B7, A&NC 1/28A/1863

State of North Carolina
Executive Department
Raleigh, Jany. 28th, 1863
Flag Officer W. F. Lynch
My dear Sir,
   Yours by Lieut. Commanding Poindexter C. S. N. has been recd. in regard to iron for the completion of the gun boats on the Roanoke.
   The question is an interesting one to me indeed. I have offered the whole of the iron of the Atlantic & N. C. Road within our lines below Kinston, some fifteen miles {about 1,500 tons}, but this you say cannot be got for want of transportation. 
   The small amt. at ??? Station, not enough for your purposes, is held by Col. Whitford the Prest. for the repairs of his own and our other roads who have no reserved iron; and our roads as you are aware are fast wearing down under the great amount of running they are compelled to do. Such being the case, you may perceive my embarrassment -- I am only exceedingly anxious for the completion of the boats. And the railroad men say to give up this Iron would soon render it impossible for them to repair and in case of such an accident (by no means unusual) as the burning of a bridge they would be powerless to rebuild. I have referred Lt. P. to Col. Whitford again instructing him to give up the iron if in his opinion it can be safely done, otherwise to retain it.
   I know {not} what else to do for the best.
   I am still confident in the opinion that on a proper application to Gen. Smith, the iron below Kinston could be secured and if so the whole difficulty would be solved.
Most Respectfully
& Truly Yrs
Z. B. Vance