Congress failed to make an appropriation to carry into effect the act, and the Department cannot at this time specify the rate of compensation; but an application will be made to Congress in May next, and it is hoped that it will be settled on a satisfactory basis. Meanwhile you are requested to keep an accurate account of the expenses and forward them to the Department before the 1st of May.
The Department is aware of the delicate nature of the duties to be performed, and the importance in the present condition of the country of exactness and circumspection in the administration of the power confided by the act the Department devolves upon you in the State of Georgia under a sense of the responsibility that rests upon you.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
LIBERTY, VA., March 18, 1864.
Hon. J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War Confederate States of America:
SIR: There can be little doubt but that the want of organized transportation and the inability of the railroads to effect the domestic commerce of the country enters largely into the problem of market price, and must to that extent affect the operation of the new currency act. The obstacles to internal commerce are:
First. The incomplete condition of certain railroad extension and connections, such as those of the Danville and Central, in Virginia; the connection by rail to Richmond, Petersburg from Yorkville, across to Augusta, &c.
Second. The deficiency of rolling-stock, especially of locomotives. The several roads now running in Virginia have not one-fourth, in some cases not one-eighth, of the motive power proper for their regular trade. The Central road reported only eight locomotives in working order. The ratio of engines to length of road run would give the road fifty or sixty. The Virginia and Tennessee road is short of motive power, and the South Side road in every respect inadequate to its business. The rails of all these roads are reported in had condition, varying of course with grades and tonnage, but all requiring repair. The reduction of train speed has its effect upon the internal intercourse of the country.
Third. The refusal of roads on the same gauge to allow the freight-cars of other roads to run over their rail, thereby involving unnecessary trans shipments, and throwing the through freights into the hands of an express company, heretofore unlimited in its exactions. These are, in my opinion, the main causes of the great difference in prices between the different portions of the Confederacy and between the metropolis and the interior.
During the last session of the Virginia Legislature it became my duty, as chairman of the Committee on Roads and Interior Navigation (I state this to authenticate the condition and defects of the Virginia roads), to examine into the subject of internal transportation, and to recommend measures for its improvement. The lower House passed a bill requiring roads to pass the freight-cars of other roads of the same gauge over their own road. Railroads were required to establish an express department. These provisions were lost in the Senate. Express companies were placed under stringent regulations. They are now restricted to double the freight allowed the railroad.