The Trade Post Scandal that took place in the 1870′s
Nothing changes in Washington DC, this is a tale of corruption and what some would even call treason involving Secretary of War William Belknap.
During his tenure as Secretary of War he sold top of the line breech-loaders and repeating rifles at the tradership posts on the Western frontier to Native Americans and blatantly supplied US Soldiers with defective breech-loading rifles that jammed after the third round. He would then let the two sides go to battle, both sides would commit horrific atrocities, including mass murder while he reaped in the profits from both sides of during the War or as some may call a conflict. It would sustain longer because the side with more numbers had defective rifles and the side with less numbers had superior rifles, thus pulling in more profit for Secretary of War Belknap.
Belknap accomplished this by lobbying Congress and was granted the
sole power to appoint and license sutlers with ownership rights to
highly lucrative “traderships” at US military forts on the Western
frontier. US Soldiers were forced to purchase supplies
at a higher market price. Secretary of War William W. Belknap and his wives who received
kickback payments derived from a Fort Sill tradership contract between
Caleb P. Marsh and sutler John S. Evans.
Mark Twain dubbed
this era the Gilded Age, Belknap was famous for his extravagant Washington
parties and his elegantly attired first and second wives (Trophy Wives). Many
questioned how he managed such a grand life style on his $8,000
1876, answers began to surface. A House of Representatives’ committee
uncovered evidence supporting a pattern of corruption blatant even by
the standards of the scandal-tarnished Grant administration.The trail of
evidence extended back to 1870. In that year, Belknap’s luxury-loving
first wife assisted a wheeler-dealer named Caleb Marsh by getting her
husband to select one of Marsh’s associates to operate the lucrative
military trading post at Fort Sill in Indian territory. Marsh’s promise
of generous kick-backs prompted Secretary Belknap to make the
appointment. Over the next five years, the associate funneled thousands
of dollars to Marsh, who provided Belknap regular quarterly payments
totaling over $20,000.
Belknap was investigated and promptly resigned but he was still impeached by The House.
Colonel George A. Custer was even called in to testify in front of the Clymer Committee and revealed this information.
- Military post traders gave a percentage of their profits to Belknap.
- Custer said he had heard that President Grant’s brother, Orvil, was
involved in the tradership rings, having invested in three posts with
the President’s authorization.
- President Grant was irate Col. Custer implicated his brother Orvil and relieved Col. Custer from command of the expedition against the Lakota Sioux.
- Ironically, 268 members of the 7th Cavalry including Col. Custer would be slaughtered at The Battle of Little Big Horn by the superior rifles that were sold to the Native Americans with the help of Secretary of War Belknap.
- Col. William B. Hazen had been sent to a remote post, Fort Buford, as punishment for Hazen having exposed Belknap’s traderpost rings in 1872.
The Senate convened its trial in early
April, with Belknap present, after agreeing that it retained impeachment
jurisdiction over former government officials. During May, the Senate
heard more than 40 witnesses, as House managers argued that Belknap
should not be allowed to escape from justice simply by resigning his
On August 1,
1876, the Senate rendered a majority vote against Belknap on all five
articles. As each vote fell short of the necessary two thirds, however,
he won acquittal. Belknap was not prosecuted further; he died in 1890.
I’ll leave you with a grave warning. History repeats itself.
- Iran-Contra Scandal
- Operation Fast and Furious
- Copy and paste who funds isis in your search engine.