Trader post scandal

The trader post scandal, or Indian Ring, that took place during Reconstruction, involved Secretary of War William W. Belknap and his wives, who received kickback payments derived from a Fort Sill tradership contract between Caleb P. Marsh and sutler John S. Evans. In 1870, Belknap lobbied Congress, and on July 15 of that year was granted the sole power to appoint and license sutlers with ownership rights to highly lucrative


The trader post scandal, or Indian Ring, that took place during Reconstruction, involved Secretary of War William W. Belknap and his wives, who received kickback payments derived from a Fort Sill tradership contract between Caleb P. Marsh and sutler John S. Evans. In 1870, Belknap lobbied Congress, and on July 15 of that year was granted the sole power to appoint and license sutlers with ownership rights to highly lucrative "traderships" at U.S. military forts on the Western frontier. The power to appoint traderships by the Commanding General of the Army, at that time William T. Sherman, was repealed. Having been granted the sole power to appoint traderships, Belknap further empowered those traderships with a virtual monopoly. Soldiers stationed at forts with Belknap-appointed sutlers could only buy supplies through the authorized tradership. These monopoly traderships were considered to be excellent investments and were highly prized. Soldiers on the Western frontier, who were thus forced to buy supplies at higher than market prices, were left destitute as a result.
Read article on Wikipedia