"Goodwin has brilliantly described how Lincoln forged a team that preserved a nation..." - James M. McPherson
From the Diary of Gideon Welles, Riverside Press edition, 1911. Odd that this has been out of print for 97 years, but the master narrative was set in stone fifty years ago and there is simply no longer a need for a primary source that contradicts the wonderful storylines developed by talented writers. What follows is but a smattering of the relevant material; you'll need to read the entire diary to get a sense of the brokenness of the Lincoln Cabinet.
“He [Stanton] had little moral courage nor much self-reliance when in trouble.” "… he was reckless and regardless of public expenditure." (Undated entry, p. 68)
“Strange that this change of military operations should have been made without Cabinet consultation, and especially without communicating the fact to the Secretary of the Navy, who had established a naval flotilla on the James River by special request to cooperate with the army. But Stanton is so absorbed in his scheme to get rid of McClellan that other and more important matters are neglected.” (8/17/62, p. 83)
“… I was thwarted and embarrassed by the secret interference of the Secretary of State in my operations.” (8/17/62, p. 84)
“Seward came in for a moment but immediately left. He shuns these controversies and all subjects where he is liable to become personally involved.” (9/4/62, p. 110)
"The introduction of Pope here, followed by Halleck, is an intrigue of Stanton's and Chase's to get rid of McClellan. [...] Chase, who has made himself as busy in the management of the army as the Treasury..." (9/8/62, P.108)
“Seward was ready to get rid of Cameron after he went over to Chase …instead … he [Seward] picked up this black terrier [Stanton], who is no better than Cameron … Blair says he [Stanton] is dishonest, that he has taken bribes, and that he is a doubledealer; that he is now deceiving both Seward and Chase…” (9/12/62, p. 127)
“The President has good sense , intelligence, and an excellent heart, but is sadly perplexed and distressed by events. He, to an extent, distrusts his own administrative ability and experience. Seward, instead of strengthening and fortifying him, encourages this self-distrust…” (9/13/62 p. 131)
“The Attorney-General has experienced similar improper interference [from Seward] more than any other perhaps…” (9/16/62, p. 133)
“But I cannot run to the War Department and pay court in order to obtain information that should be given. Chase does this, complains because he is compelled to do it, and then, when not bluffed, becomes reconciled [to Stanton].” (9/29/63 p. 447)
"Halleck, he [Chase] said, was good for nothing, and everybody knew it except the President." (9/29/63 p. 448)
Previous posts here and here. Image by John T. Quinn 3rd.