OR, Series 4, Vol. 1, Page 1048

President's Office
Alabama and Florida R. R. Co. of Alabama
Montgomery, Ala., April 4, 1862
 
His Excellency President Davis,
 
Sir,
  Under date of the 19th of March the Quartermaster-General requested me to suggest what should be done to perfect, with as little delay as possible, the line of communication between Selma and Meridian, now demanded as a military necessity, and whether the connection could not be made by plank road. I felt satisfied the railroad connection now in progress could be completed in less time than a plank road could be built, and, understanding that you desire its very speedy completion, I beg leave to present to you Mr. William M. Wadley, president of the Vicksburg and Shreveport Railroad, as one of the most energetic and reliable men connected with railroad service in the Confederate States. I have known him for many years, connected first with the best-managed railroads of Georgia and lately with roads in Mississippi, and I feel assured, if you deem it necessary to take possession of the line to be built for Government purposes, he will accomplish it in less time than any other person I know connected with railroad service in the South.  He has mislaid letters from Mr. W. C. Smedes, of Vicksburg, to you upon this subject, and it may no be amiss to inform you that I have placed the whole line of road between this place and Selma under contract, and if I can procure the iron I can complete it within this year; and if the line west of Selma can be opened, the connection between Vicksburg and Montgomery can be made within eighteen hours.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant
Charles T. Pollard
 
[Indorsement]
Secretary of War for special notice.
J. D.
*****
Confederate States of America, War Department
Richmond, Va., April 4, 1862
 
A. S. Gaines, Esq.
Demopolis, Ala., Present
 
  Sir: Congress regarding and early railroad connection between Selma, in Alabama, and Meridian, in Mississippi, as important to the Government in a military point of view, lately passed an act authorizing the President to advance to the Alabama and Mississippi Rivers Railroad Company the sum of $150,000 for the purpose of completing this connection. The completion of this road, connecting, as it does, with the Alabama River at Selma, and with the Southern Railroad from Meridian to Vicksburg, at the earliest day practicable, is a matter of importance. The road from Selma to Demopolis is understood to be already completed, or nearly so. From Demopolis to Reagan, a distance of some twenty-four miles, is understood to have been in part graded, and from Reagan to Meridian, a distance of twenty-seven miles, the grading and bridging is completed and the iron in part laid down. The road from Selma to Reagan is understood to belong to the Alabama & Mississippi Rivers Railroad Company, and from Reagan to Meridian to the Northeast & Southwest {Alabama} Railroad Company.
  In order to hasten the important work you will proceed to the line of the road and confer with the president and directors of the Alabama & Mississippi Rivers Railroad Company, and ascertain their views, plans, and prospects in regard to an early completion of their road. You will examine and supervise the work, and urge an early completion of the road; afford any aid you can in enabling the company to procure the necessary labor and materials, and in directing the proper application thereof; advise with the officers of the company on all matters connected with the early completion of the road; see that the proper arrangements are made by which to unite, upon terms no embarrassing or expensive to the Government, the two interests in the road, so as to secure through transportation without a change of cars. You will also see that proper arrangements are made and suitable rolling-stock provided for the transportation over the road of troops, munitions of war, provisions, and passengers, and that suitable arrangements are made for crossing the Tombigbee River until the company shall construct a bridge across the river. You will report the progress of the work from time to time, with your opinion as to when the route will be completed. It has been suggested that a part of the iron necessary to complete the road from Reagan to Meridian is in New Orleans, and that some difficulty has existed in regard to its transportation to Meridian, growing out of the fact that the New Orleans and Jackson Railroad is in the employment of the Government. Instructions will be given authorizing its transportation over the road at the expense of the company. You will receive the compensation of a captain of engineers while in the employment of the Government.
Geo. W. Randolph
Secretary of War

Home