I would also stipulate that if the Government should supply its own cars, they should be transported at a certain rate per mile with their loads of not exceeding 16,000 pounds. If a greater weight is contained in a car, the excess to be paid for at a price to be agreed upon, and these cars to have preference over all other freight cars as to time of transportation. I would also suggest that one, two, or three general freight agents be appointed in different sections of the Confederacy as superintendents of Government transportation, and to see that the conditions of the contracts were complied with, and that these general agents should have power to select messengers to travel with Government trains to prevent delays and secure speedy delivery. These messengers to grant to each company a certificate setting forth the quantity of freight transported, the distance carried, and the amount to which it is entitled thereof. These certificates to be the only voucher required for services performed. Thus simplifying the mode of settlement now in use, and preventing overcharges of weight or price to be paid.
As to Government cars, I think contracts could be made with the several railroad companies and ihe manufacture of 300 or 400 or more cars if springs or materials for springs can be obtained. The shops of the South Carolina road at Charleston, the Georgia Central at Savannah, the Georgia road at Augusta, the Memphis and Charleston road at Huntsville, and the Mississippi Central road at Holly Springs, perhaps others, could all manufacture cars. Besides these there are shops at Charleston, Augusta, Ga., Atlanta, Ga., at Nashville, Tenn., near Amite City, Miss., belonging to individuals that would doubtless contract to deliver cars. In addition to these there have been cars manufactured at the Georgia Penitentiary for years. Wheels and axles can be obtained in a reasonable time at Lynchburg, Richmond, and Knoxville. As to locomotives and other engines, as I stated in conversation, there are but few railroad shops on long roads but what are capable of turning out engines with a small increase of mechanical force if materials can be procured. The materials most in demand are steel boiler-plate, sheet-iron, and flues for boilers. I think all but the steel may be supplied within the Confederacy within a few months. Engines have been made at the railroad shops in Charleston, Savannah, and Atlanta, and could be at those in Richmond, Lynchburg, Petersburg, Nashville, Memphis, and Holly Springs, and probably at Vicksburg. Rolling-mills are required for rolling railroad iron and many other articles connected with the manufacture of engines. A mill to do effective work would cost from $100,000 to $150,000. If two or three were erected in as many different sections of the Confederacy it would result in great saving of transportation. Mark A. Cooper, in Western Georgia, has a rolling-mill and nail factory. By some additions it could soon be made to supply many articles now needed. It is in close proximity to a fine quality of iron ore and coal, and possesses water-power of great superiority. Mr. Cooper, I understand, is somewhat embarrassed, and it is probable his works could be purchased on favorable terms as to price. I think Huntsville, Ala., offers many advantages for rolling-mills, workshops, &c. It possesses an abundant supply of water for steam power, is in close proximity to iron and coal, a healthy situation, and easily accessible. The same remarks would perhaps apply to Tuscumbia, Florence, Decatur, and Nashville. Mr. Tanner, of
56 R R-SERIES IV, VOL I