OR, Series 1, Vol. 15, Page 937

Mobile, January 9, 1863
Major-General Buckner
   The people of Mobile and the country above as far as Meridian are dependent on the prairie lands of Mississippi for their supply of corn. On the 12th of December, 1862, a military order issued from headquarters at Jackson, Miss., in the following words:
Lieutenant-General Pemberton orders that no more corn for private parties be transported over your road (Mobile and Ohio) within this department till otherwise ordered.
   It was said this was designed to stop speculation, but its effect was directly in favor of speculators, as large amounts of corn in their hands at Mobile and at other points immediately advanced in price, thereby increasing the distress of the country. Earnest appeals were made by a suffering people for relief from this order. On the 6th of January, 1863, the following order was received:
Jackson, Miss., January 6, 1863
L. J. Fleming
General Superintendent Mobile & Ohio Railroad
   Corn for the use of families may be transported when it is satisfactorily shown it is not for speculation.
   By order of Lieutenant-General Pemberton.
J. Thompson
Assistant Adjutant-General
   Thereupon the general superintendent published the following order, which it will be seen had in good faith for its object the stoppage of speculation and the supply of the wants of families. The order was as follows:
   Corn will be transported on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad in accordance with the order of Lieutenant-General Pemberton upon affidavit filed in my office stating that it is exclusively for family use and not for speculation.
L. J. Fleming
 Chief Engineer and General Superintendent
   Thereupon the following order issued from headquarters at Jackson:
Jackson, January 1, 1863
L. J. Fleming
Transport no corn on affidavit of private individuals. The quartermaster is the judge whether the produce is for speculation or not.
J. R. Waddy
Assistant Adjutant-General
   To this I sent the following reply:
Major J. R. Waddy
Assistant Adjutant-General, Jackson, Miss
   By your order to our superintendent you seem to put private shipments of corn under the control of quartermasters. Please answer if this is your design. I suppose there is some mistake about the matter. There are four or five quartermasters on the road and the confusion will be endless. We will expect quartermasters' orders in regard to Government freight and in all cases give preference to such freight, but their assuming control over private shipments is a different matter.
Milton Brown
 President Mobile and Ohio Railroad Company
   To this I have received no answer. I therefore deem it my duty to present the facts of the case to you, and request that if not within your proper jurisdiction you present them to General Johnston for relief. This order putting private shipments under the control of quartermasters is plainly without authority of law and opens a door to favoritism and abuse without limit.
Most respectfully, yours,
Milton Brown
 President Mobile and Ohio Railroad Company


Headquarters District of the Gulf
Mobile, January 13, 1863
    This subject is respectfully referred for the action of General J. E. Johnston. Though the portion of country from which shipments are made is not within the limits of my district the order of Lieutenant-General Pemberton, in my opinion, seriously affects this portion of my command. The rule I have adopted with reference to railroads is to require that all Government freights should have precedence of all others, if necessary, to the temporary exclusion of other freights; but beyond this I regard an interference of the military authorities with the concerns of individuals and corporations as illegal and impolitic.
   I think the order of Lieutenant-General Pemberton is liable to great abuse. Also complaints, whether just or not I have not yet assured myself, are made against quartermasters for favoring their friends, and in one case a speculating house, to the exclusion of individuals who are desirous of shipping for their own use. The rule I have adopted is, I think, the only legal and politic course with reference to railroad companies, and I therefore suggest it for the consideration of the general commanding in the West.
S. B. Buckner
 Major-General, Commanding District
January 17, 1863
Respectfully referred to Lieutenant-General Pemberton.
J. E. Johnston
Hdqrs. Dept. of Mississippi and East Louisiana
Jackson, January 18, 1863
   Respectfully returned to General J. E. Johnston. I do not think it advisable to change the spirit of my orders as to transportation.
   On affidavit satisfactory to the quartermasters at the particular department that the produce is not for speculation it can be transported, as heretofore authorized.
J. C. Pemberton
Lieutenant-General, Commanding