NA, ENG 9/16/1862

Engineer Bureau
Richmond, Sept. 16th 1862
Hon. Geo. W. Randolph
Secretary of War
   I have to acknowledge the reference to me, for a report of communications from Genl. Bragg, C. S. A. and Judge Walker of Alabama, respecting the importance and probable cost of constructing a rail road from Blue Mountain 9 1/2 miles south of Jacksonville, Alabama to Rome, Georgia, a distance of 59 1/2 miles {an extension of the Alabama & Tennessee River RR}.
   Probably next to the Meridian & Selma connection and that between Danville and Greensboro, the line advocated by Genl. Bragg and Judge Walker is the most important of the short R. Road links remaining to be constructed, and our want of iron precludes at present the contemplation of more extended improvements. The proposed road runs through a fertile country while the connecting lines pass through a valuable mineral region abounding in iron and coal. By the route now in existence the distance from Selma via Montgomery (see accompanying map {not located}) is 344 miles, of which 100 from Selma to Montgomery is steamboat navigation, with the further drawback that between Montgomery and Kingston there is a break of gauge.
A  Route from Selma to Kingston via Montgomery; and
B       "       "         "     "         "        "  Jacksonville and Rome
The following furnishes a clear tabular statement
Route A water gauge gauge Total Distance
4 ft. 8 1/2 in. 5 ft.
100 m 88 146 334
Route B --- --- 213 213
121 Miles
difference in favor of Route B.
   The Rail Road from Selma to Montgomery 50 miles in length is not constructed, but if it were Route B is still shorter by 71 miles.
   With regard to time and cost of construction I claim the views of Judge Walker bid favorable, in the present abnormal condition of the country.
   The length of time necessary to complete the Road if energetically prosecuted would probably be 6 months.
   Bearing in mind that of the 59 1/2 miles, 21 are graded I give below a roughly approximate but probably fair estimate of the cost of construction.
Cost per mile of track
80 Tons of iron @ $120 9600.00
2400 Sills @ 50c 1200.00
490 Chairs @ $1.00 490.00
4352 Spikes @ 10c 435.20
700 for track laying 700.00
Amount $12425.20
   Adding to the length of road 1 1/2 miles for sidings we may estimate
61 Miles of R. Rd track laid @ $12425.20 757,937.20
38 1/2 " " grading @ $5000 192,500.00
* Bridging, Masonry &c. - estimated 50,000.00
Water Tanks, Buildings, &c 20,000.00
Add to the amt for contingencies, Engineering &c 102,043.72
* Very rough estimate from representations. The bridges over the Etowa and Cedar Creek the most important streams have been constructed.
   To procure the required amount of iron it would probably be necessary to take up the track of some unimportant or very exposed R. Rd line now comparatively useless.
   Should Congress deem it advisable to appropriate the required amount I can see no objection to Judge Walkers proposition of securing the Government by a mortgage on the road.
I am with great respect
A. L. Rives
Actg Chf. Eng. Bu.