NA, DF 5/2/1864

Head Qrs. Milt Dist of Florida
Camp Milton, May 2d 1864  {Date of Endorsement}
Writer of Paper: Hon. D. S. Yulee, Presdt  Fla RR
Synopsis of Paper: Object to conscription of iron from Fla RR to lay connection between Live Oak P&G RR {Pensacola & Gulf RR} & Lawton S. A&G. RR {Savannah, Albany & Gulf RR}.
Endorsement: Respect Forwarded with a copy of my reply for the information of the Secty of War.
   I have heretofore written to Maj. Gen. Gilmer Chf of Engr Bureau, referring to some of the advantages which the Govt would, in my opinion derive from the adoption of the Monticello & Thomasville connection," rather that the one from Live Oak to Lawton. By reference to the map it will be seen that the latter is nearly thirty miles shorter than the first, and is on the east side of the Suwannee River. This river forms the only Military line of defense on an approach of the enemy from Fernandina or the St Johns River, except that now held by us, of which Baldwin is the base. Should Baldwin fall into the hands of the enemy the proposed connection at Live Oak & Lawton would be lost together with the peninsula which now furnishes beef, syrup, sugar &c. If any turn in military affairs should occasion the loss of the S. A. & G. RR towards or near Savannah the L. O. & Lawton would be useless, while the Monticello and Thomasville connection would at least bring Middle Fla within a little over fifty miles of the R. R. connection in interior Geo. at Albany. A connection between Thomasville & Albany had been projected before the breaking out of the War & might now be completed if found absolutely necessary. The connection at Live Oak & Lawton has been graded & some of the cross ties on hand, but trestling & bridges are to be constructed. No work has been done on the Monticello & Thomasville connection, but little trestle & no bridging are required on it. It is believed that the whole of the latter connection with the same amount of force can be completed sooner than the former. Notwithstanding the grading has been finished & some of the cross ties procured the Monticello route would save from twenty five to thirty miles of iron & whatever of bridging (not inconsiderable) which has to be made on the Live Oak route. The Monticello route is through a rich, agricultural country where labor & supplies can be had the Live Oak route has neither. For these reasons I would promptly give preference to the Monticello route, though if the Dept. has already decided the question in favor of the L. O. route I shall endeavor to reconcile conflicting interest as far as it may be in my power to do so, & shall bend every energy to the work. One or the other should be completed at an early day.