March 26, Saturday. I went early this A.M. to the President on the subject of procuring a transfer of seamen from the Army to the Navy. After reading the papers he said he would take the matter in hand, and before I left the room he rang for his man Edward and told him to go for the Secretary of War, but, stopping him before he got to the door, directed him to call the Secretary of State first. In this whole matter of procuring seamen for the Navy there has been a sorry display of the prejudices of some of the military authorities. Halleck appears to dislike the Navy more than he loves his country.
Olcott, the detective, is here. Has been called to W. by the War Department. He, like those of his employment, is full of mystery, discussed fraud, overwhelming villainy, etc.; but much of it is mere suspicion, or matter susceptible of explanation. Not but that there is great rascality, —sufficient without exaggerating or aggravating it. I did not care to see him and cautioned Fox not to let his judgment be biased by O. The whole of these harsh proceedings are repugnant to my feelings.
Had a conversation with Admiral Dahlgren concerning operations at Charleston, ironclads, army matters, etc. Gillmore has high qualities as an engineer, but very little as a general in command. Lacks administrative ability, powers of organization, and has not that talent which relies on itself and keeps its own counsel. From what D. says, I think Gillmore must have acquiesced at least in the newspaper assaults on D. and the Navy, which if so, is greatly to his discredit. Dahlgren would never have assented to or permitted such assaults on Gillmore.