Milledgeville, Ga., February 10, 1864.
General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON:
GENERAL: By a letter from Major-General Walker my attention is again called to the importance of proper provision for your transportation. I have already advised you of the heavy losses which the State road has sustained by the loss and destruction of its rolling-stock while on other roads under the command of Confederate officers. You have been so kind as to offer to do all in your power to have part of our engines and cars returned to the road. In this I trust you may succeed. I also hope you will continue to insist that the cars and engines belonging to the Tennessee roads be returned and placed in the service for the supply of your army.
I have written the President demanding the immediate return to the State road of two good engines and forty good cars, which is less than one-fourth of the number of which the road has been deprived by the Confederate Government. I have received no reply to this request, and fear that from some cause the President may neglect to comply with this reasonable request. One of my objects in addressing you this letter is to beg you to urge upon the President's consideration the importance of this subject. Justice to the State of Georgia, to you, and to your gallant army requires that Mr. Davis shall neither disregard nor neglect this requirement. When the spring campaign opens, if you are re-enforced, as you should be and as the country have a right to expect, it will not be in the power of the officers of the State road to transport all your necessary supplies without more rolling-stock. Again, suppose the fortunes of war turn in your favor, as I pray God they may, and you should be able to advance into Tennessee, it will be utterly impossible with our present limited number of cars and engines to furnish you the stock to run on either of the Tennessee roads.
At the commencement of the wark no road in the Confederacy had a better outfit of rolling-stock than the State road, but on account of its locality and its immediate connection with the Western roads, which had more limited capacity, constant calls were made upon us for engines and cars. We always responded to every call. The result has been our heavy losses have mentioned. And now, without pretending to return even part of the rolling stock of which they have deprived us, there is a willingness at Richmond to cast all the blame upon the State authorities, if there is any defect in the transportation. If Mr. Davis will return half of what he has taken from us we can transport any and everything that may be offered to be carried over the State road. If he deprives us of what we have and refuses to return any portion of it on demand, you see at once the impossibility of our meeting the heavy drafts likely to be made upon us. It may be thought that the State should have replaced the rolling-stock taken by the Confederate Government by having new engines and cars made. You will readily see the impossiblility of this when you reflect that we have been unable to import such heavy material through the blockade and that the Confederate Government has had control of all the iron mils and almost all the foundries in the Confederacy. The officers of that Government, however, refused to let us get a supply of iron from the Etowah Works near the road for our ordinary repairs when we were hauling all the coal that kept the works going, and it has been with great difficulty that we could secure the supply. Indeed, we must have failed had it not been for the action