President Meets with Chairman of Congressional Committee

March 7, 1863

At night, Ohio Senator Benjamin F. Wade talks to President Lincoln.   Wade, chairman of Committee on the Conduct of the War, requesting that “copies of all papers & documents connected with the movements of the Army of the Potomac,” be provided “with as little delay as possible, as they are very necessary to enable us to complete our labors.”

General John A. Dix writes President Lincoln to complain about Admiral Samuel Lee: I am extremely unwilling to trouble you amid your multifarious and responsible duties with a matter, which ought to have been settled elsewhere. But having failed in every effort to arrange it, I feel it my duty to the public service to appeal to you. Soon after Admiral Lee2 took command of the blockading squadron on this part of the coast, he placed a Gun-boat between Fort Monroe and Fort Wool, a short distance to the East, and required all vessels bound to this post, even when laden with Army stores, to come to anchor or heave to, until a permit to come to the dock could be procured from me.–

No such requirement has been enforced before, since the commencement of the war. It is not only a new but a useless vexation: and has led in some instances to the most serious inconvenience and loss.–

The only pretext, under which it can be made, is to enforce the blockade; and as against this Fort it is an absurdity. A blockade is an investment of an enemy’s port.– Admiral Lee is blockading one of our Forts by one of our gun-boats — a novelty in war which is without precedent.

I protested against this proceeding at the outset as an indignity to the Army and to the Commander of this Military Department whose Head Quarters are here; and I would have resisted it but for an unwillingness to present to the public the scandal of a quarrel between the Army and the Navy, when the cordial co-operation of both is needed to maintain the national interests and honor.

If the object of the blockade of the enemy’s territory were promoted by the measure, I would silently acquiesce in it, objectionable as it is. But no such object is gained. There is no enemy’s territory to blockade within fifteen miles of Fort Monroe, and the blockading squadron at Newport News and Norfolk shuts out all ingress.

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Published in: on March 7, 2013 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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