SOR, Series 95, Page 123

Jacksonville, Alabama
February 6, 1863
 
General Braxton Bragg
Confederate States Army
 

My Dear Sir,

   Please accept the accompanying maps showing the connections which the Dalton and Jacksonville Railroad {Alabama & Tennessee River RR} (of which the Blue Mountain & Rome Railroad is a part) will make when completed.
   I am aware that it is a favorite enterprise with you and that you will do all in your power to expedite its completion. The directors of the Alabama & Tennessee Railroad at their last meeting placed this work in my charge, and after three months' delay since Congress made the appropriation, I feel as though the work should be pushed with the utmost dispatch. A few months with all the facilities that can be thrown upon the line would complete the work from Blue Mountain to Rome and open the communication between the railroads of the northeast and southwest of the Confederacy. There is no heavy work on the line and the whole amount of excavation to be done cannot exceed 250,000 cubic yards, scattered over sixty miles of road, it being chiefly light embankments.
   By February 22 we want 500 hands upon the work, and by June 22 you and your staff will be able to make a through trip, almost without a change of cars, from New Orleans, yes, New Orleans, to Richmond, in sixty hours.
   From New Orleans to Richmond by way of Jacksonville and Rome is 1,200 miles; by way of Montgomery and Kingston, 1,440 miles, and by Augusta and Wilmington, 1,480 miles.
   Meanwhile, provisions and tools just be provided and properly disposed along the line. May I not, with reasonable hope, ask your cooperation to enable us to carry out this program? I have this hope Sir, knowing your zeal in the problem of the day and your ability to work it out.
   [First,] there is an abundance of provisions within reach but they hand on high -- the holders insisting on blockade prices.
   Second, the government has a quantity of shovels, picks and wheelbarrows and, if I understand it rightly, the breastworks system of fighting has been abandoned and the tools lay idle.
   Third, again, for the sixty miles of road we want 150,000 cross-ties and other timbers in proportion. I have advertised we will pay $.35 per stick for first class ties of oak, which, in ordinary times would be a remunerative price. The timber is on the route and overlooking the road bed for the most of the way, and we only lack a few men to take the contracts and lay the axe at the root of the trees. All these ties can be let within ten days if one man to the mile (hardly a corporal's guard) may be detailed for this service. I have assurance to this effect and how can sixty men be of more service to the country than by securing the early completion of the Blue Mountain & Rome Railroad.
   Fourth, there are sawmills along the line, nearly all of which are shut down because their owners are away in the army, which would immediately go to work for us if the above suggestions are answered. This is a very quiet way of doing the war but this would have been and will yet be an important arm of service.
   Allow me to express by conviction that an early peace awaits us and that a most triumphant prosperity is in the future for the New Republic, and I am free to say it is the boldness of your own and other hearts, together with the blessings of Him who doeth all things wee which has done so much to achieve it.
I am respectfully, yours, etc.,
George Wadsworth
Chief Engineer
Blue Mountain & Rome Railroad, Jacksonville, Alabama

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