War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0486 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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authority to make the connection, to continue during the war. If the connection is to be used for military purposes only, and to be removed after the close of the present war, it would not be to the interest of the railroad companies, or either of them, to make it on their own account, while they could well afford to do so if it could be used permanently and for general purposes. By the general railroad law of the State no railroad track can be laid down in the street of any city without the consent of its corporate authorities. The general terms of the ordinance of the convention may have been, and probably were, designed to dispense with this provision of the general law; but for reasons which I need not suggest in detail some doubt is entertained whether such is its effect. A doubt o n this subject would make it proper that the company should consult the corporate authorities of the city before undertaking to lay down a track through its streets. There are other considerations also which seemed to the Board of Directors of the Petersburg Railroad Company to make it proper for them to consult the corporate authorities. In the first place, the city of Petersburg is the owner of nearly one-half of the stock of the company. In the next place, it was well known that a great repugnance is felt by the citizens of Petersburg to any connection between the roads in question by means of which produce and merchandise would pass through Petersburg to and from Richmond. This was tested some years ago by a popular vote. It was believed by the Board that no permission could be obtained to lay down a road for general purposes and as a permanent connection, and it was thought very doubtful whether even a temporary connection would be allowed for general purposes. I mention these things to explain why the company cannot build the road in question on their own account. The Board of Directors, however, have every disposition to give their aid to the Government in providing a military road. They are willing to construct such a road for the Government and to receive payment of its actual cost in the 8 per cent. bonds of the Government at par, with the privilege of transporting their passengers and mails only (not freight) over the connection. These suggestions will indicate the general views of the Board, but the committee now here are authorized to negotiate and settle the terms in detail. These could be better discussed and arranged in a personal interview. As the committee would be glad to leave the city by 3 o'clock, it would oblige them if you could give this subject your early attention.

I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,



Richmond, July 18, 1861.

Captain CALEB HUSE and



GENTLEMEN: This Department has received a communication from Mr. F. H. Hatch, collector for the port of New Orleans, inclosing report of Captain H. L. Hanley, commanding the expedition sent in search of the ship Windsor Forest, with regard to the voyage made in prosecution of this search. In view of the difficulties and possible dangers attending the execution of the important commission with which you have been intrusted by this Government, it is thought proper to transmit to you an extract from this report and to ask your particular