GA, W&A 10/3/1861

Chattanooga, Tenn.

Oct. 3d, 1861
His Excellency
Jos. E. Brown
Atlanta, Ga.
   I regretted very much not seeing you when I passed through Atlanta, as I think I could have convinced you of the importance of my demands upon you for rolling stock and power of the Ga. State Road, to be used on the E. T. & Va. Road, for the purpose of moving freight belonging to the Confederate States, which has for some time been blocked up at Knoxville. But I was obliged to come directly here to meet, by arrangement, officers of Rail Roads in this section, to adopt some more prompt and effective plans for shipments of supplies for the Confederate Government.
   I have received your dispatch of yesterday declining to allow any of your Engines and Cars to go upon the Road named above, for the reason that they had been dreadfully abused or broken up when loaned to that Road before. The Road, as you are perhaps aware, is now under different and more effective management, and I could not apprehend any recurrence of such casualties. I find, in conference with the Rail Road officers now here, representing the lines West and South West, that the demands upon their stock, motive and rolling especially since the late movement upon Kentucky, will not, in justice to them, or to the requirements of the Government in the West, permit the decrease of their Engines and Cars. As far as they could, they have assisted each other, and agree to do so in case of any strait or urgent press in this section, west of this place. The Memphis Road has been running its cars through to Bristol, in order to lighten the labors of the ET&Va Road, but in consequence of the series of disasters that Road has met with  for more than one month past, it has not been able to transport, with its limited facilities, the large amount of freight accumulated during that period. The Government has now at Knoxville one million rations of meats which have been there for five or six weeks, besides large quantities of supplies for our army in Western Virginia and Richmond. It will be impossible to get these to points of destination unless we can have the control of more motive power and cars to put upon the ET&Va Road.
   Knowing the embarrassments to which our army at Manassas, in fact our whole military operations in Virginia, may be subjected, in consequence of the want of these supplies, I confidently trust you will strain a point even to assist the Government in this dilemma, and spare me the disagreeable necessity contemplated by my orders, which are imperative, to impress into the service of the Government, for the purpose aforesaid, such Engines and Cars of your State Road, as may be necessary for the purpose. They will not be required for a long time, it is believed, and will be returned, if loaned, in good order, or damages paid for according to liberal assessment. If you feel that you have the authority to sell three or four good Engines and twenty Box Cars, they will be purchases of you at a fair valuation, or if hired they will be returned in conditions before specified. Let me hope that, considering the exigencies of the service, you will feel it consistent with your duty and extent of your authority, to spare what is required if only for a stated time.
I am with high regard
Your Excellency's Most obdt Servt
W. S. Ashe
Maj. Qr. Mr. C. S. A.
P. S. Please answer by telegraph as soon as possible. A.