March 25, Friday. At Cabinet to-day, I brought up the subject of a scarcity of seamen. The President seemed concerned, and I have no doubt was. Stanton was more unconcerned than I wished, but did not object to my suggestions. I had commenced, but not completed, a letter to the President urging the importance and necessity of an immediate transfer of 12,000 men to the Navy. The army has by bounties got thousands of sailors and seamen who are experts. This letter I finished and had copied after my return. On reading it to Fox it stirred him up, and the prospect is certainly most unpromising.
Chase, who sat beside me when I first made mention of the difficulty we were experiencing from the effects of the enrollment act and the policy pursued by the War Department, remarked that nothing could be expected where there were no Cabinet consultations and no concerted action. Stanton and the President were in private consultation at the time in a corner of the room. This is no unfrequent occurrence between the two at our meetings, and is certainly inconsiderate and in exceeding bad taste. Chase was, I saw, annoyed and irritated.
Mr. Bates and others soon left. Usher sat quietly and intent, not listening perhaps to catch a word, but U. has great curiosity.