Black Veteran Loses Property to a Corrupt Claim Agent
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Three documents related to bounty due to Pvt. Sandy Blanton, Co. G, 4th United States Heavy Artillery.
The first letter, written by Cairo, Illinois Assistant Postmaster S. R. Hayes, Feb. 7, 1870 to the 2nd Auditor of the U.S. Treasury Department on behalf of Pvt. Blanton regarding his bounty:
“I write you at the request of two colored men who were soldiering. They made their claims for Bounty & back pay in 1865 through Geo. H. Wood claim agent then at this place. Mr. Wood left here some 18 months ago & they can not hear from him & do not know whether their claims have been adjusted or not [their]names are Sandy Blanton & Ben Ross both members of Co. G, 4th Hy. Art. Col’d...[on the verso of the above letter, Cairo, Il., July 22, 1870]is written “Sandy Blanton one of the claimants referred to...being a freed man when he was enlisted was told by Mr. Wood...the claim agent that he was entitled to the add’l. bounty...he was discharged on the 24th of Feb. 1866...if rejected he wishes to get back his discharge...”
The second document, 1p. The endorsement leaf for the above letter. Reading, in part: “Washington, D.C., July 27, 1870...respectfully returned with reply that add’l. bounty...were allowed Sandy Blanton April 6, 1868 by certificate No. 441, 669 ($113.). This soldier is reported on [the] rolls as a slave April 19, 1865 and is not entitled to the original bounty. Discharge Cert. [was] returned March 22, 1869...”
Finally, the proof that George Wood stole the money. Partly-printed Letter on Treasury Department letterhead, [Washington], Feb. 15, 1870, 1 p. Concerning the government’s settlement of the claim with Claim Agent Wood years earlier, in part: “the case of Sandy Blanton...was settled Apr. 6, 1868 and cert. No. 441, 669 for $113.00 sent to Geo. H. Wood Cairo, Ill...”