the pages preceding the quotations were written before the perusal of the ‘Memoir.’
If the reader of this volume labors under the idea that either Admiral Dupont
or Admiral Dahlgren
should have gone to Charleston
or made the attempt, the pages of the ‘Memoir’ may enlighten him.
Bearing in mind that the Department did not think it worth while to give publicity to a letter which it evoked in May, 1863, signed by all of the commanders of ironclads in those waters,1
and that after the Civil War
had ended, it had declined to receive an able and perfectly proper letter concerning operations before Charleston
during the period of command of its writer, the Department seems to have wished to spare the reading public the doubts and perplexities which the Dutch
judge avoided by not listening to the other side of a case.
He had heard the one side and declined hearing the other, as he was then perfectly at rest in regard to the merit of the question.
If he heard the other side his mind would be filled with perplexity and doubt.
The Department had made its statement as to the invulnerability and sufficiency of the monitors to take Charleston
, and that was all that the public should require or listen to, even after the war was over;
what the commanders of the ironclads wrote about them, and what Admiral Dahlgren
had to say about going to Charleston
, if given to the public, would only cause doubt and perplexity.
On page 436 of the ‘Memoir’ will be found the following from the diary of Dahlgren
: ‘January 12.—Mail came . . . . Among the letters was one from the Secretary
and one from Fox
, both prodigiously flattering, and asking for a good character to the monitors.’
Here is truly ‘food for reflection.’