OR, Series 4, Vol. 3, Page 575

Columbus, Ga., August 8, 1864
Hon. J. A. Seddon
Secretary of War
  You will perceive by the inclosed resolution that the undersigned have been appointed a committee to correspond with you upon the subject embraced in the resolution. We have the honor to call your attention to the matter, and beg leave to submit the following explanations to your consideration:
  First. The grading of the road is nearly completed, and may be put in order for the road bed with the labor of 500 hands in less than sixty days. It runs through a rich and populous county, where there are a large number of slaves whose labor could be contracted by the Government without serious loss or inconvenience to their owners at this season of the year.
  Second. The iron could be readily obtained by the Government by impressing the rails of certain roads which are of little public importance and of no value to the Government at this time, viz, the road from Milledgeville to Eatonton {a branch of the Central Railroad of Georgia}, twenty-two miles, and the branch road from Union Point to Athens {a branch of the Georgia Railroad}, about twenty miles. These roads belong to the richest corporations in the South, and they could well afford to give up these short roads for a great public benefit.
  Third. The early completion of the road in question would be of very great importance to the Government, and is, in fact, a matter at the present of military necessity. The only channel of communication at present between Montgomery and the east embraces the Montgomery and West Point road, whose gauge is different from all the other roads connecting with it, and, of course, in times of pressing necessity could not be aided by the rolling-stock of other roads. Its capacity is too limited for the purposes of the Government, and it is at all times much more liable to be destroyed by the raiding parties of the enemy than the road from Montgomery to Union Springs and thence to Columbus. Witness the late destruction of over twenty-five miles of it by Rosecrans' [Stoneman's?] party and the serious inconvenience now experienced by the Government on account of it.
  Fourth. The Montgomery and Eufaula road connects at Union Springs with the Mobile and Girard road, and is of the same grade, and which can and will be connected with the Muscogee road at this place, and thus form a continuous chain from Montgomery to Macon, the distance from Montgomery to Columbus via Union Springs being less than 100 miles. The inclosed letter from the secretary of the Montgomery and Eufaula road expresses the readiness of the company to co-operate with the Government in the proposed completion of their road. We agree with the opinion of the late meeting of the stockholders of the Mobile and Girard road that this matter is one of great importance to the Government, and we invite the serious attention of the War Department to it. We would suggest that, if any doubt be entertained by the authorities at Richmond as to the policy or necessity or the practicability of the measure, that a special agent be sent out to examine into it and report to the Department the facts and merits of the proposition.
We are, respectfully, your obedient servants
Alfred Iverson
Homer Blackman
J. L. Mustian
Thos. H. Dawson
[First indorsement]
August 23, 1864
To Engineer Bureau for consideration.
J. A. S.
[Second indorsement]
Engineer Bureau
September 14, 1864
  Respectfully returned to the Honorable Secretary of War.
  A letter was promptly written to Hon. Alfred Iverson stating that the views expressed by himself and others in relation to the Union Springs and Montgomery Railroad connection were being duly considered, but that it was feared that the pressing need for all available railroad iron to be used on main trunk lines in repairs would prevent this Bureau from recommending favorable action.
J. F. Gilmer
Major-General and Chief of Bureau
[Inclosure No. 1]
  "Whereas, we consider the speedy completion of the road from Union Springs to Montgomery, now nearly completed, as of vital importance to the country, especially whilst the war continues, in the transportation of troops and army supplies, and which no other preset channel of conveyance can furnish; and whereas, the grading of said road is now nearly completed, and with proper efforts might be finished in sixty days at the farthest; and whereas, it is now impracticable for the company to procure the iron necessary for the road, and that article can only be supplied to the Confederate States: It is therefore
  Resolved, That a committee be appointed to open a correspondence both with the directors of said road and with the Confederate Government to urge such measures as may be required to accomplish the above important object."
  The above was passed at a meeting of the stockholders of the Mobile and Girard Railroad Company held July 6, 1864. The committee appointed above are Hon. Alfred Iverson, Col. Homer Blackman, J. L. Mustian, esq., Thomas H. Dawson.
[Inclosure No. 2]
Montgomery, Ala., August 4, 1864
Messrs. A. Iverson, T. H. Dawson, H. Blackman, and J. L. Mustian
  Gentlemen: Our president, Col. L. Owen, was absent on the receipt of your communication of the 15th of July, ultimo and the proceedings of the stockholders of the {Mobile &} Girard Railroad Company, and has requested me to reply and acknowledge the receipt of your esteemed communication. There could not be at the time a meeting of the board of directors on account of absence of some. But our president and others have had an interview with General Bragg, recently here, and also with General Maury, in command here, and each concurs in great necessity of immediately building the road by the Government, and I understand have so advised the Government at Richmond, and we would respectfully return our thanks for the interest you have taken in this matter, and hope we will continue to receive your sympathy and aid should the Government undertake the building of the road.
Yours, with respect
Jos. D. Noppers
Secretary Montgomery & Eufaula Railroad