Sunday, February 12, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Monday, April 6, 1863

Great interest is felt in the result of the Connecticut election, one of the most animated and exciting elections ever known. Issues broad and distinct. Thousands will vote for Seymour under the discipline and delusion of party who have not the remotest thought of being disloyal.

Senator Sumner called upon me this p.m. and gave a curious narrative concerning my letter to Seward on the subject of letters of marque, and of the difficulty the President had in getting it. When finally obtained, he informed and called in Sumner, and the two sat down and the President deliberately read it aloud. They then criticized it carefully, and when they were through, Sumner says the President spoke complimentarily of the letter and very complimentarily of me.

Rumors are current and thick respecting Charleston, but they are all conjectural. A movement against the place is expected about these days, but there has not been time to hear of it. I have great anxiety and great apprehension. Operations have gone on slowly and reluctantly.

The report of the “Committee on the Conduct of the War” is to-day published. This method of supervising military operations by legislative committee is of more than questionable utility. Little good can be expected of these partisan supervisors of the Government at any time. They are partisan and made up of persons not very competent to form correct and intelligent opinions of Army or Navy operations, or administrative purposes. In this instance, I think, from a slight look into a few pages, there is more truth from them than usual in these cases.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 261-2

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