February 1. I had a call from Mr. Sedgwick, who yesterday proposed visiting Stover in Fort Lafayette and getting from him a confession as to those who have participated in, or been cognizant of, frauds on the government. Gave him a letter to Marshal Murray. An hour or two later Provost Marshal Baker called on me and related the particulars of conveying Stover after arrest. Says Stover is alarmed and ready to make disclosures; told him many facts; many persons implicated. Says Henderson, clerk in Treasury, has been arrested; that Clarke will be to-morrow. Thinks Sedgwick will not do well with Stover. Was going to New York to-morrow, to-day will attend to it. I sent Fox to withdraw letter from Sedgwick to Murray.
To-day Baker called on me at the Department and had a sprawling mass of suspicions which he says were communicated by Stover, implicating persons above suspicion. I told him I gave no credit to the statement, but authorized him to satisfy himself as regarded the person (F.) whom he chiefly criminated.
Late in the day, Jordan, Solicitor of the Treasury, called upon me in relation to Baker, from which I come to the conclusion, after what I have seen of B., that he is wholly unreliable, regardless of character and the rights of persons, incapable of discrimination, and zealous to do something sensational. I therefore withheld my letter for him to visit Fort Lafayette.
Mr. Rice, Chairman of Naval Committee in the House, informs me that the trip of the Eutaw on Saturday was highly satisfactory. The efforts of strangely unprincipled men to create prejudice against the Navy and impair public confidence in its efficiency are most surprising and wholly incompatible with either patriotic or honest intentions.