Friday, June 15, 2018

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Sunday, July 26, 1863

The cavalry of General Scammon's command left Raleigh on Wednesday, 15th, to cut the [Virginia and] Tennessee Railroad. On the [18th] they reached Wytheville and had a desperate and bloody encounter. The Rebels occupied the houses firing from them on our men. Our loss is serious. Colonel Toland, Thirty-fourth Ohio Mounted Infantry, killed. Colonel Powell, Second Virginia Cavalry, wounded mortally. Captain Delany, a brave and valuable officer of my brigade, killed. He was wounded in the body as he rode into town; dismounted and stood by his horse firing his revolver when he was shot through the head and killed instantly. The ball came from a house hitting the eagle ornament on the side of his hat. Two of his lieutenants badly wounded. The Rebels used the houses as fortifications. They were burned.

Captain Delany was killed at Wytheville on the 18th. It was near the entrance to the town from the northwest. His horse had been killed and he stood by her firing his revolver. He reloaded after firing all his shots. A ball from a second-story window struck through the eagle ornament on his hat and ranging down through his head came out at his lower jaw on the opposite side. Colonel Toland was at the bottom of the ascent leading up into town, urging the men to go in and fire the town, when he was shot through the breast. It is thought the same citizen, a man of wealth living in a brick house at that end of town, shot both Colonel Toland and Captain Delany. He (the citizen) was killed by a [man of the] Thirty-fourth. His house was burned. One citizen, a large fleshy man, in specs, was killed.

The Second Virginia Cavalry behaved shamefully. They would not go in to the support of Captains Gilmore and Delany. The Thirty-fourth did nobly. Major Huffman, Second Virginia, said with a smile as Lieutenant-Colonel Franklin and the Thirty-fourth passed in: “That's right Colonel, go in” I but [he] didn't offer to go in himself.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 423

Howell Cobb To Mary Ann Lamar Cobb, June 4, 1846

Washington City, 4th June, 1846.

My Dear Wife, . . . The prospect of winning much glory in the battle field is growing extremely unpromising. The news from Mexico indicates that the war there is fast drawing to a close, and it is now anticipated with much certainty that in a very short time our peaceful relations will be restored with that ill fated people. With England too the bow of peace spans our horizon. The last accounts from Great Britain have quieted all fears of a rupture with her about Oregon. So much so that in both countries the opinion is generally indulged and freely expressed that the Oregon dispute may be considered as approaching its final and peaceful adjustment. It is reported here that Mr. Pakenham has received instructions from his government to offer a settlement on the basis of 49° and the [mutual?] free navigation of the Columbia river. If this be true, we shall soon see a treaty to that effect made and ratified by the Senate, much to the disappointment of us 54.40 men, though in the end we shall be benefited by the result so far as popularity and public confidence is concerned . . .

SOURCE: Ulrich Bonnell Phillips, Editor, The Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1911, Volume 2: The Correspondence of Robert Toombs, Alexander H. Stephens, and Howell Cobb, p. 79-80

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 26, 1863

Nothing additional has been received from Gen. Bragg, but there is reason to believe Rosecrans is fortifying Chattanooga, preparatory to crossing the river and retreating northward with all possible expedition.

From the Upper Rappahannock there is much skirmishing, the usual preliminary to a battle; and Kemper's brigade, of Pickett's division, went up thither last night, and it may be probable that a battle is imminent. Lee is apt to fight when the enemy is present facing him. The victory of Bragg has lifted a mountain from the spirits of the people, and another victory would cast the North into the “slough of despond.”

Gen. C. J. McRae, and another gentleman, have been directed to investigate the accounts of Major Caleb Huse, the friend and agent of Col. Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance. Gen. McR. writes from Folkestone, England, to Col. G. that the other gentleman not having appeared, he is undertaking the work himself, and, so far, the accounts are all right. Messrs Isaac, Campbell & Co. (Jews), with whom the Ordnance Bureau has had large transactions, have afforded (so far) every facility, etc.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 53

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: November 16, 1864

A decided thinness in our ranks this morning. Still house keeping goes right along as usual. Rebels not knowing how to figure give us just about the same for the whole prison as when all were here. Had a talk with a rebel sergeant for about an hour. Tried to find out our destination and could get no satisfaction, although he said we were going to our lines. Told him I was a mason, odd-fellow, had every kind of religion (in hopes to strike his), and flattered him until I was ashamed of myself. In a desultory sort of way he said he “reckoned we war goin' nawth.” Well, I will write down the solution I have at last come to, and we will see how near right I am after a little. Our troops, Sherman or Kilpatrick or some of them, are raiding through the South, and we are not safe in Millen, as we were not safe in Andersonville, and as was plainly evident we were not safe in Savannah. There is the whole thing in a nutshell, and we will see. Six hundred gone today.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 117

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Lieutenant-Colonel William T. Lusk to Elizabeth Adams Lusk, July 20, 1863

Headquarters Del. Dept.
Wilmington, Del., July 20th, 1863.
My dear Mother:

You have heard before now, I suppose, that I was in New-York a few days last week. I saw Horace then, but the excitement of the riots excluded all other topics of conversation.

Lilly was kind enough to write me a letter which I shall gladly answer, as I have time enough now to remember all correspondents that remember me. If nothing else, I have abundant opportunities to read and write. After the draft has been enforced in this State, the necessity for Martial Law will probably have passed away. Then I hope either to have more active service, or to get relieved altogether. My summer experience will lead me to enjoy with the greater zest, the coming winter.

Gen. Tyler has behaved most handsomely I think, for when he was ordered to Maryland Heights, it was with the understanding that he was to have an important command, if not that of the Middle Department itself. But the loss of Milroy's Army, the advance of Hooker, and consequent assignment of French to the Heights, the troubles in Baltimore, one and all operated to break up all plans, and to leave him in his present position. I have not heard him utter, for all, a single word of complaint, though necessarily his position must be very irksome to him.

Aunt Maria, Uncle Phelps and Nellie were in NewYork for a few hours while I was there, but I did not know it until it was too late. Mr. ——, who lives opposite my Uncle's, sent for me to come and see him. He proposed that I should take charge of a patrol to protect their part of the town. I turned to young —— and suggested that he would make one of the patrol. "No," says the young man, "but I'll furnish a porter from father's store as a substitute." Indeed thought I, with such heroic youths, there is no need of doing anything here. I can let this part of the city take care of itself.

Your affec. Son,
Will.

SOURCE: William Chittenden Lusk, Editor, War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, p. 290-1

Captain Charles Wright Wills: May 2, 1864

West bank of Crow Creek, near Stevenson,
May 2d, 1864.

Only about seven miles from last night's camp, but will have to wait until to-morrow to build a bridge. The creek is some 150 feet wide. Our Pioneer Corps will from the rough put a bridge over it in ten hours, that is to be passed over within the next three days by 800 wagons and 100 cannon of our corps. We reached here about 9 this a. m., and were led into a very large field of prairie grass, standing three feet high and as dry as tinder. A stiff breeze was blowing and the first fire started in our regiment set the grass in our front on a perfect rampage. It run down on the 46th Ohio, and such a grabbing of “traps” and scattering was never before seen, but was equaled about half an hour afterwards when a fire set in our rear came sweeping down on us. We threw our things out on the bare space in our front and escaped with little loss. My drummer had his coat, cap, drum and a pet squirrel burned, and a number of ponchos and small articles were also sent up in smoke. The days are almost like summer, but the nights are rather cool. The trees are about in full leaf and vermin are becoming altogether too numerous. Every man is a vigilance committee on the wood-tick question. They are worse than guerrillas or gray-backs. On an ordinary good "tick day" we capture about ten per capita. They demoralize one tremendously. The boys did some good work fishing in the p. m., catching a number of fine bass, etc.

A surgeon, who I think belongs on some brigade staff, has been stopping at nearly every house visiting, etc., and then rides past us to his place in front. This morning, after a visit he was passing our regiment; as we commenced crossing a little stream his horse got into a hole some four feet deep, stumbled, fell, rolled over, and liked to have finished the doctor. He was under both water and horse. The boys consoled him with a clear 1,000 cheers, groans, and sharp speeches. Anything short of death is a capital joke. I have seen them make sport of a man lying by the roadside in a fit.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 232-3

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: Sunday, September 11, 1864

Spent the day quietly in camp. Read papers and “Lady of the Lake.”

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 130

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: Monday, September 12, 1864

Regt. went out on a scout to Millwood. Remained in camp. Read some and worked. Considerable rain for two or three days. Cold nights.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 130

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: September 13, 1864

Beautiful, clear morning. Brigade on a scout. Took in a S. Carolina regt. The 2nd Ohio charged them (Infantry) driving them into a little piece of woods and surrounding them. Whole line of battle in sight. The Col. and 145 men surrendered, our loss slight. In good spirits.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 130

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: Wednesday, September 14, 1864

Regt. was on picket near Berryville. Went to Harper's Ferry with forges.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 130

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: Thursday, September 15, 1864

Returned to Berryville. Rode rapidly without company most of the way.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 130

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: September 16, 1864

Remained in camp. Read and wrote.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 130

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: Saturday, September 17, 1864

Got officers to sign papers. Forges get back loaded.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 130

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: September 18, 1864

Sent regt. wagons loaded to Ferry. Preparations to move. 2nd Ohio made a reconnoissance, driving rebs across the Opequon. All Q. M.s ordered to Ferry with wagons. Houghton told me there was business on hand and the General would like me for aide. Soon an order came for me to report. I was pleased. Moved out and then back into camp over night.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 130

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Amos A. Lawrence to Dr. Charles L. Robinson, July 20, 1855

Boston, July 20, 1855.

My Dear Sir, — You are on the eve of stirring times. I wish Mr. Pomeroy was with you. I wish we all were there, if we could stand up like men to the work in hand. I know more than one man here, who looks every day and every night at his wife and little ones, and doubts which way his duty lies. But we must not doubt. Young men and men like you must do the work, and you must have the glory of saving a good part of your country to freedom. But you must have arms, or your courage will not avail. We must stir ourselves here to-morrow and see what can be done.

Yours faithfully,
A. A. L.

SOURCE: William Lawrence, Life of Amos A. Lawrence: With Extracts from His Diary and Correspondence, p. 96-7

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, January 9, 1857

Worcester, January 9, 1857

I had various Kansas and other experiences, saw “old Captain Brown,” but not Governor Robinson. Captain B. expects quiet till spring, and then another invasion, and is trying for means to repel it.

The best thing I did, you will think, was to see Mr. Sumner at the Athenaeum Library. He seemed at first very well, looked as usual, while seated, and spoke as easily and in as firm a voice as ever. But finally I proposed to him to go up and see Page's Venus in the upper hall, of which I had the key, and when he rose I saw the change. He rose slowly, . . . holding both hands upon his back, and walked with a cane and quite feebly, instead of his peculiarly vigorous stride. He thinks of going to Washington this month, but I suspect he will be persuaded not to do it till the end of the session, if at all. He is obviously unfit to deliver his future speech, which, he says, will be to his last one “what first proof brandy is to molasses-and-water.” “I think I shall probably be shot,” he added; “I don't see what else they can do.” Perhaps it is so, though he had better not say it, still it was simply uttered, and I never saw him appear nobler or abler. But I do not think he will ever be, physically speaking, what he was.

SOURCE: Mary Potter Thacher Higginson, Editor, Letters and Journals of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 1846-1906, p. 77-8

George L. Stearns to Samuel Gridley Howe, February 27, 1860

[Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 27, 1860]
[Dr. S. G. Howe.]

I am so far on my return from Washington, where I had a good time. The Com. were civil and did not press me at all. I answered freely and they took all I said in good faith.

On reading my testimony, which took an hour and a half, I did not want to change a word, but made some additions; such as, “I have since changed my opinion,” etc. I was before them three hours, from eleven until two.

I saw a good deal of Sumner; he made me free of his room at all hours and was of great use to me. He is preparing a speech and will do justice to this affair, including the Senate Com. He said: I feel now perfectly easy with regard to slavery: it has received its death blow. This is not a quotation, but the spirit of his remarks.

Saw Adams, Burlingame, Wilson; nothing said worth reporting.

Washington, as it is to-day, is the meanest hole in creation, and Congress the meanest part of Washington. The members of both parties are split up into petty cliques, each intent on grinding its own little axe and trying to prevent all the others from using the grindstone. If they are our representatives, we are indeed of a low type.

Ever yours,
George L. Stearns.

SOURCE: Preston Stearns, The Life and Public Services of George Luther Stearns, p. 213

Samuel Gridley Howe to Theodore Parker, August 2, 1850

Edinburgh, August 2nd, 1850.

My Dear Parker: — I have not heard a word from you since I left home, and this causes me regret, because I have no means of answering the questions which I am always asking myself about you and your health and your doings, &c. &c. Do give me the means of satisfying myself.

I was amused and pleased the other day in London, being in the private reading-room of the great Athenaeum Club: — among the books upon the centre table was one much thumb-worn and evidently greatly in use, and I took it up to see what it was; — what think you,— the Bible, — or Hoyle, — or the Court Guide? No; — Parker's Discourses!

I find you useful sometimes even here, as a means of interesting people in my poor talk. The other day, visiting a very quiet family in the country, I found an ancient maiden lady in the library whom I did not know, — that is, we had not been introduced. We tried to talk, but it was dry work, and the weather and politics, &c. were soon used up. At last she, finding I was an American, asked if I knew Theodore Parker, the new light; upon which I said, in Yankee phrase, that “I guessed I did not know anybody else,” — upon which the antiquated maiden grew suddenly bright and animated, waxed warm in looks, and was at once only a bright middle-aged lady. She knew all about you too, and believed in you, and said you were the man for her money, &c., &c. Luckily for you she had never read the description of you by the correspondent of the New York Mirror. I told the maiden that you were not so well stricken in years as you looked. “In short,” said I, “Mr. Parker is not an old man by any means, and though you could hardly believe it if you should see him in the pulpit, he is not much older than I am!

There! did I not pay you a compliment? If you think not, ask Felton, who was not ashamed to pass for my father!

I have come up here to attend the meeting of the British Scientific Association, which you should do next year. I have seen a few big bugs, and some who only feel big; and some little bugs who may be big ones by and by. It is a beautiful city, as you know, and if it were not so confounded cold I should enjoy the remarkable scenery about it more than I do.

I have not done anything since I left home worth writing about. My principal business has been dawdling about the streets, studying nothing, paying close attention to nothing. I let my poor, weak brain lie fallow, and am almost ashamed of so doing; but que voulez vous? one cannot use up his brains and have them too.

I have found out that in the matter of idiocy they do not know so much in England as they do in France, and in France not half so much as they and the world think they do. The French are a little given to charlatanism, it must be said, and the Idiot School of Paris does allow the world to think that the wonderful things done in it are wonderful, upon the supposition that the forward pupils are idiots, which they are not. . . .

Believe me, dear Parker, most truly yours,
S. G. Howe.

SOURCE: Laura E. Richards, Editor, Letters and Journals of Samuel Gridley Howe, Volume 2, p. 316-7

Monday, June 11, 2018

Braxton Bragg to William T. Sherman, November 13, 1859

Near Thibodaux, La., November 13, 1859.

My Dear Sherman: It was a great pleasure to receive your note from Baton Rouge, and I sincerely hope that we may soon meet. I should have written to you at once on seeing your election to the important position you are to fill, but did not know where to find you. The announcement gave me very great pleasure, though my influence to some extent was given against you, never dreaming you could be an aspirant. I had united with many gentlemen in New Orleans to recommend Professor Sears, with whom I have no acquaintance, but simply on the ground of his being a graduate of West Point. Indeed, my letter was general, and might have applied to any graduate. Had I known your application I should have attended personally to forward your wishes. But as it is all is well.

Since seeing your appointment I have taken pains to try and advance the institution, and several friends speak of sending their sons. Whatever is in my power will be most cheerfully done for your personal interest, and for the institution generally. We must meet, but it is impossible for me to leave home now. Until nearly Christmas I shall be overrun with business, or rather confined by it. We are in the midst of [sugar] manufacturing, and a cold spell is now on us which inflicts a heavy loss every day lost. I even work on Sunday from this time to the end.

At home I have leisure, and am most happy to see friends. Kilburn,14 who is stationed in the city, [is] coming tomorrow to spend a few days. Why can't you do so? You can take dinner with me after breakfast in the city. Kilburn can put you in the way, should you have time to come down. I heard something of your misfortunes,15 and sympathised most deeply with you, but it is not too late for a man of your energy and ability to repair such a disaster.

Your institution I hope will prove a success. It is fairly endowed and has strong and enthusiastic friends. Among them you will find the master spirit my friend, General G. Mason Graham. My acquaintance with him was very short, but very agreeable. Friendships formed under the enemy's guns ought to last.16 I knew he liked me, and I admired his gallantry and devotion. Present my regards to him. You may safely trust to his friendship. Our new governor17 will be your friend, too. He is a plain man, but of excellent character, business habits and very large fortune, placing him above temptation and demagogery. Your professor of mathematics, a foreigner,18 is very highly spoken of; the others I do not know.

Mrs. Sherman and the little ones are not with you I suppose from your not mentioning them. We should be most happy to see them when they come to join you. In the meantime, when you can see enough to form any plan, let me hear from you again, and when and where we may meet. About January 1, I expect to be in Baton Rouge.

Accept my cordial wishes for your success, and happiness.

[BRAXTON BRAGG.]
_______________

14 An officer in the commissary department, United States Army. — Ed.
15 The failure of the banking firms with which Sherman had been connected. — Ed.
16 Bragg and Graham had served together in the Mexican War. — Ed.
17 Thomas O. Moore who was to take office in January, 1860. — Ed.
18 Dr. Anthony Vallas, an Hungarian. — Ed.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, Editor, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 52-4

E. B., a Quaker Woman, to John Brown, October 27, 1859

Newport, R. I., Tenth Month, 27th, ’59.
Captain John Brown.

Dear Friend, — Since thy arrest I have often thought of thee, and have wished that, like Elizabeth Fry toward her prison friends, so I might console thee in thy confinement. But that can never be; and so I can only write thee a few lines which, if they contain any comfort, may come to thee like some little ray of light.

You can never know how very many dear Friends love thee with all their hearts for thy brave efforts in behalf of the poor oppressed; and though we, who are non-resistants, and religiously believe it better to reform by moral and not by carnal weapons, could not approve of bloodshed, yet we know thee was animated by the most generous and philanthropic motives. Very many thousands openly approve thy intentions, though most Friends would not think it right to take up arms. Thousands pray for thee every day; and oh, I do pray that God will be with thy soul. Posterity will do thee justice. If Moses led out the thousands of Jewish slaves from their bondage, and God destroyed the Egyptians in the sea because they went after the Israelites to bring them back to slavery, then surely, by the same reasoning, we may judge thee a deliverer who wished to release millions from a more cruel oppression. If the American people honor Washington for resisting with bloodshed for seven years an unjust tax, how much more ought thou to be honored for seeking to free the poor slaves.

Oh, I wish I could plead for thee as some of the other sex can plead, how I would seek to defend thee! If I had now the eloquence of Portia, how I would turn the scale in thy favor! But I can only pray "God bless thee!" God pardon thee, and through our Redeemer give thee safety and happiness now and always!

From thy friend,
E. B.

SOURCES: Franklin B. Sanborn, The Life and Letters of John Brown, p. 581-2

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Governor Salmon P. Chase to Senator Charles Sumner, January 20, 1860

Columbus, Jan’y 20, 1860.

Dear Sumner, There are a few Republicans in the Legislature who think decided opposition — especially of a practical character — to slavery & its domination somewhat heretical, if not fanatical, and they do not like the idea that such a man as I am should be made Senator. They are few; but it has been feared that, if excited to factious action by disregarding altogether their wishes, they might be able, with the aid of the democrats, to defeat an election. I doubt whether they would do so in any event; but it was probably wisdom to give them no pretext. At least the majority thought it best to give them time; and accordingly the nomination was postponed to Feb. 1, when it will doubtless be made, & the election will follow very soon — perhaps the next day. There are no indications of serious opposition. It gratifies me exceedingly that the true & earnest friends of our cause — among whom I count you chief — seem to desire so much my return to my old post. I confess however that I have myself little or no desire to return to it. I weary of political life & strife. Nothing but the clearly indicated will of the Republicans & especially of the most earnest & faithful among them would induce me to think of entering it again. Even that higher post to which you alluded would attract me less by its distinctions than it would repel by the apprehensions, which its responsibilities must awaken, of failure in effecting that elevation in tone, object, & action at home and abroad, which alone makes change of administration desirable. It would be a great thing indeed to reform administration at home; to infuse it with the spirit of liberty, justice, & equity; to enable our diplomacy to fill its posts with men whose hearts are sound as their heads; & by these means add dignity to national character & permanence to national institutions. But who, knowing himself & knowing the time, will dare to promise himself that he can do this?

Cordially & faithfully,
[SALMON P. CHASE.]

My little Nettie has learned to admire you as much as her sister Kate. Your picture hangs in my dining room & in my library, and they think of you as a near friend.

SOURCE: Diary and correspondence of Salmon P. ChaseAnnual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 284-5

Friday, June 8, 2018

Commander Andrew H. Foote to Gideon Welles, April 6, 1861

Navy Yard,    
New York, April 6/61.
Sir:

I hastily informed the Department by mail to-day of the circumstances under which the “Powhatan” sailed, with Lieut. Porter on board — Capt. Mercer taking the ship down as far as Staten Island, with the view of there handing her over to Lt. Porter; also that I had given Capt. Mercer the telegram received from the Department informing us that Purser Gulick would arrive this evening with a dispatch. I had previously handed Capt. Mercer a sealed letter from the Department, addressed to him, which was this morning received. I further stated that Capt. Meigs, Porter and Mercer had held a consultation in reference to the orders, and the service in question. Before the Powhatan sailed, Cpt. Mercer handed me a paper stating the following: —
“Capt. Mercer has turned the command of the Powhatan over to Lieut. D. D. Porter, by order of the President, and she has gone to sea.”

Capt. Mercer intends to give Capt. Faunce (of the Harriet Lane) a copy of his instructions from the Navy Department, and direct him to report to the senior naval officer he may meet with off Charleston, giving him the copy of instructions, which Capt. Mercer will certify as a correct copy. Capt. Faunce will be directed to proceed under his order, from the Department, dated April 5th, off Charleston bar, unless Capt. Faunce receives counter orders from the Department. Captains Meigs, Porter and Mercer, after consultation, determined upon this course. Captain Mercer will probably be in New York this evening, and explain himself more fully to the Department.

I also referred to having sent Lieut. Roe of the Ordnance Department to procure a steamer and if possible overhaul the Powhatan, and give Capt. Porter the dispatch sent him by Hon. Mr. Seward, but I fear that the Powhatan had then proceeded too far to be overhauled. Lt. Roe has not yet returned.

I will on Monday send a correct list of officers of the Powhatan. By the urgent request and assurance of authority on the part of Lt. Porter, as the four Master's Mates could not be shipped in time, I permitted him to take some Lts. — an extra one. The two Lieuts. ordered without express authority of the Department were Lieut. Perry and Lieut. Smith of Philadelphia. I had heard that the first had been ordered by the Department, and as he wished to go, as well as from the entreaties of Mrs. Corinna Perry, and especially as Lieut. Porter wanted the number, I ordered him; while Lieut. Smith had before been ordered to fill up the complement and was named in a list presented to me by Lieut.. Porter. The Maine officer, Lt. Browne went out in the ship, and Mr. Heap from Washington as Acting Paymaster—as Lt. Porter informed Capt. Mercer and myself on or by authority of the government.

I have the honor to be,
Very respectfully,
Your obd't serv't,
A. H. Foote.                       
for Com'd't.
Hon. Gideon Welles,
Secretary of the Navy,
Washington.

SOURCE: Robert Means Thompson & Richard Wainwright, Editors, Publications of the Naval Historical Society, Volume 9: Confidential Correspondence of Gustavus Vasa Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1861-1865, Volume 1, p. 28-30

Diary of Gideon Welles: Saturday, February 13, 1864

Senator Hale called on me today. Was very plausible and half-confidential. Baker, the detective, had been before his committee. Had told many things of men in the Department. Lowering his voice, Hale said, “He tells some things about your Chief Clerk that are very suspicious.” I cautioned the Senator about receiving all the gossip and suspicion of Baker, who had no powers of discrimination, little regard for truth, believed everything bad, suspected everybody, and had no regard for the character and rights of any man. Told him I would be answerable for the honesty of Faxon, that no truthful man could doubt it, and that, having heard Baker's scandal and suspicion, I requested him to bring me a fact, or find one if he could from his lying detective.

This pitiful Senator is devoting his time and that of his committee in a miserable attempt to bring reproach upon the Navy Department, to make points against it, to pervert facts, and to defame men of the strictest integrity. A viler prostitution of Senatorial position and place I have never witnessed. The primary object is to secure a reelection for himself, and a love of defamation attends it. Had a pleasant half-hour with Preston King, who made a special call to see me. Few men in Congress are his equal for sagacity, comprehensiveness, sound judgment, and fearlessness of purpose. Such statesmen do honor to their State and country. His loss to the Senate cannot be supplied. I like his successor, Morgan, who has good sense and will, in the main, make a good Senator, but he cannot make King's place good. I know not who can. Why are the services of such men set aside by small politicians? But King is making himself useful, and has come to Washington from patriotic motives to advise with our legislators and statesmen, and to cheer and encourage the soldiers.

I sometimes think he is more true to principles than I am myself. Speaking of Fernando Wood, we each expressed a common and general sentiment of surprise and disgust that any district could elect such a Representative. But the whole city of New York is alike leprous and rotten. This brought the question, How can such a place be regenerated and purified? What is the remedy? While I expressed a reluctant conviction, which is gradually coming over me, that in such a vicious community free suffrage was abased, and it was becoming a problem whether there should not be an outside movement, or some restriction on voting to correct palpable evil in municipal government, King maintained the old faith and would let the evil correct itself. If factious or partisan violence will go so far as to elect men like Wood or Brooks; if men of property and character will prostitute themselves to vote for them and consent to have their city misgoverned and themselves misrepresented, let them take the consequences. The evil will correct itself. After they have disgraced themselves sufficiently and loaded themselves with taxes and debt, they will finally rouse to a sense of duty, and retrieve the city from misrule and bad management and their district from misrepresentation. Such is the reasoning of Preston King.

I felt a return of old enthusiasm of former years, when in the security of youth I believed the popular voice was right, and that the majority would come to right results in every community; but alas! experience has shaken the confidence I once had. In an agricultural district, or a sparse population the old rule holds, and I am not prepared to deny King's conclusions, but my faith in the rectitude of the strange material that compose a majority of the population of our large cities is not strong. The floating mass who have no permanent abiding-place, who are the tools of men like Wood and Brooks, who are not patriots but party demagogues, who have no fixed purpose or principle, should not by their votes, control and overpower the virtuous and good. Yet they do. Some permanent element is wanting in our system. We need more stability and character. In our municipalities there needs some modification for good government.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 522-4