Friday, June 23, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Monday, July 13, 1863

The army is still at rest. Halleck stays here in Washington, within four hours of the army, smoking his cigar, doing as little as the army. If he gives orders for an onward movement and is not obeyed, why does he not remove to headquarters in the field? If this army is permitted to escape across the Potomac, woe be to those who permit it!

The forces which were on the Pamunkey have been ordered up and are passing through Baltimore to the great army, which is already too large, four times as large as the Rebels, who have been driven on to the banks of the Potomac, and are waiting for the river to fall, so that they can get back into Virginia without being captured or molested, — and Meade is waiting to have them. Drive them back, is Halleck's policy.

Wrote a congratulatory letter to Porter on the fall of Vicksburg. Called on the President and advised that Porter should be made a rear-admiral. He assented very cheerfully, though his estimate of Porter is not so high as mine. Stanton denies him any merit; speaks of him as a gas-bag, who makes a great fuss and claims credit that belongs to others. Chase, Seward, and Blair agree with me that Porter has done good service. I am aware of his infirmities. He is selfish, presuming, and wasteful, but is brave and energetic.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 368-9

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