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.

October 3, 2012

Diary of Gideon Welles

October 3, Friday. Chase tells me that Stanton has called on him to say he deemed it his duty to resign, being satisfied he could no longer be useful in the War Department. There are, Chase says, unpaid requisitions on his table at this time to the amount of $45,000,000 from the War Department, and things are in every respect growing worse daily. Perhaps Chase really believes Stanton, who no more intends resigning than the President or Seward does.

I remarked that the disagreement between the Secretary of War and the generals in command must inevitably work disastrously, that I had for some time foreseen this, and the declaration of Stanton did not surprise me. He could scarcely do otherwise; he could not get along if these differences continued, but sooner or later he or the generals, or the whole, must go. My remarks were, I saw, not expected or acceptable. Chase said if Stanton went, he would go. It was due to Stanton and to ourselves that we should stand by him, and if one goes out, all had better go, certainly he would.

This, I told him, was not my view. If it were best for the country that all should go, then certainly all ought to leave without hesitation or delay; but it did not follow because one must leave, for any cause, that all should. I did not admire combinations among officials, preferred individuality, and did not think it advisable that we should all make our action dependent on the movements or difficulties of the Secretary of War, who, like all of us, had embarrassments and might not himself be exempt from error. There were many things in the Administration which he and I wished were different. He desired me to think the matter over. Said, with much feeling, things were serious, that he could not stand it, that the army was crushing him, and would crush the country. Says the President takes counsel of none but army officers in army matters, though the Treasury and Navy ought to be informed of the particulars of every movement. This is Stanton’s complaint infused into Chase, and has some foundation, though it is but part of the evil. This demonstration of Stanton’s is for effect and will fail.

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