the Tennessee railroads.
Richmond, Va. Oct. 17, 1861.
Editors of the Richmond Dispatch:
--In a recent number of your paper you refer to the fact ‘"that from three to four hundred
car-loads of clothing, &c., have accumulated at Chattanooga
The disloyalty of many of her citizens has thrown discredit upon the whole of East Tennessee
, and such statements as the one referred to, unexplained, are calculated to create the impression that those in control of the railroads are seeking to embarrass the Confederate Government, by stopping the army supplies without excuse or justification.
We have no excuse or apology to offer for those born on Southern soil, who are arrayed against the Southern Confederacy.
But it is wrong to confound the innocent with the guilty.
While many East Tennesseeans have forgotten the allegiance they own to the land of their birth and adoption, there is in that section as true and gallant a band of patriots as are to be found in the Confederate States
, and among the latter are the responsible heads of the railroad companies.
Our object, however, is to present facts to the public, through the columns of your paper.
There are two railroads in East Tennessee 1st.
The East Tennessee and Virginia railroad, which is 130 miles in length, and extends from Bristol
2d The East Tennessee
and Georgia railroad, which is 110 miles in length, and extends from Knoxville
, and Dalton, Ga.
These are separate and distinct roads, owned by different stockholders, and controlled by different officers.
Neither one has any control over the other.
The delay in the transportation of freight was caused by the first-named
The President of this road, Col. John M. Branner
, is an energetic business man, and a true friend to the South
It has never, however, been a first class
Owing to the limited amount of stock subscribed, the greatest economy had to be practiced in its original construction and equipment.
With this economy the road, when completed, was burdened with a heavy floating debt.
Up to the 1st of January last, the income was not more than sufficient to meet the current expenses and pay the annual interest on its debt; therefore but little money could be expended in improving the road and procuring rolling stock.
As is well known, this route was selected last spring, over which troops and supplies were to be transported for the army in Virginia
This road was illy prepared to meet the pressing demand made upon it; but, through the indefatigable and almost superhuman efforts of its president, it met the public requirements until the month of August.
In the early part of that month, Colonel Branner
was prostrated on a bed of sickness, and could, give no attention to the road.
During the month, the business largely increased, several serious accidents occurred, destroying several cars and locomotives, and, to add to the embarrassment, the superintendent resigned.
Thus was the road left without active officers,
or a sufficiency of motive power, and was forced to suspend operations about the first of September.
This suspension continued about one week.
During that period the ‘"accumulation of freight"’ referred to occurred.
On the 7th of September, the War Department took possession of the road, and made a requisition upon Major C. Wallace
of the East Tennessee
and Georgia railroad, to work the same, if possible.
The position was unsought by Major Wallace
; but, with that self-sacrificing devotion he has ever exhibited in the cause of the South
, he accepted the responsible trust.
There was great wisdom manifested in his selection.
It is no disparagement to others to state, that he is one of the best railroad officers in the Southern Confederacy.
All who have witnessed his efforts, friends or foes, will bear testimony to the fact that he has faithfully discharged his duty in the present crisis.
All of the employees on his road are men of the right stamp and well suited for the positions they respectively hold.
He was fully impressed with the importance to the Confederate States
of keeping that line of railway open, and prepared for efficient service; also, that all its officers and employees should be prompt, careful, faithful, indefatigable, and untiring in their efforts to transport, with the greatest possible dispatch, all troops, munitions of war, and army supplies.
The fact that his road has promptly met every demand made upon it, and that one hundred thousand troops have passed over it without the slightest accident to a single individual, which can be traced to the neglect or misconduct of any of the operatives of his company, affords the strongest evidence that can be presented of his fidelity and efficiency.
To add to the embarrassment which met him at the threshold in entering upon the discharge of his new duties, his superintendent, upon whom he greatly relied, met with a serious accident, which deprived Maj. Wallace
of his valuable services.
Notwithstanding these difficulties, he not only succeeded in promptly removing all the detained freight, but met the daily demands, and transported a large number of troops, horses, and artillery for the army in Virginia
.-- He removed the inefficient, and placed new and efficient men in the machine and car shops of the E. T. and Va. road.
He has succeeded in obtaining the services of Dr. John W. Lewls
, of Georgia
, as permanent superintendent of that road.
He purchased six good locomotives and thirty-five cars, and has made arrangements for from twenty to forty more cars to put on that line.
He will be able to surrender the road to Col. Branner
, on his restoration to health, in good working order, and fully prepared to performing share of duty as one of the links in this important railway line.
While, from the causes stated, there was an unavoidable ‘"accumulation of freight at Knoxville
,"’ it is not true that soldiers' clothing had been detained. --Major Wallace
, notwithstanding the more than double labor imposed on him, made it his special business to see that soldiers' clothing, blankets, shoes, guns, and ammunition went forward between Dalton
without delay, the truthfulness of which will be attested by all who passed over those roads in charge of these articles.
This statement of facts is made as a simple act of justice to those who are likely to suffer by the wrongs of others.
S. A. Smith
, Geo. W. Bradfield