War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0504 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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leave the aggregate stock of rails of all markets accessible to us much less than it has been in ordinary times, when the demand in the Confederate States was many times less than it will be immediately on and for a long time after the restoration of peace. The import duties on rails which will inevitably then be imposed, both for the purpose of excluding Yankee manufactures and of creating them on our own soil, where we have been and are now suffering so much embarrassment and peril for want of them, will add to the great impulse which will carry into the manufacture of rails very large amounts of capital now withheld from it by the prevailing rage for more lucrative but less safe war speculations, which will then have subsided, and by the difficulty, if not impossibility, of procuring the requisite material or men for such work, which will then both be liberated from the all engrossing demandshese causes will inevitably create a great demand for rolling-mills, and those which are already completed and in operation must afford every advantage for profits during the urgent and earliest scarcity and demand for rails over those which will have to be then commenced, erected, and furnished with machinery and put in operation. Besides, comparatively slight alterations of these mills will adapt them in the hands of either the Government or of individuals to the manufacture of boiler-plate, gun-boat plates, bar-iron of every description, and other supplies equally needed for both Government and commercial purposes, so that there is little or no reason for apprehending any serious loss after the restoration of peace to the Government on its investment in these rolling-mills for the maintenance of military transportation during the war. But were it otherwise, and supposing some pecuniary loss should accrue to the Government on such investments, the question still forces itself upon its decision, and inevitably must now be decided, whether the maintenance of necessary military transportation and the success of our armies with this risk is not worth more to us than disaster, defeat, and perhaps subjugation for want of that necessary transportation without that risk of small pecuniary loss. We may shut our eyes to and attempt to ignore, but we cannot avoid this alternative. With an enemy all around us, possessing on land an unlimited network of railroads concentrating on our frontiers, exclusively occupying our sea-coasts and harbors, and penetrating every part of our territory with their steam navigation of our rivers, how shall we contend with them if we are to depend for the transportation of our armies, ordnance, and all army supplies on the inadequate and tedious transportation of horses and mules, of which the country is now so much exhausted, over miry and often impassable roads cut up by unusual use and never repaired? Such a contingency is too disheartening to contemplate; and yet without the prompt, liberal, and efficient action of the Government to avert it, the recurrence of the seasons may not be predicted with more certainty than its early fulfillment.

VI. To the problem of furnishing necessary locomotives, wheels and axles, springs, tires, and other materials for the equipment and machinery of railroads, much of the foregoing remarks are equally applicable, and therefore will not here be repeated. It is true that many of them might be made and furnished by the private manufactures now established, if the Government would relinquish wholly, or even partially, its engrossing employment of all such establishments exclusively in manufacturing articles for purely military and naval uses, and for those purposes would establish its own mines,