1864: John Batman to Thomas Rodgers

Men of the Construction Corps in front of Headquarters in
Men of the Construction Corps in front of Headquarters in Chattanooga, Tennessee 1864

This letter was written by John Batman [or Batmen] who served with the Construction Corp of the United States Army Military Railroad (1863-65). The U.S. Military Railroad (USMRR) was established by the United States War Department as a separate agency to operate any rail lines seized by the government during the American Civil War. The United States Congress authorized President Abraham Lincoln to seize control of the railroads and telegraph for military use in January 1862.[2] In practice, however, the USMRR restricted its authority to Southern rail lines captured in the course of the war. Whether Batemen was a civilian or a soldier on detached service is unknown. Nothing further found.

The Headquarters of the Construction Corps, U.S. Military Railroads was located at Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1864.

The Chattahoochee bridge at Bolton, Georgia, was the largest and most important bridge on the Western & Atlantic Railroad, being 780 feet long and 90 feet high. It was re-built by the First and Third Divisions of bridge-builders in four days and a half. The U.S. Military Railroad also rebuilt the bridge over Etowah River that was partially destroyed by the fleeing Confederate.

TRANSCRIPTION

Chatahosa [Chattahoochee] River, Georgia
Sunday, August 7th 1864

Mr. Thomas Rodgers
Dear Sir,

Having arrived here last Sunday night all safe & sound & no bones broken. I was speaking to Masturn Keaf. Mastirm said that if you would come down here & bring 14 or 15 men that you would be all right & that every thing is going on all right just as they was when you left here. Rations & wages are the same.

Headquarters of Construction Corps in Chattanooga, TN
Headquarters of Construction Corps in Chattanooga

On the 25th we ran the train within 3 miles of Atlanta. If you are not ready to come yet, write & I will send you a better account. No more at present.

— John Batmen

Directions to write:

Chattanooga, Box 142
Care of E. W. Carlile
2nd Division
Construction Corps, Tennessee


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