copy to Engineer Department, Washington, General Boyle is directed
to impress negroes to the number of 8,000, if needed, to be employed in constructing railroads from Lebanon to Danville, and from Nicholasville to Danville, and thence to Somerset. It is understood here that it is intended to continue the railroad to Clinton, from which place it is already graded to Knoxville, of which 10 miles are in use near Knoxville. General Boyle has orders from General Burnside to push the works; to order commissaries to furnish subsistence stores, and quartermasters to furnish quartermaster's supplies, wagons, tents, and teams, and to pay the employes, and to furnish materials to work upon.
The Lebanon and Danville branch is being done by an arrangement with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company. The company has, by resolution, agreed to make the contracts for the work of repairing for the Government, for the wages of negroes and others, and for materials, subsistence, and carts furnished by the United States. It is understood that in time this branch will be the property of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company, when the road from Nicholasville to Danville is completed. Work has been commenced only within a few days. Thence south only surveys have been begun by the Government. About 2,300 negroes have already been impressed.
M. Glenn has been appointed by General Burnside chief engineer of the road south of Nicholasville. He thinks the company will build the Lebanon branch in four months; that it will take the United States-there being no solvent company or none with means sufficient-eight months to construct the road from Nicholasville to Somerset and one year to reach Knoxville. It is 140 miles to Clinton. Others say to build 140 miles of railroad through such a country will require not less than three years.
The orders of General Burnside are one month old. General Boyle is acting under positive orders of General Burnside, and so are commissaries and quartermasters. I informed General Boyle that you had directed me to inquire into the facts of the case, and to say that you could not sanction expenditures upon a railroad which Congress had by special resolution repealed the President's power to construct after he had entered upon the work. He has telegraphed to General Burnside. It would, I may suggest, by will for the President to take definite action on the subject. Major-General Burnside may suppose that he has special authority. I understand that his attention was called by telegraph to the resolution of Congress. I go forward by special train to-morrow at 7.30 a.m.
M. C. MEIGS,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE TENNESSEE,
Vicksburg,, Miss., September 23, 1863
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VIII. Brigadier General Peter J. Osterhaus, commanding First Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee, will proceed with his command with all possible dispatch to the Department of the Cumberland and report to Major General W. S. Rosecrans, commanding . En route he will report to Major General S. A. Hurlbut, at Memphis, Tenn. for instructions as to the route by which he is expected to