundred and forty (140) negroes (men and women) being upon the work, yet the cost of the grading has been much less than if let to contractors at ordinary peace prices. Thus the entire amount of work done by all the negroes since April, 1862, is as follows:
146,060 cubic yards of earth a $0.20 $29,212.00  
  39,878    "         "     "     "     "     17 6,779.26 $35,991.26
  54.44 acres of clearing  $25.00   1,361.00
Total value of all work done up to July 1st, 1863   $37,352.26
Cost of subsistence, clothing, medical attention &c., as pr. Treasurer's Report $28,147.75  
Deduct the amount of subsistence on hand on July 1st 5,496.79  
Which gives the actual cost of above work to 1st July 22,650.96 22,650.96
Or a savings to the Company of   $14,701.30
This gives as a cost pr cubic yard $0.12.    
   The entire length of Road bed graded by these hands is eight (8) miles from the beginning of the 35th Section (near Mrs. Ester William's farm) to the end of the 42d Section; or within a half mile of the crossing of the Boggy Gut, at Martin's Mill.
   When we recollect the fact that this distance comprises the summit Section of the Road, along which are to be found (taken as a whole) probably the heaviest excavations and embankments, where the material is of the hardest kind of clay, the result will be regarded with peculiar satisfaction.
   Three (3) to five (5) miles of light earthwork will put the Company's hands in the valley of the Savannah River, where the progress will be rapid, from the level character of the surface.
   All the parties have during the past year gained valuable experience, which, while contributing tto the agreeable results noticed above, promises even more welcome developments in the future.
   The present condition of the grading may be summed up this -- giving the entire length of line finished to 1st July:
Of the contract of Hudson, Lane & Co., (17 miles,) there are finished 7 miles
Of the contract of Goethe & Chisolm, (17 miles) there are finished 15 1/4 miles
Graded by the Company's hands 8 miles
Total length of line graded 30 1/4 miles
   The completion of the Goethe contract will give a continuously graded line of 25 miles from the 17th to the end of the 42d Section.
   Should the fortunes of war enable the Company to complete the Hudson contract during the ensuing year, the Road will be graded for two-thirds of its length.
   Indeed, if unmolested in our operations by the inroads of the enemy, the future presents a cheering prospect, and invites to steady, persevering effort.
Very respectfully,
 C. S. Gadsden, Chief Engineer