William G. Belknap

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William Goldsworth Belknap, US Army Brigadier General.

William Goldsmith Belknap (September 7, 1794 – November 10, 1851), a career soldier in the United States Army, was brevetted three times for service in three wars, served as brigadier general, and served as commandant at Fort Gibson, Fort Washita, and Fort Smith.

Belknap was born in Newburgh, New York to Samuel Belknap and Mary Goldsmith. He was a lieutenant in the War of 1812, during which he was wounded in the sortie from Fort Erie, Ontario on September 17, 1814. He became captain on February 1, 1822; brevet major on February 1, 1832; major on January 31, 1842; and was brevetted lieutenant colonel on March 15, 1842, for his services in the Second Seminole War in Florida. In 1828 Captain Belknap assisted in establishing Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

Belknap was actively involved in many of the major battles of the Mexican–American War. He received the brevet of colonel for gallantry in General Zachary Taylor's Rio Grande campaign. He acted as inspector general at the Battle of Monterrey, became lieutenant colonel September 26, 1847, and was brevetted brigadier general on February 23, 1847 for services at the Battle of Buena Vista.

Following the Mexican–American War, General Belknap commanded his regiment and the garrison of Fort Gibson, Oklahoma from December 14, 1848 to May 7, 1850.

He died of typhoid dysentery on November 10, 1851 engaged in scouting a location for a military post to protect California-bound emigrants and settlers moving to Texas while en route from the Brazos River to Fort Washita, Indian Territory.[1]

William G. Belknap was the father of William W. Belknap, also brigadier general and later major general in the United States Army, who served as United States Secretary of War from 1869 to 1876 under President Ulysses S. Grant.


  1. ^ "Foreman, Carolyn Thomas. "General William Goldsmith Belknap, Commandant at Fort Gibson, Fort Washita and Fort Smith." Chronicles of Oklahoma, vol. 20, no. 2 (June 1942)".