Report on the Condition and Prospects of the Southern Railroad of Mississippi

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USS ALASKA

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Found this online at http://railroads.unl.edu/documents/view_document.php?rends[0]=annual+report&yearStart=1859&yearStop=1870&keyword=&publication=&id=rail.sla.0005

Found some interesting passages about the condition of this RR after the ACW...

This report details the financial and material state of the Southern Railroad Company in 1867.

REPORT ON THE CONDITION AND PROSPECTS OF THE SOUTHERN RAIL ROAD OF MISSISSIPPI,
BY WILLIAM E. MORRIS, Civil Eng'r.
November, 1866.

PHILADELPHIA:
E. C. Markley & Son, Pr's,
Goldsmths Hall, 122 Library Street, Philadelphia.
1867.


"The Iron of Track.—From Vicksburg to Brandon, about 58 1/2 miles, the rail is light, only 41 lbs. per yard, of H pattern, and of which the greater part has been in use for more than 30 years. It is, however, in a remarkably good condition, by far too good to remove from the track. From Brandon to Selma, 81 1/2 miles, the weight of rail is 54 and 56 lbs., of H pattern; this has only been used since 1861, and but few defective bars are found on this part of the road. Three hundred tons of rails will place the iron of the road in a good condition. This quantity has been ordered by the Company from England, with heavy wrought iron chairs to fit, and is expected to reach New Orleans in January next."

(So even after the ACW, orders for RR iron was not monopolized by USA firms...)

"Engines.—There are in all, old and new, 21.

Of these are new, 3—good order.
Built, 1859, 1860, 1861, 10 "
Built, 1850 to 1856, 4—fair order.
In running order, 17
Condemned, 4
Total, 21
The condition of the motive power, particularly in view of the bad state of the track, is very good.

Cars.—Of these there are, Passenger, First Class, 3
" Second Class, 5
Baggage, 3
Box, 50
Platform, 34
The cars are in fair condition, but are kept running only at great expense, by reason of frequent accidents, occasioned by the unsafe condition of the track."

"Next, in the entire failure, this season, of the crops planted in the vicinity of the road. Perhaps one-fourth of the usual extent of cotton and corn was planted, and the produce was not more than one-fourth of a crop; the land has not, in fact, paid the acutal expense of cultivation. This failure, caused mainly by unfavorable weather, has aggravted the evil results entailed by the war, and postponed the time of recovery from their effects. And further, the small income has in part been caused by the unsafe condition of the road itself, and its insufficient equipment. Transportation has not been provided for the freight along the road; while business to and from more remote points has been driven from its natural channel.

In exemplification of this, I would mention the single article of lumber. There is found between Brandon and Meridian, within five miles and on each side of the road, a body of timber land of not less than 400 square miles. Three-fourths of this is covered with a large growth of the long-leafed Georgia pine; the other fourth is heavily timbered with white oak, beech, and other deciduous trees. For the pine and oak lumber there is great demand upon the waters of the Mississippi, Vicksburg being the distributing point. There have been ten small sawmills erected in this lumber region, most of them since the war. Nearly all are now idle, because the Railroad Company does not furnish transportation for their products. If these mills were put actively into operation, the business afforded to the Road by them would yield about $250 per day."

"By way of reply to a question which may be raised here in reference to freedmen's labor, it may be well to state a few facts. All the track hands employed upon the Meridian and Selma Railroad are colored men. About one-third of those upon the Southern Railroad employed in similar work are also colored men, and it is the intention of the officers of the Company in future to use the freedmen principally for that labor. At three saw-mills, where seventy freedmen were employed, the owner of the mills stated that he had no difficulty in having the work well done. All the work upon the plantations this year was done by the freedmen. In short, the feeling is gradually becoming more general, that in another year the difficulties supposed to attend this question will very materially lessen, if not entirely disappear."

"The lands of the Company consist of about 130,000 acres, which were granted by the Government to aid in the construction of the road. Those lying along the streams are mostly covered with heavy timber, of oak, beech, gum and other deciduous trees—those back from the streams with a heavy growth of the long-leafed Georgia pine. The United States and private parties own large tracts of similar land in the vicinity of the road. Heretofore there has been but little demand for these lands, and at present they cannot be sold. The only feasible plan of rendering them productive to the Company is to foster the lumber trade."

( "...which were granted by the Government..." - State or Federal?)

Full document can be found at the above link.

Cheers,
USS ALASKA



 
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