Sunday, September 4, 2016

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, October 24, 1862

Wrote Chase this A.M. respecting traffic at Norfolk. The army officers are crowding Admiral Lee with permits to favorites obtained in abundance through General Dix. All is in violation of good faith as regards the blockade. I wrote Chase that all trade should be interdicted or it should be opened to all; that there ought to be no sham blockade to pamper army corruptionists; that if there is a blockade it should be rigidly enforced, excluding all; or let us open the port to all. The subject was discussed in Cabinet. Previous to introducing it, I had some talk with Chase. He fully agreed with me, but preferred opening the port, while, under the representations of Stanton, I doubted the expediency. But we agreed that one policy or the other ought to be adopted, but it should not be equivocal. When the subject was introduced, Chase flinched, as he often does, and he did not sustain me, though he did not oppose me, — said nothing. Seward entreated that the question might be got along with for ten days, until after the New York election. He did not wish to have Dix and the interested fellows around him take cause of offense at this moment. Stanton said he thought I had consented to traffic under permits by Dix. I replied that I had not, and that he could have had no such thought from anything I had said or done; that I was opposed to traffic through any blockaded ports and to return cargoes even in army transports, or vessels carrying army supplies.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 177-8

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