NA, A&F 4/17/1863

Office South & North Alabama R. R. Company
Montgomery, April 17, 1863
Hon. O. M. Avery   {President, Alabama & Florida RR (of Florida)}
   I have intended writing you for several days, but have been delayed from various causes I told Mr. Huton the substance of a conversation that occurred between Dr. Griffin & myself at Pollard relative to your iron. Mr. ??? said he had discussed with you at last. I asked him how? He answered he had paid the Government for the iron already at ??? I answered that he had tried to buy the iron from you, but could not do it. I asked if the iron was now his property or the property of the Govmt? Answered his as he had paid for it & had got it by aid of Govmt at this same price he had offered you. Says I this, you tried to purchase private property at 84 dollars, the price you paid Govt for Avery's iron & couldn't do it. But Govt seizes it & let you have it at just half what the citizen could get from Government itself for iron whereas you paid for it. Says he goes and thinks that Govt had done you a service & him too by interfering in the transaction. That you utterly refused to sell the iron at any price & it was earning you no interest where it was & that he needed it badly to complete his Road. Says I ??? would give ??? for the ??? your iron locomotives or even ??? Nifes Porsey now. He answered ??? would not sell ??? at any price Says I probably so I nos Mr Averys condition He might have been waiting for the rise in iron or for something else which no man had a right to determine or question. He maintained that the Govt had done a service in forcing you to sell & had done ??? or sooner in selling him the iron at 80 $ p ton. Now if our Confederate Government sanctions such deliberate Exercise of Might against Right I am clearly & unequivocally in favor of Lincoln or any other government in preference to it. I don't own a dollar of your stock but I am opposed utterly & finally to any such transactions. Mr. Pollard has an order to take iron from yours, the Marion & Cahaba or the Newbern Road for his. Gen Bruckner is charged with the execution of the order & has appointed me to inspect Mr P's Road & see whether he needs the iron & how much he needs. I cant say whether I will accept or not. If I do I will examine every bar on the M & W. P {Montgomery & West Point} RRoad critically. If they do absolutely need it, all right. 
Yours truly
John T. Milner