War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 1034 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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Little Rock and Memphis Railroad, and requested of the President, if consistent with his views, a recommendation for a loan of a certain amount of the Confederate bonds to the company in order to expedite the completion of the road. In the meantime I introduced a bill in the Provisional Congress authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to make this loan on certain conditions and terms, and the bill was referred to the Committee on Military Affairs. The Congress adjourned, however, without disposing of the bill. The President turned over our letter to Mr. Benjamin, your predecessor in office. I have again brought the bill to the attention of this Congress, and it is now before the Military Committee of the House of Representatives. Mr. Benjamin promised me some days since to look up the letter and give us a response if he could possibly find the time. He did not, however, do this, beinuppose, by his numerous pressing engagements. In a more recent correspondence with the President on this subject he again requests me to confer with the War Department.

This road, if completed, would be of the utmost importance to the Confederate States in the present war. A glance at the map exhibiting the district of country through which it is to pass would convince you of this. We have completed the road except between Madison and White River, a distance of about sixty miles. We do not ask the Government to build the road, to take stock, or in any way to become interested in the road or liable for it, but merely to loan the company a certain amount of her bonds, upon good personal and real security, which the company can readily give to any amount. The plan we propose, as we conceive, frees the subject of all the long vexed questions arising under the Constitution out of the matter of internal improvements, and we believe there is no difficulty on this point. The Government in this matter cannot even risk a loss, much less lose anything, while she will do great service to our cause and contribute in a large degree to the means of defense of a very large and valuable scope of country now threatened to be overrun by the enemy. Keeping an eye to the seat of war (or seats of war) in Arkansas at this time, I think I may safely say t he early completion of this road is a military necessity, if one can be said to exist at all. Permit me to request you to examine the letters above referred to at as early a day as you may be able to do so, and write me on the subject. An indorsement by you of this proposition would not only have great weight, but would secure the passage of the bill before Congress, in my opinion, and an early examination of the matter is respectfully solicited by

Yours, very truly, &c.,


Member of Congress from Arkansas.


Richmond, Va., April 1, 1862.


Secretary of War:

SIR: Yourtimo is received, inclosing resolution of the Senate, Confederate States of America, with regard to losses incurred recently at Forts Henry and Donelson, Fishing Creek and Roanoke Island, and on the retreats from Columbus, New Madrid,