NA, SWR 12/24/1862

Engineers Office, S. R. R.  {Southern (of Mississippi) RR}
Jackson, Dec. 24th 1862
Hon. W. C. Smedes
Pres't S. R. R. Co.
Dear Sir,
   The condition of the Western Division of the road is such that unless measures are promptly taken to remidy it before wet weather sets in the business of this end of the road will be retarded if not suspended.
   A large portion of the Iron on this Division has been in use for twenty years, and never was intended for the heavy Machinery that is now running over it: it is worn out and must be replaced with new or better iron if you would successfully operate the road this winter. We need at once twenty miles of new Rails & Chairs, and fifty kegs of Spikes. I would suggest that there are now in Alabama two "Branch Railroads" connecting at nothing and running nowhere, and are of no earthly benefit to the Government or the Country at large. One {Cahaba, Marion & Greensboro RR} runs from Marion to a Junction with the A. & M. R. R. {Alabama & Mississippi Rivers RR}, the other {North Western Railroad of Alabama} from Newbern to a Junction with the same road. These Branch roads are from ten to fifteen miles long, each of them, and are laid with good iron & chairs.
   Could you not get an order from the Government to impress the Iron & Chairs of these road (paying for it of course) and thus enable the Southern Railroad to be put in a condition to do the immense business which the Government will require of it this winter.
   If there ever was a "Military Necessity" -- the repairs of the Southern Railroad is one.
   I understand that there is a quantity of R. R. Spikes in Richmond.
Respectfully Yours
G. N. Wren
Chf Engr.
(on back of document)
Secty of War for attention, the matter is of pressing importance.
J. D.
To Eng. Bur,
What can be done to keep this road in repair It is of prime importance at this time.
Engineer Bureau
January 13th 1863
I would respectfully recommend that the Commanding Genl in the vale of the Mississippi has authority to impress the iron on the two branch roads named by the Chief Engineer of the Southern R. Road -- this company to pay a reasonable price for the same
J. F. Gilmer
Col of Engrs & Chf. of Bureau