AR, A&NC 6/1/1865 P

Annual Report of the Atlantic & North Carolina RR
as of June 1, 1865
President's Report
 
Report of the President {Delivered at the Annual Meeting of Stockholders on July 20, 1865}
 
Gentlemen,
   It is to be regretted that I am compelled by the extraordinary events which have distinguished the year, to present to you, without the approval of the Board of Directors, the eleventh annual Report of this Company, which shows the operations of the Road during the fiscal year ending May 31st, 1865.
   From the subjoined statements of the Treasurer, and of the Superintendent of Government transportation, the aggregate amount of earnings of the Road for a little over nine months, and until it was taken possession of by the United States Army, was $355,998.88, as follows:
On Atlantic & North Carolina Rail Road, 26 Miles, From Kinston to Goldsboro':
Freight Receipts $30,531.76
Passenger Receipts 32,519.25
Way Travel 20,220.50 $83,271.51
Transportation, Freight and Troops for Confederate States and State of North Carolina, as per Treasurer's statement $27,171.05
Ditto, ditto, as per report Superintendent Government Transportation 91,436.56 118,607.61
Gross earnings on Atlantic & North Carolina Rail Road $201,879.12
On Other Rail Roads
Transportation Troops and Freight as per Treasurer's Report $12,821.35
Ditto for previous year, as per Treasurer's Report 5,879.38
Ditto, ditto, as per Report Superintendent Government Transportation 104,499.50
Transportation private freight on Wilmington & Weldon Rail Road, as Superintendent Government Transportation Report 3,866.74 $127,066.97
Miscellaneous Reports
For rent of Warehouse $225.00
For Coupons Confederate Bonds 220.00
For Stationary Engine sold 20,000.00
For Premium on 21,000 Carteret County Bonds sold 5,489.79
For March Receipts from Agents 1,118.00 27,052.97

Total Receipts

$355,998.88
   The aggregate amount paid for operating our own, and running our trains on other Roads for the same time, nine months, was $186,327.39, as follows:
Transportation Expense, including pay of Conductors, Enginemen, Firemen and purchase of wood, &c. $34,063.97
Station Expenses and Salaries of Agents 4,180.00
Shop account, including repairs of Engines and Cars, purchase of stock material, oil and waste, &c. 85,012.93
Road account, including pay of Road and Section Masters, purchase of new cross ties an supplies 15,836.27
General Administration and mileage to Directors, and Salaries of Officers 9,168.80
Printing and Advertising, and Office and Incidental Expenses 4,118.08
Lost and damaged freight 235.00
Negro hire and negro subsistence 33,712.34 186,327.39

Nett receipts

$169,671.49
   By comparing an average of the receipts per month of this and the last year, it gives the following result:
Gross earnings during the year 1864, 12 months $315,787.31
Average per month 26,315.61
Gross earnings during the year 1865, 9 months 355,998.88
Average per month 39,555.43
Expenses during the year 1864, 12 months 100,720.44
Average per month 8,393.37
Expenses during the year 1865, 9 months 186,327.89
Average per month 20,703.09
Nett earnings per month, 1865 18,852.34
Nett earnings per month, 1864 17,922.24
Increase per month 1865 over 1864 930.00
   There has been a steady and gradual increase of the receipts of you Road since it commenced operations, as you will learn by reference to the different reports of the officers from that time. It is proper here to remark, however, that the salaried officers of the Company have not been credited with the amounts due them but for the first six months of the fiscal year, ending May31st, 1865. Hence, a considerable amount in Confederate money is now due those officers and employees and contractors of the Company, which should be added to the operating expenses given above. And on the other hand, the Company purchased,, and still has in its possession, a lot of car wheels, which cost over $25,000, besides other material of some value, which will be found in the report of the Master Machinist, which were not received in time to be used, before the surrender of the Road. This amount is amply sufficient to offset the debts referred to, and these figures give you a fair insight into the receipts and expenses of the Company for the period stated. It would doubtless have been much more satisfactory to you, as well as to the Board of Directors, to have had all the proper entries made and the books posted to the end of the fiscal year. Such was the earnest desire of myself, but, under the circumstances, it was impracticable, for various reasons, to have it done. The collapse of the Southern Confederacy, in April last, suddenly changed the currency in the State, and upset all arrangements and contracts in relation to wages, salaries and debts of all sorts. Therefore, from that date, fi justice does not demand if for a month or two earlier, as there was such a ruinous depreciation in Confederate money for some time preceding the surrender of the Southern armies, the officers and employees of the Company, as well as contractors, I presume, ought and will be paid in the current money of the country. To enable us to come to some understanding with them in reference to this matter, that the books might be posted, the President summoned the Directors to meet in Goldsboro' on the 7th June last, but a quorum failed to attend for some cause unknown to him.
   The Treasurer of the Company, Mr. J. Cicero Justice, had in the meantime tendered his resignation through me to the Board of Directors, to take effect on the day of their meeting. It was not accepted by me, as I had no authority to do so, but as he had made every necessary preparation, in anticipation of its acceptance, to accompany his family to the State of Illinois, where he expects hereafter to reside, and as your Finance Committee had examined the books and vouchers, I felt, notwithstanding my regret at his leaving his office at this particular time, that it would be doing him injustice, if not an injury, to longer oppose it; hence, gave my consent, but with the understanding that he would return by the Company's paying his expenses whenever its interest might require his aid in the settlement of any of their contracts or accounts. The office Mr. Justice has voluntarily vacated, he has filled for six years, and doubtless he would have been retained in it if he had so desired, for perhaps an indefinite period. During his long service, it gives us pleasure to state, he faithfully performed his duty, has been remarkably correct in all his transactions, and given entire satisfaction, I believe, to the Board of Directors. The books and papers of the Treasurer are now in the temporary possession of Mr. W. H. Harvey, the Superintendent of Government Transportation of this Company.
   In connection with this subject I would state, that immediately after the surrender of Gen. Johnston and his army, I, then being in Greensboro', called upon Gov. Vance, who was also there, to ascertain what disposition to make of the trains, the books and papers of the Treasurer and Agents, and other property of the Company which, just previous to the evacuation of Goldsboro', had been carried up the North Carolina Road for safety, when the Governor attempted to confer with Gen. Schofield, on the subject by telegraph, as follows:
  
Greensboro', April 30th, 1865
Maj. Gen. Schofield, Raleigh, N. C.
   A large number of trains belonging to the Atlantic & North Carolina Rail Road and other Roads in the eastern part of the State, have been accumulated near this place. Can they be permitted to return and resume operations under their present organization, and, if not, what disposition do you propose to make of them?
Z. B. Vance
 
   At that time, as all dispatches had to be approved by Gen. Johnston before they can be transmitted, I took the above to that officer myself for his approval, when he informed me it was not necessary to send it, that he would probably need these trains for a few days, after which time, by the terms of the surrender, they would pass into the possession of the Commander of the United States army in North Carolina.
   One of our trains, in charge of Mr. Harvey, on which were the books and papers of the Company, was then at the Company Shops. It had been employed by the Governor of the State especially for the removal of the valuable effects of the Treasury and other Departments of the State, and also of the North Carolina Banks, or as many of them as desired its use. After the capitulation of the Southern army, these effects had been temporally deposited in Greensboro', and the train was now ordered to return, by Gov. Vance, to that place, agreeably to he directions of General Schofield, to take the State and Bank property back to the City of Raleigh. I went down on this train with Mr. Thomas Webb, President of the North Carolina Rail Road, and, together, we called early after our arrival on Col. Boyd, the Chief Quartermaster of Gen. Schofield. Not being able to learn any thing definite from him, respecting our affairs, I deemed it advisable in the absence of the Board of Directors, to employ counsel, and after consultation with B. F. Moore, Esq., already employed by the Company, and the Hon. R. S. Donnell, we addressed the following communication  to the General Commanding:
  
Raleigh, May 4th, 1865
Maj. Gen. Schofield, Commanding, &c., N. C. Raleigh
 
Sir,
   Having been President of the Atlantic & North Carolina Rail Road Company at the time of the surrender of Gen. Johnston, and having now in my possession and under my control a considerable number of engines, coaches, box and flat cars, I desire to place them under your control. They are, for the most part, above the city of Raleigh, on the North Carolina Rail Road. If you shall desire to possess them, as soon as I can be informed of your pleasure, I will cause them to be brought to such point on the Rail Road as you shall designate. The books and papers of the Company, showing the past administration of its affairs, are also in my possession. They are valuable to me as furnishing the evidence in what manner I, as the President of the Company, have discharged my duties and disbursed its funds. They will constitute my only means of defence against any charge of maladministration, if I should be assailed. I hope to be allowed to keep these. If, however, you should desire them, I will deliver them also, trusting that they will be safely kept.
Very Respectfully
Your obedient servant
John D. Whitford
 
   In reply, he stated to me in person, that the Rail Roads in the State were the property of the United States Government by conquest; nevertheless, he was satisfied the Government would extend great liberality to the different corporations, and return their works after a while. But they would be held, or some of them, ours included, and operated for a season strictly as Military Roads, and for the convenience of his army. I was then referred, to Col. Boyd, his Chief Quarter Master, to arrange with him in regard to the trains and other property of the Company. Without delay I called upon Col. Boyd, to whom we feel indebted for his kindness and courtesy, who readily gave permission for me to keep the books and papers, and such other property of the Company as might not be required by the military in their operations of the road, and requested that the engines and cars should be sent to Goldsboro'. This request was complied with as far as in our power. We had one train of cars with locomotive then up on the Western North Carolina Rail Road for safety, which could not return in consequence of the destruction of some of the bridges during the Stoneman raid through that region of the State. The locomotive and those of the cars in the train that escaped destruction are still on that road. You will be informed more especially of the loss hereafter, in connection with the Master Machinist's report.
   ***** Before we left this section {Goldsboro' to Kinston} we were replacing the rotten ties and had effected contracts to renew all that were unsound during the year. The road bed was in excellent order and the embankments had been but recently widened and raised, the cuts cleaned out and the ditches deepened, the old timbers over the culverts had all been replaced with new ones, and the bridges as sound and substantial as when constructed. The ware houses at Kinston, Mosley Hall and Goldsboro', were in good repair except the platforms and steps of the two former required renewing. For that purpose the lumber had been engaged for a considerable time, but never delivered in consequence of the distracted state of the country. ***** The ware house at Carolina City has been taken down and carried off, and not a vestige of the wharf at that place is left; the side track still remains and appears now to be of little or no use. On the line of the Road the bridges have all been destroyed at different times since the commencement of the war and have been replaced with trestle work, except the Scott's Creek and Smith Creek bridges, near Newbern, and the Stony Creek bridge near Goldsboro' -- aggregate length 228 feet. Those burned were the Bear Creek, Falling Creek, Neuse River, South West Creek, Core Creek, Bachelor's Creek, Trent River, Slocum's Creek, and Port River, besides about 75 feet superstructure of slue bridges -- aggregate length 3321 feet -- all by different commanders of the armies of the Confederacy, notwithstanding we had strenuously opposed such unnecessary loss to you, from first to last, and from the beginning of our difficulties to the termination of the war, we had earnestly and constantly protested against it. To save if practicable the two remaining sections of the Neuse River bridge, (we had been reliably informed that their destruction or safety depended entirely upon whether the enemy advanced from Newbern or not,) I addressed a short time before the last Kinston battle, a communication to Gen. Baker, then commanding North Carolina, on the subject, in which I state:
   "When the army under Gen. Foster was met advancing from Newbern, by the Gallant Gen. Evans, all of our bridges, and all other property of the Rail Road at Kinston, were placed under my control to destroy or not as in my opinion the interest of the service might require. This confidence would have led to their destruction if there had been any cause for it. Not being able to see any benefit his army, the service of the country could derive from the burning of Rail Road property, or any disadvantage it could be to the enemy at that time, I had nothing destroyed, and although it passed into the hands of the enemy it was all returned in a few days after the battle of Kinston to us, without having received the slightest injury -- hence, our operations were scarcely interrupted, and it was all, without presumption, attributable to a little common sense and discretion."
   Again:
   "I honestly confess I have never seen any injury the United States armies sustained, or any advantage the Confederate States armies gained by destroying any of the bridges on the Atlantic & North Carolina Rail Road. The destruction of the draw in the Trent River Viaduct would have prevented the pursuit of the enemy of our flying troops, as effectually as did the total destruction of that grand and beautiful work."
   We were exceedingly solicitous about the safety of the bridge referred to, as we believed the section next to the high land could be taken down and thrown over the river, and between the abutments could be filled in with earth, the track laid thereon and the trains run over it with perfect security. But if they were lost, we would then have the insecurity of the trestle work in the Neuse for a considerable time, as well also as over the river bottom. General Baker promptly referred this matter to Colonel Whitford, then commanding at Kinston, with instructions not to burn the bridge for the reason I had suggested. That officer informed me on the 24th February, 1865, "The bridge will not be burned. It would be unnecessary, as the enemy have bridges already built for the Road, and the destruction of a Rail Road bridge would be no obstacle to him." This assurance made us feel that it was secure, and we were astonished when we heard it was finally destroyed, not, however, we are gratified to state, by the orders of either of the officers alluded to; by whose orders we have been unable to learn, and we presume it is now immaterial to you.
   ***** During the period of the war a considerable quantity of the iron was taken from the Road between Kinston and Newbern, by order of the Secretary of the Navy of the Confederate States, agreeably to an arrangement he made with the Governor of North Carolina. Much of this iron had been previously damaged by the Southern army, but some of it was not injured. To the perfect rails being carried off we objected, but the Governor stated he was compelled to make a virtue of necessity, and give his permission to the Government to take some to prevent their taking all, without it. The exact number of tons thus disposed of we are unable to give you. It could at any time be readily ascertained by having measured the distance relaid with the new iron, which is a lighter rail than ours, and by subtracting the quantity sold by the Company in accordance with the resolution of the Stockholders adopted at your last annual meeting. Under this resolution I sold to parties as authorized, upwards of two hundred tons of rails, and the amount received for the same, was paid on the debt due the State, as you directed, and as you will presently see by the following report of the Treasurer of the Company. We disposed of no other iron and none other was carried off the Road, except about two-thirds of a mile we had at Best Station, which was taken up and laid on the North Carolina Road, near Boon Hill, by those in charge of the United States Military Trains, after the evacuation of Goldsboro'.
   *****
   The Board of Directors have felt since its creation, the deepest solicitude in reference to the liquidation of the State debt. They were aware, if allowed to stand without being annually reduced, in a few years, the interest would so accumulate that you would be unable to pay it, and the interest of the counties and individual stockholders in the road would, if the mortgage were foreclosed, revert to the State; therefore, we have appropriated all the available means, at all times, in our hands to its payment. And it is gratifying to lay before you a statement which shows nearly the entire payment of the accrued interest up to date, and more than one half of the principal of the debt. This was done too by the legitimate operations of the Road, with the exception of the payments made from the sales of iron and the Carteret County Bonds. If it had been possible to collect from the Confederate Government the amount due to us, as it was earned, we could and would have paid the whole debt. As it is we are strongly of the opinion when the affairs of the country get settled, it would be politic for the Company to borrow as authorized by the charter, a sum sufficient to pay off this debt, which prohibits you from declaring dividends until the principal and interest are both paid, provided it could be done upon such terms as would allow you to pay annually the interest and only so much of the principal as you might desire. This arrangement, if the Road is managed with only ordinary ability, would insure in a short time dividends from your receipts, and put the stock of the Company up to the value of that of any Rail Road company in the State.
   One of the contracts for the construction of the Road, was not settled and closed prior to the war, and in consequence of a disagreement between the Company and contractor, suit was instituted for a settlement. We believe this occurred more in anticipation of what would be claimed, than the real claims of both parties, who are now ready, we think, to abide by any fair and equitable adjustment for their interest. We hope therefore that it will be settled speedily and for the welfare of all concerned.
   ***** Without wishing to be invidious, we must mention the conduct of another officer of the Company, which we think merits, and should receive your approbation. We allude to Mr. H. W. High, one of your Conductors. His train was sent by the military to Tarboro' to take a load of supplies to Salisbury, and upon reaching Raleigh, just at the moment of its evacuation by General Johnston, his engineer abandoned him. He at once took charge of the locomotive and run the train to Salisbury, and continued to act both as Engineer and Conductor of it, until its return to Goldsboro'. We say this is a case of merit which should be rewarded; for whatever the opinion may be about the cause he was engaged in, he showed, as was his duty, a commendable spirit in saving the train from every hazard. It would be improper to omit to state, that we have been extremely fortunate in the selection of all of our officers and employees. They have, as a general rule, manifested a strong personal interest in your Road. Messrs. Hancock and Thomas, Conductors; Metts, Road Master; Powell, Best and Wadsworth Station Agents, W. C. Whitford, Book Keeper, and Barnum and Howell, Section Masters, have been active and energetic in behalf of your interest.
   I have already mentioned the good care taken of your Locomotives and Cars, under very disadvantageous circumstances, by Mr. Clayton, Master Machinist, and his Assistants, Messrs. Griswold, Swann, Lawrence and Perry, Locomotive Engineers; Honeycutt, Bryan and Cuthbert, Machinists; Dill, Blacksmith, Becton, Assistant; Ezzell, Lane, Taylor, Stanley and Keaton, Carpenters; and Hunter, Painter.
   Since the opening of the Road, or from the first day the first train ran upon it, which was on the 15th day of March, 1865, there has been not a solitary collision, and not a passenger, either white or black, killed or seriously injured on any of our trains, up to the time of the surrender to the United States Government. This may be attributable to a straight Road, but there have been collisions on other Roads with not more curves than ours, when taken throughout the line from Goldsboro' to Morehead City, though, for three years, we have run all kinds of trains, sometimes as many as twenty in twenty-four hours from Goldsboro' to Kinston, without the occurrence of an accident involving either life or property. Moreover, for one year before the war we operated the whole Road, and ran at an average speed of twenty-seven miles an hour from Goldsboro' to Morehead City with the passenger trains, and eighteen miles with the freight trains, without having to record an accident on the main line of the Road, and without losing a mail connection, and all this was done for a sum comparatively low, as you will see by instituting a comparison of the expenses of this with other Rail Roads in the South. We have seen, too, our trains surrounded by hostile troops, and under the very fire of battle and then had them brought off in safety. We have further seen them run on other Roads, conveying thousands of beings and tons of freight in every direction with unusual success. I therefore repeat that we are under great obligations to our officers and employees, some of whom have been in the service of the Road for many years, for their sleepless vigilance and constant efforts to serve you faithfully and honestly.
   And now, gentlemen, as my last official act as President and Director of your Company, it becomes my melancholy duty to inform you that be a most distressing and unexpected accident, we were deprived early in the year of the aid and services of one of our members, whose loss we all deeply deplored. Year before last, we had to record the death of Geo. S. Stevenson, Esq., one of the first and most energetic Directors of the Company. Last year another of our Directors, the brave and generous Col. Peter G. Evans, was taken from us. And this year, still another is gone, John H. Peebles, Esq., whose urbanity and gentlemanly bearing, systematic habits of business and steady adherence to principle, was well known to you, and his loss caused a void in the Board of Directors that can not be easily filled. Thus, we see, passeth away man, even when in the enjoyment of health. Does it no, then, call upon us all, the strong as well as the weak, with the solemn warning "be ye also ready, for ye know not the day nor the hour when the Son of Man cometh."
Respectfully submitted,
John H. Whitford  {printed incorrectly -- should be John D. Whitford}
President

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