War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 1167 Chapter LVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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the the privilege to the railroad company of making the requisite enlargement. To the inconveniences and impediments resulting from the narrow gauge to which, by its charter, the Piedmont Railroad Company is restricted, are to be ascribed most of the delays and obstructions that have so retarded transportation on that road and periled both military operations and the due supply of the Army of Northern Virginia. There is at present the necessity of two stoppages and transfers of passengers and freight-one at Greensborough and the other at Danville, and the latter at a point which, from the grades and other circumstances, is peculiarly slow and inconvenient. Besides the rolling stock and machinery of the Danville road are now wholly unavailable for the Piedmont road, and at this time it is almost impossible to provide adequately for a new road. The two roads, if of the same gauge, might be managed far more economically and satisfactorily together, and results in accommodation both to the public and the army attained, which, under the present disconnection and with the necessity of sperate rolling stock and separate arrangements, cannot be anticipated. On this single route is now thrown almost the whole travel and freight from the south, and the safety, both of this and your own State, to say nothing of the general interests of the public, demand that all practicable facilities and aid should be given for the due discharge of its in portent functions. I venture to hope your legislature will not be insensible to the momentous considerations that recommend the withdrawal at this time of a restriction which seriously hampers the operations of the road and materially diminishes its usefulness.

Very respectfully, yours,

JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War.

WILMINGTON, January 31, 1865.

General R. E. LEE,

Petersburg, Va.:

Some movement of the enemy was being made at Fort Fisher yesterday, but its object was not ascertained at night. No change had been previously discerned. All practicable means will be employed to obtain the truth. Deserters coming into our lines here report re-enforcements expected.

BRAXTON BRAGG.

WILMINGTON, January 31, 1865.

General R. E. LEE,

Petersburg:

General Hoke, commanding in front of the enemy's lines, reports he cannot ascertain the departure of anything but one regiment, sent as a guard to our prisoners. Deserters, prisoners, and scouts concur in this statement.

BRAXTON BRAGG.

WILMINGTON, January 31, 1865-9.30 a. m.

Major-General HOKE,

Sugar Loaf:

Dispatches from Virginia represent enemy have withdrawn from your front, leaving only garrisons. General Bragg is very anxious to know exact state of affairs, and desires you will use every effort to ascertain it as soon as possible.

ARCHER ANDERSON,

Assistant Adjutant-General.