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The Babcock-Rove Connection?

Not a "This Day in History," but a historical note that might be of interest.

If you're following the news, you're aware that indictments might be brought against Karl Rove for his role in the Valerie Plame case. If that happens, Rove will be the first sitting advisor to the president to be indicted since Orville E. Babcock, 130 years ago.

Who was Babcock?

Babcock was a soldier, born on December 25, 1835, in Franklin, Vermont. He attended West Point and fought in the Civil War, serving as an aide to General Ulysses S. Grant. In fact, Babcock was the one who delivered Grant's surrender terms to Robert E. Lee at Appomatox.

When Grant was elected president in 1868, he made Babcock his private secretary. Grant was re-elected in 1872, and Babcock continued to serve Grant in many capacities. But then, in 1875, the Secretary of the Treasury, Benjamin H. Bristow, discovered a conspiracy of whiskey distillers who were attempting to defraud the government of taxes. Babcock appeared to be involved, and he was arrested along with about 230 other accused conspirators. In December 1875, he was indicted by a grand jury in St. Louis.

He was acquitted in February 1876, helped by testimony given by President Grant in a deposition.

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