UA, SIW 7/25/1864

Selma July 25th 1864

A. T. Jones Esqr

Prest. Shelby Iron Co
   In your favor of the 23r Inst. you desire my professional opinion upon the question whether or not the Shelby Iron Co. has the right under their contract with the Government to use iron of their own manufacture to construct a rail road of six miles, to be used in transporting their iron and supplies, if it be necessary for the successful operation & remuneration of the business of the iron works & the performance of said contract?
   After careful reading the contract and considering its different provisions and stipulations I answer your question in the affirmative.
   That stipulation in the contract, which prohibits you from using or disposing of any of the iron "for any other purpose than executing the contract" clearly gives you the right to use it for that purpose.
   You could not use the iron in building a road for any other purpose than to enable you to execute your contract. But if necessary to enable you to do so, you have as much right to use the iron for a rail road as you would for making an axe, a shovel a wagon or an engine. It seems your road is to be used exclusively for the transportation necessary to the successful operation of your works and execution of your contract and therefore you are authorized to use the necessary amount of Iron, and no more, to construct it.
W. M. Byrd