Brady Cdv Civil War Secretary Of The Navy Gideon Welles / Lincoln Cabinet
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Brady Cdv Civil War Secretary Of The Navy Gideon Welles / Lincoln Cabinet:
Here is a Civil War period CDV by the famed photographer Matthew Brady, printed by E. ANTHONY of New York. Image is of Gideon Welles who was the Secretary of the Navy for President Abraham Lincoln. Excellent condition with E. ANTHONY/ BRADY back mark and period pencil script identifying the image as Welles. Here is some public source info on Welles:
Gideon Welles(July 1, 1802 – February 11, 1878) was theUnited StatesSecretary of the Navyfrom 1861 to 1869. His buildup of theNavyto successfully executeblockadesof Southern ports was a key component of Northern victory of theCivil War. Welles was also instrumental in the Navy's creation of theMedal of Honor.Gideon Welles, the son of Samuel Welles and Ann Hale,was born on July 1, 1802, inGlastonbury, Connecticut.His father was a shipping merchant and fervent Jeffersonian;he was a member of the Convention, which formed the first stateConnecticut Constitutionin 1818 that abolished the colonial charter and officially severed the political ties to England. This constitution is also notable for having reversed the earlier Orders and provided for freedom of religion. He was a member of the seventh generation of his family in America. His original immigrant ancestor wasThomas Welles,who arrived in 1635 and was the only man in Connecticut's history to hold all four top offices: governor, deputy governor, treasurer, and secretary. He was also the transcriber of theFundamental Orders. Welles was the second great grandson of Capt. Samuel Welles and Ruth (Rice) Welles, the daughter ofEdmund Rice, a 1638 immigrant toSudburyand founder ofMarlborough, Massachusetts.Biography
He married on June 16, 1835, at Lewiston, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, Mary Jane Hale,who was born on June 18, 1817, in Glastonbury, Connecticut, the daughter of Elias White Hale and Jane Mullhallan. Her father, Elias, graduated fromYale Collegein 1794 and practiced law in Mifflin and Centre Counties, Pennsylvania.She died on February 28, 1886, in Hartford, Connecticut, and was buried next to her husband in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford. Gideon and Mary Jane were the parents of six children.
He was educated at theEpiscopal Academy at Cheshire, Connecticut, and earned a degree at the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy at Norwich, Vt. (laterNorwich University).He became alawyerthrough the then-common practice of reading the law, but soon shifted tojournalismand became the founder and editor of theHartford Timesin 1826. After successfully gaining admission, from 1827–1835, he participated in theConnecticut House of Representativesas a Democrat. Following his service in theConnecticut General Assembly, he served in various posts, including State Controller of Public Accounts in and Chief of theBureau of Provisions and Clothingfor the Navy (1846–49).
Welles was a Jacksonian Democrat who worked very closely withMartin Van BurenandJohn Milton Niles. His chief rival in the Connecticut Democratic Party wasIsaac Toucey, whom Welles would later replace at the Navy Department. While Welles dutifully supportedJames K. Polkin the 1844 election, he would abandon the Democrats in 1848 to support Van Buren'sFree Soilcampaign.
Mainly because of his stronganti-slaveryviews, Welles shifted allegiance in 1854 to the newly-establishedRepublican Partyand founded a newspaper in 1856 (theHartford Evening Press) that would espouse Republican ideals for decades thereafter. Welles' strong support ofAbraham Lincolnin 1860 made him the logical candidate from New England for Lincoln's cabinet, and in March 1861, Lincoln named Welles hisSecretary of the Navy.Welles found theNaval Departmentin disarray, with Southern officers resigning en masse. His first major action was to dispatch the Navy's most powerful warship, theUSSPowhatan, to relieveFort Sumter. Unfortunately, Lincoln had simultaneously ordered the Powhatan to both Fort Sumter and Pensacola, Florida, ruining whatever chanceMajor Robert Andersonhad of withstanding the assault. Several weeks later, whenSecretary of StateWilliam H. Sewardargued for a blockade of Southern ports, Welles argued vociferously against the action but was eventually overruled by Lincoln. Despite his misgivings, Welles' efforts to rebuild the Navy and implement the blockade proved extraordinarily effective. From 76 ships and 7,600 sailors in 1861, the Navy expanded almost tenfold by 1865. His implementation of the Naval portion of theAnaconda Planstrongly weakened the Confederacy's ability to finance the war by limiting the cotton trade, and while never completely effective in sealing off all 3,500 miles of Southern coastline, it was a major contribution towards Northern victory. Lincoln nicknamed Welles his "Neptune."Tenure in Lincoln's CabinetAt the start of the war,David Dixon Porterwrote Welles that "the present allowance of crews . . . is for peace establishment and is not suited at all to times of war." On another occasion, Porter told Welles that his own vessel lackedcoaland that small steamers of shallow draft were required to make the blockade effective. FromMobileto theMississippi River, numerous inlets allowed small Confederate craft to slip through the Federal blockade.
Despite his successes, Welles was never at ease in theCabinet. His anti-English sentiments caused him to clash with Seward, and Welles's conservative stances led to arguments withTreasury SecretarySalmon P. ChaseandWar SecretaryEdwin M. Stanton.After Lincoln's assassination, Welles was retained by PresidentAndrew Johnsonas Secretary of the Navy. In 1866, Welles, along with Seward, was instrumental in launching the National Union Party as a third party alternative supportive of Johnson's reconciliation policies. Welles also played a prominent part in Johnson's ill-fated "Swing Around the Circle" campaign that fall.Although Welles admitted in his diary that he was dismayed by Johnson's behavior on the trip, particularly the president's penchant for invective and engaging directly with hecklers, Welles remained loyal to Johnson to the end, even congratulating him in 1875 when Johnson, then an ex-president, launched a comeback political offer with his election to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee.Tenure in Johnson's Cabinet
Welles ultimately left the Cabinet on March 3, 1869, having returned to theDemocratic Partyafter disagreeing withAndrew Johnson's reconstruction policies but supporting him during his impeachment trial.After leaving politics, Welles returned to Connecticut and to writing, editing his journals, and authoring several books before his death, including a biography,Lincoln and Seward, published in 1874.Towards the end of 1877, his health began to wane. A streptococcal infection of the throat killed Gideon Welles at the age of seventy-five on February 12, 1878.His body was interred atCedar Hill CemeteryinHartford, Connecticut.Later life and deathWelles' three-volume diary, documenting his Cabinet service from 1861–1869, is an invaluable archive for Civil War scholars and students of Lincoln alike, allowing readers rare insight into the complex struggles, machinations, and inter-relational strife within the President's War Cabinet. Although offering a unique and quite nonpareil portrayal of the immense personalities and problems facing the men who led the Union to ultimate victory, the first edition (published in 1911) suffers from rewrites by Welles himself and, after his death, by his son; the 1960 edition is drawn directly from his original manuscript.The Diary of Gideon Welles
Two ships have been namedUSSWellesin his honor. The Dining Commons atCheshire Academyand the Gideon Welles School inGlastonbury, Connecticut, are also named after him.
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