Macon Ga. Jany 22nd 1864
Hon. Dr. Thomas Menees
Dear Sir,
   I invite your attention to the following scheme for the movement and encouragement of the power of the government to transport Armies Munitions of war, and provisions, and for the ??? better control and preservation of this vital power; relying that should the suggestions made appear to you upon examination worthy of being put into practical operation, you will at once take such steps as may be deemed necessary for the accomplishment of the object sought.
   I propose first a change of the Gauge of the Montgomery & West Point Railroad -- making it ??? with the whole western system of Roads. Secondly, transport its rolling stock to the Roads East & north of Charlotte -- which have the same Gauge with the M & West Point RR. Thirdly, Stock and appropriate the Montgomery & West Point Railroad with the "refugee stock" of abandoned Tennessee Railroads.
   In support of the above I offer the following touching its propriety and practicality.
   It is ????? Railroad men that the strength of a line of Railroad for through transportation is the strength of the weakest point on the whole line. For illustration of the Road from Petersburg to Weldon cannot transport more than one thousand men daily between its termini -- then one thousand men transported daily is the maximum power of the whole line of which the Road from Petersburg to Weldon is a part -- whatever ??ss of individual strength each other link of the line may possess. Now, it is admitted that the Broad Gauge Roads are stronger than the Narrow Gauge Roads -- This fact is due partly to the fact that while the Narrow Gauge Roads have recruited their stock to a very trifling extent by the use of a very few Engines & cars captured on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad -- The Broad Gauge Roads have been strengthened by the machinery of the Louisville & Nashville & Memphis Branch RRoads in Kentucky, and the stock of every Road in Middle & West Tennessee -- & Northern Alabama. 
   My plan ??? in at the transfer of the Rolling stock of the M & West Point Road to the weak Roads of same Gauge north & east of Charlotte -- affording thereby a ????? to equality as the ??? power of the several Roads composing the through line between Richmond to Dalon {Dalton?} & Mobile.
   It cannot be objected that there might be difficulty in restocking the Montgomery & West Point Road. The ??? opportunity thus afford Refugee Railroad Co's to concentrate their Cars & Engines on one Road, and thus bring these under control, would be eagerly sought by all of that class; while either of several Tenn RRoad Companies can easily command & concentrate on said Road a much larger equipment than it now possesses.
   I know no positive information of the will of the Management of the M & WP RR with regard to the change proposed. I only know that for years they have had in contemplation a change of the Gauge of their Road regarding a change to uniformity with the system of Roads with which they are connected as an indispensable means of enlarging the power and business of their line.
   Knowing further that the in?? of this one single narrow Gauge Road ?????, and as a part of the grand A??tre of the whole system of ?????
   But the most important ??? for the change is found on the fact: that it is absolutely necessary as a measure ??ing the ??? consequences of all Roads South of Montgomery, and with it the Alabama river, one will ????? by the Enemy. 
   As now ??? of ????? flight would be impossible as each engine or car moved from other Roads ????? from Montgomery, would have to be loaded & hauled as ??? over the Montgomery & West Point Road. Many other strong & unanswerable reasons for the change exist, which prove the very obvious prop??, need not be named -- A moments thought of the value of ????? employment of the power of delivering provisions the will bring up Transportation as a vital coordinate power of defence, without which more and more of said provisions & munitions of war are easily more than a mere prey for the Enemy. The only remaining question is as to the practicabilities of the proposed change, with the means at ???, and whether ?????
   I am authorized ????? as a Genl Examiner for Q. M. Transportation ?????? speaking, where this ?????:
   bacon & meat the ??ge case ????? to 500 men in two days at the outset -- after the preliminary ??? of about 100 men for ten days in the work of preparation -- supposing the same hands to be provided with proper implements, and ????? The whole problem is simply the removal of one Rail or side of the track three and one half inches further from the center and its security in said position.
   By measures of the arrangement the movement of the rail and the removal of the Montgomery & West Point Rolling Stock and its substitution by Broad Gauge machinery might be affected, with the force named, without suspending the regular passage of trains more than two days at most. To effect this object it might be necessary to confer on the Supr. or ?????over powers not now possessed -- yet as for assistance the impressment of ??? warehouses, etc. Govt use and the power to ??? for company use ??? Montgomery & WP ????? additional power must be granted if ????? steps to obtain it.
   While on the subject of the ????? with the following --
   It has been the policy of the Govt to ????? Transportation to individual ??? & patronize as a means of maintenance, ????? advancing the ????? that ????? if, and disasters to RRoad property would have been provided, while the carrying power of the system would have been improved. 
   ???? there was a time when the entire Rolling Stock of the New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern Railroad and the Miss. Central Railroad together with the numerous Engines & Cars ??? other Roads were ??? a portion of said Roads less than half their ????? They had their ??? together ??? Cars & Engines, which they could not use while other Roads upon which they were much needed were struggling to ??ply & meet the demands upon them. With the fall of Jackson all this vast equipment instantly fell into the hands of the enemy. No officer of Govt, charged with the duty of ????? the equipment of ??? & Road to the ????? before the actual capitulation of Jackson and if ??? and at ????
   ????? would have increased, had the control of the Roads been ??isted to some Govt officer ??? specific ??? the policy of carrying to ????? certainly a dangerous one, as every instance in which there exists in the ????? a reasonable hope that the property will not be destroyed by the enemy, and ??? does this apply to Railroads, since experience thus far has demonstrated the fact that to ??? and ??? RR machinery is almost certain ????? or would be of little avail to change the Gauge of the M&WP RR as a means of helping the surplus of the rolling stock of Roads west of the Hlatossia river, if worth this change ????? arrangements were not similarly made for the transfer of the same on the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers, neither of which is bridged. Again it will avail little to increase the Rolling Stock of one road if for the want of tanks, wood and particularly transfer platforms, it ????? hard Rolling stock enough to work the road to its peak efficiency.
   The power to build, to enlarge, to impress and to the necessity of travel control of Railroads should be lodged in some Government officer, as his whole and specific work of this there is no doubt.
   I commend this subject to your desperate attention, hoping that you will take it in hand and place it tangibly before the proper authorities for action.
Very truly &
????? obt svt
G. B. Fleece
Ch Eng & Sup   {Memphis, Clarksville & Louisville RR}