Sunday, June 4, 2017

Diary of John Hay: May 14, 1864

. . . . I have not known the President so affected by a personal loss since the death of Baker, as by the death of General Wadsworth. While deeply regretting the loss of Sedgwick, he added: — “Sedgwick’s devotion and earnestness were professional. But no man has given himself up to the war with such self-sacrificing patriotism as Genl. Wadsworth. He went into the service, not wishing or expecting great success or distinction in his military career, and profoundly indifferent to popular applause, actuated only by a sense of duty which he neither evaded nor sought to evade.”

The President came in last night in his shirt and told us of the retirement of the enemy from his works at Spottsylvania, and our pursuit. I complimented him on the amount of underpinning he still has left, and he said he weighed 180 pounds. Important if true.

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 194-5; see Michael Burlingame & John R. Turner Ettlinger, Editors, Inside Lincoln’s White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 196 for the full diary entry.

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