Monday, June 5, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Thursday, June 25, 1863

A special messenger from Mr. Felton, President of the Philadelphia & Baltimore Railroad, called on me this morning before breakfast, with a request I would send a gunboat to Havre de Grace to protect the ferryboat, railroad property, and public travel. He says Rebels are in the vicinity in disguise, concerting measures for mischief. The War Department and military authorities, who should know, are not informed on these matters, and I must exercise my own judgment. There is sensitiveness in the public mind, and security is sought sometimes unnecessarily, but my conviction is there may be cause for apprehension in this instance. I have therefore ordered a gunboat from the Potomac Flotilla to the point indicated and notified Mr. Felton.

Word is sent me by a credible person who left Hagerstown last evening that Ewell and Longstreet with their divisions passed through that place yesterday to invade Pennsylvania with sixty thousand men. The number is probably exaggerated, but I am inclined to believe there may be half that number, perhaps more. Where in the mean time is General Hooker and our army? I get nothing satisfactory from Headquarters or Stanton.

The President to-day approved my placing the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting in temporary charge of Commander Smith, and the Ordnance Bureau in charge of Commander Wise.

Mr. Stanton called on me this morning and stated he had made an arrangement with John C. Rives to publish a military journal which he proposed to call the Army and Navy Gazette. He wished it to embrace both branches of the service unless I objected. The entire expense, over and above the receipts, whatever they may be, should be borne by the War Department. I told him I of course could make no objection to the name, and if the orders, reports, official papers, and current news were regularly and correctly published there would be some conveniences attending it. The proposition was, however, novel to me, and I knew of no law to warrant it or of any appropriation to defray the expense. I should therefore decline any pecuniary, official, or personal responsibility, or any connection with it. He assured me he did not expect or wish me to incur any part of the expense or responsibility.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 343-4

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