February 3, 1863.
Hon. J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
DEAR SIR: Inclosed please find the letter of Mr. Walter Goodman, president of the Mississippi Central Railroad Company, setting out the present dilapidated condition of that road, the importance of which in a military point of view cannot well be exaggerated. The proposition of Mr. G. is to obtain permission of the Government to export cotton for the purpose of procuring those supplies without which, he says, the road must be abandoned. The president has a perfect knowledge of the importance of the road referred to, and has recently had the opportunity of seeing something of its present condition. As to the proposition to export cotton, it is one which has been so frequently made to you, and under so many different phases, that I presume your views on the subject are well matured, and I shall therefore offer no suggestions. As I expect to visit Mississippi in a few days and to meet with Mr. Goodman, you will oblige me if you can at an early day put me in possession of your response to the application. Permit me, also, to request that you will direct an early reply to be made to my letter inclosing one from General Henry, of Mississippi, relative to the pay of the troops lately commanded by Colonel W. C. Falkner.
J. W. CLAPP,
Member of Congress, First District of Mississippi.
OFFICER MISSISSIPPI CENTRAL RAILROAD COMPANY,
Grenada, January 23, 1863.
Hon. J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond:
DEAR SIR: I find it almost impossible, and it will soon be quite so, to keep our road and its equipments in repair and running order. We are in great need of all materials used in repairs and construction. One-half of our engines are now useless for the want of materials to repair them; our cars are in a dilapidated quantity of the rails on our road have been permanently injured by our own army and that of the enemy. All of our workshops and many of our passenger and freight houses have been burned by direction of our military authorities. Unless we can procure articles necessary for the repairs of our road and equipments, I do not see how our road is to be kept in running order for more than six months longer. I desire to import articles of immediate necessity, and would make the attempt if I could command the means of payment. I cannot procure gold or sterling exchange. I desire permission to be granted to this company to export cotton, an article I can procure to the amount necessary to pay for the articles that it is necessary for me to procure, and that such cotton shall have safe conduct through the Confederate lines. It will require an expenditure of $500,000 to put our road and its equipments in as good repair as it was one year ago.
I am, with respect, your obedient servant,