NP, MAP 1/12/1861

From the Memphis Appeal
January 12, 1861
Opening of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad
   On Thursday evening a number of the aldermen of this city, accompanied by influential citizens, left the Charleston railroad depot for Corinth, Miss., there to offer to the visitors from Mobile -- on an excursion from that city in honor of the completion of the Mobile & Ohio railroad to that place -- a tender of the hospitalities of the city of Memphis. The train was under the care of Superintendent T. H. Bunch, and of conductor Thos. B. Dunn. The morning was sunny and beautiful. The company were soon engaged in warm discussions on secession, co-operation, Union, submission. As it began to wax warmer than a convivial society allowed, Superintendent Bunch effected a diversion by explaining that certain demijohns and baskets in the baggage room contained various chemical compounds not beneath the dignity of aldermen to examine and test. With admirable devotion to science the company complied with great advantage to the development of their kindlier emotions. Finding that an occasional attention to chemical analysis an agreeable relaxation from politics, the investigations were from time to time renewed with a devotion that doubtless added to their knowledge if not to their wisdom. At Grand Junction the party were joined by Mayor Baugh and other gentlemen, and the entire delegation dined at the Adams house.
   Toward evening the train reached the neighborhood of Corinth, where the mayor of that city, James E. Montgomery, Esq., with other gentlemen and aldermen of the city, came on board and paid their respects to the delegation from Memphis. Thy were politely introduced into the baggage car, and there entered with considerable zest into the chemical experiments there going on; after which Mayor Stewart tendered to the mayor and board of aldermen of Memphis, at some future period, the hospitalities of the mayor and city council of Corinth, and with the Corinth gentlemen took his leave. The night was spent at the railroad hotel under auspices not generally favorable to sleep. Between three and four in the morning all were awakened to attend the arrival of the train from Mobile. The military of the place were assembled to do honor to the occasion, and as soon as the Mobile train came into view, the thunderings of cannon and the sharp rattle of musketry proclaimed the arrival of the first train from Mobile to the city of Corinth. The visitors were also saluted with the music of the military drum and fife. At this point of the junction of the two roads R. D. Baugh, Esq., mayor of Memphis, extended a genial and well worded welcome to the delegation from Mobile, and an invitation to the gentlemen composing it to accept the hospitalities of the Bluff City.
Gentlemen, Delegates from the City of Mobile:
   I, together with the board of aldermen of the city of Memphis, am deputed to tender you an invitation to our city to partake of our hospitalities, as a celebration of the union of the two great commercial points of the South. We are proud to be united with you, and we meet you here to congratulate you upon the completion of your road; looking upon it as an indispensable link in the great chain of railroads whose construction is now so desirable, and indeed essential to the future prosperity and safety of the South, we know that your design in the construction of this road was the extension and development of the commerce of your now prosperous city, and for the accommodation and comfort of the citizens of that State of which every southerner is justly proud. With sorrow and reluctance, I must admit that the signs of the times indicate that it may soon be used for a very different, yet higher and nobler purpose, the defense of that which is dearer to us than life itself, "Southern rights and Southern honor."
   Gentlemen, while Tennessee may differ with her more southern sister States in the mode and manner of redressing her wrongs and vindicating her rights, you must not think her the less patriotic or devoted to our common interests. She moves slowly but surely in the right course, and when the time arrives, will be foremost in the defense of our common cause. When a hostile blow is struck, whether it be against Alabama or any other Southern State, and whether that State be in or out of the Union, you will find fifty thousand of the gallant sons of Tennessee up in arms and ready to rush to the scene of action. Need I here recount their heroic deeds, or indorse their valor, or their chivalry? Read the history of the battles of Talladega, of the Horse Shoe and New Orleans, and you will find recorded living evidences of Tennessee bravery.
   Gentlemen, I again tender you the invitation -- welcome, welcome, thrice welcome to the hospitalities of the city of Memphis.
   On the invitation of Sam. Tate, Esq., L. J. Fleming, Esq., the active and able engineer and general superintendent of the Mobile & Ohio railroad, broke off the neck of a bottle of foaming champagne by striking it on the rails of the road; Mr. Tate did the same with a second, and Mayor Baugh with a third. From these glasses were filled, and various toasts offered by Mr. Fleming, Mayor Baugh, Col. Tate and others, and were drank with warm enthusiasm. Among the toasts were the following: From Mr. Fleming -- "Cities of Mobile and Memphis: Once strangers, but made, by the completion of this road, friends and neighbors." From Mayor Baugh -- "The Ladies of Mobile: The railroad is a far stretching hand of friendship, but their bosoms are the homes of deep-seated affection." From Col. Tate -- "The Union of the Mobile & Ohio, and the Memphis & Charleston railroads: May it be perpetual, and may its relations be as harmonious as its connections are firm." The same gentleman also gave -- "The Press of Mobile and Memphis: May they ever be alert, and keep the people well posted." Other toasts were drunk, many of them containing allusions witty, graceful or patriotic to the peculiar and disturbed condition of our national affairs.
   It was stated that owing to events then progressing in Mobile, (events doubtless connected with the march of volunteers to that place at the call of the governor,) the mayor and corporation of that city had been unable to carry out their original intention of visiting Memphis. One of the board of council alone, J. M. Mulden, Esq., had found it possible to attend, the stern call of duty at a crisis of no ordinary character had detained them. At the conclusion of these interesting ceremonies, the mayor of Memphis was presented with a bouquet of camellias and other flowers, whose rich colors and graceful forms were strangers to us. The flowers had been plucked and the beautiful bouquet wreathed by a lady in Mobile the day before. It was brought in a vessel of water and not a petal or a leaf had withered.
   These ceremonies at the meeting of the rails -- ceremonies that in future years will be regarded with intense interest, not only from their own proper interest, but from the remarkable time at which they occurred, a time when each day witnessed the fall of a star from the flag of the once United States -- these ceremonies, we remark, had something peculiar in their transaction, from the fact that the veil of night yet lingered upon the earth; the heavens above were covered by dark and heavy clouds; the bottles were opened, the glasses clinked, the brief words of welcome received and accepted, by the "lantern dimly burning." It was a sight that had a strong infusion of the poetic element in it to see the representatives of Alabama and Tennessee standing on Mississippi soil -- soil that had only the previous day been torn by the will of its owners from the American Union -- and commemorating with hospitable rites the consummation of a great work, a triumph of modern skill and energy, by the struggling light that brought each face out in strong relief, stamping with deep lines the expression of deep earnestness and genial feeling which made heart pulsate to heart.
   At the conclusion of these ceremonies the Mobile and the Tennessee gentlemen entered the cars, which were soon dashing along on the return to Memphis. Introductions were made among the company thus come together. Glad feelings were expressed, and the expressions reciprocated -- acquaintance was formed, and sentiments compared, and especially the grand chemical investigations were carried on with new ardor, an ardor the visitors of the gulf were not slow to share -- what explosions, ebullitions, escape of confined gases, effervescences and other chemical effects were produced with untiring industry, surpasses our small stock of science to tell. At length the city was reached and the gusts were safely landed at the depot. Here J. M. Crews, Esq., who held the position of acting mayor during the absence of Col. Baugh, again welcomed the visitors. In a very neat speech he extended to the ladies and gentlemen present from Mobile a warm and earnest welcome to the city of Memphis. He congratulated them upon the completion of their splendid line of railroad to the city of Corinth. The citizens of Memphis, by means of the facilities this great enterprise offer, would soon become acquainted with the faces and smiles of those with whom distance had hitherto made them strangers; the people of the two cities would now be frequent guests at each other's firesides. With an expression of regret that circumstances should have arisen to sever national ties so long maintained with patriotic pride and unswerving devotion, the speaker concluded.
   He was replied to by Col. Baker, of Mobile, who cordially thanked the speaker and the people of Memphis for their hearty welcome, a kindness the citizens of Mobile would be proud of. Memphis was a place the people of Mobile had heard much of, and had long desired to see, but its great distance in the interior forbade the hope to the far greater proportion of them, until the completion of the event they were celebrating. Now, form the extreme of southern Alabama, form Mobile, friends in Memphis could be greeted in twenty-four hours. Alabama had engaged in this enterprise fifteen years ago, and it was one of the most extensive and wide reaching of the kind in America -- in the world. But fifteen miles more of iron required laying down and the whole vast design of the Mobile & Ohio road was complete. His aged friend, now present, Col. Gaines, had at the start of the enterprise, personally engaged in canvassing for subscriptions to the stock. When he expressed, as he habitually did, his belief that the whole vast work would be completed, and that in spite of his white locks, he should live to see it, he was listened to with the completest incredulity, yet the mighty enterprise is complete, and here stands Col. Gaines, conveyed by it to the banks of the Mississippi this day. The political position of the country at the present moment was one of extreme difficulty; the road just finished, added a bond to perfect the union of the South and supplied valuable physical aid that fast coming events might make of great value. He was not an extremist, but late events had taught him that the Union to confide in was the Union of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky -- four States into all of which the Mobile & Ohio road extended. These States were now united by the iron bond -- would they ever become severed in their political and social relations? He trusted not. They were bonded together, and if necessary, all would strike the mighty blow that would set them free. He thanked the acting mayor and the citizens for their cordial greeting. He and his fellow travelers were rejoiced to find themselves in so beautiful a city, and he hoped the acquaintance this day begun would prove strong and lasting. A brilliant air burst from a band of music in attendance as soon as these ceremonies were concluded, and the gusts were conveyed to their quarters at the Gayoso.
   The railway was finished to Corinth on Wednesday last. The space that yet remains to be ironed (fifteen miles) lies beyond that city; the track-laying was carried on from Columbus, Kentucky, in the direction of Corinth, and the two division have not yet met. This is the longest main trunk line that exists in America or the world; its entire length is four hundred and seventy-four miles, reaching from Mobile, on the Gulf of Mexico, to Columbus, on the Mississippi, twenty miles below the confluence of the Ohio. It runs through four different States, as explained by Col. Baker, and the flag which floated from the mast of the locomotive which made the first complete trip from Mobile to Corinth, bore upon its silken surface the insignia and emblazonments of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky.
   The completion of this road is largely due to the untiring energy of L. J. Fleming, Esq., who for the last four years has had the entire charge of its construction, and to the efforts of Hon. Milton Brown, its able president and financier, who took charge of it in its darkest hour of trouble, and who has successfully carried it through the serious financial embarrassments that have devastated the commerce of the country during his administration. To these untiring gentlemen, the directors, the stock holders, and the country at large are indebted to their zeal and self-devotion. The city of Mobile has a right to be proud to have conceived, and to have conducted to successful operation so vast an undertaking, which will prove to be her life's blood -- the great artery of her commerce. It will bring into her lap the rich trade of the interior of the heart of the Mississippi valley, and place her within forty-eight hours connection of the principal points in the Union, the benefits and advantages of which will be incalculable. The great object in view in starting this project, was that it should be a benefit to the entire country; as things have turned out, it will prove a most important accessory to the growth, and advancement, and success of the new confederation. This first train brought along a hogshead of fine fresh fish from the gulf, consisting of the pompause, sheepshead, redfish, and various other kinds; also, some barrels of the celebrated Mobile oysters, the most delicious that are found on the coast of America. A great and profitable trade will doubtless spring up in these and various tropical productions between the two cities.
   Among the visitors present we note the names of ex-Governor Whitfield, of Mississippi; Col. Gaines, his lady, and his niece, Miss Mary B. Bullock -- the former the brother and the latter the grand-daughter of the celebrated Gen. Gaines, of New Orleans; W. X. Walten, a mayor of Aberdeen; Col. R. A. Baker, R. C. Clarke, Esq., both of Mobile; J. M. Mulden, Esq., of Mobile; Col. Joseph Austill, of Mobile, the sole survivor of the celebrated battle of Canoe, fought on the Alabama river, with the Indians; John J. Dew, Esq., editor of the Huntsville (Ala.) Independent, and H. C. Ferris, Esq., editor of the Macon (Miss.) Beacon.
   At night an agreeable ball was got up at the Gayoso, with such hospitalities as it became the citizens of Memphis to offer and those of Mobile to receive. At a late hour the company were still enjoying, with great zest, the festivities of the occasion.