the report, and we proceeded, as we thought we had the right to do, to appoint officers and fill vacancies. Since then I received a communication from Colonel W. R. Calhoun, commanding at Fort Sumter, inclosing an opinion from you that the power of appointment in these formations was in the President of the Confederate States. With a view to prevent conflict I ask leave again to call your attention to the subject and to the perusal of the inclosed report. Embraced in this regular force was a battalion of dismounted dragoons. It has dwindled down to only two companies. I desire to know, first, whether you will permit us to raise it to a full battalion by recruiting three more companies, and whether you will accept the officers whom we shall appoint for that purpose; second, whether you will permit the officers to assure a bounty from the Confederate Government as heretofore provided for recruits for the war.
With great respect, I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES CHESNUT, Jr.,
Chief of Military Department of South Carolina.
DEMOPOLIS, ALA., April 24, 1862.
Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
SIR: In obedience to your instructions handed to me at Richmond, I proceeded at once to the line of the railroad from Selma, in Alabama, to Meridian, in Mississippi, and up to the present time have endeavored to obtain such information as I could as to the present condition of the road and prospects of its early completion. I have delayed a report to you until now so that I could obtain an interview with the president and directors of the Alabama and Mississippi Rivers Railroad Company and ascertain their prospects and plans for the early completion of their road so as to connect at Meridian. On yesterday I attended a session of the board of directors and had a conference with them on the subject of the road. The first and most important object of the company was to obtain the advance of the $150,000 authorized by Congress, and to this end the followingpared and submitted to my examination, to wit: First, the note of the company, payable to the Confederate States of America, for $150,000, ten years after date; second, a mortgage on the entire road bed, fixtures, rolling-stock, depot property, machine-shops, &c., to secure the payment of the note; third, the obligation of the company, with ample personal security, for the prompt and faithful application of the money toward the completion of the road; fourth, an agreement by the company in the meantime to transport promptly over their road, or any part of it, any and all troops, munitions of war, provisions, or other articles which the Government may desire to forward, and to credit any expense thus incurred by the Government of the note of the company till the amount thereof be extinguished.
These several papers duly executed will be transmitted to you so soon as the mortgage can be recorded in the four counties of Dallas, Perry, Marengo, and Sumter, through which the road passes. I have made an estimate of the value of the road with its fixtures, depot property, rolling-stock, machine-shops, &c., and have looked into the
69 R R-SERIES IV, VOL I