NA, RR 11/4/1861

Quartermaster's Department
Nashville, Tenn., Nov 4, 1861
Maj. Genl. Polk
Columbus Ky
   In reply to your Enquirie, embroad in Letter #199 dated Octo. 29th, I beg leave to State: That when the Government goods (in question) were shipped, I ordered them via Stevenson, Ala. to Corinth Mississippi -- to go then by Mobile & Ohio R. R.
   This I knew was the direct route -- and, of course, was the only one that I thought of shipping by. I received, however, a dispatch from Capt. Ross, Superintendent of the Memphis & Charleston RR Co, saying the M&O Road was blocked up by Government & other Freight & asking permission to ship the same via Grand Junction.
   I gave him the permission -- which was carrying out the instructions of Maj. V. K. Stevenson Quartermaster for the States of Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas & Tennessee -- to the effect that Government goods must go by the route deemed the quickest, without regard to directness. So soon, however, as I learned that the M&O Road was clear, I directed Mr Dehart, the Receiver, to order the goods by any route deemed the best -- all things considered. So far from being angry because the Nashville cars had not been returned, I beg here to assure you that I did not know which Road had them. I did not know that you had issued orders that all Government Freight should be shipped on the M&O Road. I supposed, of course, that was the Route, and as I have said, ordered the entire shipment over that Road -- never once thinking of sending the stores any other routing until advised, as stated, from Memphis, that the goods could not be got through from Corinth over the M&O Road.
   When first advised that the Road was open, I ordered the goods sent by the direct route -- and that order was by Telegraph to Mr Dehart, at Jackson Ten.
   If any man is to blame, that man is certainly not myself. First having ordered the Shipment directly as you would have had it. Secondly, on having them sent on in order to ??? the goods ??? a Government shipment. Thirdly having ordered the goods, by the route, as first directed so soon as advised then that was practicable. 
Your obt Svt.
Jno. S. Bransford
Transportation Quartermaster CSA