1903 KEOKUK IOWA GAR MEDAL

$85.00

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Item Code: 344-2761

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The top bar of this medal is of thin stamped brass with scalloped edges and a riband at center that reads “KEOKUK.” The reverse has the original pin and catch.

Suspended from the top bar is a lightly faded red, white and blue ribbon that is frayed near the top but still attached. At the bottom of the ribbon is another stamped brass scrollwork bar that holds the drop.

The white metal drop is circular and has a raised bust image of a Civil War Major General at center. Around the edges in raised lettering is “GEN. W. W. BELKNAP.” The reverse reads “PRESENTED BY THE CITY OF KEOKUK” while around the edges is “19TH ANNUAL ENCAMPMENT DEPARTMENT OF IOWA, G.A.R. KEOKUK APRIL 25. 26. 27 1893.”

William Worth Belknap was born at Newburg, New York, on September 22, 1829, he attended the College of New Jersey and practiced law in Washington, D.C., then moved West.

In 1857 he was elected to the Iowa Legislature as a Democrat, but four years later supported President Lincoln's war efforts.

On December 7, 1861, he was commissioned Major of the 15th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, in which he served with distinction, being wounded the following April at Shiloh. As Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment, he also performed with merit at Corinth, winning promotion to Colonel in June 1863. During the Vicksburg campaign he led the 15th Iowa Infantry in several engagements and was promoted to Brigadier General, United States Volunteers the following summer. Given command of the 3rd Brigade, 4th Division, XVII Corps, he was conspicuous throughout the Atlanta Campaign, particularly in repulsing John B. Hood's second sortie on July 22, 1864. On that field, according to his Division Commander, he "displayed all of the qualifications of an accomplished soldier." Six days later, at Ezra Church, he provided timely support to an embattled XV Corps Division. In July 1865, following participation in Sherman's March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign, he led the XVII Corps as Brevet Major General.

Returning to civilian life, he became Collector of Internal Revenue in Iowa and allied himself with the Republican Party, and in 1869 became Ulysses S. Grant's Secretary of War. In March 1876, he was accused of malfeasance in office for accepting over $24,000 in bribes from a post trader seeking immunity from removal.

It is not clear whether he was aware of the arrangement or whether his wife had made the bargain and accepted the payoffs. Nevertheless, he was impeached by a unanimous vote of the United States Senate, though at his formal trial the Senate fell short of the number of votes required to convict. By then he had resigned, which doubtless accounted for his acquittal.

In later years, he resided in Philadelphia, then practiced law in Washington, D.C. He died in Washington on October 13, 1890 and was buried in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery.  [ad]

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