NA, A&F 4/7/1863

Ala. & Fla Rl Rd Co of Ala
Montgomery April 7th 1863
Maj Genl Buckner
Commanding Department of the Gulf
Mobile Ala.
   I have just received from Genl Canby an order issued under your instructions requiring the restoration of the Engines and Cars of the Ala & Fla Rl Rd of Fla, turned over to this Company last November, and without any feeling of hesitancy to comply with your instructions I venture to call your attention to the following considerations.
   In the first place to the condition of things under which the outfit of that Company was divided between our Road and the Mobile & Gt. Nor {Mobile & Great Northern}, which so far as this Road is concerned will be found detailed in my letter to the Commanding General in the early part of November, to which refer later. The facts then stated show that the inability of this Company to serve the Government as promptly and efficiently as they desired and as the public good demanded was the result of an insufficient outfit, which we have in vain endeavored to increase either by purchase from other Companies or by their manufacture ourselves, owing to the impossibility of procuring in the Confederacy the necessary materials out of which to construct cars. 
   Secondly, that the Ala & Fla Rl Rd Co of Fla had a large surplus of Engines and Cars in consequence of their track being taken up, which we could neither buy nor rent on ??ing terms. In pursuance then of an policy which good sense and patriotism alike dictated and which so far as I know the universal custom of the Government sanctions, the Military Authorities directed the distribution of this surplus of outfit between the two road engaged in Government Transportation between Montgomery & Mobile, leaving to disinterested parties the pricing of the Engines and Cars if the owner should decide to sell and securing them proper compensation for their use if they preferred not to dispose of them.
   Under this arrangement and without the least detriment to the owners of the property (for they had no earthly use for it) we have been enabled to do a vast amount of transportation for the Government, which also would have been obliged to take the more tedious and expensive route by the River to Mobile. The same reasons which caused the transfer of this outfit from a party which had no need of it to other to whom it was made necessary by the public exigencies still suggests (though not with the same force,  we were then engaged in transporting a portion of Genl Braggs Army) the continuance of the arrangement. For when it is remembered that under existing schedules the Government Transportation is done in one half the time required by the boats between Montgomery and Mobile and at greatly reduced Cost to the Government, it will not be deemed a matter of small moment by the guardians of the public interest that ??? in ??? should be kept up to something like the wants of the Government {end of archived document}