AR, SA&G 5/1/1861 S

Annual Report of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf RR
as of May 1, 1861,
Superintendent's Report
Superintendent's Report
Office of the Savannah, A. & Gulf R. R. Co.
Savannah, May 1st, 1861
Capt. John Screven, President
   I have the honor of submitting to you, my Annual Report, of the condition and earnings of the Road for the year ending 30th April, 1861.
Earnings for the Year
For Freight -- par Freight Train, West $65,418.11
   "        "           "        "          "    East 76,975.91
   "        "           "   Passenger  "   West 3,850.82
   "        "           "         "          "    East 738.54
   Total for Freight $146,993.38
For Passage West 38,922.95
   "         "     East 39,345.39
   Total for Passage $78,268.34
     Total for Passage and Freight $225,261.72
   It will be seen that the Total Earnings for Freight and Passengers has been $225,261.72, to which should be added $8,853.86 due for U. S. Mail Service, and properly belonging to the year's earnings, though not included, on account of not having been paid.
   Showing the entire gross earnings to be $234,115.58, an increase of $120,174.50, or about 105 per cent. over that of the year previous. It would no doubt have been much larger, but, for the political crisis that has agitated the country for several months, producing a general panic and stagnation in business, and inducing many to curtail their expenses, and lay in more limited supplies; all of which has been more or less detrimental to the Freighting interest of the Road.
   By referring to the Treasurer's Balance Sheet it will be seen that the expenditures during the past year have been much larger than they were the year previous, which in part may be attributed to the increased length and business of the Road -- necessarily requiring a proportional increase of force, both on transportation and repairs, and a larger amount of rolling stock, to secure the successful operation of fifty-six additional miles of Road, and the prompt performance of a business a fraction over 105 per cent. larger than that of the previous year.
   The principal cause, however, may be attributed to the large amount of permanent improvements that have been progressing at the Savannah Depot and on the line of Road, some of which have been completed, and others now in the course of construction; that, together with the crisis that has agitated the country for several months has rendered this probably the most trying year through which the Company will ever have to pass.
   It is a source of gratification to know that the embankment through the Altamaha swamp has been completed, thereby forever dispensing with two thousand feet of the heaviest and most expensive piece of trestle on the line of Road. Protected at both ends with heavy brick abutments, it is sufficiently strong to withstand any pressure of water that can reasonably be expected to come in contact with it. The work was finished and turned over to the company in December last.
   The improvements being made at the Savannah depot of erecting a permanent engine house, machine, carpenter and black-smith shops, have progressed steadily and as rapidly as circumstances and the unsettled condition of affairs would warrant, though not as much so as I could have desired on account of the utter deficiency of the necessary means and conveniences for performing the legitimate work of the Road, now one of the longest lines in the State. It is however, gratifying to know that our troubles in that respect are at an end, and that in a short time we will be able to perform, within ourselves, the greater portion of that work which we have heretofore been compelled to have done abroad.
   The buildings are sufficiently completed to receive such tools and machinery as are necessary for performing the work, such as lathes, drill presses, boring machines, &c., portions of which have been received the others have been ordered and are expected at an early day -- all of which will be placed in their respective positions upon their arrival. The stationary engine is very nearly finished, and can be placed in running order in the course of a few weeks; the main shafting is what is most needed. The machinery will be erected as soon as that is received.
   The engine or round-house, (at least such portion of it as the company designs building at present,) contains 14 stalls for the accommodation of engines, -- and sufficiently completed to offer them the shelter they have long needed. Six of the stalls have been supplied with tracks for their accommodation; the others will be fitted up when required. The engine Altamaha, Mr. Wylly runner, was the first Locomotive that entered the round house, she having entered on Tuesday, the 26th March, 1861.
   One additional line of water pipe has been extended through the yard to the engine house, furnishing a convenient and ample supply of water for the locomotives. Two water plugs have been erected, one near the engine house, and one in the cotton yard, as a protection against fire. Two plugs however are not sufficient to give that protection and security to the lumber and cotton yard, that I could desire, spreading as they necessarily must, over considerable space of ground, portions of which are so remote from the plugs as to render them entirely useless in case of fire. I would therefore suggest the propriety of erecting a sufficient number of plugs, to control that entire portion of the depot used for the reception of freight.
   During the present year it was deemed advisable to plank in a portion of the yard for the reception of cotton, and to lay additional tracks, for the accommodation of the increased Rolling Stock; also, to enlarge the wood and lumber yard, for the purpose of offering more convenient accommodation to that branch of business; to accomplish which, it became necessary to grade off portions of the more elevated parts of the depot lot, and fill in such portions of the lower part of it as was actually required; 10,479 1/2 cubic yards of earth has been removed at a cost of $2,619.85. The increased room was much needed, and is still insufficient to accommodate conveniently that branch of business, which forms of itself a considerable item in the freighting business of the Road 2,975 cords of Wood, and 9,842,209 feet of Lumber amounting to $27,214.88 Freight has passed over the road within the last twelve months.
   The grading would have been continued, but for the Financial Crisis, rendering it advisable to curtail expenses, and suspended all work, except such as was immediately and actually needed: in consequence of which the work has been discontinued for the present, with the view of renewing it at some future, and more favorable occasion. I would much prefer, to see the Wood and Lumber Yard more remote from the General Freighting Depot; not only on account of the disadvantages and inconveniences under which we now labor: but more particularly, for the security of the Company's property, as it is under the same inclosure, and the Wood and Lumber in close proximity to the Cotton Yard, and Rolling Stock, a large portion of which, would be in imminent danger in case of fire. I would again (as I did in my last report,) urge the necessity of extending a Track to some point or Basin, outside of the General Freighting Depot, where more accommodation and convenience could be offered to that branch of business.
   During the past year Four Locomotives, one First Class Passenger Coach, Four Express Cars, twenty-two Box and thirty-nine Platform Freight Cars, and 8 Repair cars, have been added to the Rolling Stock of the Road. The entire Rolling Stock now consist of Eleven Locomotives, and One Hundred and Ninety Four Cars, (for the Condition and Character of which see Tables No. 1 and 2,). The number as yet, is insufficient to perform promptly and successfully, the business that must reasonably, be expected to come from a Road now Two Hundred Miles in Length; penetrating a rich and improving Country, and about to extend its branch to a neighboring State, from which a largely increased business must reasonably be expected.
   During the past year the work performed by the engines and cars has been unusually severe. One engine has been the greater portion of the year on the gravel train, filling in the Altamaha trestle, and another, the engine Tatnall, (an old engine,) has performed but little or no service, consequently the entire business of the Road has been performed by nine engines. Frequently have they been required to double the Road and perform daily service, depriving them of that rest which is actually required to enable those in charge to perform the necessary repairs and keep them in complete running order. I would therefore recommend the procuring of six new engines, six passenger coaches, three mail or baggage cars, fifty box and forty platform freight cars, preparatory to next winter's business. Two passenger and two mail cars are now under contract, one of each to be finished by the 15th of June, the others by 1st of September, 1861.
   During the past year the business has increased 105 per cent. over that of the year pervious, 3,451 passengers, 5,012,459 feet of lumber and 22,810 Bales of Cotton, more have been transported over the Road than was the previous year; other products have increased in like proportion, showing the urgent necessity of making the necessary preparation for performing successfully the largely increased business which must reasonably be expected the ensuing year, (in case the present political difficulties are amicably arranged,). A through schedule running in close connection with the Charleston & Savannah, and Pensacola & Georgia Railroad has been agreed upon by the respective Roads, by which means passengers are enabled to procure through tickets from Charleston or Savannah to Monticello and Tallahassee at reduced rates, (and viceversa,) and are conveyed through several hours in advance of any other route, which will no doubt, when more generally known, offer sufficient inducements to turn a portion of the travel this way.
   The iron with the exception of a very few bars at the Savannah depot, and in its immediate vicinity is wearing exceedingly well, but few of them showing any signs of lamination. The superstructure on the eastern end of the road, for the first 70 miles, is beginning to decay, and will in a great measure require renewing the ensuing year.
   Engaged on repairs of Road, Bridges, &c., are 232 hands, [26 of which are women acting as cooks.]
   Distributed as follows:
On Repairs of Road
   1 Supervisor, 21 Overseers, 1 Carpenter, 128 Hands 151
On Repairs of Bridges
   1 Supervisor, 3 Carpenters, 36 Hands 40
On Gravel Train
   1 Overseer, 25 Hands 26
   Savannah Depot 5
   In Warehouses at Way Stations 10
     Total 232
   32,291 new ties at a cost of $2,324.02 have been placed in the road during the last year, the work of renewal will be continued, and a much larger number required the ensuing year 468,241 feet of lumber at a cost of $12 per M. or $5,618.91 including freight has been consumed on Bridges, and from 25 to 40 employees, at a cost of $7,947.47 have been regularly engaged on repairs; showing the entire cost for labor and lumber to be $13,566.38.
   By far the larger portion of which, (about 2/3,) has been consumed in repairs of the Great Ogechee, (as will be seen by Table No. 4.)
   It is gratifying however to say, that Mr. F. P. Holcombe has taken the contract for filling in a portion of the trestle across the Great Ogechee Swamp and Rice Fields. The work is now progressing in charge of Mr. Billopp, Engineer. About 30,000 yards have been completed. When entirely finished it will contain some 140,000 yards of earth, about 90,000 of which will be performed by Mr. Holcombe, the remainder will be executed by the Company themselves, or by separate contract. When completed it will have cost something like $30,000, showing that the cost of repairs for 3 1/2 years will have more than paid for the erecting of a permanent embankment.
   On the line of Road, including the two Ogechees, (portions of which are now being filled in,) are a faction over 8 1/2 miles of bridging, about one-third of which could be filled in with safety and advantage to the Company. I earnestly recommend having it done at as early  a day as practicable. For further particulars relative to the condition, quantity of lumber used, length, &c., of the principal bridges, see Table No. 4.
   During the past year eight brick culverts, containing 68,998 bricks and 176 barrels cement, have been built, and the bridges filled in at a cost of $1,997.30. The work will be continued, and such small bridges as actually require renewing, will be supplied with brick culverts and filled in as rapidly as practicable, with the view of dispensing with such perishable matter as may be deemed advisable.
   The road bed is in much better condition than it was twelve months ago, though still susceptible of improvement. A small force was organized in February last for the purpose of filling in some of the smaller bridges, and ballasting a portion of the road-bed as was composed of swamp mud or clay, and most liable to churn in wet weather. The work has progressed steadily but slowly, and will require some time with the present force to place the Road in the condition I desire to see it.
   Several of the cuts and embankments on the Western end of the Road are susceptible of great improvement, and will require considerable time and labor to place them in proper condition. The embankments, many of them being perfect new, are more or less liable to settle by the running of heavy trains over them in wet weather, disarranging the alignment and producing short crooks in the rail, causing a rough and uneven track. Many of the cuts are infested with small springs, rising up directly on the road bed, keeping it quite wet and miry, which can only be remedied by a proper course of border and surface drainage and a heavy coating of gravel; both of which I purpose having done at as early a day as practicable, and as rapidly as can be expected with the small force now engaged in that business.
   The Road is now completed and the cars running to Thomasville Station, No. 19, 200 miles from Savannah, only 68 miles of which, however, properly belongs to the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad; the remaining 132 miles is owned by the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad Company, though controlled and operated by this Company.
   On the line of Road there is 21,950 feet of Turn-out equivalent to 4 1-7 of a mile.
   The track had barely reached Naylor, Station No. 14: (144 Miles from Savannah) last May. The cars however did not commence running to that point, until the early part of June: Since which time the Track has been pushed forward with energy and zeal.  Fifty-six miles have been successfully laid, and the Locomotive made her first visit to Thomasville, on Wednesday, the 3rd of April, 1861. The cars however did not commence running regularly to that point, until Wednesday, the 17th inst. The progress of the Road has been steady, and attended with unusual success; nothing of a serious nature, having occurred to check it, in its onward course. The cars commenced running to the respective Stations in the following order:
    Miles Date
To Naylor Station No. 14 144 18th June, 1860
  "  Valdosta      " No. 15 157 25th July, 1860
  "  Quitman       " No. 16 174 23d October, 1860
  "  Grover          " No. 17 181 15th Dec., 1860
  "  Boston           " No. 18 188 28th Jan'y, 1861
  "  Thomasville  " No. 19 200 17th April, 1861
   During the past year two accidents of a serious character have occurred: one occurring on the morning of the 30th October, 1860, (during a dense fog,) and caused by the Engine Allapaha, running into a car loaded with Lumber, standing in front of a Saw Mill near No. 9; resulting in the death of the Runner Mr. Godfrey, who, in jumping from his engine, fell, dislocating his spine, which proved fatal.
   The other occurred on the 13th of March, 1861, near Way's Station, on a perfectly straight portion of the Road, and was occasioned by a collision between the engine Ocopilco, of the wood train, and the engine Ochlockonee, of the passenger train; both engines  were considerably damaged and several cars broken: fortunately no one was injured. Both parties were more or less to blame; particularly the wood train for running in passenger schedule, and the passenger train for not having seen the wood train in time to stop, and avoid the accident. The woods in the vicinity of the accident were on fire, and the Road partially shrouded in smoke; not so much so, but that an approaching train (in my opinion) could have been seen in time to have avoided the accident, had the necessary amount of care and vigilance required been observed.
   I cannot close without calling your attention to the prompt and efficient manner in which the officers generally (with but few exceptions) have performed their duties.
Gasper J. Fulton