me to know the precise arrangements existing between the Government and the railroads, and their capacity to meet all demands for transportation of troops and military stores. Without such information I cannot reasonably expect that the duties of my department can be performed without constant difficulty and perplexity.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. C. MYERS,
RALEIGH, N. C., January 26, 1863.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: When I received the appointment of assistant adjutant-general for the purpose of superintending Government transportation by railroads, I hoped to induce the officers of all roads in the country to co-operate with each other and with me to meet the wants of the Government for transportation, but my experience thus far has convinced me that in this I shall be disappointed, and that some additional authority will be necessary to enforce the requirements of the Government in this branch of the service. There are many roads the officers of which evince a desire to co-operate and conduct transportation in such a manner as to meet fully the wants of the country, while there are others, I am constrained to say, that have not by their works shown a disposition to meet the necessities of the Government in this particular.
In no case have I met with any that openly avow an unwillingness to do all that is required, but there is a degree of demoralization extant which induces some to make all manner of excuses rather than take hold honestly to do the work. I therefore have recently had my attention directed to some measure that will tend to cure this evil, and have concluded that the best and probably the only remedy capable of reaching the difficulty will be an act of Congress providing for Government to take possession of any railroad that fails to perform promptly Government transportation.
The necessity for such authority is greatly to be deprecated, but while it exists the exigency of the public service demands that the most effectual remedy should be at hand.
The constitutionality of such an act I presume would not be questioned; the only difficulty would be to settle upon a reasonable compensation.
This should be moderate, for the purpose of inducing companies to make every exertion to prevent their roads from being taken possession of. To those meeting the requirements of the Government this law would have no terror, whole to laggard it would act as a spur and might render its use unnecessary.
If a measure of this character is entertained, I should think it ought to provide for taking possession of any road failing to perform Government transportation promptly, upon the following terms:
First. Fifteen days' notice to be given to the president and directors of any railroad failing to perform promptly Government transportation of the intention of the President of the Confederate States to cause possession of the road to be taken unless the cause of complaint be removed, or a good and sufficient reason for such complaint be given within that time.