NA, M&O 8/20/1864

Office of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad
Mobile Ala., August 20th 1864
Lt Col F W Sims
Chf R. R. Bureau
   There is a much larger amount of transportation required of this Road by the Government than we can perform, and our capacity is daily decreasing for the want of Mechanical labor to keep our stock in repair. Large quantities of corn have been purchased on our Road for Genl. Hood's Army, and we find it impossible to transport it with the required dispatch, because of the want of Machinists to keep the Locomotives in order. I have endeavored to obtain them by offering high wages, and other inducements, but I am now satisfied that they cannot be had outside of the Army. Our capacity is now reduced to about twenty seven (27) car loads of Freight per day, and this cannot be maintained through the winter without additional Mechanical labor. We have been since the Sherman Raid, in such close proximity to the enemie's lines, that a large number of our Mechanics have escaped to the enemy, and I have little confidence in a portion of those now in our employment.
   Genl McRae of Mississippi, who is one of our Directors, is now in Richmond, and I will thank you to confer with him in relation to this matter, and if possible devise some plan for our relief.
   In case of the investment of this city, which now seems probable, I have made arrangements for running our stock & valuable material, up the Road, and will erect temporary Repair shops, so as to use the Road for the best interests of the Government.
Very Respectfully Yours
L J Fleming
Chf Eng & Genl Supt