B7, NC 2/26/1863

State of North Carolina
Executive Department
Raleigh Febry 26th, 1863
To the Prest. & Directors
of the N. C. R. R. Co.  {North Carolina RR}
   I regret that a great press of business accumulated by a recent absence from home, renders it our of my power to attend your meeting, especially so, as it was called by Mr. Webb at my request. I am compelled therefore to put my proposal before you in writing.
   The great necessity, of both the country and Army renders the subject of transportation of the most vital importance and it was with the view of doing something if possible, to increase the power & efficiency of you Road that I asked Mr. Webb to call this meeting. Being the main trunk road of the State, into which all the other roads discharge themselves it is not to be wondered at that it should have proved itself unable to meet the demands upon it. Without intending any reflection whatsoever upon the management of the Road, it may, I think be fairly said, it is overtaxed and is clearly unequal to the task of transporting the freight which is waiting upon it. The supreme importance of that required for the use of our Army, is acknowledged, whilst the wants of the State in corn for the poor, and the Cotton bought to redeem our obligations abroad, are scarcely less so. I am able to see but one remedy and that is to permit the Atlantic & N. C. R. R. Company to take charge of and work the Eastern section of your road from this place to Goldsboro for such length of time and under such terms as you may think best. Having the unemployed rolling stock and employees &c. I am convinced that Company can work it well and that it would give the balance of your road the motive power to put new life and vigor into its operations.
   With my limited experience in railroad matters, I shall not argue the proposition. I could give gentlemen of your experience no new light, I am confident. But I am assured by four fifths of all railroad men with whom I have conversed, that the arrangement could be made without loss to your road and with infinite advantage to the public and would be greatly superior to the plan proposed in lieu thereof -- of running cars of other companies over it by permission. I beg leave also to remind you of the very great importance of prompt and regular communication, in a military point of view between this place and Goldsboro, which we now do not enjoy. I am aware Gentlemen of the extreme repugnance with which an independent rail road Co. would regard a proposition to farm out a portion of their road to another on various accounts. And I should feel great delay in making the proposition, did I not sincerely believe that the public interest, before which every minor consideration must give way, imperatively demands it.
   Trusting that you may so regard it and if so, confident that you will promptly give the proposition at least a trial.
   I have the honor to be Gentlemen
Most truly & Respectfully
Yr. obt. svt.
Z. B. Vance