SOUTHERN DIVISION, MISSISSIPPI CENTRAL RAILROAD,
Grenada, June 24, 1864.
Major Gen. S. D. LEE, C. S. Army,
DEAR SIR: I did not receive your letter* of the 16th of this month until after I had written and forwarded another asking permission to send cotton to Marshall and De Soto Counties to exchange for bacon to feed the hands at work on this road, otherwise I should not have made the second request. It is certain that unless the Government is willing to grant me some facilities in obtaining necessary supplies for the repairs and operating the road, it is worse than useless for me to continue my efforts to keep the road in operation, and it would be far better to let the Government take it and do as it may seem best. The entire road is in an unsafe condition. I have not the means adequate for the necessary repairs, nor can I procure without Government aid, nor have I the necessary supplies to feed my hands but a few weeks more. When these are exhausted I must discontinue my trains and discharge my hands. There is no other alternative. Fifteen miles of the road has been materially damaged between this and Canton, twelve miles seriously. I cannot hire hands to repair it. I would cheerfully do so if I could. To the company the working of the road is rather an injury than a benefit, as the expenses and taxes will absorb all of its income. It remains for the Government to determine if the road is or will be useful to them or not. The difficulties in procuring the army supplies contracted for by me have been greatly increased since I entered into the engagement. I have spent no small amount of money and no little time in my efforts to comply with my contract. I have been disappointed in every way, and in no small degree by the price I was too pay for cotton when others were receiving it at one-third the price that I was to pay, thus enabling them to offer greater profits to those who would deliver the articles required, besides being permitted to send out cotton as they pleased, and always keeping themselves in funds, which I have found it always impossible to do. I have delivered some teams, wagons, & c., and could have delivered many more. To-day Major Paxton refused to take 100 mules on terms that I think he should have accepted, and of course I declined the purchase. I shall continue my efforts, but with faint hopes of success.
I wrote you some days since by Mr. Wang, whom I sent to New Orleans.
With respect, I remain your friend,
CLINTON, LA., June 24, 1864.
Major Gen. STEPHEN D. LEE,
MY DEAR SIR: You will pardon the liberty I am about to take with you. I am a stranger to you, but I plead the interest which we both have in our great cause as my excuse for addressing you. The trade between this section and Baton Rouge has been to a considerable extent revived. The usual effects have begun to follow. Our
* Not found.