OFFICE Mississippi CENTRAL RAILROAD COMPANY, Grenada, February 16, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond:
DEAR SIR: I herewith inclose a copy of a letter addressed to Lieutenant General J. C. Pemberton, in answer to charges made against this road for delays in the transportation of troops from Grenada to Jackson, MISS. I have only to add to my reply to General Pemberton that there is just enough of truth in the charges made by General Bowen to give the semblance of truth to the whole, yet in almost all particulars they are untrue.
OFFICE Mississippi CENTRAL RAILROAD COMPANY, Grenada, February 14, 1863.
Lieutenant General J. C. PEMBERTON, C. S. A.,
Comdg. Army of MISS.:
DEAR SIR: I have received the communication of your assistant adjutant-general R. W. Memminger, of the 5th instant, inclosing a copy of a letter of Brigadier-General [J. S.] Bowen, of the 31st of January, addressed to Lieutenant Colonel J. R. Waddy, assistant adjutant-general, in reference to the delay in the transportation of troops from Grenada to Jackson. In reply to the letter and charges made by Brigadier-General Bowen, I have to remark that this road is not chargeable with any delays occurring after the arrival of trains at Canton, the southern terminus of our road. So far as this road is concerned, I pronounce the charges made in the letter of General Bowen as untrue, except in a few charges made in the letter of General Bowen as untrue, except in a few cases of accidental detention occasioned by trains running off the track, accidents that do and will occur on the best managed roads. I ask, and think I have a right to claim, the most rigid examination into the truth or falsity of the charges made.
During the movement of troops from Grenada, some three, perhaps four, trains were delayed at different times by up, and in one case a down, train running off the track. The longest detention was six hours, others for a shorter period of time. In one or two cases trains were delayed from one to three hours for want of fuel, our wood at our principal station, Vaiden, having been consumed by troops stationed there, although we had used every means at our command to protect it for the use of our engines.
It is true there was an undue proportion of flat-cars in the trains, but that was no fault of ours. On the first intimation from Major Banks, chief quartermaster at Grenada, that a large amount of transportation for troops would probably be soon required, I stated to him that out of 500 cars belonging to the road not more than 50 or 60 were on the road in running order; that most of the residue had been taken from our road by military authority and in use on the New Orleans and Jackson, the Southern, and Mobile and Ohio roads, for the purpose of transporting sugar and others freights for military or private speculation; that many of the cars had been absent for six months, notwithstanding my frequent application to the officers of the roads and military authorities to have then returned, and I could not supply the number of cars he required unless ours were returned or cars belonging to other roads were ordered on to ours. Major Banks promised to order our cars home. They did not come, and we were dependent upon other roads for cars,