We hear this morning that Milroy has cut his way through the Rebels and arrived at Harper's Ferry, where he joins Tyler. I cannot learn from the War Department how early Milroy was warned from here that the Rebels were approaching him and that it would be necessary for him to fall back. Halleck scolds and swears about him as a stupid, worthless fellow. This seems his way to escape censure himself and cover his stupidity in higher position.
The President yesterday issued a proclamation calling for 100,000 volunteers to be raised in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia. This call is made from outside pressure, and intelligence received chiefly from Pennsylvania and not from the War Department or Headquarters. Tom A. Scott, late Assistant Secretary of War, came on expressly from Pennsylvania, sent by Curtin, and initiated the proceeding.
Halleck sits, and smokes, and swears, and scratches his arm and [indecipherable], but exhibits little military capacity or intelligence; is obfusticated, muddy, uncertain, stupid as to what is doing or to be done.
Neither Seward nor Stanton nor Blair nor Usher was at the Cabinet-meeting. The two last are not in Washington. At such a time all should be here and the meeting full and frequent for general consultation and general purposes.
Scarcely a word on army movements. Chase attempted to make inquiries; asked whether a demonstration could not be made on Richmond, but the President gave it no countenance. No suggestions ever come from Halleck.
Young Ulric Dahlgren, who is on Hooker's staff, came in to-day. He is intelligent and gallant. I asked where the army was. He says between Fairfax and Centerville, or most of it was there; that Lee and the Rebel army are on the opposite side of the mountain, fronting Hooker. He knows little or nothing of the reported Rebel advances into Pennsylvania, and thinks Hooker does not know it. This is extraordinary, but it accounts for the confusion and bewilderment at the War Office.
SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 331-2