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William W. Belknap
Item #: 12016
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William W. Belknap United States Secretary of War (1871-1876), LS, 3p, 8vo, West Point, New York, Nov. 10. 1875., from Maj. General William W. Belknap to Maj. General Thomas H. Ruger.

William W. Belknap was first a Union general in the American Civil War, being given the task of the enlisting and recruitment of the 15th Iowa Volunteer
Infantry on December 7, 1861. On April 6th of 1862, Belknap fought in the Battle of Shiloh, where he and his green troops fought with distinction under smothering cannon fire. During this, Belknap suffered a minor wound, and even had his horse shot from right underneath him, yet fought on. After Shiloh, Maj.
Belknap engaged in the Siege of Corinth, on April 29th 1862- May 30th 1862. He received many praises, being commended by his senior officer Col. Hugh T. Reid for being "always in the right place at the right time”. Participating in Sherman’s March to the Sea, now Col. Belknap fought in the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864. Here he also performed acts of remarkable valor, including engaging in the savage hand-to-hand combat on Confederate breastworks. In the same battle during the sweltering Georgia Summer, Belknap physically
captured and dragged behind Union lines Confederate Col. Harris D. Lampley of the 45th Alabama Infantry. On March 13, 1865 Belknap received a promotion to Brevet Maj. General, in reward for his bravery. After the war, on October 25 1869, President Grant personally appointed General Belknap to Secretary of War, after the previous Sec. John A. Rawlins’ death was attributed to tuberculosis. In January of 1870, Belknap showed a sense of justice foreign to his age, by pardoning a black cadet. Cadet Smith was arrested for not holding his head up while marching, whilst being harassed by a group of fellow cadets. Later, in 1871, Sec. Belknap appointed Thomas H. Ruger to the position of Superintendent of West Point. Belknap commended Ruger in 1873, largely due to the latter’s reduction of hazing at the school. The two kept a fairly close relationship, and in November 10 1875, Sec. Belknap wrote this letter to Maj. General Ruger about three issues: the recommendation of cadets to different
positions in the Army, drilling the troops in the summer months and the possible replacement of the caterer at West Point. He mentions Civil War General Ben Butler in the letter.
Shipping Weight: 0.25 lb
$150.00 USD
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