War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0101 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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Plans and drawings of the rolling-mill, with an estimate of its cost, were forwarded to A. Anderson, esq., chief superintendent and engineer, ten days ago.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Acting Chief Engineer Government Railroads Division of the Tennessee.


Washington, D. C., August 21, 1865.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith letter of Brevet Major-General Webster, dated July 23, 1865, referred for report.

The Quartermaster-General is fully impressed with the importance of restoring the Southern railroads to civil control. Paragraph II, General Orders, Numbers 77, War Department, April 28, 1865, directed that all purchase for railroad construction and transportation be stopped.

This paragraph the Quartermaster-General republished in his General Orders, Numbers 24, April 29, 1865, calling special attention thereto, and directed (paragraph VI) that all railroad construction and repairs, except those needed on lines by which troops are still supplied or by which troops may be marching, will cease.

The Quartermaster-General, on the 19th of May, 1865, made report recommending a basis for transfer of railroads to their owners, and in this report anticipated most of the considerations presented by General Webster. Reference is respectfully made to that report.*

Orders have been given to the general manager U. S. Military Railroads for the relinquishment of the railroads under his control in Virginia and North Carolina and in the Southwest; and on the 1st of August, 1865, a recommendation was forwarded to the War Department that two roads, reported by General McCallum as the only ones in his control of which the transfer had not been ordered, should be also ordered to be turned over.

The railroads in the Military Division of the Gulf not having been under control of General McCallum, the chief quartermaster of that division has been instructed to turn these over to parties approved by the general commanding.

Orders, therefore, have been given for the transfer to their companies of all railroads in military possession as soon as parties qualified and willing to assume charge of them present themselves.

Specific instructions from the Secretary of War or from the lieutenant-general to the military commanders of departments and districts urging upon them the importance of transferring all these railroads to their civil managers, and directing them to communicate with the civil authorities and endeavor to effect this transfer in all cases, would probably hasten the event.

Upon return from a short absence on duty in Missouri the Quartermaster-General found that the great lines of railroads diverging from Nashville, though ordered to be turned over under authority of the Secretary of War dated July 21, 1865, were still under Government control, and he is informed that no responsible parties have as yet