|Office Miss. Central R, R, Co., Grenada,
May 31, 1863
|General Joseph E. Johnston, C. S. Army,
I hope I may not be thought intrusive by the suggestions I
am about to make.
| It is conceded by all that
the wheat crop in the northern counties of this State is large, and
is now being harvested. There is great danger that after it is
gathered it will be destroyed by our enemies.
| The product of the crop
referred to is important to sustain our army and citizens. The
producer desires to sell as speedily as possible, to prevent its
destruction and to obtain means to pay his taxes. The means of
transportation is wanting. Teams cannot be obtained. The only
remaining means is such repairs of the railroad as will permit the
running of small cars by horse or some other power.
| The Mississippi & Tennessee
Road is running its trains from Grenada to Panola, probably as far
as it is safe to run them, even if they could pass the river at that
place. It is probable that burden cars of small dimensions could be
run occasionally by horsepower north of Panola, and probably the
Mobile & Ohio Road could run similar cars north of Okolona with or
without repairs of road track. This company runs regular trains as
far north as Water Valley, and have been for some time running small
cars drawn by mules between Holly Springs and Oxford, and brought
out a considerable amount of public property. Between Oxford and
Water Valley there has been no communication except by road wagons,
the distance being 20 miles.
| An expenditure of a few
thousand dollars would render the railroad track safe for small
burden cars between Oxford and Water Valley or Abbeville, on the
south bank of the Tallahatchee, and some $25,000 or $30,000
expenditure would be required to put the track in good order for
engines to run to Abbeville, and $50,000 to put it in order to Holly
Springs. If repaired to Abbeville, so as to run the mule cars, a
large amount of grain could be brought out at a small expense, and a
large amount of wheat saved that otherwise may not be. One mule with
these cars will do the work of twenty on a common road.
| If these repairs are to be
made on this road, it must be done at the expense of the Government.
The company are unwilling to do it at its own cost. It would not be
a source of profit or any benefit to it, while to the Government it
might be of great benefit. Should it be deemed advisable to attempt
the repairs, the company will render every possible assistance
except paying the expenses.
|I am, sir, your obedient servant,