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SIXTH REPORT OF THE HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS
DIARY OF SALMON P. CHASE, TUESDAY, Sept. 23, 1862 to TUESDAY, Sept. 30, 1862.
TUESDAY, Sept. 23, I862
At breakfast this morning, I proposed to Katie to ride over to the Insane Asylum and see Gerd. Hooker, to which she agreed; and she having provided a basket of grapes,
peaches, etc., we went. We were very kindly received by Mrs. Nichols, who ushered us into the General's room. He was lying on a couch, but suffering no pain, he talked very freely as far as time would permit, of the recent events. He said that at Richmond, when the order came to withdraw the army, he advised McClellan to disobey, and proposed a plan for an advance on Richmond. McClellan gave him the order to advance, but, before the time for movement came, recalled it, and gave orders for evacuation. When Hooker expected to march to Richmond, therefore, he found himself, to his surprise, compelled to fall back to the Chickahominy on his way to Aquia. I said to him, " General, if my advice had been followed, yon would have commanded after the retreat to James River, if not before." He replied, " If I had commanded, Richmond would have. been ours." He then spoke of the Battle of Antietam, where he received his wound, and expressed his deep sorrow that he could not remain on the field three hours longer. "If I could have done so," he said, " our victory would have been complete; for I bad already gained enough and seen enough to make the route of the enemy sure." After he had been carried off, he said, McClellan sent for him again to lead an advance. The General impressed me favorably as a frank, manly, brave and energetic soldier, of somewhat less breadth of intellect than I had expected, however, though not of less quickness, clearness and activity.
While we were
Dr. Nichols came in and I had some talk with him in an adjoining room. He said the General's wound was as little dangerous as a foot wound could be, the ball having passed through the fleshy part just above the sole and below the instep, probably without touching a bone. I suggested the trial of Dr. Foster's balm. He made no special objection, but said the wound was doing as well as possible, without inflammation and very little matter; and he thought it unnecessary to try any experiments. I could not help concurring in this and postponed Dr. F. and his balm. - The Doctor said he first knew him when he encamped below him last year; that he became deeply interested in him; that when he heard he was wounded, he went up to Frederic, seeking him; that he missed him;
but that his message reached him, and he came down to the Asylum himself. I asked, "What is your estimate of him?" - "Brave, energetic, full of life, skilful on the field, not comprehensive enough, perhaps, for plan and conduct of a great campaign; but at -least equal in this respect, if not superior to any General in the service."
Mr. Rives (of the Globe), his daughter and son-in-law came in and we took our leave; Dr Nichols having first strongly recommended to me to secure the appointment of Col. Dwight, of Mass., as a Brigadier General.
Returned home and went to
Department Found Genl. Robinson, of Pittsburgh, there,
and Mr. Platt and Dr. Harkness. Got Harrington to go with P. and H. to War Department. - Mr. Weller came in, about appointment of Pease, in Wisconsin, and I asked him to write a note about it. - Attorney-General Bates called, with Mr. Gibson of St. Louis, about pecuniary aid to Gov. Gamble - both telling a very different story from Farrar and Dick. Promised to look at papers and answer tomorrow. - Stanton came in about payment of paroled soldiers at Camp Chase, which I promised to provide for. Said that he proposed to make the Department of Florida, with Thayer as Governor and Garfield as Commanding General, if I approved of Garfield. I said I approved heartily. Said he had insisted on removal of Buell, and leaving Thomas in command. I could not disapprove of this, though I think less highly of him than he seems to think. - He went and Barney came in. Asked him to dine. Declined, but promised to call in the evening. - Mr. Hamilton, on invitation, came to our house to stay while in town.
evening, many callers - Miss Schenck, Gen]. and Mrs. McDowell, Genl. Garfield, and others. Young Mr. Walley came, with letters from his father, and I brought him in and introduced him to Katie and our guests.
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 24.
The President called a special meeting of the Cabinet to-day, and asked our judgments on two questions:
First, as to the expediency of Treaties with Governments desiring their immigration, for voluntary colonization of blacks.
Second, As to the proper answer to be returned to the letter from John Ross, excusing the Treaty of the Cherokees with the Rebels, and asking the protection of the United States and the fulfilment of old Treaties:
On the first question, there was the usual diversity of opinion. I not thinking Colonization in its self desirable, except as a means of getting a foothold in Central America, thought no Treaties expedient; but simple arrangements, under the legislation of Congress by which any person who might choose to emigrate, would be secured in such advantages as might be offered them by other States or Governments. Seward rather favored Treaties, but evidently did not think much of the wisdom of any measures for sending out of the country laborers needed here. The President asked us to think of the subject, and be ready to express our opinions when we next come together.
As to the Cherokee question there seemed to be a general concurrence that no new pledges should be given them but that, at the end of the war, their condition and relation to the United States should have just consideration.
After Cabinet, went with Stanton to War Department, and laid before him sundry applications for positions, with such verbal support as I thought due to them. Returning to the Department, I found there young Mr. Walley, and gave him an earnest recommendation to Stanton; and was surprised, an hour or so after, to receive a note front
thanking me for my kindness, but saying that Mr. Stanton .told him there was no likelihood of his receiving an appointment; and that he was going to enlist as a private. Wrote note to Mr. Walley (his father) expressing my regret.
Nothing at Department but routine--except direction to Cisco to receive deposits of gold, and a call from Eli Thayer about his project for colonizing East Florida, with which I sympathize.
Had proposed to Genl. Garfield to take him over and call on Genl. Hooker, but it rained and he did not come. After dinner, however, the sky cleared some what, and Katie and I rode out and called on him. He was still improving.
An hour or two after our return, a band of music, which had just serenaded the President by way of congratulation on the Proclamation, came to my house and demanded a speech with which demand I complied briefly. Gen. Clay, who was with me, responded more at length. After the crowd had passed on, Gen. Clay, Mr. Clark, of Mercer, Penna., Genl. Robinson, of Pittsburgh, and Mr. Wm. D. Lewis, of Philadelphia, came in and spent a little time with me.
THURSDAY, Sept. 25.
At Department as usual. The President sent for me to meet the Secretary of War. Found he had nothing to talk about except the supply of an additional sum to Gov. Gamble, of Missouri, to be used in defending the State against invasion and guerillaism. Agreed to confer with the Secretary of War on the subject. Enquired as to progress of the War. No information, and nothing satisfactory as to what is to be expected. Coming out Stanton told me that McClellan wants bridges built across the Potomac and Shenandoah, as preliminaries to movement; to which Halleck wont consent. Dan helps Zeke doing nothing.a
Delighted this morning by news of Gen. Wadsworth's nomination for Governor of New York, on the first ballot.
afternoon, went with Garfield to see Hooker, who was very free in his expressions about McClellan. He said it was not true that either the army or the officers were specially attached to him; that only two corps, whose commanders were special favorites and whose troops bad special' indulgences, could be said to care anything about him; that other officers—he himself certainly—thought him not fit to lead a great army; that he is timid and hesitating when decision is necessary; that the battle of Antietam was near being lost by his way of fighting it, whereas, had the attack been simultaneous and vigorous on the enemy's right, center and left, the rout would have been complete; that our force in the battle exceeded the enemy's by 30,000 men, and that the defeat of the enemy should have been final. He said also, that when Pope had drawn off a large part of the rebel a A
reference to the familiar story of Daniel Webster's boyhood. force from
Richmond and orders came to McClellan to withdraw, he urged him to give, on the contrary, orders for advance; thatthe orders were actually given and then revoked, much to his chagrin. This recalled to my mind a conversation with Gen. Halleck at that time. I said to him, that it seemed to me our people could now certainly take Richmond by a vigorous push, as Pope had 60,000 of the rebels before him, and at least half of the remaining 60,000 were south of the James, leaving only 30,000 with the fortifications on the north side; to which Gen. Halleck replied, that it was too dangerous an undertaking. 1 said, "If this cannot be done, why not return to Fredericksburgh, leaving Richmond on the left?" "This," he said, " would be quite as dangerous - a flank movement, in which our army would be exposed to being cut off and totally lost." Gen. Hooker said that the movement I suggested could have been executed with safety and success. He said, also, that he was somewhat reconciled to leaving the Peninsula by being told that it was a plan for getting rid of McClellan, and the only one which it was thought safe to adopt. This he thought so essential, that anything necessary to it was to be accepted.
Returning from Gen. Hooker's, as
well as going, Gen. Garfield
gave me some very interesting portions of his own experience. This fine officer was a laborer on a canal in his younger days. Inspired by a noble ambition, he had availed himself of all means to acquire knowledge --- became a Preacher of the Baptist Church -- was made the
President of a flourishing Literary Institution on the Reserve - was elected to the Ohio Senate, and took a conspicuous part as a Republican leader. On the breaking out of the War he became a Colonel - led his regiment into Eastern Kentucky - fought Humphrey Marshall near Prestonburgh gained position rapidly -
was made at my instance, a Brigadier --- fought under Buell at Shiloh - and was now in Washington by direction of the Secretary of War, who proposes to give him the Department of Florida. A large portion of his regiment, he said, was composed of students from his college.
Went to Seward's to dinner, where I met the Marquis of
Cavendish, and his brother, Col. Leslie of the British Army; Mr. Stuart and Mr. Kennedy of the British Legation; Genl. Banks, and Mr. Everett. Gen. Banks earnest against more separation of forces until the rebel army is crushed.
Home. Found there Genl. and Mrs. McDowell. Soon after, Capt. and Mrs. Loomis came in. Could not help the Captain who wished to be Quartermaster of Genl. Sigel's Corps.
To bed tired and unwell
FRIDAY, Sept., 26.
Received note from Gov. Seward, asking me to name Consul to Rio. Named James Munroe. Another note from Fred Seward asking me to call at State Department before going to Cabinet. Called, but Gov. Seward had already gone.
Went to Cabinet. Talk about colonization. I said nothing. All the others except Weller (Stanton not present) in favor of Treaties.
Several of the loyal Governors came to-day, and in the evening I called on them. Saw Yates at the National, and left card for Berry of N. H. Saw Kirkwood at Kirkwood House. Saw Soloman at Willard's and left cards for Andrew, Bradford, Sprague, Tod, Blair and Pierpont. At Gov. Yates' room saw Genl. McClernand, of Ills., who made a very favorable impression on me.
SATURDAY, Sept. 27.
Gov. Andrew came to breakfast.
- vexed too - at report in Herald of proceedings of Governors at Altoona, which he ascribed to the exclusion of reporters. While at breakfast, Col. Andrews and Lieut. Barber, both of Marietta, came in from battle-ground. The Colonel handed me Cox's Report, and informed me that Col. Clark was killed, which left him Lieut. Colonel in actual command. He gave a very interesting account of the conduct of Cox's (late Reno's) corps, both at South Mountain and Antietam. The Reports, however, were more full, and reflected the highest credit on Cox and the officers and men of his troops. Andrews said that McClellan and Burnside would recommend Cox for Major General - an object which I assured Col. A. I would most gladly promote.
Gov. Andrew said he had called on Gen. Hooker the evening before, and met Stanton and Tod. Hooker was unequivocal in condemnation of McClellan's inactivity. At Department, McClernand called and my favorable impression of last evening was strengthened. Many things in a plan of campaign which he urged seemed admirable, especially the Eastern movement from the Mississippi River.
Saw the President, and asked him his opinion of McClernand. Said he thought him brave and capable, but too desirous to be independent of every body else.
Later in the day, received telegram from Bliss, Paymaster General of New York, asking for $300,000 in small notes in exchange for the same amount of large ones to enable him to forward eight regiments. It occurred to me that, by having these regiments sent to Louisville and Mitchell's and Garfield's brigades Brought from Louisville and sent to Port Royal. with one or two brigades in addition, a successful expedition against Charleston might be immediately organized: and I determined to speak to Stanton in relation to it tomorrow. Garfield spent the evening with me and accepted invitation to make my house his home while in town.
SUNDAY, Sept. 28.
Payne's in morning -- sermon
excellent. Home in afternoon. In the evening went to War Department about expedition to Charleston; my idea being to have -New York regiments - sent to Louisville, and Mitchell*s and Garfield's brigades withdrawn thence and sent to Port Royal with Garfield when an immediate attack should be made on Charleston which would be sure to fall. Did not find Stanton at Department. Went to Halleck's and found him there. Had some general talk. Was informed by Halleck that the enemy was moving to Martinsburgh. "How many? "150,000" --- "How many has McClellan?"
--- "About 100,000." --- "Where Pennsylvania troops, said to have joined him though raised only
"All gone back." - Had talk about draft. He showed me a letter to Gamble, insisting that all officers of drafted militia above Regimental should be appointed by the President. I expressed the opinion that the principal of drafting Militia was erroneous - that
the law should have provided for drafting from the people an army of the United States. He agreed. - I asked him his opinion of McClernand. He said he is brave and able but no disciplinarian; that his camp was always full of disorder; that at Corinth he pitched his tents where his men had been buried just below ground;, and with dead horses lying all around. The cause of the evil was that his officers and men were his constituents.
Leaving Halleck, Stanton and I rode together to Columbia College and back to his house. I stated my wish concerning the two brigades and Charleston. He said nothing could be done. The New York Regiments must go to McClellan, who absorbs and is likely to absorb everything and do nothing. At Stanton's, saw for the first time Genl. Harney, who mentioned several circumstances to show Frank Blair's misconduct in Missouri matters. 'He said it was not necessary to fire a gun to keep Missouri in the Union. I thought him certainly mistaken.
TUESDAY, Sept. 30.
The papers this morning confirm
news of Nelson's death. He died as the fool death. How sad! His early services to the Union cause in Kentucky - his generous and manly nature - his fine talents and great energy - compelled my admiration and esteem; while his cruelty and passion and tyranny, especially when excited by drink, often excited my indignation. Nothing from any quarter of much importance in a military point of view.
Genl. Garfield, at breakfast,
When Genl. Buell's army was on the march to Nashville, a regiment passed in front of the house of Genl. Pillow's brother, where was a spring of good water and a little stream issuing from it. As the soldiers quenched their thirst and filled their canteens and watered their horses at the 'stream, Pillow came out and cursed the men, forbidding them to take water and saying that if he were younger he would fight against the Yankees until the last man of them was killed or driven home. A Lieutenant commanding the Company then having expostulated with him without effect and finding the army likely to be delayed by his interference, directed him to be put under arrest, and sent him to the Colonel. It happened that this Colonel
was an admirer of Miss Stevenson - a young lady of Nashville, a niece of Pillow and a violent Secessionist - and had been in the habit of sending the Regimental Band to serenade her with " Dixie" and the like, not playing any National airs. As soon as he understood who Pillow was, therefore, he discharged him from arrest and apologized for it; and at the same time arrested the young Lieutenant. Pillow returned to his house, mounted his horse and rode to Genl. Buell's Headquarters and complained that a slave of his had escaped and was somewhere in the army. Buell gave him leave. to hunt for him and with this warrant he rode where he pleased. After fully satisfying himself he went on to Corinth and gave Beauregard a full account of Buell's force and rate of advance. This information led to an attack on Grant's division, which Beauregard hoped to destroy before Buell should come - and he almost succeeded in doing it.
At Department received a note from Seward, with memorandum by Stuart, Acting British Minister, of conversations with Seward about cotton. From this memorandum, it appears that Butler's order of August, authorizing free purchases even from Slidell, and Grant's order annulling Sherman's prohibition of payments in Gold, were, if not motived by Seward, fully approved by him and made the basis of assurances that no hindrance to purchase and payment on cotton for rebels would be interposed by this government. Afterwards, or about the time of these orders, Seward proposed the same policy of substantially unrestricted purchase for money, to me; and I was at first, in view of the importance of a supply of cotton, inclined to adopt it; but reflection and information from Special Agents in the Mississippi Valley changed my views. The subject was also brought up in Cabinet, and Seward proposed liberty to purchase 500,000 bales. Stanton and I opposed this, and the President sided with us and the subject was dropped. I then proposed to frame Regulations for trade to and from Insurrectionary Districts, in which was included prohibitions of payments in gold.
To this prohibition Stuart now objects as in contravention to Seward's assurances connected with Butler's and Grant's orders.
After considering the whole subject, I addressed a letter to Seward declining to change the existing Regulation as to payments in gold.
Received letter from
himself, stating difficulty between himself and Agent Gallagher as to Confiscation. - Mellen thinking that antecedents of cotton, as to liability to confiscation in prior hands and notice to present holders, should not be investigated; Gallagher contra. Wrote Mellen that his view is approved - thinking this may relieve Seward.
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