Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Wednesday, April 8, 1863

An oppressive and anxious feeling in relation to movements at Charleston. It has been expected an attack would be made the first week in April. We hear nothing. The Rebel authorities permit their papers to publish nothing, nor will they allow the flag of truce to bring us their papers. This intensifies the desire to learn something of proceedings.

I have a telegram from the President this evening at “Headquarters near Falmouth,” stating that he had a Richmond paper exchanged by the picket or scouts, and he sends me all it contains relative to operations at Charleston. Our ironclads have appeared off the bar, and the day of trial approaches.

Great results are-depending on the conflicts which are taking place in these early April days. I bear up with, I believe, a fair share of composure. As regards the Navy, we have furnished Du Pont the best material of men and ships that were ever placed under the command of any officer on this continent and, as regards officers, unequalled anywhere or at any time. Of course I have confidence he will be successful, yet so much depends on the result I am not without apprehensions. Eventuate as it may, the struggle will probably be severe and bloody. That we shall lose some vessels and some gallant fellows in getting possession of the Rebel city I have no doubt. As John Rodgers says, “somebody must be hurt.”

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 263-4

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