Had a letter from Chief Engineer Stimers last night. Says the attack on Charleston will be delayed; suggests it will be made the first week in April. It made me nervous and restless through the night; got but little sleep. The delay, hesitation, uncertainty in the Army of the Potomac over again. Du Pont is getting as prudent as McClellan; is very careful; all dash, energy, and force are softened under the great responsibility. He has a reputation to preserve instead of one to make.
Stimers arrived this morning and read to me the minutes of a council held on board the Wabash. The army officers were present, and it is plain they were a drawback on naval operations. Talk of beginning the attack on Charleston by an assault on the sand-batteries at the mouth of the harbor instead of running past them. Of obstructions and torpedos little is known, but great apprehensions are entertained. Stimers is sent up to get more ironclads and another raft. The President came in, and the whole subject was recounted. His views and mine are alike. To delay for the objects stated till April will be to postpone to May. Expressed ourselves very decidedly, and told Stimers to hurry back.
Talked over the subject of Rebel privateers building in England. Said to the President and Mr. Seward I thought England should be frankly informed that our countrymen would not be restrained from active operations if Great Britain persisted in making war on our commerce under Confederate colors.
SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 247