COLONEL WILLIAM A. HOWARD - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 11/14/1865 - HFSID 174699
Sale Price $531.25
WILLIAM A. HOWARD.
Seeks a Senators help in fighting corruption in the Revenue Service
Autograph Letter signed: "W. A. Howard", 4p, 7¾x10. Chatham 4 Corners, New York, 1865 November 14. To [U.S. Senator] William P. Fessenden, Portland, Maine. In full: "Under orders of Sept. 2nd from the Treas. Dept. I visited my station from Burlington Vt. to Marquette Lake Superior, making a full & complete Report of Smuggling, the force used to prevent it as was required. With several new suggestions, etc etc I delivered it to the Dept 30th Oct. It was pronounced 'very able' and even Commissioner Sargent reported in it, agreeing with me in every particular. I was directed to prepare to visit the Southern Coast and the Mexican boundary. Since not a single suggestion made in my former Report has been carried into effect and I am under the impression my absence from Washington is the main object of the order. I have pointed out to Hartley the wants of the Rev Center Service & what is necessary to be done to make it a Corps worthy of the Country. That might however deprive him but more particularly Mr Handy of the power of mismanagement, for no Service ever was so completely mismanaged as his is. It has been used for the purpose of putting money into the pockets of its managers, nothing else required of it. Cannot this be stopped now before any new [1 word illegible] opened, the co-partnership of Harrington & Stillman is dissolved. Now a Bureau should be formed with an office of the Corps as its head responsible for its management. Heretofore nothing received attention but expediting Building Building Purchasing and Repairs, but with all the increased vigilance has been legerdemain of the Officers & men. In fact not half the services are performed as formerly when we had Sailing Sch' of [phrase illegible] tons. I like Hartley and if he will confide in me acting on my advice purely professional we can bring the Corps to its proper standing; Mr McCulloch has informed me he had placed the whole matter in his hands. Handy forfeited his right to his position years ago & could be assured from me be driven from the Dept. I refrained from saying it. In his pledge, he had placed himself in the power of a number of the Officers & is totally unfitted to advise & decide as he is doing all professional matters. It has been under such advisement going from bad to worse. Can't you assist me in this matter? I shall go South the moment I receive my Instructions & shall be absent perhaps three (e) months. The information I shall bring the Dept. will be important I am certain if acted upon. I wish you would request Hartley send you my Report. I know you would give me credit for some ingenuity as well as Economy of plan for preventing & detecting smuggling, this Winter. I am certain Mr McCulloch would if he should (I know he has not) read it. I intended visiting you before I left for the South & explain mh plans for the Corps, but the very severe sickness of Mrs Howard's mother prevented my leaving her before I am obliged to do so. On the receipt of this, write me a few lines addressed Chatham 4 Corners. I expect to leave in a week. With best love to you & yours I am as ever your friend." William A. HOWARD was a veteran Coast Guard officer who commanded a detachment of marine artillery during battles on the Carolina coast during the Civil War. Earlier in his career, when he commanded the revenue cutter Jackson, he was said to look so resplendent in his Coast Guard uniform that naval officers pressured Navy Secretary Levi Woodbury to remove epaulettes from Coast Guard uniforms. In the years before the Civil War, he was in private business as a shipbuilder. William Pitt Fessenden (1806-1869) had resigned a seat in the U.S. Senate to assume, at the personal behest of President Lincoln, the Cabinet post of Treasury Secretary after the resignation of Secretary Chase. Fessenden, who as Chairman the important Senate Finance Committee (1861-1864) had played an important role in raising revenues for the Union cause, but he served at Treasury for only eight months (July 5, 1864 - March 3, 1865). Thereafter he returned to the Senate, becoming chairman of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction. Although Fessenden, a man renowned for his integrity, was no longer the Treasury Secretary, it would have been natural for Howard to appeal to Fessenden for support in cleaning up alleged corruption in the Revenue Service. The details of Howard's allegations, and the other personalities involved, merit further research. Lightly creased. File holes at left edge. Blank ¼-inch strip at top of each page has been folded over. Otherwise, fine condition.
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