At a later period, after the victory of Chattanooga had cleared away the enemy and given the army room to operate, Colonel D. C. McCallum, general superintendent and director of military railroads, was called from the East, where he had been engaged, in superintending the railroads which supplied the armies in Virginia, and directed to bring with him a large portion of the trained and organized construction corps, which had been formed during the war, and beginning at the southern end of the railroad at Chattanooga, to work northward at its reconstruction until he met the parties working south from Nashville.
Subsequently he was placed in entire litary railroads in the West, and he succeeded in organizing a most efficient construction corps, which has performed feats of railroads and bridge building which have never before been approached.
The reconstruction of the trestle bridge across the Chattanoochee River, near Atlanta-a bridge of 780 feet in length and 90 feet in height-in the space of four and a half days, is one of the most wonderful of these achievements.
At this time the superintendence of the transportation of supplies by water on the Western rivers was committed to Colonel Lewis B. Parsons, whose headquarters are placed at Saint Louis. All accounts for charter of steamers on the Western rivers were ordered to his office for examination and settlement. Under his just and energetic control uniform rates for transportation of troops and of freight were soon established, and all the resources of the immense steam-boat interest of the West brought to contribute to the regular, prompt, and abundant supply of the armies operating on the Mississippi and its tributaries. Availing himself of the high water in the Cumberland, he pushed forward to Nashville vas stores of supplies at moderate rates, and effected great economies in their transportation.
Under the energetic superintendence of General Allen, Lieutenant- Colonel Donaldson, Lieutenant-Colonel Easton, and Colonel McCallum, the roads soon improved, supplies were rapidly forwarded to the front, and soon the army at Chattanooga was not only relieved from its distress, but that at Knoxville was supplied from its abundant stores. For a time the steamers which first reached Chattanooga during the battle of Mission Ridge carried supplies toward Knoxville, but the railroad between Chattanooga and Knoxville was repaired in the course of the winter, and relieved the steamers of this duty.
Orders were given to the officers above named for the accumulation of supplies at Nashville and Chattanooga, for the thorough repair and stocking of the railroads, and for preparations to repair the roads in rear of the army on its expected advance during the next campaign, as far as Atlanta.
The Cumberland River being navigable only for a portion of the year, the Louisville River and Nashville and the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroads being liable to interruption by the raids of guerrillas, or of the rebel cavalry in force, it was important to provide all possible means of supply. With this view the railroad from Nashville to the lower Tennessee River, at Reynoldsburg, known as the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad, was completed and opened, and the railroad from Nashville to Decatur, and thence to Stevenson, was also repaired, its bridges reconstructed, and it was furnished with rollingstock.
The construction of the fleet of steamers at Bridgeport was urged forward; they served an important purpose for a time, and when the
56 R R-SERIES III, VOL IV