Liveblogging the Civil War False Claims Act: Fearing fraud, authorities seize goods in New York

by Ben Vernia | February 24th, 2012

From a letter to the New York Times, published on February 23, 1862:

To the Editor of the New-York Times: My attention has this moment been called to a paragraph in the Herald of 14th inst., headed, Seizure of a large quantity of Army Goods — and, with its accustomed (?) accuracy, it closes by saying, the facts have not yet been made public, but it is said they were intended for a Southern house. What wonderful means for obtaining information the veracious scribblers of the Herald must possess, and, if the large quantity of army goods seized in this city were intended for the South, how much pity we should feel for the poor old superannuated editor of that sheet, that his Southern friends have failed to get possession of all those army goods, of which they are so much in need. However, to relieve him, so far as possible from his needless alarm, I will say that the goods were intended for the South, but to be carried there on the backs of loyal men — not to cover the nakedness of any rebel friends of his, who, consequently, have lost nothing by the seizure. The goods mentioned were forwarded to the Battalion Quartermaster of the First Battalion New-York Mounted Rifles, (New-York Fourth Cavalry,) through orders of the Colonel commanding the regiment, and duly receipted for, in duplicate, to the United States Military Storekeeper by the Quartermaster when received, and the larger portion of them are now on the men in camp in Virginia — those seized being the balance of the invoice which were stored here subject to requisition from camp or any officer of the Government authorized to make such a requisition. Some party or parties here, learning the goods were stored in this city, informed Government officers of the fact, who, without knowing the circumstances under which they were placed here, ordered their seizure, doubtless supposing the intention was to defraud the Government. So ends the whole story of the seizure of a large quantity of army goods intended for a Southern house. Yours truly, PHILADELPHIA, Thursday, Feb. 20, 1862.

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