Sunday, January 22, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Thursday, March 5, 1863

Went on the evening of the 3d inst. to the Capitol. Spent most of the time until eleven o'clock in the President's room. It is my first visit to the Capitol since the session commenced. Was for half an hour on the floor of the House. Thirty-four years ago spent the night of the 3d of March on the floor of the Representatives' Chamber. It was in the old Representatives’ Hall. Andrew Stevenson was Speaker. I first saw Henry Clay that night. He came from the President's room to the House about ten. It was to him the scene of old triumphs, and friends crowded around him.

I subsequently went into the Senate Chamber, a much larger but less pleasant room than the old one, which I first visited in the last days of the second Adams. If the present room is larger, the Senators seemed smaller. My first impressions were doubtless more reverential than those of later times.

The deportment of the Members in both houses was calm and in favorable contrast with what I have ever seen of the closing hours of any session, and I have witnessed many. There was nothing boisterous, and but little that was factious. It was nearly midnight when we left. On the morning of the 4th I was at the Capitol, from ten till twelve. All passed off harmoniously.

The recent dispatches of Consul Morse at London, and information from other sources, render it necessary measures should be taken to prevent the Rebels from getting a considerable naval force afloat.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 244-5

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