NP, AI 10/29/1863

From the Atlanta Intelligencer
October 29, 1863
Blue Mountain & Rome Railroad
   The question has been very properly asked by the Selma Reporter, "Why the Blue Mountain & Rome Railroad has not been built" -- or at least, "why it is not under better progress of construction at this time?"
   It is indeed a wonder that the Government has not finished this road long ago, as a military necessity. There is no expenditure of the war that has been made, that would have renumerated half so surely or so rapidly, as to have filled up this connection, and thus have effected a continuous rail from Meridian, Miss. to Kingston, Ga.
   Let us look at the situation. From Meridian to Kingston, by way of Mobile and Montgomery -- the most expeditious and surest route of transportation for troops and munitions of war, the distance is 555 miles. By way of Blue Mountain and Rome, 320 miles -- a saving of 225 miles in distance.
   There are in addition to the 225 miles by the Mobile route, four changes to be made -- two at Mobile, one at Montgomery, and another at West Point, (on account of the break of gague,) while by the Rome route, when the bridge across the Tombigbee is completed, the same cars  may be run through without a single change. Thus gives another saving of at least 100 miles -- in fact it is more than double that distance, all things taken into consideration. We may safely say 320 miles against 700.
   From New Orleans to Richmond, by way of Mobile and Wilmington, the distance is 1,481 miles, while by Blue Mountain and Rome and the Tennessee route, it is 1,188 miles with at least four less changes to be made. The facts are too apparent to need further comment.
   The distance from Blue Mountain to Rome (which completes this short route) is 64 miles. Three-fourths of the grading has already been done, and three months of active work would complete the remainder.
   There is another consideration urging the necessity of this connection, which we do not believe has had its due influence with those in charge. By this route the Shelby Coal Fields are only 220 miles from Atlanta, and the transportation may be made without breaking bulk;" while by the river and Montgomery, the distance is 330 miles with three transshipments. This coal is equal, if not superior, to any in the Confederate States, and would be of incalculable value to Georgia at this time. Some of the best iron in the State of Alabama will also be within twenty-four hours run of Atlanta, when this road is completed -- to say nothing of valuable marble, &c., &c.
   Can it be that the Government Officials fully appreciate the advantages of this work? And if so, why has not the Blue Mountain & Rome Railroad been built?
Jacksonville (Ala.) Republican
{The Blue Mountain RR was the extension of the Alabama & Tennessee River RR}