OR, Series 1, Vol. 52, Part 2, Page 653

Canton, Miss., April 6, 1864
Lieutenant-General Polk
Demopolis  {on the Alabama & Mississippi Rivers RR}
Dear Sir,
   Our teams and bridge force arrived here on Sunday. I was here some days ahead of them. General Lee ordered the necessary cavalry force in to impress the necessary labor, but subsequent orders received from you induced him to withdraw them, which left us without the slightest ability to execute the work under orders. We have been telegraphing you for three days for further orders. Could get no answer until today, when Major Whitfield received orders to take his bridge force and proceed to Jackson and complete the Southern {of Mississippi} road first. This of course stops all work here, but I have arranged with each of the companies to hire a small force and go to work straightening iron and preparing to lay track, so that when Major W. returns he can push the work much more vigorously. By finishing the Southern road first it enables us to work from both ends of this at the same time. General Lee is much opposed to rebuilding this road; thinks it will be labor lost, and was much more opposed to it after he was ordered away with a portion of his force. He, however, ordered General Adams to give us the cavalry force, if you reissued the order after getting the dispatches. Labor is exceedingly scarce here, but I think it can be obtained. Major Whitfield was also exceedingly anxious to go to Southern road first. I hope you will instruct him to return here as soon as the Southern road is through. I go from here to North Mississippi to hear from and probably remove my family. Will return and join Whitfield in two weeks. By that time I hope he will be through on Southern road and ready to go to work here. The work on that road is all bridging, and will need no attention from me. I will return here before I am wanted, and in the meantime will get all the forces to work on this road that I can by hiring. Major W. is opposed to impressing without keeping the negroes under his own charge and under guard, and there is not a sufficient force here now that can be spared to impress and guard the negroes.
Yours, truly,
Sam Tate   {President, Memphis & Charleston RR}