Tuesday Cabinet Meeting Addresses Trade Issues

March 29, 1864

“Not long at Cabinet-meeting, Chase still feels that he did not make a good case in the matter of the Princeton,” wrote Navy Secretary Gideon Welles in his diary.  “He inquired with assumed nonchalance how I got on with Lee and Butler in the matter of permits.  I told him the whole subject of trade belonged to the Treasury, and I gave myself no further concent about it than to stop abuse through naval officers. He denied that he had anything to do with matters of trade within the Rebel lines. I replied that General Butler gave permits for trade and quoted the trade regulations for his authority, and when I referred the matter to him for explanation, he had taken no exception. Chase seemed stumped. Said the regulations had not been officially promulgated. I told him that I knew not whether they were or not, but if they had been I asked if they authorized the proposed trade. He said they did not.” Sec. Welles brings a group of rear admirals, including Hiram Paulding, commanding Navy Yard at New York, C.H. Davis, S.H. Stringham and Francis Gregory to introduce them to President.”

President Lincoln wires General George Meade  that there is “no need for court of inquiry regarding publication of accounts discrediting Meade’s operations at Gettysburg.”

Historian R. Steven Jones wrote in The Right Hand of Command: Use & Disuse of Personal Staffs in the Civil War: “An exchange between Grant and Abraham Lincoln on March 29, 1864, shows just how adamant Grant was that his new staffers be well qualified.  Lincoln had recommended a friend, a Captain Kinney, for a position on Grant’s staff.  Grant, mistakenly calling the man Kennedy, refused.  ‘I would be glad to accommodate Capt. Kennedy but in the selection of my staff I do not want any one whom I do not personally know to be qualified for the position assigned them.’”

Former Secretary of War Simon Cameron writes President Lincoln regarding presidential politics and hints about his recent meeting with General Benjamin F. Butler: “I had a letter this morning from a very intelligent politician, of much influence, in N. York, urging me to consent to a postponement of the convention till Sept. Some time ago, a committee called on me to urge the same matter.

These things and others that have come to my view, convince me that it will be vigorously urged and that if it is not vigorously resisted, it will succeed.

In connection with this, it is well known that Mr. Seward1 has never ceased to think he will succeed you, and that his faithful manager hopes to carry him into the Presidency next March, by his skill, aided perhaps by the millions made in N. York, by army & navy contracts.

Another, and I think a wiser party, look to the election of Gnl. Dix. The least failure this summer, some now think, will ensure your defeat, by bringing forward a negative man, with a cultivated character such as Dix has acquired by avoiding all responsibility, & always obtaining with every party in power, a high position.

I am against all postponements, as I presume you are, but I look upon this moment as being so formidable that I should like to have a full & free conversation with you, concerning it & the campaign.– There are many points which would probably enable me to do some service, — & as I am in the contest, with no wish saving your success — and with little business to interfere, I desire to guard against all surprizes.– You are always so much employed when I am in Washington, that I have hesitated to occupy your time, — and but, if you will drop me a line saying when I can come to your house, with the chance of an hours uninterrupted talk, I will obey it.

I come from Ft. Monroe yesterday after spending three days there, during which time, I had much pleasant conversation with Gnl. Butler – part of which I would like to communicate to you.

Published in: on March 29, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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