UA, NE&SWA 3/15/1863

15 Mch 1863
Honorable Jas. A. Seddon
Sec of War C. S. A.
Richmond, Va
   The undersigned would most respectfully present for your favorable consideration the importance of the NE & SW Ala. RR {Northeast & Southwest Alabama RR} as a military necessity.
   The SW terminus of this road is at Meridian on the Mobile & Ohio Ry R in the state of Missi, connecting thence by the Southern R. R. with Vicksburg. Its NE terminus is near Gadsden Ala. connecting thence by the Wills Valley RR with Chattanooga Ten. The distance between termini of the NE & SW Ala RR is 207 miles, of the Wills Valley 89. Making entire distance from Meridian to Chattanooga 296 miles from Tuskaloosa to Chattanooga and distance of more than 200 miles the route lies through the richest mineral lands in the Confederacy, furnishing a cheap and inexhaustible supply of iron ore of the best quality lying in all of its variety, as well as nitre, timber & other materials necessary for our military & naval defences. For purposes of transportation no line of road could afford greater facilities for either troops, or army stores & supplies. In this point of view the completion of the connection between Chattanooga and Meridian is more important as the Charleston & Memphis RR and all lines of communication north are now in the hands of the enemy.
   The importance of developing the mineral resources of the Confederacy this line is ???. On the SW 27 1/2 miles are completed & in running order; about 100 miles more graded ????? for bridging trestle work cross ties &c ????? The remaining grading to be done is of an easy & cheap character & with the necessary pecuniary means can be finished ????? are herewith submitted, showing the location of its connection & extent of mineral country through which it passes. An examination of which will present in a more intelligible & convincing form the importance of the Road as a military necessity to an ??? argument oral or written however elaborated. But the importance of the road admittedly the question is at once asked -- Where is the Iron to be had for its completion? Here your memorialist is fully aware is the great trouble in the way of its speedy completion; and frankly admits he has no source from which it can be obtained but to make it in the Confederacy and this seems our only reliance for iron to clothe the roads being built as well as to keep in repair in repair those now in operations: Hence it is the true policy of the Government to encourage the production & manufacture of iron by affording facilities of access to transportation from the most favorable localities for its cheap production or manufacture, as well as by extending encouragement to parties for its production & manufacture by direct aid for that specific purpose. In this view the NE & SW R. R. presents by its location & connections claims that commend it above all other lines to the favorable & patronage of the Government ??? ??ing the Wills Valley RR & other connecting lines ????? ??it is the main trunk it unlocks & develops the west country. ????? the line of the NE & SW RR th?? ??? are now engaged in putting ??? extensive furnaces for the production of Pig Iron. There are also two Rolling Mills being put up near the p?? of intersection of this & the Ala. & Ten. Central RR one of them by Mr F. M. Gilmer of Montgomery Ala who may exten?? contracts with the Government & to ??? its Government has extended very liberal material aid, the other by Messrs McElwain & Co company experienced Iron Masters who have already proposed to the NE & SW Ala. RR Co. to furnish them a large amount of iron payable in the stock and bonds of the company.
   On the line of the Wills Valley RR now in operation to Trenton Ga. 20 miles from Chattanooga there are also several black furnaces being erected and in Rome Ga there is a Rolling Mill for manufacturing iron rails near completion from which the Valley road expects to get iron for its completion. The grading on this road is all done & the track about ready for the iron.
   The NE & SW Ala. RR Co. have an extensive & valuable land grant of which 288,834 acres have been located lying in the mineral region penetrated by their Road. The whole grant if ??? lands can be found within 15 miles on either side of the Road to satisfy will amount to more than 750,000 acres. If we estimate the value of the lands belonging to this company, by the value of mineral lands along the line of other R. Rds not so varied, or so rich their lands alone will be worth on the completion of the road a greatly more than the entire cost of its construction.
{End of copy in Robert Jemison's copy book}