FHS, FL 5/21A/1863

Executive Department
Tallahassee May 21st 1863
Hon James A. Seddon
Secretary of War
   On the 10th inst I addressed a letter to you in which it is stated that "the iron on the Florida Rail Road is rendering no indispensible service," when it should have been stated the iron on parts of the road. Upon enquiry I ascertain, that the portions of the road from Camp Cooper to Fernandina and from Gainesville to Cedar Keys a distance of at least seventy five miles are not necessary to our defence, but are liable at any moment to be taken possession of by the enemy and used for the subjugation of that portion of the State. Brig Genl Finegan entertains a different opinion and in justice to him I enclosed a few days ago to your address, a copy of a letter from him to me on the subject. Your attention is respectfully invited to the accompanying extract from m annual message to the General Assembly of this State. The views therein expressed, I yet entertain. But supposing, that, the connection of the Pensacola & Georgia Rail Road had been determined upon by the Confederate Authorities, to enable the Government to make the connection, I advised the use of the iron on parts of the Florida R Road for the purpose. On yesterday I was informed the connection proposed to be made, was, between Monticello and the 17th Station (Quitman) on the A & G Road. To this connection the Pensacola & Georgia R. R. Company object, and if it shall be attempted will apply to a Judicial officer of the State for an injunction and I entertain no doubt, that the objections of the Company will be sustained by the Judgment of the Court. The official report of the President of the Board is herein enclosed, to which your attention is respectfully invited. From it you will ascertain the connection desired by the Board and their reasons for it.
   The company can not reasonably or successfully oppose the extension of the road from Quincy to Chattahoochee, and will not object, but extend every assistance in their power to build the road to Chattahoochee, rather than agree or submit to the connection from Monticello to the 17th Station or Quitman. The length of the road from the Depot at Quincy to Chattahoochee would not be more than twenty miles and if the road should not be continued to the river, but terminate a the Arsenal would be 18 miles.
   The Arsenal has by my order been placed under the command of Genl Cobb for the use of the Confederate Government, and it will afford most ample facilities for ordinance stores &c. Knowing that you have reports in our office descriptive of the buildings &c connected with the Arsenal I deem it unnecessary to enter into details as to the advantages to be derived from it in connection with the road. It has been urged that at low water the navigation of the river is not good. Such is not the fact except for a short time during the summer, when the navigation will not be important, and the river has never been too low to be navigated as high as Fort Gaines, at which place the RR ceases from Macon. It has been also said that tools can not be procured for the excavation and grading which would be necessary in the construction of the road. Such is not the fact. The farmers of the State if called upon will furnish the implements necessary from their plantations.
I have the honor to be
John Milton