Saturday, April 8, 2017

Diary of John Hay: February 21, 1864

Hilton Head. Got over bar this morning soon after day. Bingham woke me up with the miserable news of Henry’s death, loss of seven pieces, capture of four hundred wounded, and our total repulse about seven miles beyond Sanderson. He has despatches from Turner to Gillmore.

Arrived at Hilton Head about 9½ after a good run of 14½ hours. Delivered our news to Gen'l Gillmore. The General was much shocked. He said: — “This comes of disobeying orders.” He dwelt on this for some time. He said afterwards: — “I should rather he had lost these men in obedience to orders than in disobedience.”

Seymour has been very unsteady and queer since the beginning of this campaign. He has been subject to violent alternations of timidity and rashness, now declaring Florida loyalty was all bosh, now lauding it as the purest article extant; now insisting that Beauregard was in his front with the whole confederacy, and now asserting that he could whip all the rebels in Florida with a good brigade. He was ordered to fortify St. Mary's and Baldwin, but pushed out beyond Sanderson instead and got severely punished.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 167-8; Tyler Dennett, Editor, Lincoln and the Civil War in the diaries and letters of John Hay, p. 164; Michael Burlingame, Editor, Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 169.

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