upon the Nashville and Northwestern and Nashville and Clarksville lines, left us on the 1st of March with the First, Fourth, and Seventh Divisions, amounting in all to about 2,000 men.
On the 1st of March, by your order, I transferred the Fifth and Sixth Divisions of the Constnstruction and maintenance of the Northwestern and Clarksville lines, to the transportation department, they taking entire control of the roads from that date.
February 16 sent the First Division of trackmen, who had been assisting the bridge force on the Nashville, Decatur and Stevenson line, to Chattanooga, and returned the bridge-builders of the First Division, by order of General Thomas, to Columbia, to erect a permanent turnpike bridge across Duck River at that point. I directed Mr. Rozelle, superintendent in charge, to put up a Howe truss of three spans, 112 feet each, using the bolts and castings of bridges destroyed on the railroad. The bridge was finished the latter part of May, having been built at intervals when the division was not otherwise employed. It is a strong and permanent structure of 350 feet in length, costing about $50 per foot (linear), which I would respectfully suggest charging the turnpike company or corporation of Columbia with.
On the 25th of February we were visited by a freshest, almost unprecedented, which destroyed or injured to a greater or less extent all the bridges on the Nashville, Decatur and Stevenson line, on the Northwestern, five on the Chattanooga and Atlanta line between Chattanooga and Dalton, and two on the Clarksville line. The repairs of the roads were commenced at once by the First Division, the permanent bridge force of the various lines, and a large force of Nagle's men furnished by the transportation department. The bridges on the Chattanooga and Atlanta line were at the same time commenced by the Fourth Division, in charge of C. Latimer, division engineer, who upon their completion repaired with his force to the Elk River bridge on Nashville, Dacatur and Stevenson line, and continued working from that end of the line until joined by Rozelle, working south.
On the 3rd of March we had another freshest, almost as disastrous as the former one, destroying again nearly all the bridges we had rebuilt, and this time washing out three bridges on the Nashville and Chattanooga line and throwing four others out of line. Large forces of men were immediately put to work, and after an interruption of one week communication was again established with Chattanooga on the Northwestern and Nashville, Decatur and Stevenson lines. Communication was not fully restored until the 28th. Owing to in part of the Red River bridge the Clarksville line west of Springfield was abandoned.
On March 12 received orders from General Thomas to reopen the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad from Strawberry Plains to Bull's Gap, and put it in condition to sustain as heavy a business as was done upon the Chattanooga and Atlanta line last summer. I accordingly directed Mr. Latimer, division engineer, with the track force of the First Division and a carpenter force from the Fourth Division, to proceed at once to Strawberry Plains for that purpose. We commenced work at that point on the 14th. From thence to New Market thoyed in patches for one mile and a half, including five cattle guards, two bridges of thirty feet span each, and tank at Friend's Station. The road was repaired and opened to New Market the 18th. From New Market to Morristown the track was