Monday, January 2, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Wednesday, February 4, 1863

Governor E. D. Morgan was yesterday elected Senator in place of Preston King. If the latter was not to be returned, Morgan was probably the best of the competitors. He will make a useful Senator if he can persistently carry out his honest convictions, but I know of no one who can, just at this time, make good the place of King. He has been cheated and deceived. The country sustains a loss in his retirement. He is honest, faithful, unselfish, and earnestly patriotic.

We have the whole world agog with an account of an onset on our fleet before Charleston. The Mercedita is reported to have been surprised and sunk, and other vessels damaged. But the great hullabaloo is over a report that the whole blockading fleet ran away, — the foreign consuls at Charleston went out and could see none of the vessels,—and the blockade is by the Rebels declared raised. Seward called on me in great trepidation with these tidings. Told him most of the stuff was unworthy of a moment's consideration. Not unlikely the Mercedita may have been surprised and sunk, as she is of light draft and was probably close in. If there had been other vessels captured or sunk, we should have had their names. It looked to me as if the budget was made up for the European market by the foreign consuls, who are in fact Rebel agents, and I asked why their exequaturs were not annulled.

The New York papers have sensation headings over the Charleston news, and the Tribune has a ridiculous article about blockade, more wild, if possible, than Seward.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 232-3

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