Sunday, June 25, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Wednesday, July 15, 1863

We have the back mails this morning. The papers are filled with accounts of mobs, riots, burnings, and murders in New York. There have been outbreaks to resist the draft in several other places. This is anarchy, — the fruit of the seed sown by the Seymours and others. In New York, Gov. Horatio Seymour is striving — probably earnestly now — to extinguish the flames he has contributed to kindle. Unless speedy and decisive measures are taken, the government and country will be imperiled. These concerted outbreaks and schemes to resist the laws must not be submitted to or treated lightly. An example should be made of some of the ringleaders and the mob dispersed. It is reported that the draft is ordered to be stopped. I hope this is untrue. If the mob has the ascendency and controls the action of the government, lawful authority has come to an end. In all this time no Cabinet-meeting takes place.

Seward called on me to-day with the draft of a Proclamation for Thanksgiving on the 29th inst. With Meade's failure to capture or molest Lee in his retreat and with mobs to reject the laws, it was almost a mockery, yet we have much to be thankful for. A wise Providence guards us and will, it is hoped, overrule the weakness and wickedness of men and turn their misdeeds to good.

I have dispatches this evening from Admiral Dahlgren with full report of operations on Morris Island. Although not entirely successful, his dispatch reads much more satisfactorily than the last ones of Du Pont.

We hear through Rebel channels of the surrender of Port Hudson. It was an inevitable necessity, and the rumors correspond with our anticipations.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 371-2

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