NP, OC 3/22/1862

From the Opelousas Courier (Opelousas, La.)
March 22, 1862
New Orleans & Houston Railroad
   Who could have expected, ten years or more ago, to go by railroad direct from here to Houston, where railroads are built, or being built, to all parts of Texas? Yet this is in prospect of being speedily within our power.
   B. J. Sage Esq., who has been laboring for years to have the direct connection from New Iberia to the Sabine made {the New Orleans & Texas RR}, and who will address our planters today, informs us that the Legislature has chartered a company for this purpose and has endowed it with about 400,000 acres of land and his object is now to get the planters, on the ground of patriotism and self-interest, to put their surplus of negro labor on the road; taking their pay in stock. The company will be able to advance enough money to feed and clothe the negroes , and to pay the taxes on them if such money be required. Mr. Sage estimates that the compensation per able bodied male hand will be from $400 to $550. This compensation consists in the stock, which must be very profitable as there is immense business waiting, as the road is without a rival, and in the stockholders' pro vala share of the land.
   The connection between New Orleans and New Iberia is perfect; and the railroad is finished from the Sabine to Houston.
   The closing of the gap (117 miles) will connect Louisiana and all her railroads and rivers with the commercial center of Texas, where all her railroads meet. That magnificent State can fully supply the loss of the Great West, which was closed against us in the vain hope that by starving we would submit Texas can furnish the Southern Confederacy abundantly with beef, pork, breadstuffs and everything formerly obtained from the Western States, besides salt, wool, and many other important staples.
   This road is one of the most important feeders to our Opelousas road, joining it nearly a right angles, and connecting this place by railroad directly with Houston and all Texas.
   But it is the military necessity that induces the completion of the road now; for it is indispensable to have transportation of soldiers, arms, munitions and supplies from one point to another of our vulnerable coast. This road would reduce the number of men, &c., necessary, one-half, and it is estimated that every year more than the whole cost of the road would be saved to the Government and people. Besides, if this road were made, thousands of brave Texan soldiers could rush to our aid in a sudden emergency as could soldiers from all the Confederacy to her in case of need.
   The new state of things which results from shutting up the West, will necessity, sooner or later, the extension of the Opelousas and other roads, northwesterly through the  center of Texas, to the Pacific road and beyond to the wheat, corn and pork region, and we are glad to know that the grading of our road from the Vermillion to this place is under contract to responsible parties and is actually being done: Messrs. Mouton are grading from the Vermillion to the Cara?? and Messrs. McKintry from that to Opelousas.
   These signs of progress are very cheering, and those who are carrying forward these enterprises with so much ability and energy should be countenanced and aided in every possible way by our planters and other citizens.