UA, SIW 8/24/1864

Shelby Iron Works
September 24, 1864
Captain James T. Peters
   Your letter of the 22d inst has been recd. You say heavy complains are being made against this company for short deliveries of iron; and that the chief of the bureau does not understand why we cannot deliver as much iron now as heretofore. The cause lies in the multiplicity of difficulties with which the Company have had to contend, and beyond their control. To state all the difficulties fully would require a letter of many pages. The chief of them have been, and are, the want of means, the want of materials, and the want of reliable workmen. I do not wish to be understood as complaining of the bureau for not making payments according to the terms of the contract, when it was not furnished with the means of doing so; but you are aware that months elapsed without any payment having been made. But one payment was made from about the 25th of March until the 6th of the present month. 
   We have been repeatedly delayed for days at a time for want of coal for the puddling and heating furnaces which we could not get transported. *** Our teams have been much reduced by hard and constant use, and for want of sufficient and proper forage, and we have repeatedly been under the necessity of stopping them from work and turning them into the woods to graze with hands to mind them, because a supply of provender could not be obtained. And with the teams we have in the condition they are, it is utterly impracticable to haul the iron to the depot, haul wood for coaling, haul coal to the furnaces with the increased distance from the piles to the former, and do the other necessary hauling. This difficulty will be in a great measure relieved, so soon as we can get the switch to connect our road with the Ala & Tennessee {River} rail road which we have the promises of the rail road Superintendent to do so soon. When this is done, we have a considerable quantity of pig iron on hand which we can commence delivering so soon as transportation can be obtained. 
{No signature on the draft/file copy, but it was obviously by A. T. Jones, the President}