National Express and Transportation Company,
Richmond, Va. Feby 4th 1866.
Your letter of the 7th is just received. I believe, as you do, that success is certain, if we go into the contest resolutely. I have conferred with three of the four Virginian directors - & they are in favor of such a course.
We are now prepared for business in Virginia, North Carolina & part of South Carolina - & are disbursing as much in those states, as if we had all their transportation. But as we are scarcely operating north of Baltimore, a very small part of it is done by us. The privilege of using Mr Hinckley=s & Mr Steven=s roads would add enormously to our receipts in the South, & increase expenses there, very little. Our first object therefore, is to conclude contracts with Mesrs Hinckley & Stevens. Let us do our part of that immediately. It will compell the directory to establish a line of policy &, I doubt not, bring them to ours. The route from Baltimore via Cincinnati to St. Louis should also be opened without further delay. Mr Warfield sent me, a few days ago, the project of an arrangement with the Baltimore & Ohio Road so unfavorable that I am sure that it did not express the true terms.
Mr. Scott=s terms are too high for us at present. Let us try to get to the West directly from New York (Page 2) after establishing a line from Baltimore. It is necessary, however, that we should not attempt to extend faster than we are able to procure horses & wagons.
If Genl Hatch is in St Louis, please desire him to ascertain from R. M. Renick our --?-- & --?-- there, where the assessment on the stock owners in that city is deposited.. I have made several vain attempts to get this information. Until this money is put at the disposal of the Company it can not be used for our purposes in St Louis itself. If the St Louis stockholders continue to hold this money, I shall leave them to divide it among themselves, & put the stock into your hands for new distribution - there & elsewhere.
It is important to ascertain how much the Bankers & Brokers have paid in. That is the test of earnestness.
I expect to go to Washington in a few days, to see Mr Tate in relation to his rail road express.
J. E. Johnston
Major General Wilson.