Bowling Green, January 2, 1862.
Maj. A. J. Smith, Post Quartermaster, &c:
Dear Sir: I will leave Bowling Green to-morrow, to be absent on indispensable business for a few days.
Before going, I take occasion to represent to you the present demands for transportation on the roads now in my charge, their capacity, and to make suggestions as to their future workings, which are respectfully commended to your careful consideration, and through you, if necessary, to General Johnston.
We have in running order ten engines, all of which are of limited or ordinary capacity, only four of which are now and reliable for continuous service. These four are the property of the Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville Railroad.
We have in all, box cars, 120; flat cars, 55; total number of cars, 175. These cars inclnde all owned by the Louisville and Nashville, Memphis Branch, and Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville Roads.
The whole length of road operated by this machinery, inclnding the road north of Bowling Green up to Glasgow Junction, is 225 miles.
The ordinary quotum of equipment for such a length of railroad would be, engines, 22; cars, 300. Deficit in engines, 10; deficit in cars, 125.
Within ten days we depend on having three more engines ready for service, but then we will need seven more.
The equipment we have will afford one train daily northward from Bowling Green, capable of moving ten carloads of corn, &c; one freight train daily, each way, between Nashville and Bowling Green, carrying .thirteen cars each way; one freight train daily between Paris and Bowling Green with twelve cars; one passenger train each way on the main stem and Memphis Branch. This is the maximum capacity of the roads. Should there be any extraordinary demand upon both stems at the same time, both will require help from other roads. If made on one stem, the regular business of the other must stop to meet it.
The present demand is, as I now understand, for the army alone, from Paris, 800,000 pounds; from Clarksville, 1,000,000 pounds; from Nashville, 1,500,000 pounds.
In addition to the above, at every station there is a large accumulation of freight, consisting of hogs, corn, flour, &c The passenger travel ds also large. In addition to all, troops move in great numbers. In a word, the entire road is crowded with business to an extent unprecedented in the history of any branch of it.
I suggest that the superintendent may be allowed to establish a schedule best adapted for the speedy, safe, and certain final accomplishment of all work, and that the public shall be notified that this schedule shall remain undisturbed, save under the requisition of some one officer of the army, or that a requisition shall be made upon other roads for the amount of machinery required to meet the business.
Should this course be adopted, the funds now in hands, the earnings of the main stem and branch, will pay a large proportion of the value of machinery required, and perhaps the Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville Railroad Company would make an advance sufficient to pay the balance. This property might—would largely increase the earnings of the road, and at the same time meet the difficulties before us. I know of no remedy better than the last suggested, but without this the first plan suggested is the only one under which I can promise to do justice to the army, the stockholders, or myself.
Very respectfully, &c,
G. B. FLEECE,