Thursday, July 13, 2017

Gideon Welles to William H. Seward, June 9, 1863

Navy Department,
9 June, 1863.

In acknowledging the receipt of the copy of despatch No. 51, from the Vice Consul at Havana, transmitted to me with your letter of the 6th inst., I have the honor to state that the suggestions therein contained are worthy of consideration. It is, in every point of view, important that early and effective measures should be taken, not only to interdict the traffic carried on with the rebels on the Rio Grande, but to afford protection to loyal citizens in Western Texas. I shall send a copy of the Vice Consul's despatch to Rear Admiral Farragut and direct his attention to the subject; but without a military occupation of Brownsville, I apprehend the naval force alone will be insufficient to either blockade, or protect our interests in that quarter. The navigation of the Rio Grande must be left unobstructed and until the left bank of the river shall be occupied by our troops, a large portion of the cargoes that are formally cleared for Matamoras have a contingent destination for Texas. Most of the shipments to Matamoras will, until such occupancy, pass into the rebel region. The subject is one demanding the attention of the Government at the earliest available moment.

I am, respectfully,
Your Obd't Serv't
Gideon Welles,
Secty. of Navy.
Hon. Wm. H. Seward,
Secty. of State.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 1: 1861 – March 30, 1864, p. 387-8

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