NCA, RRB 11/29/1862

Office Atlantic & NC RR
Goldsboro Nov 29, 1862
To Mr Jno D Whitford Esq
   In accordance with your orders I proceeded with the State Cotton train on Wednesday 26 instant to Tarboro & on Thursday morning I put on sixty three bales of Cotton it P A & took into the train to Box Car loads of furniture at that place I then run to Wilson & loaded 139 bales of cotton same mark on Friday morning as per general orders on our Rail Road when loading Cotton I placed the two Box Cars next to the Locomotive to shelter & protect the Cotton Cars as well as possible from the sparks when running on Friday I left Wilson having personally requested the Wilmington & Weldon Mail train to flag me as you directed to Goldsboro & when about two miles from Wilson I discovered the Cotton on the third car on fire as I had carefully watched it as always my custom particularly when the cotton is in bad order as was the case with some of the bagging was entirely of the ends the place burning was not at larger than a mans hand I immediately give the signal to stop the train it was answered at once by the Engineer who b?? on brakes to prevent the Engine & unfortunately we were running down grade to Black Bridge the wind blowing from the bridge up We directly up the road therefore by time we could stop the train the Cotton was blasing on the third Car which I cut loose & then found the 4 & 5th Cars on fire the Black Creek Bridge guards & station hands on the Wilmington & Weldon Rail Road being near came to our assistance with our own hands & Engineer throwing of the burning Cotton to save the train Forty three (43) Bales Entirely Consumed & four Badly damaged I can assure you sir every effort was made to save the Cotton as you had the train made up yourself to bring the States Cotton you knew I had one the best locomotives on the Road bringing the Cotton and one that would throw as few sparks as any locomotive in the State & as this is the first Cotton that has been lost by me or any of our trains since I have been in the service of the Company which has been several years I am satisfied that it was one of those accidents that it will sometimes happen on any Rail Road However Careful we may be
Respectfully Yours
John P Thomas