Monday, July 3, 2017

Diary of Gideon Welles: Friday, July 24, 1863

This being Cabinet day, Mr. Seward spent an hour with the President, and when the rest came in, he immediately withdrew. Some inquiry was made in regard to army movements and Meade in particular, but no definite information was communicated. Meade is watching the enemy as fast as he can since he let them slip and get away from him.

Some cheering news from Foster, who has cut the great Southern Railroad and burnt the bridge over Tar River. A force from Kelley has also seized and destroyed the Southwestern Railroad at Wytheville. While something efficient is being done by Union generals with small commands, the old complaint of inactivity and imbecility is again heard against the great Army of the Potomac. Meade is — I say it in all kindness — unequal to his position, cannot grasp and direct so large a command, would do better with a smaller force and more limited field, or as second under a stronger and more able general. If he hesitates like McClellan, it is for a different reason. Since the Battle of Gettysburg he has done nothing but follow Lee at a respectful distance.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 381-2

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