liens already existing upon the property of the company, and am satisfied the security offered by the mortgage is amply good. I will, if you prefer, send you a detailed statement of my estimates of the value of the road and of the existing liens upon it. If upon receiving the several papers above enumerated you should concur with me in opinion that the repayment of the $150,000 is amply secured by the mortgage, the company will desire to receive the money at the earliest possible day, and a check or draft on Mobile would answer the purposes of the company. Knowing it to be the desire of the Government to have this route in a condition to be use at the earliest possible moment, I have directed my inquiries in the first instance to the completion of the road to this point, and to the best and shortest mode of reaching the Mobile and Ohio Railroad from this place. The railroad from Selma to this place is now completed within eight miles of this place, and will be within five miles in two weeks. From this point to Gainesville, on the Tombigbee River, a distance of about thirty miles by land, and about double that number of miles by water, the river is now in fire condition for navigation, and steam-boats could readily be procured in Mobile to be used on this route if needed by the Government. From Gainesville to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, a distance of some twenty miles, a railroad has already been completed with the exception of some two miles near Gainesville. I have placed myself in communication with the president of the Gainesville road, and have earnestly urged the prompt building of the two miles of the road now unfinished. I refer to this route so that it may be brought in use by the Government if required. The president and directors of the Alabama and Mississippi Rivers Railroad Company promise to use every effort to push forward their road. They adopted a resolution authorizing me to exercise the power conjointly with their principal engineer of directing the progress of the work, and I shall devote to it every possible attention. You will notice that in executing the note for $150,000 nothing is said upon the subject of interest. In reference to the interest, the company take the ground that for the accommodation of the Government they will have to make sacrifices to finish their road, iron and materials being at this moment quite high. I am satisfied there is much force in the ground assumed by the company on the question of interest, but I deemed it best to take the obligation of the company to credit on the note any claims against the Government for services rendered by the road even before the maturity of the note. The company have engaged about 1,000 tons of railroad iron now in New Orleans, which will have to be forwarded by the New Orleans and Jackson Railroad and the Southern Railroad. As these roads are understood to be under the control of the Government, I have request that you will furnish me at once an order to these companies to transport the iron without delay.
Another subject I desire to bring to your notice. A railroad has been constructed from the town of Cahaba, on the Alabama River, to Marion, in Perry, a distance of twenty-eight to thirty miles. This road has been unprofitable to its stockholders, is now understood to be involved in a chancery suit, and might, without much public inconvenience, be dispensed with. You will see from the map that this road crosses the Alabama and Mississippi Rivers Railroad about fourteen miles from Marion. As the rails on the road and its rolling-stock would be important in completing and equipping the Alabama and Mississippi Rivers Railroad, and even essential (as it is now quite difficult to procure by