your dispatch for the Second Division to prepare for the journey, and they left Nashville on the 4th of January for Baltimore, fully equipped for any kind of railroad work. Arriving in Baltimore on the 10th, there was a delay of eight days before a vessel could be furnished to take them to Savannah. On the 28th they arrived at Hilton Head, but were not disembarked there. On the 29th General Sherman gave me orders to proceed with my men to Morehead City, N. C., and "prepare to make railroad connection to Goldsborough by the middle of March."
We left Hilton Head on the 3rd and arrived off Morehead City on the 5th of February. The men and railroad supplies brought with us were landed next day. We found the railroad in running order from Morehead City to Batchelder's Creek, a distance of forty- four miles. The track, however, was in bad condition, and the sidings were entirely inadequate to the business about to be thrown upon the road. The wharf of Morehead City had not half the capacity required for unloading vessels, and there was not fifty cords of wood on the whole road for railroad use. The equipment of the road consisted of sixty-two cars and three locomotives in running order, and nine cars and two locomotives unfit for use without repairs. I appointed J. B. Van Dyne, esq., superintendent of transportation and William Cessford master mechanic, and they went to work at once to organize their respective departments. The Construction Corps, under Mr. Smeed, division engineer, was put to work repairing main track and extending old sidings and laying new ones where required; preparing cross-ties, bridge timber, saw logs, piles, and wharf timber; building and repairing water-tanks, and other necessary work preparatory to an extension of the road and conducting a large business. Arrangements were made for an ample supply of wood. I found Mr. McAlpine on the road with a small construction force; they had repaired a few hundred yards of track and almost completed the bridge over Batchelder's Creek. He had been sent here by order of General Grant, but as soon as we arrived he considered himself relieved and returned at once to Virginia with his men. Mr. McAlpine had brought some little railroad iron and a few cross-ties with him from Virginia, but with this exception we found the road destitute of materials and tools necessary for construction and repairs and for operating it. Accordingly requisitions for the necessary amount of these supplies, together with the probable additional amount of rolling-stock that would be required, were sent at once to your office. Having received orders on the 17th of February to build a new wharf of considerable dimensions at Morehead City, I also made requisition for two steam pile drivers and such material for this purpose as could not be procured here.
On the 3rd of March General Cox (who was in command of the column that moved from here) commenced his advance toward Goldsborough. He was poorly supplied with wagon transportation, and therefore had to depend upon the railroad almost entirely. The construction of the railroad kept pace with the advance of the troops, and the supplies were moved by rail from camp to camp and unloaded from the main track as the troops marched up the road. Of course track laying could not advance so rapidly under such circumstances as if the track had been kept clear for construction purposes; but still the progress was very satisfactory. This mode of advance and movement of supplies was continued until we reached a point on the railroad opposite the battle-field of Wise's Cross-Roads. Here we made a temporary depot, and (a supply of wagon transportation having arrived) stores