Clarksville, Tennessee, March 10, 1866.
SIR: As receiver of the Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville railroad, ou the part of theState of Tennessee, I beg leave to state that in July last the railroad referred to was placed inmy bands, in accordance with the law in regard to railroad companies failing to pay interest asit became due upon bonds granted by the State to aid in the construction or equipment of railroads.
In consequence of the war, the Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville railroad companywere not able to meet inteiest promptly upon bonds granted to said company, and during thefirst year of the war the bridges upon the road were all destroyed, excepting one permanentand oue draw-bridge over the Cumberland river; also the greater portion of the tressle on the line of the road, and the road-bed itself has been greatly injured during the past five years — cuts filling up and embankments being washed away.
The Legislature, during the present session, funded the interest due on the bonds of the State, the larger portion of which had been issued in aid of different railroad companies; and the Legislature also appropriated, to put the Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville railroadin running order, State bonds amounting to four hundred thousand dollars ($400,000).
In obedience to instructions from his excellency the Governor, Wm. G. Browulow, I purchased, as receiver for the Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville railroad, from the United States government, rolling stock, such as engines, passenger and freight cars, and other material andsupplies, all of which amounted to over three hundred thousand dollars. The road is nowbeing put in order, and it is believed will be operated over the entire line from the State lineof Kentucky to Paris, Tennessee, by the first day of June next. All of the means appropriated by the Legislature will be required for the rebuilding of bridges, and repairs necessaryto put the road in good condition; consequently, I shall not have any means to meet themonthly instalments due the United States government, the collection of which has up tothis time been suspended by Major General Thomas, commanding.
The Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville railroad forms an important link in the line ofrailroad connecting Louisville with Memphis, New Orleans, and Mobile, and will, when inoperation, have a large portion of passage and freight traffic from the north and east to thesouth and southwest. But, in consequence of the embarrassed condition of the road, financially, I am satisfied the instalments due to the United States government cannot be met forsome time to come, as the proceeds of the road will be required tor the betterment of the road, so as to make it what it should be, a first class road.
I therefore, sir, in behalf of the State of Tennessee, whose interest in this road is large, and in behalf of the stockholders of the road, most of whom have been greatly embarrassed by the prostration of their business for the past five years, pray you to suspend the collection of the claim of the United States government for two years ; at the expiration of that time I feel justified in stating that I believe the monthly instalments will be met promptly.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
GEORGE T. LEWIS
Receiver Memphis, Clarksville and Louisville Railroad.
SOURCE: Johnson, Andrew, 1808-1875. Impeachment Investigation: Testimony Taken Before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives In the Investigation of the Charges Against Andrew Johnson. Second Session, Thirty-ninth Congress, And First Session, Fortieth Congress. Washington: Govt. print. off., 1867.