Saturday, December 31, 2016

Diary of Gideon Welles: Tuesday, February 3, 1863

The I. P. Smith,1 a purchased steamer of eleven guns, is reported captured in Stono River. We have information also that the blockaders have captured the Princess Royal with a valuable cargo, that was attempting to get into Charleston.

The naval contractors are becoming clamorous for advanced prices in consequence of the depreciation of money. I have been expecting this. Cheapening money will be dear to the Government. Have warned Chase of it. It is only the beginning of evil.

The question of making an example by shooting a deserter was before the Cabinet. A case, considered a strong one, of a young man named Bud of Albany was presented. It did not strike me as so aggravated a case as some others, but the necessity of an example to check a rapidly increasing evil was unanimously assented to. The propriety of inflicting high penalty on some more conspicuous offender than a poor private soldier was suggested.

1 This was the gunboat Isaac Smith, captured January 30. Her name was incorrectly reported.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 231-2

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