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 26, 2013

Diary of Gideon Welles

September 26, Saturday. We have had for a week, commencing last Saturday, unusually cool weather for the season in this climate. I have found a fire agreeable and necessary for pleasant work every day in my library at home and also at the Department. The weather has been admirable for army operations, but I do not learn that there have been any movements in this vicinity on the part of our friends.

General Halleck has earnestly and constantly smoked cigars and rubbed his elbows, while the Rebels have been vigorously concentrating their forces to overwhelm Rosecrans. We all, except General Halleck, know that Longstreet with 20,000 men has gone from Lee’s army somewhere. The information does not seem to have reached Halleck; if it has he has taken no measures in regard to it. Not a man until within three days and probably too late was sent to Rosecrans, who held the key that controlled the Rebel centre, and of which they must dispossess him or their cause is endangered. H. has never seemed to realize the importance of that position — nor, I am sorry to say, of any other.

I learned from the President that two divisions of the army under Hooker are moving to strengthen Rosecrans. It was decided at the War Department that an effort should be made. Seward and Chase were there, and I think the latter suggested the movement, which was warmly seconded and adopted by Stanton. The President does not say how active a part he took, but from our conversations I know his anxiety for this step has been great.

The most reliable account we have of the battle leaves little doubt we were beaten, and only the skill and valor of General Thomas and his command saved the whole concern from a disastrous defeat. McCook and Crittenden are reported to have behaved ingloriously. There is obscurity and uncertainty respecting Rosecrans on the last day that should be cleared up. Reasons, as yet unexplained, may have existed for his withdrawal, but these defects are always painful.

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