NA, A&F 4/6/1863

Adjutant Generals Department

Rail Road Bureau C. S. A.
HdQuarters Augusta Geo Apl 6th 1863
Genl. S. Cooper
A & I Genl. Richmond
   I have the honor to enclose you herewith sundry papers & declarations to the claim of O. M. Avery, President of Ala. & Fla. RRd. Co. of Florida against the Government for the seizure of certain iron rails, spikes, chairs, etc and for damage done to said road in consequence of its destruction at the time Pensacola was evacuated.
   The iron rails, chairs, spikes, etc were taken up by order of Genl. J. M. Jones, acting under orders from Genl Braxton Bragg and appropriated by the latter to the construction of the Alabama & Mississippi Rivers, and the North East & South West of Alabama Rail Roads west of Demopolis and for a siding on the Mobile & Great Northern Rail Road, and subsequently about three hundred tons of the rails were devoted to the defense of Mobile.
   Mr. Avery looks to the Government to settle with him and presents a statement which is enclosed (marked A) for $432,326.34, embracing an account of all the material seized.
   The Secretary of War, as you will see by the enclosed papers, (marked B) has already had his attention directed to the matter and referred to me with instruction to "ascertain the best terms on which the whole matter can be settled." At my interview with Mr. Avery, I could not get him to make any proposition looking to a settlement upon terms that, in my judgment, would be acceptable to the Government and during our conversation I learned that he was aware of a contract made by the Government with Wm. B. Gilmer, Treasurer of the Alabama Arms Co, to furnish rails at $150 per ton. Fortified as he was with such information I could get no concessions and can only pass his bill for your consideration.
   Finding Mr. Avery is settled in his determination I turned to the parties who are using the seized iron rail in hope that they would undertake a settlement, but was completely stopped by G. G. Griffin Esq. President of the Ala. & Miss. Rivers RRoad who has already settled with Col. A. C. Myers Quarter Master General as you will see by the enclosure (marked C). The matter now rests entirely between the Government and Mr Avery and is resolved simply into a question of the price he shall receive as the other discrepancies of which he complained have been arranged. With these facts you can understand upon what basis negotiations can be initiated preparatory to a final settlement.
   It is estimated by O. M. Avery Prest. and Supt. of this road that it was damaged by the removal of the iron and the destruction of the bridges say $94,671.00 and on the 21st Feby he addressed a note to Maj. Gen. Buckner enclosing this estimate of damage and asking the appointment of some suitable person to "examine the road with the amount of damage and certify as to its correctness."
   Under date of Feby 24th, Genl Leadbetter, Engineer &c, directs J. T. Wilson Chf. Eng. of the Ala. Central Road at Montgomery, as follows: "Please examine the Ala & Fla RRd as within indicated, and report to this office the damage sustained by the Company in the removal of the track, over and above the cost of the rails."   This examination had not been made up to the 12th March. The course taken by our Generals in directing the examination made would seem to implicate the Government to the extent of damages Mr Wilson may report and establish a president that other roads in the hands of the enemy, as destroyed by our  forces would not be slow to follow.
I remain General
Very Respectfully
Your obat Servant
Wm. M. Wadley
A. A. Gen.