NA, A&F 4/22/1863

Treasury Department

Second Auditors Office

April 22nd 1863
Hon J A Seddon
Secretary of War
   The papers & claim of the Alabama & Florida R R Co for iron seized by officers of the Confederate States, having by your order been referred to this office, for examination & report -- I have the honor to submit the following.
   The work of removing the Rails of the company from the road bed, commenced about 5th of May 1862, and was continued during the month (see order & telegram of Gen Forney & order of Gen Jones marked 1, 2 & 3). The seizure by Col Tate under order of Gen'l Bragg was on 13th or 14th of July 1862. (see Col Tates certificate 4) A Settlement for so much of the iron of the Ala & Fla R R as was applied to the use of the Ala & Miss R R Co, seems to have been made by Q M Gen'l Myers -- and the said Co authorized to pay over to Major Calhoun q m at Montgomery Ala, the sum of $106,208.75 for said iron. This sum was made up by allowing $80 per ton for the rails and 10c per pound for chairs spikes and frogs -- to this valuation of their seized iron, claimants object and file their claim against the Government, at the price of $180.00 per ton for rail, wrought chairs 15c per pound, cast 10c frogs 15c & spikes 15c. (see report of Col Wadley, letters of G G Griffin & Q M Gen'l & Claimants account marked 5, 6, 7 & 8) It is shown by the certificate of Col Tate (4) that he purchased from the Eufaula R R Co at the same time as this seizure, iron at $70.00 and 10c per pound for chairs & spikes -- the quantity purchased is not stated -- he also certifies that on the 10th of Sept 1862, he purchased from the Cahaba R R Co over 1000 tons of rails at $80.00 per ton & wrought chairs & spikes at 10c per pound. Claimants object to these prices as a standard for their iron, and in a letter to Col Tate (No 9) say "in your certificate you refer to iron purchased of the Eufaula Company for 70 Dollars per ton, and of Cahaba Marion & Greensboro Co a $80 per ton -- to place the facts properly before the Department it appears to me, with all due deference -- you should have added these companies were in debt and pressed by their creditors -- the money paid them must be at once applied to the cancellation of their obligations, as otherwise they would have been sold by the sheriff. The case of the Ala & Fla R R Co of Fla. was different -- they had no pressing debts" There is filed, an advertisement showing that the Cahaba Co's property was to be sold at public auction to satisfy mortgage debts, a letter from Col Tate to Mr Avery to the effect that the Cahaba was too light and was crooked. (No 10) A letter from John F Milner offers claimants under date of 3rd of April 1862, the sum of $125 per ton for 5 1/2 miles of their iron at the present terminus of the road -- or $100 per ton, where it laid near Pensacola. (No 11) A memorandum of Government contract dated Dec 18, 1862 for R R iron a $150 per ton (No 12) A copy of letter from Isaac Scott President of Macon & Western R R, showing, that the State of Georgia paid him $100 per ton for iron seized at Savannah in April 1862, and that in Sept 1862 he was claiming $150 per ton for the iron not them delivered (No 13) also from Gov Brown -- that new Rail Road bar iron could not be purchased by contract in Georgia during the Spring of 1862 at $100 per ton (No 14) Also -- from Col W M Wadley saying that $100 per ton was not extravagant for R R iron in Ga, previous to Oct 1862 (No 15) Copy of affidavit of John P King -- that R R iron was worth $100 per ton in Ga in Spring of 1862 (No 16) and statement of Hardware merchants of Augusta Ga as to scarcity of R R iron. (No 17) Settlement of Mess J R Anderson & Co showing price of Rail Road spikes & chairs at Tredegar works to have been in May 1862 9c -- in Oct 15c now 30c per pound (No 18) -- There is also among the papers an estimate of damages by John F Milner made by order of Gen Leadbetter (No 19) which I have not considered -- as I suppose the only question referred to this office is the value of the seized iron. I have to report that, in my opinion the testimony now on file shows that $80 per ton was too low at the time of the seizure -- but I can see nothing in its present shape to justify a payment of the amount claimed -- I would recommend that the time be fixed at which the value of the iron is to be ascertained -- whether the date of the order -- the actual seizure -- or subsequently -- when proof of the value at such time, can be readily procured.
Very Respectfully
Your obt servant
W H S Taylor
{file data and notes on reverse} W. H. S. Taylor
2nd Auditor
Apl 23/63
Report on the papers and claim of Ala & Fla R. R. Co. for iron seized by Confederate Govt.
Rec Apl 23/63
It seems to me the equitable principle of settlement in this case would be the value of the iron taken up at the time of the seizure of the Road for the purpose of removing the track -- Yet it is even more clear that the price the Government should pay ought to be reimbursed by the Road to which the Iron was transferred -- Don't the settlement made with that Road, preclude such reimbursement in full, 24 Apl 63 J A Sw