OR, Series 1, Vol. 32, Part 1, Page 343

Demopolis, March 10, 1864
   I have an investigation and report upon the damage done the railroads by the enemy in their late movements upon this department, and herewith inclose it for information of the War Department. The day after the enemy retreated from Meridian I ordered the concentration of large working parties upon these roads for their reconstruction. You will see from the report they will all be finished in twenty days, excepting the Meridian and Jackson road. I shall increase the force upon that and shorten the time allotted for its completion. About 60 miles of telegraphic connections were destroyed. They have all been reconstructed, and all the roads and communications are re-established. They will connect with Jackson and Canton in a few days.
Respectfully, your obedient servant
L. Polk
Lieutenant-General, Commanding.
General Cooper
Adjutant and Inspector General

First indorsement

March 22, 1864
   Respectfully submitted to the President for information.
   The injuries done by the enemy to the railroads were very serious, but General Polk is proceeding with great zeal and energy to repair them. The interruption to communication will not be longer than was anticipated.
J. A. Seddon
Secretary of War

Second indorsement

March 24, 1864
Secretary of War
   I have read with gratification the within statement of energetic and successful efforts to restore lines of communication in the department commanded by General Polk.
   Respectfully returned.
Jeff'n Davis

Third indorsement

March 26, 1864
   Communicate to General P. the President's indorsement, which will be gratifying to him.
J. A. S.


Demopolis, Ala., March 8, 1864
Dear Sir,
   Below please find report of damage done the railroads by the enemy in their late movement on and occupation of Meridian:

Southern {(of Mississippi)} Railroad

   Between Jackson and Meridian--4 bridges entirely destroyed, aggregate length, 950 feet; 47 bridges entirely destroyed, aggregate length 3,248 feet; 4 miles of track torn up, iron badly burned and bent, and most of the cross-ties burned. Five thousand cross-ties will be required, 300 {about 6,300 feet of rail} bars of iron, and 500,000 feet of bridge timbers to complete the work. It can be done in forty days.

Alabama & Mississippi Rivers Railroad

   Between Demopolis and Meridian--3 bridges entirely destroyed, aggregate length 160 feet; 5 pieces of trestle-work destroyed, aggregate length 600 feet; 9 miles track torn up, iron badly burned and bent, and about one-half the cross-ties burned; 100 rails entirely rendered unfit for service.

Mobile & Ohio Railroad

   Sixteen miles of track torn up, iron badly burned, and most of the cross-ties burned; 5 miles iron torn up, but not burned; the bridges and trestles all burned on 47 miles of road from a point 5 miles below Quitman to Lauderdale Springs and track torn up in spots. The worst destroyed track is between Enterprise and Marion Station. The bridging and trestling is of such character that it can be put up as rapidly as the iron can be straightened and the track laid. Two hundred and fifty-six negro laborers were at work on Saturday last and 250 more will be put on this week, after which the work will proceed day and night. In addition to this force a sufficient force of bridge-carpenters are at work to keep the bridges in advance of the track. I think the road can be completed by April 1. One bridge and one-fourth of a mile of trestle-work have already been completed. There is now at work on the Alabama and Mississippi Rivers Railroad 250 white laborers (soldiers), 50 negroes (laborers). One hundred and seventy-five negro laborers will be added to-day and to-morrow. One bridge 250 feet long has been completed and the timbers out for another--the most important one destroyed. One hundred hands are getting out cross-ties and the remainder straightening iron and laying track. There is a bridge force sufficient at work to keep the bridges out of the way, and the road can be finished to Meridian in two weeks. The difficulty of procuring tools and materials has hitherto retarded the work very much, but that cause has now principally been overcome.

Southern Road

   Sixty hands go to work tomorrow, 140 more on Monday next, and as many of the forces on the Alabama & Mississippi Rivers Railroad as may be necessary to complete it as soon as that road is through.
   All of which is respectfully submitted by your obedient servant,
Sam. Tate
Lieutenant-General Polk