I avail myself of this opportunity to call your attention to the absolute necessity of having cars loaded with freight discharged as soon as practicable. Every moment's delay is felt more than any person who is not acquainted with railroad schedules can conceive of. This should not only be done at the various destinations of freight, but also here in Richmond. I am satisfied that a depot situated near the line of the railroad should be established, so that cars so loaded could be discharged without the aid of wagons, &c.
W. S. ASHE.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
VIRGINIA CENTRAL RAILROAD, GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT'S OFFICE, Richmond, Va., September 23, 1861.
Major W. S. ASHE, Quartermaster, &c.:
SIR: In answer to the letter from Acting Secretary of War to Colonel A. C. Myers, Quartermaster-General, I respectfully submit the following information:
There are three causes why the Government freight has been detained to some extent, as follows:
1st. The want of rolling stock. This road was provided with barely stock enough for the transportation of produce, &c., in ordinary times, and even then we had delays from want of cars at certain seasons. Now we have the armies of the West, the Northwest, and of the Potomac,t he population of a considerable city, to supply. I think I am reasonable in saying that 75 per cent. of the supplies for this army is taken over some portion of our road.
2nd. The Government freight is regular. Two weeks since (I write from memory) I applied to you, as you may recollect, for freight to transport, for I feared the very state of affairs which has since occurred, and for want of Government freight we were transporting goods and merchandise for private parties. Then came this rush upon us, to be followed by another leisure spell.
3rd. Want of storage room at several of the points were goods are sent from by wagons to the army at manassas, Fairfax, and Millborough. At these points goods have remained in the cars, because they could not be unloaded for want of storage. It is not long since one of my employes, one who is considered a reliable men, saw thirteen trains at Manassas; eleven of these were loaded. Some of the trains probably came from lynchburg. But as we have never sent more than two freight trains from Richmond to Manassas, you must see that there has been detention at one time, to say the least. I have no doubt there was good cause for it. I know that the cars have been detained at Milborough. There were probably fifty loaded cars there on Friday last. You have been obliged to issue order to have them unloaded without a shelter for the goods. In future I suppose this cause of delay will not trouble us.
But with all the delays I can assure you that the detention in Richmond has not been serious. My impression is that it has not exceeded forty-eight hours, except in the case of the flour mentioned. The order for that came the 18th. We sent seventy barrels that day, and the last of the lot was loaded the 21st and went off this morning.
We are taking no private freights without permission from the quartermaster's office.
H. D. WHITECOMB,