but always out of or short in subsistence stores or forage. I have repeatedly urged him to exert himself; his excuse is that the cars are not unloaded properly on their arrival at Bridgeport and at way stations. In reply to inquiry on the subject of unloading cars, Captain Le Duc asserts positively that with every obstacle thrown in his way by the railroad employes, compelling him to move every train from the main track and back by man or mule power, he has managed to unload all the trains which have reached Bridgeport, and day before yesterday, when he made his report, there were upwards of 30 empty freight cars lying on the track, and had been there for several days. I have not heard yet that Mr. Anderson has secured a sufficient construction and repair corps to keep his road in order. His track-master, who has charge from Bridgeport here, called on me two weeks since for assistance to place the road in condition, to commence as soon as the Running Water bridge was completed. I had previously ordered a large detail of soldiers to work along the road from here to Nashville, so as to help Anderson and put the road in order at once. General Slocum says he does not call on him for assistance, nor say what he would like to have done.
The officer intrusted with the cutting of wood for the road between this and Bridgeport reports that he had over 4,000 cords cut, and that he can supply the road with wood until a corps of wood-cutters is hired by Mr. Anderson. As yet I do not see that any steps have been taken either to get section-hands or wood-cutters for this part of the road; therefore, infer from the unusual delay in putting the road between Bridgeport and Nashville in order that but little has been done for that. But for the timely arrival of Colonel McCallum, with something over 200 of his men, from Virginia (Army of the Potomac), I doubt if the bridge over Running Water would have been completed for ten days to come.
Colonel McCallum informed me on his arrival that on the receipt of General Meigs' dispatch ordering him out here he inferred from the nature of the order that a strong corps of workmen was much needed. He therefore hired 1,200, and was expecting their arrival early this week, but that Mr. Anderson with reluctance consented to take 500 of them. I ordered him to put the other 700 to work on the Northwestern Road and complete it as rapidly as possible, and after repairing thoroughly this road as far to the rear ar Nashville, with the remaining 500 and the bridge party of 200 which have been at work on the Running Water bridge to commence work on the road from here to Knoxville.
After hearing Colonel McCallum's report I determined to telegraph to General Halleck the state of affairs, and received in reply the accompanying telegram,* which will explain to you his position. I will direct him to call on you in Nashville, and I feel confident that if anybody can help us out of this railroad difficulty he can. He is thoroughly practicable and willing to obey orders and receive suggestions. Besides, he fully comprehends all the difficulties in the way, as well as the magnitude of the undertaking, to supply by railroad the force we are compelled to have at this point.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.