OR, Series 1, Vol. 53, Page 274

Savannah, January 16, 1863
Brig. Gen. Thomas Jordan
Chief of Staff, Charleston
   I respectfully offer the following memorandum on the resources in Georgia for maintaining the troops of this department, more especially those in the Military District of Georgia, and on the great advantage of making a railroad connection with the grain and cattle country of Florida, and inclose a small map showing the available and non-available sections. I am prompted to invite your consideration to this from the report of the chief commissary of Georgia that our supply of fresh beef will be exhausted in less than two months, and our troops thrown back on "slender supplies" of bacon. A full report from him on the whole subsistence question will be sent you. A review of the Confederacy would show that Georgia and Florida are the only States east of the Mississippi with important supplies to spare, and that the already heavy calls upon the former from the troops to the north and east of her is likely to increase. The grain crop of all Northern Georgia was generally very poor, only sufficient to last the people until next crop. A portion of Western and Middle Georgia, which is penetrated by the railroads radiating from Atlanta, will send their surplus to that city and on to Bragg's army. The portion near Augusta will send its spare supplies to South Carolina. The troops of this military district must therefore rely almost entirely on that section contained within the red line on the accompanying map, all north and west being non-available. This is penetrated as follows: First. By the Central {of Georgia} railroad and its branches, and the Southwestern railroad and its branches from Savannah to Macon; thence to Albany on Flint River, and to the Chattahoochee River, affording good means of transportation of material for, say, twenty miles on either side of the roads. Second. The Savannah, Albany, and Gulf Railroad and extension reaching from Savannah 200 miles to Thomasville, near the Florida line.
   Most of the counties connected with these roads have yet a large surplus of corn and some cattle; comparatively few a surplus of bacon. The counties to be excepted as having now no grain surplus may be roughly stated as those near the first fifty miles from Savannah, on the Central railroad, and near the first 100 miles of the Savannah, Albany, and Gulf Railroad, say nearly to the Alapaha River, and I may remark that their cattle are too poor and dispersed through the swamps to be available for some time yet. Of all the counties it may be said that the difficulties of local transportation are great. The planters are generally unable to carry their produce to the depots, and the railroads (particularly Savannah, Albany, and Gulf Railroad) are too deficient in rolling-stock to remove supplies as received. Notwithstanding the preference given by all these railroads to Government freight, the unfortunate management and competition of purchasing agents, specially in Southwestern Georgia, have increased the price of corn and threaten to entail great and needless expense upon the Government. It would seem expedient to reserve for the maintenance of General Beauregard's command at least the country drained by the Savannah, Albany, and Gulf Railroad, and to remove its produce to safe depots. The Savannah, Albany, and Gulf Railroad reaches within twenty-two miles of the town of Monticello, in Middle Florida, on the Great Florida Railroad {the Pensacola & Georgia RR}, running east and west through that State. Should a connection be formed between the Savannah, Albany, and Gulf Railroad and this Florida road, it would open to your uses the large supplies in corn and live stock (also valuable bacon, sugar, and sirup) now comparatively shut up in Middle Florida and the upper and central portions of the peninsula. The crops there have been good, and the supply will be most important in view of the heavy calls now being made on Southwestern Georgia and the very limited resources of the Georgia seaboard. Indeed, it is to Florida only that we here can look for commissary stores when our present sources become exhausted. I suggest a connection from Monticello to Quitman, or some point near it on the Savannah, Albany, and Gulf Railroad, because I believe it the only practicable line under present circumstances, and one likely to accomplish the results desired. There are iron rails enough to spare in Georgia and Florida, timber on the spot, and no difficult obstacles to encounter on the line. Spikes may be scarce, but I think enough could be got. With proper energy it could be completed before the middle of next summer. I have indicated this connection on the map by a dotted red line. I would mention the great requirement of an effective arrangement of quartermaster's wagon trains, by which the produce may be carried from the plantations to the railroad depots. Very soon planters will need all their animals for plowing. Any details on these subjects desired by the commanding general will be collected and furnished (if possible) with pleasure.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Henry Bryan
Major and Assistant Inspector-General