The Salmon P. Chase Papers - Vol. 3

By John Niven; James P. McClure et al. | Go to book overview
This morning, as the President had determined to return to Washn. at 7 I rose at 6, and just before 7 went into the parlor where I found Flag-officer Goldsborough who astonished and gratified us all by telling us that the rebels had set fire to the "Merrimac" and had blown her up. It was then determined that, before leaving, we would go up in the Baltimore, which was to convey us to Washington, to the point where the suicide had been performed, and above the obstructions in the channel if possible, so as to be sure of the access to Norfolk by water,--which had been intercepted 21 by the exploded ship. This was done, but the voyage was longer than we anticipated, taking us up to the wharves of Norfolk, where in the Elizabeth River were already lying the "Monitor", the "Stevens", the "Susquehanna" and one or two other vessels. Gen. Wool and Flag-officer Goldsborough had come up with us on the "Baltimore", and as soon as they were transferred to the "Susquehanna" our prow was turned down stream, and touching for a moment at the Fortress, we kept on our way towards Washington, where we hope to be at breakfast tomorrow.So has ended a brilliant week's campaign of the President; for I think it quite certain that, if he 22 had not come down, Norfolk would still have been in possession of the enemy, and the "Merrimac" as grim and defiant and as much a terror as ever. The whole coast is now virtually ours. There is no port which the "Monitor" and "Stevens" cannot take.It was sad and pleasant to see the Union flag once more waving over Norfolk and the shipping in the harbor, and to think of the destruction accomplished there a little more than a year ago.I went to Norfolk last night by land with the Army; this morning by water with the Navy. My campaign, too, is over. Good bye, darling.Your very loving father 23 S P CHASESend these letters to sister.This letter was written, more illegibly even than common on the Baltimore yesterday. We arrived this morning, and, as it would not delay your receipt of it I got Mr. Plants24 to copy it. The Chart is missing--but a map will answer. Our landing was at the head of Willoughby bay 25To Miss Nettie Chase.
The body of this letter is in the handwriting of Homer Plantz, who in his capacity as a Treasury clerk acted as Chase's secretary. Transcribed here is the letter actually received by Chase's daughter. Two other versions exist: Chase's original draft ( Chase Papers, Hist. Soc. of Pa.) and a copy made by Plantz in Chase's journal ( Chase Papers, 1:340-44). Since the version in Chase's journal is available in an earlier volume of this edition, the editors have not footnoted differences between it and the letter received by Janet Chase. Nor do we mention differences between the letter received by Janet and her father's draft if the draft and the journal version agree at that spot. We have ignored minor variations between the manuscripts in punctuation, capitalization, word order,

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