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[713] our government obliged it to submit to. But of the Quartermaster's Department I am as competent, perhaps, as any one else to speak. On the 5th of August, 1863, I received an order to inspect the Quartermaster and Commissary Departments of the Military Department of the Ohio, which included the States of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Major General Burnside was in command, with headquarters at Cincinnati. Upon reporting there my first care was to cause to be prepared by the chief quartermaster a complete list of all contracts awarded within a certain period, with the names of the bidders at each letting. With this as a guide it was a simple matter to learn what fraud had been practiced, for I had only to direct my orderlies to serve a summons upon each disappointed bidder to report at headquarters and testify, when the whole chicanery was invariably exposed. The regular dealers and responsible merchants were always to be found among this class, and, when satisfied the War Department was really in earnest, and would throw the market open to fair competition, they would tell the honest truth. Thus I discovered within forty-eight hours that by a corrupt conspiracy between a government purchasing agent, an inspector, a Cincinnati contractor, and an Indianapolis horse dealer, and Republican politician, the United States had been systematically robbed of one million dollars in the purchase of horses and mules, at the Cincinnati corral, during the preceding year. My duties were greatly lightened by the prompt and efficient co-operation of the Department Adjutant General, and Judge Advocate-Captain W. P. Anderson, and Major Henry L. Burnett.

At Louisville frauds alike shameful had been perpetrated in the purchase of animals, while one Black — a captain and assistant quartermaster, who boasted much of his influence with Secretary Stanton, and whom I especially gratified that official by bringing before a court-martial-had not only connived at the fraudulent adulteration of grain by his contractors, but absolutely stood by to see it done, and handled a shovel himself. This unconscionable rascal in uniform was convicted of the crime, and sentenced to “be dismissed the service of the United States, with loss of all pay and allowances due or to become due; to pay a fine of ten thousand dollars; and to be imprisoned at such place as the commanding general shall designate for the period of two years.”

The delinquent horse, mule, hay, grain, and other contractors in the Department of the Ohio were thoroughly punished by fines and imprisonment, and thenceforward the government was enabled to obtain supplies at fair prices, and of good quality. This result, it

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Edwin M. Stanton (1)
Burnside (1)
Henry L. Burnett (1)
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August 5th, 1863 AD (1)
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