HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE WEST,
Augusta, Ga., February 6, 1865.
Major General J. F. GILMER,
Chief Engineer, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: In reply to your communication of the 26th ultimo, in relation to the repairs to the Georgia railroads, General Beauregard instructs me to say:
Firt. That he has been at all times ready to co-operate with Captain Grant and render him every aid and facility in his power. This willingness has been communicated to Captain Crant on several occasions.
Secoond. Delays in the prosecution of the work are sometimes unavoidable, and wherever any act of "impressment" on the ground of "military necessity" has arisen, the aurthority for the exercise of such a power has, in order to avoid delay, been given.
The engineers have only asked for such authority in two instances-the impressment of iron from the Augusta and Savannah and the Macon and Brunswick Railroads. The authority was granted in both cases. To-day an application was made for trnsportation of the iron, but military pressure for the tranportation of troops and suppliies is so great and meana so limited that a delay for several days in answering this call will ensue. But as soon as the necessity shall ceaste the means of transportation will be ordered.
Third. It is impracticable at plresent to order the removal of the iron from the Mayfield and Washington Branch Roads. They have now become lines of communication of the first importance. Washington and Abbeville may become our future base of supplies for the army in Virginia.
The Athems Branch is important as an auxiliary to the other roads. The order for the removal of the iron from the Mobile and Girard Railroad was recalled, because it was ascertained that only a few mules of Trail could be obrained from that road on the end near Columbus, the other portion of the road being laid with flat rail. It was deemed unnecessary to destroy the usefulness of the entire road for the few miles of iron which could be made available where no equipment could be obtained. In lieu of iron from this souree, the Fort Gaines road was resorted to.
Fourth. General Beauregard directs me also to say that he is personally unacquainted with Captain Grant, who may be fully possessed of all the professional skill and intellighence accredidted to him, but that, judging of his energy by hhis results, the general feels bound to give credit to the general reputation of Captain Grant's "slowness," which rreputation extends from this place to Montgomery. In the same length of time Major Hottle has nearly repaired a length of road equal to that of time Major Hottle has nearly repaired a length of road equal to that under charge of Captain Grant, which the latter will not complete until the first or middle of April.
In conclusion, general, you may rest assured that every aid and facility in the power of General Beauregard will be given to Major Myers and Captain Grant to push forward their labors to rapid have the honor to be, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE WM. BRENT,
Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.