UNC, RR 8/31/1861

Annual Statement {by the Memphis, Tenn. Chamber of Commerce}
{For the year ending August 31, 1861}
To Thomas W. Hunt, Esq., President of the Chamber of Commerce
   The commercial year of 1860-'61 having reached its close, it becomes my duty, as Secretary of this institution, to present through you to its members and the public in general, a condensed statement and digest of the business operations of the city during the past twelve months, so far as they may have come under my observation. ***** 
   The disastrous events -- in a commercial sense -- of the past year have proven to us the incalculable advantages of our railroads, which have preserved our prosperity in the midst of political and financial convulsions that have overthrown the old Republic, and given us, in the midst of these stirring scenes, a rich return for all our past labors may well be asked, would be the condition of Memphis now without her roads? Instead of the life and active industry they now exhibit, in the very midst of war's alarums, the deserted condition of our streets and thoroughfares would furnish but a sorrowful counterpart of those of hundreds of Northern cities. In contemplating our present happy condition, our people should be deeply impressed with the obligations they are under to the public-spirited and noble men whose genius and energy accomplished the works that have conferred so many benefits upon the city. Over the grave of "JONES" a monument should be reared that shall carry his name to the latest posterity as the great and disinterested benefactor of the city.
   As fortunate as we are, comparatively, in our commercial affairs, how many additional advantages could we have secured to ourselves, had we, a few years ago, put forth our strength and completed our road to Little Rock and Fort Smith and built the projected road to the Iron Mountain, and by it had, during the last few months, open communication with St. Louis? The sacrifices we have made this summer, for the want of the latter road, would have paid a good share of its cost. If the Confederacy shall include Missouri, that road will be hereafter a political and commercial necessity to preserve our intercourse with a sister State, from the hostile interruptions of the inveterate republicans of Illinois. When hostilities shall cease, and re-established laws shall restore credit and bring back the arts and pursuits of peace, the energies of the people of Memphis should at once be directed to the construction of all her projected railroads. The first built should be the Iron Mountain Road; then a road direct to Jackson, Miss., on the cast the Yazoo Valley: another direct to Vicksburg; the Little Rock Road should be pushed on to Red River in the southwest, to connect with the Texas roads and the western branch to Fort Smith and the rich prairie country beyond. These great works done, Memphis might securely and confidently await the development of the country beyond the Mississippi to make her the great interior mart of the Southwest. Her growth in population and in wealth would eclipse the past history of St. Louis, which, henceforth cut off from her free-State trade, and as a border city, must necessarily decline. While these great works are being accomplished by combined public effort, our citizens should individually improve the rich fields for private enterprise in the various mechanical and manufacturing pursuits, which our political separation from the North will open to them. Our success for the past four months in the new branches of productive industry, teach us how much we can do for ourselves when forced to be self-dependent. If the people of Memphis will properly improve her advantages, the independence Of the Confederacy and the emancipation of Southern mechanical labor from its thraldom to the North will make our city a hive of busy industry. Her close proximity to and unrivalled facilities for the distribution of her productions on the roads and rivers of which she is the focus, the consummate skill of our mechanics and artisans, the large number of manufacturing establishments already in successful operation, are among the innumerable advantages which should speedily render her the great cotton manufacturing depot and machine shop of the Mississippi Valley, as well as the seat of large manufacturing concerns in every branch of industry.
   The absence, heretofore, of any rigid system of statistics as to the receipts of general articles into the city, deprives us of the opportunity of instituting a comparison as to the relative increase or decrease of importations during the past year, as compared with former seasons. Enough is known, however, to warrant the statement that, in many of the leading articles of produce and merchandise, including pork and bacon, dry-goods, sugar, coffee and molasses, tobacco, (leaf and manufactured) flour, corn, oats, hay, potatoes, coal, drugs, live stock, whisky, leather, powder, ice, cotton seed, and various manufactured articles, the year's receipts have been the largest in the history of the city; while, on the other hand, we find very few articles in which there has been a decrease -- cotton (in which the falling off in receipts is comparatively small) being the only prominent article in which the reverse has been observable. When it is recollected that during almost one-half of the year we have been partially blockaded from our usual sources of supply in various departments of merchandise, these facts are doubly significant as indicating the rapid growth and expansion of our trade.
Operations of the Chamber
   The attention of the Chamber was early in March directed to alleged discriminations against the trade of Memphis, practiced by the managers of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. It was charged that an unfair policy was pursued, tending to injure the trade of this city, and in favor of Mobile, through a system of tariff charges which were much higher on the northern end of the road, then terminating in Corinth, than on the southern or Mobile end. A committee was appointed to inquire into the matter, and after a lengthy, patient, and impartial investigation, reported that the charges were in great part sustained. The subsequent action of the officers of the road has, we are pleased to state, been far less objectionable to Memphis people and Memphis interests.
Our Railroads
   Memphis & Charleston Railroad -- This road was originally projected as a great commercial artery between the Atlantic ocean and the Mississippi river, but in the present disrupted state of the country it has proven to be the strong arm of military defense, serving not only to unite the Southern Confederacy with iron bonds, but enabling the Government to unite its forces at any point desired, either on the Atlantic coast or in the Mississippi valley. As will be seen from tables and statements herewith presented, the road has increased its receipts during the past twelve months $206,025 93, or 12 1/2 per cent. Under the circumstances surrounding the country, this is most extraordinary. Its present enormous receipts of $1,841,122 60, on a capital cost of $7,000,000, is ample evidence that the stockholders made a wise investment; and the increase of the stock, upon its completion, of 60 per cent. upon what each stockholder actually paid in, together with the payment of 8 per cent. cash dividends, annually, shows that it is one of the paying institutions of the country, either in peace or war -- whether in the old "Union" or in the Southern Confederacy. The stockholders have reason to congratulate themselves upon the prosperous condition of this great work -- the fine condition of the road's machinery, and the quiet, systematic order that characterises its management. It is purely a great Southern enterprise, built by Southern capital and Southern men, and managed still by the same parties who built it, never having materially changed its organization --  still retaining its old Board of Directors and officers, or others who have been promoted from the ranks of their operatives.

Comparative Statement of Receipts, Memphis & Charleston
Railroad, for past three years





From Passengers




" Freights. . . . .




" Mails. . . . .




"Ex. & rent




Total. . . . .




   Memphis & Ohio Railroad -- This road forms an important link in the chain of railroads connecting Louisville, Memphis, and New Orleans, extending from Memphis to Paris, Tennessee, a distance of 130 miles. The road was completed 57 miles to Brownsville, in 1855; to Humboldt, 82 miles, in April, 1859, and to Paris, the northern terminus, May 11, 1860. In consequence of the Clarksville road not having been completed, direct communication was not made with Louisville until April 15, 1861, on which day the first through train left Memphis, and arrived in Louisville in twenty hours. The time has since been reduced to eighteen hours, and on the completion of the Tennessee River bridge, we are assured it will be still further reduced. The distance from Memphis to Louisville is -- Memphis & Ohio Road, 130 miles; Memphis, Clarksville & Louisville Road, 83 miles, and Louisville & Nashville Road, 167 miles -- total 380 miles. The short time that has elapsed since the opening of this route, and the partial prostration of trade in consequence of the war, precludes the formation of a correct estimate of the immense business that will be transacted by this road when peace shall again be restored. For the present we can only refer to the movements of freight over the road, as indicated by the statements elsewhere contained in this report. Each year's earnings of the road have evinced a decided increase over the preceding year. In 1860 the receipts exhibited an increase over 1859 of 67 per cent; and in 1861 over 1860 of 20 per cent., of which $59,061 was from passengers, $29,831 from freights, and $2,691 from mails -- total increase $91,585. The total receipts of the past year embraced $362,595 33; operating expenses same time, $190,754 78; leaving as net earnings, $171,840 55. The road, as we are informed, has cost about $3,300,000, including buildings and equipments. The financial condition of the road may be briefly stated: Tennessee bonds, maturing in 1895, '96, '97, '98, and '99, $1,493,000; Company 6 per cent. bonds, due in 1866, $97,000; Company income bonds, 10 per cent. due in 1870, $432,000 -- total funded debt, $2,022,00); floating debt, $278,000 -- total liabilities, $2,300,000. It will thus be seen that the cost of building and equipping the road exceeds the total liabilities of the Company by $1 000,000. Annexed we give a

         Comparative Statement of Receipts, Memphis & Ohio
Railroad, for past three years





From Passengers. . . . .




From Freight. . . . .




From Mail. . . . .




From Express. . . . .


. . . . .

. . . . .

Total. . . . .




   Mississippi & Tennessee Railroad -- The completion of this important artery of commerce and travel opens up direct railroad communication with Grenada, Canton, Jackson and New Orleans, and reduces the time between Memphis and the latter point to twenty three hours. Twenty miles of the road on the southern end, from Oakland to Granada, were completed on the 31 of July, and the first through train left this city on the following day. The future prospects of the road are certainly of the most flattering character. Passing through one of the richest Cotton-growing regions of the South, and forming, as it does, an important part of the great Northern and Southern line of travel, its future operations can scarcely be otherwise than profitable to the public and remunerative to stockholders and others interested. The road is 99 miles in length, and is, for the most part, well built. There are thirteen "Howe Truss" bridges, and seven wrought iron, in spans of 25 and 30 feet, resting on solid and substantial approaches. The pressure of the times has prevented the erection of permanent depot buildings and machine shops at Memphis, which was wisely deferred until the track should be completed; yet this company does all its own repairs in temporary shops, attached to which is a car manufactory, which is turning out all the cars required by the road -- some of them the finest to be found in the country. The business of the road during the past year, circumstances considered, has been excellent, the amount of freight shipped from this city especially showing a marked increase. The earnings of the road, in its various departments, will be seen from the following:

         Comparative Statement of Receipts, Mississippi & Tennessee
Railroad, for past three years





From Passengers. . . . .




" Freight. . . . .




" Mail. . . . .




Exp's, rents, etc




Total. . . . .




   Memphis & Little Rock Railroad -- The prospects of this Road are of a very flattering and gratifying character. Several months since the affairs of the Company passed into the hands of a new administration, under whose auspices the work of completion is being prosecuted with vigor. From official sources we learn that track-laying is progressing on both ends, that the grading is completed from Duvall's Bluff, on White river, to Little Rock, and some 18 miles of track laid down since April last, with the prospect of completion by the 1st November. Prior to this date it is expected that the bridge crossing the St. Francis will be completed, when we shall be in direct and uninterrupted communication with Little Rock. The heaviest portion of the grading of the intervening space of forty-five miles between Madison and Duvall's Bluff, has been performed; the iron for the entire road purchased, and sufficient amount delivered to complete the road from White river to Little Rock, as well as some fifteen miles on the second or middle division, leaving but thirty miles of iron for future delivery.

         Comparative Statement of Receipts, Memphis & Little Rock Railroad, for past three years





From Passengers. . . . .



$22,616 80

Freights. . . . .




Mail. . . . .




Express. . . . .

. . . . .



Total . . . . .




*Embracing a period of three months, during which the road was in operation

   The crop of this important cereal in the Southern country generally, for the year 1860, was a partial failure, owing to the dry and unfavorable character of the weather during the early part of the season, which prevented good stands and otherwise impeded the prospects of the growing crop. The yield, therefore, being light, the deficiency was necessarily made up from the northwestern States, where, under more favorable circumstances, an abundant crop was produced; hence we find that the amount of Corn received in this city during the year, and disposed of by our merchants, exceeds by far the operations of any previous year in our history. The market opened on the first of September with a comparatively light stock on hand, supplies having been pretty generally exhausted by the active demand experienced during the two preceding months, and low water in the upper Mississippi having in great part cut off our usual source of supply. The sales of the early part of the month were chiefly from levee, and at 55 @ 60c per bushel for Yellow and Mixed and 60 @ 62 1/2c for White. The market continued steady until the latter part of the month, when stocks having been reduced to a very low point, prices advanced 2 1/2 @ 3c and the month closed firm--the receipts having comprised 16,970 bags. The market for October opened active and buoyant, with more liberal receipts, and by the close of the first week a further advance of 2 @ 3c per bushel had been established, lots of Yellow and Mixed commanding 60 @ 65c and Prime White 67 1/2 @ 70c. The market remained in this condition, with only slight fluctuation, until about the 25th, when with improved navigation and heavy receipts, holders yielded 2 @ 2 1/2c, and the market closed quiet at 60 @ 62 1/2c for Yellow and Mixed and 64 @ 65c for White. The business of the mouth was chiefly for the supply of regions in North Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas, which had hitherto looked to other markets. Month's receipts, 23,983 bags.
   There was no change of consequence in the market until the latter part of November, say the 20th, when the new crop beginning to arrive very freely, and with large stocks of the old in dealers' hands, prices began to droop and by the 25th were from 3 to 5c lower. In addition to this, the country demand was less active and the market for the month closed dull at 57 1/2 @ 60c for Yellow and Mixed, and 60 @ 62 1/2c for White (old crop). The new crop was neglected and dragged heavily at 52 1/2 @ 55c. Month's receipts 34,221 bags.
   Prices continued to tend downward and by the close of the first week in December a further reduction to 58 @ 60c and from 55 to 57 1/2 c, and subsequently, on the following week, to 52 1/2 @ 55c for Yellow, Mixed and White was submitted to by holders -- the receipts having been largely in excess of the demand. No further change occurred and the market for the month closed dull as above, with receipts of 23,781 bags.
   During the first half of January, the market was quiet, but before the close of the third week, under the influence of political causes, a lively demand sprang up, and prices soon rallied to the extent of 2 @ 3c per bushel, which was maintained until the close -- stocks in the meantime having been materially reduced, while the receipts had fallen to 17,833 bags. This spur in the market, added to a fine stage of water in all the upper rivers, induced heavy shipments to this point during the first two weeks of February, by which time the advance last referred to had been lost, the demand momentarily checked, and the market pretty well glutted. Affairs moved along in this wise until the close of the month, when, with a moderate inquiry and ample stocks, we quoted yellow and mixed 56c. and white 58c. March opened with a good demand, but, with serious impediments to transportation eastward by railroad, owing to an immense press of through freight upon the Memphis & Charleston and Mobile & Ohio roads, which in great measure prevented the usual local accommodations. The receipts, too, opened briskly, and, as the sequel proved, were by far the largest of any similar period of the season; hence it was that immense stocks soon accumulated, and prices fell to 52 1/2 @ 55c., and finally, on the 29th, to 50 @ 52 1/2c. per bushel -- the deliveries of the month having reached the large amount of 99,611 bags.
   During the first two weeks of April with a continuance of the unfavorable circumstances above referred to, holders conceded a further reduction of 2 @ 2 1/2c., but on the l7th, with the war proclamation of the Northern dictator to hand, and apprehensions of an early stoppage of supplies from the north, added to a considerable improvement in the St. Louis market, prices rallied to 55 @ 56 and 57 @ 60c. and by the close of the month to 60c. for yellow and mixed and 65c. for white. This excitement in the market proved of temporary duration, and supplies continuing to pour in with increased vigor, a reaction soon ensued, and by the 3d of May, the market was dull at a decline of 5c. per bushel. Toward the middle of the month, however, the long threatened blockade of the Northern government was placed in operation, and, by the close of the mouth, prices had gradually stiffened, until 65 @ 75c. were the ruling figures. Stocks were ample, and prospects for the coming crops most encouraging. The tendency of the market from June 1st to date has been uniformly downward; prices in view of the reduced inquiry and the very favorable indications of a large yield from the coming crop, gradually giving way until the middle of August, when offerings were freely made at 45 @ 50c., in lots. During the past two weeks, there has been some little demand, with sales at 50 @ 52 1/2c.
Bacon, Pork and Lard
   The course of the market for these articles, during the last twelve months, will be briefly reviewed under one heading. The commencement of the season, in September last, found very light stocks on the market, with a good demand not only from the local trade but from remote regions which had previously looked elsewhere for supplies, but which having been brought into close connection with Memphis through the medium of our various railways, were beginning to test for themselves the superior advantages of our market. Mess Pork opened at $22 per barrel, Lard at 15c; Shoulders at 11 1/4 @ 11 1/2c; Clear Sides at 13 3/4 @ 14c, and Hams at 14 @ 15c. Early in September the receipts from the upper country were more liberal and the supply was largely in excess of the demand. This state of affairs continued until about the 1st of January, prices in the meantime continuing gradually to decline, and during the first week in that month the market had reached the lowest points of the season, viz: Mess Pork $17; Lard 9 1/2 @ 10 1/2c; Shoulders 7 1/2 @ 8c; Harris 10 @ 11, and Clear and Rib Sides 10 @ 11c. The inquiry for Bacon, during the latter part of January, was pretty generally superseded by Bulk Pork -- with which the market was amply supplied at 7c, hog round --  thus tending to a still further depression in the first named article. The demand for dry salted meats continued to prevail during the following four months, closing only with the season, about the first of May, with by far the largest aggregated transactions ever known in this market, vast quantities of the article having been taken for shipment to the States of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and the Carolinas. A good inquiry was also expressed during this period for all descriptions of Bacon, barrelled Pork and Lard, for the same points, and this, taken in connection with the prospective stoppage of future supplies from the North by virtue of the blockade, caused a material advance in all these articles, Mess Pork, on the 1st of May, commanding $22 @ 23 per barrel; Shoulders 10 @ 10 1/2c; Hams 12 @ 15c; and Ribbed and Clear Sides 13 @ 15c. Bulk Pork also exhibited considerable firmness at 10c for Sides; 8 @ 8 1/2c for shoulders; 9 1/2 @ 10c for Hams, and 9 1/4 @ 9 1/2c for hog round. The market continued steadily to improve, and on the 20th of June a further advance of $3 to $4 per barrel on Mess Pork, and of 2 @ 3c per pound on all qualities of Clear and Joint Bacon had been established.