B21, VS&T 2/28/1863

Shreveport, La.
Feb. 28th 1863
The President of Directors of the V. S. & T. R. R.  {Vicksburg, Shreveport & Texas RR}
Monroe, La.
   I wrote to you some time since stating, (in behalf of the government) that I desired to use the rail-road iron in the vicinity of Shreveport.
   I received on yesterday a communication from the agent of the Southern Pacific Rail Road Company protesting against the use by the government of the rail-road iron laid on the track extending westward from this place. I made, some time since, an agreement with the Southern Pacific Rail Road Co. supposing that they had full power to contract, authorizing me to use the iron provided the government would return it within twelve months after the signing of a treaty of peace. My desire, in carrying out the wishes of the Navy Department at this place, is to conflict with the rights of no one, but, as you are doubtless aware, necessity sometimes compels governments as well as individuals to overstep the bounds of prudence and discretion. It is sometimes necessary to take private property for public use without the consent of the owner, yet under such circumstances, an enlightened patriotism always throws the mantle of charity over the action of the government. The government will doubtless need the railroad iron at this place, and it will contract for its return within twelve months after the signing of a treat of peace.
   It is my wish to obtain the iron with your consent, but if that is refused, I shall certainly use the iron, if needed, although such a course will be repugnant to any feelings.
I am respectfully
Your obt. servt.
J. H. Carter
Lieut. C. S. N.