MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM W. BELKNAP - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 11/18/1883 - DOCUMENT 317277
Writing to a former foe, Confederate General M. J. Wright, Belknap
looks forward to a veterans' reunion. Discredited politically, he could still
find satisfaction in the fellowship of fellow soldiers.
Autograph Letter signed: "Wm. W. Belknap", 2 pages (integral
leaf), SIZE? Washington, D.C., 1883 November 18. On his law office
stationery to "Genl. M. J. Wright, War Department", in full: "I
thank you for the extract so kindly sent me from Genl. Grant's letter. His words
are too flattering to me, but they show that we made him happy, while at Cedar
Rapids, and I am much glad of it. Should you write him please say that we have
already begun operations for making the next Reunion in 1885 a success,
& if he will be there to help us, I will promise him a good time, to
which the gathering at Cedar Rapids, will be but a glimmer in comparison. And
you must come also, so that you can see how the Iowa boys do these things. I
shall write to Genl. G. before long. Yours very truly". WILLIAM WORTH
BELKNAP (1829-1890) served bravely and effectively in the Civil War, wounded
at Shiloh, and participating in the Battle of Corinth, the siege of Vicksburg,
and Sherman's march through Georgia. He became President Grant's Secretary of
War on October 25, 1869, succeeding William Tecumseh Sherman. Belknap was
charged with corruption in office, admitted receiving bribes for the
appointment of Indian post-traders and resigned from the Cabinet on March 7,
1876. He was impeached by the House of Representatives and was tried by the
Senate. On August 1, 1876, Belknap was acquitted on the technical ground
of lack of jurisdiction because he was no longer a government official.
Marcus Joseph "M. J." Wright (1831-1922), a Confederate brigadier general
who rose to regimental command, was appointed by the US War Department in 1878
as an agent for collection of military papers. (It was no doubt in this capacity
that he found favorable reference to Belknap in the papers of U. S. Grant.)
Wright wrote Civil War histories and memories, and a biography of Robert E. Lee.
Some ink on first page lightly smeared, but legible. Toned. Corners lightly worn
and creased. Separated along fold from age. Adhesive residue on verso. Pencil
notes (unknown hand) on verso. Otherwise, fine condition.
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MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM W. BELKNAP
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