NA, RRB 3/8/1864

Demopolis Ala
March 8th 1864
Lieut Genl. Polk
Dr Sir,
   Below lease find report of damage done the Rail Roads, by the enemy in their late movement on and occupation of Meridian.
   Southern {(of Mississippi)} Railroad -- between Jackson and Meridian -- 4 Bridges entirely destroyed, aggregate length 950 feet; 4 miles of track torn up, iron badly burned and bent and most of the cross ties burned. 5,000 new cross ties will be required, 300 bars of iron {about 1 mile, both tracks}, and 500,000 feet Bridge Timbers to complete the work. It can be done in forty days.
   Ala. & Miss. Rivers Rail Road -- between Demopolis & Meridian -- 3 Bridges entirely destroyed, aggregate length 150 feet 5 pieces of trestle work, aggregate length 600 feet, 9 miles of track torn up, iron badly burned and bent and about 1/2 cross ties burned, 100 rails entirely rendered unfit for service.
   Mobile & Ohio Rail Road -- 16 miles of track torn up, iron badly burnt and most of the cross ties burned, 5 miles iron torn up bent, not burned. The bridges and trestles all burned on 47 miles of Road, from a point 5 miles below Quitman to Lauderdale Spring and track torn up in spots. The worst destroyed track is between Enterprise and Marion Station.
   The Bridging and Trestling is of such character that it can be put up as rapidly as the iron can be straightened, and the track laid. 256 negro laborers were at work on saturday last and 250 more will be put on this week, after which the work will proceed day and night. In addition to this force a sufficient force of bridge carpenters are at work to keep the bridges in advance of the track.
   I think the Road can be completed by the first of April. One Bridge and one fourth of a mile of Trestle work has already been completed.
   There is now at work on the Ala. & Miss. River Rail Road, 250 white laborers (Soldiers) 50 negro laborers, 175 negro laborers will be added today and tomorrow. One Bridge 250 feet long has been completed and the timbers cut for another. The most important one destroyed -- 150 hands are getting out cross ties and the remainder straightening iron and laying track. There is a bridge force sufficient at work to keep the bridges out of the way and the road can be finished to Meridian in two weeks.
   The difficulty of procuring tools and material, has hitherto retarded the work very much, but that cause has now principally been overcome.
   Southern Road
   60 hands go to work tomorrow, 140 more on Monday next, and as many of the forces on the A. &. M. R. R. R. as may be necessary to complete it as soon as that Road is through.
All of which is
Respectfully Submitted by
Yr, Obt. Sevt.
Sam Tate