was given on the 17th of February, 1864, and on the 25th of the same month I received your order directing me to adopt the most energetic means at my command to complete the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad. I at once made an examination of the work to be done and found it to consist of a rather formidable amount of grading, bridging, track laying, and other work incident to the construction of a new railroad, and proceeded to take the necessary steps to complete the work as directed. I appointed Lieutenant Colonel John Clark engineer of construction, and by General Grant's direction sent North for 2,000 mechanics and laborers in addition to the force then on the road. Some time after we had got fairly under way Governor Johnson, claiming the right under the above-mentioned order of the Secretary of War to appoint an engineer, also selected Colonel Clark, who then filled this double position until the work of construction was so far completed that the track was connected through, as event which took place on the 10th day of May, 1864. Governor Johnson continued to exercise semi-control over the operations on this road until it was formally taken possession of by General Sherman and placed absolutely under the control of the general manager of military railroads, in accordance with the order of the President of the United States dated August 6, 1864. The Transportation Department then took charge of the movements of trains, and the maintenance of way, together with construction work, remained in my department.
On the 20th of August I appointed W. R. Kingsley, esq. (who had been connected with the road as division engineer since April), engineer in charge of construction and maintenance of way. He continued to perform the duties of this position faithfully and satisfactorily until the 1st of April, 1865, when, all construction work being done, the maintenance of way was turned over to the transportation department. The line of this road as originally located crossed the Tennessee River nearly perpendicular to the course of that stream and at an elevation of fifty-two feet above low water and nine feet above high water. The approach to the river was an embarkment seventeen feet high above the surface of the ground on the river bank. The object of making this a military railroad being the transportation of army supplies from the Tennessee River to Nashville, it became necessary to construct ample and convenient arrangements for the transfer of freight from steam-boats to cars. Accordingly two large transfer freight-houses were designed and built, one on each side of the railroad, with tracks starting from main line at the bluff and curving right and left until parallel with the buildings and river bank. The freight-house or shed on the north or lower side, 600 feet long by 30 feet wide, was hastily knocked up so as to bring it into immediate use, and the levee in front graded off to the water's edge with a slope of 9 degrees or about 16 feet rise in 100 feet horizontal. The freight-house on south side, 600 feet long and 90 feet wide, was a much more complete building. The floor was two feet and a half above high- water mark and the levee in front graded to a slope of 14 degrees, on which it was designated to lay railroad tracks from low-water mark to floor of freight-house. The plan for transferring freight from steam-boats to cars was to load from the boats on to small cars, which were hauled up the levee to the level of the freight-house floor by a wire rope passing round a pulley or spool, which was dropped into or lifted out of gear with the main shaft by a lever. This main shaft was 500 feet long and passed through the center of the building immediately below the floor or platform and was operated by an engine located in the middle of the building. The freight was then passed directly