Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Diary of Gideon Welles.

Diary of Gideon Welles.

September 11, 2012

Diary of Gideon Welles

September 11, Thursday. I find it difficult to hurry Wilkes off with his command. The public, especially the commercial community, are impatient; but Wilkes, like many officers, having got position, likes to exhibit himself and snuff incense. He assumed great credit for promptness, and has sometimes shown it, but not on this occasion. Has been fussing about his vessel until I had, to-day, to give him a pretty peremptory order.

Men in New York, men who are sensible in most things, are the most easily terrified and panic-stricken of any community. They are just now alarmed lest an ironclad steamer may rush in upon them some fine morning while they are asleep and destroy their city. In their imagination, under the teachings of mischievous persons and papers, they suppose every Rebel cruiser is ironclad, while in fact the Rebels have not one ironclad afloat. It only requires a sensation paragraph in the Times to create alarm. The Times is controlled by Seward through Thurlow Weed, and used through him by Stanton. Whenever the army is in trouble and public opinion sets against its management, the Times immediately sets up a howl against the Navy.

Senator Pomeroy of Kansas called yesterday in relation to a scheme, or job, for deporting slaves and colored people to Chiriqui. I cautioned him against committing himself or the Government to Thompson, or any corporation or association. Let him know my opinion of Thompson’s project and my opposition to it. Advised him, if anything was seriously and earnestly designed, to go to the Government of New Granada or any of the Spanish-American States and treat with them direct, and not through scheming jobbers. Should suspect P. to have a personal interest in the matter but for the fact that the President, the Blairs, and one or two men of integrity and character favor it.

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