MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
CHIEF ENGINEER'S OFFICE U. S. MILITARY RAILROADS,
Chattanooga, November 1, 1864.
Bvt. Brigadier General D. C. McCALLUM,
Director and General Manager Military Railroads of the United States, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: In compliance with your order I have the honor to make the following report of operations in the construction department U. S. Military Railroads since the 1st of January last:
It is impossible to include my operations previous to that date in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, because all my papers relating to these are in Washington. I can only, therefore, refer you to the reports which I made you from time to time previous to leaving Washington for such information as you may require. The nucleus of the Construction Corps of the Military Division of the Mississippi, which now numbers some 6,000 men, was one division of the old construction corps of Virginia, sent here in December last, consisting of a subdivision of track men. This force was at once put to work on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, and repaired the track from Bridgeport to Chattanooga and assisted to complete the Running Water and other bridges. Large accessions of men having arrived in January, three new divisions were organized. One division was sent to the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad to assist in relaying the track on that road, which was in such bad condition that it was unsafe to run trains over it. Nearly the whole of the remaining force was put upon the Chattanooga and Knoxville line, and the work of rebuilding and repairing pushed vigorously until a connection was made north of the Tennessee River with the uninjured portion of the road.
On this line we have two large bridges, one over the Hiawassee River at Charleston, and the other over the Tennessee River at Loudon. At both places trestle bridn the first instance, but afterward replaced with permanent ones on the Howe truss plan. The trestle bridge at Loudon was the largest bridge of the kind that has been built on any U. S. military railroad, being 1,700 feet long and 85 feet high. The railbeing complete between Chattanooga and Knoxville, and ample preparations made for putting and keeping the main railroad artery, the Nashville, and Chattanooga Railroad, in thorough repair, the work on the Chattanooga and Atlanta road was commenced. This had been almost completely destroyed as far south as Ringgold, but we repaired it to a point about one mile south of that place by the 1st of May, about the date of the commencement of the Georgia campaign. From the commencement of that movement until the capture of Atlanta the railroad was steadily pushed forward with advance of the army. By a judicious disposition of the Construction Corps and an ample supply of men and materials we were always ready and prepared to do at any time whatever was required. In one instance, that of the Resaca bridge over the Oostenaula River, the work of reconstruction commenced while the old bridge was still burning, and was somewhat delayed because the iron rods were so hot that the men could not handle them to remove the wreck.
In addition to the main line two branch lines were put in order as the army advanced one twenty-seven miles long, from Dalton to Cleveland, and the other sixteen miles long, from Kingston to Rome.