NA, DAMELA 10/21/1864

Hd Qrs Dept Ala Miss & E. La.
Selma Oct 21/64
Col. Geo. Wm Brent A A Genl
Jacksonville Ala
   I have the honor to hand you herewith for the consideration of the General Comdg the inclosed copy of a communication recd from Lt Col Meriwether, Engineer Officer in charge of work in Central Ala relative to the extension of the Tenn & Ala RR {Alabama & Tennessee River RR} from Blue Mountain to Jacksonville.
   The same objections to the removal of the iron from the Gainesville branch {Mississippi, Gainesville & Tuscaloosa RR} now exist which I had the honor of laying before the Comdg General when at Jacksonville. I am satisfied that Col. Meriwether's fear relative to the obstacles to be encountered in an attempt to take the iron from the Marion {Cahaba, Marion & Greensboro RR} or the Newbern branches {North Western RR of Alabama, off of the Alabama & Mississippi Rivers RR} on but too well founded and that the stockholders in these roads will meet any such attempt by the military authorities with an injunction from the civil courts, thereby involving the military in a contest with the civil authority which will in view of the present corn situation of public interest in this part of Ala I think result in serious embarrassments. I have made an appointment to meet the Presdt of both these roads, and will do all in my power to reconcile them, and through them, their stockholders to any order the Genl Comdg may find it necessary to issue in reference to removing their iron.
   Appreciating the magnitude of the difficulties suggested by Lt Col Meriwether, and believing a knowledge thereof may induce the Genl Comdg to change his views relative to the proposed extension or perhaps to entirely abandon it for the present, I forward the enclosure and will await further instructions before proceeding to take up either of the roads mentioned to one by him in this connection. This, however, will occasion no delay to the work in the event of a reiteration of the order for the extension as I shall proceed to have the necessary implements collected and make all useful arrangements for expediting the work in that event. The RR Co too can go on collecting the necessary negroes to get out cross ties, &c.
   Taking into consideration that the necessity for using the Ala & Tenn RR as a means for supplying the Army of Tenn will probably exist but a short time, that there is no adequate Warehouse Room at Blue Mountain and that there is an ample supply of buildings at Oxford I have directed Brig Genl Adams to have the road from Gadsden to Oxford immediately worked and thoroughly repaired with the view of making the latter point the Depot for supplies instead of Blue Mountain. The distance from Oxford to Gadsden is but a trifle greater than that from Blue Mountain, and the road is said to be much better and easier kept in good condition for heavy hauling. If there are not already erected at Oxford a sufficient number of buildings to protect the supplies that may accumulate there, from the material can be obtained very near by to increase them to any number required. I have added largely to the Rolling Stock of the RRoad from here to Blue Mountain, there are now ten trains on the road, and I added the additional siding required by this increased capacity for transportation to be at once laid at the proper points.
I am Col. Most Respy
Your obt Servt
R Taylor
Lt Gen