The most famous of Burnside's staff officers, he became a tool of Stanton and Chase during the war conducting politically useful "corruption" investigations on the anti-Fremont model.
Friends, like R.B. Westbrook tried to salvage part of his reputation after he went off the deep end into Theosophy:
I then believed and now know that he was so far under the strange influence of that ambitious adventuress [Madame] Blavatsky [the spiritualist], as to be utterly incapable of judging correctly anything that she might say or do. He (like many adherents to false, tricky materializing mediums) was a monomaniac. He was as crazy as a loon on everything relating to Blavatskyism, though perfectly sane on every other subject.Sounds almost like the political exercise of Republican radicalism. One could similarly be under the spell of Wade, Stanton or Chase, whether or not personal ambition was engaged. And a person once bewitched, like one once hypnotized, might be more susceptible in the future.
That it is possible to be utterly untrustworthy upon one subject, and yet honorable and true on all others, I know from long observation and experience as a lawyer.This is the tragedy of the human condition, writ large in the American Civil War.