NA, MC 1/21/1864

Office of Mississippi Central Railroad Company
Canton, January 21st 1864
Lieut Genl L. Polk
Maj Genl W M Loring
Maj Genl S D. Lee
Maj Genl N. B. Forrest
   I have received a copy of an order issued by the Quarter Master General wherein he requires all Rail Road Companies to receipt for all Government freights, and to be held responsible for its safe delivery. In the event of a failure or refusal on the part of the Railroad Companies to do this the Auditing officer is directed to reject their vouchers and no allowance to be made themfor. While I do not question the property of such General order there are cases when it cannot be complied with such as the case with this Company. Our few remaining cars are in a dilapidated condition, much of our depots are destroyed, we have no safe place for the deposit of freights our cars cannot be repaired for want of mechanics and materials, and if repaired we have no locks to fasten them.
   Under these circumstances should I receipt for Government freight without the means of protecting it, the expenses to the Company for lost freight might be four times the amount of transportation.
   For these and other reasons that could be presented, if the order of the Q. M. General is adhered to, duty to the Company I represent will compel me to refuse to transport Government freight without the charges therefor being first paid. In other words I shall be compelled to place the Government on the same footing as individuals.
   I dislike to do anything that shall even seem to impede the operations or movements of the army, or in the procurement of supplies for it. It is for now agreeable to my wishes and feelings to aid the Government by every means in my power, but I am left with no alternative.
   I feel it due to you and to myself to give you timely notice of my intention to arrange payment on all Government freight, unless the order above referred to is rescinded as far as this Company is concerned.
Yours Respectfully
W Goodman  Prest.