OR, Series 4, Vol. 1, Page 1053

Richmond, April 10, 1862
Hon. G. W. Randolph
Secretary of War, Confederate States
  It is understood that it is the earnest desire of the Government to cause the railroad connection between Selma, Ala., and Meridian, Miss., to be completed at the earliest time possible, so that the Government may have the use of the road for the transportation of troops, munitions of war, provisions, etc. The Provisional Congress passed an act authorizing an advance of $150,000 to the Alabama & Mississippi Rivers Railroad Company to complete the connection, and as a member of the board of directors of that company it has been made my duty to submit the security required and to receive the amount proposed to be advanced. It is proper, however, that I should make known to you the fact that the sum of $150,000 will not be sufficient to complete the road and place upon it the necessary rolling-stock to answer the expectations and probable wants of the Government. When the application was made to the Provisional Government for an advance of money for the completion of this most important line of road it was hoped that the amount authorized to be advanced, when added to that which the company reasonably expected to derive from stock notes held by it, would be sufficient to finish the road for use and furnish it to some extent with necessary rolling-stock. But owing to the continuance of the blockade of our ports, whereby our cotton crop has been withheld from market and sale, the company has been unable to make collections, and the continued rise in railroad iron and rolling-stock has shown that the sum proposed to be advanced when expended will leave the work still in an unfinished state. It is the opinion of experienced engineers and other persons well acquainted with the cost of building and equipping railroads that it will require, as the work now stands and under existing circumstances, the sum of $500,000 to finish and equip the entire road so as to place it at the earliest possible moment in such condition as will enable it to fulfill the demands of the Government. The company chartered to build this road has expended already in its construction and in the purchase of stock and materials very nearly or quite $1,000,000. It has some forty-five miles of its road completed, the grading of most of the remainder under contract, and about $300,000 of stock notes on hand, but now unavailable. With the aid of the Government the road could be entirely finished in a few months, and when finished, in addition to the facilities afforded for the transportation of troops and munitions of war, the route of the road would open to the Alabama and Mississippi Rivers the most productive grain and provision country of the South. I will venture to make to you this suggestion: Amount necessary to finish and furnish the road, $500,000; amount already authorized, $150,000; balance $350,000, say one-half in Treasury notes and one-half in Government bonds. If the Government will consent to make the additional advance in Treasury notes and bonds the repayment of the amount will be secured by lien on the entire road and its rolling-stock, fixtures, etc., and the company will stipulate to place the road subject to the control of the Government when required for war purposes, and to receive on account of any freight or services rendered by the road to the Government a credit on the debt incurred by the proposed advance till the whole amount be extinguished. The company will also consent, if required, to secure the advance by mortgage on the road, etc., with power of sale, so that payment can be enforced before the bonds of the Government shall mature. The undersigned submits these suggestions in order that some plan may be devised to accomplish at the earliest possible day the wishes of the Government in regard to the work in question, and is prepared to make any statement in explanation that may be required.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant
James L. Price