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Gideon Welles - Manuscript Letter Signed 03/07/1864 For Sale

Gideon Welles - Manuscript Letter Signed 03/07/1864

GIDEON WELLES
As a major corruption scandal breaks, Secretary Welles signs an order stopping payment to suppliers and purchasing agents involved.
Manuscript Letter signed: "Gideon Welles", as Secretary of the Navy. 1 page 7¾x9¾. Navy Department, 1864 March 7. Signed letter to be sent as a telegram to Commodore C. K. Stribling, Commandant, Philadelphia Navy Yard. In full: "Make no bills or payments for either Schofield, Savage or Raymond until further orders." Ink notation in lower left indicates telegram sent. The word "Asst" has been crossed out, indicating that Welles decided to convey this order personally, rather than through a subordinate. 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). On March 15, 1864 Isaac Henderson, US Navy Agent at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, was arrested. A Grand Jury was summoned, and heard testimony from Brooklyn hardware merchant Joseph L. Savage that Henderson was overcharging the Navy for supplies acquired, and was demanding kickbacks from Savage and other merchants. Savage's affidavit implicated purchasing agent Charles L. Schofield. Welles recommended Henderson's immediate dismissal, pending an investigation. President Lincoln concurred, despite the political sensitivity of the case. (Henderson was also a business partner of William Cullen Bryant, editor of the New York Evening Post, whose endorsement had greatly helped Lincoln secure the Republican Presidential nomination in 1860.) Research to date has not identified "Raymond." The enormous purchasing requirements of the Civil War, and the urgent need for haste, created great opportunities for corruption. In this case, the scrupulously honest Welles moved quickly to combat it. Horizontal fold creases. 1" slit at right edge of center fold - just touching the "s" in signature. Small > tear at upper left corner. Edges toned and lightly soiled. Otherwise, fine condition.

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Gideon Welles - Manuscript Letter Signed 03/07/1864

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