other persons well acquainted with the cost of building and equipping railroads that it will require, as the work stands and under existing circumstances, the sum of $500,000 to finish and equip the entire road so as to place it at the earliest possible moment in such condition as will enable it to fulfill the demands of the Government. The company chartered to build this road has expended already in its construction and in the purchase of stock and materials very nearly or quite $1,000,000. It has some forty-five miles of its road completed, the grading of most of the remained under contract, and about $300,000 of stock notes on hand, but now unavailable. With the aid of the Government the road could be entirely finished in a few months, and when finished, in addition to the facilities afforded for the transportation of troops and munitions of war, the route of the road would open to the Alabama and Mississippi Rivers the most productive grain and provision country of the South. I will venture to make to you this suggestion: Amount necessary to finish and furnish the road, $500,000; amount already authorized, $150,000; balance $350,000, say one-half in Treasury notes and one-half in Government bonds. If the Government will consent to make the additional advance in Treasury notes and bonds the repayment of the amount will be secured by lien on the entire road and its rolling-stock, fixtures, &c., and the company will stipulate to place the road subject to the control of the Government when required for war purposes, and to receive on account of any freight or services rendered by the road to the Government a credit on the debit incurred by the proposed advance till the whole amount be extinguished. The company will also consent, if required, to secure the advance by mortgage on the road, &c., with power of sale, so that payment can be enforce before the bonds of the Government shall mature. The undersigned submits these suggestions in order that some plan may be devised to accomplish at the earliest possible day the wishes of the Government in regard to the work in question, and is prepared to make any statement in explanation that may be required.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES L. PRICE.
[APRIL 10, 1862. -For Milton to Randolph, in relation to the organization of troops in Florida, see Series I, VOL. LIII, p. 230.]
AN ACT for the organization of a corps of officers for the working of niter caves and establishing niter beds.
The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That for the purpose of procuring a supply of niter, adequate to the wants of the Government, during continuance of the war with the United States, the President be, and he is hereby, authorized to appoint a corps of officers, consisting of one superintendent, with the rank, pay and allowances of a major of artillery, four assistants, with the rank, pay and allowances of a captain of artillery, eight subordinates, with the rank, pay and allowances of first lieutenants of artillery.
SEC. 2. The duties of the officers, under the supervision of the Chief of Ordnance, shall be to inaugurate and prosecute a system for the efficient working of the niter caves, and to purchase and contract