|Office Mobile & Ohio RR
|Sept 7th 1864
|President Confederate States
| I promised the lamented Lieut.
Genl. Polk to address him a communication in relation to the services
of Major Geo. Whitfield, of the Quarter Masters department, in the
evacuation of Meridian, and Repairs of the damage done to this Road by
the Sherman and Smith Raids, but a painful and serious accident
prevented the fulfillment of this promise.
| Major Whitfield entered the
army as a private in one of the first companies, which went from
Mississippi to Pensacola, and was detailed by Genl Bragg and placed in
the Quarter Masters Department. He was attached to the Quarter Masters
department of Genl Bragg's staff during the evacuation of Corinth, and
was subsequently place by Lieut. Genl. Pemberton in charge of
Transportation in the Department, which position he held under Genls
Johnston, Polk, Lee and Maury.
| There was a very large
accumulation of Stores at Meridian, Enterprise and Stations adjacent
to Meridian, and several hospitals containing sick and wounded, which,
from the rapid approach of the enemy, it seemed almost impossible to
remove; but by untiring energy and judicious management of Major
Whitfield the last train departed from Meridian a few hours before the
arrival of the enemy.
| He then fell back to
Enterprise -- 14 miles -- and continued to run trains to that point
for 48 hours and to within 1 1/2 hours of the enemy's arrival. All
Government Stores, except some corn in the shuck, including about two
thousand (2000) bales of Government cotton (the orders and
preparations for burning which had been given before his arrival from
Meridian), were saved and transported to Mobile. On that part of the
Rail Roads occupied by Genl Sherman's force no Government stores or
supplies of any kind, were left or lost except a small quantity of
corn in the shuck, which it was impossible to obtain the labor to
| Lieut. Genl Polk then ordered
Maj Whitfield to remain on the Mobile & Ohio Rail Road, and
furnish the Company with such assistance as might be necessary to
repair the damage done by the enemy. It was by his great energy in
concentrating labor and supplies that we were enabled to run trains
over the 48 miles of Road destroyed by Genl Sherman in less than 30
days, and in five days less time than was required to repair 9
miles of the Selma Road, not so badly damaged and to
which the Government had likewise furnished the required assistance.
| My position has placed me in
intimate contact with many officers in this Department but I have seen
no one who labors with more zeal, energy and devotion to the interests
of our country than Major Whitfield and no one has more richly earned
| It is proper to say that he --
like his father, ex-Governor Whitfield -- has uniformly and steadily
supported and defended your Administration. I have written this
without the solicitation or knowledge of him or his friends, and as a
matter of justice to a true and valuable officer.
|I am sir
|Your obt Servt.
|L. J. Fleming
|Chf Eng & Genl Supt