December 30, Wednesday. Not long since I was blamed for not building more of the turret vessels; just now the same persons and papers abuse me for building so many. There is like inconsistency in regard to ordnance. I am attacked for not having more vessels before Wilmington, Mobile, and other places and thus making the blockade completely effective, and accused of neglect and indifference for not sending off twenty ships to hunt up the Alabama. Webb has just completed a frigate for the Italians, and I am found fault with because so skillful a mechanic as Webb is not employed by the Government, when he is building a large and more powerful vessel, the Dunderberg, for us. I have reason to believe that Webb himself is implicated in this assault on the Department, in order to help himself. He is a skillful builder and quite as skillful an intriguer. I would not deprive him of any credit, but I cannot award him any superiority over Lenthall or Delano as a naval constructor.
Diary of Gideon Welles.
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