Infighting Among Cabinet, Congress and Generals

May 16, 1863

Attorney General Edward Bates writes in his diary:  “There are growing signs of a general distrust of each oither [sic] among leading men and politicians.  Each one, statesman, or General, is secretly working, either to advance his ambition, or to secure something to retire upon.

At present, abolition seems to be the strongest rallying point, and men who don’t [sic] care a fig about it, have become all of a sudden, very zealous in that cause – Seward and Stanton are as hot as Chase.  And even Adjt. Genl L. Thomas, has become a very zealous proselyte – He is out on the Missi.[ssippi] straining his little powers in the effort to organize black battalions, but thus far, with little success, tho’ the raw material is abundant, all around him.

“There is now no mutual confidence among the membes of the Govt. – and really no such thing as a C.C.  The more ambitious members, who seek to control – Seward – Chase – Stanton – never  start their projects in C.C. but try first to commit the Prest., and then, if possible, secure the apparent consent of the members.  Often, the doubtful measure is put into operation before the majority of us know that is proposed.

‘This was especially so in case of the prize ships Labuan and Peterhoff.  In those cases, the Sec of State gave pointed instructions to Dist: Atty at N.Y. without consulting me – and as soon as I found it out (but after much of the mischief was

done) I, without consulting any one, gave instructions flatly to the contrary.

In the morning, President Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton take boat trip on Potomac River from the Washington Navy Yard.   Their goal is to inspect army troop transports.

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