Received Admiral Du Pont's detailed report with those of his officers. The document is not such as I should have expected from him a short time ago, but matters of late prevent me from feeling any real disappointment. Fox went last night to New York in anticipation of such a report. The tone and views of the sub-reports have the ring, or want of ring, of the Admiral in command. Discouragement when there should be encouragement. A pall is thrown over all. Nothing has been done, and it is the recommendation of all, from the Admiral down, that no effort be made to do anything. [Du Pont] has got his subordinates to sustain him in a proceeding that his sense of right tells him is wrong.
I am by no means confident that we are acting wisely in expending so much strength and effort on Charleston, a place of no strategic importance, but it is lamentable to witness the tone, language, absence of vitality and vigor, and want of zeal among so many of the best officers of the service. I cannot be mistaken as to the source and cause. A magnetic power in the head, which should have inspired and stimulated them, is wanting; they have been discouraged instead of being encouraged, depressed not strengthened.
SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 276-7