Monday, February 13, 2017

Diary of John Hay: September 10, 1863

. . . I dined to-night at Wormley’s with Hooker, Butterfield, Fox, Wise , and Col. Rush of Philada . . . . Hooker says: — “Our war has developed no great cavalry officer. Stoneman  has good points, but does not fulfil his early promise. Pleasanton is splendid, enterprising and brave, but full of mannerisms and weaknesses. Buford is far superior to any others in all the qualities of a great rider. But none of them approach the ideal.”

Speaking of Lee, he expressed himself slightingly of Lee’s abilities. He says he was never much respected in the army. In Mexico he was surpassed by all his lieutenants. In the cavalry he was held in no esteem. He was regarded very highly by Genl Scott. He was a courtier, and readily recommended himself by his insinuating manner to the General, whose petulant and arrogant temper has driven of late years all officers of spirit and self-respect away from him.

“Look at all his staff-officers! sleek and comfortable and respectable and obsequious: Townsend, Cullum, Hamilton, Wright, etc.”

The strength of the rebel army rests on the broad shoulders of Longstreet. He is the brain of Lee as Stonewall Jackson was his right arm. Before every battle he has been advised with. After every battle Lee may be found in his tent. He is a weak man and little of a soldier. He naturally rests on Longstreet, who is a soldier, born.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 99-100; For the whole diary entry see Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 86-9.

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