NP, SP 12/22/1860

From the Sugar Planter {West Baton Rouge, La.}
December 22, 1860
Baton Rouge, Grosse-Tete & Opelousas Railroad Company
   To the kindness of the worthy President of his Road, Col. J. V. Duralde, are we indebted for the following valuable information in regard to its business and progress for the past year. In order to complete the road to Livonia, a distance of twelve miles from the Bayou Grosse-Tete, subscriptions were received amounting to $80,000, which, with the assets of the old stock, and the receipts of the old road, work was immediately commenced with thirty five newly purchased negroes on the 3d day of January last. The road-bed was completed, ready to receive the ties and rails during the month of September following. Owing to the drouth which prevailed throughout the country during the past summer, it was extremely difficult to procure ties -- the contractors being unable to run their mills in consequence of the drying up of the ponds and wells. But for this unanticipated set back, the cars would have been making daily trips to that point by the 1st day of November. Everything is now progressing finely and by the middle of January the section will be completed. The entire receipts of the road for the past year to Dec. 1, amount to near $36,000; an increase over that of last year. The assets of the company amount to $263,787.03, to which may be added the rolling stock, valued at $35,000. The entire indebtedness of the company reaches the sum of $192,850.97, showing a balance in favor of the company over all its liabilities of $160,936.06; or, with the value of the rolling stock added, $195,561.06. This showing will prove interesting to all parties concerned, and we think will favorably vie with the annual showing of our other State roads. The cost of the Livonia section will not exceed $8500 per mile -- one of the best and most satisfactory evidence of the great cheapness of slave laboring in railroad building. How much the cost of railroads is reduced by employing slave labor, can be estimated by referring to the cost of roads built by white labor under the wretched contract system.
   The company, immediately upon the completion of the Livonia section, will commence upon the third and last section, to the Atchafalaya river. The distance from Livonia to that point is about thirteen miles, and it is calculated will be completed by the 1st of January, 1862. The clearing and grading will occupy the hands of the company about seven months, while the remainder of the work can be done easily in the remaining five. All the necessary materials, money, and labor are on hand for the purpose.
   The value of this road to the State cannot now be estimated. That it will prove a rich harvest for all interested, will not for a moment be questioned. All that we ask in this connection is, that our friends on the other side of the Atchafalaya river will hurry on the work to Alexandria, and from thence -- where? Right glad are we to learn that the residents of the valley of Red river are now completely aroused to the importance of this road, and are making all exertions to meet us at the Atchafalaya. Then Alexandria will be within a few hours' travel of Baton Rouge, and from thence eight to twelve hours by steam to New Orleans.