Gideon Welles, a Connecticut newspaperman, served as Secretary of the Navy for the entirety of both Lincoln’s and Johnson’s administrations. The ferocious-looking former editor took an almost paternal interest in Cushing’s career. “It gives me pleasure to recall the assurance you gave me at the commencement of your active professional career that you would prove yourself worthy of the confidence reposed in you,’’ he congratulated Cushing after the sinking of the Albemarle.
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