BELKNAP'S SUDDEN DEATH ------------ HIS LIFELESS BODY DISCOVERED IN HIS ROOM. -------- THE EX-SECRETARY OF WAR DIES ALONE OF HEART DISEASE--HIS ARMY AND POLITICAL CAREER. WASHINGTON, Oct. 13.--Gen. W.W. Belknap, Secretary of War during President Grant's Ad- ministration, was found dead in his bed at about 9 o'clock this morning. It is believed that death occurred between 1 o'clock Saturday night and 9 o'clock Sunday morning. For some time it had been the General's habit to meet a few friends at the home of Dr. Hill, who lives less than a square away, for a social game of cards. Last Saturday night he was with them as usual and remained until nearly midnight, when he returned to his apartments in the Evans Building, at 1,420 New-York Ave- nue, and presumably retired immediately. He was never again seen alive. About 8:30 o'clock this morning John W. Cam- eron, his business associate, arrived at the build- ing, and, taking the mail for himself and the General from the box on the first floor, proceed- ed to the second floor, where their offices and the General's apartments are situated. He had separated the General's mail from his own, which he began reading, when the servant girl who keeps the rooms in order rapped at the door and inquired if Gen. Belknap was out of the city, saying that she had several times since Sunday morning tried the doors, but found them locked. Mr. Cameron, startled at what the girl had said, immediately tried the doors himself, but they were locked. The janitor was summoned, and, bringing up a stepladder, looked through the transom over the door leading from the public hall into the General's sitting room. He could see the General's hat on the table, and his coat and waistcoat apon the chair standing near. The stepladder was then placed against the door leading into his bedroom. The bed was then seen, and the General lying partly uncovered on it. His left arm was bent rigidly toward the head, and his left hand was tightly clinched, as though death had come while he was in a con- vulsion. The bedclothes were somewhat dis- arranged, as if there had been a slight struggle for breath. A physician was summoned, and after making a brief examination he expressed the opinion that death had resulted from a stroke of apo- plexy. The Coroner soon afterward arrived and took the body in charge. The autopsy disclosed the fact that the immediate cause of death was inflammation of the inner lining of the heart. For some years Gen. Belknap has been an al- most constant sufferer from gout, and in Feb- ruary last he had so severe an attack that he hardly left his room for three months or more. During that time he lost in flesh between thirty and forty pounds, and since then he has been in poor health. In consequence of his long illness his business has suffered and this had worried him at times. Mr. Cameron last saw the Gen- eral at about 3 o'clock Saturday afternoon. He seemed somewhat depressed, but before Mr. Cameron left him, he had in a measure regained his usual cheerfulness. Mrs. Belknap, who was at Newport and other Eastern seaside resorts during the Summer months, but who has been in New-York City during the last few weeks, was summoned by telegraph, as was also the General's son, Hugh, who lives in Chicago, where he is employed in the offices of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. As soon as the death of Gen. Belknap was known at the War Department, Acting Secretary Grant ordered the flag on the building to be put at half mast in honor of the ex-Secretary, and gave directions that the building be draped in black for the customary period. He also com- municated with the family of the dead man, to offer whatever assistance they might desire from the department in the arrangements for the funeral. As soon as the funeral arrange- ments are completed, an order will be issued closing the department on the day of the funeral. --------- William Worth Belknap was born in Newburg, N.Y., Sept. 22, 1829. He was the son of Gen. William Goldsmith Belknap, who served with distinction in the war of 1812 and in the Florida and Mexican wars. William Worth Belknap was graduated from Princeton College in the Class of '48. He studied law in Georgetown, D.C., but subsequently removed to Keokuk, Iowa, where he permanently located and prac- ticed his profession, in partnership with Ralph B. Lowe, who was afterward Governor of Iowa and Judge of the Supreme Court. At this time Gen. Belknap was a Democrat, and as such he was elected to the State Legislature. He served one term, that of 1857-8. At the outbreak of the civil war he entered the army as Major of the Fifteenth Iowa In- fantry. He served with his regiment in the Army of the Tennessee, and participated in the battle of Shiloh, the siege and battle of Corinth, the siege of Vicksburg, the siege of Atlanta, and the battles of Atlanta on July 21, 22, and 28. After the capture of Atlanta he marched with Sherman to the sea and finally to Washington. He had meantime risen through the grades and had been promoted to the rank of Brigadier General for special gallantry in the memorable battle of July 22, when he fought with his regi- ment from either side of the same breast- works. He was brevetted Major General March 13, 1865, and was mustered out Aug. 24, 1865. After the war he was appointed Internal Revenue Collector for the First District of Iowa, a position that he held from 1865 to Oct. 13, 1869, when he was called into Gen. Grant's Cabinet as Secretary of War. He retained his office, through Gen. Grant's second Adminis- tration, until March 7, 1876, when he resigned, in consequence of charges of official corruption. He was impeached and tried before the Senate of the United States, the specific charge against him being that he had promised to appoint Caleb P. Marsh of New-York to maintain a trading establishment at Fort Sill, Indian Ter- ritory, a military post of the United States. on consideration of a certain sum of money to be paid quarterly to Belknap or Belknap's wife. The evidence showed conslusively that Marsh appointed one John S. Evans as his substitute after Marsh and Evans has entered into a written agreement for Evans to pay Marsh an annual sum of money in proportion to the num- ber of soldiers quartered at the post. This contract was carried out with the knowl- edge and consent of Belknap as Secretary of War, and it was further proved that Evans paid the moneys to Marsh as agreed and that Marsh turned over to Belknap the larger part of such moneys. This arrangement continued from Oct. 10, 1870, to March 2, 1876, and the whole amount of money received from Marsh by Belknap in consequence of it was $24,450. Belknap was represented before the Senate in answer to the impeachment by Matthew Car- penter, Judge Jeremiah S. Black, and Mont- gomery Blair, who pleaded that inasmuch as Belknap had resigned the office of Secretary of War before the articles of impeachment were drawn the Senate had no jurisdiction in the matter. On this technical plea Belknap escaped, thirty-five Senators voting that he was guilty and twenty-five voting to acquit him. It re- quired a two-thirds vote for absolute conviction. Gen. Belknap spent the later years of his life in Washington. He was twice married, and his second wife, who was a Miss Tomlinson of Keo- Kuk, survives him.
Maintained by Sue Greenhagen.