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.

October 15, 2013

Diary of Gideon Welles

October 15, Thursday. News from the front vague and unsatisfactory. Our papers dwell on the masterly movements of Meade, and street rumor glorifies him, but I can get nothing to authenticate or justify this claim of wonderful strategy. Lee has made a demonstration, and our army has fallen back, — “changed its base,” they call it at the War Department; in the vernacular, retreated. This retreat may have been, and probably was, skillfully executed. It is well to make the most of it. It is claimed Meade has shown great tact in not permitting the enemy to outflank him. Perhaps so. I shall not controvert, if I doubt it. I would not decry our generals, nor speak my mind freely if unfavorably impressed concerning them, in public. Meade does the best he knows how; Halleck does nothing.

The election returns come in triumphantly for the Union. Woodward and Vallandigham, both Rebel sympathizers, have been defeated. General McClellan, whose reticence and caution have hitherto been well maintained, unwisely exposed himself. I am informed he refused to write a letter until assured by those in whom he had full trust that there was no doubt of Woodward’s election. I doubt if his letter helped Woodward to one vote, but it has effectually killed McClellan.

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