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.

January 6, 2014

Diary of Gideon Welles

January 6. A patent lawyer named Dickerson prepared and published what he calls a plea or argument in a case before the court in Washington that is a tissue of the vilest misrepresentations and fabrications that could well be gathered together, if I may judge from such parts as I have seen. I do not see the New York Herald, in which it was published and paid for. The great object appears to have been a reckless assault on Isherwood, Engineer-in-Chief, but the Department is also in every way assailed. Of course the partisan press in opposition take up and indorse as truth these attacks, and vicious men in Congress of the opposition and equally vicious persons of the Administration side adopt and reëcho these slanders. It is pitiable to witness this morbid love of slander and defamation. That there may have been errors I cannot doubt, but not in the matter charged by Dickerson.

I think Isherwood has exerted himself to discharge his duty, and serve the government and country. His errors and faults — for he cannot be exempt — I shall be glad to have detected and corrected, but the abuse bestowed is wholly unjustifiable and inexcusable. As he is connected with the Navy Department, any accusation against him, or any one connected with the Department, furnishes the factious, like J. P. Hale, an opportunity to vent their spite and malignity by giving it all the importance and notoriety they can impart. I hear of Hale and H. Winter Davis and one or two others cavilling and exerting themselves to bear down upon the Engineer-in-Chief. There is an evident wish that he should be considered and treated as a rogue and a dishonest man, unless he can prove himself otherwise. Truth is not wanted, unless it is against him and the Department.

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