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GIDEON WELLES - MANUSCRIPT LETTER SIGNED 11/17/1868 - HFSID 291598

GIDEON WELLES Letter to the lawyer of a former ensign, disallowing claims for prize money from the Civil War Manuscript Letter signed: "Gideon Welles" as Secretary of the Navy, 2 pages (front and verso, with blank integral leaf), 8x9½. Navy Department, Washington, D.C., 1868 November 17.

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GIDEON WELLES
Letter to the lawyer of a former ensign, disallowing claims for prize money from the Civil War
Manuscript Letter signed: "Gideon Welles" as Secretary of the Navy, 2 pages (front and verso, with blank integral leaf), 8x9½. Navy Department, Washington, D.C., 1868 November 17. To Abram S. Cassidy, Esq., Newburgh, New York. In full: "Your letter in relation to the claim of Wm. H. Bullis, late Acting Ensign, for prize money has been received. The only vessel on the list you send in which he is entitled to prize money is the 'Deer.' The amount in that case ($56,579) was distributed among the officers and crew of 26 vessels of the South Atlantic Block Squadron. Mr. Bullis executed a Power of Attorney to Mr. G. H. Wakefield who collected his share, $34.00." No such capture as the 'Fox' has ever been reported to the Department. The case of the 'Lynx' is still pending at the Court of Boston, Mass. The rebel steamer 'Columbia' which appears on the list you send was not a prize of war. The Department has no record of the capture of cotton on Sullivan's Island to which Mr. Bullis refers. Had there been such a capture, it would not probably have been a prize. Very respectfully". Gideon Welles (1802-1878) formerly a Jacksonian Democrat, joined the newly founded Republican Party in 1854 because of his strong opposition to slavery. An able administrator, he served as Secretary of the Navy throughout the Presidencies of Abraham Lincoln (who called him "Neptune") and Andrew Johnson (1861-1869). Welles generally supported Johnson's policies, including Johnson's reluctance to impose far-reaching changes and full rights for African-Americans during the Reconstruction of the South. This letter was signed the month Ulysses S. Grant was elected President on a platform which stressed support for Union veterans. Bullis might have been well advised to delay this petition until Adolph Borie, an unqualified Grant crony, replaced the thorough and efficient Welles as Navy Secretary. Multiple mailing folds. Lightly toned. Fine condition.

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