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.

August 18, 2012

Diary of Gideon Welles

August 18, Monday. Had a call to-day from an old schoolmate at Cheshire, now a chaplain in the army, Joseph H. Nichols. Invited and had him to tea with me and talked over school-boy days. It is thirty-five years or over since we have met, though not unfrequently in the same place.

Sent Commodore Wilkes a dispatch to hold his ground and await events. Will send him specific orders when developments justify. He is a troublesome officer in many respects, unpopular in the Navy and never on good terms with the Department, yet I have thus far got along with him very well, though in constant apprehension that he will commit some rash act. He is ambitious, self-conceited, and self-willed. The withdrawal of the army from before Richmond disconcerts him, and to make his mark he may do some indiscreet, rash, and indefensible act. But I trust not. He has abilities but not sound judgment, and is not always subordinate, though he is himself severe and exacting towards his subordinates.

Had a letter from Fox at Portsmouth. Says there are traitors even there. It will be necessary that the Government should be felt as a power before this Rebellion can be suppressed. The armored boats, to which he was to give some attention, are progressing as well as can be expected. . . .

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