United States. Congress.

Congressional record : proceedings and debates of the ... Congress online

. (page 120 of 172)
Online LibraryUnited States. CongressCongressional record : proceedings and debates of the ... Congress → online text (page 120 of 172)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


every material point in that circular. It was read over together. I
heard the reading and the conversation. At this late day I cannot
recollect the precise language used in that conversation by either
party ; but I do know that some of the points which were dwelt upon
were the irresponsibility of soldiers to the trader for any goods pur-
chased on credit, and tne position in which the soldier would stand
without some law or rule put upon the traders in regard to their
prices. The subject of trading in appointments was al^ dwelt upon
in consequence of the article which appeared in the New York Trib-
bnne ; and one of those paragraphs was at that time framed for the
very purpose of correcting such abuses as appeared in that article in
the Tribune. That is the best of my recollection about it. I copied
from General McDowell's manuscript what is called now the original
onler, which is in the hands of Mr. Murphy.

Q. Did the Secretary express a desire to have all the evils com-
plained of in that article remedied 7

A. Yes, sir; I so understood him.

Mr. Manager LAPHAM. One moment. To that form of question
we object.

Mr. BLACK. Stateyour objection to the form.

Mr. Manager LAPHAM. It does not ask for anything that was
said.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. It is leading. That is the objection of
the managers.

After consultation by the managers the objection waa withdrawn.

The question was read by the reporter, as follows :

Q. Did the Secretary express a desire to have all the evils oomplahied of in that
article remedi^ ?

A. The paragraphs, to my understanding, were framed for the very
purpose of meeting eveiy material point in that newspaper article.

Q. (By Mr. Manager McMahon.) That was the object of that 25th
of March, 1872, order 7

A. That was my understanding.

Q. (By Mr. Blair.) Did General McDowell have that article there
at the time with him 7

A. I do not know whether General McDowell had it. It certainjy
was there with the Secretary of War.

Q. Did you hear it discussed between them 7

A. I did.

Mr. Manager LAPHAM. The article in the Tribune you mean 7

Mr. BLAIR. Of course, the article in the Tribune. (To the wit-
ness.) How was it discussed between these officers 7

A. I heard them discuss that article.

Q. (By Mr. Blair.) Did they discuss the language that was used
in the order to meet the points of the article 7

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Was the discussion long continued 7

A. Not very long. The omer was already fi*amed, and the conver-
sation took place, as I understand and i-emember it^ for the purpose
of meeting by words, if words could express it, the points of that ar-
ticle, to stop'such abuses as were alleged to exist there.

Q. Are these the books that are called the semi-official index-books 7
(Referring to the books produced by the witness.)

A. Yes, sir ; these are tliose books.

Q. Were thoy kept by you 7

A. They were kept by me.

Q. Was this Marsh letter that we have heard about here entered
on these books 7

A. Yes, sir.

Q. How was that book — take one of them — prepared 7

A. When I was placed on duty in the office of the Secretary of
War^ that is to say in General Belknap's room, I had handed to me
by him many letters, both official and those that were personal, which
I found it necessary to keep the run of in my memory. For that pur-
pose I got this book. I was not directed to get it by General Bel-
knap. I did it because it is the usual form of Keeping public recoixls
in the Deimrtracnt of War. In it I entered everything that I thought
it material to remember, so that I should be relieved from the tax
upon my memory and have it here where I could always refer to »*i
and see what had been done with such a communication.

Q. Now I want the Senate to understand what is the character oi
these books. Are they secret books 7 Were they regarded in any
sense by the Secretary as secret books f



Digitized by



Google



TRIAL OF WILLIAM W. BELKNAP.



263



Mr. Manager LAPHAM. That we certainly object to— how they
were regarded by the Secretary.

Mr. BfJLlB. Well, I will make it different. (To the witness.)
Were they regarded in the Department as secret books 7

A. No, sir ; I think not.

Mr. Manager LAPHAM. By " secret " you mean " private,** I sup-
pose?

Mr. BLAIR. Yes ; books to be withheld for any reason from oCBl-
cial examination.

The W1TNK88. There was no such character as that about them.
They lay on my desk subject to even^ body's inspection who came in.

Q. (By Mr. Blair.) What sort of papers were put upon them 7
Give some general idea to the Senate of the character of the papers
that were eutered upon those books.

A. I do not know that I could do that better than by reading one
or two of them to show their character.

Mr. BLAIR. Well.

The Witness. Take the top of this pace

Q. Is that the page on which the Marsh letter appears to be en-
tered?

A. No, sir ; that is in the other book.

Q. Suppose you take that book and look that up and Just read what
is eutered on that page where the Marsh letter is.

A. [After examining a book.]

£. A. Fierce, San Rine, Indiiua.

Letter received on Gib of October d»ted October 3, 1870.

ReoomoienUed by the Vice-President and Senator Prstt for tiiepoet-tradershipat
Cunp Supply.

The next entry is :

Charlee Hnbbell, Keoknk.

RequMts letter of introdaction to Oeneral Schofleld and to the officers comniNid-
ing at San Diego.

G. L. Lilly, Washington.

Inquires what proof or evidence will be required to establish a claim onder the
loint resolution of July 11, 1&70.

G. S. Wilson, Dubuque.

EeoomnienoH J. U. McKnight for a post-trader.

Allen Dodge, Georgetown.

Requests an appointment as agent of the Goyemment for the sale of arms.

That shows the character.

Q. Is not the Marsh entry on the same page f

A. Yes, sir.*
C. P. Marsh.

Letter leceived October 10, 1870, dated October 8, 1870.
C. P. Marsh, New York.

Requests that the appointment of post-trader at Fort Sill be made out in the
name of John S. Rvans.

Cross-examined by Mr. Manager McMahon :

Q. How long have you been chief clerk in the War Department T

A. Since Ju^^ 1872.

Q. What position prior to that time did you occupy in the War
Department T

A. I was the Secretary's clerk.

Q. How long previous to 1872 T

A. Since November 1, 1869.

Q. During the time you were clerk to the Secretary you were tol-
erably familiar with bis Uusiness f

A. I cannot answer that so broadly. I knew something about it.

Q. These indexed books that you have shown us relate all to the
public business, do they not?

A. I think not.

Q. Have you any particular letter there now that you can pick out
that does not refer in some way to the public business ?

A. [After examining.] Here is one. ''William Read, chairman,
Philadelphia. Invitation to reception of Saint John's Commandery."

Q. Addressed to him as Secretary of War, was it not!

A. Tes, sir.

Q. Give me some other instance.

A. I should not say ** as Secretary of War.** That I cannot stat«.
Of course it was addressed to General Belknap. What the address
is I do not remember now.

Q. Give me some other instance of a letter purely private?

A. " Chairman of the Father Matthew convention, Henry V. Mul-
hall. An invitation to the Secretary to be present or to write a
friendly letter for publicaf ion."

Q. That is to him as Secretary of War, is it not f

A. I do not know.

Q. He did not belong to the Father Matthew Society, did he f

A. I do not know.

Q. Give me another instance. Take one that is a business matter,
outside of invitations to him as Secretary of War.

A. The next one is :

H. J. Ramsdell, Washington correspondent Tribune.

Wants copies of public documents for use of the London correspondent of the
Tribune.

Q. Is that about Mr. Belknap's private business f

A. I do not know that it is.

Q. I do not want anything except some instance about his private
correspondence that is indexed in that book. Is it not either some-
thing official or semi-officiaU that is entered there ?



A. Here is " Professor Cameron, of Princeton," who " wants letters
of introduction to people abroad."

Q. That is addressed to him as Secretary of War officially, is it not f

A. I do not know.

Q. I will pass from that, if you cannot give me any other instance.
Why did you give these books up and send them to the Secretary of
War when the great m^ority of letters that are referred to there
concern the public business f

A. A great many of these letters will be found upon the public files.
When they were of an official character they were sent to the public
files as well as entered here. Of course, those letters are still on the
public files.

Q. Mr. Marsh's letter, however, requesting the appointment to be
mode to Mr. Evans was not on the public tiles 9

A. No, sir.

Q. You have been speaking about opening a book of post-traders
after the new law was passed in July, 1870. That is the book that
you opened, is it 9 [Exhibiting one of the books produced by the wit-
ness. Y

A. Yes, sir ; it is.

Q. Your first column is headed "Garrison 9"

A. Yes, sir.

Q. The next is headed <<Po6t f"

A. I believe so.

Q. In that column is entered the name of the particular post f

A. Yes, sir.

Q. And the third column is entered under the head of " former
trader." That means the man who was in when the law was passed f

A. Yes, sir.

Q. The next is " present trader." What does that mean ; the per-
son who was appointed by the Secretary under the new law 7

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Then the next column, "appointed," gives the date of his ap«
pointment ; the next the date of his acceptance, under " accepted ;"
and then the next column is "by whom recommended;" and the
next, "remarks!"

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now look at your book and state how many different applicants
there were for this position at Fort Sill and by whom they were rec-
ommeoded. Give us the names, one after the other, of all the differ-
ent applicants for the position.

A. I can give you such names as are on the book.

Q. That will do.

A. But the date of the application I cannot give yon.

Q. That will do for the present.

A. John J. Fisher, recommended by officers.

E. H. Dnrfee by Senators Rice, McDonald, and L. H. Rouse.

C. P. Marsh by Senator Sherman and Hon. Job Stevenson.

W. O. Latimer by Hon. Alexander McDonald, Hon. Thomas Boles,
Hon. John Cobum, and J. C. Abbott.

General W. W. McCall by Hon. Simon Cameron.

Henry Warren by J. W. Flanagan, O. P. Snyder, and Hon. W.
Williams.

Those are all the entries that are in my handwriting.

Q. There are some others, are there not 9

A. Yes, sic

Q. Give us all from that record.

A. Levi Wilson, recommended by General Hancock, General Pope,
General Sheridan, and General Van Vliet.

William Matthewson, by L. L. Crounse.

W. C. Hershberger, by Colonel Lewis Nye and Senator Sherman.

These latter ones are entered subsequently to the commencement of
this trial.

Q. I do not care about those.

Mr. Manager LAPHAM. Since this trial commenced 9

A. The last one I read, by Senator Sherman, was referred to the
post council of administration.

Q. (By Mr. Manager McMahon.) Where is the letter that you refer
to there in your band writing as sent by Senator Sherman recommend-
ing Mr. Caleb Marsh 9 You had charge of these papers ; where is
that letter 9

A. That letter 'ifent on the public files and is there stilL

Q. Have you it there now 9

A. It has been produced before your committee.

Q. The letter of Senator Sherman 9

A. No ; no letter of Senator Sherman.

Q. That is what I want to know about. Why did you enter there
"Recommended by Senator Sherman " when you have no letter from
Senator Sherman 9

A. There may be a recommendation verbally aa well as by letter.

Mr. CARPENTER. This is not index of correspondence merely.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. We shall find out atiout that.

The Witness. I do not understand why this entry was made of
any recommendation from Senator Sherman when none appears. I
do not recollect whether he ever recommended him or not, of my own
knowledge.

Q. You have no recollection at all of any letter from Senator Shsr-
man9

A. None whatever.

Q. Have you any recollection of any communication from the Sec-



Digitized by



Google



264



TRIAL OF WILLIAM W. BELKNAP.



vetBTv of War to enter Senator Sherman as a person recommending
Marsh f

A. No, slr^ I do not recollect any such thing.

Q. How did that get on your book^ then f

A. I cannot understand it myself.

Q. How did Job Stevenson's letter get on that book when it was
dated the 2d of November, a month after Mr. Evans was appointed 1

A. I think I have explained heretofore that before I opened this
book I kept lists upon which I entered recommendations. In draught-
ing off from those lists I may have added any other name that came
in m the mean time.

Q. By the recommendations that were put on file yon mean the
recommendations upon which the appointment was made, do you not f

A. Any recommendation that came. I do not know whether it was
the recommendation on which the appointment was made or not.

Q. We will pass from that. You know of no letter or no verbal
recommendation by Senator Sherman f

A. I have no recollection of any.

Q. This book was opened immediately after the law was passed
was it not f

A. I. think this book was not opened probably for two or three
months after.

Q. You remember when the law was pending in Congress, do you
notf

A. Not distinctly.

Q. Do you not remember that there were conversations between the
Secretary of War and members of Congress in regard to this particu-
lar change of the law f

A. I recollect something about it ; but it is very indistinct.

Q. Do you not remember that the Secretary of War was anxious
to have the law changed so that he should have the appointment of
post-traders f

Mr. CARPENTER. That is a little too general Ask him what the
Secretary of War said f

Mr. Manager McMAHON. I have a right on cross-examination to
put a direct question.

Mr. CARPENTER. You have no right to ask whether the Secre-
tary was not anxious for a thing.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. Since when under the law have I not
the right to put a direct question 7

Mr. CARPENTER. Since never.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. That is well answered. I repeat the
question, Mr. President.

Mr. CARPENTER. The objection is 8im}>ly that they cannot ask
him whether the Secretary of War was anxious for something. Ask
him anything the Secretary of War said or did.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. I will put the question in this way.
(To the witness.) Did he not take an interest in the passage of the
law changing the appointment of post-traders as it did f

A. I suppose he did.

Q. (By Mr. Manager McMahox.) Do you not know that he did 9

A. t have not much recollection about it.

Q. Have you not testified that he did f

A. I do not recoUect.

Q. Did you not testify before the board of managers that he did?

A. I do not recollect.

Q. Were you not sworn before the board of managers in their room
in this building f

A. I was.

Q. Was not that question put to you f

A. I have no recollection of it. I may have said something in gen-
eral terms ; I do not recollect.

Q. What do you say now ; did he not take an interest in having
the law .changed so as to vest the appointment of post-traders in
himself?

A. To the best of my recollection be did take some interest.

Q. As soon as the law was passed, where did the Secretary of War
gof

A. That I do not know.

Q. Do you not remember his taking a trip to Iowa f

A. I recollect his taking several trips to Iowa.

Q. At that particular time do you not remember that he was gone
to Iowa for some time f

A. No, sir ; I have no recollection about it that is of any conse-
quence ; indeed I have no recollection at all of his going about that
time.

Q. Look at your poet-trader book, and give us the date of the first
appointment of any post-trader under the new law.

A. That would be pretty difficult to find.

Q. It will not be if you run through the dates. Give us the earli-
est. See if you find any earlier than the Ist of October, 1870. [The
book was handed to the witness and examined by him.] State after
an examination of this book what is the date of the earliest appoint-
ment by the Secretary of War of any post-trader under the new law.

A. I do not know of my own knowledge.

Q. I ask 3^ou to state it from the book.

A. That shows either October 5 or 6. There are several of Octo-
ber 6.

Q. You hold in your hand what is a book, as I understand, that is
kept as a sort of official record by yon in regard to post-traders f



A. Yes, sir.

Q. By whom recommended and who was appointed, the date of his
afipointment, the date of his acceptance, and everything connected
with it, and you have a final column there for '* remarks," have yoa
notf"

A. Yes, sir.

Q. State whether that book shows anything of the letter which we
have produced here in which Caleb P. Marsh requests the appoint-
ment at Fort Sill to be made out in the name of John S. Evans.

A. No, sir, this book would not be likely to show that.

Mr. Manager LAPHAM. That we did not ask.

Q. (By Mr. Manager McMahon.) It does not show it, does it f

A. It does not.

Q. The letter that I speak of now is the letter that you iicave up to
the Secretaiy of War the day before or the da^ of his resignation f

A. I do not think I gave it up to him. I think I gave it up to him
with the package.

Q. (By Mr. Manager Lapham.) Do you mean that you did not give
it singly?

A. Yes, I do not think I did ; I think I put it in the package.

Q. (B:^ Mr. Manager McMahon.) You picked it out singly f

A. I picked it out singly and looked at it.

Q. When you j;o back to the War Department we want you to ex-
amine the official records there of the issuing of orders and the send-
ing of letters from the 17th day of July, 1870, to the Ist day of Sep-
tember, 1870, and then tell us when you come back whether Secretary
Belknap was in Washington City during that time, and, if so, how
long, and, if not here, where he was. These two indexes and the one
that indicates the letter of Marsh of October 8 are the books that
you surrendered to the Secretary of War with certain letters t

A. Yes, air.

Q. On the day or about the day of his resignation T

A. Somewhere thereabouts. I do not recollect the precise date.

Q. About how many letters; how large a package f

A. I think there was a package about the size of the book. [Ex-
hibiting one of the memorandum books produced by the witness.]

Q. (By Mr. Manager Lapham.) About how many in number should
you judge?

Mr. CARPENTER. Are they not all indexed there T

A. They are not all here A great many of them are on the poblio
files.

Mr. Manager Lapham. Our question is as to the number delivered
to the Secretai-y.

A. I cannot tell the number delivered to the Secretary, because all
were not delivered that are marked on this index.

Q. (By Mr. Manager Lapham.) But state something about it.

A. I have no way of getting at the number.

Q. (By Mr. Manager McMahon.) There were as many as two hun-
dred, probably, were there not?

A. There may have been all the way from fifty to three hundred ;
I do not know.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. That will do. The witness is not dis-
charged. We want him to return after having made this seai'ch.

Re-examined by Mr. Blair :

Q. When was Evans appointed, according to that book ?

A. [After examining.] October 10, 1870.

Q. Look and see if the appointments at Forts Dodge, Hays, Reyn-
olds, Sill, Sanders, Bridger, Buford, Ransom, Totten, Kandall, DaviS;
Halleck, and a. number of others were not made before his.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. We do not make any point as to (he
onier of time.

Mr. CARPENTER. We do.

Mr. Mauager McMAHON. We make no objection, then. I simply
thought you were oftering it as in answer to our cross-examination.
Go aueaa.

Mr. BLAIR. I thought you intended to show that there was great
haste about the appointment of Evans.

Mr. M.'inager McMAHON. Not at all. Wo.had another object. We
wanted to get the date of the first appointment. There is no objec-
tion to the question being answered.

The Witness. The first appointment was at Fort Dodge, made
October 6, 1870.

Mr. BLAIR. You need not examine it now. Yon can take that list
wilh you, and when you come back give us the dates.

Mr. Manager McMAHON, (to the witness.) We understand that
you are to examine each particular day between the dates I have
given you and find out what days the Secretary signed the letters
and oiders in the War Department.

By Mr. Carpenter :

Q. Do you not recollect that the Secretary of War was in Iowa in
September of that year f Were you not there with him at Des Moines
at a military gathering there ?

A. Yes, sir ; now that you speak of the military gatheriog I remem-
ber that I was there.

Q. Was General Belknap there f

A. General Belknap was there.

Q. And came from there back to New York ?

A. I think he did. I do not recollect that.



Digitized by



Google



TRIAL OF WILLIAM W. BELKNAP.



265



Mr. CARPENTER. The testimony of Mr. Marsh takes it up and
shows that he remained there some days and then retnmed to Wash-
ington.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. Yes.

Q. (By Mr. Carpenter.) Aboat how long was he in lowaf

A. To the best of my recollection, about ten days or two weeks.

By Mr. Manager McMahon :

Q. Do you remember the date of that gathering in Iowa f

A. I do not.

Q. Was it about the 1st of September f

A. I think it was.

Q. What makes you think it was about the let of September?

A. Well, I do not know what makes me think so. That is my im-
pression. It was just at the end of the summer or beginning of the
fall.

Q. Did you go with himf

A. I think I did.

Q. You went from here to New York first, did you not t

A. I do not recollect that.

Q. You went from New York then West to Iowa, did you not T

A. I do not recollect.

Q. Did you not return by way of New York T

A. I do not think I did. I may have done it.

Q. Did yon return with General Belknap f

A. That I do not recollect.

Q. Do yon remember now that Mr. Evans was here trying to work
up his application for this post- tradership just after the law passed f

A. I do not recollect much about that, because I very seldom spoke
to Mr. Marsh.

Q. I am not speaking of Marsh ; I am speaking of Evans.

A. I know Mr. Evans was here.

Q. How soon after the law was passed was it that he was here f

A. That I do not recollect.

Q. Was It not a short while 7

A. I do not know. I do not recollect that distinctly.

Q. Do you not remember now that he field a recommendation that
was dated on the 2dd of June, 1870, nearly a month prior to the pas-
sage of the law 7

A. I do not know anything about that.

Q. Do you not remember seeing Mr. Evans out in Iowa 7

A. No, sir ; I do not recollect that. I have heard that said, but I
do not recollect it.

Q. Do you not remember that Mr. Evans was out there and made an
application to the Secretary of War for this place, and that he told
bim to wait until he got to Washington ; that he would not consider
these matters until he got back to Washington City 7

A. I have no recollection of ever hearing him say that or seeing
him there.

Mr. BLAIR. We ask the Secretary to read an extract from the re-
port of the Secretary of War.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. We have no oblection to that going in
in view of the fact that it was after the election of the incoming
Congress.

Mr. CARPENTER. If you have no objection it is not worth while
to sum np on it at present.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. I simply state the fact.

Mr. BLAIR. This is an extract from the report of the Secretary of
War for the year ending June 30, IST.S, the annual report.

Mr. Manager McMAHON. It is really December, lri75.

The Chief Clerk read from the report of the Secretary of War,
dated November 22, 1875, as follows :

By the act of July 15, 1H70, the Secretary of War wm anthorised "to permit one
or more trading establiahmeDts to be maintained at any military post on the front-
ier, nut in the vicinity of any city or town, when he oellevua ancb an establish-
ment is needed for tho accomniodation of emifraats, freigliters, or other citizens.
The persons to maintain snch eHtablishmenta snail be appointed by him, and shall
be under prot«ctif*n and control as camp-followers." Tlus changes the previous
custom, under which the department commander bad charge of the appointment
of sutlers for military posts. I sngsest that a law bo passed giving the appoint-
ment of sutlers, as heretofore, to department commantfem. Including in its provis-



Online LibraryUnited States. CongressCongressional record : proceedings and debates of the ... Congress → online text (page 120 of 172)