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Full text of "Private and official correspondence of Gen. Benjamin F. Butler : during the period of the Civil War"

GIFT OF 
JANE *** 





PRIVATE AND OFFICIAL 

CORRESPONDENCE OF 

GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 



PRIVATE AND OFFICIAL 
CORRESPONDENCE OF 

GEN. RENJAMIN F. RUTLER 

DURING THE PERIOD 
OF THE CIVIL WAR 



IN FIVE VOLUMES 

VOLUME I 
April 1860 June 1862 



PRIVATELY ISSUED 
1917 



COPYRIGHT, IQiy 
BY JESSIE AMES MARSHALL 



C-" 



THE -PLIMPTON PRESS 
NORWOOD MASS U S A 



PREFACE 

rTIHE preservation by General Butler of the letters, 
despatches, and other communications received by 
him, and of copies of those which he sent to others, dur 
ing a remarkably active career, resulted in a large accu 
mulation of direct and first-hand information which, to 
those at least whose knowledge and appreciation of the 
man give them the sympathy of understanding, is rich 
in human interest. 

It has been found that by arranging these papers in 
chronological order and sacrificing that order only when 
retaining the thread of the narrative demanded it, a 
very complete and intimate record of his life and of the 
events of his time is produced. 

The mass of material covering the whole period of his 
life is so great that it is practicable to select only one 
period and to publish with completeness the record of 
those years. For the purposes of this collection the period 
of the Civil War has been chosen as being that of most 
universal interest, and as being a period of such activity 
and stress that the record of the thoughts and deeds and 
struggles of men in responsible positions during that time 
may fairly be considered as depicting their personalities 
in lines which are characteristic and true. 

It undoubtedly would have added to the readableness 
of these volumes if the letters and records had been 
interspersed with editorial comment, connecting links of 
circumstances and collateral facts of historical interest. 
It would be pleasant, by bridging the gaps, to spare the 
reader the effort of bearing in mind that difficulties of 

365501 



vi PREFACE 

transmission and distance will frequently be found to 
have caused an interval of a month between the sending 
of a letter and its receipt. But the choice of the method 
adopted, permitting the narrative to be carried along 
and explained only by the statements in the documents 
themselves has been made advisedly. 

The object of this publication is the establishment of 
truth in history. So much has been said and written of 
General Butler, anonymously and otherwise, by those 
who have felt the sting of the blows he dealt to them or 
their friends, by those who, with courage suddenly 
emboldened by his death, have spoken and written with 
more of malice in their hearts than knowledge in their 
minds, by those whose environment and fixed habits of 
mind made it impossible for them to see the things he 
saw, by those whose lack of analytical power and of 
passion for the true have made them content to regard 
the repetition of error as an original source, and to 
accept a rumor, a prejudice, the baseless slander of a 
political opponent, or the traitor s lie, and affirm it to 
all men as ultimate truth, that there is firm foundation 
in fact for the remark which has been made, that "It has 
become fashionable to abuse General Butler." 

The compilation of the material in these volumes has 
been made by the members of the family of General 
Butler in the consciousness that the picture which it 
paints is true, and in the hope that as the spirit of the 
scientist of today in his zealous quest for truth, unswerved 
by prejudice, and revering neither the source nor the 
antiquity of error, becomes the spirit of the historian of 
tomorrow, this correspondence will be of value as an 
original source of information concerning the men and 
events to which it relates. 

It is in accordance with this purpose that, with the 
exception of an occasional footnote, editorial comment 
has been entirely omitted, and that the record in chrono 
logical order has been left to speak for itself, free from 



PREFACE vii 

possible bias of editor, family, or friend. All letters of 
interest during the period covered, whether favorable to 
the subject or not, have been included, save only that 
letters merely congratulatory and complimentary have 
been omitted, with the exception of a few upon the mar 
gins of which General Butler has copied his replies. The 
whole of every letter or document has also been printed 
in every case except where extracts from papers previously 
published have been used, and except those few instances 
in which the omissions and the nature of them have 
been clearly indicated in the text. 

The purpose of the work has seemed to justify, and 
completeness of the work has certainly required, the 
inclusion of the intimate correspondence between Gen 
eral Butler and his wife, and other members of his family. 
"As he thinketh in his heart so is he," and to his wife and 
daughter General Butler wrote the thoughts of his heart; 
often in haste as the exigencies of the situation required, 
and often with bluntness as might be expected under 
the sternness of his task and the pressure of his duties, 
but always with an earnestness and sincerity which 
showed him as he was. Mrs. Butler, in General Butler s 
own words, was "an adviser, faithful and true, clear 
headed, conscientious and conservative, whose conclu 
sions could always be trusted." His life was hers, and in 
this correspondence her letters to him and his replies 
will be found of more than passing interest. 

A debt of gratitude is due to Mr. William Dana Orcutt 
for his generous assistance and advice in the publication 
of these volumes. 

JESSIE AMES MARSHALL 



PRIVATE AND OFFICIAL 
CORRESPONDENCE OF 

GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler to Mrs. Sarah H. Butler 1 

CHARLESTON, S. C., Steamer S. R. SPAULDING, Sunday, April 22, 1860 

DEAR SARAH: We came here after a very pleasant passage 
of from Wednesday at night (6 o clock) till Friday at 10 P.M. 
We lay on the quarantine ground till morning, when about 
8 o clock we came up to the city and skirted along its whole 
length with flags flying, guns firing, and drums beating all in 
the finest style. Fisher and Clemence were very seasick but 
are all right now. George was also very sick. For myself, I 
ate five times a day, slept soundly, smoked incessantly, and 
drank sparingly. Charleston is much the same apparently 
that it has been for a half century. Do you remember that 
the first time I ever spent any considerable hours with you 
was at the American House, Boston, just previous to your 
voyage to Charleston? It has occurred to my thoughts more 
than once. I felt sad at parting from you, but I thought then 
I should see you again, although you thought not so. 

You will see by the enclosed prospectus (which I pray you 
preserve) that I have visited the school at Georgetown. 

I am more in favor than ever of sending Blanche there; 
you will agree with me when you visit for yourself, as we will 
do next Winter. 



1 "I have not read the life of Butler, although I am awaiting it with some curi 
osity. I read, however, in one of the reviews, of his tribute to his wife. My wife, 
he says, with a devotion quite unparalleled, gave me her support by accompanying 
me, at my earnest wish, through the War of the Rebellion, and made for me a home 
wherever I was stationed in command. Returning home with me after I retired to 
civil and political life, Mrs. Butler remained the same good adviser, educating and 
guiding her children during their young lives with such skill and success that neither 
of them ever did an act which caused me serious sorrow or gave the least anxiety 
on their behalf. . . . 

"I had the great honor and pleasure of knowing Mrs. Butler, and this allusion of 
her husband brings her to mind. I have often thought if I were in the book-writing 
business that I should sketch a few lives which have come within the range of my 
VOL. i I 1 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

How are all at home? I long to be with you at home again 
with an inexpressible longing. We shall start probably a 
week from today and be home in four days. Love to all. 

Yours, BENJ. 



From General Butler to Blanche Butler l 

LOWELL, Oct. 8, 1860 

MY DAUGHTER: I had not intended writing you, until you 
had been two months away, but the weakness of your mother s 
eyes prevents her from writing, and so you have a note from 
"father." 

That you should be ambitious to excel, and obtain the 
rewards of merit, gives me much pleasure; but you must not 
be disheartened because your numerous studies will not per 
mit you to compete successfully with those that have fewer. 
Success in school life is one thing and to be desired, giving 
much pleasure to us all; but remember, my brave, good girl, 
that success in life is the object to be obtained, and your 
progress at school is gratifying only as it gives assurance that 
you are endeavoring to prepare yourself for the future. Go 
on, there, as you have begun. Limit your exertions only by 
the necessities of your health. Remember how proudly I 
think of you, and how much of our happiness is bound up in 
your welfare. Beside, my dear, you are almost the only New 



own; lives based upon a perfect marriage. That of General Butler should have the 
first place. His marriage was one of singular felicity. Mrs. Butler was a woman of 
extraordinary ability, in intellectual force the equal of the General, and that means a 
great deal; for in mental force Butler is one of the first men of the age. She had 
more self-command than the General, had a singular grace and dignity, a conscious 
ness of power and genius which attracted you with a sentiment of respect and admira 
tion. She was an exquisite reader, and only surpassed in my knowledge by Fanny 
Kemble. Shakespeare she knew by heart, and, Mr. Donelly will be pleased to learn, 
had anticipated him in the acceptance of the Baconian theory. She even believed that 
the music and the imagination of Shakespeare could be found in Bacon, and I remem 
ber her reading, one summer evening at her Washington home, many parallel passages 
in support of this theory. 

"It is not, however, the intellectual side of Mrs. Butler that comes back to me 
now, thinking of her as I read her husband s tribute to her memory, but her high, 
serene womanliness. Her power over the General was unbounded. I have never, 
he once said to The Spectator, done anything of any import without taking counsel 
of my wife, and I have never made a mistake except when I failed to follow her 
advice. This is high praise. I am proud to write it, as due to a noble and gracious 
memory. Her influence was always for gentleness, peace, mercy; and how much 
this must have meant at the side of that proud, turbulent nature. . . . 

JOHN RUSSELL YOUNG (The Spectator) 
[From the Philadelphia Evening Star, July 18, 1891] 

1 His daughter, aged 13, who was at the Georgetown Convent, D.C. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 3 

England girl, and the only Massachusetts girl in your large 
school, representing nearly all other sections of the country. 
A Yankee girl, a Massachusetts girl, and "my Blanche" will 
not be outstripped by any competition because duties are a 
little hard studies a little perplexing hours of recreation 
a little restrained, or because it would be a little more pleasant 
to run over the fields in the bright Autumn. 

You must not give up Latin if it is possible to go on with it, 
in due regard to your health. Why, I look forward to the 
pleasure I shall have in reviewing my own old studies with 
you in the coming vacations. A graver reason, however, is 
that your labor in the Latin will render lighter your toil in 
other languages, whether French, Spanish, or Italian. 

There, "Buntie," I find that while I had intended only a 
word of encouragement, I have almost given you a lecture. 
Still you know there is no harsh word in it from "father," 
who has had occasion to speak so few of them to his good 
child. 

Nothing has changed since you left, and nothing is missed 
at home save yourself. "Bennie" gets his usual share of 
unlucky tumbles, but picks himself up again with the same 
good humor as ever. Paul has taken one from him just now, 
and cut a fine little gash in his forehead, but that is healing 
up cleverly after having let out, as I tell him, some of his bad 
blood. Both go to school under the charge of our neighbor, 
Mrs. Chase s niece. 

We have not heard from Grandmother 1 or Andrew 2 for 
two mails, but I will see that you hear as soon as there is 
anything of interest. 

Goodbye, Blanche, I never knew how much you added to 
my comfort and happiness at home till you were away, and 
you may be assured that yours is not the only sacrifice of 
pleasure in doing that which has been thought best for your 
future welfare by p 

From General Butler to Blanche Butler 

LOWELL, Oct. 22, 1860 

MY GOOD GIRL: You know that I am not a constant cor 
respondent, but I am now taking your mother s place. You 
need not feel alarm about your mother s eyes, as I believe the 

1 General Butler s mother, Mrs. Charlotte Ellison Butler. 

2 General Butler s brother, Andrew Jackson Butler, then in California. 



4 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

weakness to be temporary only. At least she was quite well 
enough last Friday evening to go with me to the Prince s 
Ball 1 at Boston. Aunt Harriet went with us; both were 
much pleased, as ladies always are, with beautiful dresses, 
fine music, and a gay throng. I was obliged to go down to the 
review of the Military. 2 I suppose you hardly saw the Prince; 
as a sight you have not lost much. He looks somewhat like 
your cousin Hal Read, but is not quite so intelligent in the 
face. 

Pray do not pain me by hearing that you are homesick. 
A girl of good sense like you to be homesick! Never say it. 
Never feel it, never think it. The change, the novelty of your 
situation, will soon wear away, and with your duties well 
done, as I know they will be, you will be sustained by the pride 
of a well-earned joy in your return. You say the girls, your 
associates, seem strange to you. May they not find the same 
strange appearance in you? You say you think they do not 
like you much, and you do not like them much. Is not this 
because of the strangeness, and because you do not understand 
and know each other. It is one of the objects I desired to gain 
by sending you to Georgetown that you should see other man 
ners, other customs and ways, than those around you at home. 
However good these may be, the difficulty is that one used to 
a single range of thoughts and modes of life soon comes to 
think all others inferior, while in fact they may be better, and 
are only different. This is a provincialism, and one of which 
I am sorry to say that Massachusetts people are most fre 
quently guilty. 

By no means give up your own manners simply because 
others of your associates are different. Try and see which 
are best, but do not cling to your own simply because they 
are yours. In the matter of pronunciation of which you wrote, 
hold fast your own, subject to your teachers. Do not adopt 
the flat drawl of the South. That is a patois. Avoid it. All 
educated people speak a language alike. T is true Mr. Clay, 
said cheer for chair, but that from a defect of early association. 
Full, distinct, and clear utterance with a kindly modulated 
voice, will add a new accomplishment to a young lady, who is 
as perfect as Blanche in the eye of 

FATHER 

1 H. R. H. the Prince of Wales, then on a visit to the United States. 

2 General Butler was Brigadier General of the Massachusetts militia, having received 
his commission in 1857. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 5 

Extract from Speech of General E. F. Jones, delivered before 
the New York Loyal Legion, May 3, 1911 

[Not in chronological order] 

"ON the 14th of January, 1861, Gen. Butler, who was in 
command of the 3rd Brigade, Mass. Vol. Militia, called upon 
Col. Jones, commanding the Sixth Regiment (himself) and 
requested that he (Jones) go with him (Butler) to see Gov. 
Andrew, remarking: * Andrew and I are not very good friends, 
and you have more influence with him than I. I want to 
impress upon him (Andrew) the necessity of having some troops 
ready to meet the emergency which I know is coming. The 
South is attempting secession, and if the North is not ready, 
they (the South) will get an advantage which it will be diffi 
cult for us to overcome." 

From Colonel Jones 

BOSTON, Feb. 5th, 1861 

To His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief (Gov. ANDREW) : 

AT our interview this morning you requested me to put the 
matter which I wished to communicate in writing. In accord 
ance therewith, I make the following statement as to the con 
dition of my command, and take the liberty to forward the 
same directly to you, passing over the usual channel of com 
munication for want of time. 

The Sixth Regiment consists of eight companies, located as 
follows, viz.: Four in Lowell, two in Lawrence, one in Acton, 
and one in Groton, made up mostly of men of families, "who 
earn their bread by the sweat of their brow," men who are 
willing to leave their homes, families, and all that man holds 
dear, and sacrifice their present and future as a matter of duty. 

Four companies of the regiment are insufficiently armed 
(as to quantity) with a serviceable rifle musket; the other 
four with the old musket, which is not a safe or serviceable 
arm, and requiring a different cartridge from the first, which 
would make confusion in the distribution of ammunition. 

Two companies are without uniforms, having worn them 
out, and were proposing to have new the ensuing spring. Six 
companies and the band have company uniforms of different 
colors and styles, but insufficient in numbers, and which are 
entirely unfit for actual service, from the fact that they are 
made of fine cloth, more for show and the attractive appear 
ance of the company on parade than any other purpose, being 
cut tight to the form and in fashionable style. 



6 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

I would (after being properly armed and equipped) suggest 
our actual necessary wants, viz. : a cap, frock coat, pantaloons, 
boots, overcoat, knapsack, and blanket to each man, of heavy 
serviceable material, cut sufficiently loose, and made strongly 
to stand the necessities of the service. Such is our position, 
and I think it is a fair representation of the condition of most 
of the troops in the State. Their health and their efficiency 
depend greatly upon their comfort. 

My command is not able pecuniarily to put themselves in 
the necessary condition, and should they, as a matter of right 
and justice, be asked so to do, even were they able? What 
is the cost in money to the State of Massachusetts when 
compared to the sacrifices we are called upon to make? 

Respectfully, EDWARD F. JONES, Col. Sixth Regiment 

P.S. I would also suggest that it would require from ten to 
fourteen days as the shortest possible time within which my 
command could be put in marching order. 

From General Butler 

WASHINGTON, July 10, 1870. [[Not in chronological ordeiQ 

GEN. WM. ScnouLER, 1 BOSTON, MASS. 

DEAR SIR: I will answer your note in the same frank spirit 
in which it is apparently written. I have never known any 
reason why you should have desired to have any other than 
kindly relations with myself. I have always believed the 
estrangement to have been upon your part. The last time I 
received you was upon the battlefield of the army of the 
James, in front of the outer line of the defenses of Richmond, 
not far from the Williamsburg Road. That you had espoused 
the cause of your chief, Governor Andrew, in the unfortunate 
differences of opinion which arose about the recruitment of 
the New England Division in 1861 I have never thought 
ground of personal enmity. I expected that fidelity to your 
commander; and therefore, when, in 1864, you came to my 
headquarters, you will remember you had no cause of com 
plaint at your reception. I had seen, however, subsequently, 
indications in your writing up the part that Massachusetts 
took in the war, of what seemed to me a desire to belittle any 
efforts of mine in behalf of the country in the great struggle; 
but I have never placed pen to paper to correct any supposed 



Adjt. Gen L, Mass., in 1861. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 7 

misrepresentation or omissions of my acts upon your part 
which fell to my lot. What I have done was so entirely in the 
eyes of the country, was so well known at the time, and I 
trust I may say with pardonable vanity so impressed itself 
upon the history of the time as not to be effaced from the 
minds of this generation : and the coming one will hardly have 
interest enough in the subject to inquire as to the part any one 
played in the war of the rebellion. 

In universal history a half a page will condense the whole 
of the war; and the reader of the next generation will not turn 
to the ephemera of to-day for his instruction. 

I have read with care your Reminiscences of the War No. 
19. With most of it I can and do agree. With your descrip 
tion of the condition of the militia of Massachusetts in 1859, 
I entirely concur, saving that I think they were better armed 
than you have suggested; that is to say, there were more 
Springfield rifled muskets. But that there was an entire want 
of everything that goes to make up an efficient armed force 
is most true. That Governor Banks did a service in calling 
together the militia in 1859, and raising its esprit de corps, is 
quite true. But whether such calling together gave the militia 
of Massachusetts anything of efficiency that they had not 
before is quite doubtful. 

In regard to the inducements to the state of preparation 
into which Governor Andrew put the militia of Massachusetts, 
as well as to their personnel or to their equipment, I have the 
most distinct and positive recollection, which is aided by the 
contemporary publications, so that I am certain that I cannot 
be mistaken in regard to what I now proceed to state: 

By an arrangement made at the time of the Baltimore con 
vention, in view of the probable defeat of the candidate of the 
Democracy for the Presidency, for the purpose of reorganiza 
tion of the party after that defeat, it was agreed that certain 
gentlemen, having leading positions in the party, representing 
the different sections of the country, should meet together 
during the Christmas holidays of 1860-61 in Washington. At 
the time the meeting was agreed upon it was understood that 
a part of its business would be to issue an address calling for 
the reorganization of the party upon the Breckinridge platform. 
In obedience to that arrangement I came to Washington on 
the 23rd of December, 1860, and there met Mr. Slidell of 
Louisiana, Mr. Clark of Missouri, Mr. Davis of Mississippi, 
Mr. Breckinridge of Kentucky, Mr. Mason of Virginia, of the 



8 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

southern portion of the party; Mr. Rice of Minnesota, Mr. 
Gushing and Mr. Spofford of Massachusetts, Mr. Sickles of 
New York, and other gentlemen from the West who may not 
desire that I should use their names in this connection, Judge 
Black of Pennsylvania, and other gentlemen from the North. 
The questions discussed were what was to be done in the then 
posture of events. 

Meanwhile, South Carolina had seceded, and Mr. Orr, 
Mr. Adams, and their fellow commissioners, as commission 
ers, had brought the ordinance of secession to present it to the 
President, and demand the separation of the state, and the 
yielding up to her by the General Government of the public 
property and forts within her borders. In my interviews with 
these gentlemen I found many of them laboring, earnestly 
desirous of its dissolution. I found that all hope or desire to 
reorganize the Democratic party as a union had passed away, 
specially from more advanced of the Southern men. They 
looked for an immediate dissolution of the Union, with homo 
geneous government constructed in the South, with slavery for 
its corner-stone into which piecemeal portions of the North 
should seek admission. I remember Pennsylvania was to be 
admitted first, as she was deemed likely to ask; then the 
Northwestern states, particularly Illinois, were to be tolled 
into the fold, that state being desirable because she was the 
home of the President. No doubt was expressed that Indiana 
would be among the earliest to take part with the South; 
that New York City, if she could not carry the state with her, 
would be supported in dividing herself as a free city from the 
rest of the state. When I asked a Southern gentleman what 
was to be done with New England, he said that she was to be 
left out in the cold, except, perhaps, Connecticut might well 
enough be a part of the state of which New York City was to 
be the centre. I asked what was to be done with democrats in 
the north and particularly New England who had always 
stood firm to the constitutional rights of the south, who would, 
indeed, politically be left out in the cold, and was told that it 
were best we should come South and make our homes there. 
I inquired as to the means to sustain so great a movement. I 
was informed that it would be done peaceably, but that meas 
ures were taken to arm the South, and that forces were being 
made ready by which all the places south of Mason and 
Dixon s line, held under the jurisdiction of the United States, 
and especially the District of Columbia, were to be taken and 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 9 

held by the new confederacy, and seizure was to be supported 
by force of arms. 

I cannot be mistaken upon this, because I stated the sub 
stance of these facts in the city of Washington to friends from 
the North of both political parties, together with my convic 
tions amounting to certainty that war was inevitable. You 
may remember that a conversation that I was reported to 
have had with a Southern gentleman, as reported in the 
papers at the time, turned upon the question whether the 
North would fight. I said the North would fight. 

He said the North would not fight. Who in the North 
would fight? I said I would for one. He replied "there will 
be men enough found at the North to take care, at home, of 
all who want to fight the South." I retorted that, if we marched 
South, we should leave all the traitors behind us hanging on 
trees. In view of the facts stated, I was advised at the time 
by a Northern man now living to resign my commission as 
Brigadier General, so that I might not be in a position to be 
called upon to coerce the South as a part of the military force 
of the nation; and this advice being heard by a patriotic 
citizen of Massachusetts, he advised me, at all events, to hold 
on to my commission, saying that the militia of the country 
might be the only hope of its preservation. Judge Black had 
at that time given his opinion that there was no power given 
the President by the Constitution to use the army and navy, 
save as posse in aid of the civil authority of the United States 
to repress the insurrection in the State of South Carolina. In 
view of that opinion, and the difficulty of bringing up to an 
issue which would decide something, I advised President 
Buchanan to treat the commissioners as if they were traitors, 
and the presentation of an ordinance of secession, taken in 
connection with the warlike preparation of the State of South 
Carolina causing Anderson to withdraw his command from 
Moultrie to Sumter, a clear act of levying war, which, taken 
altogether, would seem to make the presentation of the ordi 
nance of secession to the President an act of treason com 
mitted in the District of Columbia; for which the President 
should arrest and try the commissioners as here he could use 
the army and navy in aid of the civil authority which he could 
not do in South Carolina, because he had no civil authority 
there; thus sharply defined issue would be raised which could 
be got into the Courts, and by it Mr. Buchanan would tide 
over the hours remaining of his administration the great 



10 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

question which seemed destined to bring on a rupture of the 
Union. 

That advice, of course, was too incisive for Mr. Buchanan 
to follow, even if it had been good in other respects; and, 
finding the utter imbecility which characterized the adminis 
tration, I was satisfied that war would break out, and I sup 
posed, and was informed, that the first overt act would be 
upon the occasion of the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln. 

I left Washington on the night of the 28th of December, 
was detained on the road by a very heavy snow-storm, so 
that I did not reach Boston until the 3d of January, which I 
believed to be the day of the inauguration of Governor Andrew, 
but of that I may be mistaken. At any rate, I got home all 
right, and the next morning I went to the State House and had 
an interview with Gov. Andrew. We had been members of 
the bar together and somewhat intimate. I then frankly told 
him my fears and my expectations and the grounds of them. 
I stated to him, then, that our militia, while they were well 
enough armed and uniformed, had no proper accoutrements, 
and above all, that they required overcoats, as I believed they 
would be called upon to march to Washington at the inaugu 
ration in the inclement season of March; and I said to him 
that I thought immediate measures should be taken to pro 
vide them. He took me by the hand and said he was very 
much obliged for the information; that he appreciated it. 
He said I think either at that or another interview that 
he had had like information from Senator Wilson. The 
Senator was one with whom I had conversed in Washington 
as to the information I had given him. Governor Andrew 
then said to me: "There are a great many Democrats in the 
militia, and they may not all be of your way of thinking upon 
these matters." I said I did not believe that there would be 
scarcely any who would not march to the defense of the 
National capital, and that I thought it would be best to call 
the companies of the militia within their armories and have 
them inquired of whether they would march to the defense of 
the national capital, and have dropped from the rolls all who 
would not so march. He said he would take it into considera 
tion, but he hardly thought that would be a politic thing to 
do. I impressed upon him the necessity of overcoats, and on 
this topic he fully agreed with me. 

That afternoon, at dinner at Young s, I met General Schouler, 
and after we had dined I walked up with him toward the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 11 

State House, and on the road I told him very much what I 
had before stated to Governor Andrew. General Schouler 
seemed impressed with the facts, was very earnest upon the 
subject of the threatened war, and said that he would recom 
mend the things of which we spoke to the Governor; spoke 
of the difficulty of not having any rolls in the Adjutant Gen 
eral s office by which it could be certainly known who were 
and who were not enlisted, and who could and who could not 
be at once called upon. And it is but just to General Schouler 
to say that he entered into the matter with a zeal and hearti 
ness worthy of his patriotism. Having no official connection 
with the State Government being the defeated candidate 
for governor in opposition to Governor Andrew of course 
I had done all I could do. Governor Andrew, with patriotism 
and fidelity to the Union and a sagacity for which he can 
never have too much credit, inaugurated all the measures 
which you speak of in your reminiscences, and put the militia 
of Massachusetts into a state of readiness for the impending 
conflict. His recommendation to the Legislature of an appro 
priation of twenty-five thousand dollars for overcoats was 
received with derision by the Democratic papers, with doubts 
and incredulity by the Republican papers; a series of attacks 
were made upon him upon that topic; and it will settle the 
question, as a matter of history, if you doubt whether I ad 
vised upon the matter of overcoats, because, in one of the 
Republican papers that defended the Governor in the matter 
of the overcoats the Transcript, I think, you can easily 
turn to it and see the passage, sometime in February or March, 
in replying to the attacks of the Courier and Post upon Gov 
ernor Andrew, said that General Butler, a Democratic candi 
date for Governor, advised the procuring of these overcoats. 
The reply was, on the part of the Democratic papers, - 
with that charity as to motives which ever distinguishes the 
partisan press, that General Butler might have advised 
the Governor to get the overcoats, but as he was a large 
owner in the Middlesex Mills which made such cloth it was 
having an eye to business in getting the contract for them to 
his mill. 

Events went on. I had frequent consultations with General 
Schouler upon these matters, with Colonel Jones, and with 
Mr. Richard S. Fay, either of whom I have no doubt will be 
able to substantiate many particulars that I have here given. 
On the evening of the 16th of April, 1861, came a dispatch 



12 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

ordering a brigade of Massachusetts troops to march in defense 
of the National Capital, but no brigadier general was ordered 
to go with them. That was made known to me about two 
o clock in the afternoon. I immediately telegraphed to Gen 
eral Wilson saying "a brigade has been ordered, but no briga 
dier general. See Cameron and have a brigadier asked for, 
and I will see to it that I am detailed." I received an answer 
to that dispatch, which I have now, from General Wilson, 
saying "Brigadier general has been ordered." I was not how 
ever the senior brigadier. The question was how to get detailed. 
I went home to Lowell that night from Boston and saw there 
James G. Carney, Esq., President of the Bank of Mutual 
Redemption and my life-long friend, now deceased, patriotic 
gentleman of far-reaching influence and said to him: "You 
can do me a favor. The Governor of the State has orders to 
march troops to Washington, and he has no money with 
which to do it. You can do an act of patriotism and an act of 
friendship to me at the same time by offering to the Governor 
a credit of fifty thousand dollars at your Bank until the legis 
lature can get an appropriation." He at once agreed so to do. 
We came to Boston in the cars together the next morning, 
went to his bank and he wrote a note, 1 and I went with it to 
the Governor to ask to be detailed as Brigadier General. 
When I got into the Governor s room I found him in consul 
tation with a former adjutant general, then treasurer and 
receiver-general of the State of Massachusetts, Mr. Henry 
K. Oliver, and one of the questions was as to ways and means, 
how, where, they were to get the money at once to equip and 
send forth these troops. I said, "Governor, I have foreseen 
and provided for it. Here is an order for a credit of fifty 
thousand dollars on the Bank of Mutual Redemption, and I 
doubt not every Bank in State Street will follow the example. 
Now I very much desire to be detailed to march with these 
troops. Two regiments of my brigade are going and they 
cannot go without their Brigadier." He took the matter 
under consideration for a short time; the Major General of 
Militia, General William Sutton, was soon after present and 
urged the same thing, and so did Gen. Oliver, and the Governor 
detailed me in command of the troop. The rest is history. 

These are the grounds and these are the evidences upon 
which Mr. Parton claims for me in his book, not the credit of 



1 See letter of James G. Carney, p. 15. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 13 

inaugurating the measures putting the troops of Massachu 
setts in readiness for the war, but of advising those measures 
and of furnishing the information which in part led to their 
adoption. There is nothing in what I have above related that 
militates against the patriotism or sagacity, the knowledge or 
capacity of Governor Andrew, or of his then efficient adjutant 
general. They did not and could not know what I knew; they 
were not in the condition to know it; and that they should 
have received and acted upon the suggestions I gave them 
does credit to every quality that fits men to fill the stations 
they held. I have felt that in the multitude of his engage 
ments Governor Andrew might or might not remember these 
things, especially as his mind unfortunately became after 
wards soured towards me to a very remarkable degree. This 
will account for his saying, as appears in your Reminiscence, 
that the order recommended by you in 1860, which reflects 
credit upon your sagacity and knowledge of military necessi 
ties of the troops of the state, was the foundation and essence 
of Order No. 4. The point of General Order No. 4 was not 
that the names of the men only should be returned to the 
Adjutant General s office, but that every man should be 
inquired of whether he was ready to march in defense of the 
national capital, and if he answered that he was not, his name 
should be stricken from the rolls and a recruit substituted. 
That last was what I advised, and you agreed to, and what 
was subsequently done. 

I have thus given you perhaps a too minute and circum 
stantial, but an exact, account of the occurrences relating to 
the matter of your Reminiscence of that winter. They are 
burned upon the memory as with fire. Please remember I was 
acting against my party ties, party relations; I was changing 
the political current of thought of my whole life. Every step 
I took was to me momentous as I was severing my party 
relations. I thought I could foresee the result; but, whatever 
was the result, one thing was certain, it was my duty to stand 
by the country as against party and party ties, and I did so, 
for better or worse, in her darkest hour. These occurrences 
were related by me to Mr. Parton in my house in the spring 
of 1863, within two years of their happening, and concerning 
them I cannot be mistaken. 

I shall rely with faith upon your candor, if you publish 
your Reminiscence in the form in which it is written, that you 
publish this letter as a note. 



14 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Please send me a copy of the publication wherever I may be 
and oblige, y^ ^ BENJ R BUTLER 



From General Butler to Blanche Butler 

LOWELL, March 25, 61 

MY GOOD LITTLE BLANCHE: I was glad that your visit to 
Washington on the occasion of the Inauguration gave you so 
much pleasure. The apples too were very carefully put up 
that you might feel that father had not forgotten you. Your 
letters, neatly written, generally well composed, and correct 
in language please me much. The only drawback I have is 
your persistent quarrel with the Latin. You say that it will 
do you no good hereafter. You will allow, I know, that I am 
the better judge upon that point; and I assure you if I did 
not believe that in after life you would thank me for insisting 
upon your further pursuit of the language I would yield to your 
wish. Not to enter into a labored argument to prove its useful 
ness, will you remember that the Latin is the foundation of at 
least five of the modern languages most in use, as a part of our 
own language and a most powerful auxilliary to our own 
that you may see how much we are in debt to it I have checked 
the words (thus) derived in whole or part from it. You will 
find your path so strewn with Latin flowers while you acquire 
the Spanish or the Italian that you will remember with pleasure 
the pain of Sister Augustine s teachings. I am much obliged to 
you for your "cards." If you could fully appreciate a father s 
pride in the well doing of a darling child a new incentive would 
be added to the conscientious discharge of your duty which 
you now I believe most fully do. 

Do not permit idle gossip of idle people to annoy you. 
While you do as well as you now do you can have no cause to 
fear anything however malicious. You see, I have written 
you precisely as if you were a "big girl" instead of a very little 
one, but you know I have always treated you more like a 
woman than a child, and have appealed to your good sense and 
judgment rather than to the childish motives of hope of reward 
or fear of chiding. I look forward with almost as much pleasure 
as you can do to our excursion which we shall have together 
in our vacation. 

FATHER 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 15 

By Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Headquarters, BOSTON, Apr. 15, 1861 

SPECIAL ORDER, No. I4>th 

You are hereby ordered to muster the Regiment under your 
Command, in Uniform, on Boston Common, forthwith, in 
compliance with a requisition made by the President of the 
United States. The troops are to go to Washington. The 
Regimental Band will be dispensed with. 

By order of His Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW, 
Governor and Commander-in-Chief 

To Col. EDWARD F. JONES 6th Regt. 
To Col. ABNER B. PACKARD 4th do. 
To Col. DAVID W. WARDROP 3rd do. 
To Lieut. Col. TIMOTHY MONROE 8th do. 

To Brig. Gen l. B. F. BUTLER, 

SIR : The foregoing order has been sent direct to the Colonels 
therein named. WM BEQWN) c R 

From James G. Carney l 

Bank of Mutual Redemption, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, April 16, 1861 

His Excellency, JOHN A. ANDREW, Governor 

SIR: Supposing it to be not impossible that the sudden 
exigencies of the case may call for the use of more money than 
may be at the immediate command of the Treasurer of the 
Commonwealth, in the treasury, I write to offer to place to 
the credit of the State the extreme amount the law now allows 
us to loan it, and remain, 

Very respectfully, Your obdt. Servt., 
JAS. G. CARNEY, Prest. 

By Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Headquarters, BOSTON, Apr. 17, 1861 

SPECIAL ORDER No 21 

His Excellency, the Commander-in-Chief, orders that Briga 
dier General Benjamin F. Butler of the Third Brigade Second 
Division M.V.M. assume the command of the Third, Fourth, 
Sixth and Eighth regiments, which have been ordered into 

1 This action was suggested by General Butler. See p. 12. 



16 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

service, and are now at Quarters in the City of Boston, and also 
of such other regiments and companies as may be attached 
thereto. 

The corps composing said regiments shall be known and 
designated as the Third Brigade, Second Division until other 
wise ordered by the Commander-in-Chief. 

This Order is to be promulgated forthwith to the regiments 
designated herein, waiving the usual forms. 

By Order of his Excellency, JOHN A. ANDREW 

From Major Ladd 

NEW YORK, April 19th, 1861 

To Major ADAMS AMES 

TROOPS left at twelve of the clock. General Schouler has 
telegraphed to provide for one thousand men on Sunday 
morning. Show this to General Butler. 

P.S. Just got news that Penna. troops have been attacked 
in Baltimore and some killed. Telegraph wires cut. 

LADD 
From Governor Andrew 

From Telegraph Office, BOSTON, Apr. 19th, 7 P.M. 

Brig. Gen. BENJ. F. BUTLER, with Mass, troops at Phila.: 

WHEN did you reach Phila.? When will you leave? Is the 
way open? Can you communicate by telegraph with Wash 
ington? Has Jones reached Washington? Answer tonight 
sure. 

JOHN A. ANDREW 

From H. Adams Ames 

PHIIA. April Wth, 1861 

To Gen I. BUTLER, Care Condr. 

COL. DAVIS with Sixth Regiment arrived at Baltimore this 
morning and were fired upon great excitement. Secession 
ists reported very strong, no reliable details. Railroad will 
not transport more troops until definite intelligence obtained 
and prospect of safe transportation mob threatened their 
Buildings if they do have got quarters for troops to-night. 

H. ADAMS AMES 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 17 

From General Butler 

PHILADELPHIA, April 19th, 1861. 11.45 P.M. 

Governor ANDREW, 21 Charles Street, BOSTON: 

THE Massachusetts troops were attacked in Pratt Street, 
Baltimore. Were assaulted with stones and pieces of iron. 
One man killed with a piece of iron thrown from an iron 
foundry. They bore attack with utmost patience until a 
prominent citizen of Baltimore told them to fire upon the mob. 
Did so. Part of mob responded with fire. Rest scattered. 
Troops fought manfully. No man offered to run. All arrived 
in Washington except six injured, well cared for in Baltimore. 
Two killed. Twenty-five others at Washington wounded. 
Large meeting of citizens at Baltimore this evening. Almost 
unanimously denounced passage of more Northern troops 
through Baltimore. 

B. F. BUTLER, Brig. Genl. 

From S. M. Felton 

PHILADELPHIA, April 19th, 1861 

Capt. M. GALLOWAY 

DEAR SIR: We have concluded to send the troops to Annap 
olis, and when the train arrives at Perryville with them, 
you will take them on board and proceed to Annapolis, and 
land them there at some convenient wharf, and then return 
with the greatest expedition to Havre de Grace. Have plenty 
coal on board and no cars on the upper deck. We shall have 
a large number of troops, and shall be obliged to let them 
occupy both decks. You will give them every attention, and 
promote their comfort in all ways possible. They are our 
mainstay now, and God speed them. 

Yours truly, S. M. FELTON 

From S. M. Felton 

April Wth, 1861 

THE Ferry Boat is put into charge of General Butler, and 
he is authorized to change the programme laid down by me for 
Capt. Galloway. 

S. M. FELTON 



VOL. I 2 



18 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Captain Miller 

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, April ZQth, 1861 

To the Commdg. Officers of New York and 
Massachusetts Regiments 

HAVING been entrusted by General Scott with the arrange 
ments for transporting your Regiments hence to Washington 
City, and it being impracticable to procure cars, I recommend 
that the troops remain on board the steamer until further 
orders can be received from General Scott. 

Very Respectfully, MORRIS MILLER, 
Capt. and A. Qua. Master 

From Governor Hicks of Maryland 

State of Maryland, Executive Chamber, ANNAPOLIS, Apr. ZQth, 1861 

To the Commander of the Volunteer troops on board the Steamer 
SIR: I would most earnestly advise that you do not land 
your men at Annapolis. The excitement is very great, and I 
think it prudent that you should take your men elsewhere. 
I have declared to the Secretary of War advising against your 

landing your men here. ^ 7 ,/. 77 ^ T T TT 

V ery respectfully -, IHOS. H. HICKS, 

Gov. of Md. 
From General Butler 

PHILADELPHIA, April ZOth, l A.M. 

GOVERNOR ANDREW, 71 Charles Street, BOSTON 

ANOTHER despatch says all but 120 of Jones regiment have 
arrived at Washington. This I do not credit. My first des 
patch was right its details can be relied on. I would respect 
fully suggest that the Boston Light Artillery, with their horses 
and entire equipage for field duty, be put on ship board &s 
quick as can be done, and the importance of this movement 
will be made quite apparent as soon as it is accomplished. 

B. F. BUTLER, Brig. Genl. 

From General Butler 

PHILADELPHIA, April 20th, 1861 

Memorial of plan and reasons for proceeding to Annapolis 
His Excellency, GOVERNOR ANDREW 

I HAVE detailed Capt. Devereaux and Capt. Briggs with 
their commands supplied with one day s rations and 20 rounds 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 19 

of ammunition to take possession of the Ferry Boat at Havre 
de Grace for the benefit of this expedition. This I have done 
with the concurrence of the President and Master of Trans 
portation of the Road. Thus the 8th Regiment will remain at 
quarters that they may get a little solid rest after their fatigu 
ing march. I have sent to know if the 7th Regiment (New 
York) will go with me. I propose to march myself at the 
hour of 7 in the morning to take the regular 8J o clock train 
to Havre de Grace. 

The citizens of Baltimore at a large meeting this evening 
denounced the passage of Northern Troops ; they have exacted 
a promise from the President of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail 
road not to send troops over that road through Baltimore, so 
that any attempt to throw troops into Baltimore entails a 
march of forty miles and an attack upon a city of two hundred 
thousand (200,000) inhabitants at the beginning of the march. 
The only way, therefore, of getting communication with 
Washington for troops from the North is over the Baltimore 
and Ohio Railroad, or marching from the west. Commodore 
Du Pont at the Navy Yard has given me instructions of facts 
in accordance with these general statements upon which I rely. 
I have therefore thought that I could rely upon these state 
ments as to time it will take to proceed by marching from 
Havre de Grace to Washington. My proposition is to join 
with Col. Lefferts of the 7th Regiment of New York. I pro 
pose to take the Fifteen Hundred Troops to Annapolis, arriv 
ing there to-morrow about 4 o clock, and occupy the Capital 
of Maryland, and thus call the state to account for the death 
of Massachusetts men, my friends and neighbors. 

If Col. Lefferts thinks it more in accordance with the tenor 
of his instructions to wait rather than go through Baltimore, I 
still propose to march with this regiment, I propose to occupy 
the town, and hold it open as a means of communication. I 
have then but to advance by a forced march of thirty miles 
to reach the Capital in accordance with the orders I at first 
received, but which subsequent events, in my judgment, vary 
in their execution. Believing from the Telegraphs that there 
will be others in great numbers to aid me, being accompanied 
by officers of more experience who will be able to direct the 
affair, I think it will be accomplished. 

We have no light Batteries. I have therefore telegraphed 
you to have the Boston Light Battery put on shipboard at 
once to-night to help me in marching on Washington. In 



20 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

pursuance of this plan I have detailed Capts. Devereaux and 
Briggs with their commands to hold the boat at Havre de 
Grace. 

11 A.M. Col. Lefferts has refused to march with me. I go 
alone at 3 o clock P.M. to execute this imperfectly written 
plan. If I succeed, success will justify me; if I fail, purity of 
intention will excuse want of judgment or rashness. 

B. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Third Brigade Second Division, Mass. Vol. Militia Off 

ANNAPOLIS, MD., April 21st, 1861 

To Capt. MORRIS MILLER, Adjt. Quarter Master at Annapolis, 

Md. 

SIR: I have received your communication of April 20th, 
1861. I am grieved to hear that it is impracticable for you to 
procure cars for the carriage of myself and command to Wash 
ington, D. C. Cars are not indispensable to our progress. I 
am not instructed that you are to arrange for the transporta 
tion of my command. If so you would surely have been in 
structed as to our destination. We are accustomed to much 
longer journeys on foot in pursuance of our ordinary business. 
I can see no objection, however, to our remaining where we 
are until such time as orders may be received from Gen l. 
Scott. But without further explanation from yourself, or 
greater inconveniences than you suggest, I see no reason why 
I should make such delay. Hoping for an opportunity for an 
immediate personal interview I have the honor to be 

Respectfully Your Obdt. Servt., 

B. F. BUTLER, Brig. Genl. 
Commanding 3rd Brigade Mass. Militia, called out in obedience 

to the President of the United States 

From John W. Garrett 

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, President s Office, BALTIMORE, April 1\st, 1861 

Hon. GEO. W. BROWN, Mayor of Baltimore 

THREE thousand (3000) Northern troops are reported to be 
at Cockeysville. Intense excitement prevails. Churches have 
been dismissed and the people are arming in mass. To pre 
vent terrific bloodshed the results of your interview and 
arrangements with President Lincoln are awaited. 

JOHN W. GARRETT 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 21 

From Mayor Brown of Baltimore 

WASHINGTON, April 21s/, 1861 

JOHN W. GARRETT, Pres. 

YOUR telegram received on our return from an interview 
with the President, Cabinet, and General Scott. Be calm and 
do nothing until you hear from me again. I return to see the 
President at once and will telegraph again. Waller, Burns, 
and Dobbin are with me. GEQ w BRQWN( 

From Mayor Brown 

WASHINGTON, 3.15 P.M. April 21, 1861 

J. W. GARRETT, Pres. 

WE have again seen the Pres., Gen l. Scott, Sec y of War, 
and other members of the Cabinet, and the troops are ordered 
to return forthwith to Harrisburg. A messenger goes with us 
from General Scott. We return immediately. 

GEO. W. BROWN 

From Charles Sumner to General Butler 

NEW YORK, Metropolitan Hotel, 21s< April, 1861 

MY DEAR GENERAL: I am happy that you are where you 
are, but regret that I am not at Washington to welcome you 
and yr. troops. Before leaving I proposed to the Secretary of 
War that you should occupy the Senate Chamber. But my 
present purpose is to offer to you to the full extent of my 
power the use of my committee-room, that of For. Relations. 
YQU will find a pleasant sofa, which will make an excellent 
couch for a soldier, and other conveniences, with maps and 
books on the law of Nations, all at your service. 

I assure you that when I return to it I shall have especial 
satisfaction in knowing that this room has been turned to so 
good a use. Use it, then, as your own, and believe me, dear 

y^l -I 

Ever faithfully yours, CHARLES SUMNER 

Should there be any question, please show this letter to the 
officers of the Senate, and I am sure they will do all they can 
to make you comfortable. 



22 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Third Brigade, Second Division, Mass. Vol. Militia, April 21, 1861 

GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND 

SIR: I have the honor to receive your note by the hands of 
Mathews of the United States Naval School at Annapolis. I 
am sorry that your Excellency should advise against my land 
ing here. I am not provisioned for a long voyage. Finding the 
ordinary means of communication cut off by the burning of 
Railroad bridges by a mob, I have been obliged to make this 
detour, and hope that your Excellency will see that from the 
very necessity of the case there is no cause of excitement in 
the minds of any good citizens because of our being driven 
here by any ordinary casualty. 

I should at once obey, however, an Order from the Secretary 

of War 

Respectfully, B. F. BUTLER, Brig. Genl. 

From S. M. Felton 

Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Rail Road Company, 
PHILADELPHIA, April 21, 1861 

General B. F. BUTLER 

DEAR SIR: We want very much to establish a daily line 
between Perryville & Annapolis to connect with our train 
from here at 11| A.M., & at Perryville to connect with our night 
line up, arriving here at 9j A.M. making a daily line both ways. 
In order to do this efficiently it will be necessary for you to 
return one or two boats to Col. Dare as soon as you can. 

I am delighted with the reports of your campaign. It is 
brilliant & worthy of a true son of Massachusetts. I hear 
there is a large encampment establishing at Acquia Creek. 
Look out that they do not march up & cut you off at Annapolis, 
or between that and the Junction. I hear to-day from a 
reliable man direct from Charleston that three thousand troops 
are now on their way from Charleston, either for Richmond or 

Norfolk - Yours truly, S. M. FELTON 

From Colonel Lefferts 

ANNAPOLIS ACADEMY, Monday night, April %%nd, 1861 

General B. F. BUTLER, Commdg. Mass. Vols. 

Sir: Upon Consultation, my Officers do not deem it proper 
under the circumstances to co-operate in the proposed march 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 23 

by R. R., laying track as we go along. Particularly in view 
of a large force hourly expected, and with so little ammunition 
as we possess. I must be governed by my Officers in a matter 
of so much importance. I have directed this to be handed to 
you upon your return from the transport ship. I am, Sir, 

Yours respectfully, 
MARSHALL LEFFERTS, Col. 7th Regt. N. Y. Vols. 

General Butler to the Eighth Regiment 

August 2nd, 1869. [Not in chronological order^] 

RUN back your minds, my friends, to a time only eight years 
since when each man was at his plow, or in his workshop, 
or at his desk, and the call came forth like the fiery cross that 
was sent through the Scottish Highlands. And through the 
kind partiality of the Governor of the State whose memory 
we all hold in high honor it was my proud duty to take 
command of the brigade of which you formed a part. Two 
regiments were sent to seize upon and hold the Keystone of 
the Union, Fortress Monroe; and if they could have been 
there one day sooner, under a competent commaiuler, the 
naval force at Norfolk and the Navy Yards could have been 
saved, as was Fortress Monroe, by the steady valor of the 
Massachusetts troops. The Sixth left the night before, you 
remember, for the Capital, hardly dreaming that there would 
be traitor hands to intercept their passage. You, although 
m ost of you earliest in the field, waited, in order that the pro 
vision of the State, made by its legislature, for overcoats, for 
knapsacks, for guns and ammunition, should be got ready 
before you could move. For you will remember that we waited 
one hour at Springfield, in order that we might get arms with 
which to arm a portion of our regiment; further, that one 
company of our regiment the men of Marblehead went 
forth provided with only the arms that God gave them, to 
defend their country. And you remember the triumphant 
march through New York, how Broadway rang with welcom 
ing voices and cheers as we passed along. When at Phila 
delphia we got the news that our comrades and friends of the 
Sixth Regiment had been slaughtered at Baltimore, and that 
the passage for us to the National Capital was blocked, each 
man s face, while it blanched not with fear, hardened into a 
deep determination to do his duty. And you will remember, 
when bivouacking in the unoccupied buildings of the Girard 



24 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Hotel, we waited for the coining of the morn, to go forward; 
and your officers will remember that at the midnight consul 
tation the question came up, "How shall we go forward?" 
The rebels had burned the bridges over the creeks that led to 
Baltimore, and the passage that way was blocked. But we 
remembered that Annapolis was the true Military port of 
Washington, and that seized, that held, that saved, the Capital 
was safe. In the early morning when each one of you was 
ready to march, we waited from that time until eleven o clock, 
in order that we might have the cooperation of the crack New 
York, the vaunted Seventh Regiment, which was supposed to 
be ready to go with us. And your commander remembers well 
the reply when he asked the Colonel of that Regiment to march 
with you and seize the ferryboat at Perryville, and open com 
munication with Annapolis; he said, "No; we are waiting for 
the reinforcements to come up." Then, knowing on whom he 
could rely, your commander said, "Then the 8th Regiment will 
open the way, and to Washington we ll go by the next train." 
And we went. You will remember a portion of the history of 
this expedition that is not known to the people of the United 
States as it ought to be. We were told that the ferryboat at 
Perryville had been seized by the Rebels and occupied by 
Rebel troops, eight or nine regiments strong, that was our 
understanding: that was the information on which we 
marched into the city of Philadelphia and started toward 
the cars. And you will remember how your officers passed 
along through the cars, as we were going at the rate of thirty 
miles an hour, and saw to it that each man s gun was ready 
and each man was ready; and after that had been done, you 
will remember how you were told that each man might pre 
pare himself for the contest that was in expectancy that 
every man believed, that your commander believed, was 
imminent in such way as he might. And while in that hour 
of solemn preparation each man thought of home and friends, 
no man blanched but one. And one of the incidents that I 
remember of that train was this: passing through the car I 
heard a controversy between the captain of a company and 
one of his men. I stopped to adjust it, and asked what was 
the matter, when the man replied, with tears in his eyes: 
"The captain is taking away my gun." I turned to the cap 
tain and asked why he took this man s gun away. He replied, 
"I have only this sword; this is not fit to go into a fight with. 
I propose to take this gun and use it against the foe." I left 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 25 

the young man in tears because he was not allowed to go for 
ward and meet the enemy of his country. And that was the 
only controversy I heard of while in command of the 8th 
Regiment. 

We disembarked, as you remember, at Perry ville, some 
miles above the boat. We marched forward with the expec 
tation of a fight. The information which we had received, like 
so much we received in the early part of the war, was false; 
and we sailed for Annapolis, reaching there at night. And 
there, on the way, a Massachusetts, an Essex Regiment, - 
the 8th Regiment, was taken by the United States Com 
mander, Porter, for whom? Who was it possible that he 
could mistake us for but the Plug-Uglies of Baltimore! And 
he expected we were to take Annapolis, and he supposed this 
boat was loaded with that kind of cattle. 

I remember well, as daylight undeceived him, and the gallant 
old man came on board the "Maryland," how the tears 
streamed down his cheeks when he found he was really in the 
presence of United States troops, and the same were Massa 
chusetts Soldiers. I remember how he said to me, "General 
Butler, the * Constitution light-ship is in danger of capture by 
the insurgents; can you aid me to get her off?" I remember, 
with pride, saying, "I have no orders to prevent doing so. I 
think it is best to be done; and I have a hundred Marblehead 
men in my Regiment who have no arms, but every man s as 
good a sailor as ever stepped upon a plank, and they will 
take charge of the Constitution." You will remember the 
difficulties under which we labored when every man seemed a 
foe, when it was necessary to put men in the engine-room 
and fire-room, and say, "If you find traitors in the engine-room 
or fire-room shoot them down and take their places." Through 
what I always believed was the incapacity, or inexperience, and 
not disloyalty of the captain, we were run upon a bank, and 
stayed there that night. The 7th Regiment came round by 
sea not venturing the trip by land and came to us at 
Annapolis the next morning. I desired the 7th Regt. of New 
York to seize the railroad. I received the answer, not of 
the regiment, but of the colonel, "We will wait for rein 
forcements; it is not quite safe to take that railroad." And 
I said to Lieut. Colonel Hinks, "The Seventh Regiment has 
failed to take the railroad; will you and two companies of the 
Eighth take it?" And you remember you lay out that night 
on the railroad, far in advance of what was believed to be the 



26 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

enemy s country. You remember when, the next morning, 
you led the advance into Washington, and to you, under God, 
it was given to save the National Capital from traitors. 

I give this portion of the campaign because in the events 
that followed it it was swallowed up for the moment. You 
opened the way to Washington. You secured Annapolis and 
the Chesapeake Bay to the country and the Union, which 
required the basis of rebel operations to be the Potomac and 
not the Susquehannah. Without you, the fight had been 
carried on on the Susquehannah, not the Potomac; Phila 
delphia would have been threatened, not Washington. 

From Governor Hicks 

State of Maryland, Executive Chamber, ANNAPOLIS, April 2%, 1861 

To Brig. Gen I. B. F. BUTLER 

SIR: I am in receipt of your two communications of this 
date informing me of your intentions to land the men under 
your command this evening at Annapolis, for the purpose of 
marching thence to the City of Washington. 

I content myself with protesting against this movement, 
which, in view of the excited condition of the people of this 
State, I cannot but consider an unwise step on the part of the 
Government. But I must earnestly urge upon you that there 
shall be no halt made by the troops in this City. 

Very Respectfully, Your Obdt. Servant, 

THOS. H. HICKS, Gov. of Maryland 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, 3rd Brigade Mass. Vol. Milit. ANNAPOLIS, MD. Apr. 23, 1861 

To His Excellency THOMAS H. HICKS, Governor of Maryland 

SIR: I did myself the honor in my communication of yes 
terday, wherein I asked permission to land in the State of 
Maryland, to inform you that the portion of the Militia of the 
United States under my command were armed only against 
the disturbers of the peace of the State of Maryland and of 
the United States. 

I have understood, within the last hour, that some appre 
hensions are entertained of an insurrection of the negro popu 
lation of this neighborhood. I am anxious to convince all 
classes "of persons that the forces under my command are not 
here in any way to interfere or countenance an interference 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 27 

with the laws of the State. I therefore am ready to cooperate 
with your Excellency in suppressing most promptly and effi 
ciently any insurrection vs. the laws of the State of Maryland. 
I beg therefore that you announce publicly that any portion 
of the forces under my command is at your Excellency s dis 
posal, to act immediately for the preservation and quietness 
of the peace of this community. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, Yours, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Brig. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Third Brigade, Second Division, Mass. Vol. Militia, 

ANNAPOLIS, April %3rd, 1861 

To the Master of Transportation, on the Annapolis & Elk Ridge 

Railroad 

SIR: Having been informed that rails on your Road have 
been taken up by your Company, I desire to know whether 
that was done for the purpose of hindering the transportation 
of the United States Militia, under my charge, to Washington. 
An immediate and explicit answer is desired. 

Respectfully Your Obdt. Servt. 
B. F. BUTLER, Brig. Genl. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Third Brigade, Second Division, M.V.M., ANNAPOLIS, April 23, 1861 

To Mr. Hammond 

SIR: I have your favor of this date in answer to mine of 
the same. Lieut. Col. Hinks reports to me that in obedience 
to my order he has taken possession of all the movable R. R. 
property that he can find belonging to your Co., a duplicate 
list of which he has signed & delivered to the person in charge 
thereof, so that the rights of the Company will be entirely 
guarded. 

I will answer your inquiries with the same explicitness that 
you did mine. My authority is the Order of the Government. 
My justification the necessity for transportation. Your repara 
tion the pledge of the faith of the Government. 

I beg leave to call your attention to the fact that the United 
States mail is not the only valuable property that the Govern 
ment desires to be carried over your Road. 

Respectfully, B. F. BUTLER, Brig. Genl. 



28 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Governor Hicks 

State of Maryland, Executive Chamber, ANNAPOLIS, April 23, 1861 

To Brigadier General B. F. BUTLER 

SIR: Having, in pursuance of the power invested in me by 
the constitution of Maryland, summoned the Legislature of 
the State to assemble on Friday, the 26th instant, and Annapo 
lis being the place in which, according to law, it must assemble; 
and having been credibly informed that you have taken mili 
tary possession of the Annapolis and Elk-Ridge Railroad, I 
deem it my duty to protest against this step, because, 
without at present assigning any other reason, I am informed 
that such occupation of said road will prevent the Members of 
the Legislature from reaching this city. 

Very Respectfully Yours, THOS. H. HICKS 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Third Brigade, U. States Militia, ANNAPOLIS, MD., April 23rd, 1861 

To His Excellency THOMAS H. HICKS, Governor of Maryland 

SIR: You were credibly informed that I have taken posses 
sion of the Annapolis and Elk-Ridge Railroad. It might have 
escaped your notice, but at the official meeting which was 
had between your Excellency and the Mayor of Annapolis 
and the Committee of the Government and myself, as to my 
landing my troops, it was expressly stated as the reason why 
I should not land, that my troops could not pass the Rail 
road because the Company had taken up the rails, and they 
were private property. It is difficult to see how it could be 
that if my troops could not pass over the Railroad one way 
the members of the Legislature could pass the other way. I 
have taken possession for the purpose of preventing the carry 
ing out of the threats of the mob as officially represented to 
me by the Master of transportation of the Railroad of this 
City, "That if my troops passed over the Railroad the Rail 
road should be destroyed." 

If the Government of the State had taken possession of the 
Railroad in any emergency I should have long waited before 
I entered upon it. But, as I had the honor to inform your 
Excellency in regard to another insinuation against the laws 
of Maryland, I am here arrived to maintain those laws if 
your Excellency desires, and the peace of the United States 
against all disorderly persons whatever. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 29 

I am endeavoring to save and not to destroy, to obtain 
means of transportation so I can vacate the Capitol prior to 
the sitting of the Legislature, and not be under the painful 
necessity of encumbering your beautiful City while the Legis 
lature is in session. I have the honor to be, 

Your Obdt. Servt., 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Brig. Genl. Comdg. 



From Colonel Wardrop 

Headquarters 3rd Infantry, M.VM. FORT MONROE, Apr. 23, 1861 

Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Commdg. 3rd Brig. 2nd Div. M.VM. 
Washington, D.C. 

SIR : I have the honor to communicate to you that this regi 
ment embarked on board of the War Steamer "Pawnee" on 
Saturday afternoon at 3 o clock; by order of Col. Dimmick we 
were placed under command of Com. Pauling, and had our 
full share in the burning of the Norfolk Navy Yard. 

In this hazardous expedition the officers and men under my 
command were steady, firm, and zealous; they were severely 
tasked in destroying munitions of war, mining, and firing the 
buildings. We returned and were landed at this fort about 
eight o clock on Sunday morning, and during the time they 
were absent, they had neither food, nor sleep; notwithstand 
ing, they performed their duty nobly and manfully. 

The material of this regiment cannot be surpassed; a little 
time for drill and discipline will make this regiment one of the 
most effective in the service. I want more men, and then I 
am ready for any duty that may be assigned me. 

Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant, 

D. W. WARDROP, Col. 3d Inf. M.VM. 

From Major H. Adams Ames 

PERRYVILLE, April 23, 1861 

To His Excellency Gov. JNO. A. ANDREW, Commander in Chief 
I HAVE just returned from Annapolis, whither I repaired 
yesterday to learn the exact situation of the 8th regiment 
under Genl. Butler, and to carry supplies and provisions. I 
found Genl. Butler engaged in the most energetic prosecution 
of his plans for opening communication with Washington, in 
which he had been delayed from various causes. He had only 



30 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

time to spare from his pressing duties before my return, to 
write you the following dispatch: 

To His Excellency, JOHN A. ANDREW 

"I have brought the regiment entrusted to me safely here. 
I believe we have had but one man sick. We have landed at 
Annapolis. Have full possession of the town, and are gather 
ing in means of transportation to Washington. We have the 
railroad in our possession. The troops of Massachusetts have 
done good service, and are worthy of all praise. Major Ames 
will telegraph more in detail." 

The regiment left Havre de Grace for Annapolis in steamer 
for transportation troops at six P.M. Saturday, April 20th. 
Arrived late at night, when secret measures were taken to 
ascertain the condition of the town. A plot to take possession 
of the United States Ship Constitution/ moored at the wharf 
of the naval academy, by the secessionists was discovered, and 
Capt. Devereaux of Salem was detailed with his company to 
repair on board, & she was towed some five miles out of the 
town. Sunday, the ferry boat unfortunately got aground, and 
the troops were obliged to remain on board until this morning, 
when they effected a landing with the seventh regiment of N. 
York, which had in the meantime arrived. The Secessionists 
were preparing to erect a battery, which they were prevented 
from doing. This morning, hearing of the threatened slave 
insurrection, Genl. Butler tendered the forces under command 
to Governor Hicks for its suppression. He is now most vigor 
ously engaged in pushing forward advanced parties toward 
Washington, returning the rails which were displaced, and 
will, on the arrival of the troops expected tonight via. N. York, 
be fully prepared to keep and maintain open communication 
between Washington and Annapolis. In the meantime, troops 
are pouring in from Harrisburg to Havre de Grace, now in 
possession of Penn. troops. And they will, after today, be 
transported in large numbers to Annapolis, steamers for that 
service having been sent there from Phil. 

I am preparing, by request of Genl. Butler, from data fur 
nished by him, a more detailed account of the doings of the 
8th regiment which I will forward you by mail. The troops 
are in excellent condition and spirits. I am hurrying back to 
Phil, for future supplies, as well as for cannon and men to 
fortify and garrison the fort in Annapolis. 

H. ADAMS AMES, Major, Acting Adjt. Com. in Chief 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER .31 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, BOSTON, April 23rd, 1861 

Brig. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

GENERAL: Yesterday afternoon a despatch was received by 
me from Major Ames dated at Philadelphia on the previous day. 
The bearer, Wm. Steppe, returns with this communication. 

After examining the "memorandum of your plan and reasons 
for proceeding to Annapolis," which was inclosed to me, I have 
to say that I entirely and cordially approve your action, and 
have every confidence that your discretion has dictated the 
wisest and safest course that could have been devised in the 
absence of suggestions from Washington. 

I have received most satisfactory information concerning 
the landing of our troops at Fort Monroe; and Captain El- 
dridge, the intelligent master of the Steamer "State of Maine," 
has reported to me in person the incidents of his voyage. 

With regard to the Fifth Regiment, which I have despatched 
to Annapolis by steamer from New York City, I wish to call 
your careful and particular attention to an unfortunate divi 
sion of sympathy and opinion between Col. Lawrence and 
Lieut. Col. Green, which seems to threaten a serious diminu 
tion of the efficiency of that regiment. From my own observa 
tion during the day and night of their departure I was led to 
believe that Lieut. Col. Green afforded much less assistance 
to Col. Lawrence than he should have done, in view of his 
duty as well as of his capacity. I was satisfied that the depart 
ure of the regiment from Boston was seriously delayed and 
obstructed by this stolidity of the Lieut. Colonel. I fear that 
if the same obstruction shall continue the health of Col. 
Lawrence will give way under the weight of his care and 
anxiety, for he appears to be of a remarkably sensitive and 
amiable disposition. In view of this condition of facts it may 
become necessary for you to adopt vigorous and peremptory 
measures in order to check this evil. Perhaps detailing Lt. 
Col. Green upon some special duty, or, if a division of his 
regiment between two points is necessary, giving the Lt. Col. 
the charge of one of the detachments away from the Head 
Qrs. of the Regt. would answer the purpose. 

I wish to express my appreciation of your attention in 
transmitting so regularly and accurately during the night of 
the 19th inst. information concerning the fight at Baltimore. 
Such portions of your despatches to me on that night as could 



32, LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

with propriety be published were compiled, under my direc 
tion, by my private Secretary, and communicated to the news 
papers of the next morning. Such an official promulgation of 
events, I am informed from various sources, caused great 
relief to many families who were distracted by the exaggerated 
and conflicting accounts of the correspondents of the press. 
At the urgent request of many persons I am inclined to con 
tinue such official bulletins on important occasions, and I 
request that you may make your despatches as full and minute 
as may be consistently with your time and duties, in order 
that such information may be supplied. 

I desire you to cause observation to be made with care con 
cerning Frederick W. Heath, Adjutant of the Light Artillery 
Battery. Grave intimations have reached me to the effect 
that he has very recently expressed earnest sympathy for the 
secessionists. 

For our guidance and assistance in settling accounts I wish 
that a statement should be prepared, and sent forward 
promptly, of all items of indebtedness incurred under your 
direction in respect to the transportation of the troops, also 
copies of your letters of credit, and any memoranda that may 
assist our disbursing and auditing officers here to avoid impo 
sition. I am faithfully, & with cordial sympathy for yourself, 
family, & command, 

Yours, JOHN A. ANDREW, Comdg. M.V.M. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

ANNAPOLIS, MD., April 23, 1861 

DEAR SARAH: I have worked like a horse, slept not two 
hours a night, have saved the "Old Ironsides" Frigate from 
the secessionists, and have landed in the Capital of Maryland 
against the protest of her Government. I am now about to 
march on Washington as I have telegraphed you. You must 
not hope to get regular intelligence, as the mails are stopped. 
I think no man has won more in ten days than I have. We 
will see, however. Goodbye kiss the children for me. 

BUTLER 
From General Butler 

Headquarters, ANNAPOLIS, April 24, 1861 

Major-General Patterson 

DEAR SIR: After leaving you with Mr. Felton at Phila 
delphia I proceeded with the remnant of my command, one 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 33 

regiment having been sent through Baltimore, of whose sad 
mishaps you have heard, and two others being at Fortress 
Monroe, leaving with me but an imperfectly armed regiment 
of 800 men to execute the suggestions so happily made by you 
to Governor Curtin, to occupy and hold Annapolis, and 
open a communication from thence to Washington via the 
Junction. 

Upon my arrival I found Captain Blake, the superintendent 
of the Naval School, considerably alarmed for the safety of the 
frigate "Constitution," moored off the Academy as a practice 
ship, and having a crew of but thirty men. Appreciating at 
once the necessity of having the ship to cover our connections, 
as well as a strong desire to keep Old "Ironsides" out of the 
hands of those who would be but too happy to raise their 
Confederate flag upon the "Constitution," as the first ship of 
their hoped-for navy, I at once came alongside, and giving the 
assistance of my whole command as well to guard the ship as 
to hoist out her guns, I was happy to see her afloat outside the 
bar ready to do good service. I put on board of her, to guard 
her from an attempt at surprise, 125 of my best men, and 25 
more men to work her guns, upon which service they are still 
absent. Sunday afternoon, in towing out the frigate, one of 
her men fell overboard, and while drifting to pick him up the 
steamer "Maryland," a steam ferry-boat upon which was my 
command, ran aground, where she lay till Monday night at 
12 o clock, in spite of the most persevering efforts to move her. 
Monday morning, about 8 o clock, the Seventh Regiment (New 
York) came up and I joined them, and landed at the Navy 
School against the protest of Governor Hicks, copy of which I 
inclose. I had an interview with the Governor of Maryland 
and the city authorities of Annapolis, in which I learned that 
the company of the Annapolis and Elk Cliff (Ridge) Railroad 
had taken up the rails upon their roads for the purpose of 
preventing the passage of the troops to Washington; and, 
further, that no possible means of transport could be had 
here. I immediately determined to seize upon the rolling-stock 
of the railroad and to march on Washington, repairing the 
track as we marched. I found in my regiment a number of 
persons competent as well to build a railroad as to run it, and 
with the engines and cars, means of subsistence could be 
brought along without any danger of fatiguing the men who 
were marching. I communicated this plan to Colonel Lefferts, 
of the Seventh Regiment (New York), and directed him to 

VOL. I 3 



34 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

detail two companies to take and hold the depot and property 
in it, so that the engines might not be disabled, by detaching 
parts of them indispensable for use, during the night. I 
detailed a sufficient force of engine men to put the train in order 
to start at an early hour on Tuesday morning, believing the 
whole matter arranged, and left with a steam-tug to get off my 
troops in the middle of the night at high tide and bring them 
up to the wharf. This was successfully done, and on landing 
in the morning about 6 o clock I found that my order to Colonel 
Lefferts had not been executed, and received from him a com 
munication marked A, and forwarded herewith. 

Of the reasons for and propriety of this action on the part 
of the council of officers of the Seventh Regiment I have no 
opinions to express. The result of it was that we lost a day 
in opening communication with Washington. Upon landing, 
I immediately detailed two companies of Eighth Massachusetts 
Regiment, and took possession of the depot, giving a certified 
inventory of the property taken. These companies, assisted 
by the road-men that I had detailed, proceeded up the track 
and repaired (it) for about four miles, when they encamped for 
the night. In the morning, after a consultation, Colonel Lef 
ferts marched with his regiment, together with the remainder 
of Colonel Monroe s regiment, along the railroad toward 
Washington, making the track as they went, and I have the 
honor to report that full communication is open between An 
napolis and the Junction, and I believe through to Washington ; 
but of that fact I hope to assure you before closing this report. 
I should have gone forward myself with this train to see it 
through, but the troops after (I) returned arrived, and it 
seemed more necessary that I should remain to move the 
troops forward, as I have done. Please find list of troops that 
have arrived and left Annapolis up to the present time. They 
are all unprovided with camp equipage and small stores, 
which will be necessary for their health. I was somewhat sur 
prised to hear from Captain Stedman that you had appointed 
General Kline to take my place here without any intimation to 
me of such appointment. It would be personally agreeable to 
me to be sent forward after I have so arranged the matters of 
detail that the post which Massachusetts men have won shall 
be retained. My attention was early called to the state of the 
defenses of this post, and I found them so defective against an 
interior enemy that a point which entirely commands Fort 
Madison and the town can be held upon the opposite side of 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 35 

the river; and indeed the mobs were actually to bring a battery 
there to annoy the "Constitution" on the day on which we 
took her out. Professor Lockwood has therefore made a sur 
vey of the place, and in accordance with his suggestions I 
have caused the hill to be occupied by 600 men from the Sixth 
New York Regiment, with two howitzers. I have also re 
tained the battalion of rifles, Captain Devens, to aid in hold 
ing the Academy, all the young gentlemen being withdrawn 
from this place. These, I believe, will be sufficient for the 
defense of the place until some guns for sea-coast defense shall 
be brought here. I have not thought best to hurry the troops 
forward on the instant, as they might not be able to stand the 
march, as the weather is very warm. They will, however, be 
sent forward without delay. We are without intelligence from 
Washington for three days, but I have an arrangement with 
the telegraph company which I hope will (restore) communi 
cation. Colonel Keyes, Captain Blake, and (Professor) Lock- 
wood all agree in the propriety of this movement, considering 
the great importance of this post. I have the honor further 
to report the "Harriet Lane" lying below the bar, and the 
steamer "Maryland," with two guns, also plying in the bay; 
I think a sufficient force to preserve our water passage. I 
have also the honor to inclose a memoranda of some points 
betwixt Annapolis and Washington, being a duplicate of one 
which I propose to furnish to General Scott. 

Trusting that my conduct may meet your approbation, I 
am, very respectfully, your servant, "R F TC 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. LI, Part 1, p. 1273. 

By President Lincoln 

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, April Ztth, 1861 

ORDER No. 3 

GENERAL B. F. BUTLER, being the senior officer present, 
will take command of this Department of troops assembled at 
Annapolis. B ^^ ^ PRESIDENT 



From General Butler 

Headquarters, ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, April 24th, 1861 

Capt. BLAKE 

DEAR SIR: Of all the disasters of the unhappy state of 
public affairs I reckon it not the least that we have been 



36 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

obliged to interrupt so permanently the efficiency of the Naval 
School at Annapolis. 

That as little harm as possible may be done I shall give 
directions that all assignments of quarter shall be made by 
Captain Rodgers, and will most fully cooperate with him in 
the preservation of the public property. 

Faithfully your friend, B. F. B. 

From Governor Hicks 

State of Maryland, Executive Chamber, ANNAPOLIS, April 2&th, 1861 

Brig. Gen l. B. F. BUTLER 

SIR: A despatch signed by you, addressed to Governor A. 
Curtin, has been received by me, with a verbal request that 
I countersign it, and have it forwarded to its address. 

In reference to the Arsenal at Pikesville I have no official 
information. I do not know who is in the possession of it. I 
am cut off from all communication with other parts of the 
State, and have no means to forward your despatch, if I were 
willing to countersign it. I am compelled therefore, to decline 
to accede to your request. 

Very Respectfully, Yr. Obdt. Servt., THOS. H. HICKS 

From Blanche Butler 

Academy of Visitation, April 2Mh, 1861 

DEAR FATHER: I suppose that you will be surprised at the 
reception of this letter, but you can not imagine the anxiety I 
feel all of the time, for as the mails are stopped I have not 
heard a word from Mother for two weeks. Nearly all of the 
girls are going home, twenty-six have gone already, and Sister 
Bernard has telegraphed to the parents of the others, for she 
does not think that they ought to stay here with the country 
in the state it is now. It is not at all probable that we shall 
have any Distribution this year, and as we have been all over 
our examination we shall lose nothing by going away. Please 
let me go home, for I cannot study when I know that you 
are liable to be sent to war at any time. Nor do I think that 
Mother would wish me to stay if she could not hear from me. 
If you do not think it best that I should go, I think I shall 
join the secessionists. My toes seem to be going without my 
consent, for my shoes are much more "holy than righteous," 
as I am keeping my new ones for my journey home. Of course 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 37 

I could not expect you to go with me, for I know that this 
would be impossible; but if any of your numerous friends are 
going to Lowell you can send me with them. 

As this letter will reach you through the influence of Col. 
somebody (I never can remember names), and I have to write 
to Mother, I must close. Goodbye and believe me 

Your ever devoted "LITTLE BUNTY." 

BLANCHE is mistaken about the telegraph, but the poor 
child seems so anxious about you and about her mother. We 
are not the least alarmed, but since the secession of Virginia 
parents seem to be very much so, and are sending daily for 
their children. Do not be uneasy about Blanche. She is 
perfectly safe, but I do hope that you will soon get to Wash 
ington. Excuse haste. T. T 

S. MARY BERNARD 



From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, Council Chamber, 

BOSTON, Apr. 25, 61 

Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

GENERAL: I have received through Major Ames a despatch 
transmitted from Perryville, detailing the proceedings at 
Annapolis from the time of your arrival off that port until the 
hour when Major Ames left you to return to Philadelphia. I 
wish to repeat the assurance of my entire satisfaction with the 
action you have taken with a single exception. If I rightly 
understood the telegraphic despatch, I think that your action 
in tendering to Governor Hicks the assistance of our Massa 
chusetts troops to suppress a threatened servile insurrection 
among the hostile people of Maryland was unnecessary. I 
hope that the fuller despatches, which are on their way from 
you, may show the reasons why I should modify my opinion 
concerning that particular instance; but in general I think 
that the matter of servile insurrection among the community 
in arms against the Federal Union is no longer to be regarded 
by our troops in a political, but solely in a military point of 
view, and is to be contemplated as one of the inherent weak 
nesses of the enemy, from the disastrous operations of which 
we are under no obligation of a military character to guard 
them, in order that they may be enabled to improve the secu 
rity which our arms would afford, so as to prosecute with more 
energy their traitorous attacks upon a federal government and 



38 LETTERS OP GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

capitol. The mode in which such outbreaks are to be consid 
ered should depend entirely upon the loyalty or disloyalty of 
the community in which they occur; and, in the vicinity of 
Annapolis, I can on this occasion perceive no reason of mili 
tary policy why a force summoned to the defence of the federal 
government, at this moment of all others, should be offered to 
be diverted from its immediate duty to help rebels who stand 
with arms in their hands, obstructing its progress toward the 
city of Washington. I entertain no doubt that whenever we 
shall have an opportunity to interchange our views personally 
on this subject we shall arrive at entire concordance of opinion. 

Yours faithfully, JOHN A. ANDREW 

From General Butler 

Department of Annapolis, Headquarters, ANNAPOLIS, May 9, 1861 

[Not in chronological order]] 

To his Excellency, JOHN A. ANDREW, Governor and 
Commander-in-Chief 

SIR: I have delayed replying to your excellency s despatch 
of the 25th of April in my other despatches, because, as it 
involved disapprobation of an act done, couched in the kindest 
language, I suppose the interests of the country could not 
suffer in the delay; and incessant labor up to the present 
moment has prevented me giving full consideration to the 
topic. Temporary illness which forbids bodily activity gives 
me now a moment s pause. 

The telegraph, with more than usual accuracy, has rightly 
informed your excellency that I had offered the services of 
the Massachusetts troops under my command to aid the 
authorities in Maryland in suppressing the threatened slave 
insurrection. Fortunately for us all the rumor of such an 
outbreak was without a substantial foundation. Assuming, as 
your excellency does in your despatch, that I was carrying on 
military operations in an enemy s country when a war a 
Voutrance was to be waged, my act might be an act of dis 
cussion. And in that view, acting in the light of the Baltimore 
murders and the apparent hostile position of Maryland, your 
excellency might, without mature reflection, have come to the 
conclusion of disapprobation expressed in your despatch. But 
the facts, especially as now aided by their results, will entirely 
justify my act and reinstate me in your excellency s good 
opinion. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 39 

True, I landed on the soil of Maryland against the formal 
protest of its governor and of the corporate authorities of 
Annapolis, and expecting opposition only from insurgents 
assembled in riotous contempt of the laws of the State. Before, 
by letter, at the time of landing, by personal interview, I had 
informed Governor Hicks that the soldiers of the Union, under 
my command, were armed only against the insurgents and dis 
turbers of the peace of Maryland and of the United States. I 
received from Governor Hicks assurances of the loyalty of the 
State to the Union, assurances which subsequent events 
have fully justified. The mayor of Annapolis also informed 
me that the city authorities would in no wise oppose me, but 
that I was in great danger from the excited and riotous crowds 
of Baltimore, pouring down upon me and in numbers beyond 
the control of the police. I assured both the governor and the 
mayor that I had no fear of a Baltimore or other mob, and 
that, supported by the authorities of the State and city, I 
should suppress all hostile demonstrations against the laws of 
Maryland and the United States, and that I would protect 
both myself and the city of Annapolis from any disorderly 
persons whatsoever. On the morning following my landing, I 
was informed that the city of Annapolis and environs were 
in danger from an insurrection of the slave population, in 
defiance of the laws of the State. What was I to do? I had 
promised to put down a white mob and to preserve and en 
force the laws against that. Ought I to allow a black one any 
preference in the breach of the laws? I understood that I was 
armed against all infractions of the laws, whether by white 
or black, and upon that understanding I acted, certainly with 
promptness and efficiency; and your excellency s shadow of 
disapprobation, arising from a misunderstanding of the facts, 
has caused all the regret I have for that action. The question 
seemed to me to be neither military nor political, and was not 
to be so treated. It was simply a question of good faith and 
honesty of purpose. The benign effect of my course was 
instantly seen. The good but timid people of Annapolis, who 
had fled from their houses at our approach, immediately 
returned; business assumed its accustomed channels; quiet 
and order prevailed in the city; confidence took the place of 
distrust, friendship of enmity, brotherly kindness of sectional 
hate, and I believe to-day there is no city in the Union more 
loyal than the city of Annapolis. I think, therefore, I may 
safely point to the results for my justification. The vote of 



40 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the neighborhood county of Washington, a few days since, for 
its delegate to the legislature, wherein four thousand out of 
five thousand votes were thrown for a delegate favorable to 
the Union, is among the many happy fruits of firmness of 
purpose, efficiency of action, and integrity of mission. I believe, 
indeed, that it will not require a personal interchange of 
views, as suggested in your despatch, to bring our minds in 
accordance; a simple statement of the facts will suffice. 

But I am to act hereafter, it may be, in an enemy s country, 
among a servile population, when the question may arise, as 
it has not yet arisen, as well in a moral and Christian as in a 
political and military point of view. What shall I do? Will 
your excellency bear with me a moment while this question is 
discussed? 

I appreciate fully your excellency s suggestion as to the 
inherent weakness of the rebels, arising from the prepon 
derance of their servile population. The question, then, is, 
"In what manner shall we take advantage of that weakness?" 
By allowing, and of course arming, that population to rise 
upon the defenceless women and children of the country, 
carrying rapine, arson, and murder all the horrors of San 
Domingo a million times magnified among those whom we 
hope to reunite with us as brethren, many of whom are already 
so, and all who are worth preserving will be, when this horrible 
madness shall have passed away or be thrashed out of them? 
Would your excellency advise the troops under my command 
to make war in person upon the defenceless women and chil 
dren of any part of the Union, accompanied with brutalities 
too horrible to be named? You will say, "God forbid." If we 
may not do so in person, shall we arm others to do so over 
whom we can have no restraint, exercise no control, and who, 
when once they have tasted blood, may turn the very arms 
we put in their hands against ourselves as a part of the oppress 
ing white race? The reading of history, so familiar to your 
excellency, will tell you the bitterest cause of complaint which 
our fathers had against Great Britain in the War of the Revo 
lution was the arming by the British Ministry of the red men 
with the tomahawk and the scalping knife against the women 
and children of the colonies, so that the phrase "May we not 
use all the means which God and Nature have put in our 
power to subjugate the colonies?" has passed into a legend 
of infamy against the leader of that ministry who used it in 
Parliament. Shall history teach us in vain? Could we justify 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 41 

ourselves to ourselves? Although with arms in our hands 
amid the savage wildness of camp and field, we may have 
blunted many of the finer moral sensibilities in letting loose 
four millions of worse than savages upon the homes and 
hearths of the South. Can we be justified to the Christian 
community of Massachusetts? Would such a course be con 
sonant with the teachings of our holy religion? I have a very 
decided opinion on the subject, and if anyone desires, as I 
know your excellency does not, this unhappy contest to be 
prosecuted in that manner, some instrument other than myself 
must be found to carry it on. I may not discuss the political 
bearings of this topic. When I went from under the shadow 
of my roof tree I left all politics behind me, to be resumed when 
every part of the Union is loyal to the flag, and the potency of 
the government through the ballot-box is established. 

Passing the moral and the Christian view, let us examine the 
subject as a military question. Is not that state already sub 
jugated which requires the bayonets of those armed in opposi 
tion to its rulers to preserve it from the horrors of a servile 
war? As the least experienced of military men, I would have 
no doubt of the entire subjugation of a State brought to that 
condition. When, therefore, unless I am better advised, 
- any community in the United States who have met me in 
honorable warfare, or even in the prosecution of a rebellious 
war in an honorable manner, shall call upon me for protection 
against the nameless horrors of a servile insurrection, they 
shall have it, and from the moment that call is obeyed I have 
no doubt we shall be friends and not enemies. 

The possibilities that dishonorable means of defence are to 
be taken by the rebels against the government I do not now 
contemplate. If, as has been done in a single instance, my 
men are to be attacked by poison, or, as in another, stricken 
down by the assassin s knife and thus murdered, the community 
using such weapons may be required to be taught that it holds 
within its own border a more potent means for deadly purposes 
and indiscriminate slaughter than any which it can administer 
to us. 

Trusting that these views may meet your excellency s 
approval, I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, Your obedient servant, BENJ. F. BUTLER 



42 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Scott 

Headquarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, April 25^, 1861 

Brig r. General B. F. BUTLER, Mass. Vols. 

SIR: If this letter should find you not too far this side of 
Annapolis, I will ask you to consider yourself, for a time, as 
the Commander of that City, and retain a competent force to 
hold it. Next, I wish you to select a regiment (one of your 
brigade, or any other) and string it, at convenient distances, 
all along the Railroad by the Junction and towards this City 
as far as its numbers may suffice, to protect the road, its 
rails, bridges, and cars, so as to keep the communication open 
for troops and travellers between Annapolis and Washington 
by rail. 

The principal points in the road to be occupied are: the 
Junction, Bettsville, the bridges, cross roads, and a few of the 
other stations. Some of the intermediate stations may also 
require detachments, and every post ought to be instructed to 
throw out scouts to the right and left frequently during the 
night and day. 

If the regiment takes, in the first instance, cooked provisions 
for a few days, the posts may afterwards be supplied by the 
trains which will be passing daily. Tents and cooking utensils 
will perhaps be needed at some of the posts or detachments. 
Send to this place all the spare troops from Annapolis as fast 
as you may find means of transportation; and report often. 

Very Respectfully, 

WINFIELD SCOTT 

By President Lincoln 

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, April 25/A, 1861 

ORDERS 

BRIG. GEN L. B. F. BUTLER, Commdg. the Annapolis depot, 
will at once take measures, in concert with the Naval Com 
mander at this station, to arm and hold Fort Madison and old 
Fort Nonsense, with such other points in their vicinity, on 
the opposite bank of the Severn, as may be necessary to secure 
the safety of this station. 

By authority of the PRESIDENT OF THE U. S. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 43 

From General Scott 

Headquarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, April 26/A, 1861 

General BUTLER 

THE undersigned, General-in-Chief of the Army, has received 
from the President of the U. States the following instructions 
respecting the legislature of Maryland now about to assemble 
at Annapolis, viz.: 

It is "left to the Commanding General to watch and await 
their action, which, if it shall be to arm their people against 
the United States, he is to adopt the most prompt and efficient 
means to counteract, even if necessary to the bombardment 
of their cities, and, in the extremest necessity, suspension of 
the writ of habeas corpus" 

In the absence of the undersigned, the foregoing instructions 
are turned over to Brig. General B. F. Butler, of the Mass. 
Volunteers, or other Officer commanding at Annapolis, who 
will carry them out in a right spirit, that is, with moderation 
and firmness. In the case of arrested individuals, notorious 
for their hostility to the United States, the prisoners will be 
safely kept and duly cared for; but not surrendered except on 
the order of the Commander aforesaid. 

WINFIELD SCOTT 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Third Brigade Mass. Vol. Militia, ANNAPOLIS, Apr. 23, 1861 

To His Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW, Com. in Chief 

DEAR SIR: By telegraph I kept your Excellency advised of 
the movement of the 8th Regt. to Friday April 19, & so far as 
I thought it reliable of the sad mishaps & glorious action of 
the Sixth Regt. I also forwarded you a memorial of a proposed 
plan of action, which plan I have the honor to announce has 
been successfully carried out. Through the loyal exertions 
and generous sympathy of S. M. Felton, Esq. Pres. of Phil, 
and Wilmington R.R., I had the Steam Boat "Maryland," 
which plied between Havre de Grace and Perryville, put fully 
at my disposal, and acting under the advice of the Major. 
We had learned that the bridges had been burned between 
Havre de Grace and Baltimore, and all means of communica 
tion through to Baltimore had been cut off. It occurred to 
me that the best method of opening communication between 
the Northern States for the loyal citizens and soldiers of the 
Union could be best through the city of Annapolis, that the 



44 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Route that way would be but little if any longer in point of 
time than the more direct way through Baltimore, which 
required two transhipments of any considerable body of troops 
by the cars. 

The passage from Perryville to Annapolis being but six 
hours, and the passage from Baltimore being four, besides the 
time for the passage by horse-cars across the city; and the 
distance from Washington being 40 miles against 46 via Balti 
more, acting under the advice of S. M. Felton and other 
gentlemen who feared that the Eighth Regiment was too small 
a force for such an undertaking, I waited at Philadelphia six 
hours for the N.Y.V. under Col. Lefferts to come up. But 
fearing lest the Ferry Steamer, which was all important to 
our enterprise, might be seized upon by the enemies of the 
country, I detailed Capt. Devereaux , Co. of Salem, and Capt. 
Briggs , Co. of Pittsfield, for the special duty of proceeding 
forward by train and seizing the Ferry Boat at one o clock 
Friday. Their march was successfully made to place where 
they found Col. Lefferts Regt. had arrived, but he declined 
to take part in the expedition, therefore they did not go for 
ward to seize the boat. At eight o clock in the morning, after 
telegraphing for Maj. (Cook s) Battery, which I am happy to 
inform your Excellency arrived at Annapolis on the morning 
of 25, & is now drilling on the grounds of the Academy, I put 
forward the 8 Regt. in position and got on towards the cars 
at Phil, at 10 o clock. After waiting two hours time in a vain 
attempt to induce Col. Lefferts to accompany us, we deter 
mined to go on alone. On our Route to Perryville we heard at 
various stations that 1800 of a Baltimore mob were waiting at 
Perryville for the purpose of disputing with us the passage of 
the Susquehanna. This information was one of the thousand 
exaggerated rumors which reached us and undoubtedly reached 
you, & is only mentioned here for the purpose of showing to 
your Excellency and people of Commonwealth how the men 
under my command behaved themselves in firm belief of its 
truth. During the passage from Phil, to Perryville the Regt. 
prepared itself for the attack. Ammunition, 10 rounds to each 
man was distributed, & our muskets were carefully inspected 
and loaded. About 100 men who know nothing about the 
use of arms were furnished by me at Phil, with axes, pickaxes, 
& other intrenching tools. Arriving within a mile of Perry 
ville, and not intending to be caught in the cars by a mob as 
had been the 6th Regt., we left the cars and made our disposi- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 45 

tions for the purpose of forcing a passage to the Boat. Capt. 
Devereaux s command were thrown out in advance as skir 
mishers, to occupy both sides of the Road supported by Capt. 
Briggs Co. one hundred paces in the rear. He was immediately 
followed by a detachment of our axe and hatchet men, who 
were instructed to rush upon any barrier and cut it down, 
while covered by the fire of our skirmishers. The rest of the 
Regt. we formed in solid columns, 50 paces in the rear with 
orders to march steadily forward & throw themselves into the 
boat by the weight of the column. The Company then marched 
steadily forward, not a man blanched or faltered, indeed the 
prospect of meeting those in battle who had murdered our 
brothers in Baltimore seemed to give them pleasure, so that 
I can hardly say that, when in reaching the Boat we found 
there was no foe to oppose us, the surprise was more agreeable 
than disagreeable. I can assure your Excellency, however, 
that to myself it was most agreeable, for it relieved me from 
a great weight & a fearful responsibility. 

The embarkation was immediately effected, & the boat 
steamed down the bay at six o clock in the evening. At this 
time we had scarcely two days rations with us, the men 
exhausted by the night march from Boston of Thursday night 
and Friday, the incessant preparation of Friday night at Phil, 
threw themselves upon their blankets on the deck of the boat 
and were soon buried in the profoundest slumber, so pro 
found, indeed, that when it became necessary, in the course of 
official duties, to go about the Boat among them, I found myself 
literally stepping upon them without breaking their slumbers. 

We arrived off the bar at Annapolis about 12 at night, and 
instead of finding that quiet old town buried in repose (great 
care having been taken that our destination should not be 
known), we were surprised to find our approach signaled by 
rockets, lights dancing on the shore, and that we were evi 
dently expected. In the uncertainty of a descent upon the 
shore by night we came to anchor some two miles below the 
town. Soon after a boat came alongside, and Lieut. Mathews, 
a gentleman of the U.S. Naval Academy, announced himself 
as the bearer of a dispatch from his Exc y the gov. of Mary 
land, which is as follows to wit 1 ... & detailed Capt. 

1 It was General Butler s habit to prepare the drafts of his letters by his own hand, 
leaving quotations, references, etc. to be inserted by his secretary. It is, therefore, 
sometimes difficult to identify the addenda referred to. In the present instance, un 
doubtedly, the reference is to the letter from Governor Hicks on page 18. 



46 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Haggerty of my staff to accompany Lieut. Mathews to the 
Gov. of Maryland. While Capt. Haggerty was absent 
being uncertain as to the good faith of those dispatches of the 
state of things in the town I sent my brother, Col. Andrew 
J. Butler of California (who happened to be with me on a visit) 
in plain clothes in a boat belonging to the Steamer to make a 
reconnaissance of the town, & to report as to the best place & 
manner of landing the troops. About daybreak Capt. Hag 
gerty returned, bringing with him Capt. Blake of the U.S. 
Navy, Superintendent of the Naval School at Annapolis, to 
whom for his loyalty to the Union, untiring efforts to aid us 
in our enterprise, & his kindness & attention to our wants, too 
much praise cannot be given. If Mass, at this unhappy junc 
tion, could separate herself from the Union in so far as to 
give a reward for well-doing in an officer of the U.S. I know 
of no one who would deserve it more than Capt. Blake. 

From him I learned that there was this special cause of 
anxiety. The Frigate "Constitution," in use as a practice 
ship for the Naval Academy, lay at her mooring in Annapolis 
with a crew of less than 30 men to take care of her, & the 
Secessionists were ready to erect a battery on the opposite 
side of the river to command her. He expressed great anxiety 
lest she could not be got off, and informed me that the Con 
federate States had determined to take her and to raise upon 
old "Iron Sides" their flag. 

Capt. Blake inquired of me if my instructions would permit 
me to put my boat alongside her, take out of her her guns, and 
tow her into the outer harbor & to detail a sufficient guard for 
her to prevent a sudden surprise. To this I replied that your 
Excy s instructions left me a latitude for the exercise of my 
discretion, & I thought it indispensable to save the "Constitu 
tion," whether the ship or form of Govt., from the enemies of 
the country; & that I would cooperate with him for the pur 
pose of cutting her out. I immediately lay our steamer along 
side & commenced to lighten her by taking her heavy guns on 
board our boat. One hundred fifty workmen of my command 
were detailed to assist the crew in getting off the ship, and in 
this service the men of Marblehead were conspicuous for their 
strength and alacrity. At half past two in the afternoon we 
had the pleasure of seeing the good Frigate towed down the 
bay, safe beyond the reach of her enemies. On the morning of 
Tuesday the 21st the Brig, order was issued which I here 
with submit to your Exc y s inspection. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 47 

In the afternoon, as we were towing the "Constitution," 
our boat ran aground in endeavouring to save the life of a man 
who had fallen overboard, and remained there hard and fast 
until the following Tuesday morning at one o clock, when she 
was got off and brought up to this city and the men on board 
landed. 

On Monday morning I received a communication from His 
Excellency the Gov. of Maryland which is herewith submitted, 
together with my reply. On Monday morning the Steamer 
"Boston" appeared off the bay, having on board Col. Lefferts 
Regiment. Before he had spoken to us I had issued the en 
closed order. Finding it impossible to get the steamer off 
after several efforts, I went on board the "Boston" and pro 
ceeded to effect a landing with Col. Lefferts Reg t, but before 
landing I had addressed the enclosed communication to Gov. 
Hicks, the only reply to which was a protest against my land 
ing my troops at all. After I got ashore I met Gov. Hicks and 
city authorities at the office of the Supt. of the Naval Academy. 
I was informed by Gov. Hicks that the State of Maryland 
would make no interference with my landing, but said I must 
march my troops three or more miles out of the city. 

In this request he was joined by the Mayor and city authori 
ties, who said that at a meeting of the corporation it had been 
voted that I should not be molested, but that there were bad 
men in the place and others might come from Baltimore and 
other places whom they could not control, therefore it was 
better that I should march out of town, that if I remained in 
town their people were much excited, and they were afraid 
they would not be able to control them. I asked, as I was in 
need of supplies, if they would furnish me if I would march. 
To that they replied they would not, nor allow me to buy 
anything in the city. I asked if I could be furnished with 
means of transportation to Washington, to that they replied 
I could not, there were not five horses in the place, and that 
the Railroad Co. had taken up their tracks to prevent the 
troops from passing over it. To all this I replied in substance 
that without supplies I could not march, that I could not put 
three or four miles between me and my boats, which were the 
basis of my operations, when the alleged reason why I should 
march was that in marching I should leave between myself and 
boats so very excited a mob that the city authorities were not 
able to control it, and that my troops from Massachusetts 
were also very much excited because of the murder of their 



48 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

brothers at Baltimore by a mob. But therein I had this ad 
vantage, that we could not only control our own excitement, 
but could also control and suppress the excitement of others, 
but that I proposed to stay as long as convenient at Annapolis, 
and march when it was convenient, that if we were attacked 
we would repel the attack, and that there were none that we 
should be more happy to see than a representation of the 
murderers of Baltimore whenever and wherever they should 
choose to visit us, and that while we staid at Annapolis, if the 
citizens chose not to have any collision with us, there must be 
on their part neither stray bricks, nor fugitive shots, thrown 
at us, and whoever should attempt would find it an unsafe 
operation. 

During the night the Eighth Regiment occupied the Naval 
Academy. On the following morning Lieut. Hinks, having 
under his command Capt. Newhall s Co. of Lynn, having with 
them an Engineer party of eighty under Lieut. Hodges, pro 
ceeded and took possession of the Rail Road, where we found 
the rolling stock disabled, and the rails taken up. They went 
forward on the track about four miles where they encamped 
for the night. The next morning the 8th Regt. went forward, 
and were followed by the 7th N.Y. Regiment. 

I should have stated, before this, that I had detailed Capt. 
Devereaux Co. & Capt. Briggs Co. to go on board the "Con 
stitution," to defend her against surprise, so that they did not 
march with the Regiment. 

On the morning of Thursday large bodies of troops, includ 
ing the 5th Regt. 3 Batt., Rifles, and Cook s battery arrived 
here, and were safely landed. 

As soon as preparations could be made I forwarded the 5th 
regiment with three days rations for Washington. They 
marched last evening at 8 o clock. I have retained the Rifles 
and Cook s battery to defend this post, which I am ordered to 
hold and fortify by Genl. Scott. 

I have received information from Fortress Monroe. Col. 
Wardrop s and Col. Packard s Regts. are in good health. Col. 
Wardrop s Regt. made a dashing attack on Norfolk Navy 
Yard, burning and destroying it, so that it could be of no use 
to the enemies of the country. Col. Jones Regt. is in Wash 
ington, the men fast recovering from their wounds & bruises, 
and in the enjoyment of good health. It is now ten days since 
the Mass, troops were first called into the field, and their 
operations may be summed up thus: Two Regts. have relieved 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 49 

Fortress Monroe and put it beyond danger of attack; one, 
Col. Jones , marched to the aid of the Federal Capitol through 
Baltimore, and were baptized in blood; another, the 8th, has 
rescued the Frigate "Constitution" and put her on the side 
of law and order, has taken possession of Annapolis and of the 
Railroad, building it as they went, and together with their 
brethren of the 5th have marched to the Capital & thereby 
opened a communication through which thousands of troops 
are now passing. The two battalions are now guarding this 
depot of troops. Are not these sufficient deeds for a campaign 
of many months? 

At a future day, as soon as communications are freely 
opened, I shall have the honor to report in full detail the state 
and condition of the men under my command; the present 
disturbed state of things renders that nearly impossible. 
There is one subject, however, I desire to press upon your 
Excellency s most serious attention, it is the necessity of a 
light uniform for the troops. I would suggest a blue light 
flannel, similar to that worn by the Rhode Island troops, to 
be made plain and serviceable without ornament or tinsel. 
There is needed at this moment four thousand such uniforms 
to supply the troops in the field. The form or shape should 
be that of a short "round about," or a jacket like an undress 
in the Army. Let the cloth be bought at once and the swift, 
sympathetic fingers of our sisters and sweethearts be employed 
in making it up. These are practical suggestions, and I will 
have no doubt meet your Excellency s views. I have the honor 

Very Respectfully, Your obedient servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

ANNAPOLIS, April 26, 1861 

DEAR SARAH: I am stationed here. All well. How would 
you like to come on here and live with me. 

Your husband, BUTLER 

From General Patterson 

Headquarters, Military Department of Washington, PHILADELPHIA, April IQth, 1861 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Brig. Gen. Commanding 

GENERAL: I am directed by Major General Patterson to 
acknowledge receipt of your despatches of the 25th instant, 
with the accompanying enclosures. 

VOL. I 4 



50 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

The General desires me to express to you his entire appro 
bation of what you have done, and to thank you for the zeal 
and efficiency with which you have executed his orders and 
which has characterized all your movements. You will re 
main in command of and guard the road from Annapolis to 
Washington until further orders, unless superseded by a com 
mand from Head Quarters of the Army. Camp Equipage is 
entirely exhausted here for the present. Endeavor if pos 
sible to obtain it from Washington. 

The General thanks you also for your private note just 

Very respectfully your obedient servant, 

CRAIG BIDDLE, A.D.C. 

From Colonel Jones 

WASHINGTON, April 26tk, 1861 

Gen. B. F. BUTLER, ANNAPOLIS, MD. 

MY DEAR GENERAL: I have an opportunity to send to you 
and embrace it. We are in very good condition, and my boys 
are pretty well satisfied. My family, as you are aware, is 
large, and the responsibilities very great, and I have been 
living in hopes you would soon be with us to take off some of 
the responsibilities from my shoulders. It has always been 
my good fortune to be the recipient of unbounded praise in 
my military career, and believe me it has not lessened in 
quantity for the last fortnight. Col. Monroe and his regiment 
arrived last night, also Col. Lawrence and portions of his 
command yesterday and today. I think that the 8th are in 
rather a disorganized state, and appear to be very much dis 
satisfied with their Colonel, and there were many threats that 
they would not be mustered in under his command. I had 
the captains together to try and encourage them to do all 
that was required of them, and not disgrace the Old Bay 
State by backing down. They promised to do all that I asked 
of them, and I hope that matters will now go right. How 
ever, I think your presence here would be very acceptable to the 
Mass, troops. I have some 20 letters for you awaiting your or 
ders. I took the liberty of opening a telegram for you, and find 
that "You are ordered to transfer Company A of Salem, Cap 
tain Devereaux, to the Fifth Regiment, said transfer to be 
made before the Regt. is mustered into the service of the U.S." 

I am very much fatigued to-night as well as every night. 

In haste * E. F. JONES, Col. 6th Mass. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 51 

From General Scott 

Headquarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, April 111th, 1861 

Brig. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

THE undersigned, General-in-Chief of the Army, has re 
ceived from the President of the U. States the following com 
munication : 

" To the Commanding General of the Army of the United 
States 

"You are engaged in repressing an insurrection against the 
laws of the United States. If at any point on or in the vicinity 
of the military line which is now used between the City of 
Philadelphia, via Perryville, Annapolis City, and Annapolis 
Junction, you find resistance which renders it necessary to 
suspend the writ of Habeas Corpus for the public safety, you 
personally, or through the Officer in command at the point 
where the resistance occurs, are authorized to suspend that 

writ." . T 

ABRAHAM LINCOLN 

IN accordance with the foregoing warrant the undersigned 
devolves on Major General Patterson commanding the Depart 
ment of Pennsylvania, Delaware & Maryland; Brig. General 
Butler commanding the Department of Annapolis; and Col. 
Mansfield commanding the Washington Department, a like 
authority, each within the limits of his command, to execute 
in all proper cases the instructions of the President. 

WINFIELD SCOTT 

From Mrs. Butler. to General Butler 

LOWELL, April (27), 1861 

DEAREST: We are still in doubt where you are, but think 
you must be in Washington by this. Mr. Kimball told me 
today a letter came from his father yesterday saying you 
would go to Washington directly. And Mrs. Kimball said, 
from the Dr., that you re astonishing everybody by your 
executive ability. 

I wrote a note and sent it by Harriet, but feel no certainty 
you will get it. She has gone with Mr. Read, for Blanche. 
But whether they will get through we cannot tell. There has 
been great fear that Washington would be attacked and 
defeated before our troops arrived. That accounts for our 



52 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

sending for Blanche. I don t know but you will think it 
premature. I shall send this by Dr. Kimball if he goes in a 
day or two. 

And now how do you like this life? Will the glorious excite 
ment more than balance the labour and anxiety? I hope so. 
One who strives as you do ought to meet his reward some 
where. I do not much like these last lines but I must leave 
them. The fact is I am so down I could cry outright some 
times, but that I must bestir myself for others. Jackson must 
be of infinite service to you in every way. I am so glad he is 
with you now. To think of you there alone would be intol 
erable. Monday, got your telegram. Feel more easy. Tues 
day, your short letter came. I shall send this by the same 
person who brought yours. I should like to go if it would 
answer, and you are to be there any time. Gilman is crazy to 
start; he would enlist if he thought you would not send for 
him. Brady is starting a company to be called the Butler 
Rifle Guards. Everybody is wild with excitement. The ladies 
are making soldiers shirts and rolling up bandages. I would 
gladly go to you if you would not find me an incumbrance. 

Always yours, SARAH 

Extract from General Order No. 12 

War Department, Adjutant General s Office, WASHINGTON, Apr. 27, 1861 

2. A NEW Military Department, to be called the Depart 
ment of Annapolis. Headquarters at that city, will include 
the country for twenty miles on each side of the railroad from 
Annapolis to the city of Washington, as far as Bladensburg, 
Md. Brigadier General B. F. Butler, Massachusetts Volun 
teers, is assigned to the command. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

April 282/t, Annapolis Headquarters, Department of Annapolis 

DEAR SARAH: I am ordered by the War Department to 
take command of this department of Maryland. A high 
honor never yet conferred upon a Militia Genl. who had seen 
no service. We have won. 

I have a very excellent house here, well furnished, a good 
corps of servants, and am keeping house. Shall be here some 
months. Harriet 1 has come. I have sent for Blanche. She 

1 Harriet Hildreth Heard, sister of Mrs. Butler. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 



53 



will be with me tonight and wait your coming. You had 
better come on yourself. I shall detain Harriet a day or two 
as housekeeper. Shut up the house and come on. Bring 
Oilman. 1 You can send the children over to Dracut or to the 
salt water with Lote. 2 Bring nothing but your table service 




THE DEPARTMENT OF ANNAPOLIS 

of silver. The horses had better be turned out to pasture 
except Charly for the farm. Burley 3 had better move in to 
kitchen. Bring summer clothes as weather is warm. Love to 
all in great haste. 

If you do not like this do not execute it. I am so in the 
habit of giving orders lately that I write in a peremptory style. 
All our people are well and have behaved gloriously. (You 
may put this last in the newspapers it will relieve all men s 

Yours respectfully, B. F. BUTLER 

1 Gilman Jones, family coachman. 

2 Laura Wright Hildreth, sister of Mrs. Butler. 

3 Burley, the gardener. 



54 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Major General Patterson 

Headquarters, Military Department of Washington, PHILADELPHIA, April %8th, 1861 

Brig. General B. F. BUTLER 

GENERAL: I am directed by the Major General to call your 
earnest attention to the necessity of keeping the Railroad in 
repair from Annapolis to the Junction & guarding it at all times. 

He suggests that you should personally pass along the line 
as frequently as possible, and should require the greatest care 
to be exercised in preserving the engines & cars from all injury. 
Troops should be stationed at all points, with orders to shoot 
instantly any person or persons found in the act of injuring the 
road or doing anything to impede the trains. 

Wanton firing of arms should be strictly prohibited along 
the line; it causes a great waste of ammunition & interferes 
in various ways with the orderly performance of duties. 
Very respectfully your obedient servant, 

CRAIG BIDDLE, A.D.C. 

From General Scott 

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 2Qth, 1861 

To Brigadier General BUTLER 

WITH our present force we are no longer under apprehen 
sions for the safety of this City. In the course of the day you 
will be instructed as to forwarding more troops. 

WINFIELD SCOTT 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Annapolis, April 29th, 1861 ; 

Col. E. D. TOWNSEND, Asst. Adj. Gen I., Headquarters of ttie 

Army, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

THE 3rd Battalion of rifles is an independent Batt. under 
the command of a major, & forms no part of any Mass, regi 
ment. I specially desire they may remain here for the defense 
of this Post, they having been instructed for that purpose. I 
learn by the master of Transportation that the road is badly 
guarded from the junction to Bladensburg. I have ordered 
Col. Bryan of 25th N. York to use his command of 500 men 
for that duty. I shall direct him to make his Headquarters at 
Laurel Factory. I will send no more troops until further 

By order of Brig. Gen. BUTLER 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 55 

From General Scott 

Headquarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, April 29th, 1861 

Brig. Gen. BUTLER 

SIR: I was happy to receive Col. Butler last night, the 
bearer of your despatches. The latter I have read with inter 
est, and a hearty approval. I send herewith a Copy of my 
letter of this date to Major Gen l. Patterson. 

If Fort McHenry be not re-inforced, please send thither, by 
some armed Steamer, from 250 to 500 men with subsistence 
for at least Sixty days. I shall be glad to have your views on 
my proposed movements on Baltimore particularly on the 
part to be fitted out from Annapolis, which you will probably 
be required to command. 

Tho you command a separate Department and Maj. Gen l. 
Patterson another, a free correspondence between you may 
be of mutual advantage. I am sorry that the fleet of trans 
ports and provision ships sent from New York did not ascend 
the Potomac. Major Sibley, principal of the Qur. Mst. Depart 
ment here, wishes some of those vessels, with troops and 
supplies, to be sent round to him, and has written accordingly. 
This river is yet unobstructed by hostile batteries afloat or 
ashore, and is likely to remain so. A strong war vessel to 
support Fort McHenry in case of an attack, is of great 
importance. 

If there be one not essential as a convoy to transports 
between Annapolis and the Susquehannah, send her to Fort 
McHenry. If the cars, promised from New York, arrive, those 
you have ordered from Philadelphia may be unnecessary. 

Having great confidence in your zeal, intelligence, and dis 
cretion, I remain, 

Yours truly, WINFIELD SCOTT 

Exhibit referred to in the foregoing Letter 

Headquarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, April 29th, 1861 

Maj. Gen. PATTERSON 

SIR: I wrote to you by Major Porter on the 27th, and also 
sent by him certain verbal messages. In that letter I gave 
you the outline of my plan for taking and strongly occupying 
Baltimore, and I asked for your views on the subject. 

At present, I suppose a column from this place of three 
thousand men, and another from York of three thousand 



56 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

men, a third from Perry ville or Elkton by land or water, or 
both, of three thousand, & a fourth from Annapolis, by water, 
of three thousand, might suffice. But it may be, and many 
persons think it probable, that Baltimore, before we can get 
ready, will reopen the communication through that city, and 
beyond, each way, for troops, army supplies, and travellers, 
voluntarily. 

When can we be ready for the movement upon Baltimore 
on this side? Col. Mansfield has satisfied me that we want 
at least 10,000 (ten thousand) additional troops here to give 
security to this Capital, and as yet, we have less than 10,000, 
including some very indifferent militia of the District. With 
that addition we will be able, I think, to make the detachment 
for Baltimore. 

The Secretary tells me that he has sent a party, not military, 
to repair the bridges and relay the Maryland part of the 
Harrisburg & Baltimore railroad, to a point near the City. 
This, I am sure cannot be done without the protection of a 
Military force. I wish you to look to this. I am not sure that 
either you or Brig. Gen l. Butler has re-inforced Ft. McHenry. 
I suppose 250 or 500 men will be wanted, if it be not already 
reinforced. If he is with you send Major W. W. Morris there 
to command. I shall ask General Butler to send up the men 
that may be yet needed. I desired Major Porter, A. A. G., 
to obtain from you or the Gov. of Pennsylvania the means of 
building two bridges on the Bait. & Ohio R.R. somewhere 
below Frederick; but pause a few days for further instruc 
tions, as we may want to use that road in taking possession of 
Harper s Ferry. 

We are in great want of Camp equipage and accoutrements 
at Annapolis, I believe, & certainly here; & we have occupied 
all the shelter for troops to be found here. Therefore please 
send no more troops this way without Camp equipage. 

The cabinet have under consideration, a plan for Volunteers 
of a long period of service. Please therefore to withdraw your 
request addressed to the Governor of Pennsylvania to increase 
his quota of three-months men. 

Tell me what you can do, and when, toward seizing and 
occupying Baltimore. 

The Quarter Master in Philadelphia has two hundred 
wagons, and thinks he can obtain as many more in ten or 
fifteen days. 

Four locomotives and ten passenger cars have been ordered 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 57 

from New York for service on this side of Annapolis. With 
high respect, ^^ very truRy ^ WlNFIELD ScoTT 



P.S. Occupy Havre de Grace at your discretion. I think 
well of the proposition. WINFIELD SCOTT 

From Major F. J. Porter 

PHILADELPHIA, PA., April 29^, 1861 

To Maj. Gen I. B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Department of 
Annapolis 

GENERAL: I trust that my assurances that information in 
my possession, convincing (me) that though well guarded the 
road to the Annapolis Junction is very insecure against organ 
ized schemes of parties resolved to interrupt the travel after 
your trains commence running, will pardon my suggesting 
that in the words of Gen. Scott "the road be studded with 
companies permanently stationed," and every foot of the road 
be under the observation of parties of two or more well-armed, 
and supported by detachments from these companies. 

The company which has forwarded engines for your service 
are anxious, exceedingly so, for the safety of the Annapolis 
Junction, and if misfortune should arise from want of precau 
tion on the part of the army confidence will be so shaken that 
I doubt if it could be easily secured, especially as the present 
quietude of the enemy is to lull us into security. Every effort 
is now being made here to complete the opening of the road 
to Washington, and to maintain its efficiency. 

My aim being the welfare of our country, and the credit of 
those called to its defense, will, I hope, excuse with you this 
private and voluntary tender of interest. I shall remain with 
General Patterson, and if I can at any time serve you, it will 
be my pleasure. With great respect, 

Your obdt. servt., F. J. PORTER 



From General Butler 

Department of Annapolis, April 30th, 1861 

The Secretary of War 

DEAR SIR: I am annoyed to death with the continual call 
for passage. To check it I have established a tariff of $4.00 
from Washington to Perryville, except those upon official 



58 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

business, and I hope this number will be limited by the depart 
ment, as the number now interferes with the transportation of 
troops. 

Will you allow me to suggest that we are getting yeoman 
service from S. M. Felton, Esq. President of the Phila. & Wil. 
Railroad. Will you not by an order put this whole matter of 
transportation by this line under his direction, subject to my 
order for military purposes. Mr. Felton took the responsi 
bility of giving me sole charge of the Maryland Steamer by 
means of which a landing could be effected. He is efficient 
and true as steel. 

I am constructing a short piece of railroad for the connection 
of tide water with Washington. I have the material now and 
trust to be able to have it in order in ten days. 

Respectfully, Your obedient servant, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From J. G. Abbott 

42 Court St., BOSTON, SOth of April, 1861 

Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

MY DEAR GEN: God bless you for what you have done; 
let what has been done only be kept up. I want to say to 
you everybody here are overflowing in their praises of you & 
your troops. We think old Massachusetts is yet the head of 
the column, and your name had the enviable fortune of lead 
ing that column. You should understand the feeling here - 
you can get it if you have time from the papers. The blood is 
up as it never was before, and you tell those people who rule 
at Washington that the people are up to the occasion. We 
only hope they will be. We are here trying to organize a 
scheme by which our troops now forming may be sent into 
camp for sixty days & made soldiers of. I wish you would 
help it along if you can find time in the intervals of building 
railroads & repairing engines. The country is bristling all 
over with military companies, but they ought to have the dis 
cipline of the camp. Lowell has four more companies organ 
ized, full. That son of mine, who I was in hopes would be 
with you, has recruited one. I have another boy in Fort 
Independence with the N. E. Guards, & another in the com 
pany of the eldest. The people at Lowell are taking every 
means to take care of the families of those with you, and also 
provide for the wants of your soldiers while away. I want 
you to understand we will take care of your interests while 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 59 

you are absent. Your family are well. Mrs. Abbott & Mrs. 
Butler meet quite frequently in the committee rooms for 
supplies, so that I hear from the latter lady almost every day. 
If you can find a place for that boy of mine about your staff 
I would like it. He is spoiling to be where there is action, & 
I ll go bail you wouldn t be ashamed of him where hard work 
& dare-devil qualities were required. Excuse my writing this. 
I thought even as you are you might like to hear a little gossip 
from home. & sincerdy ^ j G ABBOTT 



From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of Annapolis, April 30th, 1861 

To Lieut. Gen I. WINFIELD SCOTT, General in Chief U.S. Army, 
WASHINGTON, D.C. 

GENERAL: Col. Corcoran, of the Sixty ninth N. Y. Regi 
ment, sent to me under arrest a man calling himself Edward 
Grandval, whose voluntary examination was taken by me in 
writing, read over to and signed by him. The evidence upon 
which he has been arrested has been fully seen and weighed, 
and from it I find that it is substantially proved that the 
prisoner lately came to Baltimore from the Capital of the Con 
federate States; that he went into correspondence with one 
Beach, the Editor of the Baltimore Sun Newspaper, a known 
enemy of the Union, and known by the prisoner to be such at 
the time he entered his service, whatever that service was; 
that he made a written proposal to Mr. Beach to place him 
self at or as near as possible to Annapolis, there to gather what 
information he could of the movements and numbers of the 
troops, to forward the same to Beach by private hand; that 
on Friday evening he entered upon that duty, and was engaged 
about it until yesterday morning when he was arrested. 

There was found upon him this engagement which he en 
deavored to destroy, and also portions of a letter which he 
said had been written by one Alexander in order to procure 
him his engagement. All but the latter part and the signature 
was destroyed. There was evidence that he was lurking around 
Col. Corcoran s Quarters, endeavoring to obtain information of 
the men as to the forces of his command, that he attempted to 
tamper with the men, telling them of the forces of the seces 
sionists and that they were ready to receive them as their 
brothers if they would come over to them. He had examined 



60 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the private quarters of Col. Corcoran for papers, had taken 
there a Revolver. His statement in his examination was 
transparently improbable, and made no impression upon the 
mind either of his truthfulness or propriety of conduct. From 
the evidence I have no doubt that he was sent as a Spy upon 
our movements, and it is for the Commanding General to 
direct what course shall be pursued. My own opinion is that 
the utmost severity is needed towards such a person. 

Under the guise of bearer of dispatches and reporters of 
newspapers we are overrun by the meanest and most despi 
cable kind of Spies, who add impudence and brazen effrontery 
to traitorous and lying reports with which to injure us. I had 
forgotten to mention that one part of his engagement was that 
he was to receive a pass from Gen l. Trimble. I await orders 
from Headquarters. 

Very respectfully, Yr. Obdt. Servt. BENJ. F. BUTLER 



From Colonel E. F. Jones 

UNOFFICIAL. Headquarters, 6th Regiment, M.V.M. Capitol, 

WASHINGTON. April 30th, 1861 

General B. F. BUTLER, ANNAPOLIS, MD. 

MY DEAR GENERAL: I am anxious to get my regiment out of 
this Capitol and under canvas. I also understand that camp 
equipage is coming forward, and what I ask is that you will 
place me in position to take sufficient for my wants when it 
comes. I have good quarters here, but the men are getting 
sick from eating everything which they have a chance to get 
hold of, and from catching colds which the damp, stone floors 
furnish to any extent. Also do not place me in any position 
which will detach me from my regiment, as I want nothing, 
if God spares my life, but an opportunity to take them home 
with our laurels untarnished. I received a telegraph from Gov. 
Andrew to Geo. Abbott, saying "every requisition from Col. 
Jones will be answered," and I have sent forward to Gov. 
Boutwell to take some measures to put us in decent apparel, 
as they are in just the condition which I prophesied some 3 
months since, viz., rag, tag, and bobtail. The idea of getting 
up an "Esprit de Corps" in a man with his shirt-tail sticking 
out! 

I regret exceedingly that we are separated in this campaign. 
Please inform of your position and future prospects. I am 
getting my regiment into pretty good state of discipline, but 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 61 

it was a trial of titles at first, and you can guess who came 
out ahead if he came out alive. I have not heard from my 
family since I left home. Too bad, I cannot succeed in getting 
me a decent horse. Are they to be had out your way? I do 
not know what to do in regard to drawing clothing, &c., from 
the government here. ^ M ^.^ R 



From General Butler 

DRAFT. Dept. of Annapolis, May 1st, 1861 

Major General PATTERSON 

SIR: You will find enclosed an open letter from General 
Scott. 

General Scott is mistaken in his information in regard to 
the reinforcement of McHenry. I will do so however, to 
morrow, with the right wing of Col. Hartrauft s regiment, 
about 500 men, unless I receive orders from you not so to do. 
Genl. Scott evidently supposes it to be done. I have the pro 
visions for their subsistence. We are now in receipt of full 
supplies save camp equipage in which we cannot much aid 
Washington. 

If any different disposition has been made at McHenry 
please send word by telegraph as follows, "Do not see Henry." 
I shall understand it, and not go forward; otherwise I shall 
send reinforcements tomorrow. Can you send me 100,000 
caps for the musket. 

Truly your most obt. servant, (BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. Head Quarters, Department of Annapolis, May 1, 1861 

To Lieutenant General WINFIELD SCOTT, Gen. in Chief U.S. 

Army, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

COLONEL ELLSWORTH S Zouaves are in the Bay, eleven hun 
dred reported. I will land and send them forward tomorrow 
as early as possible. I will also send forward if possible by 
another train the fifth New York regiment, eight-hundred 
strong. I have also ordered forward fifty beef cattle and a 
supply train. I have forwarded the open letter to General 
Patterson. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 



62 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 
From H. M. Herman 

WASHINGTON, May 1, 1861 

General BUTLER, Com dr. Naval Academy 

GENERAL SCOTT desires you to come. Do so immediately, 
as he will not give you over one (1) day s leave. 

H. M. HERMAN, Willard Hotel 

From William J. Palmer 

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, May 1, 1861 

Gen. BUTLER 

IT will be very difficult if not impossible with our deficiency 
of motive power to get the 2000 troops through without risk 
tomorrow, unless we can get some of them off by noon or 1 
o clock, finishing them all by 2 P.M. Can you not have a few 
hundred men (say 600) at Depot by noon or 1 o clock. 

Respy, WM. J. PALMER 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, 
Council Chamber, BOSTON, May 1st, 1861 

GENERAL: All the accounts, both public and private, which 
are received from the Massachusetts regiments, convey to us a 
most favorable impression of the intelligent efficiency of your 
self and your command. 

Whatever deficiences exist in any respect in equipment or 
supplies of any description, which it is proper that this Com 
monwealth should furnish, we are most anxious to provide 
against, and with that view I am very desirous to receive from 
you at once a full account of the condition in all respects, of 
our troops, together with such suggestions respecting supplies 
as may occur to you. Clothing shall be sent at once. 

Full despatches will be sent to you by the Steamer "Cam 
bridge," which will be due at Annapolis on or before Saturday 
next. 

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of despatches 
from you dated on April 26th, from Annapolis, Md. 

Yours Very Respectfully, JOHN A. ANDREW, 

Governor and Com d r-in-Chief Mass. V.M. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 63 

From Lieutenant David Hyde 

LOWELL, May 1, 1861 

Brig. General B. F. BUTLER 

DEAR SIR: We have just formed a new Company here, and 
we are very anxious to get into your Regiment. We are fully 
organized, the officers have received their commissions, the 
uniforms are now making, and the company is drilling daily. 
The officers are, Temple Tibbetts, Capt., Walter N. Smith, 
1st Lieut., David Hyde, 2nd Lieut., Charles Stearns, 3d Lieut., 
John A. Gale, 4th Lieut. 

There are four companies here, three are organized, and one 
will be in a few days, enough, I suppose, to form a Battalion, 
and all, I have no doubt, would like to join your Regiment. 
They are the Richardson Light Infantry, Capt. Davis, the 
Lowell Light Infantry, Capt. Tibbetts, Irish Company, Capt. 
Procter, and the Butler Rifles, (I don t know the Captain); 
the last named not quite organized. If you would like our 
Company to join you please take such measures as you think 
in your judgment will secure it. Our company is composed 
principally of machinists and other artisans, and the Physician 
who examined them said they had a third more muscle than 
other companies he had examined, none of them are less 
than 5 1 feet high. If this proposition meets your approval, 
please let me hear from you. 

Yours Truly, DAVID HYDE 

Answer endorsed: Assist them to join. 
From Col. E. F. Jones 

UNOFFICIAL. Head Quarters, 6th Regiment, Washington, May %nd, 1861 

Gen. B. F. BUTLER, ANNAPOLIS 

GEN: I herewith forward letters, Gen. Wilson, Gov. 
Boutwell, Mrs. R. Phillips, and several others. Mass, men 
are about, and have taken the matter in hand of seeing our 
State furnishes proper uniforms, etc., for her troops, as by 
comparison they feel rather ashamed. I do not know my 
position in regard to the state and yourself, but having taken 
the oath, suppose that we are entirely disconnected from State 
Allegiance for the period of our enlistment, and must give 
unqualified obedience to the Army officers. Place me right 
in this matter. If we are to be disconnected from you, I 
regret it much. The talk now is that the war is to be carried 



64 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

further into Africa, I mean Virginia, and there is a trial of 
strength between the politicians and military powers in the 
President s mind. Wilson and others are here crowding an 
immediate and active campaign. I hope things will be duly 
considered, and unless a Battalion of those rabid friends of ours 
propose to lead the column, that the matter will be duly con 
sidered. Please write me what to do in regard to that vessel 
of Camp Equipage, and when it arrives. In haste I am as 

ver> Your obdt. Servant, E. F. JONES, Colonel 

P.S. I have taken the responsibility to hold the elections 
for company officers. 



From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

WASHINGTON, D.C.. May th, 1861 

DEAR SARAH: I am on a flying visit here to see the Presi 
dent and War Department. By invitation I dined with the 
Secretary of War and Gen l. Scott. The old General still 
holds up wonderfully. 

I have promise of some work to do. Baltimore is to be 
retaken, so is Gosport Navy Yard. You will hear of me be 
fore long. "Either this or upon it," the Spartan Mother said 
to her son as she gave him his shield. So say I I will either 
bring back my shield as a proud trophy to you, dearest, my 
own heart s home, or I come back upon it with a name which 
you will not be ashamed to bear and teach our children to 
love and reverence. 

Undoubtedly your determination is for the best not to come 
out to stay with me, but why not come and see me for a week 
or so. We can send you home any day. It is perfectly safe. I 
have detained Harriet and Blanche because I cannot get along 
without themfor a day or so. I assure you I have most com 
fortable quarters. I suppose Gilman will have gone before this 
reaches you. If not, send him along or bring him with you. 

Why can t you come to me as well as to go to any other 
watering-place this summer. We are upon Annapolis bay, in 
one of the healthiest locations in the country, and have really 
a fine place. My health was never better than now except a 
cold caught the first night I got into a bed after I left home. 
Our poor boys had a very hard time of it, but I believe we are 
all well paid for it by our acts, which have saved the threatened 
attack on Washington. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 65 

Blanche promised to write you a long letter giving all the 
particulars of my home here, which you will get before this. 

I had quite a levee in my room last night, as they lionize 
me here. Who do you think was amongst my visitors? Mr. 
Vaughan. I had never seen him before, you know, and he was 
so different from my idea. Burlier than I am, shorter, stouter, 
grizzled gray as to hair, face giving strong marks of fast living, 
careless as to dress, looking for all the world like Albert Hil- 
dreth only more squat. You may guess I was a little curious. 
His presence called up many a thought of the past, not un 
pleasant ones, however. 

Yours truly and devotedly, BENJ. 

From General Butler 

WASHINGTON, May 4, 1861 

Lt. Gen. SCOTT, Gen 9 1. -in-Chief 

GENERAL: I send my Brigade Major, who is detailed to 
attend to the movement of the 6th Mass., to hand to you the 
enclosed requisition for Camp & Garrison Equipage for that 
regiment ordered on Dep. Service. I do so because having 
placed the Camp & Garrison Equipage belonging to State 
of Mass., to arrive in the "Cambridge" expected today, at 
your disposition as may be most advantageous to the public 
service, I am unwilling to touch it without your knowledge 
and approval. The 5th Mass. Regt. now quartered in the 
Treasury desire, there being no reason to the contrary, to 
retain those quarters. I would take the liberty to suggest that 
the Camp Equipage destined for the 5th Regt. be appropriated 
to the 1st Zouaves, who, it appears, it would be well to remove 
to some point where they can be put under canvas immedi 
ately. I trust the Genl. -in-chief will pardon this on my part, 
as leaving immediately for Annapolis I could not call in person 
to report. 

From General Scott 

Head Quarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, May 6, 1861 

Brig. General B. F. BUTLER, ANNAPOLIS, MD. 

THE railroad from the junction to this place is not guarded. 
This surprises me. Please supply this deficiency. 

WINFIELD SCOTT 



VOL. I 5 



66 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Department of Annapolis, May 6th, 1861 

Lt. Gen. SCOTT 

GENERAL: In obedience to your command, I have occupied 
the station at the Relay House, nine miles from Baltimore, 
with the 8th New York Regiment. I learned, however, that 
a force of two regiments of Dragoons had been raised, and 
were in force at "Ellicott s Mills," some 8 miles from this point, 
and I therefore ordered up Cook s Light Battery, Mass. Vol 
unteer Militia, which was with me at Annapolis, and, as I was 
moving them from the Capitol, Jones 6th Regiment, Mass. 
joined me, so that I am here in considerable force, viz. : 

Col. Lyons 8th 1000 men 

Col. Jones 600 men 

Maj. Cook 100 men 



1700 men 

I have placed two of my Howitzers so as to Command the 
Viaduct, have placed a sufficient guard to prevents its de 
struction, and have occupied the Station House. 

An officer has been detailed to examine the trains and stop 
all armed bodies of men, arms, and munition of war. Before 
we put the trains under surveillance, however, a squad of 
some ten or twelve men passed up the road to join the traitors 
at Harper s Ferry. They put the freight train of this morning 
under contribution, and before I heard of them, passed some 
8 miles along the road, plundering the Country people. All 
such irregularities will be promptly suppressed hereafter. A 
matter of doubt has arisen in this direction. A Burden train 
passed up laden with Wheat, Whiskey, Spades, Picks, and 
Shovels, all of which were marked for Virginia. In the doubt, 
without consulting me, the officer in charge let the train pass. 
Until further Orders what shall be done in this class of cases? 

I learn that I am in the immediate neighborhood where 
Maj. Genl. Carroll has his residence, a Gentleman who is most 
bitter in his hostility to the Government, who ordered out the 
troops under his command to oppose the passage of the U. S. 
troops across Baltimore. Two Companies of Cavalry alone 
responded to the call from this vicinity, commanded by Cap 
tain W. H. Dorsey and Capt. Geo. Gathez, both violent 
rebels, who have more than once put themselves in a hostile 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 67 

attitude to the U. S., and have conducted themselves with 
much violence, and are now in fact in Arms against the Union, 
although nominally holding commission under the Governor 
of Maryland. Can anything be done with them? Might they 
not be arrested, and at least retained till we are certain what 
will be the disposition of Maryland. But this is a matter for 
your better judgment. I find the people here exceedingly 
friendly, and I have no doubt that with my present force I 
could march through Baltimore. I am the more convinced of 
this because I learn for several days many of the armed seces 
sionists have left for Harper s Ferry, or have gone forth plun 
dering the Country. 

I trust my acts will meet your approbation whatever you 
may think of my suggestions. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully Your Obt. Servt. BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From Henry F. French 1 

BOSTON, May 6, 1861 

MY DEAR GENERAL: Boston smiled approvingly this morn 
ing upon your reply to General Scott that you would hold 
religious services yesterday at the Relay House ! The religious 
element in the Puritan army, so appropriately recognized, 
will render its banners triumphant as well as sacred. We 
watch with deep interest your movements, and are proud to 
find Massachusetts always foremost in good deeds of arms, 
as of all others. 

"Silent leges inter arma" is the motto of the war here. 
The Courts came in this week, after two weeks recess, but I 
think very little will be done. The flush of excitement is 
passing away, but the whole people respond to Mr. Seward s 
sentiments in his instructions to our minister to France. 

We see but one way, & that is to crush out this rebellion, 
then we and our children may have peace under a Republican 
government, and not otherwise. I think the people may be 
relied upon for anything that is necessary. Waiting till autumn 
before any active movement will be harder for us than any 
active measures that could reasonably be asked. Our consid 
erate and conservative men, like Judge Parker of Cambridge, 
think we shall gain strength by drilling our troops and making 
preparations till hot weather is over, before descending upon 
the South, leaving the Confederates, in the meantime, to 

1 General Butler s law partner. 



68 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

maintain their forces at their numerous exposed points as 
best they can. No idea seems to be entertained by anybody, 
unless by General Pierce & Gen. Gushing, that any compromise 
is possible. We accept war as the last only resort, deliberately, 
and give our sons and our fortunes readily as pledges that we 
are in earnest. 

A friend from St. Louis writes me that a struggle is expected 
there. He says the power that controls the arsenal controls 
the whole region, and he trusts that Blair and other true men 
are ready there for the emergency. 

In the office, we go along pleasantly. I wrote you at Wash 
ington that your interest & mine required that you should 
publish here a card stating that you had arranged with me to 
assist your partner in your absence, & commending your clients 
to my tender care. There is a little awkwardness in my an 
nouncing myself as I have to in the Courts, &c., as your rep 
resentative. Send me a few lines to the purpose if you think 
proper. Your own interest requires it, as well as mine. We 
expect to hear of you, if not from you. 

Your friend, HENRY F. FRENCH 

From General Scott 

Head Quarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, May 1th, 1861 

Brig. General B. F. BUTLER, Comd g etc. Relay House 

GENERAL: The General-in-Chief directs me to acknowledge 
the receipt of your letter of the 6th instant, and to say in 
reply that in regard to the arresting of persons who commit 
acts of hostility to the Government you are clothed with the 
same authority which has been conferred upon him, and he 
has confidence in your discreet exercise of it. 

In relation to the surveillance of trains passing into Virginia, 
the General approves it, and only regrets the supplies Contra 
band of War, entrenching tools included, were not detained. 

An officer of Engineers has been ordered to report to you. 
The General does not desire you to remain longer at the Relay 
House than you deem your presence there of importance. I 
have the honor to be, Sir, 

Very respectfully Your Obt. Servt., 

E. D. TOWNSEND, Asst. Adjt. General 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 69 

From John Sherman 

GEN. BUTLER: I am the bearer of a communication to 
General Patterson of which the within is a copy. I am re 
quested by General Scott to furnish this for your information. 

JOHN SHERMAN 

Communication referred to in Foregoing Letter 

Head Quarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, May 7, 1861 

Major General PATTERSON U.S.A., Commanding 

SIR: An arrangement has been made with the Baltimore 
and Ohio Railroad Company by which Mr. Fall will send a 
steamer from Baltimore to Perry ville this evening to receive 
troops at the latter place tomorrow morning, and bringing 
them to Baltimore immediately to be landed at the Railroad 
transportation Depot near Fort McHenry, and brought 
through this city to Washington. The Mayor and Police of 
Baltimore will cooperate to prevent any disturbance. A trans 
port is ordered from Annapolis to unite with the steamer in 
bringing troops. They or any others now at Perry ville may 
be used. It is important that this command be promptly 
executed, that the troops may arrive at Baltimore and come 
through by daylight. 

If no volunteers are at Perry ville ready to come forward, 
send some companies to-day or to-night from Philadelphia, and 
if necessary to complete equipment use Frankfort and Schuyl- 

Yours with high respect, WINFIELD SCOTT 

This is the opening of daily communication between Phila 
delphia and Washington for public travel including United 

States Troops. , X7 a 

WINFIELD SCOTT 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Deprtmt. of Annapolis, May 8th, 1861 

Hon. Secretary of War and Lt. Gen. W. SCOTT 

SIRS : I have given orders to detain all provisions and muni 
tions of war which are attempted to be passed westward. I 
have given special directions for careful examinations of the 
Express Companies to prevent them from carrying Caps of 
which the Rebels are in great need. I have not as yet examined 
passengers baggage although large quantities of caps might be 



70 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

easily forwarded under such designations. I await your direc 
tions upon this subject. 

At first I was inclined to permit and did permit provisions 
passing to Western Virginia, but I am not convinced of the 
good faith of those consignments, and I have therefore ordered 
all provisions to be stopped, revising my original Order. 

I have permitted groceries (proper) to be sent forward, such 
as coffee, sugar, spices, fruits, etc., etc. Since I have given 
the Order, I have had a very full conversation with the Presi 
dent of the Baltimore and Ohio R.R., Mr. Garrett, who ex 
presses doubts as to the policy we are pursuing. He avers 
that we are receiving much larger supplies of provisions from 
the West than we can by any possibility cut off, and that Gov. 
Dennison of Ohio is most anxious to reopen communications 
through for the purpose of sending forward live stock, that no 
portions of the trains have been stopped or detained at Har 
per s Ferry, and that there may be hereafter no retaliation. 
And that it becomes important that the miners of Cumber 
land and West Virginia should receive their supplies from 
Baltimore, from whence he avers they receive the most of 
their cured provisions. Although they have not stopped 
provisions on the trains at Harper s Ferry, they have stopped 
live stock, and the sheep about which I wrote in my former 
dispatch had gone from our reach before I received the orders 
from the Department. At present I am returning these pro 
visions and stores to the consigners at Baltimore. Although 
they would be of great use to the troops at Washington, send 
ing them back will save complications, but will probably 
result in their being sent forward by a more circuitous route. 

Companies of Volunteer troops are passing within about six 
miles of me daily. I have been in doubt whether or not to 
stop them, the principal question being not of our ability so 
to do, but what we should do with them after we have detained 
them. I await instructions upon this point; also, I should 
apply for instructions. I have forwarded this in duplicate to 
the Commanding General and to the War Department. I 
have been called upon by an association of Butchers and Pro 
vision dealers from Baltimore who desire that an order shall be 
transmitted from the Commanding General allowing certain cat 
tle, now stopped at Bellair, to be transported via Harrisburg to 
Baltimore. I see no objection to such an order, and will see 
that their request be complied with should such order be sent to 
me. I send these despatches by my brother, Col. A. J. Butler, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 71 

who desires to be of any service, and will return any order from 
the department, or General Scott. I have the honor to be, 
Very Respectfully Your Obedt. Servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, General in Command 



By General Butler 

Head Quarters, Relay House, May 8th, 1861 

SPECIAL BRIGADE ORDER 

THE General in command congratulates the troops upon 
the promptness with which they moved and occupied their 
present position, which he believes to be impregnable against 
any force which may be brought against it. The position of 
Major Cook s Battery commanding the Viaduct with his Sec 
tion, in position commanding the Railroad to Harper s Ferry, 
supported by the strong detachment of Col. Jones Regiment 
at the Relay House, renders all movement by the Railroad en 
tirely within our command. The same guns command with 
grape and canister the ford below the Iron-works, while the 
extended picquets of Col. Lyons fully protect the rear. 

The General has been thus particular in describing his posi 
tion so that each portion of the force might know how to con 
duct itself in case of attack, which it requires only vigilance to 
foil. The General takes this opportunity publicly, as he has 
done privately, to thank Lieuts. Fox and Shilley of the 8th 
Regiment for their coolness, promptitude, and zeal in arrest 
ing one "Spencer," who was uttering in presence of the troops 
at the Relay House the atrocious sentiment that "we (mean 
ing himself and brother Rebels) acted rightly toward the 
Massachusetts troops three weeks ago Friday," and saying 
that the murderous mob who killed our friends there were 
right in their action, and that the same men were prepared 
to give us a warm reception on our return. For these treason 
able speeches, substantially admitted by him in his written 
examination, Spencer has been arrested and sent to Annapolis, 
where he will be properly dealt with. Two incidents of the 
gravest character marked the progress of yesterday. Charles 
Leonard, private Co. G, 8th Regiment N. York, was acci 
dentally killed instantaneously by the discharge of a musket 
from which he was drawing the charge. He was buried with 
all the honors amid the gloom and sorrow of every U. S. 
Soldier at this post, and the tender sympathies of many of the 
loyal inhabitants in our neighborhood. 



72 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

It is fitting that we pause here, even in the discharge of 
our present solemn duties, to drop a tear upon the grave of a 
fellow soldier, a friend and brother. A pure patriot, he gave 
up home for his Country; a heroic, conscientious Soldier, he 
died in the act of discharging his duty; and although he was 
not stricken by the hand of death amid the clangor of arms 
and in the heat of contest, yet his death was no less glorious 
because he met it in the quiet performance of his military 
duty. As a citizen he took up arms at his Country s call; as 
a private soldier he sought only to fight in her ranks, and he 
met his death in support of that Flag which we all revere and 
love. The first offering of New York of the life of one of her 
sons upon the Country s altar, his blood mingled in the soil of 
Maryland with that of Massachusetts men murdered at Balti 
more, will form a new bond of Union between us and all loyal 
States ; so that without need of further incentive to our duty we 
are spurred on by the example of the life and death of Leonard. 

The other matter to which the General desires to call the 
attention of the troops is this: Wishing to establish the most 
friendly relations between you and this neighborhood, the 
General invites all venders of supplies to visit our Camp and 
replenish our somewhat scanty Commissariat. But to his 
disgust and sorrow he finds well authenticated evidence that 
a private in the 6th Regiment has been poisoned by means of 
strychnine administered in the food brought into camp by 
one of these pedlars. I am happy to be informed that the 
man is out of danger. 

This act, of course, will render it necessary for me to cut 
off all purchases from unauthorized persons. Are our few 
insane enemies among the loyal men of Maryland prepared to 
wage war upon us in this manner? Do they know the terrible 
lesson of warfare they are teaching us? Can it be that they 
realize the fact that with a word we can put an agent into every 
household armed with this terrible weapon? In view of the ter 
rible consequences of this mode of warfare if adopted by us from 
their teaching, with every sentiment of devotional prayer, may 
we not exclaim, "Father forgive them, for they know not what 
they do." Certain it is that any other such attempt, reason 
ably authenticated as to the person committing it, will be fol 
lowed by the swiftest, surest, and most condign punishment. 

Col. Jones will furnish one Company of men with two days 
rations in their haversacks for special duty, and a wagon with 
six horses to report at Head Quarters when sent for. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 73 

Major Cook will mount sixteen of his men as dragoons 
under command of a Lieutenant, and report for like special 
duty with two days rations and a wagon with six horses, to 
report at Head Quarters when sent for. 

Colonels Lyons, Jones, and Major Cook are charged with 
the execution of this Order so far as relates to their several 
commands, and they will promulgate the same by causing it 
to be read distinctly at the Head of each Company at morning 

ro11 CalL By Order of B. F. BUTLER 

From Lieutenant Colonel Schuyler Hamilton 

ANNAPOLIS, May 8, 1861 

MY DEAR GENERAL: I reported yesterday to General Scott. 
He mentioned he had received all your letters, and approved 
of everything. He sent last night a dispatch for your perusal 
to be forwarded. Nothing has been heard of the "Cambridge." 
Senator Rice desired me to thank you for your kindness to his 
friend Mr. Newbold. General Scott said an engineer would 
be sent to you to-day. Your brother will send forward tonight 
the few picks and shovels he can get for you. Can you not 
procure a supply of these from Baltimore? I took the liberty 
to suggest to General Scott that Lieut. Bell of the U.S.A., a 
clever officer, should be sent from the Junction to the Relay 
to attend to the purchase and giving receipts for articles fur 
nished at your command. I have also asked General Pierce 
to hold in hand some buck and ball cartridges for the old 
pattern muskets, most excellent for the defence of such a 
position as yours at Relay, so that it might be sent forward 
when you should so order, you having ascertained the number 
of old pattern muskets in your command, and quantity wanted. 

The Quarter Master at Philadelphia has tents; you can 
can get them by a requisition on him if you choose to let them 
be sent thro Baltimore. If hutted you will not need them. 

Major Clemence is here and well. A mustering officer is to be 
sent forward. God bless you, my dear General, and believe me, 

Very truly yours, 
SCHUYLER HAMILTON, MiVy. Sect, to Gen l. in Chief 

P.S. So soon as you can be spared you are wanted here 
very much. It is said troops on road are somewhat irregular, 
too much whiskey. When you come down you had better 
give an eye to this. 



74 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Annapolis, May 9th, 1861 

To the Post-Master General 

SIR : The matter of Mail facilities at this post are of moment 
to the troops, as well those here as those who having passed 
through here are addressed by their friends at this point. 

To meet a present necessity I have improvised a Mail 
Agency here which has worked great facility to our men in 
communicating with their homes. As many as 600-700 daily 
letters are here transmitted, involving great labor. The town 
has substantially no Mail business in comparison. The men 
cannot, with proper regard to discipline and the quiet of the 
citizens, be allowed to go out in town to get their letters. May 
I ask, therefore, of the Department that either this Military 
Depot be made a Post Office, or what would be quite as well 
that a Post-master be appointed for this town who has the 
knowledge of the troops and the manner of forwarding letters 
to them. 

For either of these places I would recommend Mr. Alanson 
Crane, a gentleman of probity and honor, who, although a 
civilian, volunteered to come with us and aid as much as in 
him lay to uphold our cause. He is now acting in forwarding 
Mail matters, and is exceedingly efficient. The Department 
will think no worse of him that he at the last election supported 
the present administration. I have sent my brother, Col. A. J. 
Butler, to represent this matter in person. I have the Honor 
to be, 

Very respectfully your Obt. Servt., 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From Governor Andrew 

BOSTON, May 9th, 1861 

Brig. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

SHOULD I send you 6 Companies by our "Cambridge" 
Steamer to Annapolis, enlisted for 3 years & to be added to 
your forces now in the field, would they be mustered in without 
prejudicing my claim for 6 full three-years Regiments under 
president s proclamation? 

JNO. A. ANDREW, Gov. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 75 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

ANNAPOLIS, May 9th, 1861 

MY DEAR WIFE: Why don t you write to me? Not one 
word have I had from you except by Harriet. You telegraphed 
me you would write. Where is the letter? The newspapers 
tell you every move I make, but the newspapers do not tell 
me of the loved ones at home. Amid all this turmoil and 
excitement the heart turns homeward. If I have achieved 
anything, I desire to share it with you, even though you 
should undervalue it, as you are apt to do. Don t misunder 
stand that last line. I mean no man is a hero to his wife. She 
sees too much of him in his unheroic moods. 

You had much better come here than go elsewhere this 
summer. Put the horses out to pasture in some safe place, 
and reduce the establishment as much as possible. For weeks 
at least I shall be here or about here making this my home. 
Send Gilman to me, or rather bring him with you, and you 
may bring the English Groom if he will come. I can employ 
both him and his wife, if she is willing to make herself useful. 
They must not expect high wages. 

The next must be strictly confidential. Parker wants to come 
out here. I do not want him. I do not desire my relations 
here in a very subordinate capacity, as he must be. Let 
Goodwin retain him in the Post Office. He will if Fisher 
asks it. 

We shall have a pleasant enough family, pleasant music 
which is now playing under my window. You will not be 
obliged to go off alone to hear it, a quiet home with just 
enough of excitement to make it interesting. Your care will 
be over me if I am sick, as I am now troubled with a little 
touch of my old complaint. 1 

From General Scott 

Head Quarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, D.C. May 10th, 1861 

Brig. Gen. BUTLER, Comd g Dept. of ANNAPOLIS, MD. 

GENERAL: I am directed by the General-in-Chief to com 
municate to you the following decisions from the Sec. of War, 
in reply to your highly interesting letter of May 8th, 1861, in 
reference to affairs at Relay House near Baltimore, Md. 

1 The old complaint was due to the poisoning of all the guests at the National 
Hotel in Washington in 1860. 



76 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

You are hereby directed to examine the baggage of passengers 
going west from Baltimore, seizing all caps and munitions of 
war, also to stop all provisions going west, returning them to 
the consignees. As to groceries, you may permit them to 
pass if you deem it expedient. You will allow the Volunteers 
referred to in your paper to pass unmolested, and give orders 
for the cattle at Bellair to pass to Baltimore as suggested. 
I need not add that your course is fully approved by the War 
Department. I am Sir, 

Very respectfully, Your obt. Servant, 

E. D. TOWNSEND, Asst. Adjt. Gen. 

From General Butler 

UNOFFICIAL. Headquarters, Department of Annapolis, May 10th, 1861 

His Excellency GOVERNOR ANDREW 

DEAR SIR: I have taken the liberty to permit the publica 
tion of your despatch of April 25th, 1 and my vindication of 
my action, pertaining thereto. I am impelled to this because 
the substance of your dispatch to me has been given to the 
public from Boston through the columns of the Tribune, with 
strictures upon my conduct. 

This could not have been without the sanction of the ex 
ecutive Department in some of its branches. Pardon me 
if I have erred in the publication, but justice to myself re 
quired it. 

Perhaps your Excellency may choose to have our corre 
spondence published officially. If so, I have no objection. 
Most truly your friend, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

Extract from N. Y. Tribune referred to in Foregoing Letter 

THERE is a good deal of talk here about Gen. Butler s offer 
to the Massachusetts troops to put down a local slave insur 
rection. There is no disposition to criticize incidental move 
ments, especially with imperfect information, but Gen. Butler 
gets no praise from any quarter for taking this course. I do 
not think the most radical of the Abolitionists desire to see a 
general insurrection. I know that the project of encouraging 
independent armed movements in Virginia have been dis 
cussed here, but the men classed as "fanatics" do not give 
this any countenance at present. John Brown Jr. arrived here 

1 See ante, p. 37. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 77 

on Thursday, and, though he is quite willing, no doubt, to 
visit the scene of his father s exploits, he fully agrees that an 
expedition of this kind would be unwise just now. The reports 
as to his camp of 400 negroes, in Ohio or Pennsylvania, are 
wholly destitute of truth. The anti-slavery men do not mean 
to run the risk of disturbing the present movements by any 
interference of their own. But the use of Massachusetts troops 
to put down insurrections of loyal colored people against 
tyrannical and domineering Secession traitors, is quite another 
thing. In a war to put down rebels and traitors, all well dis 
posed and loyal people, black and white, ought to be protected 
and harbored, and defended by the forces of our government, 
instead of being persecuted by them. Gen. Butler, judging 
by the knowledge, imperfect to be sure, which we have, has 
been guilty of a military blunder, which he will not be likely 
to repeat when the fight begins in earnest. This act of his, if 
it is countenanced by the General Government (it certainly is 
not by Gov. Andrew), is, when taken in connection with the 
facts that the rebels are arming the negroes, who are loyal to 
them, a very rich instance of that devotion to old fashioned 
and foolish notions, of comity and Constitutional obligation 
which is bad enough in times of peace, but absolutely intol 
erable in times of rebellion. 

While the policy of the anti-slavery men is at present such 
as I have indicated, it is by no means certain that events may 
not compel the Government itself to take a different course. 
We have daily accounts of the accepting and arming of colored 
men by the Secessionists, to fight against the Government. 
If our Generals and criminals continue the policy of volun 
teering to put down slave insurrections, and returning run 
away slaves, how long will it be before the slaves will come to 
the conclusion that the Northern people are their worst 
enemies? When the slave-holders become hard pushed, they 
may, and will, put pikes into the hands of the whole slave 
population, and compel them to fight us and they may not 
need much urging. 

Jeff Davis and Gov. Wise may, for the time being, assume 
the character of emancipators, and beat us at our own game. 
It is of the utmost importance that the colored people, free 
and Northern and Southern, should understand that the 
Government and the Northern people are not their enemies 
but their friends. 

(William S. Robinson, Boston Correspondent, May 4, 1861) 



78 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Governor Hicks 

FREDERICK CITY, May Wth, 61 

Brig. General B. F. BUTLER 

DEAR SIR : I received this day a letter from one of the most 
prominent citizens of Annapolis, informing me that several 
free negroes have gone to Annapolis with your troops, either 
as servants or camp followers; that they are armed and inso 
lent; that they seek the company of and are corrupting our 
slaves. Also, that, on the 7th instant, two of the negroes 
grossly insulted a store-keeper in Annapolis, and drew their 
pistol with threats to shoot him. 

I respectfully suggest to you that the mere presence of 
these negroes in our state is a violation of our Statutes; and 
even if they should comport themselves in an orderly manner 
the General Government ought not (to) tolerate a violation of 
our Laws by permitting them to accompany its troops. You 
can readily see that their presence here will be provocative of 
disorder and ill-feeling. I am sure you desire nothing of the 
kind, and I much urge you to send them back, and to permit 
no more to come here. 

Under all the circumstances I have deemed it my duty to 
inform you of this matter, in the hope that you will redress it 
without necessitating me to order the civil authorities to en 
force the law in the regard I have mentioned. I should regret 
to have to do this, inasmuch as the feelings of our people 
in reference to the presence among us of your troops has 
materially softened; and as an effort on my part to preserve 
the dignity of our laws in this regard might tend to produce 
an asperity of feeling which I particularly desire to avoid. 
Very Respectfully, Your obedient Servant, 

THOMAS H. HICKS 



From Adjutant General William Schouler 

BOSTON, May llth, 1861 

Brig. Gen l. BUTLER 

MY DEAR GENERAL: You are doing a glorious work, and 
your name is blessed throughout the Old Commonwealth. 

I want you to telegraph me whether the Secretary of War 
will allow us to fill up the deficiencies in the Companies now 
at the seat of war from Massachusetts to the full standard, 
providing the men will enlist for three years, or to the end of 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 79 

the war. We have thousands of men who want to go and keep 
our Regiments and Companies full all the time. 

When a Massachusetts man falls in the field we want another 
to stand in his tracks. We could send on five new Regiments, 
all three-years men, and also fill up our Companies and Regi 
ments if the Government will allow us to do so. It is this doubt 
which causes us to withhold doing what you ask for. 

Yours truly, WM. SCHOULER, Adjt. Gen. 

Remember me to the boys from the Old Commonwealth. 
God bless you! 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, Council Chamber 

BOSTON, May I3th, 1861 

General BUTLER 

GENERAL: His Excellency, Governor Andrew, has the honor 
to acknowledge the receipt from you, by the hands of Captain 
Chamberlin, of despatches accompanied by a letter dated May 
10th, and marked, "unofficial," which letter only he has yet 
read, and without having yet examined the despatches he 
directs me to call your attention particularly to the following 
passage in which you say: 

"I have taken the liberty to permit the publication of your 
despatch of April 25th, and my vindication of my action per 
taining thereto. I am impelled to this because the substance 
of your despatch to me has been given to the public from 
Boston through the columns of the Tribune, with strictures 
upon my conduct. This could not have been without the 
sanction of the executive Department in some of its branches." 

To this His Excellency directs me to reply that neither his 
despatch to you of the date mentioned, nor any portion of it, 
nor the substance of it, has been communicated to the Tribune 
or to any other newspaper, or been examined or seen by any 
person whose official business did not necessarily make the 
knowledge of its contents an official duty. On the contrary, 
His Excellency, from an accurate sense of propriety, has even 
refused to communicate, unofficially, his individual opinions 
on the subject of said despatch when they were respectfully 
asked for by an eminent member of the legal profession in 
this city. 

His Excellency regards your publication as indecorous, and 
inconsistent with the character of Government despatches and 



80 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the relations of officers to each other, especially in view of 
the fact that thereby despatches are communicated to the 
public before ever they have reached him through official 
channels. I have the honor to be, 

Very Respectfully, Your obed t. Servt. 

A. G. BROWNE, JR., Private Secretary 

From General Scott 

Head Quarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, D.C. May 13th, 1861 

Brig. Genl. BENJ. F. BUTLER, Com dg. Dept. of ANNAPOLIS, 

MD. 

GEN L: General Scott desires me to inform you that he 
has received information, believed to be reliable, that several 
Tons of Gunpowder designed for those unlawfully combined 
against the Government are stored in a Church in Baltimore, 
somewhere in the neighborhood of Calhoun St., between 
Baltimore & Fayette Sts. He invites your attention to this 

* Very Respectfully etc. 9 

SCHUYLER HAMILTON, Lieut. Col. & Mily. Secy. 

From General Scott 

Head Quarters of the Army, WASH. D.C., May 13, 1861 

Brig. Genl. BUTLER, Comd g Depart, of ANNAPOLIS, MD. 

GENERAL: General Scott desires me to invite your atten 
tion to certain guilty parties in Baltimore, viz: to those con 
nected with the gun & military cloths seized by your troops, 
as well as to the Baker who furnishes supplies of bread for 
Harper s Ferry. 

It is probable that you will find them on inquiry proper 
subjects for seizure and incarceration. He acknowledges 
your telegram of this morning, and he is happy to find that 
Baltimore is within your Department. 

Very Respectfully, etc., 
SCHUYLER HAMILTON, Lieut. Col. & Mily. Secy. 

From Mrs. Butler to Mrs. Heard 

ANNAPOLIS, May 13th, 1861 

DEAR HARRIET: Mr. Crane goes to Lowell today, and 
offers to bring Paul back with him. If he stays several days 
you may have time to get Paul ready. But, if you think you 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 81 

cannot, let it alone until there is another opportunity. You 
must buy cotton hose, collars, pair of gloves, belts, and what 
ever you think is proper for him to have. Will his shirts an 
swer? If not, make him a pair. Send both velvet coats. If 
you put his clothes in a trunk, send my purple silk and white 
wreath, Lotie s pink dress and purple wreath, forks and spoons, 
and my black dress and furred jacket, if there is room. Tell 
Mr. Crane to be careful of the trunk on account of the silver. 
I should like two or three volumes of Shakespeare. In fact, 
I don t know what I want, and it is useless for me to particu 
larize any more. I leave it to you about sending him, as you 
may think there is not time to get him ready. 

Best love to all. 

SARAH 

(On card) 

DEAR HARRIET : You may as well send all the silver except 
what you want. Take Blanche s trunk. 

From Mayor Brown 

Mayor s Office, City Hall, BALTIMORE, May 13th, 1861, 8 P.M. 

Gen 1. B. F. BUTLER, U. S. A. 

SIR: I have just been informed that you have arrived at 
the Camden Station with a large body of troops under your 
command. As the sudden arrival of such a force will create 
much surprise in the Community, I beg to be informed whether 
you propose that it shall remain at the Camden Station, so 
that the Police may be notified and proper precaution may be 
taken to prevent any disturbance of the peace. 

Your obedt. Servant, GEO. WM. BROWN, Mayor 

From General Butler 

May 13th, 1861 

Major MORRIS, United States Army, Commanding Fort 

McHenry 

I HAVE taken possession of Baltimore. My troops are on 
Federal Hill, which I can hold with the aid of my artillery. If 
I am attacked to-night, please open upon Monument Square 
with your mortars. I will keep the hill fully lighted with fires 
during the night so that you may know where we are and 
not hit us. Major Devens will know my handwriting. 



VOL. I 6 



82 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 
From Captain D. H. Williams 

Superintendents Office, Calvert Station, BALTIMORE, May 14, 1861 

Brig. Gen l. B. F. BUTLER, Comm d g. Dept. Annapolis, 
Federal Hill, BALTIMORE 

GENERAL: I have been unable to communicate with York 
or Philadelphia by telegraph, but I leave here at 1 A.M. with 
the General Superintendent, Mr. Clark, for York by special 
train. 

I will have you in communication with the General com 
manding at York as soon as the telegraph lines are open. I 
shall request 4 to 5 Regiments to be put in motion immedi 
ately, unless I hear otherwise from you. 

Address me by telegraph from this (Calvert Station), which 
is a military office, to care Brig. Gen l. J. S. Negley, Camp 

Scott, York, Pa. D ,- 77 v , , 

Respectfully, Your obt. servt., 

D. H. WILLIAMS, Capt. and acting Aid-de-camp 
From Richard Fay, Jr. to General Butler 

RELAY STATION, May 14th, 1861 

MY DEAR GENERAL: I have telegraphed and now write the 
difficulties we are in here, and enclose a very rough abstract 
of Gen. Mansfield s orders and your own, to show the utter 
impossibility of harmonizing them. 

I took care to get the tents, etc. ordered by you, off before 
Col. Hinks had time to agree with Col. Lyons about stopping 
them. It will be a warm night, and there are so many huts in 
Jones s camp, where I have put Hinks that they will not suffer, 
but they have absolutely no cooking utensils. 

A friend in Frederick telegraphed me, my friend has re 
turned and advices me to be at the 2:47 train. If he is in it, 
I shall go to Annapolis. Otherwise I shall go to Bait, to receive 
your orders about these Regts. in person. If I do not, or at 
any rate, perhaps, allow me to suggest that you had best 
instruct and send some one at the earliest opportunity or you 
will have to shoot Lyons for mutiny and administer restora 
tives to Hinks for despair. 

Truly yours in haste, RICH. S. FAY, JR. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 83 

Proclamation by General Butler to the Citizens of Baltimore 

Department of Annapolis, Federal Hill, BALTIMORE, May 14, 1861 

A DETACHMENT of the forces of the Federal government, 
under my command, have occupied the city of Baltimore for 
the purpose, among other things, of enforcing respect and 
obedience to the laws, as well of the state, if requested thereto 
by the civil authorities, as of the United States laws, which 
are being violated within its limits by some malignant and 
traitorous men; and in order to testify the acceptance by the 
Federal government of the fact that the city and all the well- 
intentioned portion of its inhabitants are loyal to the Union 
and to the Constitution, and are to be so regarded and treated 
by all. To the end, therefore, that all misunderstanding of the 
purpose of the government may be prevented, and to set at 
rest all unfounded, false, and seditious rumors; to relieve all 
apprehensions, if any are felt, by the well-disposed portion of 
the community; and to make it thoroughly understood by all 
traitors, their aiders and abettors, that rebellious acts must 
cease; I hereby, by the authority vested in me as commander 
of the department of Annapolis, of which Baltimore forms a 
part, do now command and make known that no loyal and 
well-disposed citizen will be disturbed in his lawful occupation 
or business; that private property will not be interfered with 
by the men under my command, or allowed to be interfered 
with by others, except in so far as it may be used to afford aid 
and comfort to those in rebellion against the government 
whether here or elsewhere, all of which property, munitions 
of war, and that fitted to aid and support the rebellion, will be 
seized and held subject to confiscation, and, therefore, all 
manufacturers of arms and munitions of war are hereby re 
quested to report to me forthwith, so that the lawfulness of 
their occupation may be known and understood, and all mis 
construction of their doings be avoided. No transportation 
from the city to the rebels of articles fitted to aid and support 
troops in the field will be permitted; and the fact of such 
transportation, after the publication of this proclamation, 
will be taken and received as proof of illegal intention on the 
part of the consignors, and will render the goods liable to 
seizure and confiscation. 

The government being now ready to receive such stores and 
supplies, arrangements will be made to contract for them im 
mediately to the owners; and manufacturers of such articles 



84 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

of equipment and clothing, and munitions of war and pro 
visions, are desired to keep themselves in communication with 
the commissary -general, in order that their workshops may 
be employed for loyal purposes, and the artisans of the city 
resume and carry on their profitable occupations. 

The acting assistant-quartermaster and commissary of sub 
sistence of the United States here stationed has been instructed 
to proceed and furnish, at fair prices, 40,000 rations for the 
use of the army of the United States; and further supplies 
will be drawn from the city to the full extent of its capacity, if 
the patriotic and loyal men choose so to furnish supplies. 

All assemblages, except the ordinary police, of armed bodies 
of men, other than those regularly organized and commissioned 
by the state of Maryland, and acting under the orders of the 
governor thereof for drill and other purposes, are forbidden 
within the department. 

All officers of the militia of Maryland having command 
within the limits of the department are requested to report 
through their officers forthwith to the general in command, 
so that he may be able to know and distinguish the regularly 
commissioned and loyal troops of Maryland from armed bodies 
who may claim to be such. 

The ordinary operations of the corporate government of 
the city of Baltimore, and of the civil authorities, will not be 
interfered with; but, on the contrary, will be aided by all the 
power of the commanding general upon proper call being made; 
and all such authorities are cordially invited to co-operate 
with the general in command to carry out the purposes set 
forth in the proclamation, so that the city of Baltimore may 
be shown to the country to be what she is in fact, patriotic and 
loyal to the Union, the Constitution, and the laws. 

No flag, banner, ensign, or device of the so-called Confed 
erate States, or any of them, will be permitted to be raised or 
shown in this department; and the exhibition of either of 
them by evil-disposed persons will be deemed, and taken to 
be, evidence of a design to afford aid and comfort to the ene 
mies of the country. To make it the more apparent that the 
government of the United States far more relies upon the 
loyalty, patriotism, and zeal of the good citizens of Baltimore 
and vicinity than upon any exhibition of force calculated to 
intimidate them into that obedience to the laws, which the 
government doubts not will be paid from inherent respect and 
love of order, the commanding general has brought to the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 85 

city with him, of the many thousand troops in the immediate 
neighborhood, which might be at once concentrated here, 
scarcely more than an ordinary guard; and, until it fails 
him, he will continue to rely upon that loyalty and patriotism 
of the citizens of Maryland which have never yet been found 
wanting to the government in time of need. The general in 
command desires to greet and treat in this part of his depart 
ment all the citizens thereof as friends and brothers, having a 
common purpose, a common loyalty, and a common country. 
Any infractions of the laws by the troops under his command, 
or any disorderly, unsoldierlike conduct, or any interference 
with private property, he desires to have immediately reported 
to him, and pledges himself that if any soldier so far forgets 
himself as to break those laws that he has sworn to defend and 
enforce, he shall be most rigorously punished. 

The general believes that if the suggestions and requests 
contained in this proclamation are faithfully carried out by 
the co-operation of all good and Union-loving citizens, and 
peace, and quiet, and certainty of future peace and quiet are 
thus restored, business will resume its accustomed channels, 
trade take the place of dullness and inactivity, efficient labor 
displace idleness, and Baltimore will be in fact what she is 
entitled to be, in the front rank of the commercial cities of 
the nation. 

Given at Baltimore the day and year herein first above 
written. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Brigadier-general commanding 

department of Annapolis 

From General Scott 

Headquarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, D.C. May 14>th, 1861 

Brig. Gen 9 1. B. F. BUTLER, Comm d g Dept. of Annapolis 

SIR: Your hazardous occupation of Baltimore was made 
without my knowledge and of course without my approbation. 
It is a God-send that it was without conflict of Arms. It is 
also reported that you sent a detachment to Frederick, but 
this is impossible. Not a word have I received from you as 
to either movement. Let me hear from you. 

Very Respectfully Yours, WINFIELD SCOTT 

This letter was received at } past 8 o clock on Wednesday morning May 15th. 



86 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Colonel Blanton Duncan 

HARPER S FERRY, May 15th, 1861 

Gen. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BUTLER, Viceroy of Lincoln for 

the Province of Maryland 

SIR : My attention having today been called to a proclama 
tion signed by you, I regret to inform you that your orders 
have been infringed. The paragraph I refer to is, "No flag, 
banner, ensign, or device of the so-called Confederate States, 
or any of them, will be permitted to be raised or shown in this 
Department." I regret that you should not sooner have in 
formed us of your desire in this matter, as the Kentuckians here 
occupying the Maryland heights have nailed one of those "de 
vices" to the top of a pine, and have sworn not to take it down. 
As they, however, are very few in numbers, not over 600, and 
are utterly inefficient in the use of fire-arms, I trust that you 
will forthwith dispatch a few trusty warriors to take it down. 

Very Respectfully, Your admirer, 
BLANTON DUNCAN, Col. Comm d g. 1st Regt. Ky. Vols. 

P.S. While I endorse the above, I have to inform you that 
not being aware of any law of the late State of Maryland against 
the exhibition of such "flag, banner, ensign or other device" 
as you refer to, I have caused one to be hoisted at the Point of 
Rocks, which will probably remain there until taken down by 
the authorities of said State, or persons acting under your order. 

Your obedient servant, 
BRADLEY JOHNSON, Comm d g. Md. Line 

If not inconvenient to you we would be very much pleased 
to have from you a barrel of oysters, as we experience great 
difficulty in procuring them, and are getting tired of beef and 
bacon. A few soft crabs would not be unpalatable. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia, May 31st, 1861. [_Not in chronological order} 

BLANTON DUNCAN Esq., Col. 

SIR: I regret for your sake and my own that Harper s 
Ferry was not within my Department at the time of issuing 
the order you refer to, and that it is not at present. The order 
will be strictly enforced in this Department, as it would have 
been at Harper s Ferry, if under my command. 

Respectfully, etc., BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. U.S. Vols. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 87 

From General Scott 

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 15th, 1861 

To Brevet Major-General CADWALLADER, or Commanding 

General of BALTIMORE 

IF Brevet Major-General Cadwallader be in Baltimore with 
regiment of Pennsylvanians, let him halt there with them and 
relieve Brigadier-General Butler in command of the Depart 
ment of Annapolis, whereupon the Brigadier will report to 
Fortress Monroe and assume command of that important 

WINFIELD SCOTT 
From General Butler 

Department of Annapolis, BALTIMORE, May 15, 1861 

Gen. CADWALLADER 

SIR: Upon being relieved from charge of this department, I 
have the honor to report the state and condition of the troops 
substantially correct, the details of which may be verified by 
the regimental and other returns. The department of Annap 
olis included Annapolis and twenty miles each side of the 
railroad between Annapolis and Washington as far as Bladens- 
burg. At Annapolis, its Headquarters, there is established a 
Depot of provisions, a hospital for the sick, and barracks for 
the occupancy of troops in transitu. These are all within the 
yard of the Naval School. A railroad has been constructed to 
connect tidewater with the Annapolis and Elk Ridge Railroad, 
and so on via the Junction to Washington. By means of the 
railroad and its equipment four thousand troops may be 
daily passed between Annapolis and Washington Bay, with 
the camp equipage, forage, and provisions. 

The Naval School Yard and principal Depot is occupied by 
the 13th New York, under Colonel Smith, Lt. Colonel com 
mandant of the Post. I found upon my occupation of it that 
the Post was commanded by an eminence on the opposite side 
of the river Severn by a height, on which was an old Redoubt 
called Fort Nonsense, which was made in war of !. This work 
has long since been abandoned, but an enemy with a single 
32 pounder placed within it, and the town of Annapolis would 
be entirely untenable, and the Channel would be wholly 
commanded. 

Below, one fifth of a mile, also commanded by Fort Non 
sense, is a work known as Fort Madison, finished by the U. S. 
Engineer Corps last Autumn, ready for mounting Sea coast 



88 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

guns, and is admirably fitted to command the Channel and 
Harbor. To keep both these works from the enemy, who were 
known to be drilling in some force on the opposite bank of the 
Severn, I caused Fort Nonsense to be occupied by a portion of 
Colonel Pinkney s 6th New York Regiment with two 12 Ib. 
Howitzers, in numbers about 200 men, and a detachment of 
50 men in Fort Madison below. This portion of Colonel 
Pinkney s Command have hutted themselves in their position, 
and are in a very comfortable state as to their mode of living, 
and I think in a very efficient state of defense against any 
force likely to be brought against them. 

At Round Bay, seven miles above, there is an eminence 
known as Mount Misery, which commands the only road on 
that side of the Severn leading from Annapolis to Baltimore, 
and also the entire neck of land between the Creek, Maggothy 
River, and the head of Round Bay. I have caused a small 
Redoubt to be thrown up there and occupied by two 12 pound 
Howitzers, and the remainder of Pinkney s Command, amount 
ing to two hundred and twenty five men. The work approaches 
so near to a sufficient depth of water that in case of attack it 
might be supported by a steamer whose guns would completely 
flank it. 

A system of signals has been arranged as well between this 
point and Fort Nonsense by which help could be called from 
Annapolis in case of attack. The New York 5th Reg t, Colonel 
Pratt, are employed in guarding the railroad from Annapolis 
to the Junction, where his Headquarters and a portion of his 
Regiment are encamped. 

A portion of the New Jersey troops, three companies, are 
employed in guarding the road from the Junction to Bladens- 
burg. I would recommend that the New Jersey troops be 
released at once, as I should have done had not the necessities 
of the Dept. called me to Baltimore. 

There are great complaints of these troops for the inter 
ference with private property. Colonel Pratt is doing his duty 
faithfully and well. At the Relay Station, being the Junction 
of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad with the Washington 
Branch, I have occupied, as the force will be tomorrow under 
the arrangement of which I spoke to you, with two Regiments 
of Massachusetts troops, the 6th and the 8th, amounting in 
all to about 1300 effective men. 

Major Cook s light battery sixty-six pounders are there in 
position, so placed as to command both the Railroad leading 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 89 

to Harper s Ferry and the Viaduct across the Potapsco if it 
becomes necessary. I think that point could be held against 
a very severe attack. To occupy that post fully will require 
the withdrawal of the troops from Federal Hill, which I would 
suggest may be occupied by some portion of the troops under 
your command. The only special instructions which I remem 
ber should be communicated to you is to search all baggage, 
contraband of war, or provisions prior to going West. This 
is now being faithfully executed. 

The proclamation shows the course intended to be pursued by 
myself had I remained in charge of the Department, but I do 
not offer that even as a suggestion to you. Any other infor 
mation by you desired will be cheerfully communicated by 

Your obedient servant, 
B. F. BUTLER, Late Brig. Gen. Comm d g 



General Butler s Response to a Serenade, Tendered him before the 
National Hotel, Washington, D.C. 

May 16, 1861 

FELLOW CITIZENS: Your cheers for the old Commonwealth 
of Massachusetts are rightly bestowed. Foremost in the 
ranks of those who fought for the liberty of the country in the 
revolution were the men of Massachusetts. It is a historical 
fact, to which I take pride in now referring, that in the revolu 
tion Massachusetts sent more men south of Mason and Dixon s 
line to fight for the cause of the country than all the southern 
colonies put together; and in this second war, if war must 
come to proclaim the Declaration of Independence anew, and 
as a necessary consequence establish the Union and the consti 
tution, Massachusetts will give, if necessary, every man in her 
borders, ay, and woman ! I trust I may be excused for speak 
ing thus of Massachusetts; but I am confident there are many 
within the sound of my voice whose hearts beat with proud 
memories of the old Commonwealth. There is this differ 
ence, I will say, between our southern brothers and ourselves, 
that while we love our state with the true love of a son, we 
love the Union and the country with an equal devotion. We 
place no " state rights " before, above, or beyond the Union. To 
us our country is first, because it is our country, and our state 
is next and second, because she is a part of our country, and 
our state. Our oath of allegiance to our country, and our oath 
of allegiance to our state, are interwreathed harmoniously, 



90 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

and never come in conflict or clash. He who does his duty to 
the Union, does his duty to the state; and he who does his 
duty to the state does his duty to the Union - * one inseparable, 
now and forever/ As I look upon this demonstration of yours, 
I believe it to be prompted by a love of the common cause, 
and our common country, a country so great and good, a 
government so kind, so beneficent, that the hand from which 
we have only felt kindness is now for the first time raised in 
chastisement. Many things in a man s life may be worse than 
death. So, to a government, there may be many things, such 
as dishonor and disintegration, worse than the shedding of 
blood. Our fathers purchased our liberty and country for us 
at an immense cost of treasure and blood, and, by the bright 
heavens above us, we will not part with them without first 
paying the original debt and the interest to this date! We 
have in our veins the same blood as they shed; we have the 
same power of endurance, the same love of liberty and law. 
We will hold as a brother him who stands by the Union; we 
will hold as an enemy him who would strike from its constella 
tion a single star. But, I hear some one say, "Shall we carry 
on this fratricidal war? Shall we shed our brother s blood, and 
meet in arms our brothers in the South?" I would say, "As 
our fathers did not hesitate to strike the mother country in 
the defence of our rights, so we should not hesitate to meet 
the brother as they did the mother." If this unholy, this 
fratricidal war, is forced upon us, I say, "Woe, woe to them 
who have made the necessity." Our hands are clean, our 
hearts are pure; but the Union must be preserved at all hazard 
of money, and if need be, of every life this side the arctic 
regions. If the 25,000 northern soldiers who are here are cut 
off, in six weeks 50,000 will take their place, and if they die 
by fever, pestilence, or the sword, a quarter of a million will 
take their place, till our army of the reserve will be women, 
with their broomsticks, to drive every enemy into the gulf. 
I have neither fear nor doubt of the issue. I feel only horror 
and dismay for those who have made the war. God help 
them ! we are here for our rights, for our country, for our flag. 
Our faces are set south, and there shall be no footstep back 
ward. He is mistaken who supposes we can be intimidated 
by threats or cajoled by compromise. The day of compromise 
is past. 

The government must be sustained ; and when it is sustained 
we shall give everybody in the Union their rights under the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 91 

constitution, as we always have, and everybody outside of 
the Union the steel of the Union, till they shall come under 
the Union. It is impossible for me to go on speech-making; 
but if you will go home to your beds, and the government will 
let me, I will go south fighting for the Union, and you will 
follow me. 

From Adjutant R. A. Pierce 

BOSTON, May 15, 1861 

Brig. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

SIR: I have this day had an interview with Gov. Andrew, 
and by his request I write you in relation to sending the six 
companies which you telegraphed might come. In my brief 
conversation with you at Annapolis last Saturday I under 
stood you to say that the six companies might be sent, and 
that you would divide them about among our regiments. And 
that the regiments that have gone to the war may be filled 
up, companies to their 64 privates, and regiments to 10 com 
panies. Am I correct in my recollection? And, if troops can 
be sent as before named, will you please inform His Excellency 
how many you will order immediately, the whole, or a 

Resp. yours, 
R. A. PIERCE, Adjt. 3rd Regt. Infantry 

From Benj. Pond to General Butler 

Wednesday Eve., May 15, 61, 23 Old State House, BOSTON 

DEAR GENERAL: I cannot refrain from expressing to you, 
at the risk of encroaching upon valuable time, the unqualified 
approval expressed in all quarters of your admirable letter 
to Gov. Andrew of May 9, and in quarters you would least 
expect, as by Judge Russell and Major Cobb. It is a matter 
of as much surprise as gratification that you could have found 
time, amidst the perplexities of the camp, to treat in all its 
aspects so delicate a question and in a manner sure to be 
endorsed by old Massachusetts. 

I thought an expression of opinion from a private source, 
however obscure, might not be unacceptable. 

Very truly yours, BENJAMIN POND 



92 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 
From Mrs. Butler to Mrs. Heard 

ANNAPOLIS, May 15, 1861 

DEAR HARRIET: We expected Paul last night, but he has 
not come. If it were now to do I should not send for him. 
We are in a very uncertain state. This Department has 
passed from Mr. Butler. He is now in Washington, and we 
hear will be ordered to Virginia, Fortress Monroe, with ten 
thousand men. 

Of course that way danger lies. Until he returns we are 
at a loss to know what will be done with us. Mr. Butler left 
for Washington Wednesday night, and has not yet returned. 
I had a great mind to have telegraphed to you not to send the 
trunk or Paul, but concluded to let things take their course. 

I have not written these last few days, things have looked 
so critical and indefinite. You have seen by the papers, Mr. 
Butler is a Major General. But the responsibility he will 
take in going to Virginia to my mind is frightful. General 
Cadwallader is willing we should stay here, if we wish. He 
makes his headquarters at Baltimore. I don t know what 
Mr. Butler will decide for us. He will return tonight, and then 
I shall finish this. 

Monday night 

Mr. Butler has just returned. All leave tomorrow night 
for Fortress Monroe. We shall remain here for a little time, 
a week or more, and then follow if we are allowed, or return 
home. Dr. Kimball will be here and at the Fort. He does not 
go for several days. You see we shall be quite alone. This 
is Gen. Cadwallader s Department now, but he has not yet 
arrived and is willing we should remain. But you can see it 
will be lonely. There is much to be done, and we can only 
wait with patience for events. I wish Fisher were here, and 
am going to ask Butler if he can t send for him. But it is 
difficult to find a place that he will suit and that will suit him. 

Paul came this morning, well and happy. I was very glad 
to see him, though he may have to return soon. Blanche s 
letter made quite a laugh. I wish her to write to me often. 
With love to the children, 

Very affectionately, SARAH 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 93 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, May 16th, 1861 

Major General BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, U. S. Volunteers, 
WASHINGTON, D.C. 

SIR: You are hereby informed that the President of the 
United States has appointed you Major General of the Vol 
unteer force raised in conformity with the President s Procla 
mation of May 3rd, 1861, in the service of the United States, 
to rank as such from the sixteenth day of May, one thousand 
eight hundred and sixty one. Should the Senate, at their next 
session, advise and consent thereto, you will be commissioned 
accordingly. 

You will, immediately on receipt hereof, please to commu 
nicate to this Department, through the Adjutant General s 
Office, your acceptance or non-acceptance of said appointment : 

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 



From General Butler 

May 16, 1861 

His Excellency GOVERNOR ANDREW 

I HAVE received a letter, signed by Mr. A. G. Browne, Jr., 
Private Secretary, in which the propriety of my action in 
publishing my despatch by Capt. Chamberlin is commented 
upon as indecorous & inconsistent with the character of Gov 
ernment despatches and the relation of officers to each other. 
I certainly did not suppose that your Excellency communi 
cated any portion of the despatch, or permitted it to be com 
municated, to the public through the newspapers, and I most 
assuredly did not need the certificate of Mr. A. G. Browne, Jr., 
to your Excellency s accurate sense of propriety. But true it 
is that the contents of that despatch were made known to the 
Boston correspondent of the Tribune by some attache of the 
Excellency s Department who had probably been permitted 
to enjoy the dignity of copying it, and as I most thoroughly 
and truly believe that the publication was made without your 
Excellency s knowledge, consent, or approval, I am only 
sorry that it should have been made at all. No one can be 
more fully aware of the impropriety of the publication of 
official despatches than myself, but when such publication 
had been made in one part tending to injure me, what was left 
for me but to make public my answer thereto? As I have 



94 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

about me only faithful gentlemen there is no possible way in 
which the contents of my despatches can steal into the news 
papers without my sending them. So that, if published at 
all, it must be with my fullest sanction. Mr. Browne informs 
me that your Excellency had not read my despatch, and then 
proceeded to read me a lecture upon this necessity that a 
proper Government officer should receive a despatch before 
it is made public. I had taken the fullest care, and I had no 
doubt until better advised that it was successful, to have my 
despatch placed in your Excellency s hands before it was 
published, both packages being sent by the same messenger 
with instructions to deliver the despatch to your Excellency 
before delivering that for publication. If any portion of the 
matter has left the slightest trace of feeling upon your Excel 
lency s mind, & I assure you it has not upon mine, which shall 
dim for a moment the cordial friendship which exists between 
us, it will be a source of lasting regret to me, & will add another 
instance to that which has passed into a proverb, of the mis 
chief that an unfaithful Servant can make. I have the honor 

to be, Most truly, v r . -, 

Your friend & Servant 



From General Scott 

Headquarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, May 18th, 1861 

Major Gen 1. B. F. BUTLER, U. S. Volunteers 

SIR: You will proceed to Fort Monroe and assume the 
command of that post, when Colonel Dimmick will limit his 
command to the regular troops composing a part of its garrison; 
but will by himself & his Officers, give such aid in the instruc 
tion of the Volunteers as you may direct. 

Besides the present garrison of Fort Monroe, consisting of 
such Companies of regular Artillery, portions of two Massa 
chusetts regiments of Volunteers, and a regiment of Vermont 
Volunteers, nine additional regiments of Volunteers from New 
York may soon be expected there. Only a small portion (if 
any) of these can be conveniently quartered or encamped in 
the fort, the greater part, if not the whole area of which will 
be necessary for exercise, on the ground. The nine additional 
regiments must therefore be encamped in the best positions 
outside of, & as near the fort as may be, for this purpose it 
is hoped that a pine forest north of the fort and near the Bay 
may be found to furnish the necessary ground and shade for 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 95 

some three thousand men, though somewhat distant from 
drinking and cooking water. This, as well as feed, it may be 
necessary to bring to the camp on wheels. The Quarter 
master s Department has been instructed to furnish the neces 
sary vehicles, casks, and draft animals. The war garrison of 
Fort Monroe, against a formidable Army provided with an 
adequate siege train, is about 2,500 men. You will soon have 
these, inside and out, near three times that number. Assuming 
1,500 men as a garrison adequate to resist any probable attack 
in the next six months, for, at least, many days or weeks, you 
will consider the remainder of the force under your command 
disposable for aggressive purposes, and employ it accordingly. 

In respect to more distant operations, you may expect 
specific instructions at a later date. In the meantime I will 
direct your attention to the following objects : 1st Not to let the 
enemy erect batteries to annoy Fort Monroe; 2nd To capture 
any batteries the enemy may have within a half-day s march 
of you, and which may be reached by land; 3rd The same in 
respect to the enemies batteries at or about Craney Island, 
though requiring water craft; and 4th To menace and to 
recapture the Navy Yard at Gosport, in order to complete its 
destruction, with its contents, except what it may be practi 
cable to bring away in safety. It is expected that you put 
yourself into free communication with the commander of the 
U. S. naval forces in Hampton Roads, and invite his cordial 
cooperation with you in all operations in whole or in part by 
water, and no doubt he will have received corresponding 
instructions from the Navy Department. 

Boldness in execution is nearly always necessary; but in 
planning and fitting our expeditions or detachments great 
circumspection is a virtue. In important cases, where time 
clearly permits, be sure to submit your plans and ask instruc 
tions from higher authority. 

Communicate with me often and fully on all matters im 
portant to the service. I remain, 

With great respect, Yours, WINFIELD SCOTT 

From General Butler 

BALTIMORE, May 18, 1861 

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

SIR: I have just received an order from General Scott 
transferring the command of the Department of Annapolis 
to General Cadwallader, and ordering me to Fortress Monroe. 



96 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

What does this mean? Is it a censure upon my action? Is it 
because I have caused Winans to be arrested? Is it because of 
my proving successful in bringing Baltimore to subjection and 
quiet? Cadwallader may release Winans, probably will. 
You must guard against that. 

If my services are no longer desired by the Department I 
am quite content to be relieved altogether, but I will not be 
disgraced. In all I have done I have acted solely according 
to what I believed to be the wishes of the President, General 
Scott, and yourself. 

I am not disposed to be troublesome to you, but I wish this 
matter might be laid before the President. To be relieved of 
the command of a Department and sent to command a fort, 
without a word of comment, is something unusual at least, 
and I am so poor a soldier as not to understand it otherwise 
than in the light of a reproof. 

At least, I desire a personal interview with you and with the 
President before I accept further service. This will be handed 
to you by my friend and aide-de-camp, R. S. Fay, Jr., who knows 
its contents, and is able to represent me fully to you. 

Very truly yours, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Brigadier-General, Com d g 

From General Butler to William P. Webster l 

WASHINGTON, May 19th, 1861 

DEAR WEBSTER: You will see that I have accepted a Major 
Gen l. position for the war. I am to go to Virginia to prose 
cute the war vigorously into the heart of the enemy. God 
only knows what may be the result. I am in His hands. I 
speak with reverence. 

Meantime there is an end to all professional business on 
my part. Wind up, therefore, our affairs. Save for me what 
you can. I shall be ruined I know, but that can t be helped. 
You will, I know, do this with that scrupulous regard to right 
and fair dealing that has always characterized your dealings 
with me. Get as large amounts of money as you can and put 
to credit for me. I shall need it all. I have, however, a great 
relief in knowing that you are at home to take care of my 
interests. 

The horses, except Charly, had better be sent to pasture. 
The men reduced to the lowest expenditure, say one besides 

1 General Butler s law partner in his Lowell office. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 97 

Burly. But Mrs. Butler will soon be home, and if she desires 
the horses, so be it. It is too hard to have her deprived of 
the comforts to which she has been accustomed and I shall 
not be. 

In regard to the papers of my property, they will substan 
tially be found in two paper boxes at the house if you need 
them. All in those boxes are open for examination. None 
others of my private papers. 

Make Owen exhibit his account to you weekly. In all 
matters of compensation between us I shall do as you think 
I ought. 

Love to all, and God bless you! If anything happens, you 
and Fisher will take care of those I leave. 

Yours, BUTLER 
P.S. I go to Fortress Monroe tomorrow. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia, ANNAPOLIS, May %Qth, 1861 

To His Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW, Governor and 

Commander -in-Chief 

As you have doubtless been informally advised, I have 
accepted the appointment of Major General in the Service of 
the United States. While that appointment of necessity 
vacates the commission I have the honor to hold under the 
Commonwealth of Mass., as Brig. Gen., I hardly need assure 
you it has in no way detached me from the interest I feel 
towards my late command of Mass. men. I have asked of 
General Scott & the Sec y. of War to have all the Mass, troops 
now on service here, with the exception of Major Devens 
Battalion, sent to Fortress Monroe, there to form a part of 
my Division, which I trust will be an army of advance. The 
command of Major Devens is so pleasantly situated at Fort 
McHenry, so adapted to its defence, that I have yielded to 
the solicitations of Major Morris, commanding there, that 
they should remain with him. As soon as the exigencies of 
the public service permit, our Mass, troops will be so ordered, 
as I have already informed you by telegraph. Notwithstand 
ing the extreme pressure upon the Government, I have pro 
cured the acceptance of 6 Regts. of Mass, men, being two more 
than her quota, and I request they may be also forwarded to 
Fortress Munroe as soon as they are fully equipped so as to 
be able to march and encamp. Without such equipment they 

VOL. I 7 



98 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

will be useless, because it is proposed to assemble there an 
army of some ten thousand men besides a force being intended 
to garrison the Fort, the force being intended for offensive 
operations. If you please, you may also forward the detached 
Companies of which you have written me from Lowell & else 
where, especially the Company of Lowell mechanics, which 
will be of infinite service to us. You will see by this arrange 
ment the three-months men who were first ordered here will 
be placed in the best possible position in regard to health and 
ease of transportation at the end of their term of service here. 
The provisions and stores were forwarded the troops for which 
they were designed, with the exception of some preserved 
meats and vegetables and other articles of extra provisions 
which are now at Washington under charge of W. Lowell, 
awaiting the need of the troops, either in Hospital or detached 
service. I believe the Massachusetts troops are now amply 
supplied with all provisions and clothing necessary for their 
term of office. In sending forward the new Regiments I would 
respectfully suggest that they be furnished only with the 
rations provided by the Regulations of the U. S. Army, care 
being had that those are of the best quality. In the expendi 
ture of the stores of provisions & clothing, almost from the 
necessity of the case, there may have been some irregularity 
in obtaining the proper vouchers, but I think they can be of 
no consequence, because irregularities, if any exist, will not 
affect the fact claimed for expenditure by the Commonwealth 
upon the U. S. I have caused proper orders to be issued to 
obtain the accurate Company rolls, which are desired at the 
Adj. Gen s office, and the rolls will be forwarded to you as soon 
as completed and the accuracy established. It has grieved 
me to see in the newspapers some attacks upon the conduct of 
Col. Jones, which may tend to create a false impression at 
home. I beg to assure your Excellency that there is no finer 
Regt. in the Service of the U. S. than the 6th. It is employed 
in most arduous & responsible duty, & although in some 
instances Col. Jones may have spoken harshly, I believe him 
incapable of an injustice to any of his men. I doubt not that 
were an election ordered by the troops here to supply the 
vacancy of Brig. General, Col. Jones would receive a large 
majority of the votes of the several officers. I think it would 
be well either to order such election, or detail a Brig. General 
to take charge of the 3 mos. men. In this connection, I beg 
leave to mention with the utmost commendation the services 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 99 

voluntarily rendered me by Brig. General Pierce during his 
leave of absence from his command. His patriotism and zeal 
are made conspicuous by his coming here & voluntarily assum 
ing a subordinate position, in order to serve his country. I 
have great pleasure in reporting a continued state of health 
to a remarkable degree among the Mass, troops. I have ob 
tained an order from the Secretary of War giving me leave to 
send home the steamgun captured by Col. Jones s men, for 
examination & tests of its practical usefulness, & I have no 
doubt the mechanics of Mass, will be able to find out its value, 
if it has any, or to improve it if it is capable of improvement. 
I cannot close in official relations, and my nearer official 
relations to the Mass, troops, without expressing to your 
Excellency my deep sense of obligation for the kind & vigilant 
attention which you have bestowed upon every want of the 
Soldiers here, the unremitting exertions to aid us in discharge 
of our duties, your unvarying personal kindness to us all, and 
especially to myself. If we have in any degree well done that 
duty to our country, & properly performed that service which 
Mass, has a right to expect from us in upholding her fame, so 
dear to all her sons, it has been because we have been so un- 
weariedly & faithfully aided at home by the exertions of your 
excellency & the Executive Department of the State; and I 
take leave of your Excellency with sentiments of the highest 
respect & firmest friendship. I remain, 

Your Excellency s Most obt. Ser. 

From the Secretary of the Navy 

Navy Department, May 20, 1861 

Brig. Genl. B. F. BUTLER, Head Quarters, Department of 

Annapolis 

SIR: The Department has received your report of the 18th 
instant, and is much gratified at the success of the Expedition 
under Lieut. Flusser of the Navy, despatched to the Wicomico 
river for the recapture of the Smith s Point Light Boat. For 
the information of the Secretary of the Treasury, who has 
charge of the Light House establishment, I have sent a copy 
of your report to him. I am, 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

GIDEON WELLES 



100 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of Annapolis, ANNAPOLIS, May 20, 1861 

SPECIAL ORDER 

A BOARD is hereby ordered to convene at Annapolis Junction 
at two o clock on the - inst to inquire into the loss and 
damages reported to have been committed on the premises 
of Mr. Michael Fitzsimmons, by the troops at the Annapolis 
Junction engaged in guarding the railroad. 

The junior member will record the proceedings, which will 
be authenticated by the signatures of all the members of the 
Board. The Board will ascertain from all the facts and evi 
dence within their reach, the extent of damage done, if any, 
and by what troops it was committed, and will assess and 
state in the proceedings the cash value of such damage. 

M aj. Gen l. Commanding Dept. 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Department, 
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, May 21st, 61 

General BENJ. F. BUTLER 

SIR: Your note of the 16th instant is before me. While I 
have no objection to your publishing your views on military, 
political, and moral questions, in the character of a private 
controversialist, (for of that it is your own supreme right to 
judge as f a gentleman and a citizen), yet I cannot engage in 
the controversy, however agreeable to me it might be to do 
so under other circumstances, since a great and noble cause 
ought not to be disturbed or imperilled by personal complica 
tions. And, therefore, although your paper by its discussion 
of questions not logically arising out of that to which it is in 
professed reply, has the tendency to mislead the reader in 
juriously to myself, yet I cannot persuade my own judgment 
that I should do otherwise than wrong, considering our mutual 
and public relations, were I to join issue and go to trial before 
the popular tribunal of newspaper readers. On this ground 
you will excuse my silence, and my non-appearance on the 
arena of debate. But in reply to your note of the 16th inst., 
I beg leave to remark that the sentence in reference to my 
private Secretary, Mr. Browne, in these words, "But true it 
is that the contents of that despatch were made known to 
the Boston correspondent of the Tribune by some attache of 
the Executive Department, who had probably been per- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F.* BUTLER 101 

mitted to enjoy the dignity of copying it," is unjust to him, 
and it is utterly mistaken in fact, and that Mr. Browne s 
statement made to you is correct. And I wish also to add that 
whatever exception may be taken to anything done, suffered, 
or omitted in my department is to be attributed to myself 
alone; nor is any share of responsibility to be shifted to the 
shoulders of another, unless in case it affirmatively appears 
by proof, that such other acted in derogation of duty and 
without my cognizance. 

I say this as an act of truth and justice to Mr. Browne, in 
whose absolute honor I repose without a shadow of doubt or 
hesitation. 

In closing this note I take the opportunity of congratulating 
you upon your recent promotion; and I assure you of my 
cordial good wishes; and that nothing concerning myself in 
this correspondence will avert my sympathy or my interest 
in the success of your arms. I am, 

Yours faithfully, JOHN A. ANDREW 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

ANNAPOLIS, May 23, 1861 

DEAREST: I must write a few words though very uncertain 
when they will reach you. My indignation must have expres 
sion, for I cannot contain it. Last night Cook came back. 
Not altogether welcome, for although he may prove of great 
use to you, as I hope and think he will, yet it would be more 
satisfactory to have those who are to be immediately about 
you men of assured respectability. Men, in short, whom you 
have proved (or have been proved by others capable of judg 
ing) equal to the emergency you have to meet. But I am wan 
dering from the point. Mr. Cook announced to me in the 
presence of several gentlemen that Mr. George Butler did not 
intend to make one of his uncle s staff. That he was more 
sure of promotion in the regular service, and that he wished 
Mr. Cook to say to you he should remain where he is placed. 
But that he, George, would recommend to you a Mr. Snyder, 
who he thought would answer your purpose. I was obliged 
to hear this stuff, and patiently smile it away while every 
nerve was quivering. To oblige his father, and to benefit 
him, you offered this boy a place for which he is totally unfit, 
and in doing so, have put your own judgment in question, to 
have your kindness scoffed at and rejected. His father will 



102 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

try to mend this. Do not allow it. Leave him where he is. 
He does not wish to be under the surveillance of his father, 
nor does he like you. He meant the letter he wrote last winter, 
and made no mistake. This is the second time, do not give 
him a third till years have given him sense not to despise your 
kindness. He will boast of the relationship while he will speak 
derisively of your personal acts. Do not be angry that I write 
this. I cannot devour these stinging things in silence. When 
men fall off in time of danger there is one that feels, if possi 
ble, more keenly than you, the strait you are placed in. 

But I have full confidence in your power to meet what lies 
before you, and to conquer, even if beset with adverse begin 
nings. Major Clemence will go with Cook to the fort tonight 
if the boat touches here, and by him I shall send this letter. 
Let it be your own decision with regard to our going to the 
fort. With that I shall be satisfied. When I see you I hope 
you will be surrounded with men, capable as I wish them, 

devoted and constant as I am. c 

SARAH 

From John B. Cary 

RICHMOND, VA., March 9th, 1891. [Not in chronological order] 

Gen. BENJ. F. BUTLER, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

DEAR SIR: I have received, through a friend, your request 
to furnish a detailed statement of the facts in regard to the 
introduction and use of the term "Contraband," as applied 
to the slave population of the U. S. about the beginning of our 
Civil War; and as my recollection is very distinct I give it 
for whatever it may be worth to you, or to "the truth of 
history." 

The term was employed by you at a conference held between 
us on the Hampton side of Mill Creek Bridge, on the evening 
of May 24th, 1861, the day after Virginia had voted on the 
Ordinance of Secession, but before the ratification (although 
anticipated) was definitely known. I was then in command at 
Hampton of four volunteer companies of about two hundred 
men (one of them Artillery, without guns), very poorly 
equipped, and almost entirely without ammunition, who had 
never been in camp, and who dispersed to their homes in the 
town and neighborhood every night; and you were in command 
of the U. S. Troops (said to be about ten thousand) at Fortress 
Monroe. As there were no Virginia troops at that time be 
tween Hampton and Richmond (a distance of ninety-six 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 103 

miles) save three companies of Infantry at Yorktown, and 
two companies, perhaps, organizing at Williamsburg; and 
as it was thus evidently important for us to "preserve the 
peace," I had instructions from Gen. Lee, then Commander- 
in-Chief of the Virginia Troops, to avoid giving any provoca 
tion for the commencement of hostilities; to retire before your 
advance, if attempted; and to obstruct, as far as possible, 
your progress by burning bridges and felling trees across the 
public roads, until reinforcements could be sent to Yorktown. 
At night, after the election, (May 23rd), Col. C. K. Mallory, 
of the 115th Virginia Militia (with other citizens), called at 
my headquarters and asked me to take some steps for the 
recovery of one of his slaves, who had escaped to Old Point, 
and had been held there by you and put to work in the service 
of the Government. I promised to do what I could, and 
accordingly sent to you, next morning, a communication 
under flag of truce (the first, I believe, of the war), deeming 
that course advisable in view of the critical condition of 
affairs, and asked for a conference with you, which was 
promptly granted, 3:30 the same day, and Mill Creek Bridge 
being named as the time and place of meeting. 

We met at the time and place appointed, and for several 
hours riding up Mill Creek to its head, and back again via 
Buck Roe, by a slight detour to "Fort Field" gate. We dis 
cussed many questions of great interest (to me, at least), 
among them the return of fugitive slaves who had gone within 
your lines. I maintained the right of the master to reclaim 
them, as Virginia (so far as we then knew) was a State of the 
Union; but you positively refused to surrender them (or any 
other property which might come into your possession), 
claiming that they were "Contraband of war"; and that all 
such property would be turned over to your Quartermaster, 
who would report to the Government, to be dealt with as might 
be subsequently determined. Failing in the accomplishment 
of my mission, we parted when it was quite dark, and returned 
to our respective posts. 

I have frequently mentioned these facts, with many other 
incidents of the conference (some serious, and some amusing) 
to members of my family and friends; and as it was the first 
time I had ever heard the term "Contraband" I have always 
given you whatever credit might attach to its origin. 

Respectfully, Your obedient servant, JOHN B. GARY 



104 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Deptmt. of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, May 24^, 1861 

Lieutenant General WINFIELD SCOTT 

SIR: I have the honor to report my arrival at this post 
Wednesday morning at eight o clock. I found that no troops 
had arrived, except some recruits for the Mass. 3 & 4 Regts. 
of 3 months -men and two detached Companies of 3-years 
men, which have been temporarily annexed to those Regi 
ments. This morning the 2nd New York Volunteers have 
reported themselves in good condition, numbering 782 men. 
These I have encamped on the farm of Mr. Seager, which is 
at the end of Mill Creek Bridge towards Hampton, and have 
also ordered into camp, in connection with them, the 1st 
Regiment Vermont Militia, Col. Phelps. The force at this 
post may be stated thus: 

Col. Dimmick s Command U. S. Regulars 415 men 

3d Mass. Militia, 1 Company 3-years men 727 do 

4th Mass. Militia, 1 Company 3-y ears men 783 do 

1st Vermont Militia 779 do 

2nd New York Vols. 3-years 782 do 

Total Force 3481 Men 

As there is very little sickness, the effective force will be 
probably 3375 Men. Of these, the Vermont and New York 
Regs, only are furnished with Camp Equipage. Upon my 
arrival, I put myself in communication with Col. de Russy of 
the Engineers, and consulted him upon two Subjects. First, 
as to the supply of water. I found that on that day "The 
Minnesota" was supplying herself from a well or spring, on 
land of Mr. Clark, near the end of Mill Creek Bridge about a 
mile from the Fortress, and that after pumping 800 Galls, 
the well was exhausted, but refilled itself during the night. 
From personal examination of its surroundings, I believe it 
may be trusted to supply 700 to 1000 Gallons daily, with a 
little enlargement of the Reservoir. The water is of the best 
quality, and as it is immediately under the guns of the heaviest 
Battery of the Fortress on the land side, I have thought it 
proper, with the advice of Col. de Russy of the Engineer 
Corps, to direct that a pipe be put in to bring it into the 
Fortress along the bridge and causeway, first having a cistern 
excavated at the fountain which will contain the whole supply 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 105 

of the spring. I have also advised with Col. de Russy of the 
propriety of finishing the Artesian well which has been begun 
here, and he is in communication with a Contractor for that 
purpose. There is an appropriation as I understand made by 
Congress for that purpose. On Thursday, I directed Col. 
Phelps of the Vermont Regs, to make a reconnaissance in 
force in Hampton and its neighborhood within two miles of 
the Fortress, in order to examine its capabilities for encamping 
the troops about to arrive, and at the same time I made per 
sonal examination of the ground, Col. de Russy being of opin 
ion that the wood suggested by Lieut. Gen l might be a little 
unhealthy. I was further determined upon encamping in 
this direction by considerations of probable advances in 
this direction, to which I will take leave soon to call your 
attention. The rebels upon our approach attempted to burn 
the Bridge over Hampton Creek, but the fire was promptly 
extinguished by the Vermonters assisted by the citizens. Col. 
Phelps passed into the village and found only a few troops 
who professed to be watching their negroes, in which occu 
pation I have not yet disturbed them. I therefore encamped 
Col. Phelps, Vermont Reg., and Col. Carro Reg t N. York 
in the point of land just above the spring, about half way 
between Fortress Monroe and Hampton. 

May 25th, 1861 

I had written thus far when I was called away to meet 
Major Cary of the active Virginia Volunteers, upon questions 
which have arisen of very considerable importance both in a 
military and political aspect, and which I beg leave to here 
with submit. On Thursday night three negroes, field hands 
belonging to Col. Chas. Mallory, now in command of the 
Secession forces in this District, delivered themselves up to 
my picketguard in the morning and had been detained by 
him. I immediately gave personal attention to the matter 
and found satisfactory evidence that these men were about to 
be taken to - - for the purpose of aiding the secession 
forces there; that two of them left wives and children, one of 
them a free woman here; that the other had left his master 
from fear that he would be called upon to take part in the 
Rebel armies. Satisfied of these facts from cautious examina 
tion of each of the negroes apart from the others, I determined 
for the present and until better advised, as these men were 
very serviceable and I had great need of labor in my Quarter 
master s Department, to avail myself of their services. I 



106 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

determined also that I would send a receipt to Col. Mallory 
that I had so taken them, as I would for any other property 
of a private citizen which the exigencies of the service seemed 
to require to be taken by me, and especially property that was 
designed, adapted, and about to be used by the United States. 
As this is but an individual instance in a course of policy which 
may be required to be pursued with regard to this species of 
property, I have detailed to the Lieut. General this case, and 
ask his direction. I am credibly informed that the negroes 
in this neighborhood are employed in the erection of batteries 
and other works by the rebels, which it would be nearly or 
quite impossible to construct without their labor. Shall they 
be allowed the use of this property against the United States, 
and we not be allowed its use in aid of the United States? 

Major Gary, upon my interview with him, which took place 
between this Fortress and Hampton, desired information upon 
several questions: first, whether I would permit the removal 
through the Blockade of the families of persons who desired 
to pass Southward or Northward? 

In reply, I informed him that I could not permit such 
removal for two reasons: first, that the presence of the fami 
lies of the belligerents in a country were always the best 
hostage for the good behavior of the citizens, and secondly, 
that one object of our blockade being to prevent the passage 
of supplies of provisions into Virginia so long as she remained 
in a hostile attitude, the reduction of the number of consumers 
would in so far tend to neutralize this effect. He also desired 
to know if the transit of persons and families Northward from 
Virginia would be permitted. I answered him that with the 
exception of an interception at Baltimore there was no inter 
ception of the travel of the peaceable citizens north of the 
Potomac, and that all the internal lines of travel through 
Virginia were at present in the hands of his friends, and that 
it depended upon them whether that line of travel was inter 
cepted, and that the authorities at Washington could better 
judge of this question than myself, as necessary travel could 
go by Washington; that the passage through our blockading 
Squadron would require an amount of labor and surveillance 
to prevent abuse which I did not conceive I ought to be called 
upon to perform. Major Gary demanded to know, with regard 
to the negroes, what course I intended to pursue. I answered 
him substantially as I have written above, when he desired 
to know if I did not feel myself bound by my constitutional 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 107 

obligations to deliver up fugitives under the Fugitive Slave 
Act. To this I replied that the Fugitive Slave Act did not 
affect a foreign country, which Virginia claimed to be, and 
that she must reckon it one of the infelicities of her position 
that in so far at least, she was taken at her word; that in 
Maryland, a loyal State, a fugitive from service had been 
returned, and that even now, although so much pressed by 
my necessities for the use of these men of Col. Mallory s, yet 
if their master would come to the Fortress and take the oath 
of allegiance to the constitution of the United States I would 
deliver the men up to him, and endeavor to hire their services 
of him, if he desired to part with them. To this Major Gary 
responded that Col. Mallory was absent. 

This morning the Steamer "Alabama" arrived, having on 
board Col. Duryea s Regiment, of N. York, 850 strong, fully 
equipped. I have caused them to be landed and encamped 
with the 1st Vermont. The Steamer "Pembroke," from 
Massachusetts has also arrived, having two unattached Com 
panies, one of rifles and one of infantry, of 101 men each, and 
without equipage. Now the actual number of men ready for 
service may be set down at 4,400, but not very efficient, some 
being quite new recruits, and others not fully equipped, two 
regiments being wholly without tents. 

The rebels have built a very strong Battery on Sewell s 
Point at the entrance of Elizabeth River, about four miles 
from this post, and about 3 miles from the Rip-Raps on Fort 
Calhoun. This battery is a very strong one, mounting fifteen 
guns of the heaviest calibre, and supported in the rear at a 
distance of about a mile across Tanner Creek by the whole 
Rebel forces gathered about there, amounting, as nearly as I 
can ascertain, to some three or four thousand men, it being 
understood from the attack of the Monticello, on Sunday 
last, that I am about to menace Norfolk, in that direction. 
Of course I had not at my disposal any force sufficient to 
make such an attack, and carry this battery, with any hope 
of holding the position after it should be taken. I had deter 
mined, however, upon consultation with Commander String- 
ham, to engage the battery with the Naval force, and to 
endeavor, under cover of their fire, to land, and at least destroy 
the guns and works, and the plan was arranged for this morn 
ing. Yesterday, however, Commodore Stringham received 
orders from the Navy Department to sail at once for Charles 
ton, so that our expedition was disorganized, as we had no 



108 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

sufficient force to make such an attack, in the absence of the 
"Minnesota" and her guns of long range, as would give the 
movement that assurance of success which I understand you 
desire should seem to attend our operations. I have, however, 
directed Col. de Russy to prepare to put some guns of long 
range upon the Rip-Raps so as to prevent any further approach 
by the enemy toward us, from Sewell s Point or Willoughby s 
Spit. In this connection I beg leave to suggest to the Lieu 
tenant General the necessity, in coast operations, for fifty 
Surf boats, of such construction as he caused to be prepared 
for the landing at Vera Cruz, the efficiency and adaptation 
of which has passed into history. May I respectfully request 
and urge that such a flotilla be furnished for coast operations. 

I have learned that the enemy are about to fortify a Point 
at Newport News about 11 miles from this place, at the mouth 
of the James River, and on the northern side of it. They have 
already a battery at Pig Point at the southern and opposite 
side of the river, which commands the Nansemond River. I 
think it of the last importance that we should occupy Newport 
News, and I am now organizing an expedition consisting of 
two regiments for that purpose unless I find unexpected 
obstacles. I purpose this afternoon, in the Steamer "Tucker," 
to make a personal reconnaissance of that point, and at once 
to occupy the same with that amount of force, intending to 
entrench there for the purpose of being in position to command 
the entrance to James River, and from that position by the 
aid of the Naval force to be in position to threaten Crany 
Island and the approaches of Norfolk, and also to hold one of 
the principal approaches to Richmond. By a march of nine 
miles at farthest I can support the post at Newport News, 
and by the sea in two hours I can afford it relief. There is 
water enough to permit the approach of the largest size 
vessels, indeed the Lieut. Genl. will recollect that Newport 
News Point was once counted upon as a Naval Depot instead 
of Norfolk. 

Trusting that these dispositions and movements will meet 
the approval of the Lieut. Gen l. and begging pardon for the 
detailed length of this Dispatch, I have the honor to be 
Most respectfully Your Obedt. Servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comdg. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 109 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia, May 26/A, 1861 

His Excellency, JOHN A. ANDREW, Governor of Massachusetts, 
Commander-in-Chief 

SIR: The "Pembroke" arrived yesterday morning with 
Capt. Clark s & Capt. Davis s Companies on board, in fine 
condition. I have temporarily annexed one of Capt. Clark s 
Companies to Col. Packard s Regiment, which makes an ad 
vance movement tomorrow. 

I am most happy that a gentleman of the intelligence, 
probity, and character, who has seen, known, and felt all the 
privations of the Mass, troops at Fortress Monroe, is to report 
to you. To him I refer for a detailed statement of the treat 
ment and comfort of the troops. Believe me, the reports from 
both lines are greatly exaggerated. The discontented grumble 
so that the voice of complaint alone is heard. The test is the 
health of the men, and I venture the assertion that amongst 
any fifteen hundred men at home will be found as much sick 
ness as amongst the Massachusetts men. 

There is one matter which I do not understand. The two 
companies which have just come, have come without Camp 
Equipage (Tents). Why is this? I have written three times 
upon this subject. I cannot get it. The United States have 
it not. I must wait for it to be made. Massachusetts has it, 
and yet the Quartermaster Gen l. does not send it. It is 
much more necessary to the health of the men than the luxuries 
of the table so lavishly bestowed by the open hand of the 
Commonwealth (Heaven bless her!) upon us all. I had 
written Capt. Davis to take the Tents belonging to the Lowell 
City Guards, which were private property, having been bought 
by me and paid for in part with my own money when I was 
a member of that Company, and which I ventured thus to 
control, and Capt. Davis informs me that the Quartermaster- 
General took those from him and sent them to the Arsenal at 
Cambridge. He might with the same right have taken his 
shirt. Capt. Davis informs me that General Reed told him 
as the reason that there were plenty of tents here. General 
Reed is exceedingly misinformed. I am unable to move 
Wardrop s fine command, and take advantage of their drill 
and discipline acquired during thirty days of service, because 
of the want of Tents, so that I have been obliged to encamp 
outside of the Fortress a Raw Regiment because they have 



110 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

tents. These Gentlemen amuse us by unfounded alarms each 
night, which a little more discipline would effectually prevent. 
I have thus written at length upon this subject to your Excel 
lency because I feel deeply this need, and I know with the 
zeal, patriotism, and efficient aid with which you have aided 
us thus far, you will sympathize with us and apply the remedy. 

Indeed, your Excellency, I have been so in the habit of 
looking to the Government of Massachusetts for aid and 
comfort, while I could not get it elsewhere, that when in a 
strait I still call on you with almost the clamorousness of a 
demand. 

I beg leave to enclose to you a portion of a despatch to 
General Scott upon a subject which may interest you, and 
upon which there has been a correspondence between us 
officially, which I trust may never be reopened to raise a 
feeling except of the most cordial friendship. I have written 
this letter, "currente Calamo," and have only sought, without 
the formality of a despatch, to give your Excellency informa 
tion of which you would desire to be possessed. 

I enclose some returns of Stores and of the sick so that you 
shall judge for yourself with what efficiency both the Surgical 
and Quartermaster s Departments have been managed, for 
the first is in a degree dependent on the last. I have the 
honor to be, 

Most truly, Your friend & Servant, 

BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 



By General Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia, May Z6th, 1861 

ORDER 

THE general in command of this department has learned 
with pain that there are instances of depredation on private 
property by some persons who have smuggled themselves 
among the soldiers under his command. This must not and 
shall not be. The rights of private property and of peaceable 
citizens must be respected. When the exigencies of the ser 
vice require that private property be taken for public use, it 
must be done by proper officers, giving suitable vouchers 
therefor. It is made the special duty of every officer in com 
mand of any post of troops on detached service, or in camp, 
to exercise the utmost vigilance in this behalf, to cause all 
offenders in the matter of this order to be sent to headquarters 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 111 

for punishment, and such measure of justice will then be meted 
out to them as is due to thieves and plunderers. 

If any corps shall share or aid in receiving such plundered 
property or offenders, such corps shall be dealt with in its 
organization in such a manner as to check such practices. 

This order will be promulgated by being three times read 
with distinctness to each battalion at evening parade. 

Any citizen at peace with the United States, despoiled in 
his person or property by any of the troops in this depart 
ment, will confer a favor by prompt reporting the outrage to 
the nearest officer. 

From Charles Sumner to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, 11th May, 1861 

DEAR GENERAL: I have to-day obtained the consent of the 
proper authorities to the filling of the vacancy occasioned by 
your resignation in the Mass., 3-months line, and General 
Pierce is directed to report by letter to General Scott, and in 
person to yourself at Fortress Munroe. 

I have received several letters from Massachusetts calling 
attention to Major General Butler, etc., etc., etc., the condi 
tion of our forces, 3d regiment, in which the men complain 
bitterly of bad treatment, both with regard to provisions and 
discipline. As this occurred before you arrived it is possible 
that it may not have reached your ears, but I do not doubt 
your anxious desire to secure for your whole command the 
best treatment which a soldier can have. 

We are all watching for news of your movements and ex 
pecting important results without too great losses, we hope. 
Accept my best wishes and believe me, my dear sir, 

Faithfully yours, CHARLES SUMNER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Deprtmt. of Virginia, May 11th, 1861 

THE Quarter Master of the Fourth Regiment Massachu 
setts Volunteers will serve out of the Massachusetts forces 
rations for fifty men, to be delivered at the Guard House for 
the negroes which have come in hungry. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comdg. 



112 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Adjutant General William Schouler to 
General Butler 

Adjutant General s Office, BOSTON, May 27th, 1861 

DEAR GENERAL: I take the opportunity of Mr. Sandler s 
return to camp to write you a word, and I have only time to 
say a word. The course you have pursued thus far adds great 
credit to the old Commonwealth, and places your name among 
her greatest heroes. I pray God you may continue in your 
brilliant career, and return home when the wars are over and 
peace again established to meet the warm welcome which is 
in store. 

I hope the troops are in good health, and that you have 
found in the Third and Fourth regiments good fighting material. 

Yours truly, W. SCHOULER, Adj. Gen. 

P.S. I hope you will find a good place for John Sandier. 
He is a good, true man. W. S. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of Virginia, May 27th, 1861 

To Lieut. General WINFIELD SCOTT 

SIR: The expedition of which I gave you information in 
my former despatch, to Newport News, got off in fine style 
this morning about 7 o clock. I have added to the expedi 
tion the 8th New York Regiment, 780 strong, which came 
here on board the "Empire City" on Sunday afternoon, and 
they proceeded without debarking. I also added two six 
pound and two twelve pound guns, with a detachment of 
twenty five men from Col. Dimmick s command, who has 
intended to act as drill master to the Volunteers in the exer 
cise of the guns. My purpose is to entrench and hold that 
point, and ultimately to mount a few guns which will command 
that channel of approach to James River. 

Since I wrote my last despatch the question in regard to 
Slave property is becoming one of very serious magnitude. 
The inhabitants of Virginia are using their negroes in the 
batteries, and are preparing to send the women and children 
south. The escapes from them are very numerous; and a 
squad has come in this morning to my pickets, bringing with 
them their women and children. Of course these cannot be 
dealt with upon the theory on which I designed to treat the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 113 

services of able-bodied men and women who might come 
within my lines, and of which I gave you a detailed account 
in my last despatch. I am in the utmost doubt what to do 
with this species of property. Up to this time I have had come 
within my lines men and women with their children, entire 
families, each family belonging to the same owner. I have 
therefore determined to employ, as I can do very profitably, 
the able-bodied persons in the party, issuing proper food for 
the support of all, and charging against their services the 
expenses of care and sustenance of the men laborers, keeping 
a strict and accurate account as well of the services as of the 
expenditures, having the worth of the services and the cost 
of the expenditure determined by a Board of Survey hereafter 
to be detailed. I know of no other manner in which to dis 
pose of this subject, and the question connected therewith. 
As a matter of property to the insurgents, it will be of very 
great moment the number I now have, amounting as I am 
informed to what in good times would be the value of $60,000. 
Twelve of these negroes I am informed have escaped from 
the erection of the Batteries on Sewell s Point, which this 
morning fired upon my expedition as it passed by, out of range. 
As a means of offense, therefore, in the enemies hands when 
able-bodied, these negroes are of the last importance. 

Without them, the batteries could not have been erected 
at least for many weeks. As a military question it would 
seem to be a measure of necessity to deprive their masters of 
their services. How can this be done? As a political question 
and a question of humanity, can I receive the services of the 
father and mother and not take the children? Of the humani 
tarian aspect I have no doubt. Of the political one, I have no 
right to judge. I therefore submit all this to your better 
judgment, and as these questions have a political aspect, I 
have ventured, and I trust that I am not wrong in so doing, 
to duplicate the parts of my despatches relating to this sub 
ject and forward them to the Secretary of War. It was under 
stood when I left Washington that the three Massachusetts 
Regiments two of which are at the Relay House should 
be forwarded to me here, and also Cook s Light Battery, of 
which I have the utmost need if I am expected ever to occupy 
an extended camp with safety. May I ask the attention of 
the Commanding General to this subject, and inquire if the 
exigencies of the service will permit these troops to be sent 
to me immediately? 

VOL. I 8 



114 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

I have to report the arrival of no more troops except the 
New York 8th since my last despatch. 

The Steamship "Wabash," which was expected here to 
take the place of the "Minnesota," has not yet reported her 
self. The "Harriet Lane" has reported herself from Charles 
ton, and is employed in convoying the Newport News 
expedition. 

I find myself extremely short of ammunition, having but a 
total in Magazine of 85,000 rounds, of which 5,000 rounds only 
are for smoothbore muskets, and the major part of my com 
mand are provided with that arm. May I desire the attention 
of the Lieut. General to this state of facts, and ask that a 
large amount of ammunition for that arm I would suggest 
buck and ball be ordered forward from the Ordnance 
Department? . The Assistant Adjutant General has made a 
requisition for that purpose. I will endeavor to keep the 
Lieut. General informed daily of any occurrence of interest 
provided I am not interfered with by the irregularity of the 
mails and modes of conveyance. I have the honor to be, 
Very respectfully Your Obdt. Servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of Virginia, May 28, 1861 

Col. PHELPS 

ALL able-bodied negroes within your lines will be taken and 
set to work in the trenches and on the works. Rations will 
be served to them and their families. An accurate record of 
the time when they came, and of their services, as well as of 
the rations supplied to them, will be kept. Their names, de 
scriptions, and the names of their owners will also be correctly 
kept for future use. 

By order of B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comdg. 

From Miss Laura W. Pearson 

May 28th, 1861, FORT MONROE, Tuesday 

Mrs. HARRIET H. HEARD 

DEAR HAT: We arrived here Sunday morn, after a splendid 
sail of seventeen hours without the least seasickness. A queer 
place this seventy acres enclosed by a massive wall, with 
cannon frowning on every side. The house we occupy is 
really a very pleasant one, though it was so obscured with 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 115 

dirt that it looked desolate enough at first. We took all the 
furniture from Annapolis and since we came have had ten 
or twelve men and women cleaning and arranging. We have 
kept out of it as much as possible, but have had no time for 
anything else. Mrs. Sawyer, one of Dr. Kimball s nurses, 
came with us to assist. We are now getting into tolerable 
order, but the kitchen and dining room are still in "confusion 
worse confounded." 

Sarah thinks she will send home the woolen carpets and 
some other things the first opportunity. There is not as 
much company here as at Annapolis, tho we have regularly 
Messrs. Fay, Green, Haggerty, George Butler, Col. Dimmick, 
the commander who lived here, and Dr. Kimball for a time. 
Col. Butler went to Washington for George, and brought him 
along for one of the Aids. There is quite a pretty garden here, 
and the roses are almost out of blossom. 

Tell Nina I am very much obliged for the rats, and I think 
I shall like them very much when I get a little better skilled 
in the art of fixing them. I intend to write to her and Maria 
when I get a little more time, but consider this a general 
letter. Has Maria gone to housekeeping yet? I wish some 
of you would write telling all the news. It seems a long time 
since we left home. I suppose you have seen Mr. Clemence, 
as he said he would go up and tell you the news. He expected 
to have brought the steam gun and the ladies home, but the 
Fates or the Generals ordained otherwise. Has Mr. Pearson 
come home? The opinion is here that he has ruined himself 
How is Pamela? What are Sue and Lauretta about? I want 
you to answer all these questions soon as you can. Are you 
not getting impatient with so much care on you? We have 
no idea how long we shall stay here, but do not put our limit 
beyond a month. Paul is somewhat drooping if the weather 
continues very warm, I may come home with him. 

You will excuse this small sized sheet, as it is the largest I 
could find. Write soon to 

Yours affectionately, LOTE 

Sarah says there ought to be a pig bought either of Dan 
Riley or Fisher, and Mr. Butler has written to have the horses 
put out to pasture, and dismiss the man when you choose. 

LOTE 



116 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Richard S. Fay, Jr. to General Butler 

May 29/61 

DEAR GENERAL: I must leave one word more to thank 
you for your unbounded kindness to me since I have been 
here, and to assure you that I shall return to you the moment 
I possibly can. My position since I have been with you has 
been one of unmixed satisfaction, and, if I return to it, I will 
try hard to merit the distinction it confers. In the meantime, 
my thoughts and best wishes go with you constantly, and 
there is no warmer well-wisher for your success than I. 

Faithfully yours, R. S. F. JR. 

From the Postmaster General to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, May 29^, 1861 

DEAR GENERAL: Your brother brought me your note. But 
I suppose by this time you will hardly think my opinion neces 
sary to convince you that you were right when you declared 
secession niggers contraband of war. The Secessionists have 
used them to do all their fortifying, and I suppose nobody can 
doubt that this sort of work at which the Secessionists have 
applied themselves with immense energy is the essence of 
their military operations. 

The question is to come up in the Cabinet to-morrow, and 
whilst your brother says that old Scott said he intended order 
ing you to change your actions, the President told me this 
morning that he had not seen old Lundy as merry since he 
had known him, as he was this morning at your decision on 
the fugitive slave question. He called it Butler s fugitive 
slave law. The President seemed to think it a very important 
subject, however, and one requiring some thought in view of 
the numbers of negroes we were likely to have on hand in 
virtue of this new doctrine. 

I am inclined to think you might improve the code by restrict 
ing its operations to working people, leaving the Secessionists 
to take care of the non- working classes of these people. The 
idea which seemed to be put forward by the negroes to you 
that their masters were going to sell them South is not true, 
if I am correctly informed. I hear that no price can be got 
now for them from the far south. A Maryland friend had a 
runaway whom he tells me he sent to Richmond for sale, and 
had to bring him back because he could get nothing for him, 
You can therefore take your pick of the lot and let the rest go, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 117 

so as not to be required to feed unproductive laborers, or 
indeed any that you do not require or cannot conveniently 
manage. With this modification of your system I think it 
works well, and I have no doubt, too, that you can get your 
best spies from among them, because they are accustomed to 
travel in the night time, and can go where no one not accus 
tomed to the sly tricks they practise from infancy to old age 
could penetrate. My opinion in the Cabinet will be to allow 
you to use your discretion in this matter, having reference 
entirely to your condition and the business you are sent upon, 
which is war not emancipation. I think that Congress should 
amend the law of treason so as to admit, in the less aggrivated 
cases, of punishment by fines so as practically to work confisca 
tion. I would like you to read Frank s speech, which I send 
you, if you have leisure, as to the solution of the slave ques 
tion. It is but a renewal of Mr. Jefferson s idea. I think that 
we can apply the thought practically now at an early day, 
and you would find that the non-slaveholders will be best 
propitiated by that thought. The removal of the negroes 
from among them will make them all emancipationists. It is 
the idea of negro equality alone that embitters them against 
the North. I write hastily and I fear illegibly, but I would 
like to get your active mind on the Jefferson track, and I am 
sure you will find opportunities to make it tell. 

Yours faithfully, M. BLAIR 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of Virginia, May 29th, 1861 

Lieut. General WINFIELD SCOTT 

SIR: The expedition to Newport News, eight miles from 
this place, of which I spoke in my last, landed without opposi 
tion. I have caused an entrenched camp to be made there 
which when completed will be able to hold itself against any 
force that may be brought against it, and afford even a better 
Dept. from which to advance than Fortress Monroe. The 
advantages of the News are these: There are two springs of 
very pure water there the Bluff is a fine healthy location. 
It has two good, commodious wharves, to which Steamers of 
any draft of water may come up at all stages of the tide. It is 
as near any point of operation as Fortress Monroe, where we 
are obliged to lighten all vessels of draft over ten feet, and 
have but one wharf. The "News," upon which I propose to 



118 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

have a Water Battery of four eight-inch Guns, commands the 
Ship Channel of James river, and a force there is a perpetual 
threat to Richmond. My next point of operation I propose 
shall be "Pig Point" battery, which is exactly opposite the 
News, Commanding Nansemond river. Once in command of 
that Battery, which I believe can be easily turned, I can then 
advance along the Nansemond river and easily take Suffolk, 
and there either hold or destroy the Railroad connection both 
between Richmond and Norfolk, and also between Norfolk 
and the South. With a perfect blockade of Elizabeth River, 
and taking and holding Suffolk and perhaps York, Norfolk 
will be so perfectly hemmed in that starvation will cause the 
surrender without risking an attack on the strongly fortified 
intrenchment around Norfolk with great loss and perhaps 
defeat. If this plan of operation does not meet the approba 
tion of the Lieut. General, I would be glad of his instructions 
specifically. If it is desirable to move on Richmond, James 
and York rivers both thus held would seem to be the most 
eligible routes. 

I have no cooperation substantially by the Navy, the only 
vessels now here being the "Cumberland" and "Harriet Lane," 
the former too unwieldly to use her heavy guns; the other 
so light in her battery as not to be able to cope with a single 
battery of the Rebel. I have yet need of surf boats for sea, 
coast, and river advances, and beg leave to suggest the matter 
again to you. 

This evening the 1st New York regiment 3- Years men came 
in on board the "State of Georgia." This regiment numbers 
over 800 men. It is in a most shameful state as regards camp 
equipage, Camp Kettles etc. They have no tents, not even a 
night s perch. Another matter needs pressing attention. The 
bore of the majority of the muskets in my command are 
smooth, of the issue of forty eight, and I have only 5000 
rounds of buck and ball and no other ammunition to fit this 
arm. Might I request action upon this vital subject. I have 
the honor to be, 

Your Obedient Servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comdg. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 119 

From the Secretary of War to General Butler 

War Department, May 30th, 1861 

SIR : Your action in respect to the negroes who came within 
your lines from the service of the rebels is approved. The 
Department is sensible of the embarrassments which must 
surround Officers conducting Military operations in a State 
by the laws of which Slavery is sanctioned. The Government 
cannot recognize the rejection by any State of its Federal 
obligations, nor can it refuse the performance of the Federal 
obligations resting upon itself. Among those Federal obliga 
tions, however, no one can be more important than that of 
suppressing and dispersing armed combinations, formed for 
the purpose of overthrowing its whole constitutional authority. 

While, therefore, you will permit no interference, by the 
persons under your command, with the relation of persons 
held to service under the laws of any State within which your 
Military operations are conducted, and under control of such 
armed combinations, refrain from surrendering to alleged 
masters any persons who may come within your lines. You 
will employ such persons in the services to which they may be 
best adapted, keeping an account of the labor by them per 
formed, of the value of it, and of the expenses of their main 
tenance. The question of their final disposition will be 
reserved for further determination. 

Very Respectfully, SIMON CAMERON, Sec. of War 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department. 

BOSTON, May 30th, 1861 

Major-General B. F. BUTLER 

GENERAL: Agreeably to your request I have obtained leave 
to send to you Brig. General Pierce, of our M.V.M., who is 
detailed to report in person to you at the Fortress. He will 
leave to-day in the "Cambridge." His Brigade Inspector, 
Major R. A. Pierce of Newburyport, is a gentleman of high 
capacity. The other two gentlemen of his staff are not well 
known to me, but are well reputed for (character & capacity. 

Qr. Master General J. H. Reed will report about tents etc. 

I rejoice at the excellent condition of your troops at the 
Fortress; & heartily congratulate you on the present pros 
pects which attend you. 

I thank you for permitting, at my request, S. L. Pierce, 



120 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Esq., to take a furlough, & ordered to visit & report at the 
home Head Quarters the condition of the regiment of which 
he is a member. He will be ready to come again in the next 
trip of the "Pembroke." I trust that the learning and lit 
erary abilities of this gentleman may be made available for 
the public service, which would be of much greater impor 
tance, if occasion should exist to employ him as military secre 
tary, than anything he could do with the arms of a soldier. 
Reciprocating your friendly expressions of regard, I am, 

Faithfully yours, JOHN A. ANDREW 

By General Butler 

Hd. Quarters Department of Virginia, May SO, 1861 

MR. CRAM will report himself to Col. Phelps by the Coat- 
zacoalces at Newport News. He has in charge the account of 
the negroes at this post. He will aid Col. Phelps in taking 
account of the negroes at Newport News. All the negroes 
within your lines will be reported to him and taken account 
of by him. Such as are not serviceable will be sent to Fortress 
Monroe by him. Any negroes acting in the hospitals as ser 
vants will be reported as such, so that the proper charges may 
be made to that Department. Any officers having such ser 
vants will report them as such, so that they may be charged 
for such service at the prices fixed in other Departments. 

No officer will be allowed any servant except upon condi 
tion that they shall be accounted for in his pay, according to 
the Regulations. 

Those employed in the trenches, their time will be accounted 
for and charged to the account of the General Service. 

By order of B. F. BUTLER, M aj. Genl. Comdg. 

From General Scott 

Head Quarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, May 3lst, 1861 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, Comg. etc. Fort Monroe, Va. 

SIR: The General-in-Chief directs me to say that he read 
your despatches of the. 24th instant and 27th with great sat 
isfaction, and submitted them to the Secretary of War, who 
endorsed them with his entire approval. He has also just 
received another interesting communication from you, dated 
the 29th instant. 

A set of harness and ammunition have been sent for the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 121 

field battery now at Fort Monroe, as the battery you apply 
for cannot be spared from the department of Annapolis. 
2,500,000 assorted cartridges for small arms were ordered the 
29th instant from this place and New York. 

The restriction in the General s instructions of the 18th 
instant as to capture of batteries within a half day s march 
by land is removed. Though more distant expeditions are 
not enjoined, they are yet not prohibited. 

The services of Captain Tallmadge being required in the 
Quarter-master s Department, to which he has been lately 
appointed, the General requests you will employ some other 
officer as your chief of staff. Captain Tallmadge will remain 
on duty at Fort Monroe. I am, Sir, 

Very respectfully, yr. obt. servt., 

E. D. TOWNSEND, Asst. Adjt. Gen. 

From Brigadier General Duryea to General Butler 

CAMP BUTLER, May 31st, 1861 

SIR: Your communication of the 28th is received. I have 
the pleasure to report that but one instance of despoliation 
has occurred in the Regiment which I have the honor to com 
mand, and that was the stealing of a pipe, which I myself 
returned to the owner himself at Hampton. 

Anxious to cooperate with you in suppressing the marauding 
disposition of the Regiments under my command, I remain, 
Yours Resp. A. DURYEA, acting Brig. Gen. 

From Mrs. Butler to Mrs. Heard 

FORTRESS MONROE, Sunday, June 2, 1861 

DEAR HARRIET: We went out this morning with Col. 
Dimmick and two or three more to the small Episcopal chapel 
to attend the morning service. The heat is rather oppressive, 
though up to this time we could wear our thickest dresses. 

I have forgotten when I wrote last. We have changed so 
much, cared for so much, and, in short, I think I may say, 
been so much troubled. The time has passed for me to seize 
only the happy aspects of things, if there is anything disagree 
able I am sure to meet it and receive it. And the worst of it 
is I have no power to change it nor to divert my mind from 
dwelling upon it. If in the course of time things come round 
as I desire, I have felt so harassed and worn with the struggle 
that success is no longer regarded. There is neither applica- 



122 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

tion nor much sense to what I have written, and I shall leave 
it just there. 

It is very uncertain how long we shall be here or when we 
shall return home. I think much about Blanche. I do not 
know that I shall see her much before the time will come 
round for her to be at school again. Try to have her under 
clothes ready before the weather gets very hot. I suppose 
you find as much and more than you can attend to. 

I would not send the children to school every day it is 
too much for them. And do not let them lean out of the 
windows where the ropes are partly broken. The house here 
is full of company all the time. Fourteen at table every 
meal, and, often, more than that number. To-day the Secre 
tary of War was expected, but did not come. Several people 
from Boston are here, Mr. Odeon, Green, Kinsman, and a 
Unitarian Minister by the name of Hep worth. No place 
to escape to but our own rooms. 

The beach here is one of the finest I ever saw. It is very 
long, very smooth, and the surf rolls in splendidly. We have 
not had time yet to bathe. We have a horse and carryall, but 
cannot drive to any great distance. The most agreeable thing 
is to drive to the Beach, and look at the green and foamy 
waves as they roll in and break to pieces. Just now there is 
a little thunder storm. It is very welcome. The ground is 
dry as ashes. 

Lotie wrote about Mr. Fay, and his going home. Whether 
he will return and bring his wife with him we do not know. 
Paul is gliding about from place to place; the cool weather 
has revived him. But he says he would rather go home and 
play with Benny. 

I have been thinking much about Fisher. But if there 
were an opening I do not know that this place would suit him. 
It will soon be oppressively hot at times, and I do not think 
his mind runs to fighting. And the hurry and rush, the uncer 
tainty of what a day may bring forth, would not be altogether 
agreeable to him. Yet I wish he was here. But what will 
happen I cannot say. I wish he would write often to Butler, 
even if he does not always get an answer. Tell him to direct 
to me as before then he will get it apart from the great 
quantity that comes by mail. I wish he would do this. 

Give my regards to Dr. Edson s family, and say to Lissy 
that I gave the shirt to Dr. Edson. He was well pleased with 
it, but thought it pretty elaborate, nice enough I suppose for 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 123 

an officer. If Mr. Butler is sick I will have it for him. I am 
flattered that she wishes me to write and will do so if possible, 
but have no great elasticity of mind to work from. 

Now, dear Blanche, a few lines for you. You cannot think 
how much I regret to be from home when you are there. I 
shall know nothing of the improvement you have made or 
anything you have done in the last year. But I hope I shall 
be at home some little time, at least, before you return to 
school. Do you find the girls agreeable, and home pleasant? 
I hope so. But do not go out too much in the hot sun, and 
remember all the little things I have said so much about. A 
gentleman gave me two French books on my way here. I 
thought they were translations till afterwards. You may 
think I was annoyed when I could not read them. Keep up 
your French and music all the time you have. I will write 
more in my next. Kisses for all. Goodbye. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, June 4>th, 1861 

To Lieut. General WINFIELD SCOTT, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

GENERAL: I have nothing of special interest to report since 
last save the general health of the troops. Their condition in 
discipline and drill is much improved. I have great pain in 
being obliged to issue the accompanying general order. The 
Volunteer troops seem to have adopted the theory that all 
property of the inhabitants was subject to plunder. I have 
taken the most energetic measures to correct this idea and 
prevent plundering. There are some few flagrant instances, 
which can admit neither of palliation nor justification. I 
have proposed to deal with these by Court Martial, which I 
have ordered in session to-morrow. As the outrages to be 
investigated were very grave, and as the punishment ought 
to be and may be very severe, I will take leave unless other 
wise instructed to report the proceeding to yourself before 
any severe punishment is inflicted. 

I have had no new accession of troops since my last report 
save that a body of men known as the Naval Brigade, amount 
ing to 880, were reported here as ready to enlist in the service 
of the United States; but under the instruction of the War 
Deprtmt. I have not received them into the service, and have 
sent so many of them home by the Steamer in which they 
were brought as did not voluntarily engage to labor in the 



124 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Engineer, Ordnance, and Quartermaster Departments about 
the Fortress. These men have very much embarrassed me. 
While I impute no fault save that perhaps of want of discre 
tion, which I easily pardon to their Col., Washington A. 
Bartlett Esqr., I have been exceedingly annoyed with this 
whole subject, but I hope that it is now finally adjusted. 

I have here altogether about six thousand effective men and 
no more. I am as yet without transportation trains or surf 
boats, which I must have in order to make a movement, the 
project of which I will submit to yourself in my next dispatch. 
I am preparing myself however to be able to land by causing 
one regiment at least to be drilled in embarking in, and land 
ing from, boats. I have also sent up to the Mouth of the Sus- 
quehanna to charter or purchase ten of a kind of fishing boat 
which I am informed by a gentleman connected with the Squad 
ron will be the best possible excepting regularly constructed 
Surf boats for the purpose of landing troops. I hope to receive 
them within the next few days. I have the honor to report 
the Camp at Newport News and the battery there to com 
mand the mouth of James River in a state of defense and for 
wardness, which I think will enable us to hold it against any 
force which may be brought against it. We have made an 
armed reconnaissance some nine miles toward Yorktown, and 
found no armed force in that direction nearer than the Half 
way House some twelve miles hence, and that a picketguard 
of the enemy who is in considerable force at Yorktown. 

May I respectfully ask the Lieut. General if there is any 
reason known to him why the troops that were expected and 
which I understood were promised to arrive here have not been 
forwarded. I beg leave further to call the attention of the 
Lieut. General to the fact that from some oversight, probably 
in the Adjutant General s Office, the Orders creating the 
Department of Virginia, North and South Carolina, which I 
understood were issued when I was in Washington, have not 
been published at least I have not seen them. May I ask 
the attention of Lieut. General Scott to this omission which 
might prove embarrassing. I have the honor to be, 
Very respectfully Your Obdt. Serv. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l. Com d g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 125 

From General Butler 

Hd. Quarters Dept. of Virginia, June 5th, 1861 

Commodore PENDERGRAST, Flag Officer 

SIR: Will Flag Officer Pendergrast have the kindness to 
send some aid to Captain Faunce at Newport News, to-night. 
I do not anticipate any attack; but still I think as a matter 
of precaution that it would be best to have some means to 
communicate with the shore. I had supposed the "Yankee" 
could go, but am informed by Lt. Morris that her condition is 
such that she cannot. Of course the Commander of the 
Naval forces will be best able to devise the means to aid the 
"Harriet Lane." Our guns will be mounted to-morrow, when 
I hope we shall be able to take care of ourselves. 

It is important in my judgment to have the communication 
between Richmond and Norfolk cut off. To-day, in the absence 
of the "Harriet Lane," several vessels passed down on the 
Nansemond side of the James River. 

It would give me pleasure to have a full conference with 
the Flag officer before I send despatches to Washington, and 
I would be happy to see him at as early an hour as he may 
choose. As my despatches will relate to the cooperation of 
the Naval forces with me, the Flag officer will see the desir 
ableness of the interview. 

Most respectfully Your obedient servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comg. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, June 6th, 1861 

Lieut. General WINFIELD SCOTT, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

SIR: I have the honor to report the arrival of Col. Town- 
send with the 3rd Regiment of New York Volunteers, 800 
strong, so that now the aggregate effective force under my 
command including the regulars may be set down, at 6,750 
men. As yet, however, we have not a single piece of artillery 
for the field. I received some artillery harness, however, and 
will ask leave to enlist from the three-months men for three 
years two companies of Artillery. We have no horses even 
sufficient for the Quartermaster s service yet. May I have 
permission to cause to be brought horses for the guns. I 
have thought that as the Quartermaster s service is so pressed 
in New York that if I had authority to order purchases in 



126 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Boston which is substantially an untried market it might be 
done with advantage and economy to the Government. My 
Military Secretary Major Fay is now in Boston arranging his 
private affairs. He is a thorough business man and would 
cause an inspection of the animals before delivery. 

The intrenchments at Newport News will have been com 
pleted by the time this report reaches you and the place is 
really very strong. A battery of 4-8 inch Columbiads will 
command the channel of the river upon one side but this still 
leaves open the channel on the Nansemond side. On this side 
as you will perceive is "Pig Point" upon which the Rebels have 
erected batteries which they are striving now to finish, mount 
ing some seven guns of 32 " & 42 ". If we were in possession of 
Pig Point the James and Nansemond would both be under 
our control, and the services of our blockading vessels might be 
dispensed with, which are now required to prevent Water 
communication between Richmond and Williamsburg and 
Norfolk and Suffolk. My proposition is therefore to make a 
combined Naval and land attack upon Pig Point and endeavor 
to carry the batteries both by turning them, and by direct 
attack from the Naval force. If we succeed, then we shall 
entrench ourselves there with what speed we may and reestab 
lish the battery. But at the same time push on with the same 
Flotilla of boats with which we land, up the Nansemond, 
which is navigable for boats and I believe light draught Steam 
ers, to Suffolk, a distance of 12 miles. When once there the 
commanding General s familiarity with the Country or a 
glance at the map will show that we are in possession of all 
Rail-road communication between Richmond, Petersburg and 
Norfolk, and also of the great Shore line connecting Virginia 
with North Carolina via Weldon, by which the guns taken 
at the Navy Yard will be sent South whenever the operation 
in that direction demands. 

By going 8| miles farther by Jericho Canal we enter Drum- 
mond Lake a sheet of water. Some 6 by 4 miles from this 
lake the feeds of the "Dismal Swamp Canal" may be cut off, 
and that means of transport cut off. Once at Suffolk in posi 
tion, with these lines of communication of the enemy cut off, 
Norfolk must fall with her own weight. Starvation will be 
brought on by simply gathering up the provisions of Princess 
Anne County, which will make her batteries and the theft of 
the Navy Yard Guns substantially valueless, and will save 
many lives to be otherwise spent in their reduction. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 127 

I am not insensible to the disadvantages and difficulties of 
this project, the advantages of which I may have painted with 
too much Couleur de Rose. I do not recognize as among the 
most formidable the reduction of Pig Point Battery, as there 
is plenty depth of water within Point blank range to float the 
"Cumberland," but the Battery once reduced there must 
be a pretty active march on Suffolk to prevent troublesome 
fortifications there which I believe have not yet been 
undertaken. 

If I am right in the importance which I attach to this posi 
tion, then I must expect all the force of the Rebels both from 
Norfolk and Richmond brought there by the Rail-roads to be 
precipitated upon me, and be prepared to meet it in the open 
field. Could they do otherwise? Norfolk would be hemmed in. 
Am I able to withstand such an attack between two forces 
which may act in conjunction, with the necessary drafts from 
my forces to keep open the line of communication by the Nan- 
semond with Newport News, which would then be right flank 
of my base of operations? All these questions, much more 
readily comprehended by the General-in-Chief than by my 
self with the thousand suggestions that will at once present 
themselves to his mind, are most respectfully submitted. 

May I ask for full and explicit instructions upon this matter. 

I have adopted the suggestions of the Lieutenant General 
upon the subject of arming the flank Companies of Col. 
Duryea s Command with 200 Sharps rifles, which were sent 
here for the so called Naval Brigade. I have the honor further 
to report a general state of good health on part of the troops, 
and that no disaster has befallen us except the great influx 
of Slaves. 

Most truly Your Obedt. Servt., BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Virginia, June 6, 1861 

Brig. Genl. PIERCE 

THE name by which the encampment near Hampton has 
sometimes been known, namely "Camp Butler," is hereby 
changed, and it will be henceforth known as Camp Hamilton. 

By order Maj. Genl. BUTLER, Comg. 



128 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 
From Miss Laura Wright Hildreth to Mrs. Heard 

FORT MONROE, June 6, 61 

DEAR HARRIET: You cannot complain of our neglecting to 
write, for this is the fourth missive I have sent within the last 
week. Is Fisher preparing to come out? You had better urge 
it to the utmost, and have him start as soon as possible, for 
every day brings something new, and new men to fill every 
place which may be vacant. There is nothing like being on 
the spot, so tell him to put aside his farming, get his suit of 
dark blue and start at once. If he should come by steamer 
from Boston his pass will take him through, and Mr. Salton- 
stall said that they had a perfectly smooth passage on the 
"Cambridge," and not one on board was seasick in the least. 
He is a cousin of Mr. Fay and would like to be on the staff, 
but we hope he will not arrive at that. 

The pictures etc., and the barn l arrived safely, together 
with Blanche s note and Mr. Webster s. Negroes come in 
every day from outside, and one day as many as forty came into 
the backyard; of all ages, from babies up to old men and 
women. It was a ludicrous and at the same time a sad sight 
to see the poor creatures, homeless, not knowing when or 
where they were to get their next meal. George said if Blanche 
was here she would take them all in charge at once. We call 
them the "Virginia Volunteers," of which Mr. Crane is Col., 
Fiske, Lieu. Col. and I, Commissary, though Fiske does the 
active duties of my department. 



P.S. We have new recruits daily, and our Commissary is 
getting to be one of the largest and most important in the 
Fort. L. 

DEAR HARRIET: I will add a postscript to Loty s letter. 
Mr. Butler got a letter from Mr. George yesterday. I do not 
know as he has answered it yet. Why would it not be well 
for Fisher and Mr. George to come out together? It would 
be a pleasant trip, and they could see and satisfy themselves 
of many things. Personal observation is better than letter or 
newspaper reports. Fisher ought to come at least. I think 
his pass would take him by land most of the way. We are as 
anxious to hear from you as you are to hear from us. 
_ S. 

1 A barn made in sections, covered with canvas, to be used in the field. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 129 

From the Postmaster General to General Butler 

June 8th, 1861 

DEAR GENERAL: I received your letter and dispatch, and 
contrary to your orders I read both to the President, under 
injunction of confidence however. I have told him that Scott 
would never let you have any troops to make any great blow, 
and I read the dispatch to show that I understood my man. 
Scott intends to treat you as he did Taylor, and as he has 
always treated those whom he knew would be effective if he 
gave them the means, retaining everything in his own power 
and under his immediate control so as to monopolize all the 
reputation to be made. 

I have been a little afraid lest you might attempt more than 
your means justified, under the impression that you would 
otherwise disappoint the country. But I am pleased to see 
that you have not made this mistake. You must work on 
patiently till you feel yourself able to do the work you attempt, 
and not play into your enemies hands or those of the miserable 
do-nothings here, by attempting more than in your cool 
judgment the force you have can effect. You will gradually 
get provided, and then you may make an effective blow. Un 
fortunately, indeed, the difficulties increase as your force 
increases, if not more rapidly. We have forty thousand men 
I believe, and provisions and transportations enough to take 
them to Richmond any day. And yet our lines do not extend 
5 miles into Virginia, where there are not in my opinion men 
enough to oppose the march of half the numbers to Rich 
mond. Old Patterson is at Chambersburg with about 20,000 
men, and is moving as cautiously towards the Potomac as if 
the banks were commanded by an army of Bonaparte s best 
legions instead of a mob composed for the most part of men 
who only wait for an opportunity to desert a flag they detest. 
This war will last forever if something does not happen to 
unseat old Scott. McClellan in the West with 60,000 men 
under Canvas, has not made a movement except to let a few 
regiments march up the Bait. & Ohio R. R. at the urgent 
solicitations of the people. So we go. Congress will probably 
catch us without our having performed any service worthy of 
the great force we have under pay. 

I grumble this way all the time and to everybody in the 
hope that I may contribute to push on the column. I am very 
much in hopes that we shall be pushed into action by the indig- 

VOL. I 9 



130 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

nation of the people, if not by our sense of what is due to the 
cause we have taken in hand. 

As respects the negro question, I am in favor of sending 
them straight to Hayti. Geffrard wants them and we do not. 
Congress could afterwards adjust the matter either by paying 
for them or confiscating them, it does not matter much which. 
We could support them better in Hayti if we should be 
obliged to do so than in Virginia. Suppose you sound some 
of the most intelligent, and see how they would like to go 
with their families to so congenial a clime under the govern 
ment of an able and intelligent man who will give them land, 
and assist them to take care of themselves. New England 
will soon find a better market for her industry in Hayti than 
in half the southern states, if not the whole of them. It is 
one of the follies of the negro drivers that negroes will work 
better for them than for themselves. It is want that makes 
men work, and neither negroes nor whites work without 
being obliged. The whites of our country work more because 
they have more wants, the wants of civilization superadded 
to the necessities of subsistence. Cuffy civilized will work just 
as any body else civilized will work. We have civilized a 
good many of them who are going to Hayti to teach by example 
the wants of civilization and so teach the work of civilization. 

Yours truly, M. BLAIR 



From the Assistant Secretary of the Navy to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, D.C. June 8, 61 

DEAR GENL.: I have your note with regard to Crosby 
and Saltonstall, and your wishes are complied with. String- 
ham will be back in the "Minnesota" so soon as the " Wabash" 
relieves him, and will remain a while at the Roads, but the 
pressure is strong upon us about the blockade. I hope you 
will not move until he comes to help you with his big guns. 
In fact as your design will readily be divined by this time, and 
three roads go into Suffolk giving them facility for concentra 
tion, I do trust you will be fully prepared before you move. 
The first battle must be won. All others will be easy, and I 
pray you take care of this point, whatever may urge you to 
quicken measures. There is no impatience here, in fact all 
goes well, so don t trouble yourself. We will take care of your 
rear. There are two or more river boats here such as run to 
and fro between this and Aquia Creek that I think would 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 131 

do your purpose. Each would carry 400 men and say 6 feet 
draft. I think Dahlgren put one 32 gun on each. I told Blair 
the first moment I heard of your upward movement that the 
navy had no proper vessels to assist you, but they must be got 
outside. There is nothing new here. With our warm regards 

and prayers for your success, . 7 , ~ 

Sincerely, G. V. Fox 

I send you a large scale of James River, not exactly what 
you want but I will obtain more early. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Quarters Dept. of Virginia, June 8, 1861 

To The Union Defense Committee 

GENTLEMEN: I observe by the newspapers that you have 
sent a large number of cavalry horses to Washington. 

In my movements in this Department I am often annoyed 
by small scouting parties of the enemy, mounted men who 
run whenever ours approach. If I had even a small troop of 
light horsemen I could easily disembarrass myself of these 
gentry. I could also employ such a force in most important 
duties of reconnoitering and skirmishing. In fact a larger or 
smaller troop of chasseurs a cheval is almost essential to my 
advance, in due time. 

I merely take the liberty of stating my want to you in this 
informal manner. If you can send me fifty or more horses 
with regulation saddles, bridles, spurs and equipment com 
plete, I can make them of great service in increasing the effi 
ciency of my Division, composed in great part, as you are 
aware, of New York troops. I can mount the horses with 
men who will give a good account of themselves. I have the 

honor to be, Gentlemen, v ^ 

Your most obt. servt., 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comdg. 
From General Scott 

Head Quarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, June Wth, 1861 

Major Genl. B. F. BUTLER, Comd g, etc., Fort Monroe, Va. 
SIR: Your letters of the 1st and 6th instant are received. 
The General in Chief desires me to say in reply that he highly 
commends your zeal and activity which oblige the enemy to 
strengthen his camps and posts in your vicinity and hold him 



132 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

constantly on the alert. The principal value of your movement 
upon Suffolk is that it would be the easiest route to the Gos- 
port Navy Yard, and the objects (including many ships of war) 
which our people on the former occasion left undestroyed. 
The possession of Norfolk, within itself, is of no importance 
whilst we blockade Hampton Roads; but the destruction of 
the railroads leading from that city, as far as you may find it 
practicable, would be a valuable, coercive measure. The 
Naval Commander should aid you in the collection of boats 
for joint expeditions, and the Secretary of War has said that 
he would cause some eighty horses to be bought and shipped 
to you for a light battery. I am, Sir, 

Very respectfully Your Obedient Servant, 

E. D. TOWNSEND, Asst. Adjt. General 

From John La Mountain 

TROY, June Wth, 1861 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER, Fortress Monroe 

DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 5th inst. is received. I 
accept with pleasure your kind proposal. I will have my 
balloons and apparatus in readiness to start for your head 
quarters by the first of next week. I will bring with me two 
balloons, together with my complete apparatus. 

Yours Respectfully, JOHN LA MOUNTAIN 

General Butler s Orders for Attack on Big Bethel 

A REGIMENT or battalion to march from Newport News, 
and a regiment to march from Camp Hamilton, Duryea s. 
Each will be supported by sufficient reserves under arms in 
camp, and with advanced guards out on the road of march. 

Duryea to push out two picket posts at 10 P.M.; one two 
and a half miles beyond Hampton, on the county road, but 
not so far as to alarm the enemy. This is important. Second 
half as far as the first. Both pickets to be kept as much out 
of sight as possible. No one whatever allowed to pass out 
through their lines. Persons to be allowed to pass inward 
towards Hampton, unless it appears that they intend to go 
round-about and dodge through to the front. 

At 12, midnight, Colonel Duryea will march his regiment, 
with fifteen round cartridges, on the county road towards 
Little Bethel. Scows will be provided to ferry them across 
Hampton Creek. March to be rapid but not hurried. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 133 

A howitzer with canister and shrapnel to go. 

A wagon with planks and material to repair Newmarket 
bridge. 

Duryea to have two hundred rifles. He will pick the men 
to whom to entrust them. 

Rocket to be thrown up from Newport News. Notify Com 
modore Pendergrast of this to prevent general alarm. 

Newport News movement to be made somewhat later, as 
the distance is less. 

If we find the enemy and surprise them, men will fire one 
volley, if desirable, not reload, and go ahead with the bayonet. 

As the attack is to be by night, or dusk of morning, and in 
two detachments, our people should have some token, say a 
white rag (or dirty white rag) on the left arm. 

Perhaps the detachments who are to do the job should be 
smaller than a regiment, three hundred or five hundred, as 
the right and left of the attack would be more easily handled. 

If we bag the Little Bethel men, push on to Big Bethel, 
and similarly bag them. Burn both the Bethels or blow up if 
brick. 

To protect our rear in case we take the field-pieces, and the 
enemy should march his main body (if he has any) to recover 
them, it would be well to have a squad of competent artiller 
ists, regular or other, to handle the captured guns on the 
retirement of our main body. Also spikes to spike them if 
retaken. 

George Scott to have a shooting iron. 

Perhaps Duryea s men would be awkward with a new arm 
in a night or early dawn attack, where there will be little 
marksman duty to perform. Most of the work will be done 
with the bayonet, and they are already handy with the old 
ones. 

From Brigadier General Pierce 

Head Quarters Camp Hamilton, DepL of Va., June 11, 1861 

Major General BUTLER, Commdg. the Dept. of Virginia 

I EXCEEDINGLY regret my inability to have made this re 
port before, but I have completed it as soon as the reports of 
the Colonels of the different regiments were received. In the 
engagements of yesterday, Col. Townsend s regiment lost 
- men. 

Of these 2 were killed, 27 were wounded, 1 was missing. 
Of these, one was killed and 22 wounded by shots received 



134 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

from Col. Bendix while on the march to Little Bethel, 
and I think Col. Bendix should be called to an account for 
his acts upon that occasion. 

Of the second Regiment, Col. Carr, none were killed or 
missing and only two wounded, both of whom I think will 
recover, the men were wounded at the battle near Big Bethel. 
Of the 5th Regiment, Col. Duryea, in the engagement at Big 
Bethel, of 850 men present 4 were killed, 12 wounded and 2 
missing. 

Of the 1st Regiment, Col. Allen, 2 Sergeants were killed 
and one musician was wounded. Lieutenant Greble of the 
United States Artillery was killed outright by a cannon shot 
which struck him in the head just as our forces were drawing 
off. Major Winthrop of your staff, who did me great service 
upon the occasion in carrying my orders to the different 
commands, was missing at the close of the action, and although 
diligent search was made for him, he has not yet been found. 

Aggregate of killed 7, aggregate of wounded 42, aggregate 
of missing 4. Total Loss, 53. 

Respectfully yours etc., 
EBENEZER W. PIERCE, Brig. Genl. 

From Quarter- Master General Meigs 

Quartermaster General s Office, WASHINGTON, June llth, 1861 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. of Virginia, Fortress 
Monroe 

SIR : In the notice of the assault at Big Bethel I see it states 
that there was little artillery with the troops on account of 
the want of horses. A general commanding an army in the 
field has a large discretionary power, and I think would be 
able to procure horses for his guns, of which I am told there 
are plenty at Fortress Monroe, by requisition upon the proper 
department or even by using temporarily those of the Quarter 
Master s Department. 

Horses have lately been sent to Fortress Monroe by this 
department. Have you enough for your movements? 

Yours Respectfully, Your obt. Servant, M. C. MEIGS 

Respectfully referred to Capt. Tallmadge, Asst. Q.M., for 
reply to be submitted to me. B ^ BuTLER 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 135 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia, June llth, 1861 

To the Officer Commanding the forces at County Bridge 

SIR: Lieut. Col. Warren and are about to proceed 

to the scene of the late engagement near County Bridge for 
the purpose of bringing away any dead or wounded that may 
have been left behind. I trust the courtesies of civilized war 
fare will be extended to these gentlemen, as I have no doubt 
they will be. 

I have some prisoners taken with arms in their hands which 
you might desire or be willing to exchange for any persons 
who may have been so unfortunate as to have fallen into your 
hands. If you deem such course desirable, a flag of truce with 
a proper Cartel might be arranged through the bearer of this 
note, Lieut. Col. Warren. I have the honor to be, 

Most Respectfully, Your obdt. Servt., BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From Colonel J. B. Magruder 

Headquarters, YORK TOWN, VA., June IZth, 1861 

Major Gen 1. B. F. BUTLER, Comm d g. Fort Monroe 

SIR: Our people had orders to bring any communications 
intended for the commander of the Forces at "County Bridge" 
or Bethel to this place, and by a particular route. Hence the 
delay. 

I understood from Capt. Davies, the Bearer of the Flag, 
that you have four prisoners, to wit one trooper and three 
citizens; Messrs. Carter, Whiting, Lively and Mariam, the 
latter three being Citizens of Virginia, in your possession. 
And you state that you are desirous to exchange them for a 
corresponding number of Federal troops, who are prisoners 
with me. I accept your offer, so far as the trooper, who was 
a vidette is in question, and will send to-morrow at 4 o clock 
in the afternoon, if it will suit your convenience, a federal 
soldier in exchange for him. With respect to the wounded, 
my first care was to have them attended to. Medical advice 
and careful nursing have been provided, and your dead I had 
buried on the Field of battle and this was done in sight of 
the Conflagrations which were devastating the homes of our 
Citizens. 

The Citizens in your possession are men who doubtless 
defended their homes against a foe who, to their certain knowl- 



136 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

edge, had, with or without the authority of the Federal Gov 
ernment, destroyed the private property of their neighbors, 
breaking up even the pianos of the ladies, and committing 
depredations numberless and of every description. 

The federal prisoner, if agreeable to you, will be sent to or 
near Hampton by a Sergeant who will receive the vidette 
(Carter) who was captured by your troops. I do not think a 
more formal proceeding necessary, you having but one pris 
oner and he not taken in battle. If my proposition to deliver 
one Federal prisoner at or near Hampton in charge of a Ser 
geant to be exchanged for Private Carter, the captured vidette, 
be accepted, please inform me or the Officer in command at 
Bethel Church, and it shall be done. 

It is scarcely necessary to say that the gentlemen who bear 
your flag have been received with every courtesy by our Citi 
zens, as well as by ourselves. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully 9 Your obt. Servt. 
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER, Col. Comd g C.S. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of Va., FORTRESS MONROE, June llth, 1861 

Col. PHELPS 

DEAR SIR: I have information more or less reliable that 
there are a few men only in Big Bethel. Do you think you 
could take it? If so you may try. Do you want any support 
from me? If so send back the boat for what you want, and 
when you want it. At all events send me word about poor 
Wmthrop. Fo ^ ^ BENJ R BUTLER 



From General Butler to Mrs. Winthrop 

Headquarters, Department of Va., June 13th, 1861 

MY DEAR MADAM: The Newspapers have anticipated me 
in the sorrowful intelligence which I have to communicate. 
Your Son Theodore is no more. He fell, mortally wounded 
from a rifle shot, at County Bridge. I have conversed with 
Private John M. Jones of the Northfield Company in the 
Vermont Regiment who stood beside Major Winthrop when 
he fell and supported him in his arms. Your Son s death was 
in a few moments without apparent anguish. After Major 
Winthrop had delivered the order with which he was charged 
to the Commander of the Regiment, he took his rifle and while 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 137 

his guide held his horse in woods in the rear, with too daring 
bravery went to the front. While there, stepping upon a log 
to get a full view of the force, he received the fatal shot. His 
friend, Col. Wardrop of Massachusetts, had loaned him a 
sword for the occasion on which his name was marked in full, 
so that he was taken by the enemy for the Col. himself. 

Major Winthrop had advanced so close to the parapet 
that it was not thought expedient by those in Command to 
send forward any party to bring off the body, and thus en 
danger the lives of others in the attempt to rescue his remains, 
as the rebels remorselessly fired upon all the small parties 
that went forward for the purpose of bringing off their wounded 
comrades. 

Had your gallant Son been alive, I doubt not he would 
advised this course in regard to another. I have assurances 
from the Officer in Command of the rebel forces at County 
Bridge that Maj . Winthrop received at their hands a respectful 
and decent burial. 

His personal effects found upon him will be given up to 
my flag of truce, with the exception of his watch, which has 
been sent to Yorktown, and which I am assured will be returned 
through me to yourself. I have given thus particularly these 
sad details because I know and have experienced the fond 
inquiries of a mother s hjeart of her son s acts. 

My dear Madam! Although a stranger my tears will flow 
with yours in grief for the loss of your brave and too Gallant 
son, my true friend and brother. I had not known him long, 
but his soldierly Qualities, his daring courage, his true-hearted 
friendship, his genuine sympathies, his cultivated mind, his 
high moral tone, all combined to so win me to him that he had 
twined himself about my heart with the cords of a brother s 
love. 

The very expedition which resulted so unfortunately for 
him made him all the more dear to me. Partly suggested by 
himself he entered into the necessary preparations for it with 
such alacrity, cool judgment and careful foresight in all the 
details that might render it successful, as gave great promise 
of future usefulness in his chosen profession. When in answer 
to his request to be permitted to go with it, I suggested to 
him that my correspondence was very heavy and he would 
be needed at home, he playfully replied, "Oh, General we will 
all work extra hours and make that up when we get back. 
The affair can t go on without me, you know." The last 



138 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

words I heard him say before his "Goodnight" when we 
parted were, "If anything happens I have given my mother s 
address to Mr. Green." His last thoughts were with his 
mother, his last acts were for his Country and her cause. 

I have used the words "unfortunate expedition for him." 
Nay not so! Too fortunate thus to die doing his duty, his 
whole duty to his country as a hero and as a patriot. Unfor 
tunate to us only who are left to mourn the loss to ourselves 
and to our Country. 

Permit me, Madam, in the poor degree I may to take such a 
place in your heart that we may mingle our griefs as we already 
do our love and fond admiration for him who has only gone 
before us to that better world, where through the "Merits 
of Him who suffered for us" we shall all meet together. 
Most sincerely and affectionately Yours, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From Mrs. Laura W. Johnson 

STATEN ISLAND, June, 1861 

DEAR MRS. BUTLER: I cannot let this opportunity pass 
without expressing my gratitude to you and General Butler 
for your great kindness to my dear Brother, 1 and for your 
tenderness to us in our grief. It is a great comfort to us to 
know that we have your sympathy, to know that you valued 
Theodore and appreciated him. We must always feel a warm 
friendship for you and yours with whom he spent the last 
weeks of his life, the most eventful, the most useful and the 
happiest, perhaps, he had ever spent. You know in some 
degree what we have lost, and I trust we shall one day meet as 
friends and talk of things of the deepest interest to us, and 
which I am sure are not without interest to you. It does make 
us stronger to bear our sorrow when we think of the cause for 
which our dear brother died, a cause long dear to us all, and 
now far dearer than ever. I trust our country will be nobler 
and worthier than ever of our love after this dark hour of 
trial is past. May she not have, like Rachel, to weep many 
more of her children. Yet truth and Freedom cannot be too 
dearly bought, by blood and tears. 

It is a great satisfaction to us to know from Theodore s 
letters that some of the last acts of his life were kindnesses to 
an oppressed race, a race he never forgot, as a part of the Nation 

1 Theodore Winthrop. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 139 

whose battle he fought. My mother and sisters join with me 
in affectionate remembrances, and in the hope of expressing 
in person at some future time our heartfelt gratitude, our 
interest and friendship, for you as well as for General Butler 
whose career we watch with warm interest and admiration. 
Yours affectionately, LAURA W. JOHNSON 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of Va., FORTRESS MONROE, June 13, 1861 

Col. J. B. MAGRUDER, Commanding Forces at Yorktown 

SIR: Your favor of June 12th, by Capt. Davies with a flag 
of truce, was this morning received. I desire first to thank 
you for the courtesy shown to the flag and its messengers. I 
will accept the change for private Carter. The two citizens, 
Whiting and Lively, were taken with arms in their hands, 
one of which was discharged from the house of Whiting upon 
the Column of our troops, when all resistance was useless and 
when his attack was simply assassination, and when no offense 
had been committed against him. The house from which 
this shot was fired, and a building which formed a part of 
your outpost, are the only conflagrations caused by the troops 
under my command. And the light of these had ceased hours 
before your men ventured out from under their earthworks 
and ditches, to do us the courtesy of burying our dead, for 
which acts you have my sincerest thanks. After our troops 
returned from the field hours after a building was burned 
which had furnished our wounded some shelter and from 
which we had removed them; but not by our men. For your 
kind treatment of any wounded you may have, please accept 
my assurance of deep obligation and with the certainty that 
at any and every opportunity such courtesy and kindness 
will be reciprocated. I am sorry that an Officer so distin 
guished in the service of the United States, as yourself could 
for a moment suppose that the wanton destruction of private 
property would in any way be authorized or tolerated by the 
Federal Government and its Officers, many of whom are 
your late associates. Even now, while your letter is being 
answered and this is on its way to you, a most ignominious 
and severe punishment, in the presence of all the troops, is 
being inflicted upon men who had enlisted in the service of 
the United States not Soldiers for plundering private 
property. All the private property which would not, by the 



140 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

strictest construction, be considered contraband of war as 
means of feeding and aiding the enemy, which has been brought 
within my lines or in any way has come in the possession of 
my troops and been discovered, with the strictest examination, 
has been taken account of, collected together, to be given to 
those peaceable citizens who have come forward to make 
claim for it. A board of Survey has been organized and has 
already reported indemnity for the property of peaceable 
citizens necessarily destroyed. In order to convince you that 
no wrong has been done to private property by any one in 
authority in the service of the United States, I do myself the 
honor to enclose a Copy of a Gen l. Order from this Depart 
ment which will sufficiently explain itself. And the most 
active measures have been taken rigidly to enforce it and to 
punish violation thereof. That there have been too many 
sporadic acts of wrong to private property committed by bad 
men under my command I admit and most sincerely regret 
and believe they will in the future be substantially prevented. 
I mean they shall be repaired in favor of all loyal citizens so 
far as lies in my power. 

You have done me the honor to inform me that Vidette 
Carter is not a prisoner taken in battle. That is quite true. 
He was asleep on his post and informs me that his three com 
panions left in such haste that they neglected to wake him 
up. And they being mounted and my men on foot, the race 
was a difficult one. If it is not the intention of your authori 
ties to treat the citizens of Virginia taken in actual conflict 
with the United States as soldiers, in what light shall they be 
considered? Please inform me in what light you regard them. 
If not soldiers, must they not be assassins? 

A Sergeant of Capt. Davies command will be charged to 
meet your Sergeant at 4 o clock at the village of Hampton 
for the purpose of the exchange of private Carter. 

I need not call attention to the fact that there will be un 
authorized acts of violence committed by those who are not 
sufficiently under restraint of their commanding Officers. 
My men complain that the Ambulance having the wounded 
was fired into by your Cavalry. And I am informed that if 
you have any prisoners, they were taken while engaged in 
pious duty to their wounded comrades and not in battle. It 
has never occurred to my mind that either firing into the ambu 
lance or capturing persons in charge of the wounded men was 
an act either authorized, recognized or sanctioned by any 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 141 

gentleman in command of the forces in Virginia. Before this 
unhappy strife I had not been so accustomed to regard the 
acts of my late associate-citizens of the United States, and I 
have seen nothing in the course of this contest in the acts of 
those in authority to lead me to a different conclusion. I 
have the honor to be, 

Most respectfully Your Obt. Servt., 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. U.S. Forces 

From General Pierce 

Headquarters Camp at HAMPTON, July 13th, 1861. [Not in chronological order] 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER, Commdg. Dept. of Va. 

SIR: As I have been severely censured by the public for 
my conduct at the Battle of Big Bethel, and feeling that the 
criticisms are unjust and that I should not suffer for the errors 
and mistakes of others, I would respectfully demand a court 
of inquiry in order that the matter may be fully investigated 
and the responsibility placed where it belongs. 

Respectfully yours, E. W. PIERCE, Brig. Gen I 

From General Pierce 

In Camp near BLADENSBURG, September I6th, 1861. [Not in chronological order] 

Gen. BUTLER 

SIR: I write to correct an error that I fear exists in your 
mind, viz: that I did not intend to return to testify in the 
court-martial of Col. Allen. 

I did not receive the order until several days after the time 
fixed for my appearance, and I immediately caused Lt. Loder 
to be informed by letter that I would go on if desired, but did 
not wish to go without hearing from him again as the time had 
so far gone past. I called on your law partner, Mr. Green, and 
he said I did as he should have done, but fearing he would not 
inform you I write. Success attends you in spite of the labors 
of your enemies, and from the fact that I have every reason 
to believe you once really esteemed me, and that you believed 
what you said, viz: that I was an honest and true man, that 
it can give you no pleasure to think of my downfall. Do you 
remember what you said to me in the library room of the 
house you occupied in Annapolis? If I had acted upon what 
I then told you, and had you believed me, we should both 
have been better off. You will probably go on and reach a 



142 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

high position among men, and I cannot say that I desire it 
should be otherwise. It is but a small and even the smallest 
circumstance that makes or unmakes men. Had that battery 
been taken (& I now think it would have been but for a dis 
position on the part of N. York officers to have the battle 
lost) we should have gone on in life together. But now as 
you mount the ladder of fame you will occasionally remember 
your former honest friend, whom that unfortunate circum 
stance destroyed. In remembering me I hope you will try 
to recall all the good, and let my misfortune so far as possible 
cover my frailties. 

I have never believed you the man your enemies have 
endeavored to prove. Indeed, that were impossible after 
being with you as I was at Annapolis and witnessing your 
feelings on my return to you at Fortress Monroe. Still, as 
you could not find it in either your heart or head to blame me, 
concluding, as you immediately did, that I was more sinned 
against than sinning, I do think you ought to have rendered 
me a greater protection against the abuse of scribblers. Had 
you issued the order against writing (either for or against 
officers) a few weeks before, the result would have been dif 
ferent, and had the Bull Run fight come off before that at 
County Bridge we both should have suffered less. 

Yours &c., E. W. PIERCE 

From General Butler 

LOWELL, MASS., Sept. Wth, 1861. [Not in chronological order] 

Brigadier General E. W. PIERCE, Mass. Volunteer Militia 

SIR: Your note from Bladensburg is received. I am sur 
prised by its contents. You assured me you would return 
on the next Monday and give your testimony against Allen. 
You did not; I am bound to receive your explanation, as to 
the want of notice. Be it so. How am I to reconcile your 
published letter and your letter to me? In the one you put 
the failure of the Great Bethel expedition upon me, in this 
upon the New York Colonels. That they were to blame, I 
doubt not. That you ordered a retreat too soon is equally 
true. That all were badly managed is too certain, from the 
official report. I shielded you too much for my own honor, 
but I loved the old Commonwealth, and made that sacri 
fice, with many others, for her honor. 

Suppose I had told the story as I might have done, where 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 143 

would you have been? A march without scouts, or skirmish 
ers, or advance guards in the night, in the face of an enemy. 
A retreat from your own friends in the morning, a sending 
back for reinforcements against them without a reconnois- 
sance, when the force opposed was but equal to your own. 
An attack in overcoats, a fusillade of small arms upon an 
unseen enemy with cannon, for some minutes, two Howitzers 
not brought into action. No attempt made to turn a position 
easily flanked. A retreat ordered with two fresh Regiments 
just arrived, neither brought into action, at the very moment 
your enemy 600 only against 3000 were running away. That 
retreat so disorderly that dead and wounded were left on the 
field, and the lamented Winthrop left dying in the advance, 
near the enemy s lines, which was a battery only in fearful 
imagination, and masked because no intrenchments were there, 
and you ignorant whether he who was acting your aid was 
dead or alive, and to that you could not answer my ago 
nized inquiries when you returned at night. 

And then to sign your name to a letter, written by a thief, 
wherein you are made to say that you retreated for want of 
ammunition, when two Regiments with 20 Rounds each had 
not fired a shot, and you brought away 12 Rounds of Artillery 
Projectiles in your Caissons. How could you do so? and 
then write to me, claiming to be an honest man, unless you 
admit yourself imbecile? 

Again, how could you allow your amanuensis to tell the 
public that you had asked for a Court of Inquiry and been 
refused, when you knew that you yourself offered to with 
draw your request for a Court of Inquiry if I would certify 
in a letter that your courage was not questioned. You were 
told then, and are told now, that you were not accused of 
flinching, and to that I am happy to certify. The trouble is, 
you did nothing, thought nothing, felt nothing, and knew 
nothing on that occasion. 

I have borne in silence. I would not exhibit this nauseating 
picture to the delight of our Rebel foes. It was better to suffer 
any personal loss than to have the public take detriment from 
these revelations, at least until Bull Run has painted as bad 
a picture. I thought you honest, and hope you are so. I 
know you weak and unhappy, and so must leave you, for I 
cannot aid you. I have the honor to be 

Your obedient Servant, BENJ. F. BUTLER 



144 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Pierce 

Camp of 2nd Regt. R.I.V., Sept. 25th, 1861. [Not in chronological order] 

Major Geril. BUTLER 

SIR: I have been examining the facts and circumstances 
that led to the defeat of Bethel, and from what I have learned 
am fully persuaded that there was a combined effort on the 
part of at least two New York Colonels to bring about that 
disaster. One of these Cols, expected to command, and when 
he found that I was with the column did not care to go on, 
and when at Bethel deprived me of all the knowledge his Lt. 
Col. possessed of the place, and upon that knowledge I sup 
pose you mainly relied for us to act. 

This Col. was displeased because Townsend instead of 
Allen accompanied him, and Allen when brought to the field 
helped largely to bring about the defeat by reporting a large 
accession just made to the number of the enemy. Twas 
certainly a singular series of mishaps that ruined me, and 
probably to a great extent injured you. I cannot help think 
ing, however, that a man who has acted as honestly and 
exposed his life so much as I did on that occasion will at some 
time meet with a proper reward. ^^ w 



From Lieutenant Colonel Warren 

June 15th, 1861 

Major General B. F. BUTLER 

SIR: I have the honor to present herewith a diagram of 
the scene of operations near County Bridge on the 10th inst. 
It is mostly prepared from information obtained by me of 
the scouting expedition of June 4th. The general account of 
the battle is briefly as follows: 

We arrived on the ground about 9 o clock A.M., Col. Dur- 
yea s regiment in advance, with two Companies deployed as 
skirmishers about three hundred yards in front, and scouts 
ahead along the road about half a mile, and close up with the 
enemy. I advanced with the skirmishers to reconnoitre, and 
the enemy opened his fire with artillery, the shots passing 
high over our heads, and to the rear of the main body. On 
arriving on the edge of the woods we found that there was at 
least one battery protected by breastwork directly in front and 
enfilading the bridge a small affair over a fordable stream 
about 12 feet across. Col. Duryea s regiment came at once 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 145 

to the same place, as did also Lieut. Greble with his guns. 
Finding it was not best to attempt to carry the battery in 
front, I went and informed Gen l. Pierce of the condition of 
things, who at my suggestion directed me to tell Colonel 
Townsend to attempt to turn it by our left flank, and Col. 
Bendix to make movement by our right flank. Both regi 
ments moved off accordingly. Col. Bendix I understand did 
cross the creek so as to get on the flank. Col. Townsend 
moved through the open fields instead of through the woods 
to the left, and the severity of the enemy s fire in this posi 
tion turned him back on the centre. The bravery of Col. 
Townsend and his men was well exemplified, but the failure 
to turn this flank, I think, determined Gen l. Pierce to retire. 
Our loss however was not great, and the men had acted bravely 
and were in good order and well under command. Col. Allen s 
and Col. Carr s regiments came up some time after the firing 
began, and were only used to cover the withdrawal. The 
regiments that first retired left men behind to bring up the 
wounded and dead, but Col. Allen and Col. Carr did not 
afford a sufficient rear guard nor give the assistance expected 
from regiments who had not, unlike the others, been with 
out sleep the whole of the preceding night. Col. Allen assured 
me we were being outflanked, and he moved to the rear with 
out halting. 

I remained on the ground about an hour after all the force 
had left. As Col. Carr retired, Capt. Wilson of his regiment 
carried off the gun at which Lieut. Greble had been killed, but 
left the limber behind. I withdrew this along with Lieut. 
Greble s body, assisted by Lieut. Duncan and 12 men of the 
N.Y. 1st, and sent it on to join the piece. I remained with 
Chaplain Winslow and a few men of the N.Y. 3rd, 5th, and 
7th getting the wounded together, whom we put into carts 
and waggons and drew off by hand. There were three or 
four mortally wounded and several dead whom we had to 
leave from inability to carry them. I sent several messengers 
to get assistance, and as we moved slowly in, finding no one, 
I pushed ahead as fast as I could go on foot (having given the 
animal I rode to a wounded man). I overtook none but the 
worn-out stragglers till I came up to Capt. Kaff, of N.Y. 7th, 
who with 7 or 8 men stopped, as also did Capt. McNutt of 
the 2nd, detailed by Col. Carr. They both rendered essential 
service in checking the advance of the enemy s horsemen, 
who finally came on and pursued up to New Market bridge. 

VOL. I IO 



146 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Capt. Wilson of the 2nd N.Y. regt., with the two 6 pound 
ers under his charge, positively refused to obey the order I 
gave him to stop and cover the retreat. Lieut. Morris of the 
Navy, with two boat Howitzers, was met after we had crossed 
New Market bridge. 

The noble conduct of Chaplain Winslow and the generous 
hearted men who remained behind to help the wounded de 
serves the highest praise, and the toilsome task which they 
accomplished of dragging the rude vehicles, filled with their 
helpless comrades, over a weary road of nine miles in their 
exhausted condition, with the prospect of an attack every min 
ute, bespeak a goodness of heart and bravery never excelled. 

Beside the wounded and dead left behind there were a 
number of canteens and haversacs and a few muskets and 
bayonets, all of which I think was caused by a misunder 
standing. Our regiment did not think we were going back 
more than a few hundred yards to rest a little, out of fire, and 
then make another attack. There was no pursuing force or 
the least cause for precipitancy. No shots were fired at the 
little party who carried away the limber of Lieut. Greble s 
gun, and the long while which elapsed without any one appear 
ing in front of the enemy s lines would indicate that he was 
very weak in numbers, or perhaps had begun to retire. The 
force which the enemy brought into action was not, I think, 
greater than 500 men. His great advantage over us was 
artillery protected from our fire. I still am of the opinion 
that the position as we found it was not difficult to take with 
experienced troops, and could have been turned on our left. 
The trees protected our approach and sheltered us from their 
battery till we were quite close, and the march in front was 
practicable for footmen. We labored under great disadvan 
tage in want of experience and firing and in the exhaustion of 
our men from want of sleep, long marching, and hunger. 

The enemy had a rifled gun or two shooting bolts of about 
the calibre of four pounders and 8 inch long with soft metal 
base; some of them were hollow with a Borman fuse at the 
point, and all did not burst. Some of their 12 Pdr. shells also 
failed to explode. There were probably 3 to 5 guns sheltered 
by a breastwork, and one or two that were moved around to 
different points. 

The breastwork was placed so that the guns enfiladed the 
little bridge. The gun placed to sweep the long reach of road 
before you came to the bridge was driven away by Lieut. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 147 

Greble s fire, which prevented our loss from being far greater 
than it was. The skill and bravery displayed by Lieut. Greble 
could not have been surpassed, and the fortune which pro 
tected him from the enemy s fire only deserted him at the last 
moment. The discharge which killed him was one of the last 
made by the enemy s guns. His own guns were never silenced 
by the enemy s fire, and the occasional pauses were to husband 
his ammunition. ^ Respectfully ^ Yo ur Obt. Servt. 

G. K. WARREN, Lieut. Col. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, June 16, 1861 

Lieut. General WINFIELD SCOTT 

GENERAL: Upon examination of the official reports of the 
Officers commanding the various corps who were engaged in 
the Skirmish at Big Bethel, I find nothing to add or correct 
in my former despatch in so far as relates to the disposition 
for the attack. It now turns out beyond controversy, as I 
deem, that the firing was commenced upon Col. Townsend 
by Col. Bendix men. It is not so certain whether Col. Bendix 
gave the order to fire or not, although the evidence is strong 
upon the point that he did so. It was evidently a mistake. 
Precaution was taken that before any order to fire was given 
in the dark the watchword "Boston" should be shouted, and 
that Col. Townsend s men should be distinguished by a white 
Badge upon the arm, with which order Col. Townsend 
complied. Lieut. Greble of the 4th Artillery (Regulars), 
whose loss as a Gallant officer, thorough Soldier and amiable 
man we all must deplore, was with Col. Bendix, as I am 
informed by the Col s, report. Col. Townsend has desired a 
Court of Inquiry for the purpose of investigating this transac 
tion, with which request as soon as the exigencies of the public 
service will permit, I shall comply. 

As I stated in the former report, this attack was not in 
tended to enable us to hold Big Bethel as a Post, because it 
was not seriously in our way in any proposed road to York- 
town, and therefore there was never any intention of maintain 
ing it even if captured. The length of the march and the heat 
of the weather had caused great fatigue, as many of the troops, 
the previous night being cool, had marched with their thickest 
clothing. I take leave to assure you that every precaution 
had been taken to prevent notice to the enemy of our approach. 



148 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

A picket-guard had been sent out in the night before at 10 
o clock to prevent the egress of persons from our Camp in the 
direction of Yorktown. But we have since learned that infor 
mation had been communicated to the enemy of our approach, 
and we believe that we have under arrest the person who 
communicated the intelligence a discharged soldier of the 
United States many years since who resided in Hampton. If 
the evidence is satisfactory to a Court Martial he will be dealt 
with with such severity of punishment as will be a lesson to 
the many who surround us, and who are engaged in the same 
nefarious business. From subsequent information I am certain 
that the force that was at first at Great Bethel did not exceed 
a regiment, and had the order been executed which I had 
given in the General Plan of attack, that " if we find the enemy 
and surprise them we will fire a volley if desirable, no reload, 
but go ahead with the bayonet," I have no doubt of the cap 
ture of the Battery. But in attempting to obtain information 
upon the road as to the force in Big Bethel, the exaggerated 
Statements of the inhabitants and the negroes as to the num 
ber entrenched were taken, instead of the estimates and in 
formation of the Commanding General; so that it was believed 
by the Officers in command and by the men that there were 
4000 or 5000 there in force. From the intelligence given the 
enemy and the unfortunate occurrence of the morning two 
regiments to reinforce them at last brought up, but not until 
about the time our troops retired. 

I make no doubt that the Battery would have been taken 
but for another unfortunate mistake as reported to me, wherein 
the Col. of a regiment mistook two companies of his own men 
which had been separated from him by a thicket, for a flank 
ing party of the enemy making a sortie from the battery, and 
because of that mistake retired. So that it would seem that 
the skirmish was twice lost because our officers mistook their 
friends for their enemies. I am informed and fully believe 
that immediately upon the retiring of our troops for the pur 
pose, as was supposed by the enemy, of turning the flanks 
of the battery, the battery was immediately evacuated and 
remained so evacuated until the second day. If it was so 
done it would be no consequence, because, as General Scott 
had himself been informed as I have already stated, it was no 
part of our intention to occupy it. The major part of the 
Officers and men behaved with the greatest gallantry and good 
conduct, and I have to mention in terms of commendation the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 149 

gallantry and courage of Col. Townsend, the coolness and 
firmness of Lieut. Col. Washburn, and the efficiency of Capt. 
Haggerty of my Staff who was acting as Aid to Gen l. Pierce, 
- a part of his men being sick. The country has to deplore 
the loss of Major Theodore Winthrop, my acting Military 
Secretary, who lead the advance corps with Col. Duryea, and 
who, the moment before his death, had gone forward on the 
right with the Detachment of Vermont and Mass, troops 
under Lieut. Col. Washburn, and who was engaged in finding 
the best manner of entering the Battery, when he fell mortally 
wounded. His conduct, his courage, his efficiency in the field, 
was spoken of in terms of praise by all who saw him. 

Subsequent knowledge has shown beyond question that if 
at the time our troops retired an advance had been ordered, 
the Battery would have been taken. But this is the result of 
subsequent knowledge and is not to be taken as evidence of 
the want of efficiency of those in command of our troops. 

It is a pleasure to be able to announce that our loss was 
much less even than was reported in my former despatch, as 
appears by the official reports furnished herewith. Our loss 
of those permanently injured is twenty-five. I have the honor 
again to assure you that we have gained much more than we 
have lost by the Skirmish at Big Bethel, and while the advance 
upon the Battery and the capture of it might have added 
eclat to the occasion, it would not have added to its subse 
quent results. 

I have been at great pains to procure an accurate list of the 
dead, wounded, and missing in order that I may assure those 
friends who are anxious for the safety of our soldiers; and an 
exact account may be given of all those injured. There is 
nothing in my judgment to be gained by any concealment in 
this regard. The exact truth, which is to be stated at all 
times if anything is stated, is especially necessary on such 
occasions. In this behalf I think we are not to take a lesson 
from our enemies. I am happy to add that upon sending a 
messenger to Yorktown I found that the courtesies of civi 
lized warfare have been and are intended to be extended to 
us by the enemies of the country now in arms, which in this 
Department at all times we shall fully reciprocate. 

I have omitted a detailed Statement of the movement of 
the various Corps in their attack because, while it might be 
interesting, yet without a map of the ground such details 
would serve no useful purpose. I forward herewith the official 



150 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

reports of Gen. Pierce and Col. Bendix and Townsend, which 
contain all that may be material. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully Your Obt. Svt. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From Colonel Magruder 

Headquarters YORKTOWN, June I6th, 1861 

Maj. Gen I. B. F. BUTLER, Comm d g. Federal Forces at 

Fortress Monroe 

SIR: I owe you an apology for the delay which has occurred 
in relation to the exchange of private Carter. My duties 
having called me to the upper part of the peninsula, I left the 
matter in the hands of the officer in command at Bethel and 
that neighborhood, and instead of opening the letters which 
you did me the honor to send me, he forwarded them to 
Williamsburg and they did not reach me until yesterday 
morning. Pray attribute it to an accident of service. I will 
soon have the honor to send a flag with a sergeant or Officer 
accompanied by one of your men, my prisoner, to exchange 
for Carter. I have only learned this morning that this ex 
change had not been effected. I have the honor to be 

Very respectfully, Your obedt. Servt. 
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER, Col. Comm d g. 

June 17th, 1861 

The prisoner has not yet arrived from Richmond but is 
expected. As longer delay in answering your communication 
might seem discourteous, I send Capt. Levy, La. Vols., with 
this explanation. 

Very respectfully, J. B. MAGRUDER, Col. Comm d g. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia &c., FORTRESS MONROE, June 18th, 1861 

Col. J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER, Commanding forces at York- 
town 

SIR: I have the honor to be in receipt of your communica 
tion by Capt. Levy. I had been informed by my aid, Captain 
Butler, of the accident which had caused the delay in your 
answer to my late communication. I desire to tender you my 
thanks for your courtesy to the family of my friend Major 
Winthrop. It is certainly a green spot on the desert of this 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 151 

unfortunate contest. I am sorry that you have construed so 
narrowly the last clause of my general order. I hold all Vir 
ginians citizens of the United States, divided into two classes, 
the peaceful and rebellious, the latter being those having arms 
in their hands, or engaged in actually assisting those who are 
in armed resistance to the Constitution and the laws of the 
United States. All but the latter class, are within the protec 
tion of the United States in the purview of my order. Mr. 
Whiting was taken with his arms in his hand, admitted by 
your former letter to have been defending his home, when he 
certifies it had not been attacked and that the march of my 
Regiment was so peaceful by his house that he mistook it for 
his friends until the column was nearly past, when it was 
fired upon from the building. I should be willing to compare 
the conduct of my troops, unjustifiable as in some cases it 
has been, with that of the Southern forces which have over 
run Virginia, lately stationed at Harper s Ferry, now so happily 
and peacefully vacated, and have the issue determined by a 
Court of Virginia gentlemen from that county, charged to 
decide it on their honor. 

Mrs. Swan, wife of Sergeant Swan, who was wounded and 
is at Yorktown, desires to proceed thither, to administer to 
his wants. Will you send by the officer who makes the Ex 
change whether she has liberty to return with him to York- 
town, with safe conduct for that purpose? 

I have the honor to call your attention to my address, 
"Benj. F. Butler, Maj. Gen. Commanding the Dept. of Vir 
ginia." You will remember, that my countryman, Gen. 
George Washington, was a little particular on this subject, and 
I am sure the omission of a proper address was a mere matter 
of inadvertence. I have the honor to remain, 

Your obedient servt., (BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia, FORTRESS MOOTIOE, June 19, 1861 

Lieut. General WINFIELD SCOTT 

GENERAL: I avail myself of the opportunity to send to 
Washington to inform the General in Chief that I have not 
as yet received the transportation which he assured me I 
should have, and for which I doubt not he gave orders. I 
have waited impatiently but with resignation because I sup 
pose that the exigencies of the service required so much at 



152 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Washington as to prevent my being supplied. I also desire 
to call his attention to the fact that I have great need of 
mounted men for outpost service and videttes. A Company 
or two would be of great service. 

I have yet received no horses for my light Battery. I have 
the harnesses and guns and would provide the men if I had 
the horses. But the purchase was ordered through a Colonel 
of Ordnance. At any rate, I have not heard from them. I 
was reduced to the necessity of sending my own Saddle horse 
to Big Bethel to endeavor to convey orders nine miles from 
my camp, that being the only horse not on duty away from 
the Fort which had a saddle. 

If the exigencies of the service will permit, it will be of great 
advantage that I should receive some aid in this matter. I 
have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully Your Obt. Svt. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comnig. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, June 19, 1861 

Honorable SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

SIR: A man calling himself Jacob S. Atlee came to me this 
morning with a pass signed by yourself, which is herewith 
enclosed. If he had made no other communication to me except 
that which appears upon the face of the pass, I should have 
passed him instantly. But he informed me verbally that he 
had been employed by the War Department and General 
Scott in furnishing information from Virginia, and he desired 
me to pass him through the Blockading Squadron with a 
Schooner loaded with clay as a blind to Yorktown in order 
that he might make further investigations, and procure further 
information, in short to act as a spy. 

This load of clay he desired to put on board a schooner at 
Baltimore, to sail down to New Point Comfort, and to go up 
the York River. I informed him that all this would be quite 
possible, and assuming that he was acting in good faith I have 
made arrangements to further his design. Having a quantity 
of Shot and Shell to be sent by the Tug "Elizabeth" to Fort 
McHenry, I have ordered her to take him on board and carry 
him to Baltimore. When there, I have arranged that upon 
his vessel being loaded, it shall be taken in tow by the "Eliza 
beth," and left at New Point Comfort to proceed to York- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 153 

town, and this will expedite him some ten days. But in the 
meantime, fearing that all might not be right, and also to 
avoid delay, I have sent my brother to you to get full informa 
tion of the man s character, and how far Atlee may be trusted. 
If he is not all that he professes to be, and the reason I have 
to suspect him is that he desired to walk about the Fortress 
during his stay here, of course it will be very desirable to 
know it, and I shall give an order for his detention at Balti 
more, and for his being taken here by the Steamer upon her 
return. I shall give an order for the Master of the "Eliza 
beth" to remain until my brother comes on board, and he 
will act upon the State of facts as he finds them developed 
by you or General Scott. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, (BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From Quartermaster General Meigs 

Quartermaster General s Office, WASHINGTON, June 20, 1861 

Major Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Fort Monroe 

GENERAL: As soon as I get a reply to a telegram to the Q. 
Master at Phil. I will direct ambulances to be sent to you, 
sending light wagons if ambulances are not ready yet. 

The ordnance Dept. promises to send you at once 100 sets 
horse equipments. I have ordered horses for 100 wagons and 
to mount 100 men to be sent to you as fast as possible to pur 
chase them. I have also ordered for Philada. 100 wagons and 
12 ambulances, with harness. 

The Q. Master is instructed to lay a railroad from the wharf 
into the Fort to save horseflesh. Iron taken at Alexandria 
will be sent down for the purpose. 

I have seen Col. Butler and I believe these orders when 
filled will satisfy your present wants. If not, be good enough 
to make requisitions by the proper officers. It is impossible 
for this office to foresee all wants, though I readily acknowledge 
that I think larger means of transportation should have been 
sent to you. I supposed they had been. 

Respectfully your obdt. servt. 

M. C. MEIGS, Q. M. General, U.S. 



154 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia, June %Qth, 1861 

Lieut. Geril. WINFIELD SCOTT, Commander in Chief of the 
Armies U. S. 

SIR: I send you enclosed a memorandum of information 
obtained by me of two deserters from Sewall s Point, who 
escaped this morning in a boat. They are both Northern men, 
apparently frank and honest, and they have been sent North 
by me. They belonged to the Macon, (Ga.) Volunteers. 

The General will see that we have an experimental Gun on 
Fort Calhoun, of 24" Bore, carrying a 53" elongated Shot 
of Sawyer s Patent, by which we are enabled to strike the 
enemies Battery at 3f miles with a great degree of accuracy. 
I think Sawyer s Shell is a success, and I have directed at 
the Ordnance Shop 2 six-pound Cannon to be rifled and 
perhaps one 12 pounder for Field purposes, and I have also 
ordered a competent supply of Shell for the same. I hope 
to have these orders filled within a week. It is among the 
possibilities and perhaps the probabilities that a concen 
tration of troops may be made at Yorktown (Va.), James 
River, and an advance movement upon this Post. While 
waiting for the Transportations and the further troops that 
have been promised me, I have turned my attention with the 
aid of the Engineer officers who reported to me 4 days ago, to 
strengthening my positions outside the walls of the Fortress. 
Newport News perhaps can hold out with the 3000 men that 
are there against the attack of 5000 to 6000, but we have not 
as yet any Field Artillery here. To defend ourselves outside 
the Fort, after leaving a competent garrison for the Fort, we 
have but about 3000 effective men, and some of them not 
the best troops. 

May I ask again for Cook s Battery and the Massachusetts 
Troops which were promised me? The enemy apparently are 
getting ready for an advance movement from Yorktown, by 
the concentration of the Yorktown and Norfolk Troops. 
Should they attack I should be to say the least largely out 
numbered. There are plenty of Regiments, especially the 2nd 
Regiment in Massachusetts with Major Cobb s Battery, ready, 
waiting and anxious to join me here, if an order only were given; 
and there are ample means of transportation for these. The 
General in chief is possessed substantially with all the infor 
mation which I have, and it is for his better judgment to deal 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 155 

with the exigency. I will do the best my limited knowledge 
and experience will permit with the material which I have. 

Perhaps the General would advise a joint land and sea 
attack upon the Battery on Sewall s Point. If there are any 
such numbers as are claimed at Norfolk it will be seen that it 
would be impossible to hold the Battery after it was taken. 
I have the honor, etc. T> T? -o 

J3. f . X) . 

From Postmaster General Blair 

WASHINGTON, June 22nd, 1861 

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

DEAR SIR: I understand that Genl. Butler has applied for 
Cobb s Battery to be sent to him from Boston; and I hope 
the application will be granted. I cannot understand why 
Butler is kept with such reduced forces. I had hoped ere this 
that he would have had twenty thousand men under his com 
mand, supplied with Artillery, transportation and Cavalry to 
make a march upon Richmond. Instead of which, from the 
latest information I have been able to obtain, he has not one 
half of that force, no means of transportation, is totally with 
out Cavalry forces, and has very little Artillery. 

With such means, of course, so far from being able to effect 
anything, he must, I think, within a short time, be pent up 
within the walls of the Fort, unless the Secretary of War takes 
the matter within his own hands and gives him the means of 
effective service. My want of confidence in the enterprise of 
the General-in-chief is no secret to you; and this is not the 
first time I have counselled you to take these matters into 
your own charge, seeing that you had the responsibility. 

I am, very respectfully and truly yours, M. BLAIR 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, FORTRESS MONROE, June 22nd, 1861 

Sec. of War 

DEAR SIR: I find by the Army list that you overlooked the 
case of Lt. Haines of the 4th artillery and allowed him to 
remain as captain in the 14th infantry. This is not a promo 
tion, as you did me the honor to think might be proper for 
Mr. Haines. Lt. Small, 2nd artillery, would be an excellent 
appointment for the captaincy to which you have appointed 
Mr. Haines. 



156 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Cannot Mr. Haines have a majority in one of the new 
regiments? I know from intimate acquaintance with him 
that 12 years service in the army have rendered him most 
eminently fit for that appointment. In his favor I have got 
over what of prejudice I have ever had against an army officer, 
and am sincerely of the opinion that the service will be bene 
fited by the change. My brother will explain to you this 
matter. 

I send you two of the "contraband" by this evening s 
boat, for which a proper receipt will be forwarded. 

/ am, most truly yours, B. F. B. 

From Andrew Jackson Butler 

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, June 23, 1861 

Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

DEAR BROTHER: The bird has flown. He left the Hotel 
the same day I left Fort Monroe. I go to Washington to 
night, and will look for him there, but I think he has gone to 
Richmond. 

Belger has orders to buy 250 horses for us. I have just seen 
Meigs 5 letter to him; he should have ordered 500, possibly 
they go from some other place. 

I will leave Washington to-morrow night if I get the order 
for the Battery. In haste, ANDREW 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, 

BOSTON, June 24th, 1861 

To Major General B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Department of 

Virginia 

GENERAL: Eight Hundred Canteens have today been for 
warded by the Quartermaster General of this Commonwealth 
to supply the needs of our Massachusetts troops at Fort 
Monroe, in answer to a suggestion from Lieut. Col. Ritchie. 
But no requisition has ever been formally made for these or 
other articles for which we are informally notified that our 
troops stand in need. For instance, it is intimated to us there 
is great need of shoes of some medium sizes, and that the 
U. S. Qr. Mr. at the post has not been able to supply them. 
But no official representation of any such fact has reached us, 
no statement of the quantity or sizes of shoes needed, nor any 
verification of the number that they cannot be procured for 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 157 

our men from the United States. It would of course be absurd 
for us, under almost any conceivable circumstances, to launch 
out canteens, shoes, or any other articles upon mere unauthen- 
ticated rumors of need for them; and I may safely assert that 
no formal official requisition, properly authenticated, for any 
article whatsoever has ever reached us which has not been 
promptly and amply answered. 

In the complicated and unprecedented relation in which 
this state Government stands to the Federal Government 
with regard to supplies for the state militia now in Federal 
service, I have assumed that the application for everything 
should in the first instance be made to the United States. If 
the United States shall be unable to supply the needed article, 
and that fact shall then be made to appear to us, we will 
supply it at once. More especially do I believe in the propriety 
of this course for the reason that during the few days succeed 
ing the first requisition of the President of the United States, 
when our militia men were assembling in Boston, and we 
were urged by almost hourly telegrams from the Secretary of 
War to hurry their movement towards Washington, we an 
swered that if sent so hurriedly they would lack many articles 
essential to their complete equipment, and the reply was 
made to us, in substance, "No matter for any deficiencies, 
only hurry on the men, and any and all such deficiencies shall 
be supplied here." I conceived that the Federal Government 
thereby pledged itself to see that all articles of equipment 
necessary to our troops should be promptly and faithfully 
supplied; and I was confirmed in a belief that they had been 
so supplied by your despatch to me of May 20th in which you 
state that "the Massachusetts troops are now supplied with 
all provisions and clothing necessary for their term of service," 
and also by the fact that I received no requisitions for any 
articles from the proper officers of our troops. Nevertheless, 
from that time to this, returned travellers and newspaper cor 
respondents have never ceased to circulate reports intimating 
that there are serious deficiencies in the equipment of our 
troops which this Commonwealth criminally neglects to 
supply, and the minds of our people have been kept in a con 
stant state of anxiety and distress concerning these rumored 
deficiencies of which no official report whatsoever has been 
made to us, accompanied by any requisition for their remedy. 
I shall be much obliged if you will cause it to be impressed 
upon the minds of the commanding officers of our Massa- 



158 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

chusetts regiments in your department, that if their men 
need any necessary equipment or provision whatsoever, and 
fail, after proper effort, to obtain it from the United States, 
and represent officially such need and failure to us, we will 
furnish it. But until they make such representation we can 
not be expected to be aware that they stand in need of any 
thing, because our presumption is that they being mustered 
into United States Service, are supplied with all that is need 
ful by the United States. 

I am also advised by Lt. Col. Ritchie that there are lying 
at Fort Monroe several hundred pairs of thin trousers which 
have been condemned as unfit for service, and therefore 
have not been issued to our troops. On inquiry I find that 
these are part of a lot of thin clothing purchased and for 
warded during the week succeeding the despatch of our troops 
originally to Fort Monroe, under an impression induced by 
reports from Col. Packard, and others, that very light and 
thin clothing would be essential to our men for summer service. 
And they were purposely purchased thin, and cheap, and 
below the army standard of quality, under the belief on the 
part of those who bought them that they would suffice for the 
brief three-months term for which they were needed to be 
used. 

It seems to me that it would be much better to distribute 
these among our Massachusetts men and let them get what 
comfort out of them they can, than to have them continue 
to lie, unused, unopened even, until the entire term of three 
months shall have expired. If the United States will not 
accept pecuniary responsibility for their cost, then this Com 
monwealth must defray it. What we want is for our Massa 
chusetts troops to get the comfort of the garments if any 
comfort is to be got out of them, and the question of who shall 
pay for them afterwards seems to me to be of secondary 
importance, if our troops really need the clothes. 

I beg leave to represent also that no report has reached me 
from any source of what disposition has been made of any of 
the Massachusetts stores which have been consigned to our 
troops at Fort Monroe, and more particularly of the cargo 
of the barque "Aura." 

Perhaps, considering the termination of your service in the 
militia of Massachusetts, I should more properly address this 
communication to Brig. Genl. Pierce; but as the command 
ing officer of the department in which the Massachusetts 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 159 

troops are stationed, and as a Massachusetts man yourself, 
having with us a common interest in the comfort and reputa 
tion of our soldiers, you must be interested in this matter; 
and if necessary I will be obliged if you will refer it to Genl. 
Pierce for his consideration also. I am, 

Very truly & faithfully, Your friend & servant, 

JOHN A. ANDREW 

From Hon. Charles Sumner to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, June 24th, 1861 

MY DEAR GENERAL: My most excellent friend, Mr. Schleider 
the Bremen Minister, will visit Fortress Monroe with his Sec 
retary. He has an introduction from the Secretary of War; 
but I cannot allow him to go without adding my testimony to 
his eminent character and his numerous titles to regard. I 
trust that he will find you well and successful. 

Ever faithfully yours, CHARLES SUMNER 

P.S. Mr. De Raasloff, the Danish Minister, will also be of 
the party, a most agreeable and accomplished gentleman. 

From the Postmaster General 

WASHINGTON, June 25th, 1861 

Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

DEAR GENERAL: I attend to your request about Cobb s 
Battery, and the order has gone for it. I think that any requi 
sitions you make for arms, troops or transportation, will be 
met here as promptly as they can be. In reference to the ord 
nance officer Dyer, I am disposed to believe that you have 
been mistaken in him. Your brother informed me this morn 
ing of your complaint against him, and I went to the office 
at once to see about the matter. I there met him and he made 
very full explanations, which I am sure would be satisfactory 
to you. 

I told him I was afraid the army spirit might have crept 
over him, and that instead of helping you he was imitating 
some of the little fellows who have graduated at West Point, 
and suppose because they know the Manual better than a 
citizen they are therefore better qualified to command an 
army than any Citizen General. He replied that so far from 
entertaining any such feeling, he had supposed that he was 
on the best of terms with you when he left Old Point, and was 



160 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

endeavoring to do all in his power to carry out your views. 
He seemed mortified almost to tears at the suggestion con 
tained in your note that he was experimenting with a projec 
tile of his own, instead of cooperating with you, and said the 
only experiment he had made for months was with a view to 
adapt the projectile referred to, to your service. I was in the 
corps with Dyer. I know him well, and have entire confidence 
in his integrity. He says your confidence has been abused by 
some outsider who has not the object that both he and you 
have at heart, to serve the country. 

Having been an army man, and having also been in civil 
life for many years, I understand perhaps better the relations 
of these classes than other persons generally. There is un 
doubtedly an intense jealousy of the citizen appointments, 
and I saw that the Great Bethel affair and the Vienna affair 
were rather satisfactory to the Regulars than otherwise. But 
yet, despite this feeling, you cannot dispense with the regular 
officers, and you may rest assured that if you do not use their 
practised eye and skill in the getting up of your propositions 
and expeditions, you will be exposed to great danger of mis 
carriage from trivial causes which they alone could guard 
against. You will recollect that this was the purport of our 
talk, and that you concurred fully in this view, and that we 
tried to get one of Sherman s fellows for you. Busy, enter 
prising and gifted as you are, you cannot do everything, and 
you ought to have a corps of trained men about you to carry 
out your orders, to criticize them when not practicable with 
the means at hand, &c. Dyer is here, he tells me, by order 
of the Department, on some board of ordnance officers. 

As I am convinced that so far from being disposed to thwart 
you, he is very anxious to aid you, I have done nothing to have 
him removed, and I think by a candid talk with him you will 
like him very well. He is regarded as one of the best of his 
corps, and was a distinguished cadet. 

Yours truly, M. BLAIR 

Tell your brother Andrew to send me a letter to Stephens 
Supt. of Mint in San Francisco, asking employment for Mrs. 
Brunnell, who is Judge Woodbury s sister and my wife s 
aunt. He has written me to aid her in this. 

M. BLAIR 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 161 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, June 26, 1861 

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

SIR: I desire to trouble you upon a subject of the last 
importance to the organization of our Volunteer regiments. 
Many of the Volunteers, both two and three years men, have 
chosen their own Company Officers and in some cases their 
field officers, and they have been appointed without any 
proper military examination before a proper Board, accord 
ing to the plan of organization of the Volunteers. There 
should be some means by which these Officers can be sifted 
out. The efficiency and usefulness of the regiment depend 
upon it. To give you an illustration in one Regiment I 
have had some applications for resignation and seventeen 
applications for leave of absence, some on the most frivolous 
pretexts, by every grade of Officer under the Col. I have 
yielded to many of these applications and more readily than 
I should otherwise have done because I was convinced that 
their absence was of benefit rather than harm. Still, this 
absence is a virtual fraud upon the United States. It seems 
as if there must be some method other than a Court-Martial 
of ridding the service of these Officers when there are so many 
competent men ready, willing and eager to serve their country. 
Ignorance and incompetency are not crimes to be tried by 
Court-Martial, while they are great misfortunes to an Officer. 
As at present the whole matter of the organization is informal, 
without direct authority of law in its details, may not the 
matter be reached by having a Board appointed at any given 
post composed of from three or five, to whom the competency, 
efficiency and propriety of conduct of a given Officer might 
be submitted? And that upon the report of that Board, ap 
proved by the Commander and the Department, the Officer 
be dropped without disgrace attending the sentence of a Court 
Martial. Capt. Haines of the 2nd Artillery who will hand you 
this will give you more in detail our wants on this subject. 
I have the honor to be, 

Very respy., Your obdt. Servt., 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Commdg 



VOL. I II 



162 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, June 26^, 1861 

To Honorable SIMON CAMERON, Sec y. of War 

SIR : I enclose estimates for a bridge over Mill Creek, which 
has become an absolute necessity. It is not now safe for a 
single horseman, and a heavy gun cannot be transported over 
it. Mr. Camp has been directed by me to rebuild the bridge. 
I trust I have not in that matter exceeded my authority, I 
certainly have not exceeded the necessity of the Post; and 
have the full sanction, as you will see, of Col. de Russey of 
the Engineer Corps. Please inform me if my action in the 
matter is approved. I have the honor, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From Mrs. Butler to Mrs. Heard 

FORTRESS MONROE, July 6, 61 

. DEAR HARRIET: Yesterday I had a most fatiguing day. 
The Secretary of War, his wife, Mrs. Burnside and son, two 
Misses Chase, daughters of the Secretary of the Treasury, 
Gen. Thomas, wife and daughter, and a half dozen gentlemen 
without ladies, all came down to pass the day at Fortress 
Monroe. Of course, it was my duty to play the courtier to 
the people who have it in their power to send troops here and 
everything else that is wanted! It was a mere chance that 
Mrs. Lincoln was not of the party. We kept the carriages and 
horses running, guns firing, but I might as well begin at the 
beginning. Fifteen guns when they landed, and after break 
fast, which they had at Capt. Dyer s, they called on me, and 
we started at once for Newport News, seven or eight miles 
down the bay. Firing again when we reached the point, a 
review of the troops there. Boiled potatoes, new, with a 
pinch of salt taken from the soldier s rations, champagne and 
cakes furnished by Drs. Sanborn and Martin, which they got 
by rushing on board the "Monticella" or sending perhaps. 
It was so fortunate, for the Secretary s wife can drink nothing 
but champagne, poor woman. She is quite advanced, and 
very seldom eats meat. Great shouting when we left the 
wharf to return to the Fortress. Went all through Dr. Kim- 
ball s hospital, a glass of wine at Col. de Russy s, back to our 
house to dinner. A review in the Fort, into the carriages and 
away to the boats, to go on board the "Minnesota," a vessel of 
War. Back from there and out to Hampton, two miles out- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 163 

side the Fort for another review. In again between eight and 
nine for tea, and at half past nine away they go for Washing 
ton. There is the mere outline, you must imagine the filling 
up. Did you ever hear of such a day s work. Two of the 
young ladies were very pretty. Mrs. Fay did not go out. It 
is only persons in office who are obliged to dance attendance. 
I flattered myself I did it for once with a good deal of skill. 
And the time required it, several points have been gained 
and more are to be had we believe. Is not Fisher coming out 
again? Write and let me know. Were they large or small 
articles that were broken in sending? I wish Blanche to 
write. . . . George is with you now, I suppose. Mr. & 
Mrs. Fay leave on Thursday next. Col. Baker came with 
his regiment yesterday. Do not let my letters be seen. I am 
very anxious to see the children. Best love to all the Fami 
lies. Write often. 

Affectionately yours, SARAH 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. Va. FORTRESS MONROE, July 8, 1861 

To Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Sec. of War 

SIR: You know my want of artillery. I have now guns and 
horse equipments for a battery of light artillery. I have a 
proposition from a German Battalion, all well-drilled artillery 
men, from the Austrian service, to enlist themselves in that 
arm. You are aware how hard it is to improvise a company of 
Light Artillery; yet there is great need of it, and I look upon 
this proposition as a means of putting such a battalion in an 
efficient condition in shortest possible time. Will you authorize 
me then to contract for four rifled cannon according to speci 
fications herewith enclosed? I have two twelve pound how 
itzers, and I hope in the time I may remain here to be able to 
organize this corps in an efficient condition. If the war de 
partment will authorize me to perform such acts as may be 
necessary to do this immediately, I will pledge my honor as a 
gentleman and as an officer that it shall be done in the most 
thorough and efficient manner possible, and with the least 
possible expense to the government. I desire only to have 
such order as will not make me dependent upon the move 
ments of Staff Officers. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, Your Obt. Servt. (BENJ. F. BUTLER) 



164 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, July 16th, 1861. [Not in chronological order]] 

GENERAL: I have received your letter of the 8th instant, 
requesting authority to make a contract for four rifled cannon. 

The third section of the act approved February 8th, 1815, 
prescribes that "it shall be the duty of the Colonel or senior 
officer of the Ordnance Department to furnish estimates, and 
under the direction of the Secretary for the Department of War 
to make contracts and purchases for procuring the necessary 
supplies of arms, equipments, ordnance, and ordnance stores." 
Inasmuch as the law prescribes the agents through whom con 
tracts and purchases for procuring ordnance and ordnance 
stores are to be made, it would, in my opinion, be an illegal 
act on my part to make them or to authorize them to be made, 
otherwise than through the agents so specified. I am, 
Very Respectfully, Your obdt. svt., 
SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, July, 1861 

MAJOR GENERAL BUTLER is authorized to accept the ser 
vices of certain German Artillery men of whom this depart 
ment were advised by letter dated July 8th, who have served 
in the Austrian Artillery, who shall be approved by Lieutenant 
Kilpatrick, 2nd Lieutenant, 1st Artillery U.S.A., in New York, 
to the number of not exceeding one hundred. And the U.S. 
Assistant Quartermaster General at New York is directed to 
furnish these recruits with entire and complete outfits (includ 
ing blankets) except arms, and accoutrements also rations to 
the men after their enlistment and transportation to Fortress 
Monroe. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, July Wth, 1861 

His Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW, Governor of Massachusetts 

SIR: Two regiments the Third and Fourth Mass. Vols. 
M. will be entitled to a return home, in the absence of any 
special emergency, at the furthest within ten days. These 
Regiments are armed as you may remember with the Minnie 
rifled musket. Some of the three year regiments are here 
armed with the smooth bore only. I propose therefore to 
take from the three-months regiments all Minnie Muskets 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 165 

and equipments, and send them home without arms, as I can 
see no use for arms so pressing as that which we have here. 
I could replace them with the smooth-bore muskets, but I 
suppose you have plenty of them at home. Those arms being 
furnished by the United States, of course are to be taken by 
the United States whenever the exigency occurs. I trust that 
in this necessary action there will be nothing that will meet 
your disapprobation. At any rate I should desire to advise 
with you on the subject. 

There is another topic to which I wish your attention. The 
State has furnished these Regiments with at least three differ 
ent suits of Uniforms, fatigue and others. A large portion of 
them are but partially worn out. There has been a new ques 
tion forced upon us by the exigencies of the times, and that 
is the care, protection and employment of a large number of 
negroes who have left their masters or whose masters have 
left them. I have provided as well as I can for their employ 
ment and sustenance, but there is no provision for clothing 
these persons. I do not see how the clothing can be readily 
furnished by the United States. Considering the position that 
Massachusetts occupies toward this class whether of persons 
or property, would it be too much to ask of her a direction as 
to the extra and now useless clothing with which she has 
furnished her soldiers, after their return to their homes? 
Might not all clothes, save that necessary for their immediate 
wants, such as blankets and fatigue dresses, be turned over to 
the Officer here having negro affairs in charge for the use of 
poor, distressed people, thus evincing an active practical 
sympathy for their condition, and in consonance with our well- 
known theoretical benevolence in their behalf? Had I the 
power to do so I should order it. I have no doubt of the power 
of the executive of Massachusetts in the premises, and have 
entire confidence that all that an active generosity and kind 
ness of heart can do will be done by your Excellency. 

I was somewhat surprised to learn that your Quartermaster 
General s and Ordnance Department were not aware of the 
lack of accoutrements and equipment of a part of the three 
year men. One of our Companies left home without any 
accoutrements, such as cartridge boxes. Surely your Depart 
ment must have been aware of this. Another Capt. Deache s 
Company was sent here without any uniforms. Surely that 
could not have escaped the intelligence of your Quartermaster s 
Department. Also, Packard and Wardrop assure me that they 



166 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

have frequently made requisitions for many articles of equip 
ment which have been only in part answered; which shows 
that the informality of the requisition was not the cause of 
its non-fulfillment. I will have prepared and sent to you an 
exact statement of the condition of the three-years men when 
the three-months men shall have left, and I have been enabled 
as far as I may to equip the three-years men from the equip 
ment of the three-months men unless you shall see insuperable 
objections to that course. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully Your Obdt. Servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, July 10, 1861 

To Capt. KILPATRICK. 5th N. Y. Regt. 

You are detached from your Regiment and ordered to pro 
ceed on recruiting service to New York, to recruit a corps of 
mounted men authorized to be received by War Department, 
and report with them at Fortress Monroe without delay. You 
will request in your aid the services of Lt. Dumont, now on 
leave of absence in New York. The men that you recruit 
must be accustomed to the use and riding of horses, free from 
physical defects, and fit for acceptance into the army of the 
United States. 

Capt. Kilpatrick will see, as this is to be a mounted and 
therefore a favored corps, the advantages it offers to patriotic 
young men, desirous of serving their country, so that he will 
have no difficulty in the recruitment. Necessary orders will 
be forwarded either by telegraph or by letter to the Quarter 
Master s Department at New York, for supplies, uniforms and 
equipment. 

Capt. Kilpatrick is also authorized to represent me in an 
application to the Union Defense Committee for the guns for 
a battery of light artillery with the equipment, which the com 
mittee had intended to forward to this Department. He is 
authorized to take the guns in charge and forward them if 
they can be procured. 

Capt. Kilpatrick is also authorized, if he shall receive a 
telegram to the effect that the services of a German Battal 
ion of artillery have been accepted, to cause the men to be 
thoroughly inspected and to be forwarded to Fortress Monroe; 
for which purpose orders will also go forward for their trans- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 167 

portation, rations and equipment. He will see to it that in 
this corps none are accepted but men that have served at least 
three years. A copy of the letter offering their services is 
herewith enclosed for his guidance. No steps will be taken 
about this corps until the receipt of a telegraphic information 
from Washington, from my brother Col. Andrew J. Butler. 
Capt. Kilpatrick will cause this recruitment to be made with 
the utmost speed, and report himself as soon as it is completed. 
For the purposes of inspection he may call upon the service 
of Surgeon Holmes of the 3rd Mass. Regt., who is now in New 
York inspecting recruits for the Naval Brigade. He is also 
authorized to require the services of Capt. T. Bailey Myers 
of New York, acting there on my staff. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, July llth, 1861 

Brig. Genl. LORENZO THOMAS, Adjutant General 

SIR: I am extremely obliged to you for your suggestion as 
to the regularity of the Proceedings of a General Court Martial 
in consignment of the appointment of an Officer of the regular 
Army thereon. The Ninety-seventh article of War had by 
no means escaped my attention. At the time the article was 
approved there were no other forces of the United States save 
the regular forces and the militia, and therefore only these 
two kinds of forces were provided for. Since that time Gen 
eral Orders N. 15 has called into the Army another force, 
subject to the Laws and Regulations governing the Army of 
the United States. This force is certainly not Militia. It is 
not organized under any one of the acts governing the United 
States Militia. It is not a force known to the Constitution. 
As the Militia, it is a part of the Army of the United States, 
and if the strict construction which you suggest of the Articles 
of War should obtain there could be no trial of offenses com 
mitted by Volunteers by Court Martial, because after the 
three-months men go home there will be no Militia in the 
service of the United States out of which to compose such a 
Court. I therefore assume that the Officers of the Volunteer 
Forces and part of the Regular Forces of the United States, 
not the regular Army of the United States as contra distin 
guished from the Militia, must necessarily be tried by Militia 
Officers. I think such construction would be brought to the 
reductio ad absurdam by supposing the case of a portion of the 



168 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

French Army in the service and pay of the United States, as 
was the case in the revolution, and there supposing the neces 
sity of trying the Officers of the French division by a Court 
Martial composed of Militia Officers. Does not the question 
resolve itself into this? Are the Volunteer Militia men under 
the definition of the Militia in the Constitution and Laws. 
The previous acts of Congress have made distinction between 
the two. The act establishing the Militia was passed in 1792, 
the first act raising the Volunteers was entitled an act authoriz 
ing the President to raise a provisional Army, and was passed 
in 1798, and by that act, Section First "the Volunteers are to 
observe rules fixed by the President for their discipline, and 
they are exempted from Militia duty, and the President is 
allowed to appoint Officers" -which he could not do to 
Militia. The next act, of 1846, provides for calling out Volun 
teers and employing Militia, the Volunteers to serve for a long 
time the Militia to serve for six months ; again showing 
that Volunteers are not Militia. Observe the wording of the 
act is "employ the Militia Naval and military force of the 
United States, and to call for and organizing Volunteers." 
Again, in the act of 36, the same distinction is made. So that 
it would seem that the Volunteers are always held as part of 
the regular force of the United States and the Regular Army. 
They are called the provisional Army Volunteers. They are 
certainly not Militia. I have not been able to give this subject 
so much attention as I would wish, and with full consultation 
of authorities, but I have given these suggestions or may be 
notes of the Generals upon which I base my opinion that in 
the trial of offenses by Volunteer Officers, an Officer of the 
regular Army ought or ought not form a part of the Court. 
To have it so would certainly evidence to the regularity and 
justice of proceedings if there is no legal or constituted objec 
tion to it. Certain it is that until Congress passes a healing 
Act this proceeding is as technically legal as any other which 
pertains to the whole force. I beg leave to thank you for 
calling my attention to the matter, and enabling me to put 
before your Department these hurried views, trusting that as 
the question will assume some importance it may receive your 
further attention. I have the honor to be, 

Very Respectfully your Obt. Servt. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comdg. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 169 

From General Butler 

July 11, 1861 

Hon. SIMON CAMERON 

I HAVE here on board the "Cambridge" two rifled cannon 
with ships carriages, which also may be used in a light battery 
if needed, so that I can run our transport vessels as they ply 
between here and Newport News, and here and Baltimore, 
as the Bay is getting rather unsafe. I have advised you of the 
price of the guns and the projectiles, which seemed to me very 
reasonable, the whole amounting to 1800 dollars. Captain 
Dahlgren has fired these projectiles frequently, and speaks 
very well of them. Am I authorized to take them for the 
purposes indicated? 

There is also a 12 pound rifled Sawyer gun which would be 
a most excellent weapon for our works at Newport News or 
at Hampton. If you approve of my retaining these guns, 
will you please endorse your approval on this note? 

From General Butler 

UNOFFICIAL. Head Quarters, Department of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, July 11, 1861 

To the HONORABLE SIMON CAMERON 

DEAR SIR: Some time since I received permission to organ 
ize if possible a body of one hundred mounted men, which 
are here a prime necessity. I have now obtained the services 
of Capt. Kilpatrick, a thorough officer, who will recruit proper 
men from New York. But I ask that, to forward this object, 
you will issue the enclosed orders. The Union Defense Com 
mittee has furnished us with Carbines, Sabres, and all other 
equipments except Horses, Saddles, Bridles and Mails, for such 
a corps. If I can have the necessary order I think I can have 
the men here drilling in the course of a week. As soon as they 
are organized I will forward you recommendations for Commis 
sions, but for none but competent officers. I need hardly add 
that Capt. Kilpatrick is a graduate of West Point, and is at this 
moment suffering from a wound received at Bethel. 

The Union Defense Committee have in their possession a 
light battery which they would be glad to send me if you will 
give them the order for it. They would have sent it already 
had it not been for the abusive and traitorous letters of Ray 
mond, Editor of the New York Times, who seems to have 
answered Confidence by Treachery, and courteous treatment 
by lying calumniations. As he has abused every officer of the 



170 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Government, neither sparing the President or our venerable 
Lieut. General or yourself, his vituperations will not personally 
affect me, and is only mentioned because I am credibly in 
formed that it has affected the forwarding of these arms. I 
have deemed this matter of sufficient importance to send my 
brother, Col. A. J. Butler, to Washington to endeavor to effect 

^ Most sincerely yours, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From S. M. Felton 

Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Rail Road Company, 

PHILADELPHIA, July llth, 1861 

Genl. B. F. BUTLER 

DEAR SIR: In the hurry of the moment I neglected to take 
a copy of a letter I gave you containing instructions to Capt. 
Galloway of our Stmbt. "Maryland" on your leaving Phila. 
April 20th. Will you please forward me either the original 
or a copy? Will you also do me the favor to state in writing 
your recollections of the part I took in pointing out to you at 
Phila. the route by Annapolis to Washington, and also in 
opening and developing that route? I find it somewhat diffi 
cult to get our services on that most important occasion 
recognized at Washington. We have not as yet rec d compen 
sation for several important services rendered in April last, 
to say nothing of our subsequent bills against the Govern 
ment. Unfortunately for us the Secretary of War is now and 
has been largely interested pecuniarily in the Northern Central 
Rail Road from Harrisburg to Baltimore, which he is endeavor 
ing to use for the transportation of troops and supplies from 
New York to Washington, & from Phila. to Washington, - 
thus diverting from us our legitimate and proper business. I 
find it therefore necessary to show in some tangible shape the 
importance of the services rendered by this Company to the 
Government in the darkest hour of its History, in order to 
obtain at the hands of the Secretary what one would naturally 
suppose would be cheerfully accorded to us. If this matter 
concerned no one but myself individually I should not trouble 
you upon the subject, but inasmuch as the pecuniary interests 
of the Road over which I preside are largely involved, I am 
reluctantly compelled to pursue a course which under other 
circumstances I should avoid. 

Yours truly, S. M. FELTON, President P., W. & B. R.R. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 171 

From General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, July 12th, 1861 

Mr. CLEVELAND 

SIR: Your note is received. The first knowledge I have 
had of the "Bible and portrait" was by its contents. 

The burning of the house was and is justified by me. That 
it was more or less splendid does not alter the right and the 
necessity of the case. Do you approve of the instantaneous 
execution on the spot of the murderer (Jackson) of the lamented 
Ellsworth. Does that act "meet the universal condemnation 
of the people of your neighborhood." If not, is not a man s 
life of more value than a house, however "splendidly fur 
nished"? Yet the whole community justified the instant 
killing of Jackson. 

The case is this a column of my men are marching through 
the country, respecting private property with no enemy in 
sight, no battle in progress, and that column is fired upon 
from a private house with a musket loaded with a ball and 
32 buck shot. The Gunner having no object save murder, for 
such attack is not war, what would you do? You have Court 
Martial to try the assassin. How would you protect your 
men from such acts? Lest innocent men should be killed by 
mistake for the murderer in the excitement of the moment, in 
order to prevent escapes from prompt and merited punish 
ment by the concealment of the murderer, I have ordered 
that the house from which such murderous shots are fired to 
be at once destroyed. I thus hold the owner of the house 
responsible for character of its inmates. If a mistake is made, 
property not life is lost. Can you not find in "Holy writ" 
precedents for such action, even among God s chosen people. 
I suppose the temple upon the pillars of which Samson bowed 
himself was " splendidly furnished." 

I will make inquiries about the Bible and portrait. I have 
the honor to be, 

Very truly, Your obt. servant, B. F. BUTLER 

From Andrew Butler to General Butler 

PRIVATE. 12 o clock, July 13th, 1861 

DEAR BROTHER: After waiting until this hour for an inter 
view with Cameron I have just obtained one, and he looked 
over the papers official and unofficial, and very cavalierly 
turned one over to Gen. Scott, another to the Qr. M. Gen., a 



172 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

third to the Surgeon Gen. &c. &c., with the remark that "he 
could not attend to such matters; if he did he would have the 
whole war upon his shoulders." 

From what Senator Wilson and Dyer the Contractor told 
me last night, together with the Secretary s manner to-day, I 
think they are all down on you. Now, I have not seen the 
different parties to whom I was referred, nor don t propose to 
see them until I hear from you, and if you think it best for 
me to see them the papers had best be made direct to them, 
and sent me, and I will see them Monday morning by 11 o clock, 
and for fear your answer may not arrive in time I propose to 
send Mr. Harrison down with this, and you can send the answer 
back as you please to-morrow night. 

I don t like the looks of things here, and my deliberate 
opinion is they all, Lincoln, Cameron, & Scott, are against 
you, but there is a bare possibility I may be mistaken. Be 
prudent, but advise me what to do. 

Yours, ANDREW 

P.S. Harrison knows nothing about this. A. 



From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, July 16th, 1861 

To his Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW, Governor & Commander 
in Chief 

SIR: I desire to inform you of the date and condition of the 
Officers of Capt. Tyler s Company. The Captain himself is 
sick his illness brought on, I have no doubt, of his excesses 
in drinking. His first Lieutenant is in the Hospital, raging 
with delirium tremens, brought on while in Massachusetts 
recruiting. His Second Lieut, seems to have no command 
over the men. From the three-months men that I am now 
sending home competent officers may be detailed and com 
missioned. Mr. Edward L. Pierce will explain to you, some 
what at length, these facts. I desire that you will use the power 
that you have under our militia laws of suspending Capt. 
Clark. His Company is fast losing the respect of all who know 
it. Col. Wardrop will explain to you the difficulties under 
which we labor. 

I hope Col. Wardrop may be appointed to the Command of 
some Massachusetts Regiment. I think he will do himself 
and the Commonwealth just credit. I will also press upon 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 173 

your attention Col. Jarvis for a Command. I think that all 
are now satisfied that the complaints against him were ground 
less. In my judgment he is one of the best Officers in the 
Volunteer Service. 

I have formed the Massachusetts three-years men into a 
Battalion. With the exception of Capt. Tyler s Company, 
which are now so demoralized, I shall arm them as I think 
they have a right to be, with the rifled muskets which I shall 
take from the three-months men, and when some proper 
Officers are sent for Capt. Tyler s Company I will furnish 
them with rifles. At present I think it would be a waste. 

There is a gentleman now an orderly sergeant of 
whom Mr. Pierce will speak to you, whom I think well entitled 
to be a Capt. I have the honor to be, etc. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Commdg. 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, July 16, 1861 

MAJOR GENERAL BUTLER, Commanding Dept. of Virginia 
&c., is authorized to enlist for three years, or for the war, one 
hundred men to be mounted and attached to his division. 

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, WASHINGTON, July 16, 1861 

Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

THE U. S. Asst. Qr. Mast. Genl. at New York will furnish 
such transportation as may be necessary, including rations for 
the voyage to Fortress Monroe, for all recruits ordered by 
Major Genl. Butler for filling up the Regiments under his 

SIMON CAMERON, Secy of War 
From General Scott 

Head Quarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, July 17th, 1861 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. of Virginia, 

FORT MONROE 

SIR: Your communication of the 15th instant has been 
received, and I am instructed by Lieutenant General Scott to 
say in reply that, by a decision of the Secretary of War, the 
terms of service of the regiments of Volunteers began with 
the dates of their reception and muster into the service of the 



174 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

U. S. The General, however, approves your action in the case, 
as also your course in regard to the arms and Camp Equipage. 

Very respectfully, Your obedt. Servant, 

E. D. TOWNSEND, Asst. Adjt. Gen. 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, July 17th, 1861 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

GENERAL: Your letter of the llth instant has been 
considered. 

I cannot grant the authority for which you apply, viz. "to 
make a sufficient and proper contract" with Dr. Martin for 
the vaccination of your troops. 

There are attached to each regiment a surgeon and assist 
ant surgeon, who, in the proper discharge of their duties, 
should see that the troops are vaccinated, and thus protected 
against the attacks of a disease which you justly term the 
"most terrible enemy of the soldier." I am, 
Very respectfully, Your obt. svt., 

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Department of Va., FORTRESS MONROE, July ISth, 1861 

His Excellency Gov. ANDREW 

I FORWARD herewith the discharges of Capt. Tyler of Com 
pany M. (three-years men) and also of Lt. Bent, 1st. Lt. of 
same Company. I have detailed Israel N. Wilson, of Belle- 
view, Mass., 1st Lt. of Capt. Davis s Company, now here, as 
the most suitable man within my knowledge to take command 
of Co. M, and I respectfully solicit that he may be appointed 
Captain of that Company. 

Ezra Ripley, Esq., Cambridge, who will bring you this, 
would be a suitable person in my judgment to be appointed 
as 1st Lt. of the Company. He is known to you, and I think 
you will agree with me that he will do honor to the appoint 
ment. When I wrote to you, to use your power to remove 
those officers whose resignations I send, I did not hope they 
would have the good sense to resign as they have done. You 
will see, therefore, that that difficulty has been avoided. By 
the construction and order of the War Dept. I have power to 
accept the resignations and order their discharge. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 175 

On the 16th and 17th, per Steamers "Cambridge" and 
"Spalding," I forwarded to Boston the 3rd and 4th Regts., 
at a cost to the Government of $6 per head, being one dollar 
less than it cost to bring them here. I hope they will arrive in 
comfort and safety. To-day I armed the 3 years Companies 
remaining here with the rifles exchanged and taken from those 
Regts. I was sorry not to receive from Your Excellency, 
before the time of service of these Regts. expires, a reply to 
my request for leave to take their fatigue uniforms so far as 
they were not worn out, for the purpose of clothing the negro 
slaves that I have in my charge, some of whom are naked 
and suffering, so that the decencies of humanity require that 
they should be clothed. Perhaps your Excellency may see 
fit to return that clothing on the next transport. I have the 

honor to be MAJ. GEN. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, July ISth, 1861 

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secy of War 

SIR: I am under infinite obligations for the Order for 
mounted men and for the Artillerists. In the course of a week 
I trust to have both Corps enlisted and in the field. Might 
it not be well to land a couple of Regiments near Hunterstown 
at the head of Tocomoke Bay and sweep down the Peninsula 
to Cape Charles. I think that that portion of Virginia Acqua- 
mac County, Wise s district, might as well be visited by United 
States troops while Wise is interfering with the loyal men of 
Western Va. You will remember that we had some conver 
sation on this subject. I have the honor to be, 

Most respectfully & truly Your Servt., 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. July 20^, 1861 

His Excellency Gov. ANDREW 

DEAR SIR: You will see by the enclosed requisition, which 
the necessities of the United States compel to remain unan 
swered, that our troops from Massachusetts are much in need 
of shoes. May I call upon the good old Commonwealth to 
come to their aid? Please have none sent here that are not 
of the best quality. I have, etc. 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 



176 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va., FORTRESS MONROE, July 22, 1861 

Gen l. RIPLEY, Ordnance Dept. 

ENCLOSED please find report of deficiencies in the sets of 
Artillery equipments, furnished by your Dept. to this Post. 
We have been considerably distressed for the want of these 
articles. I require and desire should be furnished six more 
complete sets of equipments for a field battery, two guns of 
which at least are to be 32ps. howitzers. I believe that it is 
in my province to make this requisition under Section 5th, 
38th Chap, of the Acts of 1815. 

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of yours of 
19th inst., giving memorandum of Rifled Cannon ordered to 
be sent to the Ordnance Office of this Dept. and have the pleas 
ure to inform you, upon their arrival, I will cause to be sent 
to your order all the smooth-bore field guns except two, for 
the rifling of which the machinery is in preparation, as your 
Dept. is already apprised, and which I have ordered to be 
rifled under the authority of the 5th Section before referred to. 
I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully Yours, (BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, Head Qrs. July 22nd, 1861 

His Excellency Gov. ANDREW 

I HAVE the honor to enclose to you a copy of an extract to 
Genl. Scott upon this subject of arms of Mass, to be taken 
by me here, and his reply thereto. Your Excellency will see 
in them an answer to the note on this subject which I had the 
honor to receive from Your Excellency. 

I beg to call Your Excellency s attention to the fact that your 
Ordnance office had ventured to direct the same thing which has 
been done, to be done by two Companies. If the measure was a 
proper administration of the Ordnance office of Mass, toward 
two Companies, why not toward all? I have armed all the 
Massachusetts men here with the rifled muskets, and have the 
remainder for the use of troops actually, not theoretically, here. 

I am obliged for your answer to my application for the 
clothing for my negroes who have come in and are now doing 
good service in the entrenchments. The promptness with 
which we were enabled to move, when we could move at all, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 177 

rendered it impossible to avail myself of Your Excellency s 
generous permission to take the clothing. I have the honor 

(MAJ. GEN. BUTLER) 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, July 23d, 1861 

Honorable MONTGOMERY BLAIR, Post Master Gen l. 

SIR: I have the honor heretofore to represent to the Secre 
tary of War and others that the appointment of Col. Phelps 
of the 1st Vermont Regiment to a Brigadiership in the Army 
would be of infinite value to the service. He has refused the 
Colonelcy of the new Regiment in Vermont, and will be lost 
to the service unless he is appointed. And although some of 
the regular Officers will when applied to say that he is not in 
his right mind, the only evidence I have seen of it is a deep 
religious enthusiasm upon the subject of Slavery, which in 
my judgment does not unfit him to fight the battles of the 
North. As I never have seen him until he came here, as he 
differs with me in politics, I have no interest in the recommen 
dation save a deliberate judgment for the good of the cause 
after two months of trial. 

We have heard the sad news from Manassas, but are neither 
dismayed nor disheartened. It will have the same good effect 
upon the Army in general that Big Bethel has had in my 
Division, to teach us wherein we are weak and they are strong, 
and how to apply the remedy to our deficiencies. Let not the 
administration be disheartened or discouraged. Let no com 
promises be made or waverings be felt. God helping, we will 
go through to ultimate assured success. But let us have no 
more of the silk glove in carrying on this War. Let these 
men be considered what they have made themselves, "Our 
enemies," and let their property of all kinds, whenever it can 
be useful to us, be taken on the land where they have it, as 
they take ours upon the sea where we have it. 

There seems to me now but one of two ways, either to make 
an advance from this place with sufficient forces, or else, 
leaving a simple garrison here, to send six thousand men that 
might be spared on the other line, or still another, to make 
a descent upon the Southern coast. I am ready and desirous 
to move forward in either. 

Very respectfully and truly Yours, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

VOL. I 12 



178 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. DepL &c. July 23, 61 

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secy, of War 

I MUCH desire that Col. Baker of the California Reg t. 
should be in command of one of the Brigades in this Dept. 
If he should be so assigned by me, even if I had the power, it 
would cause many heartburnings which it is desirable should 
be avoided. 

If he could be assigned by the direct order of the President, 
under the 62d Art. of War, to such a command, he would be 
able at once to retain his seat in the Senate and to give his 
services to his country in the position which his talents and 
experience to say the least entitle him. I have, &c. 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From General Dix to General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Maryland, FORT McHENRY, MD., July 24^, 1861 

GENERAL: The following telegram has just been received 
at these Head Quarters: 

"To Maj. Genl Dix, U.S.A. 

"Transmit this telegram to Major Genl. Butler, U.S. forces, 
Fort Monroe, by the first Steamer. 

"By the line of Steamers running between Fort Monroe 
and Baltimore and the Rail Road from Baltimore send to this 
place without fail in three (3) days, four regiments and a half 
of long term Volunteers, including Baker s Regiment and a 

WINFIELD SCOTT" 
I am, General, very respectfully 

Your Obt. Servt. 
JOHN A. Dix, Major General, U.S.A. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, July 24th, 1861 

Capt. GRIER TALLMADGE, Asst. U.S. Qm. 

FORTRESS MONROE 

DEAR SIR: I have received frequent complaint of want of 
shoes by the men here. I know you have done everything 
possible in buying those accidentally here, and in making the 
proper requisitions for the purpose of relief. The ordinary 
operations of the department seem too slow to meet this 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 179 

exigency. Would it not be best to send a proper agent into 
the best shoe market and buy some in this strait? I send en 
closed another requisition from the Massachusetts men. Take 
the most energetic measures to remedy this evil and you shall 
have my most cordial aid. 

Respectfully Yours, B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. 

From the Postmaster General to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, July 25th, 1861 

DEAR GENERAL: Yours about Col. Phelps has been re 
ceived, and I have enclosed it to the Vermont delegations, 
requesting them to give him their recommendations for the 
Brigadier Generalship. When they send me the papers I 
think I shall be able to procure the appointment. 

I don t think the Manassas affair will hurt us seriously. 
On the contrary, I have foreseen that some thing like it was 
necessary to free us from Scott, whose blunders from first to 
last have paralized the efforts of the nation to put down the 
war. The call for McClellan is now universal, founded on the 
general convictions which I have entertained of the incom- 
petency of the General in Chief for the crisis. McClellan has 
shown himself to be a man of capacity in his proceedings in 
Western Virginia, and when he takes command here I shall 
feel easier than I have felt at any time respecting the safety of 
Washington. If, as I hope, this is followed by Scott s being 
relieved from duty, we shall be able to impart vigor to our 
movements everywhere. With the General in Chief in power 
here it has been impossible to use our strength. Cavalry and 
artillery have been refused by his direction, and we had not 
actually sufficient cavalry to form our escort for an Engineer 
officer to make reconnoissance ten days prior to the attack. 
I am not informed what amount of force we possessed of that 
description on the day of battle, but I do know that it was 
entirely inadequate, and, further, that deficiency was due 
altogether to the decision of General Scott. We were pretty 
well supplied with artillery at the last moment. 

You will see it charged that the Blairs had much to do with 
forcing the General into this attack. It is untrue, I was never 
in favor of it, and when I heard that Johnston had joined 
Beauregard I went to the President to counsel delay till 
Patterson could come up. But I was overruled in this as in 
every other sensible suggestion. 



180 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

My view from the first has been that our operations against 
Eastern Virginia should be based on Old Point, and I have 
striven incessantly to have your command reinforced in order 
to carry on these operations. We could have defended Wash 
ington with half the force we have had here whilst those opera 
tions were being initiated, and afterwards we should require 
only a few regiments in the field-works opposite, with a few 
for an army of observation to the north of the city on this 
side to prevent the crossing of any straggling force to attack 
us. I believe if this base of policy had been adopted the great 
body of the forces here and at Harper s Ferry would soon 
have been free to have formed the York river force, and Mary 
land and Western Virginia would have been composed, and 
the population free to pursue their ordinary avocations. But 
the very reverse of this has kept Washington and Maryland 
in a state of siege, and the enemy have revelled in all the fine 
grain-growing region of Virginia, instead of being massed and 
stormed in the neighborhood of Richmond. 

Yours truly, M. BLAIR 



From General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, July 27, 1861 

General SCOTT 

SIR : I have the honor to report that by adding four steamers 
of my own to the steamers furnished by the Bay line I was 
enabled to get off the forces mentioned in my report of yes 
terday, with the exception of four hundred men, which go 
forward on the boat to-night. 

I have been obliged to abandon the village of Hampton and 
withdraw the regiments that I have here under the walls of 
the Fortress. I beg leave farther to Report that, upon advis 
ing with Colonel Phelps, I have concluded to hold Newport 
News until I get instructions from the General Commanding. 

I have also the honor to ask instructions as to the disposi 
tion to be made of some twenty-five prisoners that I have 
taken, some in conveying intelligence to the enemy, some in 
supplying them with provisions, and all who refuse to take the 
oath of allegiance or take it with reservation. I have no power 
to try them, it would be dangerous to allow them to escape, 
and I am guarding and feeding them in Fort Calhoun. 

It becomes my duty to report Colonel Duryea, Command 
ing New York 5th took with him certain negro slaves to 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 181 

Washington. They are reported nine in number. This was 
done against express orders, and after a portion of them had 
been detained by the Provost Marshal. This is a question of 
difficulty with departing regiments, and one upon which I 
ask instructions. 

I will forward to Colonel Baker, as Senior Officer Command 
ing, the Official returns as soon as they reach me. 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 



From Richard S. Fay, Jr., to General Butler 

BOSTON, July 27, 1861 

MY DEAR SIR : I have been safely at home for about a week, 
and have just succeeded in finding out where I stand. The 
Middlesex is full of work, and I have a very busy month before 
me to provide for the immense Govt. contract to be given out 
on Monday. My wife is well and the baby splendid. I called 
at your house in Lowell on Thursday, and saw Miss Blanche, 
Mrs. Hildreth, and Mrs. Heard; they were all quite well. 
The place looked beautifully, and as I looked down upon the 
exquisite view I could not "help thinking how much you were 
giving up in leaving such a home for the annoyances of your 
present life. 

Wardrop has just been in, almost in despair and wholly in 
disgust about his promised Regiment. He has been put off 
on one pretext and another, denied the selection of the officers 
he wishes, and finally he is told by Sec y Browne that charges 
have been brought against him by some of his officers of drunk 
enness and brutality, and unless these are explained he cannot 
have the Regt. He is naturally utterly disgusted, and wishes 
me to ask you if you will make a Regt. (the nucleus of one) out 
of the Naval Brigade, and make him Colonel. If you will do 
so, he will shake the dust off his shoes against Gov. Andrew, and 
join you at once. Please give me an answer at once about this, 
as Wardrop will not stay about here more than long enough 
to hear from you. This affair will give you a fair idea of how 
things are managed at the State House. An old woman s 
tea party would represent the efficiency, and Mr. Buchanan s 
Cabinet the purity of our State rulers. 

When I first arrived, my friends were in doubt whether I 
was an idiot or a secessionist, because I did not believe that 
our armies could overrun Virginia unopposed, and because I 
asserted that the Southern army was better manned and offi- 



182 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

cered than ours, because their farmers and their gentry com 
posed it, instead of the offscourings of streets and lanes and 
the stable keepers and bar keepers New York sends us. To 
day, the feeling is as exaggerated the other way, and the hope 
lessness of the attempt to conquer "Dixie" is commonly 
spoken of. 

Recruiting throughout the State is slow, in New York and 
Phila. very brisk, but of the hardest "rum and gutter" mate 
rial imaginable. I am delivering cloth for Allen s, Carr s and 
four other N. Y. Regts., uniformed by the same contractors, 
so you will have some comfort in their appearance at any 
rate. I am obliged to close hastily, and remain as ever, 

Sincerely yours, RICH. S. FAY, JR. 

From Lieutenant Colonel Judson Kilpatrick 

NEW YORK CITY, July 28th, 1861 

Gen. BUTLER, Major Gen. Commanding 

GEN. BUTLER: I send under Capt. Wales, an old soldier, 
the first detachment of the command you ordered me to raise. 
I will follow with the remainder in a few days. I will tomorrow 
forward to you one hundred saddles and bridles. I have thus 
far failed with the Committee in reference to the Artillery, but 
may yet succeed. Through your kind letter to the Sec. of 
War, I have been appointed Lieut. Col. in Col. Mansfield 
Davis s Reg. of Horse. Now, Sir, we wish to serve under 
your command. The Sec., I think, is not averse to it, as he 
said with your consent the one hundred men now raised could 
form part of our Reg. I have taken great pains to get good 
men mostly Jersey men, my friends. I should not like to 
lose them. Are you willing they should form part of our Reg. 
- if so, will you apply for two or more compns., as many as 
you wish, to be sent to join your command? We will have 
four or five by Saturday next. We are mustered into service 
by Comp. If this letter meets your approbation, I can be 
with you with two squadrons of good riders, all equipped, in 
ten days. I would recommend Lieut. Melleak to your favor 
able notice; he is an energetic young man, and with all a good 
soldier. If you have any one you would like to hold position 
in our Reg. Col. Davis wishes me to say he would only be too 
happy to have you name him. 

Respectfully yours, JUDSON KILPATRICK 



85 
45 
85 
10 
18 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 183 

FORTRESS MONROE, July 29</i, 1861 

List of Negroes claiming protection & food 

288 Men between the ages of 18 and 45 years. 

47 " " " " 45 

140 Women " " " " 18 

29 do " " " 45 

200 Children " " " " 1 

150 do " " " 10 

854 Total 

From General Butler 

CONFIDENTIAL. FORTRESS MONROE, July 29/A, 1861 

Col. E. D. BAKER 

MY DEAR COL: I am inclined to believe that we have been 
"sold," if one might use so vulgar a word. There was no 
need of the troops, in such haste at least; they are now in 
Baltimore. More than that, the fact that they have to be 
withdrawn was known here as early as the 22nd by Capt. 
Dyer of the Ordnance Department, although the Order was 
not issued until the 24th, and we did not hear of it until the 
morning of the 26th at two o clock. Now, does not this mean 
that our Army friends had heard of our expedition up the 
peninsula, and that Accomac was to be visited, a few contra 
bands taken, and so they procured your recall and so many of 
my troops that I could not risk the experiment. As soon as I 
begin to look like activity my troops are taken away, and 
almost my only friend and counsellor, on whose advice I 
could rely, is taken away by name. 

This was determined upon before the defeat at Bull Run, 
which was fought on the 21st. The news was sent in a letter 
from Fortress Monroe, published in the New York Tribune, 
dated the 24th of July. When I knew of the order only on 
the 26th, and it was issued by Telegraph from Washington 
on the 24th at 4 o clock P.M., is not the proof conclusive? 
What ought I to do under these circumstances? I ought not 
to stay here and be thus abused. Tell me as a true friend, as 
I know you are, what ought to be done in justice to myself. 
To resign when the Country needs service is unpatriotic. To 
hold office which Government believes me unfit for is humili 
ating. To remain disgraced and thwarted by every subordi 
nate who is sustained by the Head of his Department is 
unbearable. 

Truly yours, B. F. BUTLER 



184 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Department of Virginia, July 29, 1861 

Rev. B. F. STEAD, Astoria, 
LONG ISLAND, N.Y. 

MY DEAR SIR: Your note is received. I am pained by its 
contents. "A reliable man says that an officer has been drunk 
for a week." I did not appoint this officer, I do not know who 
he is. I have no means of knowing unless the "reliable man" 
will complain of him to me. I do not "tolerate" such conduct. 
Why did the people of his county, who must have known 
that officer s habits, allow him to be commissioned. Why 
did the "reliable man" vote for him? 

I have established a scrutiny over the packages sent to the 
men, to have them cleared of liquor, given by misjudging 
friends, and have taken away and turned over to Hospital 
use as many as one hundred and five packages of liquor a day 
from one express company. I have assumed that the officers 
chosen and commissioned by the State of New York could be 
trusted to receive unopened packages from their friends. If, 
in your judgment they cannot be so trusted, please apply to 
the Governor, and upon his suggestion I will have the stores 
and boxes sent to the New York officers seized and searched. 

No spirituous liquors are permitted to be sold within the 
lines in my department, and every barrel of whiskey not under 
the charge of an officer, where there is reason to believe sales 
have been made, has been stove, and contents spilled, and the 
seller sent out of the lines. I have no power to discharge a 
drunken or incompetent officer; I can only call a court martial 
when charges are preferred. If I prefer charges I cannot call 
a court. I assure you, sir, a court martial is as unwieldy a 
machine for investigating a certain class of offences as a coun 
cil of Ministers would be. I have appeared before both tri 
bunals as advocate and know how difficult it is to convict in 
either. But sir, have the charge made, and a reliable man sent 
as a witness, and I will have the officer punished if possible. 

Thanking you for the interest you take in the Cause, I am 
Most truly yours, BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 185 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia, FORTRESS Monroe, July 30th, 1861 

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

SIR: By an order received on the morning of the 28th 
July from Major General Dix, by a telegraphic order from 
Lieutenant-General Scott, I was commanded to forward, of 
the troops of this department, four regiments and a half, 
including Colonel Baker s California regiment, to Washington, 
via Baltimore. This order reached me at 2 o clock A.M., by 
special boat from Baltimore. Believing that it emanated 
because of some pressing exigency for the defense of Washing 
ton, I issued my orders before daybreak for the embarkation 
of the troops, sending those who were among the very best 
regiments I had. In the course of the following day they were 
all embarked for Baltimore, with the exception of some four 
hundred for whom I had not transportation, although I had 
all the transport force in the hands of the quartermaster here 
to aid the Bay line of steamers, which, by the same order from 
the lieutenant-general, was directed to furnish transportation. 
Up to, and at the time of the order, I had been preparing 
for an advance movement, by which I hoped to cripple the 
resources of the enemy at Yorktown, and especially by seizing 
a large quantity of negroes who were being pressed into their 
service in building the intrenchments there. I had five days 
previously been enabled to mount, for the first time, the first 
company of light artillery, which I had been empowered to 
raise, and they had but a single rifled cannon, an iron six- 
pounder. Of course everything must and did yield to the 
supposed exigency and the orders. This ordering away the 
troops from this department, while it weakened the posts at 
Newport News, necessitated the withdrawal of the troops from 
Hampton, where I was then throwing up intrenched works to 
enable me to hold the town with a small force, while I advanced 
up the York or James River. In the village of Hampton there 
were a large number of negroes, composed in a great measure 
of women and children of the men who had fled thither within 
my lines for protection, who had escaped from marauding 
parties of rebels, who had been gathering up able-bodied 
blacks to aid them in constructing their batteries on the 
James and York Rivers. I had employed the men in Hampton 
in throwing up intrenchments, and they were working zeal 
ously and efficiently at that duty, saving our soldiers from 



186 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

that labor under the gleam of the mid-day sun. The women 
were earning substantially their own subsistence in washing, 
marketing, and taking care of the clothes of the soldiers, and 
rations were being served out to the men who worked for the 
support of the children. But by the evacuation of Hampton, 
rendered necessary by the withdrawal of troops, leaving me 
scarcely five thousand men outside the fort including the force 
at Newport News, all these black people were obliged to break 
up their homes at Hampton, fleeing across the creek within 
my lines for protection and support. Indeed, it was a most 
distressing sight to see these poor creatures, who had trusted 
to the protection of the arms of the United States, and who 
aided the troops of the United States in their enterprise, to be 
thus obliged to flee from their homes, and the homes of their 
masters who had deserted them, and become fugitives from 
fear of the return of the rebel soldiery, who had threatened to 
shoot the men who had wrought for us, and to carry off the 
women who had served us to a worse than Egyptian bondage. 
I have, therefore, now within the peninsula, this side of Hamp 
ton Creek, nine hundred negroes, three hundred of whom are 
able-bodied men, thirty of whom are men substantially past 
hard labor, one hundred and seventy-five women, two hundred 
and twenty-five children under the age of ten years, and one 
hundred and seventy between ten and eighteen years, and many 
more coming in. The questions which this state of facts pre 
sent are very embarrassing. 

First. What shall be done with them? and, Second. 
What is their state and condition? Upon these questions I 
desire the instructions of the department. 

The first question, however, may perhaps be answered by 
considering the last. Are these men, women, and children 
slaves? Are they free? Is their condition that of men, women, 
and children, or of property, or is it a mixed relation? What 
their status was under the constitution and laws, we all know. 
What has been the effect of a rebellion and a state of war 
upon that status? When I adopted the theory of treating the 
able-bodied negro fit to work in the trenches as property liable 
to be used in aid of rebellion, and so contraband of war, that 
condition of things was in so far met, as I then and still believe, 
on a legal and constitutional basis. But now a new series of 
questions arise. Passing by women, the children, certainly, 
cannot be treated on that basis; if property, they must be 
considered the incumbrance rather than the auxiliary of an 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 187 

army, and, of course, in no possible legal relation could be 
treated as contraband. Are they property? If they were so, 
they have been left by their masters and owners, deserted, 
thrown away, abandoned, like the wrecked vessel upon the 
ocean. Their former possessors and owners have causelessly, 
traitorously, rebelliously, and, to carry out the figure, prac 
tically abandoned them to be swallowed up by the winter 
storm of starvation. If property, do they not become the 
property of salvors? But we, their salvors, do not need and 
will not hold such property, and will assume no such ownership : 
has not, therefore, all proprietory relation ceased? Have 
they not become, thereupon, men, women, and children? 
No longer under ownership of any kind, the fearful relicts of 
fugitive masters, have they not by their master s acts, and 
the state of war, assumed the condition, which we hold to be 
the normal one, of those made in God s image? Is not every 
constitutional, legal, and normal requirement, as well to the 
runaway master as their relinquished slaves, thus answered? 
I confess that my own mind is compelled by this reasoning to 
look upon them as men and women. If not free born, yet 
free, manumitted, sent forth from the hand that held them, 
never to be reclaimed. 

Of course, if this reasoning, thus imperfectly set forth, is 
correct, my duty as a humane man is very plain. I should 
take the same care of these men, women, and children, house 
less, homeless, and unprovided for, as I would of the same 
number of men, women, and children, who, for their attach 
ment to the Union, had been driven or allowed to flee from the 
Confederate States. I should have no doubt on this question 
had I not seen it stated that an order had been issued by Gen 
eral McDowell in his department substantially forbidding all 
fugitive slaves from coming within his lines, or being har 
bored there. Is that order to be enforced in all military depart 
ments? If so, who are to be considered fugitive whose master 
runs away and leaves him? Is it forbidden to the troops to aid 
or harbor within their lines the negro children who are found 
therein, or is the soldier, when his march has destroyed their 
means of subsistence, to allow them to starve because he has 
driven off the rebel masters? Now, shall the commander of 
a regiment or battalion sit in judgment upon the question, 
whether any given black man has fled from his master, or his 
master fled from him? Indeed, how are the free born to be 
distinguished? Is one any more or less a fugitive slave because 



188 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

he has labored upon the rebel intrenchments? If he has so 
labored, if I understand it, he is to be harbored. By the recep 
tion of which are the rebels most to be distressed, by taking 
those who have wrought all their rebel masters desired, masked 
their battery, or those who have refused to labor and left the 
battery unmasked? 

I have very decided opinions upon the subject of this order. 
It does not become me to criticise it, and I write in no spirit 
of criticism, but simply to explain the full difficulties that sur 
round the enforcing it. If the enforcement of that order 
becomes the policy of the government, I, as a soldier, shall be 
bound to enforce it steadfastly, if not cheerfully. But if left 
to my own discretion, as you may have gathered from my 
reasoning, I should take a widely different course from that 
which it indicates. 

In a loyal state, I would put down a servile insurrection. 
In a state of rebellion I would confiscate that which was used 
to oppose my arms and take all that property which consti 
tuted the wealth of that state, and furnished the means by 
which the war is prosecuted, besides being the cause of the 
war; and if, in so doing, it should be objected that human 
beings were brought to the free enjoyment of life, liberty, and 
the pursuit of happiness, such objection might not require much 
consideration. 

Pardon me for addressing the secretary of war directly upon 
this question, as it involves some political considerations as 
well as propriety of military action. 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From the Postmaster General 

WASHINGTON, July 30th, 1861 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER 

DEAR GENERAL: Yours by Dr. Winslow is received, and 
whilst the Dr. waits I will venture a line about Newport News. 
I would wish the attack upon it, if its defence and maintain- 
ance were of any great importance. But as it seems to me 
that the possession of it with the force at your command does 
not enable you to undertake anything, and the possession of 
it by the Enemy will not prevent any enterprize when you are 
in force, I should not run any undue hazard for it. 

Yours truly, M. BLAIR 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 189 

From John La Mountain 

FORTRESS MONROE, July 31st, 61 

Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

DEAR SIR: I have made two ascensions this morning. My 
first I did not reach an altitude of but about four hundred 
feet. My second, from which I have just returned, I attained 
the altitude of about fourteen hundred feet, which gave me 
an excellent opportunity for observation, the results of which 
are as follows. In the rear of the Battery on Sewall s Point, 
obscured from the water side by trees, is a cleared tract upon 
which I counted fifty-two tents, beside six bush tents in their 
rear. I could distinctly see "Tanner s Creek," but could not 
observe any appearance of works progressing in that vicinity. 
For twenty miles I could trace distinctly the James River, 
but could not discover any movements thereon. From "Pigs 
Point" I could count about forty tents, I should judge about 
half a mile in the rear of the Battery, and about opposite 
from Newport News, and like the tents at Sewall s Point, 
behind a cluster of trees. I could not discover any encamp 
ments beyond Newport News, or in the direction of York- 
town, except about half way from the Bethel church and 
Yorktown I could see a small cluster of tents. In Back River 
I could see nothing but the one sloop I saw in my ascent last 

TXTpkOK* 

Very Respectfully and Truly Your Obt. Servant, 

JOHN LA MOUNTAIN 



From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va. July 31, 61 

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Sec y of War 

COL. RUSH C. HAWKINS, of the 9th Reg. N. Y. Vols., who 
will hand you this letter, is on his way to Albany, N.Y. to 
confer with Gov. Morgan as to the best means of reorganizing 
and improving some of the N. Y. Regiments now in my 
Department. 

Col. Hawkins will make to you a statement in detail con 
cerning the present condition of these regiments, which you 
may consider reliable; I would recommend that you should 
furnish Col. H. with a letter to Gov. Morgan, urging his im 
mediate co-operation with me (or the War Department) in 
using every means in his power to bring these regiments up 
to a proper state of discipline and efficiency. 



190 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Unless strong measures are adopted very soon the most of 
these troops will be totally demoralized and unfit for service, 
simply for want of efficient officers. Many of their field 
officers have resigned, and many of those left are totally ineffi 
cient. There is the best of material in these regiments, but it 
is impossible to bring them up without officers. 

Most truly your friend & servant, B. F. BUTLER 

By General Butler 

Headquarters Department Virginia, FORT MONROE, VA., Aug. Znd, 1861 

GENERAL ORDER No. 22 

THE general commanding was informed on the first day of 
the month, from the books of an unlicensed liquor dealer near 
this post, and by the effect on the officers and soldiers under 
his command, that the use of intoxicating liquors prevailed 
to an alarming extent among the officers of his command. He 
had already taken measures to prevent its use among the men, 
but had presumed that officers and gentlemen might be trusted; 
but he finds that as a rule, in some regiments, that assumption 
is ill-founded, while there are many honorable exceptions to 
this unhappy state of facts; yet, for the good of all, some strin 
gent measures upon the subject are necessary. 

Hereafter, all packages brought into this department for 
any officer of whatever grade, will be subjected to the most 
rigid inspection; and all spirituous and intoxicating liquors 
therein will be taken and turned over to the use of the medical 
department. Any officer who desires may be present at the 
inspection of his own packages. 

No sale of intoxicating liquor will be allowed in this depart 
ment, and any citizen selling will be immediately sent out. 

If any officer finds the use of intoxicating liquor necessary 
for his health, or the health of any of his men, a written appli 
cation to the medical director will be answered; and the gen 
eral is confident that there is a sufficient store for all necessary 
purposes. 

The medical director will keep a record of all such applica 
tions, the name of the applicant, date of application, amount 
and kind of liquor delivered, to be open at all times for public 
inspection. 

In view of the alarming increase in the use of this delete 
rious article, the general earnestly exhorts all officers and 
soldiers to use their utmost exertions, both of influence and 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 191 

example, to prevent the wasting effects of this scourge of all 
armies. 

The general commanding does not desire to conceal the fact 
that he has been accustomed to the use of wines and liquors 
in his own quarters, and to furnish them to his friends; but as 
he desires never to ask either officers or men to undergo any 
privation which he will not share with them, he will not 
exempt himself from the operation of this order, but will not 
use it in his own quarters, as he would discourage its use in 
the quarters of any other officer. Amid the many sacrifices 
of time, property, health and life, which the officers and sol 
diers of his command are making in the service of their country, 
the general commanding feels confident that this, so slight 
but so necessary a sacrifice of a luxury, and pandering to 
appetite, will be borne most cheerfully, now that its evil is 
seen and appreciated. 

This order will be published by reading it at the head of 
every battalion at their several evening parades. 

From Colonel Rush Hawkins 

CAMP BUTLER, August 6, 1861 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, Corny Department of Virginia 
SIR: I find that several of my men are actually naked for 
want of clothing, fatigue suits. The most of my men have 
worn the clothing they now have for over three months. I 
have talked to Captain Tallmadge and written to General 
Meigs until I am tired of both talking and writing, and I am 
convinced that my penny trumpet has but little effect upon 
official ears. I wish you would do me the favor to write to 
General Meigs and state that my regiment is in want of pants 
and blouses. I presume that in a short time we shall want 
caps, and for the present we could get along with the articles 

first mentioned. ** * * *! * n ru. j- * o 4 

Most faithfully your Obedient servant, 

RUSH HAWKINS 
From George B. Loring 

SALEM, MASS., Aug. 6th, 1861 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

MY DEAR BUTLER: I have long desired to express to you 
my sympathy for the complications which have surrounded 
you since I last wrote, and my desire to see you triumphant. 



192 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

One of the most remarkable features of this crisis is the spec 
tacle presented by those who happen to hold the reins of power. 
It is they, whose existence in this country, whose political 
principles, whose ignorance of the science of government, 
whose elevation, now constitute the disease which is upon us, 
who are endeavoring to heal that disease. Was there ever such 
a spectacle? A maddened people submitting in all patience 
and resignation to an unheard of complication of horrors. 

Now, my dear Sir, do not for an instant expect Mr. Lincoln 
or any of his to relieve us of our woes. He is the greatest of 
all. And never, until the horror of our people is vindicated 
by larger heads and better hearts, shall we see the light which 
may break through the present darkness. Of Lincoln s advis 
ers, the Blairs, and Chases, and Wilsons, and Sumners, 
and Camerons, I have not a word to say, for I believe the 
corrupt tribe are willing to sacrifice everything for ambition 
and plunder; and their day will ere long close. But of Lincoln 
himself, standing where he does, I cannot give my friends too 
strong a warning. I think his ignorance is much more dan 
gerous than their rascality. He is tearing down our institutions 
daily, and seems to comprehend the magnitude of his work, 
or the character of it, no more than the rat does which is 
at work upon the timbers of the strong and beautiful ship. 

While, therefore, you do your duty for the present, do not 
forget the future. Remember how we must labor hereafter 
to cure all existing evils. Remember what genius will be re 
quired to consolidate our great, growing, war debt, and to 
fund it properly. Remember how the people will rise in 
astonishment when the close of the war shows them that we 
have got to make a new republic, and to make it on the same 
old principle, or base it on military power. I hope you will 
be chary of your words and cautious in your deeds. There are 
many true men here who will see no sound, constitution-loving, 
patriotic man "thrown from a Tarpean rock," but will bury 
the traitors and destructives of to-day where the trump of 
resurrection will not find them. 

I telegraphed you to-day about Ryan. He thinks Seward 
will send him to Belfast. I tell him he will not. But if you 
can say a word to provide R. with such a place, pray do it. 

I write in great haste in the midst of an active farming 
season in the tropical heat in despair over our nation. 
Is there no end to this? 

Truly your friend, GEO. B. LORING 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 193 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, August 1th, 1861 

To Lieutenant General SCOTT, Commander 

GENERAL: I desire to call your attention to the state of the 
command of the regulars in regard to officers at this post. 
There are, of the twenty-one officers whose names were borne 
on the Roster on the 31st of May, but five present beside 
Colonel Dimmick and the surgeon, who are not necessarily 
assigned to other and different duties to which they are legit 
imately called. There are present in all, beside the Command 
ant of the Post and the surgeon, but ten, and four of these 
have been appointed Commissaries of Subsistence, beside 
another officer, Captain Tallmadge, who is Assistant Quarter 
Master. It is evident that more officers should be assigned 
here as artillerists for the safety of the Post, three of these 
present being detailed for a light battery. 

I avail myself of this opportunity to call your attention to 
what seems to me the vicious system of appointing well- 
instructed and able artillery officers to the Posts of Commis 
saries and Quarter Masters, where there is such need of them 
in the field. Almost any good business man may in a few days 
time learn substantially the duties of Commissary or Quarter 
Master, and no one believes that experience as an artillerist 
can be thus acquired. It is true, these situations are very 
much sought after, because of the supposed facilities for 
commanding contracts and emolument, and of relieving 
officers from the active duties of the Field. But does not the 
service require, when our great need is the Artillery Arm, 
that all accomplished officers in that Arm should be kept 
therein? Here are five Quarter Masters and Commissaries 
taken from one Post, being one quarter of the entire force of 
officers. If I am right, believe it is only necessary to have 
your attention called to this matter to provide a remedy. 

I send enclosed a list of the regular officers here with the 
various transfers and their occupations and situations, in 
order that the Commanding General may judge accurately of 
the extent of the evil. I have the Honor to be, 

Most Respectfully, Your obedient servant, 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 



VOL. I 13 



194 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 
From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

LOWELL, August 7, 1861 

You know, dearest, how full of tears I was when I left you. 
Mile after weary mile I watched the houses, trees, and fields, 
and kept the tears from brimming over. When we reached 
the boat for Fall River the black rings round my eyes and the 
exhausted, hopeless face scared me into the berth, and, ceasing 
to struggle, let the flood swell up and take its own sorrowful 
course. You will not be surprised at this deep sadness which 
held me even up to our own gate, without one throb of pleas 
ant expectation at sight of home and all it contains until I heard 
the sound of the children s voices, playing in the evergreens. 
They saw the carriage, and ran to us with shouts of delight. 
The driver stopped, and they clambered into the hack with 
such a noise, screaming, "Here is mother, and we thought 
father was coming too. Where is he? And why did he not 
come?" They think you ought not to be away so long. The 
children hung round me all day so that I could not write a 
word till now. Home looks lovely, sweeter than any place I 
have ever seen, if we were ready to enjoy it. 

There have been a great many raspberries not so great a 
supply of strawberries. 

Persons here seem as well informed about you as we were 
at the Fortress. Many who like you best have thought you 
would resign and come home unless you are to be better 
supplied with means of action. Tim Pearson and Dr. Edson 
called last night. The Dr. would be glad to have you come 
home, and thinks you have done your part. Our new neigh 
bors have got a very handsome house, but Mr. Hinckley is 
out of health. Blanche and the other officers of her company 
are having their pictures taken in group. When they are 
finished I will send you one. 

I am not yet exactly clear why I am here or what I am to do 
first. I know you are too busy to have much thought for us, 
but yet, sometimes remember. I said you will not be surprised 
at my sadness when you remember how much has been loos 
ened, perhaps torn up forever, to which we have hitherto held, 
you will understand and feel tenderly for me. If you remain 
in the army, and Blanche away at school, our house will soon 
be closed up, even this Fall, I think, and I shall be wherever 
I can. Think of the years long gone by, kiss me, and do not 

forget SARAH 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 195 

From Captain Von Doehmy 

Head Quarters CAMP HAMILTON, Aug. 8th, 1861, 12 o clock 50 raw. A.M. 

Major Genl. BUTLER 

SIR: Colonel Weber requests me to make the following 
report to you: 

Col. Weber and myself just returned from Hampton Bridge 
and from the Fox Hill Pickets. The enemy was seen in 
Hampton, our picket on the bridge fired all the time into them, 
till they could not stand any more on the bridge; the enemy 
answering with shooting to hand. Hampton is entirely in 
flames. 

Fox Hill Pickets all quiet; one patrol of ours met a patrol 
of Col. McChesney s Regt. about 4 miles beyond the Pickets. 
The whole camp under Col. Weber s command is under arms 
and had taken position. 

Very Respectfully Your obedt. sevt. 

WM. VON DOEHMY, Capt. 20th Regt. 

From Colonel Weber 

Head Quarters, CAMP HAMILTON, Aug. 8th, 1861 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER 

SIR: I have the honor to report that the rest of the night 
passed very quietly. In addition to my former report I might 
state that it was the intention of the enemy to destroy the 
bridge, but did not succeed, because my men had built a 
strong barricade right in front of the bridge, from where they 
fired into the enemy with success; two were seen to be killed, 
and several wounded are to be supposed; on our side nobody 
was hurt, though the balls of the enemy struck right into the 
barricade. 

Hampton is almost totally burnt down; the enemy had set 
fire to every house. 

Very Respectfully Your Obedient Servt., 

MAX WEBER, Col. Com g Camp Hamilton 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, Augst. 8th, 1861 

Lieut. Genl. SCOTT 

I HAVE the honor to report that the first Vermont Regiment 
was embarked on Monday morning for New Haven, 
time expiring on the 9th, which would be the day of their 



196 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

arrival. I had arranged that Col. Carr s Regiment, the 2nd 
N. Y. Vols., should be transferred from Old Point to strengthen 
Newport News. You may remember that I said to you, when 

1 had the honor of an interview at Washington on Saturday, 
that a demonstration on the part of the enemy would be made 
within the coming week. On my return Tuesday morning I 
found various indications thereof. On Wednesday, about 

2 o clock P.M., the patrol of Col. Weber s Regt. discovered the 
enemy in force at Newmarket Bridge, about two miles and a 
half from Hampton. About 4 o clock they took one Mayhew, 
a deserter who had swum the creek near Newmarket Bridge, 
and who delivered himself up and was brought before me for 
examination. From his statements I learnt his name, Mayhew, 
that he is a native of Bangor, Me., who, having landed in 
Georgia as a seaman, was impressed in a Georgia Regiment 
known by the name of "Baker s Fire Eaters." He is intelli 
gent and appears to be truthful. He stated that five Regi 
ments, including the two Louisiana, one Alabama Regiment 
under Col. Ex-Governor Winston, one North Carolina and 
one Georgia Regiment with two portions of Battalions of 
Artillery and 300 Louisiana Zouaves a picket Battalion, 
left Yorktown and Williamsburg on Sunday, and marched to 
the neighborhood of Big Bethel, where they encamped until 
Tuesday. On Wednesday they marched at 11 o clock to New 
market Bridge, and there formed in the Order of Battle, 
expecting an attack from me. They had eight guns, one rifled 
gun, two thirty-two pound howitzers, two long twenty-fours 
and three smaller guns. This force was under the Com 
manding General Magruder. The Regiment had numbered in 
the neighborhood of one thousand men each, but had been 
reduced by sickness at Yorktown, his own Regiment, 
numbering 650, 325 being sick with the measles. As near as I 
could gather, comparing his account with the notes I had 
from others, the enemy s force was a little over 5000 men, 
although Mayhew represented it at 7000. He further stated 
that it was understood in camp that an attack was to be made 
on Newport News, the force being then bivouacked but five 
miles from that point. Dispositions were immediately made, 
positions such as seemed proper for reinforcing Newport 
News in case of an attack or repelling an attack alone upon 
the troops encamped between the Fortress and Hampton, in 
case aid should be the design of the enemy. I had supposed 
that probably a feigned attack would be made upon the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 197 

Fortress in order to prevent reinforcements, while the main 
attack would be made upon the News. And I have to report 
that all these arrangements were carried out by the troops 
with coolness and in order. After riding through the camps and 
giving final instructions I rode over to the Bridge at Hampton, 
- thirty feet of which we had before removed, and at 20 
minutes past 11 o clock, when I left there, everything was 
still. A few minutes before 12 o clock the enemy made an 
attempt to burn the Bridge, and for that purpose attacked 
the guard thereon who were protected by a Barricade of 
Planks. The enemy were driven back with the loss of three 
killed and several wounded. No casualties occurred on our 
side. The enemy then proceeded to fire the town in a great 
number of places; by twelve o clock it was in flames, and it is 
now entirely destroyed. They gave but 15 minutes time for 
the inhabitants to remove from their houses, and I have to 
day brought over the old and infirm who by that wanton act 
of destruction now are left houseless and homeless. The enemy 
took away with them most of the able-bodied white men. A 
more wanton and unnecessary act than the burning, as it 
seems to me, could not have been committed. There was not 
the slightest attempt to make any resistance on our part to 
the possession of the town, which we had before evacuated, 
as you were informed by my last despatch. There was no 
attempt to interfere with them there, as we only repelled an 
attempt to burn the bridge. It would have been easy to dis 
lodge them from the town by a few shells from the fort, but 
I did not choose to allow any opportunity to fasten upon the 
federal troops any portion of this most heathenish outrage. 
The town was the property of the Secession inhabitants of 
Virginia, and they and their friends have chosen deliberately 
to destroy it, and under circumstances of cruel indifference, 
entirely without parallel, to the inhabitants who had remained 
in their homes. Indeed, for two months past, since Hampton 
has been within the power of my troops, and during the month 
that we occupied it, every exertion was used by me to pro 
tect the property from spoliation and the inhabitants from 
outrage; and I can safely say that $100 would cover all the 
damages done there in occupied houses. That there has been 
some appropriation of furniture by the troops from unoccupied 
houses is most true, but it had been substantially all taken 
from them and stored in the Seminary Building. I know the 
course would meet the approval of the Comm g General. 



198 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

But in a single hour the Rebel Army devoted to indiscrimi 
nate destruction both public and private buildings, the church 
and the Courthouse, as well as the cottage of the widow. I 
confess myself so poor a soldier as not to be able to discern 
the strategical importance of this movement. I had fortified 
the Churchyard with earth embankments, which were not 
destroyed by fire. The hymn of praise and the voice of prayer 
had gone up in the church which was burnt on the last Sabbath 
of its occupation by the Massachusetts troops. The poor 
citizens were told by their friends that this destruction was 
to prevent the use of their village as winter Quarters for our 
troops. But I am sure it never entered my mind, and I take 
leave to believe the mind of the Comm g General, that there 
was the slightest intention of wintering any portion of the 
Federal troops at this point outside the Garrison. We had 
believed that we were to follow the track of our northern 
birds southward with the approach of frost. No demonstra 
tion was made by the enemy save the burning of a deserted 
village, and to-day nothing has been done by the enemy except 
to withdraw his troops across Newmarket Bridge. I regret 
the military necessity, to which I yield the cordial recognition 
of my judgment, which called for the withdrawal of the four 
regiments and a half which caused the evacuation of Hampton, 
not for our sakes, but because of the loss which has thereby 
been brought upon the inhabitants. This act upon the part 
of the enemy seems to me to be a representation, showing the 
spirit in which the war is to be carried on, on their part, and 
which perhaps will have a tendency to provoke a corresponding 
spirit upon our part, but we may hope not. I have the 

honor to be, rr ,- 77 , , 

Very respectfully your out. kervt., 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comm g. 
From General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, August 8, 1861 

Col. THOMAS A. SCOTT, Assistant Secretary of War 

DEAR SIR: May I ask if you have overlooked the order 
signed by the President for the raising of five thousand troops? 
I pray you, get this thing through for me, and I will be obliged 
forever and ever. I am losing good daylight, now that the 
three-months men are being disbanded. Can you not add 
this to the many courtesies of our friendship? 

Truly yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 199 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, Aug. Sth, 1861 

MY DEAR SARAH: I got home safe Tuesday morning. 
Phelps is Brigadier. I got the President s signature that I 
might raise 5000 troops in New England, but as Cameron was 
absent I was obliged to wait for his signature, so that the 
paper has not yet come. Yesterday, Magruder came in force 
about 6000, and burned Hampton. Does not that justify me 
in evacuating it with one regt? We have got all ready to go 
up to Newport News if they dare attack us, which they will 
not do. 

I am well, although I was up all night last night. I hope 
you got home safe and found all well. Write soon and often. 

Truly yours, My dear wife, B. 

From Lewis Tappan 

BROOKLYN, N.Y., August Sth, 1861 

To Major General BUTLER, Commanding U.S. Army at 
FORTRESS MONROE, VA. 

SIR: The favor you have shown the poor colored fugitives 
has filled the hearts of many friends of freedom with thank 
fulness. Although they could not but regret that you should, 
in any degree, appear to be on the side of the masters, yet you 
have, on several occasions, shown so much wisdom and intre 
pidity in defence of the right, that the liberty-loving people 
of the North are unanimous in awarding to you great praise 
for all you have done on behalf of the down-trodden and 
oppressed who have fled to you for succor. They hope and 
trust that you will continue to use the power in your hands 
according to the eminent ability that has characterized your 
movements, for the protection and welfare of the innocent 
and helpless fallen creatures whom Providence throws upon 
your protection. 

It appears from the recent statements published in the 
newspapers that the refugees are so greatly increasing in num 
bers that embarrassment is felt with regard to a proper dis 
posal of them. In view of this fact several friends of liberty 
hereabouts desire me to write to you on the subject, and 
to ask your advice with reference to the organization of a 
committee of citizens to provide for the removal of the self- 
emancipated negroes to the free States, where they could find 



200 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

employment and receive wages for their labor, as it appears 
that you have become satisfied that they are abundantly able 
to take care of themselves, and acquire property when they 
have the opportunity. 

Should a committee be found in New York to provide for 
the removal of the refugees to the farms and workshops and 
families of Northern citizens, and their employment on just 
and equitable principles, and should similar committees be 
found in other states, it is believed that you and the other 
commanders of U.S. forces would be relieved of care and 
anxiety, and that the negroes who have fled from oppression, 
or who have sought an asylum because their masters had 
fled from them, might find employment that would benefit 
them, as well as those who might engage their services for a 
fair remuneration. 

Wishing you great success in putting down the slave 
holders rebellion, and in restoring peace on righteous prin 
ciples to the country, and commending you and those under 
your command to the protection and guidance of the Almighty, 

Your obedient servant and fellow citizen, 

LEWIS TAPPAN 

P.S. Your recent order respecting intoxicating drinks has 
excited the thanks and admiration of your fellow citizens 
throughout the country. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, VA., Aug. 10, 1861 

Not in chronological order] 

LEWIS TAPPAN, Esq., BROOKLYN, N.Y. 

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the many kind 
expressions of approbation of my acts. I have endeavored to 
do my duty, following the best light I have, and the event 
must be in the hands of Him who ordereth all things well. I 
am of the opinion that it would not be profitable to the negroes 
to be sent North. There is plenty of waste land for them 
here, and they can be better and more cheaply cared for here 
than amid the rigor of our northern winter. 

They are at present, in my judgment, earning the substance 
furnished them by the United States, and if any benevolent 
individual desires to show active sympathy in their behalf I 
would recommend that the committee you suggest furnish a 
number of suits of substantial cheap clothing, fit for Winter 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 201 

Service, for the women and children. Shoes are especially 
desirable. I will see that such clothing is distributed among 
them according to their necessities. The clothing for the men 
will soon be out, and as you are aware we have no supply. 
Many of them are now dressed in the cast-off clothing and 
Uniforms of the soldiers. This is all the practical aid I think 
we are in a situation to receive for them at this time. 

To send them North, amid the stagnation of business and 
at a season when all agricultural operations except harvesting 
are about to be suspended, to fill our towns with a new influx 
of people when their labor is not wanted, while here in Vir 
ginia there is land enough cultivated and houses enough 
deserted, amid scenes to which they are attached where they 
may live, would in my judgment be unwise. 

If the war continues they will be safe here. If the war 
ends, the wisdom and the care of the Government will be 
exerted for their protection here or elsewhere. This part of 
the State is but little more cultivated than in the days of 
Powhattan, and it would seem hardly prudent to take away 
from it a class of mostly agricultural laborers, who are fitted 
to the soil. The most of them would not desire to go North 
if they can be assured (as I can assure them) of their safety 
in the South. I shall continue to receive and protect all the 
Negroes, especially women and children, who come to me, as 
well for reasons of humanity as from strategical policy of which 
it is not now best to speak. 

Hoping that you will aid in clothing these poor people, 
I am very respectfully Your obdt. Servt., 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, August 8th, 1861 

Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

GENERAL: The important question of the proper disposi 
tion to be made of fugitives from service in States in insur 
rection against the Federal Government, to which you have 
again directed my attention in your letter of July 30th, has 
received my most attentive consideration. 

It is the desire of the President that all existing rights, in 
all the States, be fully respected and maintained. The war 
now prosecuted on the part of the Federal Government is a 
war for the Union, and for the preservation of all constitu- 



202 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

tional rights of States, and the citizens of the States, in the 
Union. Hence, no question can arise as to fugitives from 
service within States and Territories in which the authority 
of the Union is fully acknowledged. The ordinary forms of 
judicial proceeding, which must be respected by military and 
civil authorities alike, will suffice for the enforcement of all 
legal claims. 

But in States wholly or partially under insurrectionary con 
trol, where the laws of the United States are so far opposed and 
resisted that they cannot be effectually enforced, it is obvious 
that rights dependent on the execution of those laws must, tem 
porarily, fail; and it is equally obvious that rights dependent 
on the laws of the States, within which military operations are 
conducted, must be necessarily subordinated to the military 
exigencies created by the insurrection, if not wholly forfeited by 
the treasonable conduct of parties claiming them. To this 
general rule, rights to services can form no exception. 

The Act of Congress approved August 6th, 1861, declares 
that if persons held to service shall be employed in hostility 
to the United States, the right to their services shall be for 
feited, and such persons shall be discharged therefrom. It 
follows, of necessity, that no claim can be recognized by the 
military authorities of the Union to the services of such per 
sons when fugitives. 

A more difficult question is presented in respect to persons 
escaping from the service of loyal masters. It is quite apparent 
that the laws of the State, under which, only, the services of 
such fugitives can be claimed, must needs be wholly, or almost 
wholly, suspended, as to remedies, by the insurrection, and 
the military measures necessitated by it. And it is equally 
apparent that the substitution of military for judicial meas 
ures, for the enforcement of such claims, must be attended by 
great inconveniences, embarrassments and injuries. 

Under these circumstances, it seems quite clear that the 
substantial rights of loyal masters will be best protected by 
receiving such fugitives, as well as fugitives from disloyal 
masters, into the service of the United States, and employ 
ing them under such organizations, and in such occupations 
as circumstances may suggest or require. Of course, a record 
should be kept, showing the name and description of the fugi 
tives, the name and the character, as loyal or disloyal, of the 
master; and such facts as may be necessary to a correct 
understanding of the circumstance of each case, after tran- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 203 

quility shall have been restored. Upon the return of peace, 
Congress will doubtless properly provide for all the persons 
thus received into the service of the Union, and for just com 
pensation to loyal masters. In this way only, it would seem, 
can the duty and safety of the Government, and the just 
rights of all, be fully reconciled and harmonized. 

You will, therefore, consider yourself as instructed to govern 
your future action in respect to fugitives from service by the 
principles herein stated; and will report from time to time, 
and at least twice in each month, your action in the premises 
to this Department. 

You will, however, neither authorize nor permit any inter 
ference by the troops under your command with the servants 
of peaceful citizens, in house or field; nor will you, in any 
way, encourage such servants to leave the lawful service of 
their masters; nor will you, except in cases where the public 
safety may seem to require it, prevent the voluntary return 
of any fugitive to the service from which he may have escaped. 
I am, General, ^ Re8pectfuUy ? y r ML ^L, 

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

LOWELL, August 8th, 1861 

Do not read this with your business letters, wait till you 
are at leisure. 

It is late in the evening, late for me, but I must write a 
little, I am so restless, or I cannot sleep. Oh, dearest, have 
half an hour at night, when you are alone, and let it be sacred 
to me, to home, and the children. 

I feel, I know, that you will never fathom all the deep 
emotion, the yearning sympathy that holds me to you. Be 
side the fond devotion of a wife, there is still the same responsi 
bility felt by me for whatever you may do, as there was years 
ago when you laid your head on my lap, and prayed me to 
look kindly and lovingly into your face. I saw then what I 
have since seen in Paul, but not in the other children, peculiar 
ities easily wrought upon, and dangerous from their very 
simplicity. 

Do not disdain this, it is the finest attribute you possess, 
though it may sometimes leave you open to the designing. 
What, you, the keen lawyer, the ambitious soldier, who in 
the hour of success believe yourself capable of all things, to 



204 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

be moved through so simple an element? Yes, and that readi 
ness to believe in the "fair outward seeming" is but an indi 
cation of your faith in deeper, higher, and holier objects, 
though these you may often turn away from and seem to 
disregard. Guard against this last, oh, dear love, guard against 
it. Try not ever with sophistries to obscure to your own 
mind the clear dividing lines of right and wrong. 

Saturday, and you have not written a word. Do you know 
I looked for a letter as soon as I thought you had time to 
write from the Fortress. 

Oh, dearest, could you not come home? Is there enough in 
all this to pay for these days of grief to me, which you should 
feel for a little, or for the labor and loss to yourself? Will 
there never be a time, when this restless, ambitious race will 
cease, till I am dead? Oh, for a few hours of gentleness and 
sympathy, a few weeks of loving, fond devotion, before one 
passes away to be seen no more forever! Can you not stretch 
out your arms, clasp me, and reassure me for a little, with the 
hope of something brighter for the future? Say there shall yet 
be a time for me, apart from ambitious struggle, which is but 
dust and ashes, hold me to you with care, as a mother would her 
sick child, kiss me, love me, and forbid me to die of anguish. 

Sunday morning. A bright breeze is blowing, the flowers 
are waving, the chimes ringing, and the children laughing and 
leaping. Blanche is ready for church, and the others for a 
walk with Tilda in Bootman s woods. 

Could you not come home and be happy? Not to give all 
your time to work, even Sundays, and feel impatient of inter 
ruption ; but sometimes to go with us, to take interest in giving 
pleasure to the children by planning little excursions, and for 
ourselves too, for life has been barren of these delights, and 
so bent or broken is the spring of action in me that I tremble 
lest they have lost both their parents, so far as daily care and 
kindly sympathy should be bestowed. 

Write, and comfort me as well as you can, I do not expect 
long letters, only a few lines of interest, and something of 
what you are doing. As always, as I have ever been, 

Your fond devoted WIFE 

P.S. The wine came last Friday. One of the boxes contained 
percussion caps, were they not sent by mistake? The pictures 
came safely. I cannot write any more now, and shall leave 
what news I can gather for another time. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 205 

From General Scott 

Headquarters of the Army, August 8, 1861 

Major-General WOOL, U.S.A., TROY, N.Y. 

IT is desirable that you repair to and assume command of 
the department of which Fortress Monroe is the place of head 
quarters. It is intended to reinforce that department (re 
cently reduced) for aggressive purposes. Is your health equal 
to that command? If yes, you will be ordered thither at once. 
Reply immediately. WINFIELD SCOTT 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, 
BOSTON, August 9th, 1861 

To Major General BUTLER, U.S. Volunteers, Commanding the 

Department of Virginia 

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
your communication concerning Lieut. Estabrook, Quarter 
master of 3rd Battalion Rifles M.V.M., but I cannot perceive 
that it relates to matters over which I have any authority or 
control, or that it requires any action from me, or that I can 
officially take any action concerning it. It seems to me to 
have been perhaps addressed by inadvertence to myself rather 
than to the military authorities of the Federal Government. 
The duty performed by him as acting Captain seems to have 
been performed in Federal Service under your appointment of 
him, you acting in that appointment as an officer in the same 
service, and for any labor performed by him before muster 
into Federal Service he is compensated by his mileage, etc. 

Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

JOHN A. ANDREW 

From the Assistant Secretary of War 

War Department, WASHINGTON, August 10th, 1861 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Department of 

Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE 

SIR: Colonel David W. Wardrop, of the 3d Massachusetts 
Volunteer Militia, represents that you have at Fortress Monroe 
four companies of the Massachusetts 3rd and three companies 
of the Massachusetts 4th, all enlisted for three years, without 
regimental Officers. This being the case, would it not be ad- 



206 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

visable to authorize Governor Andrew to forward additional 
recruits to complete a regiment, and place it under the com 
mand of Colonel Wardrop. Please advise. I am Sir, 
Very Respectfully Your Obedient Servant 

THOMAS A. SCOTT, Ass t Sec. of War 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Deprtmt. of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, August llth, 1861 

Lieut. General WINFIELD SCOTT 

GENERAL: I have the honor to report the safe return of an 
expedition under Lieut. Crosby of my command, upon the 
"Eastern Shore," for the purpose of interrupting the Com 
merce between the Rebels of Maryland and their brothers in 
Virginia. 

I also enclose herewith a Copy of a report of a recon 
naissance of the position of the enemy, made from a balloon. 
The enemy have retired a large part of their forces to Bethel 
without making any attack upon Newport News. 

I have nothing further of interest to report except the recep 
tion this morning of an Order that Brevet Major Gen l Wool 
is directed by the President to take command of the Depart 
ment of Virginia. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully Your Obedient Servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l Coming. 

From General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, August llth, 1861 

To Hon. MONTGOMERY BLAIR, P.M. General 

MY DEAR SIR: I send enclosed a copy of an order which 
I have received this morning, without a word of comment or 
explanation from any source. 

What does it mean? Why this? I supposed when I last 
saw the President one week since that I had his confidence. 
Now I am superseded and no duty assigned me. I wait for 
an explanation if one may be vouchsafed me. As a friend, 
may I ask you what is the wish of the Administration? What 
have I done or omitted to do? Why this sudden change of 
policy? I asked to be taken away from here if more troops 
were not to be sent here. I was assured that other troops 
would be sent. I have witnessed the disgusting scene of a 
burning village when I had only 2000 men against 5000, and 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 207 

could not oppose it, the enemy coming down solely because 
they knew I had no troops. 

Is this because General Scott has got over his quarrel with 
Wool, or is it a move on the part of the President, or is it 
because my views on the Negro question are not acceptable 
to the government? I suppose the last. Meanwhile I am in 
the dark. Please give "more light." 

Truly Yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

By President Lincoln 

War Department, Adjutant General s Office, WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 1861. 

[Not in chronological order] 

SPECIAL ORDERS No. 214 

V. BY directions of the President, Brever Major General 
John E. Wool, U.S. Army is assigned to duty according to 
his Brevet, with the pay and emoluments thereof, to take 
effect from the date of this order. He is likewise directed to 
repair to Fort Monroe Va., and take command of the Depart- 

By Order: L. THOMAS, Adjutant General 
From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 1 

LOWELL, Aug. 61 

YOUR letter came on Monday. I read the few lines it con 
tained and laid it down. There were but two things to answer. 
I am rejoiced that you are well and safe, and for the other, the 
promise of five thousand troops if you can raise them I 
attach no value to it. It is not equivalent to those they have 
taken from you. And even these few, (useless when you get 
them) cannot be raised without great trouble. When you put 
it to the test you really gained nothing at Washington. The 
opinion of people here has been that you would return home, 
that you are not necessary to take care of that fort. They 
understand it better than you would suppose. You know 
what Paul George s idea is in regard to it, that is, what he 
wrote you. Yet you must be governed by your own judgment, 
let it be your own, and not those who may profit by your 
staying. There is a change working in the minds of many in 
regard to the war. If you were here you could judge better; 
could you not come home for a little, if you will not give it 
up, and look after your own affairs for a short time, and so be 
able to view the whole from another point. 

1 In answer to Gen. Butler s letter of August 8th. 



208 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

I know not what we are to do about sending Blanche to 
Washington. It will be the same three weeks hence as now, 
the same uncertainty, and the school at Burlington does not 
begin until next November. In the meantime what am I 
to do? You, that have time for all the petty details in that 
obscure spot, can you not find time to answer this one question 
to your wife. Oh, God ! have mercy on me and let me be still. 
Mind not much what I say. Indeed, dearest, dear love, dear 
est, forgive me if I trouble you. I am sick, sick, and my 
heart beats so loud I can hear it everywhere, and listen to 
nothing but its clamorings. What I am writing is not well. 
My first thoughts were hushed down to what I have written. 
My last would bring it down to these few words. It would 
have been better if I had not returned. For the distress I 
feel is neither well for me nor the children. 

That we may meet again with some better chance of peace 
and happiness than the times have offered lately, is the one 

prayer of Your WIFE 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

August llth, 1861 

MY DEAR SARAH: Why do you write me so much grief and 
despondency? Our home is not to be broken up or our lives 
embittered. We are as fortunate as the lot of humanity will 
admit. 

I may be with you in a few days. Wool is ordered to super 
sede me here. I certainly shall not take any too much from 
these people. I shall come home surely as there is a God in 
Heaven when I hear of the reason of this. I think that these 
people propose to make this a partisan war, without any of the 
efficiencies which such a war requires. This move has come 
from my enemies, and I shall have to fight it out with the 
people. 

Meanwhile, I am not so jolly as to need so mournful letters 
as yours to keep me from being too jubilant. Why without 
cause afflict yourself and me? You told me that I should find 
no strong expressions of affection in your letters, but why 
keep your mind in such a state as to fill them with the strong 
est expressions of woe. Shake off this hypochondria. You 
claim to be a woman of mind. Why not exert that mind in 
making yourself and me happy not miserable. 

Be cheerful, cheer me. I need it enough. It never rains but 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 209 

it pours. Every trouble, public and private, comes pouring in 
at once. I hardly dare open my mail lest I should find that 
my house is burned or my children dead. "A weary life, my 
masters, a weary life." 

Andrew has gone away. I have no one to speak to no 
one to advise with. "Alone I must tread this dreary path." 
Pray be cheerful, you, so that there may be one spot where I 
can believe there is a happy welcome for me. Very affection 
ately, dearest, v TT 

Your HUSBAND 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

LOWELL, Aug. IZth, 1861 

YOUR letter, dearest, came this morning. I was expecting 
you. I cannot explain or express to you how desirous I am 
that you should come home, if only for a little while. It seems 
to me as if I could not go on to count the weary, listless hours. 
It was wrong in me to leave when I did, nor ought you to 
have approved it. Blanche cannot go to Washington. I 
fear we should have to remove her again, and I cannot settle 
what to do with her. You have not said a word in your last 
letter about coming home, which makes me fear you will 
take any chance, however meagre, rather than return. I 
have no faith in your adviser, he belongs to a different organ 
ization from any you can thrive in, and he has but two objects 
in life, himself and son. One or two thinking men from New 
England are worth more than all California can offer you. 

Oh, God! is it not hard, that, seeing the rock on which 
you have and will split, I shall never be able to make you see 
it, and if you once more gain a chance it is only to see you go 
through the same. Oh, pity me! I know when you read this 
you will turn away with vexation, perhaps dislike, yet I am 
constrained to write it. I have written one of three pages and 
would not send it, maybe I shall keep this back. 

Mr. Fay called this morning. I gave him what information 
I could with regard to you; he said he would write today and 
tell you what he could with regard to the feeling about Boston, 
etc., and acjvise you to come home and keep your commission 
if you could do so. The opinion is that men cannot be raised 
here but by drafting. There is no more enthusiasm felt. 

Come home on leave of absence for a little, if you will not 
stay altogether, and take me with you when you start again, 
dearest, if I trouble you by sometimes, thinking differently, 

VOL. I 14 



210 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

yet I am the only one in this world who can think for you 
without the alloy of selfish motives. 

What I have written seems nothing, yet if I write more it 
may only trouble you. The simple words, I love you, contain 
all that words can ever express, and this you believe in one 
more deeply than you ever felt it before. Love me with the 
same full measure, and the world cannot trouble us much. 
Love me, dearest, as I love you, and I am satisfied. 

Ever your devoted WIFE 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Dept. of Va., FORTRESS MONROE, Aug. 13, 61 

To Col. THOS. A. SCOTT, Ass t Secy of War 

SIR: Your favor of August 10th is received. There are 
seven Massachusetts companies of volunteers here not organ 
ized in a regiment. I think it would be well to authorize the 
Governor of Massachusetts to organize three more companies 
to add to them and make a regiment. And it would give me 
great pleasure to have Col. Wardrop appointed to command 
them, but I doubt whether that appointment could be obtained 
from Governor Andrew. I have a good opinion of the efficiency 
of Col. Wardrop, which was shared in by all the officers here, 
and therefore have recommended him as Commander of N. C. 
Guards, an independent organ, which I have been obliged to 
make for the failure of N - - Brig., a memo, of which was 
forwarded to the War Office and which I trust, for the effi 
ciency of the Corps, will be at once accepted. Will you do 
me the favor, without waiting for the command to be made 
out, to send me a note saying that it is accepted, that I may 
issue the same in Gen l orders. 

May I ask your attention to the permission which I handed 
you, signed by the Pres., allowing me to train, arm and equip 
5000 men. It was to be returned to me on the following day, 
but I suppose the absence of the secretary is the cause of the 
delay. I wish the paper might be sent me even unindorsed. 
I desire to preserve it as a mark of confidence of the Pres. 

I enclose herewith a communication from John La Mountain, 
a balloonist, who has been very successfully employed in mak 
ing some reconnoissances in this neighborhood. Situated as 
we are, surrounded by enemies at many points, the knowledge 
of the disposition of their forces thus acquired is of great ad 
vantage. La Mountain is a daring and apparently reliable 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 211 

man, and thus far I have taken the liberty to encourage his 
efforts. 

I take leave to call your attention to that portion of his 
communication in which he proposes to use the balloon for 
war-like purposes. Is it not worth the experiment? The 
proposition is new and daring, but with the explanations he 
has given me I think it might have an element of feasibility 
in it; at any rate the cost is not large in comparison with the 
results so far. 

Please advise me whether I shall go farther with him, 
either in reconnoissances or otherwise. He suggests one 
difficulty, the absence of silk to make the balloon, and enough 
might be found in Philadelphia. I have the honor, 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, VA., August 13th, 1861 

UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT 

To JOHN LA MOUNTAIN, Dr. 

MATERIAL and Fixtures for Aeronautical Reconnoissance. 
By order of Maj. Genl. B. F. Butler. 

To 60 Carboys of Vitrol $1.50 $90.00 

" 9712 Ibs. oil of " " 2f$f 242.80 

Freight on above to Fort Monroe from Philadelphia 60.00 

3 Tanks, 3000 Galls. 150.00 

" 5000 Ibs. Iron Turnings @ $13 per Ton 32.50 

Packages and Carting on above 10.00 

2 Copper Pipes, Rubber Flanches etc. Bolts and Hose 86.50 

Transportation to Fortress Monroe 77.19 

Balloon " Atlantic," Net and Car 350.00 

" 160 Ibs. linen Rope 300 48.00 

22 days board for 3 persons @ $1.00 per day 66.00 

$1212.99 

I certify on honor that the above account is correct and 
just, that the stock and materials therein enumerated and 
the charges therein specified as moneys paid for subsistence, 
transportation and all the items therein enumerated, were 
necessary for the public service, and were necessarily expended 
therein, that the disbursements were honestly and faithfully 
made and that the same have not been repaid nor any part 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl., Commd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of Va., FORTRESS MONROE, August 13, 1861 

Lt. Gen. SCOTT 

GENERAL: I have the honor to enclose a report of General 
Phelps as to the position of the enemy. It may be of interest 
to know that their troops have been withdrawn by order from 
Richmond. It will be seen that thus far Newport News has 
been held "without too great risk." 

A very unpleasant occurrence happened yesterday at that 
Post in Colonel Hawkins Ninth (N.Y.) Regiment, which has 
been heretofore one of the very best. It is enlisted for two 
years. From a mischievous article in the N. Y. Times, the men 
were led to believe that being two-year men their enlistment 
in the service of the United States was but for three months, 
and seven companies, through their committees, addressed to 
the Colonel a written refusal to do duty longer. And accord 
ingly a large portion of these companies refused to turn out 
for inspection on Sunday. Of course, open mutiny could not 
for a moment be tolerated. I immediately repaired to that 
Post, had all the regiments ordered in line, received them, 
and after review examined the recusant regiment, ordered 
out from it such men as had refused to duty, arrested and 
sent to Fort Calhoun their committee, explained to the others 
- who seemed well intentioned young men enough their 
mistake of rights, and their mistaken action, and then required 
all who intended to return to duty to obey an order which I 
gave them. Every one immediately and promptly obeyed 
the order. This was effected quietly. I think the whole 
trouble had arisen from three causes. (1) Newspaper mis 
representation of the rights and duties of the men; (2) dis 
content because they are not paid, and (3) want of proper 
clothing. The first has been effectually removed. I have dis 
patched my brother as a special messenger to Washington 
for the purpose of procuring a paymaster, and the pay for 
this and two other regiments and one detached company, 
some of whom have served more than three months without any 
pay, and from above I am receiving daily applications for leave 
of absence because their families are represented to be starving 
at home. I am informed that the troops of another regiment 
are discussing the propriety of refusing to do duty within a day 
or two unless they are paid. The last has not come to me in 
such form as to enable me to take official notice of it. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 213 

There are some $26,000 of the money of the United States 
here in the Fort, laying at order of the Agent of the Adams 
Express Company. I have determined, unless relief can be 
afforded to these men, to take this money and distribute it 
among the men so far as it will go, taking proper vouchers 
therefor, an unpleasant responsibility, but one which it may 
be necessary to assume. 

Pay is required for the Second, Ninth, and Fourth N. Y. 
Regiments and an unattached company from Massachusetts. 
I beg of the Commanding General the promptest aid in this 
matter, as it is of the very last importance. 

In the matter of clothing, more than two months since 
estimates and requisitions for clothing ten thousand men were 
made, forwarded and approved by the Quarter Master s De 
partment. That clothing has not yet arrived, in suits of 
uniforms. Large numbers of coats are here, but no trousers; 
large number of shirts but no flannel sacks. It would seem as 
if there was an ingenuity exercised to prevent the receipt of 
full uniforms, but I suppose it is simply the coincidence of 
mistake. I have sent the Assistant Quarter Master to Phila 
delphia to endeavor to rectify this. 

General Wool has not yet arrived at this Post. I have the 
honor to be, 

Very respectfully, Your obedient servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Deprtmt. of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, August I6th, 1861 

[Not in chronological orderj] 

Lieut. Genl. WINFIELD SCOTT 

GENERAL: Maj. Genl. Wool not having yet arrived to take 
command of this Department, it seems to be my duty to ex 
amine and take action upon an official communication from 
the General-in-Chief under date of August llth in relation to 
preparing a sufficient detachment of troops to accompany an 
expedition under Commander Stellwagen. Upon consulta 
tion with Commodore Stringham, he informed me that the 
vessels necessary could not be immediately prepared. Upon 
further consultation it seemed desirable to him, as the batter 
ies which it is supposed to attack are in position to command 
the inlet, and if held by the United States would save the 
services of one or more blockading vessels, at a very exposed 
and strong point of the coast during the Autumn, besides 



214 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

furnishing a depot at which the blockading Steamers could 
go and get supplies, which place should be fortified and held 
by a sufficient number of troops to enable it to resist any 
possible attack. Upon examination of the chart and survey of 
the coast, I concurred in that opinion in so far as to venture 
to suggest it in this communication to the Commanding 
General. From the peculiar position of the place it would 
seem to me that it might be held, if thought desirable, by a 
comparatively small number of troops. Its guns would 
command the only substantially practicable inlet to Pamlico 
Sound, the others being of easy interception. I venture these 
suggestions with the greatest deference. There may be other 
views which have not occurred to me which would render 
them valueless. 

I have the honor to report the trouble in the 9th N. Y. Vols. 
completely ended, and the Regiment, with the exception of a 
few ringleaders who are now under examination by Court 
Martial, have returned to their duty with cheerful alacrity. 
The trouble at which I hinted in a former despatch in the 
Second (Troy) Regiment N. Y. Vols. has broken out. Although 
they enlisted for two years, and I have seen their original 
enlistment and muster-rolls, they claim to be three-months 
men only. When they first arrived here they were a very dis 
orderly, undisciplined and unequipped body of men, and I 
had more trouble with their plundering than with any other 
regiments, but by the exertions of the Col. and by a very 
large change of Officers they had come to be in a reasonably 
effective condition as regards discipline. They had been 
thoroughly equipped and provided for in arms and uniforms, 
when their minds became inflamed by some very mischievous 
articles in the Times Newspaper, and on the 14th, three months 
from the day on which they were mustered, they stacked 
their arms and refused duty. I have taken and imprisoned 
upon the Rips-Raps one hundred of the ringleaders, and last 
night only forty of the remainder obeyed the orders of their 
Officers. I shall proceed with the most stringent measures to 
reduce them to obedience. They have no cause for complaint 
except that they have not been paid, and that would have been 
done by me, even if a paymaster had not come in accordance 
with my last despatch, had it not been for this outbreak. That 
was known to them, yet they have chosen this method of 
getting home. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comm g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 215 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, August Ilth, 1861 

MY DEAR SARAH: Why still so mournful and despondent? 
You have home, children, friends, and quiet. That you feel 
solicitous for me I doubt not, but, dearest wife, show that by 
being very happy yourself, that is the best way to make me 
happy. I went away alone and read your letter as you de 
sired. You need not ask me to think of you. I think too 
much of you of the children of home. My yearning for 
home makes me feel afraid that I am too ready to lay down 
the duties and burdens imposed upon me. You see I have 
been superseded by Wool. I suppose it is because of the letter 
about negroes; at least I shall so accept the issue. The reply 
of the Secretary, which you will see in the papers, is too namby 
pamby, and shows these people are not up to the occasion. 
I shall have to take issue with them. This war cannot go on 
without direct conflict. The negro will be free. It is inevitable. 
We may patch it as we please but the fact will work itself 
out. 

I have received no word of explanation from the Adminis 
tration for this move, and I have taken yet no step about it. 
They have not relieved me, but I suppose expect me to resign. 
I think there will be a fight at Washington, perhaps ere this 
reaches you, and its result one way or the other will deter 
mine much. It will take some days for me to turn over this 
Department to Gen. Wool, so that events will develop them 
selves before I take action. I grieve for my country and am 
sorry to leave her in her extremity, for extremity it is. She 
may have many a better but no truer soldier than I am. 

In the matter wherein I had the conversation with Blair at 
Washington, I sent Andrew to Banks and he desires to leave 
the field himself for that place which was to be made vacant, 
and wants my co-operation. As I instructed Andrew to put 
the matter to him in that light he was quite in raptures. But 
enough of this: too much, if this letter gets into wrong hands. 

Genl. Magruder has marched down here with 5000 men, 
burned Hampton and has then marched back again. Newport 
News is not yet attacked nor will it be. 

A kiss, an embrace, thrice over for my good wife and dearest 

Sarah. -r, 

BENJ. 



216 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, August 15th, 1861 

Mr. EDWARD L. PIERCE 

MY DEAR PIERCE: (Your kind words of encouragement 
are very grateful to me. I can hardly tell what I have done 
to deserve the stream of misrepresentation and abuse I have 
received. Specially do I mourn that the 4th Massachusetts 
should have chosen so to report me. I have done nothing but 
good and that continually. I ought to have arrested that 
rascal Packard for drunkenness, more than once, but for the 
head of the state I did not.) 

Upon the question of the candidates for the negroes, I have 
strong convictions and growing stronger each day. This nation, 
bound by its Constitutional ties and the obligations of brother 
hood, had refused to interfere with slavery, being content to 
bear the national woe rather than wreck the nation s peace,, 
overthrow the frame of government, and break the founda 
tions of society by eradicating it. This was expedient, if not 
sound. Perhaps those who believe in an over-ruling Provi 
dence will say that our present troubles were brought upon 
us because of our "winking at the sun." 

But now in every state but two (three?) these our brothers 
have repudiated all Constitutional obligations, have upheaved 
the very foundations of political, moral, social and religious 
relations with us for this very cause. We as a people have 
passed through all the agony, the convulsions, the disturbance 
of relations in society and political revolutions which we have 
heretofore to avoid about this matter, and are now engaged 
in a devastating and desolating war of which this is the sole 
cause. Shall we now end the war and not eradicate the cause? 
We have no longer the excuse which I have first given for 
winking at this national 

Will not God demand this of us now he has taken away all 
excuse for not pursuing the right. All these matters run 
through my mind as I see the negro. I have no time to elab 
orate these thoughts, but have given them to you cur rente 
calumo. 

(The reply of the Secretary of War seems to me evasive, 
unsatisfactory and uninclusive. What say you?) This matter 
is not to be hid under a bushel, it must be met, and woe to the 
country if we try to shirk it. We cannot do it if we would. 
God is just and the answer has come. 

Yours Truly, B. F. BUTLER 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 217 

By General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of Virginia, FORTRESS MONROE, Aug. 18, 1861 

GENERAL ORDERS 

THE President of the United States having assigned Brevet 
Major General Wool U.S.A. to the command of this Depart 
ment, Major General Butler begs in a final order to take leave 
of the troops lately under his command. He is happy to 
acknowledge the alacrity and cheerfulness of the officers and 
men under duties most fatiguing and perplexing because 
inactive, and he only regrets that he cannot award praise to 
all. He begs to make honorable mention of the uniform good 
conduct of the 20th Regiment, N. Y. Vols., the Union Coast 
Guard, under great difficulties for want of organization, under 
Capt. Halliday, and the Corps of mounted men at Camp 
Hamilton. To the men and larger portion of the officers of 
the first New York, who under great embarrassment have 
maintained the discipline and efficiency of their regiment, 
especial praise is awarded. To the 9th Regt., under Col. 
Hawkins, except in a single instance which the Regiment as 
well as the General sincerely regrets, and which the subsequent 
good conduct of the regiment will entirely obliterate, high 
commendation is given. To Col. Carr and the officers and 
true men of the Second N. Y. regiment, who have withstood 
the misrepresentations of Newspapers, the appeals of partizan 
politicians, the ill-judged advice of friends at home, and the 
influence of bad associates, and remained loyal to the flag of 
their country, very great credit is due. The seventh N. Y. 
regiment, owing to the unfortunate disagreements among 
their officers, have not attained that efficiency in their dis 
cipline and drill which the country requires of them. The 
tenth regiment and companies of the regular artillery, being 
more immediately under the command of Col. Dimmick at 
the Fortress, are brought to the notice of the General by the 
favorable report from the commandant. The General s offi 
cial connection with them has been very pleasant, and he 
desires to bear testimony to their faithful discharge of their 
duty. The unattached Companies of the Massachusetts 
Volunteers have by their conduct merited approbation, and 
the command of Capt. Davis deserves special commendation. 
The General also desires to bear testimony to the ability and 
efficiency with which the Quartermaster s and Commissary s 
Department have been conducted. 



218 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

The General takes leave of the Command of the officers 
and the soldiers of this Department with the kindest feelings 
toward all, and with the hope that in active service upon the 
field they may soon signalize their bravery and gallant con 
duct, as they have shown their patriotism by fortitude under 
the fatigues of camp duty. 

No personal feeling of regret intrudes itself at the change 
in the Command of the Department, by which our cause 
acquires the services in the field of the veteran General Com 
manding, in whose abilities, experience and devotion to the 
flag, the whole country places the most implicit reliance, and 
under whose guidance and command, all of us, and none more 
than your late Commander, are proud to serve. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. late Comm g Dept of Va. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, Aug. 18th, Sunday (1861) 

DEAREST WIFE: Genl. Wool is here. I am coming home 
one of these days, but say nothing about it. I am well and 
very busy. Dr. Kimball goes home in a day or two. 

You may be assured that I am doing everything that a 
high-minded and true gentleman should do for the protection 
of his own honor and the duty he owes to his country. To 
give you the many strings which pull upon me would be 
impossible without that full conference which we have when 
we are both good natured when we say so many things to 
each other. I would I could have one now. I am quite alone, 
but shall be able to get on, I guess. 

Wool is completely taken by me, I think. 

I so much wish to see you, and a kiss for self and one for 
the children. Don t be unhappy, dearest there is a long 
time before us of happiness and quiet home. I am now to go 

to ride. The mail closes. ^7 z, L j T> 

Truly your husband, BENJ. 

P.S. I send Blair s letter preserve it. B. 
From R. S. Fay, Jr. 

LOWELL, August 19, 1861 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER, FORTRESS MONROE 

MY DEAR SIR : I have had the pleasure of passing the morn 
ing with Mrs. Butler, & heard from her to my astonishment 
that she knew little more about your plans and prospects than 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 219 

I did from the newspapers. She also informed me that you 
had no other command offered you. I write in great haste, 
wishing to catch you before you leave the Fortress, to beg you 
on no account to let them force you to resign. If I were with 
you, I have no doubt I should give just a contrary opinion, in 
the temper & excitement of such outrageous treatment as 
yours has been. But from this distance I look upon it differ 
ently, & little as my opinion is worth you may like it as coming 
from a New England standpoint. My feeling is that your 
resignation would be construed as an acknowledgment of 
your incapacity for your position, and ably as you might put 
your case before the country it would do no good at present, 
and with your resignation all future opportunity of distinc 
tion would be lost. 

I believe that, if you will come home and sit down for a 
good long rest in your own house, before Oct. 15th there will 
be a call from the public & the press to have you employed 
again in the highest position. If, as I suppose from the num 
ber of transports lately bought, operations are intended against 
the Southern coasts, there will be plenty of opportunities for 
the most brilliant kind of service, and they should have to 
give you a command where you could do good service & give 
great credit. 

Whichever way you come home, however, you will find 
many friends who have stood by you through thick & thin, 
and who will be heartily glad for their own sakes to have you 
among them again. Thurston & Carney divided the first 
honors, perhaps, Webster & myself the second. The mill is 
running over, full on Army work & in the multiplicity of cares 
& responsibilities for this & other property committed to my 
charge I have not had time to think of leaving again since I 
returned, and I don t think I can, unless the difficulty requires 
a levy "en masse." The weather is exquisite, and your place 
never looked so beautiful as it did this morning. You had 
better come home for sixty days & enjoy it. As ever with 

warmest regards, o T 

Yours, RICH. S. FAY, JR. 

From General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, August 19th, 1861 

Hon. MONTGOMERY BLAIR 

DEAR SIR: The President has consented that I shall raise 
five thousand men in New England. Now, I am willing to do 



220 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

anything that will not disgrace me in the service of the Country. 
But to be sent off as a recruiting officer is hardly to be borne. 
I appreciate the kindness of your note and the expressions of 
confidence of the President, and will do this if it can be 
arranged. 

There is now no department of the East, and if such a depart 
ment can be arranged to include New England, and so a decent 
excuse be made for my going on this duty in command of it I 
will try. As the war has gone on, recruiting is getting very 
difficult, and unless pretty extraordinary measures are taken 
it will be impossible to get men. 

I trust this suggestion will meet your views, and I will 
carry it out, only give me leave to complain a little in a speech 
to the people of Mass, (such a complaint as shall not injure 
the Cause), and the men shall be raised and equipped in forty 
days if I can appoint my own Staff Officers. For this I must 

have carte blanche. 7 v T> -c* T> 

Truly Yours, B. F. BUTLER 

From Fisher A. Hildreth 

LOWELL, Aug. 19, 1861 

DEAR BUTLER: I hardly know what to say, though I want 
to say something. To me, everything connected with the war 
looks almost as bad as possible. To my mind, you are alto 
gether ahead of the Administration, and as for General Scott, 
he is simply a used-up, vain old man no more fit for the 
position he holds than a dead man. Cameron is wholly unfit 
for his place probably, in fact, the Administration all seem 
to be destitute of force, vigor, comprehension, and conception 
in the prosecution of this war. Unless a great change, far 
greater than appears on the surface, takes place very soon, we 
may bid farewell to the union. I am not certain that it is not 
now too late to do anything but make terms and acknowledge 
a Southern Confederacy. The reception of your negro letter 
was such as to satisfy me that the Administration are not up 
to the present crisis, and unless they are to improve in their 
manner of prosecuting the war, and unless you are to be con 
sidered, if it ever comes to a vigorous campaign, you had 
better come home. Can t you come home and still hold on 
to your commission? I suggest this because it looks to me as 
if they were desirous of getting rid of you, in which, if true, I 
should not like to gratify them. TJ, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

I have not written you about the Governorship heretofore, 
for the reason that I was in hopes to be able by waiting a 
little to do so with some definition. But what I wish, and 
think you had better do, is write me a letter answering the 
following questions, and such others as you choose. I wish to 
know, if the matter of Democratic Candidate for Governor is 
being agitated, whether you will allow your friends to use your 
name for a candidate in any committee whether Democratic, 
Union or any other. Whether you think it advisable to main 
tain at present distinct party organizations and nominations. 
For myself, I am inclined to think the only issue now should 
be a vigorous prosecution of the war against inactivity, im 
becility and corruption. Nor, for one, do I care whether the 
representatives of that idea are Democrats, Republicans or 
no-party men, if we can only get the right men in the right 
places. I have no hesitation in saying the Republicans, how 
ever, have the right, having fairly both in the state and the 
nation, won a decided political victory, to take the lead in the 
work so far as they are equally capable. 

I wrote this on two sides of half a sheet of paper that it 
might go with a letter from Sarah, but she hardly feels like 
writing, and so I send it along. 

From the Postmaster General to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 1861 

DEAR GENERAL: The department of the East is not 
abolished and includes New England, and you will receive 
orders to take command as desired. 

As respects the speech-making proposed, I had not read that 
part of your letter, and hope you will do no more than to urge 
people to sustain the government, you not being in position 
to criticize the causes of our failures, and exert yourself heart 
ily to put our Government out of danger. 

I confess that I am amazed at what passes before my eyes. 
I really am afraid that Providence intends to chastise us sorely. 
The utter disregard of what seem to me the plainest truths, 
and most obvious means of accomplishing the will of the Nation 
by old Granny Scott, can be accounted for by his age. But 
why the members of the Cabinet and President suffer this in 
firm old man to paralize the Nation, passes my comprehension. 

Lincoln is one of the most honest men I ever knew, and 
possessed of fine faculties undeniably, but the prejudices of 



222 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

his early political associations put him very much under Whig 
influences by the greater confidence he naturally feels in their 
judgment than in men of our school. This is one of the main 
causes, I think, of the undue confidence he continues to repose 
in Scott. You often observe the too favorable judgment which 
a man takes of his father s power; there is an analogy between 
the influence which contributes to delude Lincoln in favor of 
Scott and that which makes a son over-estimate his father. 
Scott has been a sort of political father to Lincoln. 

But it cannot be long, I think, till the rising sentiment of 
the nation banishes this delusion. The plain and undeniable 
fact that he kept down our force, refused the needful arms of 
artillery and cavalry, and yet went into battle, must dispel 
all notion that he has even ordinary mind remaining. Then, 
perhaps, some of those who have shown energy may come 
again into the field, especially, if they have in the time of their 
unjust treatment been faithfully doing their best and com 
manding their own feelings. I have not succeeded myself so 
well on this last point as I could have wished. But I see that 
it is an important thing both for a man s self and for the cause 

he has at heart. v ^ 7 TVT T> 

Yours truly, M. BLAIR 

From General Wool 

Head Qrs. DepL of Va. &c., FORT MONROE, VA., Aug. Zlst, 1861 

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 9 

MAJOR GENERAL B. F. BUTLER, is hereby placed in command 
of the Volunteers forces in this department exclusive of those 
at Fort Monroe. 

His present command at Camps Butler and Hamilton will 
include the 1st, 2nd, 7th, 9th, and 20th Regiments, the Bat 
talion of Massachusetts Volunteers and the Union Coast 
Guard, and Mounted Rifles. 

By command of Major Gen l. Wool, 

C. C. CHURCHILL, Actg. Asst. Adjt. General 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, August 21, 1861 

DEAREST WIFE: Not a word from you Why, dearest? 
I have written you twice. I got Fisher s letter this morning. 
My affairs are in such a state I cannot untangle them just 
yet. I am busier than ever, but I will write you a long letter 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 223 

soon. Do, dearest, send me a dear, kind, comforting letter 
all about yourself and home. I would give my commission 
to see you if I should not disgrace myself by losing it. 

I send a slip from a paper. I endorse the underscored part. 

Yours, BENJ. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

LOWELL, Aug. 21st, 1861 

YOUR letter, dearest, came this morning. I must write a 
few lines, I was so glad to get it. 

I am sure that you will do everything that is well and proper 
to be done. Your desire to stand well with Gen. Wool is 
right. I wish I was there to help you. Do not undervalue my 
aid in reading quickly, and acting promptly in those places 
where a woman can be of service. My eager desire to be of 
use to you in this most critical time of all your life (ah me! 
perhaps I never knew before how much of life may be centered 
upon one object!), quickens all my faculties to know and to 
aid in whatever could help you. 

Blair s letter seems friendly and explicit. The President is 
a true, honest man, as we have thought him, and will aid you 
if he can get the opportunity. To keep your commission seems 
to be the advice of all your friends, if you can with honor. I 
am cheered, delighted, that you are coming home if only for a 
short time. But even there be careful. I think your name 
would do more towards enlisting troops here than any other in 
the country, yet you must not stand exactly as a recruiting 
officer. Try to get as large and full orders as you can, whatever 
they are. I need not have written this; you know what be 
comes yourself, how much is to be yielded to the times and 
everything pertaining, better than any other person can know. 
Blanche writes to-day to the Directress to know if the school 
will open in September. If you remain in the War I shall 
place her there, whatever the result. The family are all well. 
Harriet has done all that could be done, and to-day has gone 
to Boston to make Blanche ready for school. Write or tele 
graph to me when you are about to leave. I trust everything 
will go well with you, and to your complete satisfaction. You 
know how constantly you are thought of, how deeply you are 

loved by ^ r 

J Your WIFE 



224 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, August %\st, 1861 

THOMAS A. SCOTT, Asst. Sec y of War 

SIR: I have received from you the letter of August 17th. 
It is of such form that without the paper signed by the Presi 
dent it would be of no use in raising the troops. It would 
give me no authority to call on the Qr. Master s, Subsistence 
or Ordnance Departments for aid, or to make any contract 
recognized by the Government. I suppose without any pre 
vious authority any gentleman would be at liberty to raise 
five thousand troops, and in the present need of the Govern 
ment would be "promptly accepted." 

Will you do me the favor to send me the paper signed by 
the President, which I enclosed to you and which you said 
should be forwarded the next day. I have already lost fifteen 
days waiting for it, and in that time I could have raised two 
thousand men. 

May I call your attention to the fact that I am not "Brig. 
General" in the United States Army. I have the honor to be, 
Very respectfully Your sevt., BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler to Fisher A. Hildreth 

FORTRESS MONROE, August 22, 1861 

DEAR HILDRETH: I send you a "clip" from the New York 
Commercial Advertiser, which you may please to publish. I 
will answer your letter at length. 

I shall be home, God willing, in the course of ten days or a 
fortnight. I shall be ordered to the Department of the East 

and be saved my commission. ,, 7 -r, 

Most truly yours, BUTLER 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, August 22, 1861 

DEAR, DEAR, DEAREST WIFE: I got your note this morn 
ing, and oh! so welcome! I shall be home in ten days or a 
fortnight. I won t go away without you, certain. 

I sent you an underscored slip which I mean to stand by. 
Love me dearest. I am just learning to appreciate your love. 
I love you more and more every day. I have no thoughts of 
vexation at anything you write. If we live to meet again 
there will be no thought between us but of happiness. I 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 225 

know and feel it. You have been in error in not showing your 
love. I have erred in not seeing it. Be not afraid. My honor 
is safe in your keeping. No one will advise me against it 
if so, it will be unheeded. 

Be happy, dearest. Kiss the pillow for me, and believe the 
kiss that goes with this. I am called. Goodby, Goodby. 

Your BENJ. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, Aug. 25, 1861 

MY DEAREST WIFE: I believe the Administration means 
to deal fairly with me if they only knew how. But I am sick 
of this inaction and delay, and as yet I cannot get leave of 
absence to come home. I am going to take a short sail with 
Commodore Stringham tomorrow, which I trust will be a 
pleasant variation of this monotony. 

I had no idea how necessary you were to me. During the 
short absence before you joined me at Annapolis the whirl of 
business engrossed every hour, but now with a regular routine 
of duty I miss you so very much. Remember that we have 
been separated only a few days during seventeen years. When 
I am away from home where you have never been it seems as 
if the mind in some sort accommodated itself to the stern 
necessity. But to live where you have been and you away is 
very different to sit at the table where you have been at 
the head to return to the house where you have welcomed 
me at the door to go to the chamber and find you every 
where gone when you ought to be present, and the mind 
continually and involuntarily expecting you, makes life very 
dreary. If you would only be in my room when I go to it 
you might chide me and I would not complain. I must either 
leave Fortress Monroe for other scenes where you have not 
been or come home that is certain. 

There now, I have poured out all my gloomy thoughts. 
Be cheerful, dearest. A happy future is before us, I doubt 
not. I will be home in time to advise you about Blanche s 
school. She cannot at the present time go to Georgetown, 
but a week or two may change all. 

Kiss the children for me. Take as many as you like for 
yourself, but give back as many as you take to 

Your HUSBAND 

VOL. I 15 



226 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

By Major General Wool 

Headquarters, Dept. of Va. & N. C. FORT MONROE, VA. Aug. 15th, 1861 

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 13 

I. MAJOR GENERAL BUTLER will prepare eight hundred 
and sixty troops for an expedition to Hatteras Inlet, North 
Carolina, to go with Flag Officer Stringham, Commanding 
Home Squadron, to capture several batteries in that neigh 
borhood. The troops will be as follows: Two hundred men 
from Camp Butler and six hundred men from Camp Hamilton, 
with a suitable number of commissioned officers, and one 
company "B" of the 2nd Artillery from Fort Monroe. They 
will be provided with ten days rations and water and one 
hundred and forty rounds of ammunition. General Butler 
will report as soon as he has his troops prepared to Flag Officer 
Stringham, and he will be ready to embark at 1 o clock P.M. 
to-morrow. As soon as the object of the expedition is attained 
the detachment will return to Fort Monroe. 

II. Capt. Tallmadge, Chief Quartermaster, will provide 
the detachment of eight hundred and sixty men for the expe 
dition to Hatteras Inlet, with a suitable quantity of water for 
ten days consumption, and the Chief Commissary of Sub 
sistence, Capt. Taylor, will provide it with rations for the 
same length of time. 

These officers will report the execution of these orders by 
ten o clock tomorrow morning if possible. 

By command of Maj. Gen. WOOL 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

LOWELL, Aug. 25, 1861 

DEAREST: I did not intend to write again but the thought 
that even a feather might weigh in the balance, if you are 
wavering about coming home, urges me again to use the little 
weight I have in favor of your returning. Oh, dearest, can 
you not see that the best and noblest course for you is to come 
home; you are superceded, ask leave of absence, and not 
hang on to a forlorn hope? Come quickly home, regardless of 
the varying opinions of men never constant to anything 
for two days together, and in a few weeks you will be as loudly 
called for as any other man. Keep your commission; it is 
perfectly honorable to do so. You have won it by your own 
deeds; no other man has yet achieved so much. You are 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 227 

ready to serve when they desire your aid, and will wait their 
orders at home, but you cannot be a recruiting sergeant. 
Advise Capt. Haggerty if he wishes to remain in the war to go 
on to Gen. Wool s staff. Leave all behind who wish to remain, 
and if you go out again select your staff here before you start. 
You will never see things as they really stand until you return 
home. While you remain there you will be constantly assailed 
through every avenue where they think the shaft can reach 
you. When you leave they will see that they have lost one 
capable beyond most men, who was ready to serve at cost of 
any personal sacrifice. You left home without arranging your 
affairs, and they need your attention. This is the only time 
you will be likely to get if you mean to remain in the war. 

To urge your return on my own account I know will seem 
weak and foolish, yet I have the dreadful thought, if you come 
not now, we shall never meet again. 

Thank Heaven, I have your note saying you will come, 
before I send this. Milton has just brought me yours. Too 
much of life to me depends on you, I tremble to think of it, - 
children, home do not weight with it as they should. If aught 
goes wrong with us I am lost to life or reason. But there 
will not, if we love each other truly, nothing can touch us 
much. That she may see you, is the first wish of 

Your WIFE 



From General Butler 

On board Flagship " MINNESOTA," Aug. 27, Tuesday \ past 10 A.M. 

MY DEAR WIFE: I left Fortress Monroe Monday at one 
o clock, having with me on board the steamers "Adelaide" 
and "Geo. Peabody" eight hundred and sixty men, that is 
to say, 500 of Max Weber s Regiment, under his command, 
210 of Col. Hawkins Regt., under his command, sixty Regu 
lars, Co. B, 2nd Artillery, Capt. Lamed commanding, and one 
hundred of the Union Coast Guard to assist in landing under 
command of Capt. Nixon. This expedition is undertaken by 
the navy for the purpose of recapturing two forts erected by 
the rebels at Hatter as Inlet, about 12 miles south of Cape 
Hatteras. Flag Officer Stringham is in command of the Naval 
force, so that I am really a volunteer, although I shall take 
charge of the land forces. Our plan is to land the troops under 
cover of the guns of the "Harriet Lane" and "Monticello," 
while the "Minnesota" and " Wabash" try to shell them out of 



228 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the forts. We are then to attack on the land side, and my 
intention is to carry them with the bayonet. I believe my 
men will make the charge and that gallantly, if courageously 
led. The works are pretty strong, and we may have a hard 
fight of it, but we mean to take them. You will remember 
your own experience with Hatter as its stormy character. 
We have had a pleasant run of it so far, except there is a very 
heavy swell so that even the "Minnesota" reels to and fro 
like a very drunken man. This will make it very bad landing 
on the surf beach unless we have a change of wind. Haggerty, 
Green, and Fiske are with me that brave boy Fiske. Capt. 
Haggerty has been quite seasick, but the rest of us have 
escaped. I am afraid the sickness of my men will unnerve 
them, but after we land I will feed them, fill their canteens 
with water, and try and get them on their legs. You see, my 
dearest wife, that I give you a detailed account of this expedi 
tion with my hopes and fears because before this is sent you 
the affair will be over for "better or worse," as we took each 
other. May it prove so much better as was my fortune when 
we met on an expedition to the Church together, of which I 
have never repented, have you? 

After I get back to Fortress Monroe I shall return home to 
you for a few days at once. What will be my final orders I 
know not, but I will see you soon, and before I go elsewhere I 
think the Government will grant me so much time as that to 
settle my private affairs. If anything befalls me, you will 
know that my last thoughts were of you, the children my 
last prayer for the safe issue of the country out of her afflic 
tions, without which even wife, children, health, even life 
itself are not desirable. 

Whatever may happen I will leave a name my children will 
not be ashamed to inherit, and a memory which will be dear 
to loved and loving wife. God bless you and goodbye, 

From HUSBAND 

P.S. George leaves my staff, and is trying for a transfer to 
the Artillery. He has gone to Washington for that purpose, 
and so is not with me. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 229 

From General Butler 

U. S. Flagship "MINNESOTA," Augt. 30th, 1861 

Maj. Genl. JOHN E. WOOL, Comding. Dept. of Virginia 

GENERAL: Agreeably to your advice, I embarked in the 
transport steamers "Adelaide" & "Geo. Peabody" 500 of the 
20th Regt. N. Y. Volunteers, Col. Weber commanding, 220 
of the 9th Regt. U. S. Volunteers, Col. Hawkins commanding, 
100 of the "Union Coast Guard," Adjt. Nixon comding. & 
60 of the 2nd U. S. Artillery, Lieut. Larned commanding, as a 
force to operate in conjunction with the fleet under the com 
mand of flag officer Stringham against the rebel forts at 
Hatteras Inlet. We left Fortress Monroe on Monday at one 
o clock, P.M. The last ship of our fleet arrived off Hatteras 
Inlet about 4 o clock Tuesday afternoon. Such preparations 
as were possible for the landing were made in the evening, 
and at daylight the next morning dispositions were made for 
the attack upon the forts by the fleet, & for the landing of 
the troops. Owing to the previous prevalence of southwest 
gales a heavy surf was breaking on the beach. Every effort 
was made to land the troops, and after about 315 were landed 

- including 55 (fifty five) marines from the fleet & the regulars 

- both the iron boats upon which we depended were swamped 
in the surf, & both flat boats were stove, and a brave attempt 
being made by Lt. Crosby U.S.V., who had volunteered to 
come down with the steam tug "Fanny," belonging to the 
Army, to land in a boat from the war steamer "Paunee," 
resulted in beaching the boat so that she could not be got off. 
It was impracticable to land more troops because of the rising 
wind & sea. Fortunately, a twelve pound rifled boat gun 
loaned us by the Flagship, and a twelve pound howitzer were 
landed, the last slightly damaged. Our landing was com 
pletely covered by the shells of the "Monticello" and "Harriet 
Lane." I was on the "Harriet Lane" directing the disem 
barkation of the troops by means of signals, & was about 
landing with them at the time the boats were stove. We were 
induced to desist from further attempts at landing troops by 
the rising of the wind, and because in the meantime the fleet 
had opened fire upon the nearest fort, which was finally silenced 
and its flag struck. No firing has opened upon us from the 
other fort, and its flag was also struck. Supposing this to be 
a signal of surrender, Col. Weber advanced his troops already 
landed up the beach. Then Capt. Faunce, by my direction, 



230 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

with the "Harriet Lane" tried to cross the bar, to get in 
the smooth water of the inlet, when fire was opened upon the 
"Monticello," which had proceeded in advance, from the 
other fort. Several shots struck her, but without causing any 
casualties, as I am informed. So well convinced were the 
officers of both Navy and Army that the forts had surren 
dered at this time, that the "Susquehanna" had towed the 
"Cumberland" (Frigate) to an offing. The fire was then 
reopened, as there was no signal from either upon both forts, 
In the meantime, a few men from the coast guard had advanced 
up the beach with Mr. Wiegel, who was acting as volunteer, 
and whose gallantry and services I wish to commend, took 
possession of the smaller fort which was found to have been 
abandoned by the enemy, and raised the American flag thereon. 
It had become necessary, owing to the threatening appear 
ance of the weather, that all the ships should make an offing, 
which was done with reluctance, from necessity thus leaving 
the troops upon shore and a part in possession of the small 
fort, about seven hundred yards from the large one. The rest 
bivouaced upon the beach near the place of landing about two 
miles north of the forts. Early the next morning the "Harriet 
Lane" ran in shore for the purpose of covering any attack 
upon the troops. At the same time a large steamer was 
observed coming down the sound inside the land with rein 
forcements for the enemy, but she was prevented from land 
ing by Capt. Johnson of the Coast Guard, who had placed 
the two guns from the ship, and a six-pounder captured from 
the enemy, in a small sand battery, and opened fire upon the 
rebel steamer. At 8 o clock the fleet opened fire again, the 
flagship being anchored as near as the water allowed, and 
the other ships coming gallantly into action. It was evident 
after a few experiments that our shots fell short. An increased 
length of fuse was telegraphed, & firing commenced with 
shells of fifteen seconds fuse. I had sent Mr. Fiske, acting aid 
de camp, on shore for the purpose of gaining intelligence of the 
movements of the troops of the enemy. I then went aboard 
the "Fanny" for the purpose of effecting a landing of the 
remainder of the troops. A white flag was run up from the 
fort. I went with the "Fanny" over the bar into the Inlet 
at the same time that the troops under Col. Weber marched 
up the beach. Signal was made from the Flagship to cease 
firing, as the "Winslow" went up the channel, having a large 
number of secession troops on board which she had not landed. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 231 

We threw a shot at her from the "Fanny," but she proved to 
be out of range. I then sent Lieut. Crosby on shore to demand 
the meaning of the white flag. The boat soon returned, bring 
ing Mr. Wiegel with the following written communication 
from Samuel Barron, late Captain in the United States Navy, 
and also a rebel communication stating that he had in the 
fort 615 men and a thousand more within an hour s call, 
but that he was anxious to spare the effusion of blood. To 
both the written & verbal communications I made the reply 
which follows and sent it by Lieut. Crosby. After waiting 
three-quarters of an hour Lt. Crosby returned, bringing with 
him Capt. Barron, Major Andrews & Col. Martin of the rebel 
forces, who upon being received on board the tug informed me 
that they accepted the terms proposed in my memorandum, 
and had come to surrender themselves & their command as 
prisoners of war. I informed them that as the expedition was 
a combined one from the Army & Navy the surrender must 
be made on board the flagship to flag officer Stringham as 
well as to myself. We went on board the "Minnesota" for 
that purpose. On arriving there the following articles of 
capitulation were signed, which I hope will meet your approval. 
I then came and took a formal surrender of the Forts, with all 
the men and munitions of war, inspected the troops to see 
that the arms had been properly surrendered, marched them 
out and embarked them on board the "Adelaide," & marched 
my own troops into the Fort and raised upon it our flag amid 
the cheers of our men and a salute of 13 guns which had been 
shotted by the enemy. The embarkation of the wounded, 
which was conducted with great care and tenderness from a 
temporary wharf constructed for the purpose, took so long 
that night came on so dark that it was impossible for the pilots 
to take the "Adelaide" over the bar thereby causing delay. 
I may mention in this connection that the "Adelaide" in 
carrying in the troops at the moment that my terms of capitu 
lation were under consideration by the enemy, had grounded 
upon the bar, but by the action and judicious exertions of 
Commander Stellwagen after some delay had been got off. 
The "Harriet Lane" in attempting to enter over the bar had 
grounded and remained fast. Both were under fire of the 
fort. This to me was a moment of the greatest anxiety. By 
this accident a valuable ship of war and a transport steamer 
with a cargo of subsistence was in front of the enemy. I had 
demanded the most stringent terms which he was consider- 



232 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

ing. He might refuse, and seeing our disadvantage renew the 
actions. 

But I determined to abate not a tittle of what I believed to 
be due to the dignity of the government, not even to give an 
official title to the officers of the rebels in command. Besides, 
my tug was in the inlet, and at least I could carry on the 
engagement with my two rifled six-pounders w T ell supplied with 
shells. 

Upon taking possession of Fort Hatteras I found that it 
mounted ten guns with four yet unmounted and one large 
ten-inch Columbiad all ready for mounting, 650 stands of 
small arms and tents and quarters for that number of men. I 
append the official muster of Col. Martin, of his forces. The 
position of the forts is an exceedingly strong one, nearly sur 
rounded on all sides by water, and only to be approached by a 
march of 500 yards circuitously over a long neck of sand within 
half musket range, and over a causeway a few feet only in 
width, and which was commanded by two 32 pound guns 
loaded with grape and cannister which were expended in our 
salute. It had a well-protected magazine and bomb-proof 
capable of sheltering some 300 or 400 men. The parapet was 
of nearly octagon form, enlosing about two thirds of an acre 
of ground well covered with sufficient traversers and ramparts 
and parapets upon which our shells had made but little im 
pression. This work nearer the Inlet was known to us as Fort 
Hatteras. Fort Clark which was about 700 yards northerly is 
a square redoubt mounting 5 guns and two six-pounders. The 
enemy had spiked these guns, but in a very inefficient manner, 
when abandoning the fort the day before. I had all the troops 
on shore at the time of the surrender of the fort, but reem- 
barked the regulars and the marines. Finding it impossible 
without a delay of the fleet which could not be justified under 
state of facts at Fortress Monroe, and owing to the threat 
ening appearance of the weather, I disembarked the provi 
sions, making with those captured about 5 days rations and 
water; Onion, bread and coffee at the forts, which was cap 
tured, as well as a brig containing a quantity of cotton. These 
provisions I delivered over to the Quartermaster Noyes for 
the use of the troops. On consultation with Flag Officer 
Stringham and Commander Stellwagen I determined to leave 
the troops and hold the Fort because of the strength of the 
fortifications, its importance, & because if again in the posses 
sion of the enemy with a sufficient armament of very great 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 233 

difficulty of capture until I could get your further 
instructions. 

Commodore Stringham directs the steamers "Monticello" 
and "Paunee" to remain inside, and these with the men in 
the forts are sufficient to hold the point against any force 
which is likely, or indeed possible to send against it. 

The importance of this point cannot be overrated. When 
the channel is buoyed out any vessel can carry 15 feet of water 
over it with ease. Once inside there is a safe anchorage in all 
weathers. From thence the whole coast of Virginia and North 
Carolina from Norfolk to Cape Lookout is within our reach 
by light-draft vessels which cannot possibly live at sea during 
the winter months. From it, offensive operations may be 
made upon the whole coast of North Carolina to the Boque 
Inlet, extending many miles inland to Washington, New- 
bern and Beaufort. In the language of the chief engineer of 
the rebels, Col. Thompson, in an official report, it is the "key 
of the Albemarle." In my judgment it is a station second 
in importance only to Fortress Monroe on this coast. As a 
depot for coaling and supplies for the blockading squadron it 
is invaluable. As a harbor for our coasting trade, as well 
from the terrors of the winter storms or from Pirates, it is of 
the first importance. By holding it, Hatteras Light may 
again send forth its cheering rays to the storm-beaten mariner, 
of which the worse than vandalism of the rebels now deprives 
him. It has but one drawback a want of water. But that 
a condenser like the one now in operation at Fortress Monroe, 
at a cost of a few hundred dollars will relieve. I append to 
this report a tabular statement of the prizes which have been 
taken into that Inlet within a few days compiled from the 
official documents captured with the fort. I add hereto an 
official report of the chief engineer of the coast defences of the 
rebels. Please find also appended a statement of the arms and 
munitions of war captured with the fort as nearly as they can 
be ascertained. 

While all have done well I desire to speak in terms of special 
commendation, in addition to those before mentioned, of the 
steadiness and cool courage of Col. Max Weber, who we were 
obliged to leave in command of a detachment of 300 men on 
a strange coast without camp equipage or possibility of aid, 
in the face of an enemy of 600 strong on a dark and stormy 
night; of Lt. Col. Weiss, who conducted a reconnaissance 
with 20 men; of the daring and prompt efficiency of Captain 



234 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Nixon of the coast guard, who with his men occupied Fort 
Clark during the first night, although dismantled, in the face 
of an enemy of unknown numbers. I desire to commend to 
your attention Capt. Jardine, of the New York 9th, who was 
left in command of the detachment of his regiment when the 
unfortunate casualty to the "Harriet Lane" prevented Col. 
Hawkins from landing. Permit me to speak of the efficiency 
of the regulars under Lieut. Larned, who worked zealously in 
aiding to land their comrades of the vounteer forces, over 
whelmed with the rolling surf. I desire officially to make 
acknowledgment of the Durivage volunteer aids who planted 
the American flag upon Fort Clark on the second morning to 
indicate to the fleet its surrender and prevent further wasting 
of shells upon it a service of great danger from the fire of 
their own friends. 

I make honorable mention of young Fiske, who risked his 
life among the breakers, being thrown on shore to convey my 
orders to the troops landed, and to apprise them of the move 
ments and intentions of the fleet. 

My thanks for the valuable aid of Captain Haggerty who 
was employed in visiting prizes in the harbor while we were 
agreeing upon terms of capitulation. Of the services to the 
country of the gentlemen of the Navy proper I may not 
speak. One ought not to praise where he has no right to 
censure, & they would be appropriately mentioned I doubt 
not by the commander who is so capable to appreciate their 
good conduct. But I am emboldened to ask permission, if 
the Department shall determine to occupy the point as a 
permanent post, that its name may be changed by General 
Order from Fort Hatteras to Fort Stringham. But of these 
gentlemen who served under my more immediate command I 
may make honorable mention, as I have before done of the 
zealous, untiring, and intrepid action of Lieut. Crosby, who 
took an armed canal boat, the steam tug "Fanny," from Fort 
Monroe to Hatteras in order that the expedition might have 
the aid of a steamer of the lightest draft. 

Captain Shuttle worth of the marine corps deserves note 
for his efficiency and loyalty in landing his entire detachment 
of marines. Much of the success of the expedition is due to 
the preparation of the transport service by Commander 
Stellwagen, and the prompt presence of mind with which he 
took the troops from the point when the "Adelaide" touched 
on the bar. In fine, General, I may congratulate you and the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 235 

country for a glorious victory in your department which has 
captured more than 700 men, 25 pieces of Artillery, a thousand 
stand of arms, a large quantity of ordnance, stores, provisions, 
recaptured three prizes, two light boats, and four stands of 
colors, one of which had been presented within a week by 
the ladies of Newbern of North Carolina. I have the honor 

Very Respy, Your obt. servt., 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

Although Captain Faunce of the Revenue Service in com 
mand of the "Harriet Lane" was unfortunate enough to get 
his vessel on one of the numerous sand bars about the Inlet, 
it happened, I believe, in consequence of a determination 
creditable in him to aid me by being near to cover the troops 
in landing. 

Captain Towry who had the steamer "George Peabody" 
in charge brought in his vessel in safety with the troops who 
were pleased with his care and conduct. He still remains at 
the Inlet to aid them. 

Memorandum. Flag Officer Samuel Barron, C. S. Navy, offers 
to surrender "Fort Hatteras," with all the arms and munitions 
of war; the officers to be allowed to go out with side arms, 

and the men without arms to retire. - 

S. BARRON, 

Comdg. Naval Defences, Va. & N. Carolina 

FORT HATTERAS, August 29th, 1861 

Memorandum: Benjamin F. Butler, Major General U. S. 
Army Commanding, in reply to the communication of Samuel 
Barron, commanding forces at Fort Hatteras, cannot admit 
the terms proposed. 

The terms offered are these: Full capitulation; the officers 
and men to be treated as prisoners of war. No other terms 
admissible. Commanding officers to meet on board Flagship 
"Minnesota" to arrange details. 

Aug. 



Order by General Wool 

Head Quarters Dept. of Virginia, 31 August, 1861 

MAJOR GENERAL BUTLER will proceed without delay to 
Washington on Official Business. 

JOHN E. WOOL, Major General 



236 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Note. If they will give us troops we will accomplish wonders 
on the Southern coast. Edisto ought to be taken. It is the 
resort of South Carolina during the summer. 

JOHN E. WOOL 

From General Wool 

4 o clock A.M. Head Quarters Dept. of Virginia, 31st August, 1861 

The Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

SIR: I have the honor to report a glorious victory at the 
Hatteras Inlet by the joint expedition under the command of 
Major General Butler and Commodore Stringham. 

Many captured, seventeen hundred and fifteen prisoners, 
including the commander Barren, one thousand stand of 
arms, thirty pieces of cannon, one ten inch Columbiad, a 
prize brig loaded with cotton, a sloop loaded with provisions 
& stores, two light boats, a schooner in ballast, five stand of 
colors, one hundred and fifty bags of coffee &c. &c. 

This position being highly important and there being no 
time to be lost, Major General Butler is ordered at once, 
without waiting for a report in detail, to Washington to lay 
the subject before the Secretary of War, & to receive his orders 
in the case, and to request that more troops may be sent to 
this Department, and that the position taken may be held. 
Major General Butler will explain in person. I hope the Sec 
retary will without delay send me one or more Regiments. In 
great haste I have the honor to be 

Very respectfully Your obdt. servt., 

JOHN E. WOOL, Major General 

P.S. The troops sent with the expedition remain at the Inlet 
until we hear from the Secretary of War. The number of 

tro P s 86 - JOHN E. WOOL, M.G. 

From the Assistant Secretary of War 

War Department, WASHINGTON CITY, September 1, 1861 9:36 A.M. 

Hon. O. P. MORTON, Governor, Indianapolis 

PROTECT the roads as indicated. I have telegraphed you 
three times within the last forty-eight hours. Did you get 
messages? Your agent, Mr. Owen, was authorized to buy 
3,000 more Enfield rifles yesterday. General Butler and 
Commodore Stringham have gained a splendid victory at 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 237 

Cape Hatteras. Took two forts, 730 prisoners, many officers, 
cannon, small-arms, &c., without the loss of a man on our 
side. Keep us posted about border movements. 

THOMAS A. SCOTT, Assistant Secretary of War 

[Official Records, War of Rebellion, Series 3, Vol. I, page 474] 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

LOWELL, Sept. 2nd, 1861 

WE received your telegram last night, dearest, and were 
pleased enough. People are impatient for the news, as your 
expedition has caused a great deal of talk. If you get through 
with it successfully then is your time to ask for a short leave of 
absence. Go to Washington yourself and tell them you wish to 
return for a few days, as you left home four months ago with 
out an hour s notice. Fisher and Mr. George were here when 
your telegram came. He can aid you in getting your staff, 
and can tell you much that would advantage you to know. 

They have been to Boston to see Wilson; he has been 
steadily your friend and spent his last day in Washington in 
your service. He saw the President, Cameron, who he says 
is friendly to you, and Gen. Scott. It is agreed you shall 
have a command. There is to be no other Major General 
from New England. You are a prominent man and must be 
sustained. Now, then, Mr. George. 

From General Butler 

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 3rd, 1861 

Mr. G. A. GROW 

MY DEAR SIR: When I got your note I was about to start 
upon an expedition, of which you may have heard since. 

Having been superseded; being then apparently in a situa 
tion which would render the offer of a place upon my staff 
an unintended insult, I determined not to answer it until 
times changed. I think they have changed, and you may 
now without disgrace take service with me. I leave for Massa 
chusetts to-day, and shortly shall be again in the field with 
a command at once independent and active. 

You will need nothing but a blue Flannel Suit made of the 
army pattern, for a Major, a Sword, Shoulder Straps, Spurs, 
a belt revolver, blankets and overcoat. We will have two 
months before the 15th of November of service that will 
honor us, or leave Congress without a speaker. 



238 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

You are at the Springs for your health. Why not come to 
Massachusetts and stop with me. You can get your equip 
ment then, and we will confer upon the necessary matters of 
our campaign. Do come, you have many friends in the 
Commonwealth who will be glad to see you, and none more 

Yours truly, BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 
From A. 0. Brewster 

BOSTON, Sept. 5th, 1861 

Brig. Gen. BUTLER 

MY DEAR GEN. : On behalf of a committee of arrangements 
I am requested to invite you to address a grand Union War 
meeting in Faneuil Hall on Monday evening next. The meet 
ing is irrespective of party, & called for the purpose solely of 
strengthening the arm of the Government. We intend to 
have a rally worthy of the best days of Mass. 

Please telegraph me your acceptance. I am, 

Your friend, A. O. BREWSTER, for Committee 

From General Butler 

LOWELL, Sept. 9th, 1861 

Hon. HENRY FRENCH, Committee 

DEAR SIR: I am most unexpectedly called away by public 
duties, so I cannot participate as I had intended in the meet 
ing at Faneuil Hall. The great regret at not being permitted 
to unite with my fellow citizens on that occasion is softened 
by the reflection that the loss is wholly mine. 

Personal presence could have only added one to the vast 
throng which will crowd the Hall in support of the Union, 
good Government, and the enforcement of the laws. That I 
go for a vigorous prosecution of the war is best shown by the 
fact that I am gone. Believe me, 

Most truly yours, B. F. B. 

From Andrew Jackson Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, Sept. 9th, 1861 

DEAR BROTHER: Your note received yesterday. I have 
sold the things to the Gen. in a lump for 900 dollars. They 
are worth more, but I did not think it best to split with him, 
and that was his offer he will recommend me for that office 
or any other, he says. 

I shall remain here until the 13th when I will go to New 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 239 

York to meet Mother & Joe. Ask Haggerty about La Moun 
tain s bill and answer him at his home. Gen. Wool sends a 
company of Regulars to Hatteras to-morrow. In haste, as 
this goes by Washington. A J B 

By the Secretary of War 

War Department, Sept. 10th, 1861 

GENERAL ORDER No. % 

By the authority of the President of the United States, in words 
following: 

MAJOR GENERAL B. F. BUTLER is hereby authorized to 
raise, organize, arm, uniform, and equip a volunteer force for 
the War in the New England States, not exceeding six (6) 
Regiments of the Maximum Standard, of such arms, and in 
such proportions, and in such manner as he may judge expe 
dient; and for this purpose his order and requisitions on the 
Quartermaster, Ordnance, and other staff Departments of 
the Army are to be obeyed and answered, provided the cost 
of such recruitment, armament, and equipment does not 
exceed in the aggregate that of like troops now, or hereafter 
raised for the service of the United States. 

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

From President Lincoln 

War Department, WASHINGTON, Sept. 10th, 1861 

To their Excellencies the Governors of the Several New England 

States 

MESSIEURS: You are most respectfully requested to aid 
Major General Butler, in the recruitment and organization 
of the troops he is empowered to raise in New England in 
any way that may best promote the public service, and furnish 
him such facilities for that purpose as will, in your judgment, 
best subserve the cause of the country. With sentiments of 

Most sincerely yours, A. LINCOLN, President 
From Governor Washburne 

AUGUSTA, ME., Sept. llth, 1861 

To A. LINCOLN, Pres. U.S. 
As Governor, I consent to Gen l. Butler recruiting in Maine 

for the purpose stated. T ^ T T 

J. WASHBURNE, JR. 



240 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Governor Andrew 

TELEGRAM, BOSTON, September Ilth, 1861 

President LINCOLN & Secy, of War 

AUTHORIZE State to raise whatever regiments you wish 
additional. We will first fulfil engagements with General 
Sherman ordered by Sec y of War, then add others fast as 
possible. Will help General Butler to the utmost. 

JOHN A. ANDREW 

From Governor Fairbanks 

ST. JOHNSBURY, Sept. Ilth, 1861 

His Ex. President LINCOLN 

MY consent is cheerfully given to Gen l. Butler s plan, 
being approved by the President & Sec y. of War. What 
will be expected of Vermont? 

ERASTUS FAIRBANKS 

From Governor Buckingham 

Sept. Ilth, 1861, NEW HAVEN 

SIMON CAMERON 

I APPROVE the proposition of Gen l. Butler, and shall sus 
tain the administration in executing it. 

WM. A. BUCKINGHAM, Governor 

From General Butler 

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. Ilth, 1861 

Capt. BLAKE, Superintendent Naval School 

MY DEAR SIR: I read with pain an article copied into the 
Boston Courier, wherein your fealty to the Union was ques 
tioned. To a sensitive and loyal mind no greater injury could 
be inflicted. The acquaintance and friendship which began 
between us on board the Steamer "Maryland," in the harbor 
of Annapolis, at daybreak on Sunday morning the 21st of 
April, when you came to me to ask help of the Massachusetts 
Eighth to aid you in rescuing the "Constitution" (Frigate) 
from the Secessionists of Baltimore then threatening her 
capture, will be cherished and with your permission ever 
maintained. 

I would that every true friend of the Union could know, as 
I knew, the untiring energy displayed by you in getting "Old 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 241 

Ironsides" from her berth to a place of safety, the devotion 
to the country which gave me every aid to the landing of my 
regiments at Annapolis; the prompt kindness with which you 
furnished provisions to my ill-fed troops; the personal and 
pecuniary sacrifices made by you to remove the Naval School to 
a place of quiet security; and the anxious care with which you 
guarded every right, property and interest of the Government. 

Could your course at that darkest hour of our Country s 
fortunes be thus fully appreciated as I saw and felt it, - 
an aspersion of your devotion to your duty, flag, and country 
would not be exactly a safe operation for the accuser. In the 
Massachusetts Eighth and the New York Seventh Regiments 
you have nearly two thousand grateful witnesses to your 
patriotic services, every man of whom will "wage battle" if 
need be in your behalf against the slander. Pray do not let 
the aspersion annoy, as it certainly can not injure you. You 
are at liberty to make such use of this note as you choose. 

With grateful remembrance of the kindness of your amiable 
wife to a half-famished stranger thrown upon her hospitality 
on that Sabbath morning, I am, 

Most truly, Yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

WILL the Secretary of War do me the favor to have appointed 
and attached to my Staff for the purpose of organizing a 
Division, Capt. Paul R. George, late Asst. Qr. Master U.S.A. 
of Contoocookville, New Hampshire, Assistant Qr. Master 
with the rank of Major, and Gilman Kimball, M.D., Pro 
fessor of surgery in Pittsfield College of Medicine, and Surgeon 
of the General Hospital of Lowell, Mass., Surgeon U.S.A. & 
oblige Truly yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From the Secretary of War 

Sept. nth, 1861 

THE Adjt. Gen l. will please let Gen l. Butler have his staff. 

S. C. 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, September 11th, 1861 

MAJOR GENERAL BUTLER is authorized to fit out and pre 
pare such troops in New England as he may judge fit for the 
purpose, to make an expedition along the Eastern Shore of 

VOL. I 16 



242 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Virginia, via the railroad from the Wilmington, Delaware, 
to Salisbury, and thence through a portion of Maryland, 
Accomac and Northampton counties of Virginia, to Cape 
Charles. 

Transportation agents, quartermasters, and commissaries 
of subsistence will answer General Butler s requisitions for 
this purpose. SIMQN CAMERONj Secretary of War 

From the Secretary of War 

Sept. \9ih t 1861 

COLONEL HENRY WILSON will report with the troops he has 
raised or shall raise in Massachusetts, to Major General 
Butler, United States Army. 

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

From General Butler 

LOWELL, MASS., September 18th, 1861 

Secretary of the Treasury 

MY DEAR SIR: Upon coming here I find that while it is not 
impossible to fill up my regiments it is difficult to get the 
class of men I desire. The recruiting officers are offering a 
bounty, a practice which ought to be reprobated. There is 
one thing however which may be done to the best advantage 
without loss to the Government. Many of the volunteers 
desire something to make an outfit, or to leave a small sum 
for their families, and an arrangement by which part of a 
month s pay could be advanced upon mustering in a recruit, 
if he were a reliable person, would not be a loss to the Gov 
ernment, and would be just to the recruit, who would not 
then feel that he was about to march leaving his family wholly 
destitute, without knowing when he would get his pay. Of 
course this course would require discretion and prudence, 
and would be made at once an earnest fund and a reward 
for enlistment. 

Will you not aid me in this so that I may make their pay 
ments? If my drafts can be honored from time to time upon 
my certificate that payments have been made to the amount 
drawn, I am willing to advance the first amounts from my 
private funds. This is important to the service or I would 
not press it upon your attention. It may not be in accord 
ance with the routine, but it will be efficient in procuring good 
men of our mechanics and small farmers who are now out of 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 243 

employment, and therefore in need. Please do give this a 
moment s attention, and you will see it as I do. 

I am much encouraged. With proper management we shall 
not be obliged to resort to drafts for troops. 

Very truly yours, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From Adjutant General Schouler 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Headquarters, BOSTON, September 23rd, 1861 

GENERAL ORDER, No. 23 

MASSACHUSETTS has at present, in active service, sixteen 
regiments and seven unattached companies of Infantry, and 
one full battery of Artillery. There are now in a forward 
state of organization in the various State Camps, the follow 
ing new Regiments and Companies: 

22nd Regiment, Colonel Henry Wilson, Camp, Lynnfield. 

23rd Regiment, Colonel not designated, Camp, Lynnfield. 

24th Regiment, Colonel Stevenson, Camp, Readville. 

25th Regiment, Colonel Upton, Camp, Worcester. 

26th Regiment, Colonel Jones, Camp, Lowell. 

27th Regiment, Colonel Lee, Camp, Springfield. 

1st Regiment Cavalry, Colonel not designated, Camp, 
Readville. 

1st Battery Artillery, Captain Porter, Camp, Cambridge. 

3rd Battery Artillery, Captain Follett, Camp, Lynnfield. 

4th Battery Artillery, Captain not designated, Camp, 
Lowell. 

5th Battery Artillery, Captain not designated, Camp, 
Lynnfield. 

Two more Infantry Regiments will go into Camp in a few 
days, one of which is the 28th, to be commanded by Thomas S. 
Murphy, and is to form a part of the command of Major- 
General Butler, whose head-quarters are at Lowell; and the 
other is the 29th, intended for the Irish (Shields) Brigade, 
the Colonel of which has not yet been designated. 

It is the intention of His Excellency, the Commander-in- 
Chief, to have these regiments and companies filled to the 
maximum standard as quickly as possible, and until they are 
filled no recruiting except for these Regiments and Batteries 
is authorized or can be encouraged by the Commander-in- 
Chief, (with the single exception of recruiting to fill vacancies 
in Massachusetts Regiments already in active service), because 



244 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

it is of the first importance that these organizations should be 
completed promptly and without delay. The following is an 
extract from a General Order issued on the 16th inst., by the 
Adjutant-General of the United States :- 

"All persons having received authority from the War 
Department to raise Volunteer Regiments, Batteries, or Com 
panies in the loyal States, are, with their commands, hereby 
placed under the orders of the Governors of those States, to 
whom they will immediately report the present condition of 
their respective organizations. These troops will be organized 
or re-organized and prepared for service by the Governors of 
the respective States in the manner they may judge advan 
tageous for the interests of the General Government." 

In accordance with the above, the Commander-in-Chief 
directs that no new regiments or companies be formed or 
ordered into camp, nor any already in camp change their 
location, without orders from these head-quarters. 

By command of His Excellency, John A. Andrew, Gover 
nor and Commander-in-Chief 

WILLIAM SCHOULER, Adjutant-General 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, 
BOSTON, September 23rd, 1861 

Major General BUTLER, U.S. Volunteers 

GENERAL: His Excellency, Governor Andrew, directs me 
to mention to you the speedy organization of another Irish 
Regiment of which Patrick Donahue Esq. acts as prochain 
ami, to be officered, as to its "field," by a list of gentlemen, 
Messrs. Murphy, Monteith, and Moore, who have been 
selected after careful consultation. Mr. Donahue will im 
mediately present a roster of the other officers of the regi 
ment for examination and approval. His Excellency would 
propose to assign this regiment to form part of your command, 
and would be pleased to hear from you any suggestions con 
cerning a camping ground on which to assemble its recruits. 
Camp Cameron at North Cambridge has been mentioned and 
favorably received as its rendezvous, and will be designated 
as such unless you have desires to the contrary. 

Your obd t. Servant, 
A. G. BROWNE, JR., Military Secretary 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 245 

From General Myers 

N.Y. Sept. 27th, 1861 

Major General BUTLER 

MY DEAR GENERAL: Allow me as one of the millions to 
congratulate you on your great success, & more sincerely than 
they can for I better know your merits & their inconsistency. 
I frankly admit I thought you risked a great deal in the then 
temper of the public to find fault, in heading so small a force 
& risking your reputation on its success. It has succeeded, 
& now is the time to rebut the pop-gun attack of Pierce & 
other slanderers, which I will investigate here. 

I am in disgrace with my father in law for my three weeks 
absence in his absence. If I could have stayed another fort 
night I would have had my reward in being with you. The 
loss is mine, & I must hope to make it up on some future 
occasion. Your praise is again in all the churches, which not 
only gratifies but amuses me, who have been a witness to 
your constant faithfulness & activity. 

Very truly, Your friend & obedt. BAILEY MYERS 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Department of New England, Oct. 2nd, 1861 

Brig. Gen. MEIGS, Qr. Master Gen l. U.S.A. 

GENERAL: I enclose a copy of the order of the President 
of the United States under which I am raising, organizing and 
equipping troops in New England. 

I have the honor to request that the amount necessary for 
my Quarter-master Department be put to credit of Capt. 
George, my Quarter-master, and his draft honored therefor from 
time to time as I may require, subject to the limitations as to 
expense set forth in the order. The present necessity for cloth 
ing these troops is sixty thousand ($60,000) dollars, which I 
desire placed in Boston subject to Capt. George s draft. 

Most Respectfully, Your obedient Servant, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l. U.S.A. Comm dg.< 

Order referred to in Foregoing Letter 

October 1st, 1861 

THE six New England States will temporarily constitute a 
separate military department, to be called the Department of 
New England. Head-quarters, Boston. Major General B. 



246 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

F. Butler, United States Volunteer Service, while engaged in 
recruiting his division will command." 



From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department of New England, BOSTON, Oct. 5th, 1861 

Governor JOHN A. ANDREW 

MY DEAR SIR: Being desirous of raising some men in New 
England for special purpose, to be armed and equipped with 
reference thereto, I asked the authorization of the President 
of the United States to raise them, and he gave it to me, and 
telegraphed for your assent, as well as the Governors of other 
New England States. 

Your assent was given; acting upon that, I called upon 
you, and you desired that I should wait a week when 
the Regiments of Col. Wilson there being recruited would be 
full before I took any public action upon that Subject. 
To this I assented, and have been only looking out for my 
officers for recruiting purposes, and have made no public 
announcement, and allowed one who had a special Corps to 
make advertisement, which I thought would be fully within 
the spirit of the undertaking. 

I then showed you an order to take Regiments, already 
raised and not assigned to other officers for another purpose, 
and you offered to assign me Col. Jones. You also said that 
an Irish Regiment, now being raised, you would like to be 
assigned to me; to that I assented, and left for the purpose of 
organizing recruiting in Maine, and from thence to Washington. 

On my return I find that the recruiting officers have been 
making publications injurious to me and the recruiting ser 
vice, so that it becomes necessary to know what exactly is 
understood between us. Five weeks have passed and now 
the Regiments are not full. The allegations of men are that 
they will not serve under some of the officers which have been 
appointed. I desire therefore the simple announcement by 
General Order that I have authority to enlist men for a Regi 
ment to be numbered as you please, also a Squadron of 
Mounted men. These troops to be a part of the Volunteers 
of the State. These to be in addition to those already assigned 
me. I shall have no objections, I should be glad to keep it, 
but, I should be unjust to others if I did so to the Exclusion 
of a New Regiment. That being done, I see no difficulty in 
the way of filling up all these Regiments at once save this one. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 247 

A most vicious practice has arisen here, as it seems to me, 
of Captains or other recruiting officers offering private boun 
ties for men, of Five and Seven Dollars. This amounts in 
fact to the sale of men by the recruiting officers to the Captain 
who has the most money, to fill up his Company. The men 
hold off from enlisting for a higher bid, and so the deserving, 
but poor officer gets no men to enlist, and the whole recruit 
ment is demoralized. This bounty can only be got from the 
officers, and it amounts to the British System of buying Com 
missions in its worst form. I will not tolerate it when I have 
the authority so to do, and I would respectfully suggest its 
evil tendency in others. I trust these suggestions and this 
course will allow those patriotic persons, who have done me 
the honor to inform me of their desire to enlist in the Service 
of the Country to serve under my command in preference to 
another, the opportunity of so enlisting, while others of dif 
ferent preferences will have an opportunity to gratify their 
desires, and both classes will thus at once be brought into the 
field where they are so much needed. At your Excellency s 
request I have put this matter in writing to prevent possible 
misunderstanding. With sentiments of the highest respect, 

I am, 1/r , . j 

Most truly yours, 

BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commdg. 
From Lieutenant Colonel Browne 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, BOSTON, Oct. 7th, 1861 

To Major General BUTLER, U.S. Volunteers, Comdg. 

Department of New England 

GENERAL: I beg leave to recall to your attention certain pas 
sages in your official correspondence with the Executive De 
partment of Massachusetts during the months of April and 
May of the present year. 1 As you were at that time engaged 
in active military service in the field, I then, under a sense 
of public duty, refrained from addressing you; but since you 
have been transferred to the Department of New England a 
suitable opportunity seems to be afforded for such an explana 
tion as I have anxiously awaited, and it is desirable that I 
should seek an explanation in order that our present necessary 
intercourse may be conducted with a proper sense of personal 
respect. 

1 See ante, pp. 37, 38, 76, 79, 93. 



248 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

On April 25th, His Excellency the Governor, addressed to 
you an official despatch in answer to one previously received 
from you. In reply to this despatch, you, under date of May 
10th, wrote a letter to His Excellency from which the follow 
ing is an extract: 

"I have taken the liberty to permit the publication of your 
despatch of April 25th, and my vindication of my action per 
taining thereto. I am impelled to this because the substance 
of your despatch to me has been given to the public from 
Boston through the columns of the Tribune, with strictures 
upon my conduct. This could not have been without the 
sanction of the Executive Department in some of its branches." 

Accompanying this letter was a bundle of official despatches, 
before the examination of which I, under His Excellency s 
direction, replied to you as follows, after quoting your language 
above recited: 

"To this His Excellency directs me to reply that neither 
his despatch to you of the date mentioned, nor any portion 
of it, nor the substance of it, has been communicated to the 
Tribune or to any other newspaper, or been examined or seen 
by any person whose official business did not necessarily make 
the knowledge of its contents an official duty." 

In reply thereto you, under date of May 16th, returned to 
His Excellency a letter from which the following are extracts: 

"I certainly did not suppose that Your Excellency com 
municated any portion of your despatch or permitted it to 
be communicated to the public through the newspapers, but 
true it is that the contents of that despatch were made known 
to the Boston correspondent of the Tribune by some attache 
of the Executive Department, who had probably been per 
mitted to enjoy the dignity of copying it; and as I most 
thoroughly and truly believe that the publication was made 
without Your Excellency s knowledge, consent, or approval I 
am only sorry that it should have been made at all. 

"When such publication has been made on one part, tend 
ing to injure me, what was left to me but to make public my 
answer thereto? As I have about me only faithful gentlemen, 
there is no possible way in which the contents of my des 
patches can steal into newspapers without my sending them, 
so that if published at all it must be with my fullest sanction. 

"If any portion of the matter has left the slightest trace 
upon Your Excellency s mind ... it will be a source of last 
ing regret to me, and will add another instance to that which 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 249 

has passed into a proverb, of the mischief that an unfaithful 
servant can make." 

I beg leave to state from my personal knowledge, having 
myself had personal charge of the only copy of the despatch in 
question, of date of April 25th, that between that date and 
May 10th, which is the date of your letter asserting the pub 
lication of its substance in the Tribune with strictures upon 
your conduct, no person had access to said copy except His 
Excellency the Governor and myself. Inasmuch therefore 
as you state your belief that the alleged publication was made 
without His Excellency s knowledge, consent, or approval, 
your allegations apply to myself, and are the more certainly 
directed against me by your allusion to the fact that the body 
of the despatch of April 25th was forwarded to you in my 
handwriting. 

In reply to these allegations I assure you that neither the 
despatch of April 25th, nor the copy of it, nor its "substance," 
nor any portion of its "contents," nor the fact of its existence, 
was ever communicated by me to "the Boston correspondent 
of the Tribune" or to any other person; and after careful 
examination my friends have been unable to discover that 
the despatch, or any copy of it, or its substance, or any por 
tion of its contents, was ever printed either in the Tribune or 
elsewhere, until it was published by yourself. 

You will, then, I am sure, perceive that it is not unreason 
able to request you to produce the paper or specify the date 
in which you allege that such publication was made. Such a 
specification seems to be necessary in order to effect a com 
plete explanation of this matter to your satisfaction as well 
as to my own. I have the honor to remain, 

Your obedient Servant, A. G. BROWNE, JR., 
Lt. Col. and Military Secretary to 
His Excellency, the Governor of Massachusetts 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, BOSTON, Oct. 7th, 1861 

To Major General B. F. BUTLER 

SIR: His Excellency Governor Andrew directs me to say 
that the pressure upon his time, which has occupied him all 
of yesterday and to-day, will continue this evening and 
through the day tomorrow, when he will be obliged to leave 
town a day more; but that if you desire to communicate 



250 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

with him, and will do so in writing directed to 71 Charles 
Street this evening, he will endeavor to prepare a proper 
answer before morning, and cause it to be sent to you at an 

earl y hour - Yours Very Truly, 

THOMAS DREW, Assistant Military Sec. 

From General Butler 

BOSTON, Oct. 7th, 10 o clock A.M. 

Governor ANDREW 

DEAR SIR: Your official note was received at 10 o clock 
this morning. Will you state if there is anything in the per 
sonal relations which I had believed were friendly between 
us which prevents an interview. I write this entirely unoffi 
cially and personally in order that any difficulty of a personal 
nature may be removed, if any exist of which I am not aware. 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, BOSTON, Oct. 8th 1861 

Maj. General BUTLER, U. S. Volunteers 

GENERAL: His Excellency, Governor Andrew, has the 
honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this morn 
ing, and directs me to reply that he has no reason whatever 
of a character personal to yourself for not desiring an inter 
view; that on the contrary he has always had strong reasons 
to be pleased in your personal society, which has been invari 
ably agreeable to him. But he is at this hour and will continue 
to be for some time engaged at a session of the Executive 
Council, and various other engagements of an imperative 
character are pressing upon his attention; therefor, unless 
the subject upon which an interview is desired is of such a 
character as to absolutely require immediate attention, he 
would prefer at this moment that it should be placed in writ 
ing, especially in view of the fact that there appears by 
your letter of the 5th inst. to be a difference of memory re 
specting the oral conversation therein referred to. I have the 

honor to be Your obt. Servt. 

A. G. BROWNE, JR. Col. and Mil. Secretary 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 251 

Voluntary Statement of Jarvis W. Dean 

Oct. 8th, 1861 

AFFIDAVIT: I, Jarvis W. Dean of Roxbury, do make the 
following voluntary statement. On Saturday last, the fifth 
day of October current, I went to the recruiting office of Brig. 
General W. W. Bullock at Boston. I saw him there and told 
him that I wished to get a commission in the volunteer service 
in some way, and that if he could not give me one to give me 
permission to raise men for General Butler s Brigade. He 
answered at once, "Gen l. Butler be damned! he has no 
Brigade, nor any authority to raise a Brigade, didn t you 
see my order in the paper?" I said I did, but I didn t know 
that it referred to General Butler. I also said that there were 
a great many raising men for General Butler, and asked if the 
recruits would receive bounty from the State. He said, 
"No; if you will see my order you will see Gen l Butler has no 
authority." He then said if I would go to Lynnfield or Lowell 
or some of the camps and see the Colonels, and get a promise of 
a commission, he would give me authority. I then left the office. 

JARVIS W. DEAN 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MIDDLESEX, Oct. 8th, 1861 

The foregoing Statement was subscribed and sworn to be- 

BLAZZING, Justice of the Peace 

i 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. Dpt. of N. England, BOSTON, Oct. llth, 1861 

WILL His Excellency Governor Andrew assign to me the 
recruitment of a regiment of Mass. Volunteers, and a squad 
ron of Minute Men, to be armed and equipped by me under 
the authority of the President, the officers to be selected by 
me, but commissioned by His Excellency, with of course a 
veto power upon what may be deemed an improper selection? 

As these officers are to go with General Butler upon duty, 
would His Excellency think it improper he should exercise 
the Power of recommendation? To the telegram of the Presi 
dent asking consent that the authorization should be given to 
Genl. Butler to raise troops, His Excellency telegraphed in 
reply that he would "aid Genl. Butler to the utmost." Genl. 
Butler knows of no way in which His Excellency can "aid" 
him so effectually as in the manner proposed. 

The selection by His Excellency in advance without con- 



252 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

sultation of a Col. and Lt. Colonel of an unformed Regiment, 
not a soldier of which has been recruited by the State, and 
both those Gentlemen to whom the General knows at present 
no personal objection being absent from the State on other 
duty, seems to him very objectionable. It is not certain that 
Lt. Abbot of the topographical engineers will be permitted to 
leave his Corps. Col. Everett has not lived in the state many 
years, and has no such interest identified with the state or the 
men of Massachusetts whom he would command. Gen. 
Butler has had and can have the aid of neither in his recruit 
ment, and he believes that those who do the work, other 
things being equal, should have the offices. Gen. Butler 
would have been happy to have conferred with his Excellency 
upon these and other points, but His Excellency did not 
seem to desire it. General Butler has proceeded upon this 
thesis in his recruitment to say to all patriotic young men 
who seem the proper persons, and who have desired to enter 
the service as officers, "if you have the confidence of your 
neighbors so that you can recruit a given number of men, 
then by giving evidence of your energy and capacity thus far 
and you are found fit in other respects, upon examination I 
will recommend you for a commission to command the num 
ber of men you shall raise. This is believed to be a course 
much better calculated to find officers than to hunt for them 
by the uncertain light of petitions and recommendations. 
Genl. Butler desires to make good his words to these young 
gentlemen. His Excellency will perceive an impossibility of 
at once furnishing a roster under such circumstances, as 
requested for His Excellency s perusal. 

His Excellency s attention is called to the fact that no 
reply has been received to Genl. Butler s formal request as 
to a Squadron of Mounted Men. 

Genl. Butler is informed by the returns of those who have 
recruited for him that he has already a number of men equal 
to two Regiments, in such progress that they can be organ 
ized in ten days, being the most prompt recruitment ever 
done in this state. These beside the 26th & 28th Regiments 
assigned to him by Genl. Orders. 

Genl. Butler thinks that His Excellency will not, without 
the utmost necessity for it, throw any obstacle in the way of 
his recruitment, as Genl. Butler is most anxious to get his 
division organized so as to start upon an expedition already 
planned in the service of his country. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 253 

Genl. Butler hopes that these views will meet His Excel 
lency s concurrence and cooperation. 

Most Respectfully, His Excellency s obt. Servant 

From Lieutenant Colonel Browne 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, BOSTON, Oct. \4ith, 1861 

To Major General B. F. BUTLER, U. S. Volunteers, Comdg. 

Department of New England 

GENERAL: I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt at this 
Department of your letter of the 12th inst. addressed to His 
Excellency, Governor Andrew, which I have forwarded accord 
ing to its direction, His Excellency being absent from the 

city. I have the honor to be ^ , j. 

Your oodt. servt. 

A. G. BROWNE, JR. (Lt.) Col. & Military Sec. 

From General Butler 

CONCORD, N.H. October 15th, 1861 

Hon. WM. H. SEWARD 

MY DEAR SIR: You will do me the honor to remember that 
recruiting service which you were kind enough to organize 
for me. Governor Andrew is not quite agreeable to it, altho 
he telegraphed his consent. His trouble comes from some 
subordinates who are in difficulty about who shall be officers. 

I have gone upon the plan proposed when we were together, 
i.e., to reconcile all differences as far as possible so as to 
prevent a peace opposition party here. We are doing exceed 
ingly well in New England in preventing opposition to the 
administration. 

Shall I rely upon your friendly intervention if necessary to 
prevent any orders which shall embarrass me? Of course no 
such action will be taken without notice to me. Believe me, 

Most truly yours, (BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From the Postmaster General 

WASHINGTON, Oct. Wth, 1861 

Maj. Gen l. BUTLER 

DEAR GEN L: I saw the Paymaster and the Surgeon Gen 
eral. The first said he was waiting to hear from you that 
you had promised to write when you were ready. The second 
said he could not let you have Kimball that you were both 
regulation-breakers, and the Department could not hold you 



254 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

when you were both together, and did not know well how to 
get on with you separately. That is my reading and language 
and is a free translation of the somewhat tedious detail of 
matters at Annapolis and Old Point. So I suppose we shall 
have to submit. Foww M 



From Hon. Wm. H. Seward 

Department of State, WASHINGTON, Oct. 18th, 1861 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

MY DEAR GENERAL: Your letter of the 15th has been re 
ceived, and your wishes in the matter to which it relates will 
be attended to with the utmost care. 

Very truly Yours, WM. H. SEWARD 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Dt. of New England, BOSTON, Oct. IQth, 1861 

CHARLES AMORY, Acting Maj. Genl. & Chief of Ordnance, 

Mass. 

SIR: Can the State loan, for the use of the men now in 
the service of the United States at "Camp Chase," Lowell, 
Mass., in drilling, 500 muskets of those that have heretofore 
been used for that purpose? I much dislike to put into raw 
hands, good arms. I will be responsible for the use of them 
and their safe return to the State. 

Very Respectfully, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, BOSTON, Oct. 19th, 1861 

The Hon. Sec. of the Treasury 

DEAR SIR: Will you direct the Collector at this Port to 
remit the duties upon the enclosed invoices of Blankets, pur 
chased by my Quarter Master to be delivered in Bond here. 
We shall at least save to the Government handsome per 
centage beside getting a good article for our troops. 

You will I trust appreciate this little attempt at economy. 

Most truly Yours, B. F. BUTLER 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 255 

From the Paymaster General 

Paymaster General s Office, October 19th, 1861 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Vol. Service, BOSTON, MASS. 

GENERAL: I have ordered Paymaster Usher and Emery to 
report to you, for the purpose of paying the Regts. you are 
organizing in accordance with the order of Secretary Cameron. 
They may be delayed a few days in getting the necessary 
funds from the treasury. Paymaster Watson s bond not 
having been received, he cannot be placed on duty. 
Respectfully, Your obdt. Servant, 

BENJ. F. LARNED, P.M. Gen. 

From Colonel Rush C. Hawkins 

HATTERAS INLET, N.C. Oct. 20^, 1861 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Com d g. Dept. of N. E. 

DEAR SIR: I am sick of Hatteras Inlet. Will you help me 
to get my regiment out of this infernal place? I would prefer 
to go with you, and I think that this may be the wish of my 
regiment, in fact I know it is. I would like to return to New 
port News, or be placed under the command of General Dix, 
until you get ready to use me. Do be kind enough to give 
this matter your attention and let me hear the result. 

Ever most faithfully yours, RUSH C. HAWKINS 

By General Butler 

Headquarters, Department of New England, BOSTON, Oct. list, 1861 

GENERAL ORDER No. 2 

BY authority of the President of the United States, in 
words following: 

War Department, Sept. 10th, 1861 

MAJOR GENERAL B. F. BUTLER, is hereby authorized to 
raise, organize, arm, uniform, and equip a volunteer force, 
for the War, in the New England States, not exceeding six 
(6) Regiments of the Maximum Standard, of such arms, and 
in such proportions, and in such manner, as he may judge 
expedient, and for this purpose his order and requisitions on 
the Quartermaster, Ordnance, and other Staff Departments of 
the Army are to be obeyed and answered, provided the cost 
of such recruitment, armament, and equipment does not 



256 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

exceed in the aggregate that of like troops, now, or hereafter 
raised for the service of the United States. 

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

Approved Sept. l%th, 1861. A. LINCOLN 

and with the consent by telegram to the "War Department" 
of their Excellencies the Governors of the Several States, 
wherein the troops are proposed to be raised, the Commanding 
General of the Department of New England proposes to recruit 
not exceeding six regiments of the maximum number of vari 
ous arms, and for that purpose has authorized recruitment in 
the several states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, 
New Hampshire, and Maine. 

In order to correct any mistake or misunderstanding, the 
officers recruiting are empowered to enlist men in the service 
of the United States upon the following terms and no other: 

The troops are to be regiments, a corps of the several states 
in which they are enlisted, and are to be deemed a part of the 
Quota thereof. 

The officers to be commissioned by the Governors of the 
several states according to the Constitution and Laws thereof. 

Pay to be ($13) Thirteen Dollars per month. $100 bounty, 
at the end of the war, to the honorably-discharged soldier, 
pay to commence at the date of enlistment. All the troops of 
this division to be paid at least one month s pay before they 
leave their respective States of the Camp of instruction, so 
as to be able to leave that sum with their families. 

In the State of Massachusetts a vicious practice having 
come to the notice of the Commanding General of other sums 
being paid by officers recruiting, it is positively forbidden to 
any person recruiting under the authority of this Department 
to offer, promise or give any money or valuable thing whatever 
for recruits to any person, and any person so offending will 
not be recommended for commission by the Commanding 
General. The troops so raised will be entitled to all the 
bounty or relief provided by Law for the Volunteers of the 
Several States. 

In Massachusetts, towns and cities are empowered by an 
Act of the Legislature to relieve the families and relatives, 
within a certain degree, of "every inhabitant of the State who 
shall enlist in the service." The other New England States 
have each their peculiar laws relating to bounty & provision 
for the family of the soldier of the United States, "to an 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 257 

amount not exceeding $12 per month. Of course this relief, 
by the plain letter of the law, applies to all the inhabitants of 
the State" who enlisted in the service of the United States 
under the authority of this Department. Specially will be 
the case if there were doubts otherwise, since his Excellency 
Governor Andrew telegraphed to the War Department that 
he "would help General Butler to the utmost" in his recruiting. 

No recruits are desired who are habitually intemperate or 
who have ever been convicted of any crime. Deserters from 
the British Army are especially reprobated. 

It is the wish and desire of the Commanding General to 
have in his Division only thoughtful, patriotic men who are 
seriously desirous of aiding their Country in her hour of peril, 
and who will enlist under her Banner for this reason alone. 

All recruits will immediately be taken into camp upon their 
enlistment, will be uniformed in the best manner, instructed 
by competent drill-masters in the appropriate exercises 
for their proper arm of service, and their health and comfort 
specially cared for. In return for this, the most thorough 
subordination, discipline and good conduct will be exacted. 
As soon as the Division thus raised is brought into a proper 
state of efficiency, it will march under the orders of the Com 
manding General upon a service already designated and to 
which it will be fitted. 

The Numbers and Names of Regiments and Corps will be 
hereafter designated by General Order. 

By General Butler 

Headquarters Oct. 22nd, 1861 

Mr. G. W. DOWNING, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS 

SIR: Major General Butler desires me to communicate to 
you, as Chairman of the Committee on Resolutions of the 
House of Representatives of the Law School of Chicago, his 
heartfelt thanks for the honor done him in those Resolutions; 
that he appreciates the patriotism which inspired them; and 
begs leave to say that it is but the same impulse of devotion 
to our common Country that you exhibit, aided by an oppor 
tunity to act in cooperation with loyal men, that has enabled 
him to accomplish a little of what must be accomplished be 
fore the majesty of the Government is fully vindicated. It is 
only by such devotion as the City of Chicago has exhibited 
that a foul Rebellion of such magnitude as that with which 

VOL. 1 17 



258 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

we have now to contend can be put down; and he desires 
to congratulate you upon the power which the great North 
west has put and is putting forth in this most sacred cause. 
The affair of Hatter as Inlet to which you have so kindly re 
ferred is, he trusts, but a foretaste of what our army and 
glorious Navy shall yet accomplish on the coast to aid the 
triumphant march of the Grand Army of the Union over the 
"sacred soil" of Treason from the Potomac to the Gulf. I 
have the honor to be, 

Very Resp. Your Obt. Servant, 

By order of Gen. BUTLER, 
GEO. C. STRONG, Asst. Adjt. Gen. 

From Edward L. Pierce 

BOSTON, Oct. 22nd, 1861, 26 Old State House 

To Maj. Gen. BUTLER 

DEAR SIR: In the November number of the Atlantic 
Monthly, which was issued to-day, you will find an article on 
the "Contrabands at Fortress Monroe," written by myself. 
There is mention made of you in several places, particularly 
on p. 630, where it is said you "will leave a record in history 
which will outlast the traditions of battle & siege." I hope 
you will read the whole number. 

A young man by the name of Isidore Sigismund has applied 
to you for a place. I do not know him personally, but he has 
been unfortunate in his attempts here to enter the service 
owing to the breaking up of Taylor s regiment. A friend of 
mine desires me to call your attention to the case and to the 
letter of Gen. Wilson commending him. 

Yours truly, EDWARD L. PIERCE 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. &c., Oct. Wnd, 1861 

His Excellency Gov. BERRY 

SIR: I had expected to have heard from New Hampshire 
of the appointment of Col. Gilmore & Lt. Col. Peirce & Maj. 
Towle, so that I could have proceeded in the organization of 
a regiment in your state for the service of the Union. 

New Hampshire did not use to be so backward when the 
country calls. The excuse is, I hear, that if Col. Gilmore goes 
into the recruitment no other regiment will be able to be 
filled up. A high compliment both for Col. Gilmore and my- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 259 

self ! To him for his energy and executive ability to me 
for the selection of such a man. If there is any objection to 
Col. Gilmore please say what it is, and if immovable I will 
gladly cooperate in any appmt. of equal efficiency. His politics 
at least are unobjectionable to you. If not, is it patriotic to 
delay the service of the United States for the movements of 
others too tardy to be of use when wanted. 

All my regiments are now in the process of formation save 
in New Hampshire, and a delay of the whole six because of 
that one would be more injurious to the government than the 
delay of two unfitted New Hampshire regiments. I am con 
tent however to have this done to save all trouble. Have the 
appointment made so as to enable me to make the proper 
organization, and then to have the recruitment wait till your 
other regiments are filled, or for a given time. Can this not 
be done? I desire to do everything to meet your wishes, but 
the services of the United States must not be too much delayed 
in my hands. I have more than a week ago made a requisition 
upon your state to raise a regiment, and I put it to your candor 
how much longer I ought to wait. Those opposed to us will 
make our tardiness cause of complaint before the people at 
the next election, and how are we to answer them? Trusting 
these suggestions will meet your views, I am, 

Most truly yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of New England, BOSTON, October 23rd, 1861 

Mayor WIGHTMAN 

MY DEAR SIR: After my interview, in which you received 
the opinion of the City Solicitor that the families of the soldiers 
enlisted under the authority delegated to this department 
were entitled to the relief provided by law for the inhabitants 
of the state enlisted in the service of the United States, I 
prepared the enclosed form of certificate of service. This I 
trust will be satisfactory. You will see that I have provided 
for notice to the towns when, either by desertion or otherwise, 
the soldiers leave the service of the United States, so that no 
imposition can be practiced. 

You informed me that no provision has been made hereto 
fore by the State authorities to prevent a town paying a 
soldier s family after he had deserted or deceased. In 
accordance with your suggestion I have furnished a remedy. 



260 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

I will take care that only the deserving get and retain this 
certificate. Will you see the families of those presenting it 
paid if they are in need? And oblige, 

Most truly yours, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. Dept. 

From Lieutenant Colonel Browne 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, 
BOSTON, Oct. 24th, 1861. 12i A.M. 

Major Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

GENERAL: His Excellency, the Governor, is engaged at 
this hour at a session of the Executive Council which it is 
impossible for me to interrupt. I have the honor to be 

Your obt. servt. 
A. G. BROWNE, JR. Li. Col. and Mily. Sec. 

From General Butler 

H d Qrs. Dep t of New England, BOSTON, Oct. 25th, 1861 

To His Excellency Governor ANDREW 

UNDER authority given me of date of September 10th by 
the War Department of the United States, a copy whereof 
has heretofore been sent to your Excellency, there has been 
enlisted and mustered into the Service of the United States a 
Company of Massachusetts Volunteers numbering eighty six 
(86) men, inhabitants of said State. A copy of the descriptive 
list of said Company is herewith forwarded for deposit in the 
office of the Adjutant General of the State. 

These men have severally taken the oath required by law 
for enlisted men in the Service of the United States, and are 
now in course of instruction at "Camp Chase" at Lowell. 

At "Camp Chase," all the members of the company being 
present (saving those absent without leave), by written ballots 
in my presence the members of the company of twenty one 
(21) years and upwards selected their officers by election as 
follows : 

^ For Capt. Cadwallader F. Blanchard of Lowell who received 
eighty three votes all others (E. A. Fiske) one vote. 
^For 1st Lieut. James Parsons of Lowell, who received 
fifty nine votes all others (E. A. Fiske) twenty three votes. 

For 2nd Lieut. Edward A. Fiske of Lowell, who received 
twenty nine votes (all others eligible) Ira Moore one vote. 

These gentlemen being thus severally elected in accord- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 261 

ance with the principles of the Constitution of Mass. Chap. 
2, Sect. 10, severally signified their acceptance of the trust 
reposed in them, and are approved and recommended by me 
as persons fit to be appointed and commissioned in their 
respective offices. 

If expedient, after they are commissioned they may be 
reported for examination by a board appointed under the law 
for that purpose by the General Commanding the Department. 

The President, in accordance with the Act of Congress 
approved July 22nd 1861, by authority vested in the General 
Commanding this Department, has accepted the Services of 
this Company of Volunteers. They have been mustered into 
the service of the United States in accordance with "General 
Orders" from the Adjutant General s Office No. 58 and No. 
61 of the current series. Said Blanchard, Parsons, and Fiske, 
have been duly mustered into the Service, and have been 
duly selected by the written votes of the members of said 
Company for their Several Offices in accordance with the 
principles of the Constitution of Massachusetts. 

It therefore becomes my duty most respectfully to request 
your Excellency to Commission these, the requisite Company 
Officers, so selected and recommended in compliance with 
the regulations of said Act of Congress, Sect. 5, which pro 
vides that the "Governors of the States furnishing Volun 
teers under the Act shall commission the Field Staff, and 
Company Officers requisite for the Said Volunteers" to their 
several offices. 

If your Excellency knows or is informed of any personal 
disqualification in either of said Officers I respectfully ask 
that such disqualification may be stated, that others may be 
selected to be commissioned by the Governor of the State. I 
have the honor to be 

Most respectfully your obdt. srvt. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. N. E. 

authorized to raise troops as before stated 

From Lieutenant Colonel Browne 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, BOSTON, Oct. %5th, 1861 

Major Gen l. B. F. BUTLER, U. S. Volunteers 

GENERAL: On October 14th last I mailed to your address 
in this city a letter of which I beg leave now to enclose a du 
plicate. The original seemed to require an answer, and as I 



262 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

have received no reply to it I am compelled to believe that 
by some mischance of the mail it must have been miscarried, 
although I am confident that it was properly addressed and 
deposited in the post office. 

To avoid the possibility of another similar mischance, I 
have requested W. Spear, the official messenger of the Gov 
ernor and Council, to do me the kindness to deliver this dupli 
cate in person, and I have the honor to remain 

Your ob t servt. A. G. BROWNE, JR. 

17. S. Li. Col. and Military Sec y. 

From General Butler 

H d Q rs Dep t of New England, BOSTON, Oct. 26, 1861 

WM. S. ROBINSON 

DEAR SIR: I assume that you were the Correspondent of 
the New York Tribune in May last. In that correspondence, 
under date of 4th May from Boston, in the remarks upon my 
offer to aid Governor Hicks to suppress a slave insurrection, 
you use the following language, "This act of his if counte 
nanced by the General Government (it certainly is not by 
Governor Andrew), is &c." 

Will you have the kindness to inform me whether at the 
time you wrote the above you had learned from any source 
that Governor Andrew sent me a dispatch conveying any 
such disapproval of my act as is therein mentioned? Of course 
I do not ask the name of your informant or source of infor 
mation. That you may not wish to disclose. I only desire 

to ask for the facts. /-r, T- T> \ 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From Major Strong 

Head Quarters Dept. New Engld. BOSTON, Oct. mh, 1861 

Gen. CHAS. AMORY, Chief of Ordnance, State of Mass. 

SIR: I sent some days since to you by order of Gen. Butler 
a note asking whether the State would lend five hundred 
(500) drill muskets for the use of Recruits at "Camp Chase" 
Lowell, Mass. Will you please to inform me whether His 
Excellency the Governor has made a decision in regard to that 
application. I am, Sir, Very Resp _ Y our Obt. Svt. 

GEO. C. STRONG, Asst. Adjt. Gen l. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 263 

From General Butler to Lieutenant Colonel Browne 

H d Q rs Dep t of New England, BOSTON, Oct. 26, 1861 

I AM directed by Maj. Genl. Butler to acknowledge the 
receipt of your communications both original and duplicate. 
The General will give attention to the matter as soon as he 
can possess himself of the evidence to show that the censure of 
his acts therein referred to by Governor Andrew was made pub 
lic before the 9th of May 1861, by some one who knew the fact 
that a despatch of that character had been sent Genl. Butler. 
Respectfully Your Obdt. Ser. 

GEO. C. STRONG, Asst. Adjt. Geril. 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, BOSTON, Oct. 26th, 1861 

To Major Genl. B. F. BUTLER, U.S. Volunteers, Commanding 
Department of New England 

GENERAL: I beg leave to acknowledge your letter, dated 
the 25th inst. but not delivered by your messenger until this 
evening, and not accompanied by the descriptive list therein 
mentioned. 

I respectfully decline to issue commissions to the gentlemen 
for whom you therein request them, and if the descriptive 
list of the men over whom you desire that officers shall be 
placed had been forwarded by you I should have directed the 
adjutant general not to deposit it in his office. This refusal is 
altogether independent of the military qualifications of the 
gentlemen for whom you request commissions, and is caused 
entirely by the fact that these men who are assumed by you 
to have been properly organized into a company of Massa 
chusetts Volunteers, have in reality been collected without 
due authority and in violation of law, and of the express terms 
of an order of the War Department of the United States, 
on a date subsequent to that of the authorization which you 
rely upon in your general order No. 2 of the department of 
New England, and also in violation of a general order (No. 
23) issued at my direction by the adjutant general of this 
Commonwealth, as well as to the detriment of the several 
Volunteer regiments now encamped in this commonwealth, 
not yet recruited to the maximum standard. 

By authority from the War Department under date of Sept. 
10th you are authorized to raise six (6) regiments in New 
England. 



264 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

By a general order of the same Department, under date of 
September 16th, "all persons having received authority from 
the War Department to raise volunteer regiments, batteries, 
or companies in the loyal states, are with their command hereby 
placed under the order of the Governors of those states to whom 
they will immediately report the present condition of their 
respective organizations. These troops will be organized or 
reorganized and prepared for service by the Governors of the 
respective states in the manner they judge most advantageous 
for the interests of the General Government." 

And the special application of this order to yourself is con 
firmed by a telegraphic despatch from the Secretary of War 
to myself which states that 

"Genl. Butler has authority to concentrate a brigade for 
special service, all of which is to be organized under the sev 
eral Governors of the Eastern States," and also, by the reply 
of the Secretary of War to a letter from myself, making inquiry 
concerning the orders and authority under which you are 
assuming to act, in reference to which the Secretary of W^ar 
wrote : 

"It was the intention of this department to leave to your 
Excellency all questions concerning the organization of troops 
in your state, and the orders to which you refer were designed 
to be subject to the direction & control of the executive of 
Massachusetts." 

Conformably therewith, by my command, General Order 
No. 23 was issued by the Adjutant General of Massachusetts, 
of which I inclose a copy, prohibiting the formation of any new 
regiments or companies in this state without orders from these 
Head Quarters, for the reason that it was of the first impor 
tance that the eight regiments of infantry, one of cavalry 
and four batteries of artillery, which were then in process of 
organization in Mass, should be completed without the delay 
which would be caused by additional competition. I assigned 
to you the 26th regiment (Col. Jones) and the 28th regiment 
(Col. Thomas Murphy), as the fair proportion which Massa 
chusetts should constitute to the brigade of six regiments 
which you desired to obtain from New England; and, being 
desirous to help you to the utmost, I even offered, so soon as 
such a time should elapse as would probably be sufficient to 
complete the recruiting of some of the nine regiments then in 
progress, to begin to organize a third regiment for you (being 
more than the proportion of Massachusetts of the six), and 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 265 

to offer its command to an experienced officer of the Topo 
graphical Engineers whom I had previously ascertained would 
have been willing to accept it. 

You declined this additional offer, and it is against my 
orders that you have proceeded to collect men and undertake 
to examine them under military forms. By this action you 
have retarded and confused the recruiting service throughout 
the commonwealth, have deprived several Massachusetts 
regiments of participating in important military operations 
now in progress, and to which they had been pre-assigned, by 
diverting recruits who might otherwise have filled their ranks, 
under promises of peculiar privilege as to pay, and, more than 
all, you have set an example of insubordination especially 
lamentable in the instance of an officer of so high rank. 

If the eighty-six men mentioned by you in your letter desire 
to enter the service as Massachusetts Volunteers, I will order 
them to be drafted into the twenty sixth (26th) regiment, if 
there is yet room for them there, or into the twenty eighth 
(28th) regiment, which is only partially recruited (and to 
which, though assigned to you, I do not learn that you have 
given any attention.) If they desire to serve their country 
efficiently they will find opportunity there. Or (though I 
do not desire to withdraw them from regiments destined for 
your command) if neither of these corps are satisfactory, 
they can be furnished with service in other Massachusetts 
regiments. 

I desire to call your attention, General, to the fact that the 
General Order No. 2, issued by yourself as commander of the 
Department of New England, does not properly represent 
the relation which the men collected by you against my orders 
hold to the executive authority and the Legislative acts of 
this commonwealth, and unless modified is likely to cause 
much individual perplexity and distress. In the same order 
you have quoted a single sentence from a telegraphic des 
patch sent by me to the President of the United States in 
such a manner, and in such an association with other words, 
as to give a mistaken impression of its meaning, and of my 
own purpose and position. 

I cannot conclude this note without an expression of keen 
regret that my plain and clearly-defined official duty has 
brought me into any collision with a gentleman whom in 
other spheres I have known so long, whose capacity and zeal 
for the public service is unquestioned by me, and between 



266 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

whom & myself there ought to be nothing inconsistent with 
cordial, patriotic and kindly cooperation in the support and 
defence of a cause grand as the proportions of the heritage of 
our fathers & blessed as their own immortality of fame. I am 
Respectfully & Obediently Yours, JOHN A. ANDREW 
Governor & Commander in Chief of the 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts 

From the Secretary of the Treasury 

Treasury Department, Oct. 26th, 1861 

Major Gen. BUTLER 

MY DEAR GENERAL: As soon as possible after advice of 
your Blankets I saw the Sec y. of War and got the matter of 
admission arranged. 

The orders go to-day, with official letter. Won t you write 
and let me know what you are doing and what proposing? 

Your friend, S. P. CHASE 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. Department, Oct. 28, 1861 

To the Editor of the Boston Journal 

SIR: In a communication published in this morning s 
Journal by His Excellency Governor Andrew, there occurs 
the following paragraph: 

"The 3d and 4th Regiments were sent back to Massachu 
setts from Fortress Monroe without the rifled muskets which 
they took into service, having been deprived of them by com 
mand of Gen. Butler, altho those arms were the property of 
this State, and against the written protest which I deemed it 
my duty to interpose, in view of urgent need of them for our 
three-years volunteer regiments then organizing. I feared 
at that time, and I believe that in my protest I expressed 
the fear, that the withholding of those arms might at some 
future day be made a cause of reproach, in case I should not 
interpose all effort of which I was capable to prevent it." 

This seems to convey the idea that "Gen. Butler" is in 
some degree responsible for the want of proper arms at "Balls 
Bluff." 

Certainly Gov. Andrew ought not and I hope would not 
by a suppression of the truth, which is or ought to be known 
to him, seek to injure "Genl. Butler." I took the rifled 
muskets, about 900 in all, mentioned in that communication, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 267 

from the three-months men who were coming home, and with 
them armed companies of Massachusetts three-years men 
who were at Fortress Monroe armed with smooth bore only 
(and gave new Smooth bores to the three-months men to 
bring home with them.) They are now doing good service 
at Newport News, the most frontier post of our lines. 

With the remaining two hundred I armed the flank com 
panies of the regiment of the gallant and lamented Baker, 
then at Fortress Monroe. So that those very rifled muskets 
which Gov. Andrew apologises for not being present at "Balls 
Bluff" were in fact then in the hands of Baker s skirmishers, 
defending Massachusetts men from being cut off. This action 
of mine was authorized and approved by Lt. General Scott. 
These arms were the property of the United States, having 
been deposited with the state under the act of Congress for 
Arming the Militia. Governor Andrew s "protest" did not 
reach me until after the order for the change of the arms had 
been issued. 

One word farther. Before I changed the arms, orders came 
to Fortress Monroe from the Executive Department of the 
State of Massachusetts to have these same rifled muskets 
taken from the three-months men and given to the Massa 
chusetts three-years men then at the Fortress; in other 
words, to do the same thing which I did do and which the 
Governor some days after "protested" against. I endorsed 
on that order in substance that I could not allow a Massa 
chusetts officer to interfere with the arming of my troops in 
the field. But the Massachusetts men at the Fortress got the 

Very Respectfully, BENJ. F. BUTLER 
From George B Loring 

SALEM, Oct. 28th, 1861 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, BOSTON 

MY DEAR BUTLER: I have just read your letter in the 
Journal in reply to Andrew s mean insinuation in his letter 
to Boutwell. You have him once more, fast, and in very bad 
light. God preserve you from such enemies. 

Truly your friend, GEO. B. LORING 



268 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Colonel George H. Gordon 

Camp Muddy Branch, Watching the Potomac, No. 3, 1861 

Major Gen. B. F. BUTLER, U.S.A., BOSTON, MASS. 

DEAR GENERAL: The only good thing we have here is 
your reply to the protest Governor Andrew "deemed it his 
duty to make" to your arming Massachusetts troops who 
fought at Balls Bluffs with rifled muskets. It seems I am 
not the only man about whom Governor Andrew "protests." 
See his letter to the President. Why did not his excellency 
take the Bull by the horns and bluff the people by saying that 
smooth bore arms were sufficient compensation for a blunder, 
a criminal blunder, in crossing the Potomac when they did, 
as they did, and providing one life boat and a small scow out 
of which the bottom fell (filled with dead and wounded), to 
retreat fifteen hundred men within the face of an overpower 
ing enemy across a deep and rapid stream? 

But, unfortunately, I hear from Colonel Devens that he 
protested to Governor Andrew against being armed with their 
smooth bores, which were not new "pattern" but old altered 
flintlocks, out of repair, and very unserviceable at time of 
action. 

By a forced march my regiment reached the scene of drown 
ing and massacre at three A.M. Tuesday morning, in time to 
ground the spot, help the wounded, and bury the dead, in 
time to hear from the lips of naked refugees the full story of 

the crime of Balls Bluff. T7 ,- 

Very respectfully yours, 

GEO. H. GORDON, Col. 2d Mass. Regiment 
From Assistant Adjutant General Strong 

Head Quarters, Nov. bth, 1861 

Lieut. Col. C. M. WHELDEN 

DEAR COL.: We will send you the two hundred muskets 
called for in your letter to Capt. George within a few days at 
the farthest. 

Just returned from Washington, and were there told that 
it was necessary for us to get off for the Southern Coast as 
early as the 15th inst. with five such regiments, already formed, 
as the General might select from New England. In haste 
Truly Yours, GEO. C. STRONG, Asst. Adjt. Gen I. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 269 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Nov. 5, 1861 

To Mr. STETSON, Astor House 
Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Sec. of War 

AT what time shall I meet you in Springfield to come with 
me to Lowell? Answer. 

Will Mr. Stetson forward this? B F B 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Department of New England, BOSTON, Nov. 6, 1861 

To His Excellency, Governor ANDREW 

I BEG to call His Excellency s attention to the fact that I 
have received no reply to my note of Oct. 12th, the receipt 
of which was acknowledged by his Secretary in his absence. 
In the fear that it may not have reached His Excellency, I 
have ventured to call attention to it, and also to know if any 
reply may be expected. 

Very respectfully your obedient servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comd g 

From Governor Andrew 

BOSTON, Nov. 6th, 1861 

Major General BENJ. F. BUTLER 

SIR: I have the honor to reply that on no consideration 
will the enlistment or organization of any cavalry or dragoons 
or mounted soldiers be permitted in this Commonwealth for 
the Volunteer Service until the 1st Cavalry Volunteer Regi 
ment, under Colonel Robert Williams, shall have been fully 
organized and ready to march. I have the honor to be 

Your obt. servant, JNO. A. ANDREW, Gov. 

From General Schouler 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adjutant General s Office, 

BOSTON, November 7th, 1861 

To Major General BENJ. F. BUTLER, Commanding Dept. of 

New England 

GENERAL: I am directed by the Governor of the Common 
wealth to inform you that, in order to promote, hasten, and 
help to the utmost your desire to raise six Regiments in New 
England, he has added the men enlisted in the 29th Regiment 



270 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

of Massachusetts to those of the 28th, and has now therefore 
in the 28th Regiment the number of seven hundred and fifteen 
men, according to this morning s report, which 28th Regi 
ment, with the 26th, is at your service if desired. 

But the Governor, who has been informed by you that 
you would arm, uniform, and equip your regiments under 
some direct authority from Washington, observes that the 
28th Regiment seems to have received no aid or attention at 
all from your Head Quarters, and he is desirous of being im 
mediately informed whether you do or do not consider those 
regiments as forming and whether you do or do not desire 
them to form a part of your command. 

It is important that the Governor should know at once 
what is your wish in this respect in order to their proper dis 
position without delay. If you prefer the one of these Regi 
ments without the other, as he has understood you to indicate 
heretofore, he would be glad to receive statement thereof 

^ Very respectfully your obt. serv. 

WM. SCHOULER, Adj. Gen. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of New England, BOSTON, November 7th, 1861 

General WM. SCHOULER, Adft. Gen l. State of Mass. 

GENERAL: I am directed by Major General Butler, in reply 
to your communication of this date, to state that the 28th 
Regiment has not been taken in charge at these Headquarters 
because His Excellency did not answer specifically his letter 
of Oct. 12th, so that he was left uncertain of the determination 
of the Government of Massachusetts in regard to it. 

Col. Jones, of the 26th, having been ordered to report to 
Gen l. Butler, that Regt. has been accepted by him as a part 
of the force of his expeditionary Corps. 

As the State Government have undertaken the recruitment 
of the 28th, General Butler supposes that it will be continued 
by the State, and he will be pleased to take the Regiment as 
soon as it has been recruited to the maximum Standard, pro 
vided it can be done by the 1st proximo. 

General Butler would also have great pleasure in adding a 
portion of those recruits, whom he now has, to that Regiment, 
so as to fill it up at once, if His Excellency would so far allow 
him to indicate the organizations, that Gen l. Butler could be 
just to those gentlemen who have recruited for him, with the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 271 

expectation of commanding the men they have raised, if 
found otherwise qualified. Gen l Butler will make any sacri 
fice, to promote the service, save to do injustice to those 
who have labored for it. 

General Butler will at once arm, uniform, and equip this 
regiment, under this limitation, as his authority requires him 
to "organize" as well. But he will only ask an advisory power 
in the organization. I have the honor to be, General, 
Very respectfully, Your obt. servant 

(GEO. C. STRONG, Asst. Adjt. Gen l.) 

From General Butler 

Head Qts. BOSTON, Nov. 7th, 1861 

C. K. GARRISON Esq., NEW YORK 

SIR: You are hereby authorized to negotiate in my name 
for the Charter of the Steamship "Constitution" or other 
vessel for the transportation of the troops of my Division 
from the port of Boston to the Eastern or Southern coast of 
the United States. You will confer upon the subject with 
Capt. A. J. Butler, Com. of subsistence, U. S. Army. I am 
Very Respt. Your Obt. Servt. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of New England, BOSTON, November Sth, 1861 

To A. G. BROWNE JR., Lieutenant Colonel and Military Secre 
tary of His Excellency the Governor of Massachusetts 

SIR: I am directed by Major General Butler to enclose to 
you copies of correspondence bearing upon the matter of 
your note to him of October 7th. 

In his communication to Governor Andrew of May 10th, 
General Butler said that the substance of His Excellency s 
despatch of April 25th, disapproving the offer of Gen. Butler s 
to aid Governor Hicks in suppressing a Slave Insurrection in 
a loyal State, "had been given to the public through the Col 
umns of the Tribune with Strictures upon his conduct." 

Now the substance of that despatch was the "disapproval" 
of His Excellency of which General Butler trusts His Excel 
lency has long since repented. This disapproval was pub 
lished in the New York Tribune of the 6th or 7th of May. 

Governor Andrew, both by his letter and by accepting in 
silence the strong belief that the "disapproval" did not see 



272 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

light through himself, expressed by General Butler in the 
despatch to which you allude, has tacitly and efficiently de 
clared that fact. 

You say in your note, in substance, that no one beside 
yourself and His Excellency had any knowledge that such 
despatch was sent before May 10th. 

The Tribune referred to in the note of Mr. Robinson and 
his letter showed that the fact of such despatch was known 
in Boston, and on May 4th, and published in New York. 

This state of facts seems to raise a question of Veracity 
between his Excellency and his Military Secretary upon 
which General Butler respectfully declines to sit in judgment. 
General Butler accepts the disclaimer of both: but remains 
lost in admiration at the manner in which the correspondent 
of the Tribune obtained his information. 

Respectfully 
WM. H. WIEGEL, 1st Lieut, and Aid de Camp 

From General Schouler 

Commonwealth of Mass. Adj. Gens. Office, BOSTON, Nov. 9th, 1861 

Major GEORGE C. STRONG, Adjt. General Dept. of New England 

SIR: I was very much pleased with the interview I had 
with you in relation to the 28th Regiment. I think the best 
way to come to an understanding in relation to it is to put 
the case in writing, which I proceed to do. 

Several weeks ago it was proposed to raise two Irish Regi 
ments, the 28th and 29th. The 28th was intended for Major 
General Butler s Division, and the 29th for the Irish (Sheld s) 
Brigade. It became apparent that the two Regiments could 
not be filled without a very long delay, and therefore His 
Excellency the Governor decided to consolidate them. This 
was done with the consent of the officers of each. The men, 
700 in number, are now at Camp Cameron. 

There are fifteen companies and parts of companies. I 
propose to make ten companies of them, and fill up the ranks 
of each to the maximum standard, and I wish to know if 
General Butler will furnish men for the purpose. If you pre 
fer, I will mass the men into eight companies, and then have 
two full companies sent from Camp Chase to complete the 
Regiment. General Butler can advise in regard to the officers. 

I propose that the field and company officers be appointed 
and the Regiment filled up immediately. I will, if you desire 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 273 

it, make out a complete roster, and you can lay it before 
General Butler for examination and approval. I would be 
glad to have him name persons whom he would like to have 
appointed if he has any in his mind. 

His Excellency will leave for New York Monday evening. 
I wish to have these matters definitely settled if possible 
before he leaves. An answer at your earliest convenience 
will oblige. 

Yours very respectfully, WM. SCHOULER, Adj. General 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Nov. 9th, 1861 

Genl. WM. SCHOULER, Adjt. General State of Mass. 

PLEASE direct the Colonels of such Massachusetts Regi 
ments now within the State, but mustered into the service of 
the United States, to send the returns of their respective com 
mands to these headquarters as soon as possible, to enable me 
to forward the Departmental returns required immediately by 
the War Department. I am, General, 

Very respectfully your obt. servt. 
By order of Maj. Gen. BUTLER, GEORGE C. STRONG 

From the Secretary of War 

Astor House, NEW YORK, November 9th, 1861 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, BOSTON, MASS. 

MY DEAR SIR: I regret that official demands upon my 
time prevented me extending my visit to Boston and Lowell. 
In addition to the pleasure of meeting you, I had desired to 
speak with you in regard to your expedition; and in this 
connection I beg to introduce to you Mr. John Tucker, an 
authorized agent of the Dept., whose business, since the 
commencement of the war, has been to provide vessels for 
transportation. It is my desire that the vessels for your ex 
pedition shall be engaged by him, and he is authorized to re 
ceive your directions as to the number and capacity of the 

Very truly & resp y yrs., SIMON CAMERON 



VOL. I 1 8 



274 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

H d. Qr s Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Nov. Ilth, 1861 
[Not in chronological order] 

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War 

DEAR SIR: Yours of the 9th instant, dated at New York, 
was received this morning. Prior to its receipt I had already 
contracted for two vessels, one for the transport of horses, 
and one for the transport of men, to be ready by the 16th 
inst. This was upon the recommendation of the Asst. Sec y 
Fox. For any other vessels necessary I shall be happy to 
put myself in communication with Mr. John Tucker, in accord 
ance with your recommendation. 

Very Truly & Respectfully Yours, B. F. BUTLER 

P.S. The two vessels already chartered will take but half 
my force. B. F. B. 

Official Records, War of Rebellion, Series, III, Vol. I, page 628 

From General Butler to President Lincoln 

PRIVATE. H d Q rs Dep t of New England, BOSTON, Nov. 9th, 1861 

MY DEAR SIR: Gen. Wool has resigned. Gen. Fremont 
must. Gen. Scott has retired. 

I have an ambition, and I trust a laudable one, to be Major 
General of the United States Army. Has any body done 
more to deserve it? No one will do more. May I rely upon 
you as you have confidence in me to take this matter into 
consideration? 

I will not disgrace the position. I may fail in its duties. 

Truly Yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

P.S. I have made the same suggestion to other of my friends. 

B. F. B. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Nov. Ilth, 1861 

Gen. WM. SCHOULER, Adjt. General State of Mass. 

GENL.: It will be quite satisfactory to make the arrange 
ment proposed: viz, to make eight companies of the fifteen 
skeleton companies you mention, and to add the companies 
from Camp Chase as soon as they are full with the list of 
officers accompanying them to be designated by General 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 275 

Butler. This to be upon the understanding that the 28th 
Regiment is to be a part of the Expeditionary corps soon to 
sail, and not a portion of the troops to be raised by General 
Butler under order of Sept. 10, 1861, Gen. Butler desiring to 
fill up the regiments destined for this purpose as soon as 
possible besides those that he is recruiting. 

Two regiments and two Batteries will sail in the coming 
week, and General Butler desires to have two more ready in 
fifteen days thereafter. This arrangement in regard to the 
28th Regiment is designed to be made wholly independently 
of the unhappy and unfortunate difference of opinion which 
has arisen between his Excellency the Governor and General 
Butler (which the latter much regrets) upon the right of 
recruitment on the part of the United States Government in 
Massachusetts. 

General Butler would be happy to examine the roster as 
proposed, and the recommendations of General Bullock. 

Should the list not be perfectly satisfactory to General 
Butler he will send you his recommendations as you desire. 
From his acquaintance with Col. Monteith, General Butler 
is much pleased with him. 

General Butler would be glad to know whether the State 
will continue its equipment of the 28th. I am General 
Respectfully Your obdt. servant, 

GEO. C. STRONG, Asst. Adjt. Gen. 

From General Schouler 

Commonwealth of Mass. Adj. Gen s. Office, BOSTON, Nov. 11, 1861 

Major GEORGE C. STRONG, Asst. Adjt. General, Department of 
New England 

SIR: Yours of date is received in relation to the 28th Regi 
ment. The fact which I wish to ascertain is this, "Will Gen 
eral Butler accept of the 28th Regiment." In your letter he 
accepts it with the following stipulation. "On the express 
understanding that the 28th Regiment is to be a part of the expe 
ditionary corps soon to sail, and not a portion of the troops to 
be raised by General Butler under order of Sept. 10, 1861." 

This acceptance is not satisfactory. If General Butler 
accepts the 28th Regiment for his division it must be as one of 
the two Regiments raised by Massachusetts as her quota of the 
six which were to be raised for his Division in New England; 
and I ask to be informed as soon as possible whether Genl. 



276 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Butler will accept the 28th with this understanding. The 
other propositions in your letter are satisfactory. 

Respectfully yours, WM. SCHOULER, Adtj. General 



From Joseph M. Bell 

Hd. Qrs. Department of New England, BOSTON, Nov. llth, 1861 

Adjutant General SCHOULER 

SIR: If the Governor will authorize two Regiments, 28th 
and 29th to be organized by Gen. Butler, with a veto power 
upon Gen. Butler s selection of improper persons as officers, 
Gen. Butler will accept the 28th as one of them. This is in 
answer to a communication of today to the Assistant Adju 
tant General who is absent. 

Very Respectfully, JOSEPH M. BELL 
Acting Aide de camp to Maj. Gen. BUTLER 

From General Schouler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Nov. llth, 1861 

To JOSEPH M. BELL Esq., Acting Aide de Camp to Major Genl. 

BUTLER 

SIR: Your letter of this date has been received. The propo 
sition is respectfully declined. 

Your obt. servant, WM. SCHOULER, Adjt. General 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Mass., Adj. Gens. Office, BOSTON, Nov. 11, 1861 

Col. CHARLES EVERETT, BOSTON 

SIR: I am instructed to state as follows in reply to yours 
of the 9th inst. to His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief. 
If you get a request or authority by telegraph or otherwise 
His Excellency will consent to your raising two companies in 
accordance with your request, to report to General Butler 
and to be armed, equipped, uniformed, and taken care of 
by him. His Excellency is also satisfied to appoint you as 
Major of the Battalion, and would be likely to appoint such 
company officers as you should recommend; that is to say, if 
he received authority from the War Department to raise the 
Battalion. 

But His Excellency states emphatically that the proposal 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 277 

he made through me in his letter of the 8th must be accepted; 
and General Butler must discontinue all other and outside 

attempts to recruit. r> ^77 

Respectfully yours, 

WM. SCHOULER, Adjt. General 
From General Butler to the Postmaster General 

H d Q rs. Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Nov. 11, 1861 

MY DEAR SIR: I have failed utterly in my attempts to 
arrange with Gov. Andrew. I have abased myself in trying. 
He holds that the United States have no authority to raise 
troops outside of the Governor of Massachusetts. I have suc 
ceeded to my utmost expectations here in recruiting. Vermont 
has just passed a bill in favor of my division, giving me both a 
regiment of Infantry and battery of Artillery. Governor An 
drew goes to Washington today to upset me; do not let him do 
it. I cannot leave here for a week to attend to him because on 
Monday next I get off twenty-five hundred men. 

Say so much to Capt. Fox, and also that I have chartered 
the "Constitution." I have no moment to spare to write 

Most truly yours, (BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

This little piece of secession must be stopped or we shall 
have a rebellion at home. 

From General Butler to Hon. William H. Seward 

Head Quarters Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Nov. llth, 1861 

DEAR SIR: I desire you would give attention a moment to 
these suggestions. I am in need of a Brig. Genl. for my expe 
dition at once, possibly two. I wish to suggest the appoint 
ment of Genl. Gushing of Mass. You, I know, will not start 
at the proposal, for you have said to me that you had no 
political animosities, and I know have breadth of statesman 
like views to comprehend the meaning. 

All agree to his commanding intellect. He has put himself 
fully and squarely on the side of his country in a most patriotic 
offer of his service on the 18th day of April, which was rejected 
by the Governor of Mass. He has just been almost unani 
mously elected to the legislature from his native city. His 
appointment and acceptance will do more than any one act 
to convince the South that the mind of the North is united 
in this great struggle. You can do this and by the same act 



278 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

secure a friend, for Genl. Gushing will know to whom he is 
indebted. For his loyalty I will answer with my head. I 
have suggested the matter to the President and he did not 
look upon the matter unkindly. I am 

Yours truly, (BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From General Butler 

H d Q rs Dep t of New England, BOSTON, Nov. 13th, 1861 

Hon. SIMON CAMERON 

DEAR SIR: Will you have Brig. Genl. J. W. Phelps detailed 
upon my expedition? I have great confidence in him. You 
will remember that you saw him at Newport News. He has 
been there now six months. 

Gen. Wool has Brig. Genl. Mansfield with him whom he 
can put at Newport News. 

I shall have 2500 men ready to sail by Wednesday for the 
point agreed upon with the Sec y of the Navy, with provision 
for three months. Should like to have Phelps to go with 
them, he has had so much experience in fortifying a post. 
In fifteen days more, as soon as I can get arms and ammuni 
tion for them, twenty five hundred more will be ready to sail, 
and I will go with them, if I can get the recruiting done here 
as I hope to do. 

I have made every proper proposition to Governor Andrew 
consistent with the dignity of the United States. He refuses 
them all, and has now gone to Washington to see you and 
the President and get you to interfere with me. 

I assure you that in everything I am laboring for the best 
interest for the service. I have caused to be bought my rations 
for the expedition for 15 3-4 cents each. I have chartered my 
steamer one-third less than the same has been done upon the 
other expedition. I have ventured upon this every stake I 
have in the country, and you shall be proud of my work, but 
pray do not let me be crippled. 

Yours Truly, B. F. BUTLER 

i 
From Adjutant General Thomas 

Adjutant General s Office, WASHINGTON, Nov. 15th, 1861 

Major General BUTLER, Commanding Dept. of New England, 

BOSTON, MASS. 

GENERAL: IT is desired by the Major General commanding 
the Army that you make an immediate and full report to this 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 279 

office of the strength and condition of your command. He 
desires particularly to know what troops you have that are 
already organized and equipped, and what others in process 
of organization, also what directions you have given with a 
view to the concentration of these troops, and what further 
directions you contemplate giving. 

In general terms, whatever facts that would tend to a more 
clear conception of the condition of things in the Department 
of New England, you will please report. I am, Sir, 
Most respectfully, Your obedient Servant, 

L. THOMAS, Adjt. General 

From Assistant Adjutant General Strong 

Ed. Quarters Department of New England, BOSTON, Nov. IQth, 1861 

General WM. SCHOULER 

PLEASE send me by bearer an informal consolidated report 
of those Mass, troops who are within the limits of the State 
but mustered into the United States Service (according to 
the last returns received at your office), and including the 
troops at Fort Warren. 

I merely desire the figures of "present" (of officers and of 
men each) "sick," "absent" "with and without leave," and 
the aggregate. By so doing you will much oblige 

Very respectfully your obdt. servt. 
GEO. C. STRONG, Asst. Adjt. General 

From Assistant Adjutant General Strong 

Head Quarters, BOSTON, Nov. 16th, 1861 

Gen. L. THOMAS 

GENERAL: I have the honor to enclose what I regret to 
state is necessarily an informal and incomplete return of 
troops in this Department. I am, Gen. 

Very Resp. Your Obt. Svt. 
GEO. C. STRONG, Asst. Adjt. Gen 9 l. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Nov. 18, 1861 

General-in-Chief 

GENERAL: In obedience to a telegram from your office, 
Major Strong, Ass t. Adjutant General, forwarded the 16th 
instant a report of the troops recruited by me in so far as might 
be made from imperfect returns. 



280 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

In compliance with your letter of direction of the 16th 
instant, received this day, I have the honor to report the 
facts and circumstances tending to give a more perfect under 
standing of the State of the Department of New England. 

Upon receiving the authority of the Commander in Chief 
to raise six regiments of date of September 12th, I repaired to 
New England to enter upon my duties. Upon calling upon the 
Executive of the State of Maine for his cooperation I received 
the most cordial and hearty support. He immediately put 
in Commission Officers of my recommendation, and by his 
zealous good will a regiment is now mustered into the service 
under its accomplished Colonel, George F. Shepley, and is 
reported to me ready to march, and will be embarked on board 
the ship "Constitution" on Thursday for an expedition of 
which I shall hereafter speak more fully. A battery of Light 
Artillery is also nearly recruited in Maine, which will organize 
and be ready to commence its drill with its pieces in ten days. 
This regiment is fully armed, uniformed, and equipped under 
my orders. 

Upon application to the executive of the State of Connect 
icut I met with like patriotic and zealous aid. Governor 
Buckingham immediately agreeing with me in the proper 
selection of regimental officers, gave every aid to the recruit 
ment of a regiment which is now in process of recruitment 
and has some 500 men in camp and is both recruiting and 
organizing with great rapidity and economy. Colonel Deming, 
late speaker of the House of Representatives of the State, 
displays great energy and ability in his recruitment. His 
regiment will be ready to march in fifteen days. I have the 
arms, equipment and uniforms complete for this regiment. 

Governor Buckingham wishes me also to take in charge 
and place in a Camp of Instruction an Irish Regiment, the 
9th Connecticut, which he there has organized, but which 
owing to the somewhat exuberantly turbulent character of 
its recruits could not be readily reduced to discipline at the 
home of the recruitment, and was not in a condition to be 
properly sent away except under a fostering care. I consented 
to take this regiment, and removed it to "Camp Chase" at 
Lowell, where it is doing very well, and with G company 
of seven hundred men embark upon the "Constitution" 
tomorrow. 

I have left one company at "Camp Chase" to bring up the 
recruits which will soon fill up the regiment to a maximum. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 281 

I believe this course will be for the good of the service, and I 
doubt not in a short time to have this one of the best of regi 
ments, but it needed to be taken away from home influences 
which tend to insubordination. 

I called upon the Governor of New Hampshire for his aid in 
the recruitment of a regiment from that State, was cordially 
received by him, and [with] the most perfect accordance as 
to the personnel of the officers to be appointed commissioned 
by him. He desired me to wait before I commenced recruit 
ing until four regiments and a Battery the[n] recruiting in New 
Hampshire should be filled up, which he then hoped would 
be in a few days, alleging as a reason that if a regiment was to 
be recruited by the officers selected by me, it would be im 
possible to fill up those already begun. Thinking this reason 
able I have not begun recruiting in New Hampshire as yet. 

The State has heretofore given a bounty of $17.00 per man, 
but there is no law for its payment, and it has been discon 
tinued. These regiments, of which there are three, will not 
for some time be filled up to the Maximum standard. I have 
no doubt that if the recruitment of a regiment is begun under 
the Auspices of the United States in New Hampshire it might 
be filled up in thirty days, and unless otherwise advised I 
propose to begin the recruitment and verify the expectation. 

In Vermont, when I first called upon the executive, Gov. 
Fairbanks term of office was just expiring, and his successor 
had not taken his seat because of illness. The authority to 
raise regiments by the Executive of the State had expired by 
limitation, and the appropriation for payment of state bounty 
was exhausted. The bounty in Vermont is a very substantial 
one, being Seven dollars per month during term of service. 
Without it being once paid would seem to be impossible to 
recruit. The Legislature being in session, I was asked to address 
the convention of both houses upon a topic connected with 
recruiting. I was received by the Executive and the general 
assembly with the utmost cordiality, and a bill being intro 
duced to extend the state bounty to a regiment to be raised 
under the authority conferred upon me, passed the house 
unanimously, and has since become a law. 

The necessary delays of legislation have been considerable, 
but now with the active and zealous concurrence of the Ex 
ecutive and the energetic action of the Colonel commissioned 
for this regiment, Stephen Thomas, Esq., the regiment is 
being recruited, and I am led to believe will be recruited in 



282 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

thirty days. Gov. Holbrook also desired that I might endeavor 
to raise two light batteries in the State. This matter I 
propose to submit for the advisement of the Commander in 
Chief. Matters could not be more successful in Vermont. 

I did not call upon the State of Rhode Island for any 
troops because I was informed that Gen l. Burnside was 
raising some troops in that State for immediate service. 

His Excellency John A. Andrew, Governor and Commander 
in Chief of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, received the 
Major General commanding this department with the utmost 
cordiality. And upon being asked to furnish to me two regi 
ments and a battery of light artillery for the purpose of an 
expedition upon the Eastern Shore of Virginia according to 
the authority of the war department of date of September, 
said that he would assign to me the 26th and 28th regiments, 
the organization of which had been then just made, and the 
Salem Artillery. To this I assented. 

Of the 26th Regiment, not three hundred had been recruited. 
The only recruits of the 28th regiment then brought to the 
information of the department was an under Sheriff in New 
York, who was selected for its Colonel, but who has since 
resigned that position in seeming disgust. Of the Salem Artil 
lery scarcely thirty men could be brought into camp. Gover 
nor Andrew then informed me that I must wait a fortnight 
until he got off certain other regiments before I began recruit 
ment. To this I consented so far as recruitment was concerned. 

I opened a camp of instructions at Lowell, called "Camp 
Chase," took the 26th regiment into it, where it has now 
been recruited and organized until now as one of the very 
best regiments that ever left Massachusetts; it will embark 
tomorrow in a full maximum strength on board of the "Con 
stitution." The Salem light battery has been recruited at 
the same camp, and will embark substantially full at the same 
time. In recruiting this regiment I am informed and believe 
that not ten men have in any way been furnished from the 
State Recruiting Offices, and no aid to the recruitment has 
in any way been given by the State, but, on the contrary, 
every impediment has been thrown in the way. 

Finding that as soon as the 28th (Irish) regiment had been 
assigned to me, Governor Andrew organized another (Irish) 
29th regiment in exact rivalry, so that neither could succeed, 
and finding that he had selected officers, some of whom in my 
judgment were not competent, I informed him that I preferred 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 283 

to have nothing to do with it. I then began recruiting a 
regiment for myself, but was informed by Governor Andrew 
in substance that the President of the United States had no 
right to recruit men for the Volunteer Service of the United 
States in Massachusetts without his leave. This doctrine of 
secession did not seem to me any more sound uttered by a 
John Brown abolitionist north of Mason & Dixon line, than 
if proclaimed by Governor McGoffin south, so that I paid no 
heed to it; did not answer it; tried all I could to have his 
Excellency think better of his strange notions, and pursued 
the even tenor of my way in recruiting, and in the same time 
have recruited more men than has the whole recruiting force 
of the State, although they have had at least five regiments 
and two batteries recruiting in the State during the time. 

This now became a question of the utmost moment to the 
United States. Will you recruit your men under your own 
authority, or will you allow the authority to be wrested from 
you by the States? In my judgment it is essential to the soli 
darity of the Nation that this power be maintained intact by 
the General Government. If once yielded, then a Governor 
opposed to the administration may cripple the resources of 
an entire state. In fine, is it not the very matter in another 
form about which we are in arms? 

Again, the State of Massachusetts pays as high in some 
cases as $12.00 per month extra pay to her soldiers in shape of 
a relief fund, at the option of towns which the state is bound 
to reimburse, and for which a claim will be made on the 
General Government. But whether it is made or not is im 
material, as a member of the Union the state impoverishes 
herself in paying such bounties, for no State can support a war 
at so extravagant an outlay for the payment of her soldiery. 

The State of the Department as to troops then is substan 
tially this: 

I have recruited in Mass. 26 Mass. 1043 about to sail 
" " 12 Maine 900 " " " 

9 Conn. 740 " 

Salem Artillery 1 Battery 145 " " " 



2828 



A few men may be absent at the moment of starting, but 
all are duly enlisted and mustered into service. 

I have also squadron of mounted rifles organized, 150 = 8 



284 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

companies, Infantry about 700, 500 of which are now being 
organized into companies that will soon fill a regiment. Some 
others are being recruited by their officers, and the men have 
enlisted under a contract to be transferred to other companies 
if their own companies are not full by a given date. In some 
of these the time has not expired, but in my command will 
all do so by December 1st. Also a regiment in Connecticut 
to be organized in ten days. These recruitments on my part 
are being made in the most economical manner possible, and 
are within the limits of my authority. 

There are certain parts of companies now mustered into 
the service being recruited in various sections of the States 
of New Hampshire and Massachusetts under State authority, 
which if by an order of the War Department could be put 
under my control I could fit out at least four complete regi 
ments so as to sail in fourteen days. (Remainder of report not 
found in files) 

From the Adjutant-General 

Adjutant-General s Office, WASHINGTON, November 18th, 1861 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, U. S. Volunteers, BOSTON, MASS. 
REPAIR immediately to this city, and report to the com- 

L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General 

Official Records, War of Rebellion, Series III, Vol. I, page 656 

From General Butler to President Lincoln 

H d. Q rs. Dep t of New England, BOSTON, Nov. 18, 1861 

SIR: Hon. Elijah Ward has written to me in regard to the 
case of Col. Allen. I have felt obliged to forward to him the 
letter a copy of which I enclose to you, as containing an expres 
sion of my opinion thereupon. 

From General Butler to Elijah Ward 

H d Q rs Dep t of New England, BOSTON, Nov. 16, 1861 
[Not in chronological orderj 

MY DEAR SIR: I would do anything consistent with public 
duty to oblige you personally. But my convictions of public 
duty are such that I cannot recommend the restoration of 
Col. Allen to the service. 

The technical findings of the Court Martial were not only 
correct but substantial. The course taken by Col. Allen in 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 285 

regard to the property of the inhabitants of the neighborhood 
where he was stationed in other instances; the wanton de 
struction of that property which was the subject of the charge 
while we saved the remainder for the public service; his per 
sonal habits and the demoralization into which his command 
was brought thereby; the insubordinate spirit exhibited under 
what was decided to be proper proceeding for misconduct; the 
fact known to me but not proved because of the absence of 
Genl. Pierce that Col. Allen denied that he ordered this 
property to be destroyed, although it was afterward admitted 
that he did so; the fact Col. Allen broke his parole twice 
known to me personally, and the several letters sent here in 
explanation, all tend to convince my judgment that the 
service would not be benefited by his restoration. 

I shall deem it my duty to send to the President a copy of 
this note. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Dept. of N. E. BOSTON, November 19, 1861 

To the Colonel Commanding the Troops on board Steamer 
Transport " Constitution " 

You will proceed to sea and by the most direct route to 
Ship Island in Mississippi Sound. You will there hold com 
munication with the Commander of the Naval Forces at that 
Station, and in cooperation with him take possession of the 
island and the unfinished fortifications thereon, put them and 
the island in the best possible state of defence, and, landing 
the supplies, discharge the Transport as soon as possible. The 
Transport, on being discharged will return at once to the port 
of Boston, Mass., touching at Fortress Monroe for such 
further orders as may in the meantime have been given. 

You will also upon consultation with the commander of the 
Naval Forces at Ship Island report specifically what supplies 
of Ordnance, Quarter Master s Stores, wharf accommodations, 
water, and transport service may be necessary to render the 
Island a safe and convenient depot for the accommodation 
of a body of five thousand troops, giving a full account of the 
present state of the island and its fortifications. 

By command of MAJOR GENERAL BUTLER 



286 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

H d Q rs. Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Nov. 19th, 1861 

To the Colonel Commanding the Troops on board the Steamer 

Transport " Constitution " 

SIR: As soon as the supplies are on board, the steamer will 
proceed to Portland, Maine, and take on board the 12th 
Maine Regiment, commanded by Colonel G. F. Shepley, and 
await further orders, by Telegraph or otherwise. 

By command of MAJOR GENERAL BUTLER 

By General Butler 

Head Quarters, BOSTON, Nov. 19th, 1861 

To the Master of the "Constitution" and the Col. Comdg. the 

forces 

No spirituous or intoxicating liquor other than that con 
tained in the Surgeon s Supplies will be allowed to be taken 
on board or kept therein or dealt out in any manner thereon 
during the employment on the above named Steamship in 
the service of the United States. 

By command of MAJ. GEN. BUTLER 

From the Adjutant-General 

War Department, WASH. Rec d BOSTON, Nov. 19, 1861 

To Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

DELAY the embarkation of your expeditionary force & 
repair immediately to this city. 

By order L. THOMAS, Adjt. Gen. 

From Lieutenant Colonel Browne 

BOSTON, Nov. 20th, 1861 

To Maj. Gen l BUTLER, U. S. Volunteers, Comd g Department 
of New England 

GENERAL: Having been absent from Boston during the 
greater part of the past fortnight, it was only on Saturday last 
that I was able to open and examine your letter of the 8th 
inst., addressed to me over the signature of a member of your 
staff. 

I cannot permit myself to be diverted by the tone of that 
letter from the subject matter of the charges you have pre- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 287 

ferred against me, into any controversy concerning the style 
of language which it suits your taste to employ in correspond 
ence. I beg therefore again to remind you that under date 
of May 10th you charged that "the substance" of Governor 
Andrew s despatch to you of April 25th had "been given to 
the public from Boston through the columns of the Tribune 
with strictures upon (your) official conduct" and that "this 
could not have been without the sanction of the Executive 
Department in some of its branches." Also that under 
date of May 16th you asserted officially that "the contents 
of that despatch were made known to the Boston corre 
spondent of the Tribune by some attache of the Executive 
Department," meaning (as you now admit) myself; and you 
added this expression "when such publication has been made 
on one part tending to injure me, what was left to me but to 
make public my answer thereto?" Also that you used con 
cerning me, in the same connection, the expression "unfaith 
ful servant." 

At the first opportunity offered to me after your return to 
Massachusetts I took occasion to deny the truth of these 
charges, and for my own vindication to request you either to 
withdraw them or to support them by proof. By your letter 
of the 8th inst. I am furnished as proof of the "publication" 
alleged by you, with the following single sentence which 
appeared in the N. Y. Tribune of May 6th, i.e. "This act of 
his if countenanced by the General Government (it certainly 
is not by Governor Andrew), is etc., etc." 

I beg to inquire whether this is the only evidence you are 
prepared to present to sustain your charges that "the sub 
stance" of Governor Andrew s despatch to you of April 25th 
was "given to the public from Boston through the columns of 
the Tribune, with structures upon (your) conduct," and that 
"this could not have been without the sanction of the Execu 
tive Department in some of its branches," and that "such 
publication (was) made on one part tending to injure (you)." 

If this is the sole evidence I respectfully request you to 
again review the subject, and to consider impartially whether 
that parenthetical sentence can justly be called a "publica 
tion" of Governor Andrew s despatch of April 25th, or of 
its "substance," and whether it even alludes so or is sufficient 
to justify an inference of the existence of any such despatch. 

I am further furnished by you in your letter of the 8th inst., 
as proof of your charge that I made the contents of the Gov- 



288 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

ernor s despatch known to the Boston correspondent of the 
N. Y. Tribune, with copies of certain letters between that 
correspondent and yourself under dates of Oct. 26th and 
28th last. 

In that correspondent s letter to you of the 28th ult. he 
states that previously to May 4th he had learned that Governor 
Andrew had sent to you a despatch or letter conveying his 
disapproval of your offer etc., but neither in your inquiries of 
that correspondent nor in his reply is there the slightest pre 
tence that he obtained from myself any information which 
he may have possessed. On the contrary, in your inquiries 
of him you expressly said, "I do not ask the name of your 
informant or source of information." 

In this connection, and as a possible solution of this question, 
I venture to recall to your memory a popular rumor that 
attached to your personal staff, and enjoying your personal 
intimacy on the expedition to Washington, were professional 
newspaper correspondents. Whether there were any grounds 
for this rumor I am entirely ignorant. I am aware only of the 
fact that such a rumor prevailed. Inasmuch as at the date of 
May 4th the original of the Governor s despatch had been 
already in your possession for several days, and was very 
shortly afterward published by you in the Boston Journal and 
elsewhere, may you not among your own surroundings find 
a possible explanation of one method in which its existence 
may have become known to others beyond the parties whom 
it immediately concerned? 

In conclusion I again respectfully suggest to you the justice 
of withdrawing your charges against me or of supporting 
them by proof. I am especially urgent in this matter because 
to a person holding the confidential official position which I 
have the honor to occupy, such charges are especially injurious. 

And although if no publication of the Governor s despatch 
or its substance ever took place, before it was published by 
yourself, the fact of a knowledge by the Tribune correspondent 
is of no consequence except so far as you charge me with hav 
ing communicated it, yet to remove all possible manner of 
doubt which may exist by reason of your correspondence with 
that gentleman, I inclose copies of subsequent correspondence 
between him and myself. I have the honor to remain 
Your obt. servant, A. G. BROWNE JR. 

Lieut. Col. and Military Secretary to His 
Excellency, the Governor of Massachusetts 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 289 

Enclosure 1 to Foregoing Letter 

BOSTON, November 17th, 1861 Not in chronological order ] 

WILLIAM S. ROBINSON Esq. 

DEAR SIR: I have received from Major General Butler a 
copy of a lettter addressed by you to him under date of Oct. 
28th in which you state that previously to May 4th last you 
had learned, from what you considered good authority, that 
Governor Andrew had sent to that officer a letter conveying 
disapproval of his offer to place Massachusetts militia at the 
disposal of Governor Hicks of Maryland for the suppression 
of a servile insurrection. I beg to ask you whether you ac 
quired this information in any way, directly or indirectly, 
from myself. Yoms respect f ully) ^ G BROWNE, JR. 

Lt. Col. and Mil. Sec. to the Gov. of Mass. 

Enclosure 2 to Foregoing Letter 

BOSTON, Nov. tQth, 1861 

A. G. BROWNE JR. Esq. 

MY DEAR SIR: In reply to your note of the 17th, it gives 
me pleasure to say that the information which I received in 
relation to the letter of Gov. Andrew to Gen. Butler, to which 
reference is made in my correspondence with the latter, was 
not acquired directly from yourself, and I have no reason to 
suppose that it came indirectly or in any way whatever from 
yourself. Vfffy ^^ yaur8j WM. S. ROBINSON 



From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Department of New England, BOSTON, Nov. 25th, 1861 

A. G. BROWNE JR., Lieut. Colonel and Military Secretary to 
His Excellency the Governor of Massachusetts 

GENERAL BUTLER directs me to acknowledge the receipt 
of Lieut. Colonel Browne s communication of the 20th inst., 
and to say that an absence at Washington must serve as an 
excuse for the delay in the answer. 

The allusion of the Military Secretary to the infelicities in 
the tone and style of General Butler s letter of the 8th instant 
has forced upon the mind of the General the painful convic 
tion that, as with the Moor, so with him, late familiarity with 
camps has caused it, that he is rude of speech and little blessed 
with the set phrase of grace: oppressed with this conviction, 

VOL. I - 19 



290 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

and at the risk of again giving offence to a perhaps fastidious 
taste, having complied with the request of Lieut. Col. Browne 
that he would consider the subject of this correspondence 
under the light afforded by the communication of the 20th 
inst., General Butler hastens to lay before the Military Sec 
retary the result of that consideration. 

So considered, then, the facts present themselves to the 
mind of General Butler in the following manner: 

The Gubernatorial despatch of April 25th was known only 
to His Excellency and Lieut. Col. Browne, Military Secretary 
to the Governor of Massachusetts. It was not made public 
by General Butler prior to the publication of his letter to 
Governor Andrew, of date, May 9th. But, prior to the 4th 
of May, the fact of the despatch was known to the corre 
spondent of the New York Tribune at Boston, and, with that 
knowledge fresh in mind, he upon that date writes to that 
journal a letter which appears in the issue of the 6th of May, 
in which, in speaking of the action of General Butler, with 
strictures upon that action, he says, "his act if countenanced 
by the General Government (it certainly is not by Governor 
Andrew), is etc." 

Lieut. Colonel Browne desires to know whether in the 
opinion of General Butler the publication of this phrase can 
justly be called a publication of the "substance" of Governor 
Andrew s despatch, and General Butler takes pleasure in 
assuring the Military Secretary that in his judgment it can; 
that phrase containing, as he believes, not only the "sub 
stance" of that despatch, but also, if we may be allowed the 
expression, its pith and marrow, may we add, the blood 
thereof which is the life thereof. 

Trusting that his mind, upon this branch of the subject, 
has been clearly expressed, General Butler would assure 
Lieut. Colonel Browne that he is still unable to account for 
the exposure of the fact of this despatch or of its substance 
in any other measure than in that heretofore asserted by him. 

The delicate insinuation of the Military Secretary that it 
might have been exposed by members of Genl. Butler s own 
staff for the time being, compels Gen. Butler to ask Lieut. 
Col. Browne to remark the impropriety, not to say impossi 
bility, of a suspicion by General Butler of the honor of gentle 
men with whose character he is acquainted, at the suggestion 
of a gentleman with whose character he is unacquainted save 
by rumor, and to inquire whether in the opinion of the Mili- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 291 

tary Secretary he furnishes great claim to additional credit 
who is rapid to suggest a breach of honor on the part of others 
unknown to him, for the purpose of shedding luster upon his 
own. 

General Butler knows that the knowledge of the substance 
or any portion of that despatch did not proceed from his 
Head Quarters or from any persons connected therewith prior 
to May 4th. General Butler cautions Lt. Colonel Browne 
that he should as little rely upon rumor for his facts in the 
instance cited, as does General Butler upon the same evidence 
to convict Lt. Colonel Browne of complicity with the death 
of the murdered Batchelder. 

Lieut. Colonel Browne will unite with Gen. Butler in the 
opinion that it would be an insult to the dignity of the Gov 
ernor, to harbor for an instant the thought that he had made 
public the fact or substance of a private despatch. 

There seems to be but one other source to look to Gen 
eral Butler is aware that the statement of the Tribune cor 
respondent meets the case of information derived directly 
from the Military Secretary, but the statement of the corre 
spondent that he "has no reason to suppose that it came 
indirectly or in any way whatever from yourself" does not 
seem to him to cover the case. Merely negative testimony 
upon a subject matter which might easily be a fact or the 
reverse, without impugning the credit of the witness, has not 
the effect of conviction upon the mind of General Butler. 

In conclusion, Gen. Butler desires me to say that, judging 
by the number and length of Lt. Colonel Browne s letters 
upon this subject, he is induced to believe that Lieut. Col. 
Browne has not given due consideration to the great truth 
contained in the expression "Life is short," and to suggest 
that if his official duties leave to the Military Secretary leisure 
to expend his energies in penning communications to General 
Butler, in the hope to draw from him a retraction or an altera 
tion of statement, in the truth of which his belief is only the 
more confirmed by the arguments adduced against them, he, 
General Butler, in view of the present condition of the country, 
and his own position with reference to that country, has other 
and grander objects for contemplation and action, to which 
he must in the future be allowed to apply himself without 
interruptions from this source, upon this theme. 

[BENJ. F. BUTLER] 



292 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

H d Q rs. Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Nov. 27, 1861 

W. S. ROBINSON, Esq. 

DEAR ROBINSON : I have read Warrington s letter of last week. 

You will be not a little astonished to know that Capt. 
Manning was approved by the Governor and not by me, and 
is the only person in the artillery in my division recruiting 
by the authority of the state. 

Capt. Manning is an especial protege of the Adjutant General. 
I did not commission French until Andrew refused to com 
mission anybody, even Capt. Blanchard whom he had 
approved. Thus much for the path of history. 

Yours truly, B. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of N. E. BOSTON, Nov. 27, 1861 

His Excellency Gov. HOLBROOK 

MY DEAR SIR: I am exceedingly obliged for the cordial aid 
and support given the Government of the United States by 
the Executive of Vermont. 

The requisitions of my departmental duties are so engrossing 
that I cannot get myself away long enough for the enjoyment 
of a visit to you. I should be happy to tender you the hospi 
talities of the department at these Head Quarters if the delights 
of the opera could tempt your Excellency to Boston. 

I trust you have received the order of the War Depart 
ment about the Batteries, if not, please let me know. Could 
not some picked men of the Regiments recruiting be immedi 
ately selected for the Batteries, so that they might be sent 
down to me for drill? I have a first class artillery officer 
here, and wish to drill the men somewhat before they go. I 
can give you a good man for First Lieutenant of Artillery if 
desired. I will immediately equip these batteries 156 men each 
if this arrangement could be made. 

I will also send up to you to buy the horses necessary. I 
am much pleased to have Phelps, and I know the service will 
be a most pleasant one to your people. Will you take the 
trouble to see if this arrangement cannot be carried out? 

Command me in anything which is possible to aid you in 
the matters of Service to your Noble State or the Country. 
Believe me R BUTLER) 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 293 

From General Butler 

BOSTON, Nov. 27th, 1861 

Gen. WILLIAM SCHOTJLER, Adjt. Gen. State of Mass. 

GENERAL: I have the honor to enclose a list of officers 
known as the "Salem Light Artillery," with a request that 
they be commissioned by his Excellency the Governor, should 
they be deemed competent. 

Capt. Manning is understood to have been accommodated 
by the Adjutant Gen l of the State: Capt. Chs. H. Manning, 
Lieut. Fred W. Reinhardt, Lieut. Jas. R. Salla, Lieut. Henry 
Davidson, Lieut. George Taylor. 

These officers have been duly elected by the said company. 
I have the honor to be General 

Very Resp. Your Obt. Servt. 

By order of MAJ. GEN. BUTLER 

From Assistant Adjutant-General Strong 

Head Quarters, BOSTON, Nov. 27th, 1861 

Col. THOS. A. SCOTT, Asst. Sec. of War, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

SIR: I have the honor to enclose a telegram received from 
the Governor of Vermont, and to ask by direction of Maj. 
Gen. Butler that the 7th Vt. Regt. now being raised may be 
assigned to his Division, as the recruitment of the said Regi 
ment would according to the enclosed despatch be thereby 
expedited. I have the honor to be Sir, 

Very Resp. Your Obt. Servt. 
GEO. C. STRONG, Asst. Adjt. Gen. 

From General Bradler 

MONTAGUE, MASS., Dec. 1st, 1861 

Major Genl. B. F. BUTLER 

DEAR SIR: I find a great deal of inconvenience in recruit 
ing here from the fact that the Country People do not fully 
know to their satisfaction that they will receive State aid for 
their families. 

As I understand it, and have told them, when the State of 
Mass, passed the law giving State aid to families of Recruits, 
it was done to encourage married men to enlist, by increasing 
the then merely nominal compensation, and the question of 
the ability of the recruit to otherwise support himself, by landed 
property or otherwise, was not bruited. The Selectmen of 



294 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the Towns about here, however, claim that they have discre 
tionary power in the premises, and that it is at their option 
to give or to withhold the State aid, as they may deem the 
actual necessity of the case requires, thereby reducing the said 
families of recruits to the condition of paupers. A state of 
things we could hardly expect any man to enlist under. I 
have many men here and around here that will go with me, 
providing that in case they have a wife and two children they 
are sure of getting the State aid, and the mere fact that they 
happen to own a little farm, or are in tolerable easy circum 
stances, will not deprive them of the State aid. 

They say this, that if they go to war for their country s 
honor, they should not be required to have their little property 
at home eaten up by wife and children because their pay was 
but $13 per month, and of course inadequate to the support 
of a family. 

Will you, dear General, please write me full and entire 
instructions on this important point, so that I may show 
them what to expect. With much respect, 

Your obt. Servant, GENL. J. BRADLER 

From General Butler 

H d Q rs Dep t of New England, BOSTON, Dec. Ind, 1861 

To the Adjutant General of U. S. Army 

GENERAL: I beg leave to report that the Steamship "Con 
stitution" sailed from Boston to Portland in the State of 
Maine upon Thursday the 21st ultimo, with two regiments 
of infantry, the 9th Connecticut and the 20th Regiment of 
Mass. Vols., together with the 5th Mass. Light Battery, in 
all numbering about 1900 men. [One] company of the 9th 
Connecticut was allowed to remain at "Camp Chase" in 
Lowell to recruit for the Regiment, where it is now stationed. 
Subsistence stores for thirty days for 3000 men were taken 
on board at Boston. 

It was my intention to have placed no board this ship at 
Portland the 12th Maine Regiment, this coming within the 
chartered capacity of the vessel, but upon arriving at that 
place the captain, becoming uneasy and doubtful of the 
capacity of the ship, entered a written protest against taking 
it on board, and upon the 23rd ult. sailed from that port with 
the freight taken at Boston. 

I have since had the 12th Maine Regt. brought to this 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 295 

State and encamped at "Camp Chase" where it now remains, 
waiting the readiness of vessels to carry it on, and undergoing 
instructions. 

By the action of the Captain of the "Constitution" he 
made forfeit his charter party, and waives the claim of the 
owners to be adjusted upon the principles of equity. On the 
25th ult. I forwarded the bark "Kingfisher" of Boston for 
the same destination from Boston, with extra clothing for 
three Regiments and other Qr. Master s stores, including 
parts of a floating bridge J mile long, lumber &c. for building 
wharf &c. carriages for 1 field battery, subsistence & sutler s 
stores, and 130 horses & forage, details of which bill of lading 
is in Schedule marked A. 

I have the "Geo. Green," "Idaho," & "Black Prince" now 
loading all from 1000 to 1400 tons register, all sanitary vessels. 

The "Geo. Green" is loading with lumber, subsistence 
stores, and horses, & will be ready to sail by about the 10 inst. 
The "Idaho" and "Black Prince" will take on board the 12th 
Maine Regiment with subsistence stores, lumber, horses, and 
forage. They will be ready to sail about the 10th inst. I am 
loading the bark with lumber, cement, horses & forage, and 
surf boats, and it will be ready to sail by the 10th inst. 

I have chartered the Steam Tug "Saxon" to take out a 
company of Artillery with their guns and subsistence stores, 
and intend that it shall sail to act as convoy & tug to the above 
vessels. 

The "Constitution" touched at Fortress Monroe, & on the 
27th ult., having taken on board Brig. Genl. Phelps, sailed 
for Ship Island, where it becomes due upon the 3rd inst. If 
it succeeds in unloading to leave there on the 7th, it will be 
due here in ordinary course upon the 15th inst. ready for 
further service. 

I have been obliged to use sailing ship for transporting the 
men because of the impossibility of getting steamers, being 
informed by those in whose judgment confidence may be 
placed, that they are equally safe. 

I have in process of recruitment more of which will be ready 
by the time of the return of the "Constitution" than can be 
taken on board of her: 2 Regiments in Massachusetts, 1 in 
Vermont, 1 in Connecticut. A squadron of mounted men and 
3 batteries of full equipment. I have secured and in process 
of being ready, arms, ammunition, uniforms, and equipment 
for all these. 



296 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

I have in my report of the second instant given a complete 
list of ordnance and ordnance stores which can be obtained 
for the objects of the expedition. I do not send herewith lists 
of commissary stores purchased, but these may be stated 
generally to be sufficient for 5000 men for 3 months besides 
the fresh provisions for the voyage. 

I have also such stored provision of materials as may be 
necessary to put the fortification upon Ship Island in a reason 
able state of defence. 

Schedule B contains a list of Q.M. stores shipped on board 

the "Constitution." /T> T^ T> \ 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Dec. 3, 1861 

Adjt. General WASHBURN, WOODSTOCK, VT. 

CAN I send up equipments for 120 men for battery, muster 
them in and bring them away? 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 

From Assistant Adjutant General Strong 

Head Quarters, BOSTON, Dec. 6th, 1861 

Col. J. H. FRENCH, LOWELL 

COLONEL: Major Gen l. Butler directs that you admit into 
"Camp Chase" no one who is looking for Soldiers, whether 
it is with a writ of Habeas Corpus or not. Let all such be 
referred to the General Commdg. of these Head Quarters. 

Very Respectfully Your Obt. Servt. 

GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. Gen l. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. BOSTON, Dec. 13th, 1861 

Lieut. JOHN W. JONES, 12th U. S. Infantry 

SIR: Major Gen l Butler desires me to state, in reply to 
your communication of llth inst. that General Washburne 
probably misunderstood the circumstances of the organiza 
tion of the troops for this Division. 

The recruiting expenses are all paid by the Mustering and 
disbursing officer, as pr. Gen l orders No. 70 from Adjt. Gen. s 
Office. After muster, Gen. Butler supplies them with that 
portion of their clothing and equipment which the state may 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 297 

not have provided, and pays the expenses of their transporta 
tion. I am Lieut. T7 D v sm o 

Very Respy. Your Obt. Servant, 

GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. Gen l. 
From General Butler 

Dec. Uth, 1861 

Hon. G. V. Fox, Asst. Secy, of Navy 

HAVE you forwarded ship load of coal to Ship Island or 
shall we? 

From the Assistant Secretary of the Navy 

Navy Dept. WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 1861 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, BOSTON 

WE have sent no coal to Ship Island. Ours goes to Key 

"W^ct 

G. V. Fox, Asst. Secy. Navy 
From John D. Sanborn 

FORT MONROE, Dec. 15th, 1861 

To Gen l B. F. BUTLER 
THE "Constitution" has just arrived, landed the troops, 

all correct. T ^ a 

JOHN D. SANBORN 

From General Butler 

H d Qr s Dep t of New England, BOSTON, Dec. 17th, 1861 

To His Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW, Gov. & Com. in Chief 

GOVERNOR: On the 27th day of Nov. there was forwarded 
to the Adjt. Genl. of the Commonwealth a letter of which the 
enclosed is a copy. No answer has been returned to that 
letter, & no action taken on its request. Maj. General Butler 
requests His Excy. to favor him with a reply whether he will 
or will not commission the officers therein named. If any are 
objectionable, Genl. Butler would be pleased to be informed of 
the objections, & will recommend others. As this Battery 
was raised under the authority of the state & with His Excy/s 
approval, it did not seem to come within the spirit or the 
letter of His Excy. s refusal to commission any officers for 
troops raised under the authority of the War Department for 
Genl. Butler. A reply to this communication either in refusal 
or acquiescence would be but justice to the acting officers of 
this Battery, but a matter of entire indifference to 

His Excy. s Obdt. Servt. GENERAL B. F. BUTLER 



298 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Governor Andrew 

BOSTON, December Wh, 1861 

To Maj. General B. F. BUTLER 

SIR: Accustomed myself to attempt to reach the substance 
of duty through the forms of natural courtesy and propriety, 
which I do not willingly or wittingly offend, I make no doubt 
that my education & natural acuteness may both fail some 
times to instruct me in those technicalities of breeding which 
regulate the formal intercourse of society. I beg you, there 
fore, not to hold me to such rigidness of propriety as by the 
letter of Major Strong, A. A. General, written this day to my 
Military Secretary, by your command, you have exacted of 
him. 

Having myself seen and known the contents of the letter 
of Col. Browne, which is returned to him this day with the 
criticism that it is not admissible " as being of improper address 
and signature," I find myself unable to instruct him how to 
amend it, since the particulars of the offence were not stated, 
and are not discernible to me, nor, as I am assured, by him. 
I beg to assume all blame, if any there is, and to receive the 
proper correction as due to my own want of knowledge. 

I have therefore ventured, as one citizen writing to another, 
in which capacity I may be less likely to offend propriety and 
unknown laws and usages, to beg leave to address myself 
to you; and inclosing the objectionable letter, with Major 
Strong s reply, to ask the favor of a precise statement of the 
offence committed, & to be instructed what amendment would 
relieve it from all animadversion on its form both of address 
and signature. And I have the honor to be 

Your most obedient servant, JOHN A. ANDREW 

From Assistant Adjutant General Strong 

Head Quarters Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Dec. 19th, 1861 

To His Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW, Governor of Massachusetts 
SIR: I am instructed by Maj. Gen. Butler to state in reply 
to your Excellency s communication of yesterday that the 
letter addressed by Lt. Col. Browne to Gen. Butler was returned 
because in official correspondence on military subjects and 
between Military men it is customary to conform if not to 
the letter of Military law (Par. 449 last Clause Army Regu 
lations) at least to certain conventionalities equivalent thereto. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 299 

The letter to which that was the reply was addressed to your 
Excellency, and therefore signed by General Butler himself; 
as claiming to be your Excellency s coordinate; Lieut. Col. 
Browne s letter was addressed not to the Chief of Staff at these 
Head Quarters, but directly to the Major General Command 
ing the department, and even then not in his official capacity. 

Gen. Butler desires me to state, moreover, that the proprie 
ties above discussed are herein violated only because your 
Excellency s letter was received at the moment of General 
Butler s departure for Washington, and he was therefore 
unable himself to respond, as was his desire to do. I have the 
honor to be Sir 

Your Excellency s Most Obedient Svt. 9 

GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. General 

From General Butler 

WASHINGTON, D.C. Decbr. 19th, 1861 

To the Adjutant General of the Army 

SIR: I have the honor to forward to the Commanding Gen 
eral a copy of the report of Brigadier Gen l Phelps of the land 
ing of a portion of the troops of my division upon Ship Island, 
together with details of the state of the Island and its needs 
for a defensive position. 

I have not received from General Phelps any official copy 
of the proclamation to which he refers, but from other sources 
have such information as renders it certain that the printed 
copies are substantially correct. I need hardly say that the 
issuing of any proclamation upon such occasion was neither 
suggested or authorized by me, and most certainly not such 
a one. With that important exception I commend the report, 
and ask attention to its clear and business like statements. 

I have the honor to be v , , . 

/ our most obedient servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l. Comdg. 
From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Dept. 

BOSTON, Dec. 20th, 1861 

To Major GEORGE C. STRONG, Asst. Adjt. Gen. and Chief of 

Staff of Maj. Gen. BUTLER 

MAJOR : I am directed by His Excellency, Governor Andrew, 
to acknowledge the receipt this evening of your letter bearing 



300 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

date yesterday, and to suggest to you certain misconceptions 
upon which it is written. 

1. With the single exception of the President of the United 
States, no officer or person, whether State or National, civil or 
military, whether temporarily sojourning or permanently 
residing within the limits of Massachusetts, can be recognized 
within such limits as the co-ordinate of the Governor of the 
Commonwealth in official dignity or rank. 

You are reminded of this fact simply because His Excel 
lency would not seem to waive a point important in our federa 
tive system, of which system the President is the sole head, 
without any co-ordinate, and in which the states composing 
it are essential to its Constitutional life as are the people 
themselves, each respective Governor being the official head 
of his own state without any co-ordinate within his jurisdic 
tion, saving the President of the United States, who is the 
Federal head, and the official superior of all magistrates and 
officers. 

2. But irrespective of this fact, it appears very remarkable 
that a gentleman of acute perception and trained professional 
intellect, such as Major General Butler has acquired by exten 
sive experience in civil life, should quote the Regulations for 
the Army of the United States as dictating ceremonies of 
official intercourse to a magistrate who is no part of that 
army, and not subject to its regulations; for it cannot admit 
of question that no regulations promulgated by the Secretary 
of War, and liable to constant variation, can be imperative 
upon the Governor of a state, who, if General Butler/s asser 
tion of law and courtesy in this respect are true, might, for 
the offence which Gen. Butler alleges, be amenable to a court 
martial, and as a result of its finding be "dismissed from the 
service," which could only mean be deposed from his office 
as Governor by the sentence of a court martial of the Federal 
army, if the theory be correct that his office is necessarily 
responsible to such army regulations. 

But it needs no reductio ad absurdum to test the pretension 
that the Federal army regulations govern the Governors of 
the States, for in those regulations the catalogue of officers 
which they contemplate is explicitly set forth, being from 1st 
to 16th (i.e. from Lieutenant General to Corporal) inclusive, 
and the Governors of the States are nowhere included in the 
enumeration; nor does it seem to require argument to estab 
lish the fact that this lex scripta which is quoted by you under 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 301 

Major Butler s direction, to justify his abrupt and ungentle 
treatment of an important and polite business letter, on a 
mere pretext of technical formality, fails as utterly to justify 
his action as does the reason of the thing. 
3. Another error, Major, to which I am directed to request 
especial attention, consists in your entirely ignoring the fact 
that by general orders No. 78 of the department of the United 
States, bearing date on the 16th September last, Major Gen 
eral Butler was placed under the orders of the Governor of 
Massachusetts, in respect to raising, organizing, reorganizing, 
and preparing for service any portion designed to be raised 
in Massachusetts of the volunteer force, which on the 10th of 
September he received authority from the Secretary of War 
to raise in the New England States. 

It is not intended in this connection to raise or to discuss 
the question whether under existing laws the authority assumed 
to be granted to Major General Butler by the War Depart 
ment was not invalid from the beginning, so far as concerns 
the raising of troops in Massachusetts, this Commonwealth 
having neither refused nor omitted to respond cheerfully to 
every requisition for troops made upon its executive by the 
Federal authorities; and the point is mentioned only to guard 
against the possible use of this correspondence at any future 
period to signify an admission on the part of the Common 
wealth of Massachusetts of the rights of the Federal Gov 
ernment, under existing laws, to authorize individuals to 
raise troops in any state without such omission or refusal 
on the part of the authorities of such state to respond to 
requisitions. 

In the present condition of National affairs the Governor 
considers it impolitic and unpatriotic to embarrass the public 
service by undue nicety of etiquette, and he regrets that 
Major General Butler s views of duty in this particular should 
not have corresponded with his own, so as to render the 
present correspondence unnecessary; but since questions of 
mere etiquette have thus been mooted by General Butler, I 
am bound by an imperative necessity which his criticism 
upon my letter of December 17th imposes upon me, to recall 
to his mind that he has himself written to Governor Andrew 
without prefixing any address and without signature, and 
that also under circumstances which lead to the inference 
of intentional, not accidental, discourtesy, when we con 
sider Major General Butler s high estimate and appreciation 



302 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

of the forms of politeness which belong to the intercourse of 
officers and gentlemen. 

And much less ought I, in this connection, to pass unnoticed 
(what has never been referred to before and what would have 
remained without mention had not this subject of etiquette 
been introduced by Major General Butler himself) Gen. 
Butler s letter of October 12th, 1 written to Gov. Andrew, but 
not addressed to him except in so far as he is mentioned in 
the third person, after the fashion of dinner invitations and 
the like on private and social occasions, and not signed by the 
Major General with any addition of rank or command, and 
frequently reiterating the Governor s Constitutional title and 
name with significance and conspicuous marks of quotation 
surrounding them whenever repeated. 

It is customary to affix marks of quotation, in manuscript, 
to indicate passages or expressions borrowed from some other 
to whom they ought to be accredited. But I am not aware 
that a name given in baptism or inherited from a parent, or 
a title conferred by the Constitution on a magistrate as his 
official description, are in any sense original ideas or expressions 
which it is usual to designate by marks of quotation. Nor is 
this a matter in which a gentleman of Major General Butler s 
learning and urbanity could have erred by a mistake. And 
therefore, although Governor Andrew never alluded to this 
circumstance, nor ever allowed it in any manner to interfere 
with his own courteous demeanor towards Major General 
Butler in the business and correspondence of this department, 
yet I must now allude to it for the purpose of protesting that 
a matter of purely formal inadvertence (if it had been an error 
at all) committed by me in a letter addressed by the Governor s 
order to Major General Butler, was not a matter to which 
any right remained to that officer to take exception. When a 
gentleman has violated the substance of courtesy, as did 
General Butler, in that letter of October 12th, by a studious, 
indirect, insinuating, but not less significant and intentional 
act of impoliteness towards a magistrate whose only offence was 
fidelity to his duty, to the laws, and to the rights of his official 
position, he cannot be permitted without comment to assume 
to arraign another for a supposed breach of a rule of military 
intercourse simply formal, technical and arbitrary, as he has 
assumed to arraign me in this matter, through yourself. 



1 See letter dated Oct. llth, ante p. 251. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 303 

I beg, Major, that you will not consider me regardless of 
the exactest courtesy towards yourself, both personally and 
in the official relation you sustain towards Major General 
Butler; but I beg you also to excuse any undue harshness of 
expression, when you remember that it was by your hand 
that Major General Butler repelled and criticised the letter 
addressed by me to him by order of my own official commander, 
and also that it is over your signature that he has written a 
letter to the Governor, making thereby an arbitrary exception 
to a rule which he cites against myself. The rule as he defined 
it not existing, the conduct of which he complains being 
strictly correct, and he being not only in an error, but in error 
also in the precise particular wherein he assumes to make 
correction, it has become my unpleasant duty to reply, and 
in my reply to cover the whole field opened by the attack. 

The whole matter concisely stated is this: Major General 
Butler individually recommended to Governor Andrew the 
appointment of certain officers to a Battery of Massachusetts 
Volunteer Light Artillery, just as recommendations for mili 
tary appointments are daily made in great numbers to this 
department by individuals of every description and condition, 
- only that in this instance the recommendation was justly 
entitled to especial attention and consideration as coming 
from a military officer of the highest rank, for whom the 
Battery had been authorized by the Governor to be raised, 
and under whom it might be called to serve. The fact that 
the recommendation was communicated through an officer of 
Major General Butler s staff did not change that into an 
official proceeding, which was necessarily and intrinsically 
only a personal and informal proceeding. To this recommen 
dation the Governor directed a suitable reply to be returned 
by an officer of his staff, to which an answer is awaited, and 
His Excellency regrets that the organization of a Battery of 
Light Artillery already in the presence of the enemy, should 
be delayed by the raising at this moment of any questions of 
etiquette by Major General Butler. 

In conclusion, I have the honor to state that the present 
communication would be addressed to Major General Butler 
personally were His Excellency not advised by you of the 
absence of that officer at Washington. I have the honor to be, 

Respectfully your obedient servant, 
A. G. BROWNE, JR., Lieut. Col. and Military Secretary 



304 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Caleb Gushing to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, 22 Dec. 1861 

DEAR GENERAL: I have been out all day, and did but just 
receive your note. It grieves me above all to grieve you. 
After writing to you this morning I had an interview with 
Senator Wilson, which was altogether courteous and fair on 
his part. But the day s thought, and consultation with him 
& others, confirm me in the conviction which I expressed 
this morning. I will call on you at half past six. 

Yours, C. GUSHING 

From Caleb Gushing to General Butler 

Rugby House, 22 Dec. 1861 

MY DEAR GENERAL: On reflection, the path of duty and 
honor, in the matter of our conversation last evening, seems 
to me to be plain. If it had pleased the President to command 
my services in this behalf, I should have considered myself 
bound to obey; but the possibility of that is now at an end, 
and I must positively decline to stand in the position of a 
quasi applicant for a secondary federal commission, or to 
enter the service on the force of a balance of pros and contras 
of political recommendation. 

I shall never cease to be grateful to you for your perfect 
friendship in the premises. I shall not forget whatever there 
may be of kind disposition on the part of Messrs. Sumner and 
Wilson, and of Gen. McClellan; and I will in due time say 
my thoughts on the subject to the President personally. But 
I most earnestly beg of you to let the matter drop. I am 

Very Faithfully yours, C. GUSHING 

From the Assistant Adjutant General 

Head Quarters of the Army, Adjt. Gent s Office, WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 1861 

SPECIAL ORDERS No. 336 

GEN. BUTLER: 1. The regiments of Infantry and Batteries 
of Artillery (Volunteers), now organized in New England, 
will report to Major General B. F. Butler, who will proceed 
to their several places of destination, and thoroughly inspect 

By command of MAJOR GENERAL MCCLELLAN 
E. D. TOWNSEND, Asst. Adjt. Gen. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 305 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. BOSTON, Dec. 26th, 1861 

General L. THOMAS, Adjt. General U.S.A., WASHINGTON, D.C. 
SIR: In obedience to a resolution of the Senate of 17th inst. 
and to letter from Adjt. Gen. Office Dec. 18th 1861, I have 
the honor to enclose a statement of the officers, non-com d 
officers, privates attached to these Head Qrs. I am, Sir, 
By order of MAJ. GEN. BUTLER 

Very Resp y. Your Obt. Servant, 

GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. General 

Exhibit to Letter to General Thomas 

Head Quarters Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Dec. 26th, 1861 

DETAILED Statement of all the officers, non-commissioned 
officers, and Privates detailed to attend in any manner upon 
the Head Quarters Dept. of New England: 

1. Major Gen. B. F. Butler, Major Gen. Commanding 

2. Major Geo. C. Strong, A.A. Gen. Ordce. Office & Chief 

of staff 

3. Capt. Peter Haggerty, Aide de Camp 

4. Lieut. W. H. Wiegel, 

5. Major J. M. Bell, Volunteer " " No pay or 

6. Capt. R. S. Davis, " " " Emolument 

from U.S. 

7. Capt. Geo. A. Kensel, Chief of Artillery 

8. Capt. A. J. Butler, Comm. of Subsistence (now at Ship 

Is.) 

9. Capt. Paul R. George, Asst. Qr. Master 

10. Surgeon Gilmon Kimball, Medical Director 

11. 1st Lieut. C. N. Trumbull, Topi. Engineer 

Privates Knopp & Bolton 26th Mass. Vols. detailed as 
Orderlies, and the only persons detailed from any branch of 
the service to attend upon Head Quarters. 

Body guard in addition to the above None 
Gen. Butler has never had the number of Aides de Camps 
drawing pay (three) allowed by law; & but one of the rank of 
Captain to which the three are by law entitled. I certify that 
the above statement is correct. 

By order of MAJ. GEN. BUTLER 
GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. Gen l. & Chief of Staff 

VOL. I 20 



306 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, BOSTON, Dec. %8th, 1861 

To Major General BENJ. F. BUTLER 

GENERAL: Learning that you have arrived again in Boston, 
I hasten to charge the Adjutant Genl. of the Commonwealth, 
General Schouler, with the duty of seeing you, if possible, 
and also, if possible, of arranging on Consultation with you a 
roster of Officers for the 4th Massachusetts Battery Co., to 
be submitted for immediate consideration to yours 

JOHN A. ANDREW 

From General Butler 

Head Qr. Dec. 29^, 1861 

His Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW 

GOVERNOR: On my return home at the earliest possible 
moment I reply in person to your note in the character of a 
citizen. The official reply sent by Major Strong I approve 
and ordered as covering the point, upon which I believed a 
discourtesy had been done by your military secretary with 
whom personally, for reasons appearing to me sufficient, I 
had refused to hold farther correspondence. 

I have read the letter in reply from the military secretary, 
and do not propose to reply to it at length. Having enrolled 
yourself by your own act in the IT. S. Army of Massachusetts 
Volunteers, the evidence of which I send herewith, I thought 
it at least no discourtesy to treat you as my equal in the 
assimulated rank which could be given you by courtesy only. 
Specially in a correspondence upon military matters, and to 
ask of you a like courtesy. 

You will not certainly take the public and published honors 
of enrollment in the United States Army Roll of Massa 
chusetts Volunteers without incurring the corresponding 
obligations of courtesy and responsibility, and while I never 
supposed that for any violations of the regulations of the War 
department the Governor of Massachusetts could be deposed, 
yet I do believe that for such Violation he will be likely to 
have his assumptions of command of those volunteers, either 
at home or on the lines at Potomac, signally rebuked. Of 
this I believe you have had some experience. 

I shall not notice further either the matter or manner of 
that note, save to say that I disclaim most emphatically any 
intentional or even accidental discourtesy to the Governor 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 307 

of Massachusetts. I have by far too high a respect for the 
office to wish to aid in lowering its dignity. 

In the matter of the address in quotation I but copied 
the address assumed by one of the numerous military secre 
taries who write me on behalf of the Governor, and it was 
because of the form of that address. "His Excellency Gover 
nor Andrew" is neither a baptismal, inherited, or constitutional 
title, and after using it once in the letter alluded to, I carefully 
used the title of the constitution, and marked it in quotation 
to call attention to the difference. I was the more careful to 
use the third person in the letter because I was asking a fa 
vorable consideration to a request, and in that case I am not 
taught to sign the rank with which I have been honored. 
The Major Generals of the United States seldom officially 
ask favors. You will also observe that thereon I used the 
third person speaking of myself. 

May I call your attention to the fact that the rules in regard 
to set-off used in the profession which we both practice, and 
which perhaps it had been better for both and the Country 
if we had never left, do not apply to the courtesies of life. If 
you have by accident treated me discourteously it is no set- 
off that I had accidentally or even intentionally treated you 
discourteously. As soon as it is thus made such set-off then 
your discourtesy becomes intentional. 

But something too much of all this. As you have dis 
claimed all intentional discourtesy, that is sufficient. If my 
attention had been called to any supposed want of courtesy 
on my part I should at once have disclaimed it as I now 
do. Let then the citizen speak to the citizen, and to say 
without circumlocution, paraphrase or Euphuism, that in the 
matter of the officers of the light Battery I should not have 
recommended Captain Manning unless I had supposed he 
was specially desired by yourself and the Adjutant Gen 
eral. If he does not commend himself to you I have no 
objection to his not being commissioned, and will offer 
another. With regard to the other officers, their good con 
duct after several weeks commended them both to me and 
their men. 

If any grave charge can be substantiated against either of 
them I shall be happy to substitute others. I believe however 
neither of them have ever done anything worse than seducing 
a mother and making a father wifeless and children mother 
less, and that you know is no objection to a high military 



308 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

commission in Massachusetts. I believe neither of them dead 
or physically disabled as suggested in your note. 

If apology is needed for not notifying you of the fact that 
the battery was going to sea, I must say your supposed 
absence from the Commonwealth during all the time from the 
organization of the Company till the exigencies of the service 
required them to go, is the best I can offer. 

They had been ordered to report to me; men under my 
control had been mustered into the service of the United States, 
and with their future movement I respectfully submit you had 
nothing to do, save to give commissions if you so choose. If 
not, it is but justice to these men so to say. You have stated 
that this battery sailed "incompletely uniformed and equipped 
and not fully recruited." That is fully denied, and you must 
have been misinformed. I am 

Most respectfully Your fellow citizen, 

B. F. BUTLER 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, BOSTON, Dec. 30th, 1861 

To Major General B. F. BUTLER 

SIR: It becomes my duty to ask you to what officer or 
appointment you refer in your letter of the 28th instant, in 
using the following words: viz. "Seducing a mother and 
making a father wifeless, and children motherless, and that 
you know is no objection to a high military commission in 
Massachusetts." Moreover, may I ask whose mother is alluded 
to, & whose wife, does the implied allegation mean that the 
crime of murder was added to that of seduction? Although the 
words "You know" assume the existence of greater knowledge 
than I possess, and indeed, since the day I had the honor to de 
tail yourself as a Brigadier General of Militia, at the beginning 
of the present war, and to this day, & both inclusive, I cannot 
accuse myself of such an appointment. If I have done so, I 
beg [you] to expose it. I have the honor to be, 

Your Obt. JNO. A. ANDREW 

From John Ryan 

Auditor s Office, P.O. Department, WASH., D.C. Dec. 30, 1861 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Dept. of New England 

DEAR GENERAL: A piece of information was communi 
cated to me on yesterday in rather a confidential manner by 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 309 

Maj. Ben. Perly Poore, which may not be uninteresting to 
you; and, as the Major gave an inkling of the same to a 
correspondent of the N. Y. Herald, I may be pardoned from 
any breach of trust in writing you about it, and, more espe 
cially as a true friend of yours I feel in duty bound not to 
omit transmitting any information which I may conceive to 
be of any personal interest or importance to you. 

Poore is the private Secretary of the Hon. C. Sumner, as 
chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, and is 
therefore brought into intimate relations with him. The Major 
informed me that Sumner received a few days since from 
Governor Andrew a box containing some 60 or 80 pages of 
manuscript, copies of all his petulant and vindictive com 
plaints and charges against you, accompanied with a request 
that this mass of trash should be taken by the Senator to 
President Lincoln, and read for him. Poore informs me that 
Sumner will not so demean himself as to be the retailer of 
the Governor s complaints to the President. He trumps up 
the most silly and absurd stuff in this voluminous correspond 
ence, why he (the Governor) did not go to such and such 
a place because you were to be there. In fact, even in the 
estimation of both Poore and Sumner he has succeeded in 
convincing them that he is making a Judy of himself. As 
Sumner declines the very dignified and honorable duty imposed 
on him by the Governor, of bearer of despatches, "Old Abe" 
will be deprived of the edification and amusement which a 
perusal of Andrew s gossiping epistles would afford. The 
President enjoys fun, and certainly when our "merry" Andrew 
so successfully sinks the character of the Governor in that of 
the buffoon, it is really cruel and ungenerous in Sumner to 
refuse to play "Soup" in an affair of so much importance. 

But seriously, General, is it not strange that a man of such 
professed philanthropy and purity of soul as our Governor 
should allow himself to become the unhappy victim of such 
wicked passions as Envy, Pride and Malice? What infernal 
spirit has taken possession of him? Maj. Poore incidentally 
remarked that he believed Andrew received some encourage 
ment from the Secretary of War in his opposition to you. 
This, I cannot believe. Poore also informed me that he was 
talking with a Massachusetts man, some days ago, who went 
in company with Congressman Alley to the President to oppose 
the appointment of Gushing as Brig. General, and that the 
President informed them that they need have no apprehension 



310 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

or fears on that matter. So Alley and this Massachusetts man 
left the President confident that Gushing would not be ap 
pointed. Such is Poore s statement. I give it to you for what 
it is worth. 

As I have no other matter of information or news to com 
municate (and even the substance of this letter may not be 
news to you) I will close, with many good wishes for your 
triumph not only over the enemies of our common Country 
but those malicious and envious politicians who would seek 
to rob you of your well earned glory. 

Very Respectfully yours, JOHN RYAN 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. Head Quarters New Eng. Dept. 

BOSTON, Jan. 1, 1862 

Maj. Genl. GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Comdg. U. S. Army 

AM ready with 2200 men. Shall we embark? If there is 
to be but one day s delay the troops will be more comfortable 
on board the transport. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, M.G. Comdg. N. E. Dept. 

From General McClellan 

WASHINGTON, (Jan.) 1st, 1862 

To Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 
THE Genl. in Chief says "Remain where you are for the 

present " L. THOMAS, Adjt. Genl. 

From Brigadier General Burnside 

ANNAPOLIS, Jan. 1, 1862 

Genl. B. F. BUTLER 

I AM much in need of regular officers and you have several. 
Will you give me Turnbull? A R BuENSIDE) Brig . GenL 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department of New England, BOSTON, Jan. 1st, 1862 

To His Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW, Governor 

AT the earliest possible moment of relief from graver duties 
I answer your Excellency s communication of the 30th ult. 
I referred in my communication of the 28th ult., to the case 
of Wyman, appointed by your Excellency Colonel of the 16th 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 311 

Massachusetts Regiment. Unless the testimony of brother 
officers serving with Wyman is to be disbelieved, facts notorious 
are to be denied which have never been denied before. 

Col. Wyman, while an officer in the United States Army, 
held long adulterous intercourse with a Mrs. Brannon, a wife 
of a brother officer. This woman afterwards left her home 
under such circumstances as to induce the belief that she was 
either murdered by herself or another. 

This Wyman obtained leave of absence from the Army and 
joined his paramour in Europe. While there, he resigned his 
commission because of a letter from the Adjutant-General 
of the Army that he would be court-martialed if he did not, 
and remained abroad until after the breaking out of the war, 
when he left her embraces and returned to the arms of the 
Commonwealth under your Excellency s appointment. This 
woman was the mother of children, and if I should amend 
the language of my communication of the 28th ult., I should 
add, "making a father worse than wifeless, and children worse 
than motherless." 

I used the phrase "y u know," because I have been informed, 
and I have reason to believe and do believe that the substance 
of these facts was known to your Excellency at the time you 
made the appointment. Will your Excellency deny that you 
were then put upon inquiry as to them? 

I cannot expose this matter because it has long since been 
made a matter of exposition in the public prints. I have no 
farther knowledge of Colonel Wyman save that which may 
be learned by inquiry of any officer of the Army who served 
with him. I have no disposition to injure or interfere with 
him, and have made this communication only in reply to 
your Excellency s statement. I remain, 

Very respectfully, Your Excellency s obedient servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From Governor Andrew 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, 
BOSTON, January 6, 1862 

Major Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

SIR: At the first hour at my disposal for the purpose I 
acknowledge the receipt of your letter of Jan. 1st, in which 
you state that Colonel Powell T. Wyman, Commanding the 
16th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, now sta 
tioned at Fortress Monroe, is the person to whom you had 



312 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

reference when addressing me under the date of Dec. 28th. 
You asserted that I "know" that "seducing a mother, and 
making a father wifeless and children motherless," is no 
objection to a high military commission in Massachusetts. 

In answer to your somewhat peremptory interrogatory 
addressed to me in that letter of Jan. 1st, I would state for 
your information that the first knowledge I ever had of Mr. 
Wyman was through a letter addressed by him to the Adjt. 
Gen. of Massachusetts, dated "London, England, May 1, 
1861," stating that he was a citizen of Boston and a graduate 
of the West Point Military Academy, and had served for ten 
years as an officer of artillery of the IT. S. Army, and tendering 
his services to the Executive of this Commonwealth in any 
Military capacity. I am not aware that any acknowledg 
ment was ever made of this communication. 

During the month of June I received another note from Mr. 
Wyman, dated at the Parker House Boston, he having in 
the meanwhile returned to America. This letter was assigned 
to a member of my staff to whom Mr. Wyman was referred 
for consultation. It was at that time that I first heard that 
there was said to be a cloud of some sort upon Mr. Wyman s 
character; and, having little leisure myself to enter into 
quasi-judicial investigations as to personal character, I passed 
over his name in the appointments which I then was making. 
The nature of the reports against him was not then stated 
to me, and although I was soon after advised of them, yet 
there are things asserted in your letter of Jan. 1st as "notorious 
facts" of which it is only through yourself that I have 
knowledge. 

Very shortly afterwards Adam W. Thaxter Esq., of this 
city, doubtless known to you as one of the most distin 
guished merchants of Boston, brought the name of Mr. 
Wyman very urgently to my attention, both personally and 
in a letter dated June 20th, in which he requested me to call 
on himself if Mr. Wyman should "need an endorser," and 
stated that in his opinion Mr. Wyman, if appointed a Colonel, 
would "do credit to his native state." And on July 1st, Mr. 
Thaxter further presented to me a communication in writing, 
signed by Captain Thomas J. C. Armory, of the 7th Infantry, 
U. S. Army, and Captain Louis H. Marshall of the 10th Infan 
try, U. S. Army, both of whom had served in the army with 
Mr. Wyman, and who were, if I remember, the only U. S. 
regular Army officers then on duty in this city; and signed 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 313 

also by Charles G. Greene, Esq., Franklin Haven, Esq., 
William Dehon, Esq., William Parkman, Esq., Hon. Geo. 
Lunt, Hon. Benj. F. Hallet, Henry L. Hallet, Esq., P. Holmes, 
Esq., Edward F. Bradlee, Esq., Joseph L. Henshaw, Esq., 
Peter Butler, Esq., Thomas C. Amory, Esq., and J. P. Bradlee, 
Esq., all of these gentlemen of this city who are doubtless 
known to you by reputation, and with some of whom I cannot 
doubt that you are personally acquainted, in which communi 
cation these gentlemen requested the appointment of Mr. 
Wyman as a Colonel; and certified that they "believed in 
him" as "a gentleman, a man of worth, an accomplished 
officer, and brave soldier, and that a regiment under his 
command would yield to none in the service for discipline, 
high tone, and efficiency," and also that they felt convinced 
that under all circumstances he "would do honor to his state 
and his country." 

These gentlemen further stated that they made this request 
in full knowledge of the existence of the rumors and influences 
against Mr. Wyman s reputation; and, nevertheless, with 
such knowledge, they earnestly "urged him as one to whom 
the honor of Massachusetts may confidently be trusted." 

About the same time Mr. Wyman addressed to me a com 
munication in writing, denying the truth of the prejudicial 
rumors in circulation against him, and although admitting 
that it was true that he had formed a matrimonial connection 
with a lady who had eloped from her husband by reason of 
that husband s brutal treatment of her, yet stating also that 
he had not seen the lady for the year preceding, nor for the 
year after her elopement. This communication, I find upon 
referring to it, amounts also to a denial of the truth of much 
that is stated by you in your letter of Jan. 1st as "notorious 
facts" derogatory to Mr. Wyman s character. 

Upon the basis of this statement made by Mr. Wyman and 
controlled by no responsible counter statement or testimony 
whatsoever, and upon the formal assurance I received from 
the numerous gentlemen whom I have mentioned that he was 
a good soldier and a good citizen, I did not feel myself justi 
fied in rejecting the services of a highly meritorious and 
thoroughly educated officer upon unsubstantiated rumors of 
an alleged moral error, which did not affect his military com- 
petancy, and more especially at a time when the services of 
educated officers were so greatly needed for the command of 
our troops. I therefore appointed Mr. Wyman to be Colonel 



314 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

of the 16th Regiment, an appointment which under the 
circumstances stated commended itself to my judgment, and 
which I have no reason whatsoever now to regret, and under 
[the same] circumstances should not hesitate to repeat. 

As it was upon the faith of the assurances made to me by 
Mr. Thaxter, and the other gentlemen in their communica 
tion of July 1st, that the appointment of Colonel Wyman was 
made, I therefore conceive that your quarrel with that appoint 
ment should be with those gentlemen rather than with myself, 
and therefore I propose to enclose copies of your correspond 
ence with me in this connection to Mr. Thaxter as represent 
ing them, and I must request you to address to them any 
further correspondence upon this subject, inasmuch as they 
are better acquainted than myself with Col. Wyman and his 
character, life, and connections, which I know chiefly through 
them. 

I desire to add that in all the intercourse which I had with 
Colonel Wyman during the organization of his regiment, I 
never observed on his part the manifestation of any qualities 
than those of an accomplished officer, and I shall be very 
reluctant to give credit to your reproaches against his character, 
especially in view of the standing of those gentlemen by whom 
his character as a gentleman was certified to me. 

In conclusion, I would say that I do not feel that any reason 
exists requiring me to enter into such an explanation as the 
above, but when an officer of the rank of Major General in 
the Army of U. S. Volunteers thinks it necessary to diversify 
his occupation by needless flings at a fellow officer in the same 
army, seeking to strike myself through him, a sense of 
honor and duty both to the Commonwealth and to the Gentle 
man thus struck at requires me to spare no proper pains to 
see that justice is fully done. 

Your obedient servant, JOHN ANDREW 

From General Butler 

\ 

Camp Seward, PITTSFIELD, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 1862 

Lieut. Col. WHELDEN, Commanding Western Bay Regiment 

COLONEL: I have been much gratified with the appear 
ance, discipline, and proficiency of your regiment, as evidenced 
by the inspection of to-day. Of the order, quiet, and soldierly 
conduct of the camp the commanding general cannot speak 
too much praise. Notwithstanding the difficulties of season, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 315 

opposition, and misrepresentation, the progress made would 
be creditable if no such obstacles had existed. 

In the matter of the so-called State aid to the families of the 
volunteers under your command, I wish to repeat here, most 
distinctly, the declaration heretofore made to you. I will per 
sonally, and from my private means, guarantee to the family 
of each soldier the aid which ought to be furnished to him by his 
town, to the same extent and amount that the State would be 
bound to afford to other enlisted men, from and after this date, 
if the same is not paid by the Commonwealth to them as to 
other Massachusetts soldiers ; and all soldiers enlisting in your 
regiment may do so upon the strength of this guarantee. 

I have no doubt upon this subject whatever. The Common 
wealth will not permit her soldiers to suffer or be unjustly 
dealt with, under whosesoever banner they may enlist. The 
only question that will be asked will be, Are these men in the 
service of their country, shedding their blood in defence of its 
Constitution and laws? If so, they stand upon an equality 
with every other man who is fighting for his country, and will 
be treated by the State with the same equal justice, whatever 
may be the wounded pride or over-weening vanity of any 
man or set of men. 

I love and revere the justice, the character, the equity, the 
fame, and name of our glorious old Commonwealth too much 
to doubt of this for a moment, and will at any time peril 
whatever I may have of private fortune upon the faith engen 
dered by that love and reverence. 

Accept for yourself, personally, and for your officers, my 
most earnest thanks for the energetic services which you have 
rendered in the recruitment of your excellent regiment. 

Most truly your friend, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major -General Commanding 

From Colonel Shepley 

On board Steamer " CONSTITUTION," January 8th, 1862 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. of N. E. 

GENERAL: I respectfully transmit herewith copy of a com 
munication addressed to me by Lieut. Col. French, command 
ing Eastern Bay State Regiment, with copies of letters 
referred to by him, and purporting to have been addressed to 
privates in his regiment by authority of His Excellency, the 
Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 



316 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

I am informed that other communications to private sol 
diers under my command on board of this steamer have been 
received, purporting to come from the same source, and in 
the same or equivalent terms, describing the troops as "the 
irregular forces raised by General Butler, against the lawful 
authority of the State, and the United States." These state 
ments have been extensively circulated among the men, and 
have obtained some little credence, and given rise to some 
feelings of restlessness in that portion of the command raised 
in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. But you will per 
ceive, General, that in these letters no distinction is made 
whatever, between the forces raised by General Butler whether 
raised in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or in other 
states "all alike being characterized as irregular" and "raised 
against the lawful authority of the State, and of the United 
States." 

But whether intended to be confined to the force raised in 
Massachusetts or to be applicable to the forces raised by you 
in other States, there could seem to be but one purpose in 
addressing such communications to soldiers enlisted and 
mustered into the service of the United States, and on their 
way to join the forces in the field. On board this steamer are 
over two thousand men who were bravely and unrepiningly 
enduring the privations and exposures inevitably incident to 
their detention on board of a transport at this inclement 
season. There was no murmur of discontent until they were 
informed, as they supposed by the Governor of Massachusetts, 
that they were not in the service of the United States, and 
owed no obedience to their officers, in fact, that they were 
not soldiers of that country they had enlisted to serve. 

If these murmurings have not broken out into the actual 
insubordination the letters seem intended to have incited, it 
has been only from a want of credence in the authenticity of 
the letters or the accuracy of the statements they contain. 
I cannot believe that these letters were ever authorized by 
the Governor of Massachusetts. Surely he could never have 
so far forgotten what was due to his country, to his state, and 
to himself, as to have written such letters under such circum 
stances. I presume they are the unauthorized effusions of 
the gentleman who subscribes himself "Assistant Military 
Secretary." I have the honor to be, 

With great respect, Yr. Obdt. Servt., 

G. F. SHEPLEY, Col. Comdg. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 317 

Enclosure referred to in foregoing letter 

Headquarters, Eastern Bay State Regiment, Transport " CONSTITUTION," 

January 8th, 1862 

Col. G. F. SHEPLEY, Comdg. 

DEAR SIR: I deem it my duty to bring to your notice cer 
tain facts which have come to my knowledge, that in my 
judgment, would seem to implicate a certain party, high in 
authority in the Executive Department of this Common 
wealth, in inciting to mutiny and insubordination the soldiers 
on board this transport. 

For a day or two past I have noticed instances of disre 
spect toward superior officers, and an uneasiness under the 
necessary discipline of the ship. During my inquiries for 
the cause of these unusual occurrences, the accompanying 
two letters purporting to come from the Governor of this 
Commonwealth were placed in my hands. They contain such 
gross misrepresentations, are calculated to produce such dis 
astrous results to the service, and reflect to such an extent 
upon the authority of the Major General Commanding the 
Division, that I regard them as incendiary documents, induc 
ing mutiny amongst United States soldiers. I have caused 
them to be suppressed; and hereby communicate copies to 
you for your consideration. 

I understand that other letters of a similar character have 
reached soldiers, and I believe they are the only cause of the 
symptoms of insubordination which have appeared. I have 
the honor to be, 

Yr. Obedient Servant, JONAS H. FRENCH, 
Col. Comdg. Eastern Bay State Regiment, N. E. D. 

Enclosure 1 referred to in foregoing letter 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, 
BOSTON, January 6th, 1862 [Not in chronological order] 

Mr. GEORGE DOWNING, on board Steamer " Constitution" 

SIR: I am directed by his Excellency, Governor Andrew, 
to say in reply to your letter of yesterday that from the state 
ments made by you it appears that you have been deprived 
of the benefits of the act for the relief of the families of volun 
teers by your own volition; it having been extensively adver 
tised, by the promulgation of General Order No. 23 from these 
Head Quarters, that Gen. Butler s proceedings were not in 
accordance with the commands of the United States or the 



318 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

State authorities. While His Excellency feels a very deep 
sympathy for your family if likely to suffer by your indis 
cretion, he is unable to point out any immediate means of 
relief in the way you propose. 



THOMAS DREW, Assistant Military Secretary 
Inclosure 2 referred to in foregoing letter 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, 
BOSTON, January 6th, 1862 [Not in chronological order] 

Mr. JOSEPH HARDY, on board Ship "Constitution" 

SIR: I am directed by His Excellency, Gov. Andrew, to 
say in reply to yours of yesterday that by enlisting in the 
irregular forces raised by General Butler, against the lawful 
authority of the state, and of the United States, you may seem 
to have voluntarily deprived your family of the benefit of 
the soldier s family relief act. Deeply sympathizing with 
your family, if likely to suffer by your indiscretion, His Excel 
lency directs me to say that it is not in his power to relieve 
you in the manner proposed in your note. 

Yours very truly, 
THOMAS DREW, Asst. Military Secretary 

From the Adjutant-General 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9th, [1862] 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, U.S.A., BOSTON 

THE twenty eighth Massachusetts is ordered to New York. 
The seventh New Hampshire to Washington. 

L. THOMAS, Adjt. Gen. 

From General McClellan 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9th, [1862] 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, U.S.A., BOSTON 

THE General in Chief says, disembark your troops from 
the "Constitution" and report by telegraph the terms of the 

charter of that steamer. T T Aj-^n 

L. THOMAS Adjt. Gen. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 319 

From General Butler 

CONFIDENTIAL. Head Quarters Department of New England, 

BOSTON, Jan, 10, 1862 

L. THOMAS, Adjt. General of the Army, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

"CONSTITUTION" chartered at twenty five hundred dollars 
per day for twenty five hundred men. Ship to find all save 
rations. Charter is a cheap one for capacity. Charter to 
stop at any time. Would advise against disembarkation if 
possible to be prevented. Troops are now comfortable. Will 
begin preparations for disembarkations but await orders. 

B. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

CONFIDENTIAL. Head Quarters Department of New England, 

BOSTON, Jan. Wth, 1862 

Major GEO. C. STRONG, Willards Hotel, WASHINGTON 

GET orders to disembark revoked. Save the ship for us. 
Get connections. Report at length by mail. 

B. F. BUTLER 

From Major Strong 

[WASHINGTON] Jan. 10, 1862 

Major General BUTLER, BOSTON 

CANNOT you come on here at eight one half this eve? The 
President refuses to let French s regiment leave the state at 
present. I leave for Boston to-morrow morning. Answer 

this evening. ^ ^ 

GEORGE C. STRONG 

From Major Strong 

* WASHINGTON, Jan. llth [1862] 

Major General BUTLER, BOSTON 

THE "Constitution" is ordered to discharge the troops at 
Fortress Monroe for the present. I leave this evening. Answer 

e ^ GEORGE C. STRONG 

From General Butler 
Endorsed [To Gen. MCCLELLAN] 

Answer. General, your order will be carried out. 



320 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From the Adjutant-General 

WASHINGTON, Jan. llth, 1862 

Major Gen. B. F. BUTLER, U.S.A., BOSTON 

SEND the troops in the "Constitution" to Fort Monroe. 

L. THOMAS, Adjt. Gen. 

From Major Bell 

BOSTON, Jan. llth, 1862 

To Maj. GEO. C. STRONG, A.D.C. 

GENERAL BUTLER started for Washington at two o clock. 
Order will be carried out. JosEpH M BELL> AADC 

From General Butler 

Head Qts. BOSTON, Jan. llth, 1862 

To the Captain of Steamer "Constitution" 

SIR: You will immediately upon receipt hereof or as soon 
as possible thereafterwards get your ship the "Constitution" 
under way and sail with all the troops and stores on aboard 
to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, and there await orders. 

By order of Major Gen. BUTLER 
P. HAGGERTY, A. A. A. General 

From General Butler 

SPRINGFIELD, Jan. llth, 1862 

Major JOSEPH M. BELL, Head Quarters Department of New 

England 
MAKE all haste to sail. fi R BUTLER 

From Colonel Shepley 

SPRINGFIELD, Jan. llth, 1862 

J. M. BELL, A.D.C., General BUTLER S Head Quarters 

KEEP "Saxon" and tug boat fired up. I shall be in Boston 
tonight. Keep destination of "Constitution" secret. 

G. F. SHEPLEY, Col. 12th Maine 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 321 

From Major Bell 

CONFIDENTIAL. Head Quarters Department of New England, 

BOSTON, Jan. llth, 1862 

Major General BUTLER, National Hotel, WASHINGTON 

FOLLOWING telegram received from Major Strong late: 
"The Constitution is ordered to discharge troops at Fortress 
Monroe for the present." Yours from Springfield is at hand. 
All troops and stores already re-embarked, and ship shall 
sail tomorrow evening or Monday morning at farthest. As 
much earlier as possible according to tide, with orders to stop 
at Fortress Monroe for orders. 

JOSEPH M. BELL, A.A.D.C. 

From R. I. Burbank 

BOSTON, Jan. 11, 1862 

Maj. J. M. BELL 

MAJOR: The bill 1 was passed by both branches today under 
the "suspension of the rules." 

There is a rumor that the Gov. may veto it (I don t believe 
it), because the bill says troops etc. enlisted "/or the volunteer 
force for the war known as the New England Division," contend 
ing that there is no such force known as the "New England 
Division." Is it not so known? and are not all the articles, 
knapsacks, etc. marked "New England Division?" 

Please send by bearer an answer, for if any one attempts to 
be small I am bound to have a big fight. 

Yours etc., R. I. BURBANK 

From Major Bell 

BOSTON, Jan. 13th, 1862 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER 

"CONSTITUTION" left at seven (7) this morning, bright sky, 
fair wind, due at Fortress Monroe Wednesday morning. All 

else fair JOSEPH M. BELL, A.D.C. 

From Major Bell 

BOSTON, Jan. Uth, 1862 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER, [WASHINGTON, D.C.] 

AID bill passed to-day. JogEpH M BELL AJ)C 

1 Bill to give State aid to families of soldiers enlisted in the New England Division. 
VOL. i 21 



322 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

WASHINGTON, Jan. Uth, 1862 

Major J. M. BELL, A.A.D.C. H d Qr s Dept. N. E. 

COMMISSIONS for Eastern and Western Bay State Regi- 
ments have been issued. fi R BUTLER 

From Governor Andrew 

BOSTON, January I4>th, 1862 

Hon. CHARLES SUMNER 

THE President has my programme written replying to his 
Telegram of last Saturday. My letters should be directly 
and not indirectly answered by the President and Department. 

The Legislature has called on me for whole correspondence. 
I hold back lest the public interest may suffer., though my 
own interest would be promoted by publishing. Telegraph me 

what you think. T , A A j i 

John A. Andrew l 

Answer to foregoing telegram 

WASHINGTON, D.C. July Uth, 62 

His Excellency JOHN A. ANDREW, BOSTON, MASS. 

Do not publish the correspondence. In our opinion the 
public interest will suffer if you do. Let not your private 
interest overcome your patriotism. 

CHARLES SUMNER, HENRY WILSON 

(Endorsed by General BUTLER: This is not literally a copy, 
but substantially conveys the answer. If it does the Governor 
any injustice let him publish the original. He has it.) 

From Colonel Shepley 

Rec d BOSTON Jan. \lth, 1862. via BALTIMORE. FORTRESS MONROE, 16, 1862 

To Major Gen. B. F. BUTLER, 6 Court Sqr. 

"CONSTITUTION" arrived eleven Thursday morning. Gen 
eral Wool, no notice, no orders. 
G. F. SHEPLEY, Colonel Comdg. 

1 The part of telegram not published by Governor Andrew is in italics. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 323 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21s/, [ 62] 

MY POOR, DEAR LITTLE HEIGH -HO ! I have treated you 
very shamefully, wretchedly. Will you ever forgive me? I 
have not written yet, but I have been each day in expectancy 
of getting home. But the change of secretaries and change of 
plans of the campaign have detained me from day to day. 
Every morning I have packed my carpet bag in expectation 
of going home, but each day have had to wait. I am deter 
mined not to leave until everything is fixed to my mind. I 
am on the most intimate terms with the new Secretary, 1 
who is an old political and personal friend of mine. I break 
fasted at his house by special invitation on Sunday and spent 
the whole morning with him. I am getting on very well - 
but with great slowness because of inauguration presentations 
and trumpery. I would give a "most pleasant command," 
the highest ambition of an officer, to be with you at this mo 
ment. Why the deuce is it that you cannot come with me? I 
am as weary as a man can be of this life. If you have wished 
to have me get home, a thousand times more have I wished 
to get there. I hope to be away today but will risk no more 
delays in writing for which pardon me. Goodbye, dearest. 
I hope to see you before this does, but if not a thousand warm 

embraces for Mrs. Butler. T> T> 

r>. r . r>. 

From General Butler 

WASHINGTON, D.C. Jan. 22, 1862 

Brig. Gen. RIPLEY, Chief of Ordnance 

GENERAL: I am informed by the annexed Telegram from 
Major Strong, Chief of Ordnance for my Division, that there 
are three (3) Infantry Regiments in Maine not provided with 
Arms and Equipments. I require therefor full sets of Arms 
and Equipments. There are six (6) Batteries of Artillery in 
New England not yet armed and equipped, and there will be 
required, therefore, for the arming of the Batteries, twenty 
four (24) wrought Iron rifled 6 s and twelve (12) light 12 s. 
I should prefer that the 6 s should be of the old Calibre Q7 Aoo 
inches, with Sabres, Harness, and Carriages for the same, 
also a full supply for a Campaign of shot, shell and canister. 



1 Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, resigned his portfolio in January, 1862. 
He was succeeded by Edwin M. Stanton. 



324 LETTERS OP GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

The immediate despatch of such Ordnance and Stores to 
Capt. Kensel, Chief of Artillery for New England, at Boston 
will aid the progress of Military operations in this division. 
I have the honor to be, 

Very Respy. Your obedient servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From William Schouler to Governor Andrew 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24^, 1862 

DEAR GOVERNOR: I saw Mr. Alley to-day, and he informed 
me that he did not get my despatch until late Saturday even 
ing. He saw the Adjutant General early on Monday morning, 
and he evidently did not wish to give the information asked 
for, and said, "Why, the Governor knows just as well as I 
do." Mr. Alley said that he wished to have an answer, and 
then the Adjutant General wrote, "No such Corps is known 
to this Department." He (Mr. Alley) then took the despatch 
himself to the operator, and told him to send it on to me. 
Now, Sir, as I did not leave my office until late on Tuesday 
afternoon, the question arises what became of the message. 
Perhaps you have since received it. I shall make enquiries 
about it here. 

I have just been to the War department to ascertain what 
has been decided in regard to the 28th. I was unable to see 
the Adjutant General, as he was closeted with the Commander- 
in-Chief. I shall see him if possible this afternoon. 

Capt. Eppendorff has resigned. His appointment has proved 
a poor one. He is represented as deficient in tactics and execu 
tive power. The battery has been doing nothing. The Cap 
tain did not make a requisition for horses until one day this 
week, consequently they did not get them until Tuesday. 
The Captain is confined in the camp with a lame leg, and this 
is the cause of his application for his discharge. I think you 
will not err if you appoint Lieutenant Allen Captain, and 
raise the others up by rotation. Lieutenant Allen is a sensible, 
good-looking, and first-rate business man. The battery has 
not yet been brigaded, but it will be attached in a day or two, 
to either Franklin s or Porter s Brigade, and sent over the 
River. 

General Butler is still here, and we had a pretty long talk 
and a pretty warm talk last night in his room, at the National. 
He has been much disturbed by an editorial of Wednesday 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 325 

Evening s Transcript, which he read aloud to me and com 
mented upon it. I asked him where the President got the 
power to Commission Colonel French, and he quoted that 
section of the law which provided for the President commis 
sioning men when Governors refused. I said that referred 
to Union troops raised in States where the Governors are 
disunionists, and then I asked if he regarded Governor Andrew 
as a Secessionist, and he said, yes, just as much so as Magoffin 
of Kentucky. I told him I would not permit him or any one 
else to say that Governor Andrew was a Secessionist. We 
got to pretty high words, and then he modified his statement 
by saying that Governor Andrew was in this regard as much 
a Secessionist as Magoffin, as he refused to issue commissions 
to Union or Massachusetts troops. He talked about taking 
this question before the people next fall and about taking the 
stump. I said that he would be met and overthrown in the 
contest. I told him that I had heard since I came to the City 
that he was preparing a paper for the legislature wherein 
Governor Andrew will be charged with stirring up mutiny 
and insubordination among his men. He said that he was 
preparing such a paper and that I should soon hear of it. 

This is the substance of our conversation, and I put it on 
paper at this time as it may be of importance next fall, should 
the issue be made in the canvass which he says he will make. 
He will make a poor show. I was surprised at his weakness. 
He has no cause whatever. I shall see the President and some 
of the secretaries about this matter tomorrow. I would today 
but it is Cabinet meeting today and I cannot. 

I wish, dear Governor, that you will preserve my letter 
among your private papers, and consider what I have written 
in regard to Butler s conversation as in considerable degree 
confidential. 

The roads are in such an awful state over the river that I 
have delayed crossing the Potomac until tomorrow. This 
afternoon I shall visit the 7th and 10th, which are only a few 
miles from the White House. 

It does my heart good to hear everybody speak in praise 
of our Massachusetts Regiments. When I contrast them with 
the Yahoos I see on the avenue I can readily see how our men 
should be praised. 

Yours truly, WM. SCHOULER 



326 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

By the Secretary of War 

War Department, WASHINGTON CITY, D.C. Jan. 24, 1862 

ORDERED : 

That General Butler report without delay. - 

1st. The present state and condition of the Expedition now 
under his charge. 

2nd. The amount of expenditures made and liabilities in 
curred, specifying, in detail, the nature and amount of 
each expenditure. 

3rd. The probable expenditure required to place the Expedi 
tion at its contemplated destination. 

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dep t of New England, 
BOSTON, February 6th, 1862 [Not in chronological order] 

To the Adjutant General of the Army 

GENERAL: In compliance with the order from the War 
Department of the 24th day of January 1862: 
"That General Butler report without delay. 
1st. The present state and condition of the expedition now 

under his charge. 

2nd. The amount of expenditures made and liabilities in 
curred specifying in detail the nature and amount of each 
expenditure. 

3rd. The probable expenditures required to place the expe 
dition at its contemplated destination." 

General Butler has the honor to make the following report, 
which he prepared himself to do immediately upon his return 
to New England as soon as the necessary documents could 
be copied : 

1st. There are now at Ship Island, Mississippi Sound, the 
26th Regt. of Mass. Vol. and nine companies of the 9th Conn. 
Vol., together with the first battery of Light Artillery (2 
rifled 6-pound guns, 4 12-pound Howitzers) of the New Eng 
land division (4th Mass.), in the aggregate say 2000 men, all 
under the immediate command of Brig. Gen. Phelps, whose 
various reports have been from time to time, as received, 
forwarded to the Department, to which reference is requested 
for particular information in regard to the condition of that 
portion of General Butler s Command. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 327 

There are en route for Ship Island on Board the "Constitu 
tion" the 12th Regt., Maine Vols., and nine Companies of 
the Eastern Bay State regiment, with three Companies of 
mounted men, say 2200 in the aggregate. There are embarked 
on board ship in Boston harbor, ready to sail, the 14th Regi 
ment of Maine Vol., and the 3rd Battery of Light Artillery 
New England Division (2nd Vermt.) 6 six-pound Sawyer 
guns; the 2nd battery of said division (1st Maine) 6 twelve- 
pound rifled guns, and the 4th Battery of said Division 2 
six-pound rifled and 4 six-pound smooth-bore guns, with the 
10th Comp. of the Eastern Bay State Regiment, say 1500 
men. 

There are in Massachusetts the Western Bay State regi 
ments at Pittsfield, now ready to start at a moment s notice, 
except waiting for their paymaster, and the 8th New Hamp 
shire regiment, now at Fort Independence, waiting for trans 
portation, which will be ready immediately, say 1900 men; 
will be 2000 by the time of sailing. 

In Connecticut, the 12th Conn. Vol. at Hartford Conn, is 
full and ready to start as soon as necessary, now has 977 
men awaits the paymaster. 

In Vermont, the 8th Vermont Regiment is full at Brattle- 
boro, and ready to be mustered in and to march immediately, 
and the 7th Vermont Regt. Vol. will be ready as soon as trans 
portation is obtained for them, by last reports about 1800 
men will be full by time of sailing. 

There are now in the State of Maine, in various conditions 
of readiness, the 13th regiment of Maine Vol., the 15th Reg. 
of Maine Vol., and five Batteries of Light Artillery, to wit: 
The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Maine batteries; which will 
be hurried to completion and ready for embarkation within 
ten days; in all about 2500 men. 

For an exact statement of numbers and condition of the 
troops now in New England reference is made to the report 
marked "A" forwarded herewith, containing a summary of 
his latest reports from all in New England except from 7th 
& 8th Vermt. Vol. and 2nd & 6th Me. Batteries. 

A review of these troops show at 



328 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Ship Island, Miss. 

26th Regt. Mass. Vols. 
9th " Conn. " 9 Companies 
1st Battery N. E. D. (1st Mass.) 

En route for "Constitution" 

12 Regt. Maine Vols. 

East Bay State " 9 Companies. 

Mounted men 3 Companies. 

On Board Ship in Boston Harbor 

14th Regt. Maine Vol. 

3rd Battery N. E. D. (2nd Vermt.) 

2nd do N. E. D. (1st Maine.) 

4th do N. E. D. 

10th Comp. East Bay State. 

At their Camps ready 

12th Regt. Conn. Vol. At Hartford. 
7th " Vermt. " " Brattleboro. 

8th " do " " do 

8th " N. Hamp. " " Fort Independence. 

15th " Maine " " Augusta. 

13th " do do. 

2nd Battery Maine do. 

3rd do do " do. 

4th do do " do. 

5th do do " do. 

6th do do do. 

The aggregate of infantry and Artillery now in N. 

Engld 8500 

On "Constitution" 2200 

At Ship Island 2000 

12700 

Eleventh Regiments of Infantry 
Three Comp. mounted men. 
Nine Batteries of Artillery. 

These troops as they are needed are fully armed and equipped 
for service. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 329 

2nd. The Amount of expenditures made in the 
Quartermaster s Department to the first of Feb 
ruary 1862, is $497,633.25 

the details of which are fully set out in the 
schedule "U" forwarded herewith. The origi 
nal bills with the accounts of the quartermaster 
will be forwarded to Washington immediately. 
The liabilities incurred in that Deprt. so far as 
they can be ascertained were on that date, as 

per schedule "C" forwarded herewith $422,911.52 

Ordnance Department. The expenditures in this 

Dept. are $178,774.90 

as per schedule "D" herewith forwarded. The 

liabilities incurred as per schedule "E" $ 39,730.87 

Adjutant General s Department, for the recruiting 
expenses and rations of the several regiments as 
per statement of Captain Goodhue. Expend 
itures $ 14,895.92 

The expenditures in this Department have been 

as per schedule "G" $191,897.51 

and there are no liabilities outstanding 

Medical Department. The expenditures in this 

Department have been as per Schedule "#" $ 2,190.72 

with no outstanding liabilities 

To resume; the Expenditures in all Departments are: 

Quarter Master s $497,633.25 

Ordnance $178,744.90 

Adjutant General $ 14,895.92 

Commissary $191,897.51 

Medical $ 2,190.72 

Total $885,392.30 

Liabilities incurred 

Quarter Master s $422,911.52 

Ordnance $ 39,730.87 

Commissary $ None 

Medical $ None 

$462,642.39 $462,642.39 
Total Cost $1,348,034.69 

It will be observed that a very large proportion of these 
expenditures should not be put to the account of the Expedi- 



330 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

tion, but are for the arming, raising, and equipment of some 
six thousand men. 

3rd. The probable Expenditures necessary to place the Expe 
dition at its contemplated destination must now substantially 
be the expenses of transportation and transport ships. The 
troops being now all armed, uniformed, and equipped, it will 
of course cost no more to feed them and pay them in one place 
than in another, and thus may be fairly put at thirty Dollars 
per man as the maximum. 

But a part of this Expenditure for transportation has 
already been incurred. I have the honor to be 

Very respy. your etc. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From Major Bell 

BOSTON, Jan. 24, 1862 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

AID bill vetoed, perhaps pass notwithstanding, corre 
spondence published, no other interest here. 

JOSEPH M. BELL, A. D.C. 

From General Butler 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25th, [1862] 

JOSEPH M. BELL, A.D.C., Head Quarters, BOSTON 

COPY of correspondence received as published by Governor 
Andrew. Important letters between the department of New 
England and the Executive of Massachusetts upon the recruit 
ment question are suppressed. Publish this telegram. 

B. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

WASHINGTON, National Hotel, Jany. 26, 62. Sunday morning 

MY DEAR, GOOD WIFE: Shall I never see you again? This 
wearisome business drags its slow length along, day by day. 
I hope to start for home, but am detained day by day. Not 
to speak of the minor discomforts of being away from home 
without baggage or conveniences of stay, there is a delay of 
public duty and public business which is intolerable. I have 
been sick at heart and heartsick in all this troublesome time. 
Two weeks now have I been waiting for a decision that should 
have been made in an hour by any person fit to be trusted with 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 331 

the affair at all. The Secretary, Mr. Stanton, has done all and 
more than all I could ask of him. Intrigues, petty malice, and 
a jealousy, have all had their share. If I know myself, and 
I think I do not mistake, I am [so] heart and soul in this cause 
and for the good of the country, that it vexes me to the soul 
to see mere personal matters brought to bear at this moment, 
when it is the turning point of the destinies of the nation, to 
obstruct those that are willing to work. This is pitiable enough. 
After waiting day by day till Friday, I then got a report by 
McClellan against my expedition. By dint of hard work and 
personal exertion I have got that matter overruled, but what 
may be done now I am in some degree uncertain. This war 
has been prosecuted long enough to demoralize both the men 
in the army and the politicians. What was patriotism is now 
selfishness. 

The state of things here cannot continue. Either McClellan 
has got to advance or he will be superceded. George s "Great 
Gun" has lost his range. He cannot shoot at all. I have tried 
him when he tried himself. When he tries his longest shot 
McClellan laughs at him, and says, "this is his plan," and has 
over-ruled it. Were it not for the Sec. of War I should have 
gone to the dogs. I will tell you all about it when I see you. 

I sat down to write you a letter about myself, and you see 
where I have run to. But now a truce to all this. How do 
you do! Do you want to see me half as much as I want to 
see you? I never will go away again where you can go, with 
out you. I have been sick, and nobody to comfort me or to 
say a kind word except the heartless and cold greeting of those 
who have other interests and other thoughts. You would 
have enjoyed this so much, because I have had leisure in this 
waiting to have been with you. I will not ask of you if you 
have thought of me, because I know you have quite enough 
- but were they pleasant thoughts? Have you wished for 
my return? Did you look for me last night? Did you get 
my telegram and letter? 

I hope to get away from this gloomy place tomorrow or 
Tuesday at farthest, and then for the happiest of all places, 
home. I have not seen the sun since I came here till today. 
Rain, hail, snow, these are all I see. Have you seen the 
Andrew s Correspondence? The rascal keeps back a part of 
the letters. Goodbye, goodbye Kiss Paul and Blanche for 
me. Love to Mother. I send none to you you have it now. 

BENJ. 



332 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Draft of letter by General Butler, not sent 

Head Quarters Department of New England, [Jan.] 27th, 1862 

Governor ANDREW 

GOVERNOR: In your official note of December 21st to 
Senators Sumner and Wilson, as published, you are pleased 
to say "I am compelled to declare, with great reluctance and 
regret, that the whole course of proceeding under Major- 
General Butler in this Commonwealth seems to have been 
designed and adapted simply to afford means to persons of 
bad character to make money unscrupulously, and to encour 
age men whose unfitness had excluded them from any appoint 
ment by me to the volunteer military service, to hope for such 
appointment over Massachusetts troops, from other authority 
than that of the Executive of Massachusetts." 

Will you do me the favor to specify to me: 
1st. The persons of bad character to whom you refer, giving 
names and addresses, and the evidence upon which you base 
the assertion as to character with the names of witnesses. 
2nd. The evidence of "adaptation and design" which you 
have in your possession that the persons shall so make money 
unscrupulously, with the names of the witnesses. 
3rd. The evidence which you may have of any sum or sums 
of money so "made," specifying dates, sums, and amounts, 
and when and where and how any such sum has been paid, 
expended, or obtained. 

4th. The names of any persons recommended by me for 
commissions in the forces raised by me whose unfitness had 
excluded them from appointment by you, with the facts and 
grounds of unfitness in those persons, with the names of wit 
nesses. You will observe that I respectfully ask for a state 
ment of facts and evidence, not an argument or a series of 
assertions. There have been too many of those already in 
the correspondence with which I have been favored from 
yourself and secretaries. 

I will point you an illustration of what I desire, to the 
explicit statement made by me of the facts and sources of 
information I had in Wyman s case, save that I did not give 
the names of my informants because I was not asked. By 
the by, permit me to observe here that as proceedings for a 
divorce of Mrs. Brannon are still pending in the District of 
Columbia, you admit that Col. Wyman confessed himself to 
being guilty of bigamy, a felon by the laws of Massachusetts, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 333 

before you appointed him Colonel in a Massachusetts Regi 
ment. You say you would do the like again. Be it so. 

You will see the necessity of being very explicit in answer 
ing my interrogatories, because your own Commissary Gen 
eral, now in the service of the United States, has made the 
second largest payments for purchases of any Officer in my 
division, and many high-minded gentlemen are also implicated 
by your assertions. I do not believe that any wrong acts can 
be imputed to him or any of them, and yet you leave him and 
every other Officer under suspicion by a sweeping assertion 
of guilt. I trust that you will so specify that your assertions 
may be brought to the test of judicial investigation. 

If I have any Officer under my command which can be 
shown to have defrauded the United States, i.e., made money 
by unscrupulous means, he shall not only be dismissed but 
punished. 

A very early reply is solicited, as my stay in New England 
to pursue the investigation may be very limited. 

Officially your obedient servant 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Com d. 

From P. R. George 

Rec d WASHINGTON, January 28th, 1862 

To Gen. BUTLER 

Two hundred men, "Ocean Pearl" provisioned and loaded, 
stalls up, hundred and fourteen horses, ready to sail immedi 
ately [per] "Undaunted." Same preparations for hundred 
and thirty two horses to sail immediately. Gun boat "Saxon" 
loaded with provisions for two thousand men for thirty days 
for Ship Island, ready to sail at one hour s notice. Brig 
"Zenophon" with spars for wharf sailed. Recapitulate, 
three ships for men, two ships for horses at owner s risk. 
"Saxon" with provisions, eighth N. H. regt. comfortable at 
Fort Independence. p R 



From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of New England Jan. 29, 1862 

Col. GEORGE F. SHEPLEY 

COL.: You will embark the troops, i.e., the Eastern Bay 
State Reg. with the Cavalry attached, and the 12th Regiment 
Maine Vols. now at Old Point Comfort, on board the steam 



334 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

transport "Constitution" at the earliest possible moment, 
and proceed to Ship Island, and there debarking your troops, 
you will despatch the steamer to New York direct. You will 
notify the Master of the Transport that the utmost diligence 
will be required of him. On his arrival at New York he will 
inform me by telegraph and then await orders. At Ship 
Island you will report to Brig. Gen. Phelps for orders. 

The sick who are unable to march with you on board the 
transport will be turned over to the hospital under the orders 
of Maj. Gen. Wool. You will cause the transport to be pro 
vided with at least 15 days rations for 200 men in addition to 
what may now be on board the transport, and three days at 
least fresh provisions. 

You will see that at least 150 tons of coal are added to the 
supply already on board the steamer for her return trip. You 
will also provide yourself with one hundred filled cartridges 
for the 12 rifled guns on the steamer. 

To enable you to make these dispositions, you will find 
enclosed herewith requisitions upon the Medical Qr. Master s 
Commissary s and ordnance officer of Genl. Wool s depart 
ment from the respective chiefs of Bureaus, and the letter of 
advice to Genl. Wool from the Commander in Chief of this 

C\ f\ \ P 

Respectfully and truly yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER 
From General Benham to General Butler 

NEW YORK, Jan. 29, 1862 

MY DEAR GENERAL: I congratulate you on hearing of the 
probable closing of your difficulties. I should be glad if mine, 
(were), but it seems that Lucifer can blacken the face of the 
arch-angel Michael now and it must stay blacked, which may 
be all very well and to be expected from Lucifer s own court 
and region, but should not be tolerated in any other rule 
claiming to be one shade better or above his. 

Have you reflected on the additional strength I suggested? 
it should be double that, I first understood as in your mind. 
A recent Rebel account says the commander there a "Muff" 
bye the bye, though a West Pointer has four times your 
first number there now. I think this is probably an exaggera 
tion, though possible. 

If you can learn anything of my case I would thank you 
for a line about it or even a telegraph, upon anything decisive. 

I hope you will be able to "speed the parting" of that old 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 335 



"traitor" from his department that he so much dishonors, 
and I would bespeak an extra "vis a tergo" for him on my 

account - Very truly yours, H. W. BENHAM 

From General Strong 

Head Qrs. Dept. of New England, Feb. 1st, 1862 

Capt. F. J. RODMAN, Comdg. Waterman Arsenal 

CAPT. : Gen. Butler has been ordered to get his expedition 
off immediately (15000 men), and directs me to provide 
200,000 additional rounds of blank Cartridges. Will you 
please prepare them. My original requisition for ball Cart 
ridges must be increased to correspond with the increase of our 
force, but until I find out what muskets are to be given to our 
as yet unarmed troops I cannot make the requisition. I am 
GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. Gen l. & Ord. Officer 

From General Butler 

BOSTON Feb. 3rd 1862 

Gen. B. F. LARNED, Paymaster Gen. U.S.A. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

THE troops in Connecticut, Vermont, & Maine are ready 
to move, but are waiting to be paid. Will you expedite my 
embarkation by supplying the funds. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

LOWELL, Feb. 3rd, 1862 

Hon. DANIEL RICHARDSON 

MY DEAR SIR: I have never determined not to write or 
publish anything upon these most unfortunate troubles 
exposed by the publication of the correspondence upon the 
subject of recruitment by Governor Andrew. 

I have not yet written and published a word, but your en 
quiries, when we accidentally met in the cars, were made in 
that kind spirit and evident desire to know the truth so as to 
act upon it understandingly, that "To supply the ripe wants 
of a friend I break a custom." What was the origin of the 
difficulty? 

I profess to you, upon my honor, I do not know. You shall 
have all I do know about it. On my return from Hatteras, 
about the 1st of Sept., it was said that recruiting was very 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

dull in New England. Massachusetts had not furnished her 
quota of troops, although the President, through the Secre 
tary of War, had made the most urgent call early in August 
for all the troops authorized by the act of Congress to be sent 
forward by companies. Senator Wilson had gone home to 
aid the recruitment. Letters came to me saying that a por 
tion of the people in New England, theretofore acting upon 
the same political ideas that I had done, would be largely 
induced to follow me and enlist for the War. 

Believing these representations, trusting, hoping that I 
could aid the Administration in which all our hopes must be 
centered as the Government of the Country, I accepted the 
labor and trouble of recruiting which I had before declined, 
although the authority had been previously given me as you 
will see by the paper which I enclose marked "A." 

I saw that Massachusetts and the other New England 
states were paying the whole expenses of recruiting and 
receiving only 40% back from the General Government, 
while in the middle and western states the General Govern 
ment were paying the whole expenses of independent recruit 
ing, and the troops so raised were reckoned a part of the 
Quota of those states. Now, as it costs at least a hundred 
thousand dollars, which must be paid by the state if the 
recruitment is done by State Authorities, to raise, organize, 
arm, uniform, and to equip and transport a regiment to the 
seat of war, it seems just that Massachusetts, for instance, 
should share some part of the benefits of such recruitment 
independent of the state authorities and paid by the United 
States. 

The President, however, desiring that I should attempt to 
recruit, but wishing that there should be no appearance even 
of Federal interference with the State Governments, before 
he would approve of the authority given me to recruit, joined 
the Sec. of War in a telegram to the Governors of the several 
New England States to ask their assent to "Gen. Butler s 
raising in New England six regiments to be recruited and 
commanded by himself." 

This was done on the llth of September, and on the 12th 
favorable answers having been received from all the Govern 
ors as was supposed, the President gave his approval on that 
day. This will explain to you why the authority given me, 
signed by the Sec. of War on the 10th, was approved by the 
President on the 12th of Sept. See my General order No. 2. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 337 

At the same time the War Dept. honored me by placing me 
in charge of an expedition along the eastern shore of Virginia, 
for the purpose of repossessing ourselves of that peninsula. 
This movement had been planned by me while at Fortress 
Monroe on the 20th of July, and then partly executed, but 
was broken up by the defeat of Bull Run, which made it a 
necessity to send more than half of the troops then at Fortress 
Monroe to Washington and Baltimore. The unhappy troubles 
of Gov. Andrew caused that expedition to be given up; but, 
my friend, fortunately for the country nothing was lost, because 
the same thing some three months later was so splendidly and 
successfully done by Gen. Dix. 

With these purposes and with this authority I came to 
New England; was most kindly and cordially received by 
every Governor including Governor Andrew. Explained to 
each my purposes, and from the Governors of Maine, Ver 
mont, Connecticut and New Hampshire from first to last 
received every encouragement: the kindest consideration and 
the fullest aid and cooperation in recruiting troops that I 
could ask. 

Having understood that Governor Sprague was fitting out 
troops from Rhode Island for Gen l Burnside, and that gallant 
little state having done so nobly in the war, I did not call on 
the Governor officially to aid my recruitment, although he 
assured me personally that he would aid my enterprise in 
any possible manner. 

For the patriotic course of these gentlemen, their prompt 
sustenance of the General Government, a debt of gratitude is 
due from the country not easily to be estimated, because they 
did what they conceived their duty to the country, notwith 
standing temptations to place themselves in opposition to it, 
as the Governor of Massachusetts sent copies of correspond 
ence which he has since published against the General Gov 
ernment to Governors of New England States to induce them 
to refuse me the privilege of raising troops, as he has done. I 
have wished that correspondence might be published, but, 
alas! my friend, I have no legislation to call for it, and if I 
had I doubt if the "public interest" would be promoted by 
the publication and I have no private interest to serve in 
this matter. 

I have told you that Governor Andrew received me cordially, 
and so he did. I unfolded to him my plans, and asked for two 
Regiments to be assigned to me for the expedition to the east- 

VOL. I 22 



338 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

ern shore beside Gen. Wilson s which was ordered to report 
to me by the War Department. He assigned me the 26th and 
28th. I supposed them full or nearly so, but afterwards found 
that the 26th had then scarcely 300 men, and the 28th only 
existed in name and field officers. I also desired His Excel 
lency s aid in recruiting at least one other regiment and a 
squadron of mounted men. He desired I would wait a week 
before I took any steps in organizing another regiment, and 
to this I assented, and went to Maine. While I was there the 
Governor issued his General Order No. 23, forbidding my 
recruiting, and putting himself in an attitude hostile to my 
self and enterprise which he has ever since maintained. 

From that, the time of my return, to this I have never spoken 
with the Governor, although I have endeavored so to do for 
what I deemed the interests of the public service, as will be 
seen from the "Correspondence." 

But you ask again, What was the origin of the difficulty? 
Have you found out? I have told all I know about it. I 
knew nothing of all Governor Andrew s correspondence with 
the War Department and Genl. Sherman of a prior date till 
I saw it in print. 

Those letters and telegrams may, however, have been a 
way the Governor has of "helping Gen. Butler to the utmost." 
Perhaps you may derive some assistance in your inquiry after 
the origin of the difficulty, by reading the correspondence, 
copies of which I send you between the Governor s military 
secretary and my Aides de Camp. 

Looking at the date Oct. 7th you will see that I had 
acting and actual Governor of the Commonwealth before me 
at the same time, and had to call in assistance. A clue may 
possibly be found by reading the following paragraph from 
the Governor s letter of October 5th. "I mean to continue 
to do just what I have from the first persistently done, and 
that is to hold with an iron hand and unswerving purpose ALL 
THE powers which by the laws pertain to me officially in my own 
grasp 9 The country may be ruined, the families of poor 
soldiers may starve, but the "iron hand" may not be relaxed. 
But, say you, cannot this matter be settled? I hoped so. Nay, 
I still hope so. I will do anything an honorable man may do 
to adjust it. I will put it into the hands of any committee 
the Hon. Senate of Massachusetts may select. The wives and 
children of these poor soldiers who have been enlisted by the 
Government, paid by the Government their pittance, armed 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 339 

and uniformed by the Government, and have marched to 
fight the battles of the country, are even now suffering with 
cold and hunger, vainly waiting for the bounty of the State 
to which they were taught they had a right to look. What 
would I not do to relieve them! I will tell you what I have 
done to "settle" this matter. In October, finding the diffi 
culty existing, I asked the Hon. Charles Sumner, as the "per 
sonal and political friend" of the Governor and representing 
Massachusetts in one branch of the Federal Government, to 
call on His Excellency and see if the matter could not be 
adjusted, and gave him Carte Blanche on my side to act in 
the premises. Mr. Sumner saw the Governor and reported 
to me that his mission was unsuccessful. 

Not content with this, I asked another gentleman, "a per 
sonal and political friend" of the Governor, who has held as 
high an office as himself, to call on His Excellency, to obtain 
an interview with him for me, and to aid in adjusting the diffi 
culty, but he too was unsuccessful. What more could I do? 
Tell me in your wisdom what more now can be done. These 
poor soldiers are not to blame. I may be. Possibly His Excel 
lency may have misjudged, but these women and children 
ought not to be punished because of my sins. Devise some 
means by which the "iron hand" may be relaxed toward 
them, even if it fall with its whole crushing force upon me. 
I am no professed philanthropist I believe in hanging when 
there is a case for it, but neither my heart or hand is sufficiently 
"iron" to see these faultless people suffer if I can help them. 

It is asked again: Are these troops raised by you irregular? 
That is the question for the Federal Government to decide. 
With it I have nothing to do. I must obey the orders given 
me, I was told to raise troops. It has been done, under many 
discouragements and disadvantages, but it has been done. If 
it were permitted me to reason upon the matter, I might suggest 
something in favor of their "regularity." In this hour of my 
country s peril I may not stand upon points of nice technical 
law, nor, upon due reflection, will any true lover of the Union 
and Constitution. I see that a gentleman for whom I have the 
highest possible respect has said in his place in the Senate, 
that "No lawyer would contend for the regularity of the 
proceeding." 

He may be right, and yet as good and great as he have erred 
in the Construction of Federal relations to the State Govern 
ments. The best lawyers of the south maintain the "right 



340 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

of secession." Eminent judges have resigned their ermine on 
the strength of their opinions. Nay, more, in the war of 
1812, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, under the lead of 
Governor Strong, who thought his dignity as "Commander 
and Chief of the Army and Navy of the State" had been 
trenched upon by the United States, obtained an opinion of 
three judges of the Supreme Court that power to determine 
when the militia of the United States should be called out to 
repel invasion or suppress an insurrection against the United 
States was solely in the Governor of the State, and not in the 
President of the United States, and furthermore that when the 
militia was called out for those purposes it could be commanded 
by no United States officer save the President in person. 
Still further, John Hancock, patriot as he was, stood aloof 
three days from receiving as a guest of the State George Wash 
ington, then President of the United States, upon the propo 
sition that the Governor was the higher official of the two. I 
will take leave respectfully to suggest that no lawyer of this 
day w^ill venture to maintain either of these propositions. 

So you see, my dear Sir, that it is no new thing for a Gov 
ernor of Massachusetts to insist upon his dignity as against 
the United States. They have not heretofore taken much 
profit from it, and the State lost the repayment of her war 
debt for nearly 40 years, until it was finally obtained in 1860 
from the action of Jefferson Davis, Esq., who seems to have a 
singular coincidence of opinion with some Massachusetts 
Governors upon the Doctrines of State Rights. 

Irregular! Will my learned and astute legal friend show me 
the legal regularity of arresting and shutting up traitors in 
Fort Warren by telegraph? Yet the heart of the people and 
the exigency of the times will justify the act, and cause to be 
revered the actor who thus faithfully serves his country. 

At the time authority was given me to raise troops, Massa 
chusetts had hardly raised half her quota, less than 16,000 
being furnished and 33,000 being her share, although repeatedly 
called upon by the Secretary of War, as will appear by the 
"Correspondence" and the order of August previous. 

Had she not then "omitted," not to say refused, to furnish 
volunteers called for by the President within the very words of 
the Act of Congress, which empowers the President in that 
contingency to accept volunteers offering their services from 
such state, and to commission the proper Field Staff and 
Company Officers? 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 341 

But I will not be drawn into a discussion of the regularity 
of the proceedings of the Government of the United States. 
I will leave that to secessionists. They are doing it not with 
"quips and sentences and these paper bullets of the brain," 
but with batteries of cannon and the death-dealing rifle ball. 
And with like arguments enforced with the bayonet have my 
brave soldiers marched to settle all questions of State Rights, 
leaving their families to the Justice of the Commonwealth. 

If these troops thus raised are irregular and unlawful, so 
are at least 100,000 others; the brave sons of Tennessee who 
fought at Mill Spring; of Kentucky who hold the Ther 
mopylae of the "dark and bloody" ground under Buel of 
Missouri, where they are now hunting the traitor as if a wolf. 
Their Governors have felt it their conscientious duty not to 
commission officers for the volunteers, and they have received 
their officers by order of the President, in the same words and 
figures which have commissioned officers to command Massa 
chusetts volunteers whose Governor has omitted to give com 
missions although thrice over called upon so to do. 

But does the Government stand by you in this recruitment? 
Do you mean to ask Does the Government stand by itself? 
I am but an humble instrument. Authority was given me 
on September 12th to "raise, organize, arm, and equip" six 
regiments. 

It being supposed that the order of Sept. 16th might seem 
to be in conflict, Oct. 1st. a Department of New England, under 
command of General Butler, was created while "recruiting his 
division," New England Division, not while Governor Andrew 
was recruiting it. 

Oct. 2nd the paymaster General is directed to pay the troops 
mustered by General Butler a month s pay in advance. On 
the 20th of Oct. I forwarded a copy of my general order setting 
forth that I am recruiting, and those orders are approved in 
every particular. 

On the 13th of January these troops, so recruited, sail in 
the service of the country under the orders of the Commander 
in Chief. On the 16th of the same month an order emanates 
from the head quarters of the Army, under the hand of the 
Adjutant General, announcing the ranks and commissions of 
the officers of my regiments in the ordinary form of many 
other such documents. Need I say more on this topic? 

But why did you not accept the 28th (Irish) regiment which 
the Governor offered you? You will be surprised to learn that 



342 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

I did accept that regiment, and the correspondence relating to 
that matter has been suppressed, although the Governor says 
he has sent to the House ALL the correspondence, and has sent 
some about the 28th regiment. 

Permit me here to say in all candor that I do not think 
the Governor either did or meant to do so foul a wrong. I 
believe the suppression was rather the work of some "unfaith 
ful servant" who copied out the papers. Now, the whole of 
telegram to Mr. Sumner is not published, nor is the answer. 
I wish I felt as assured an opinion in regard to the non-publi 
cation of the telegrams to Mr. Sumner and his answers. I 
will send you copies of the letters about the 28th regiment, 
and also the telegrams in substance, and will ask you in the 
same candid spirit in which I have acquitted His Excellency 
of the wrong, Why has some one so trifled with the legislature 
in defiance of all just and honorable dealing? 

But to the 28th regiment. When the Governor offered me 
the 28th regiment, about the 16th of September, I was inclined 
to accept it, but learned that it had hardly begun to recruit. 
On my return from Maine, about the 24th of September, I 
found another rival Irish regiment, the 29th, had been started 
by the Governor, and both were endeavoring to recruit by 
flaring advertisements in opposition to each other. If I 
accepted the 28th, I took part against the 29th. Seeing that 
neither could succeed, it was not best to mix in the quarrel. 

Now, I had suffered some in 1855 in behalf of the military 
organizations of my Irish fellow-countrymen at a time when I 
believe His Excellency was under the shadow of the dark 
lantern, but it was in behalf of all Irishmen, not a part. With 
their disagreements and factions I never will have anything to 
do for the just rights and interest of the naturalized citizen, 
I have a right to say I have ever been in the front rank. 

After trying the experiment of these rival regiments till 
Nov. 7th, His Excellency, finding it impossible to recruit them, 
consolidated the two regiments into the 28th, causing many 
heartburnings and bickerings. Adjutant General Schouler 
then called upon me and desired to know if I would accept 
that regiment consolidated into eight companies, fill up its 
ranks with two of my companies from "Camp Chase" at 
Lowell and agree to the recommendation of Genl. Bullock 
as its Colonel. To this I assented, but informed him that I 
could not take this regiment as one of those I was raising, as 
it! was already substantially officered, and it would be unjust 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 343 

to gentlemen who were recruiting for me in expectation of 
commissions, but as a regiment was needed to go to Ship 
Island immediately, I would take the regiment independent 
of all questions which divided myself and the Governor. We 
agreed upon all details, as you will see by the letter which I 
directed the Adjutant General of the Dept. of New England 
to write Genl. Schouler, and his answer. But General Schouler 
further replied that if I took the regiment it must be as one 
of the six raised by myself. Upon reflection, seeing that here 
might be an opportunity to solve the whole controversy, and 
that I could consolidate all my recruits into one other regi 
ment and thus be able to march both at once, and be just to 
my officers, I wrote in person that if the Governor would 
allow me to organize regiments and select the officers with a 
veto power upon my improper selections, I would take the 
28th as one of my six regiments. This would have ended the 
whole difficulty with the troops. The answer by the Govern 
or s direction was, the "proposition is respectfully declined." 
Read the letters and tell me if I do not there endeavor once 
again to settle this matter. And this too before I had been 
provoked into reminding His Excellency of his supposed mis 
take in appointing a man to a high military office who, the 
Governor says, confessed to him "had formed a matrimonial 
connection (queer marriage) with a lady who had eloped from 
her husband," a crime made felony by the laws of Massa 
chusetts. Why were these letters suppressed? 

Pardon me, my friend, for this long infliction, but nothing 
shall induce me to write anything more upon this unhappy, 
may I say, without offence, disgraceful controversy. Before 
many days I hope to be away from it, in a very different sort 
of strife. But ere I leave the State, haply not to return, 
permit me to say a word to the charge, in my recruitment 
and correspondence, that I have insulted the State and her 
people. Never, so help me Heaven! The old Commonwealth 
- my home ! her fame, the inheritance of my children ! her 
honor the scale into which I threw my fortune and life last 
April. No act of mine has ever yet willingly tarnished her 
fair escutcheon, and whoever says that he values her fair 
good name and fame more, let him march with me against her 
enemies, and see if he will follow her flag longer and farther, 
and then and only then will I yield to him in love, honor or 
devotion to Massachusetts. 

Most truly your friend, BENJ. F. BUTLER 



344 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Caleb Gushing to General Butler 

BOSTON, 6 Feb. 1862 [Not in chronological order] 

MY DEAR GENERAL: I am delighted with your letter to 
Mr. Richardson. It is admirable in style, temper and spirit, 
and it is triumphant in matter and in argument. It should 
be printed in pamphlets corresponding in pages and type to 
the legislative document and distributed in the Senate and 

House. Pray think of this. r v /-/-< 

I am Yours, C. GUSHING 

From A. J. Butler to General Butler 

SHIP ISLAND, February th, 1862 

DEAR BROTHER: I write not hoping to reach you, but 
should it by accident come to hand, it is to remind you that 
I have not more than thirty days Flour, Bread, and Beans on 
hand. I have plenty of everything else to make up a ration 
for three months. 

It is sixty days since we arrived, and not one word from 
you. Now I don t think this fair, do you? 

General Phelps is doing nothing but waiting for you. The 
fleet has all gone to different places, and if the rebels don t 
take us it is for the want of enterprise. 

My original invoices are in the hands of Egan. Without 
them I cannot make a proper return, and were it not for 
General P s forbearance I would be in trouble. 

I am acting Quarter Master without an invoice on account 
of anything shipped, but am taking care to get receipts for 
everything I issue. Thus far I am too busy to think of leav 
ing, but if you are not coming here, do have me returned. 
The prospect of spending a summer here is not pleasant. I 
have discharged the "Constitution," "King Fisher," "Bul 
lion," "George Green" and "Milton" since our arrival, and 
now only have the "Black Prince" in port to discharge. She 
will get off by Saturday. We have two Steamboats that answer 
an excellent purpose, they cost $25,000, of the Navy. The 
General directed me to buy them, and if a movement were to 
take place here they would be invaluable. 

Jones and Cahill think they were sent here to get them out 
of reach and are very sore about it. Once more, either come 
yourself or send for me. Y 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 345 

From John Andrew to General Butler 

BOSTON, Feb. 5th, 1862 

DEAR SIR: I have a son in the "Eastern Bay State" Regt., 
and would like to know whether it is at all likely that Gov. 
Andrew will interfere in any way with that Regt. If so, I 
shall most assuredly have him brought back, as I have never 
given my consent and he is only 18 years old. He does not 
require any State aid neither does he go for pay. 

I had a letter from him to-day, and he is quite well and 
anxious to remain in his present Company, viz. Co. D. Capt. 

Marsh Ferris. I am v .. 77 T . 

i ours respectfully, JOHN ANDREW 

P.S. No relation to the Governor. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Feb. 5th, 1862 

Major THOMAS LESTER, Paymaster U.S.A. 6 State St. 

NEW YORK 

I HAVE information from Washington that there has been sent 
to you $100,000 to pay the troops of New England. Inform me 
why they can t be paid. The business of the Government can 
not go on. 

From General Strong 

Head Quarters BOSTON Feb. 5th, 1862 

Gen. P. T. WASHBURNE, Adjt. Gen. State of Vt. 

GENERAL: Gen. Butler desires me to thank you, in his 
name, for the promptness with which the 7th & 8th Regts. 
have been organized. He wishes to ask if Governor Holbrook 
has a good Artillery officer who can be commissioned in place 
of Capt. Sayles, as, in his opinion, Capt. Sayles cannot com 
mand his Battery. Please to inform us also when the 2 Vt. 
Battery will be ready. The General has not yet decided what 
can be done in regard to the recruiting expenses of the 8th of 
which you spoke when here. I am Gen. 

Very Resp. Your Obdt. Servant, 

GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. Gen l. 

By General Butler 

Head Qrts. BOSTON Feb. 5th 1862 

Capt. SNOW, Comdg. Steamer "Saxon," BOSTON HARBOR 

SIR: You will proceed to sea and by the most direct route 
to Ship Island in Mississippi Sound, where you will report to 



346 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the officer Commanding the military forces at that Station. 
You will discharge your cargo under his directions, then re 
turn with the greatest possible despatch to this port. You 
will have charge of all matters connected with the sailing of 
the Ship, leaving the control of the Ordnance and Ordnance 
Stores, the charge of the artillery men and manoeuvering the 
guns to Lieut. Henry Bartlett, who is furnished with a copy 
of this communication. 

By order of Maj. Gen. BUTLER 

GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. Gen l. 

From the Paymaster General 

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5th, [[1862] 

Major General BENJ. F. BUTLER, BOSTON 

THE treasury department will not furnish any more funds 
till congress passes some act authorizing a further issue. The 
present supply allowed by law is all issued. 

BENJ. F. LARNED, Paymaster General 

From Adjutant General Washburn 

State of Vermont, Adjutant & Inspector General s Office, 
WOODSTOCK, Feb. 6, 1862 

Major General BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, BOSTON, MASS. 

SIR: I have been much surprised to learn from Captain 
Jones that he has been provided with but Ten Thousand 
Dollars for paying the Recruiting accounts of the Seventh 
and Eighth Regiments. To pay all the expenses of the two 
Regiments and two Batteries will require at least Forty Thou 
sand Dollars. I have been laboring for a week with the utmost 
diligence to put the regiment in readiness for Muster. But 
as they cannot move until the Captain s accounts are closed, 
and it will take at least a week after Muster to settle off their 
accounts and pay off the men, the accounts cannot be settled 
until additional funds are received. 

I see no particular occasion for hurry in the matter of 
mustering the men. Captain Jones has now made an addi 
tional requisition for ninety thousand dollars, and the earlier 
that is passed through the Department the sooner will the 
regiment be ready to move. 

Governor Holbrook has written to Senator Foster, asking 
him to give his immediate personal attention to the matter, 
and I have the honor to suggest that possibly your efforts, by 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 347 

telegraph or otherwise, might, as in other cases, greatly for 
ward the business and prevent needless delay at Washington. 

We have two of the finest regiments here that I have ever 
seen, and I am anxious that you should have their services at 
the earliest possible moment. Had it not been for this delay 
I could, by considerable effort, have had the 8th Regiment 
ready for muster on Friday of this week, and the 7th Regi 
ment on Monday next. Please let me hear from you, that 
you will put your shoulder to the wheel. 

In the meantime, Captain Jones from the funds in his hands 
can be settling the accounts of Sayles battery, and I have the 
honor to request that you will immediately grant Captain 
Sayles a furlough to enable him to settle his accounts. It will 
be necessary for him to go to Washington and Macelon for 
that purpose. I shall write him this morning. 

Duncan s battery is a fine body of men and finely efficient. 
I do not learn that any provision for their ordnance has yet 
been made. It should be provided at once. Is it necessary 
that I should make a requisition upon the Ordnance Depart 
ment for that purpose? If so, will you please advise me at 
once, and inform me how you wish them armed. Unless 
ordnance has been provided for Sayles battery, immediate 
measures should also be taken in respect to that. 

Allow me to suggest that if anything yet remains to be 
furnished for the complete outfit of the 8th Regiment, and the 
two batteries, in the way of tents or other necessary items, 
they should be forwarded to Brattleboro at once. 

If it is your intent to inspect the Regiments personally 
before muster, give me as much notice as possible. My pres 
ent intent is to inspect both regiments myself next week, 
unless you should desire to do it. 

Very respectfully Your most obedient Servant, 

PETER T. WASHBURN, Adj. & Ins. General 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of New England BOSTON, Feb. 6th, 1862 

HARRINGTON, Asst. Secy, of Treasury 

IT is of vast necessity for my expedition that the 100,000 
draft in favor of Paymaster Lester payable at Boston be sent 
forward. Do attend to it. Answer by telegram. 



348 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dep t. of New England, BOSTON, Feb. 6th , 1862 

Capt. G. V. Fox, Asst. Secy, of Navy 

AM pushing fast as possible, but have not got my orders yet. 
Please see what is in the way. B F B 

From Colonel Shepley 

Feb. 6th, 1862 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, BOSTON 

"CONSTITUTION" overhauled gunboat "Miami" in distress 
Tuesday afternoon. Took her in tow. Returned to Fortress 
Monroe. One case of small pox. More coal needed. 

G. F. SHEPLEY 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dep t of New England, BOSTON, Feb. Sth, 1862 

Surgeon General FINLEY, U.S.A., WASHINGTON 

MY Medical Director informs me that he has made repeated 
requisitions for instruments, both on your department and 
the Medical purveyor at New York, and not received them. 
New England regiments are suffering for the want. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General, Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Feb. 12th, 1862 

The Honorable the Secretary of War 

IT will be necessary that I should have another Brigadier 
General detailed to go with me. The Division should be divided 
into at least three Brigades. I would suggest that it would 
conduce to the public service and be pleasant to have Gen. 
Thomas Williams, now on duty at Fort Hatteras. As Gen. 
Burnside is now inside the Sound, all danger of attack at that 
point must be over, and Gen. Williams I suppose might be 
spared, the Command being left under a Colonel. Gen. 
Williams was with me at Fortress Monroe, then a Major 
of Artillery, and impressed me as a thorough soldier and good 
disciplinarian, obtaining the confidence of the Volunteers. 

His advice and assistance from his long experience in the 
field would be of much moment. If the order for this detail 
could be sent under cover to me, I could call at Hatteras on 
my way down and take him along with me. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 349 

May I ask attention to this matter? I write to the Secre 
tary because the papers tell me the General-in-Chief is about 
moving across the Potomac. 

Most truly and respectfully, B. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of New England, BOSTON, Feb. 12, 1862 

The Honorable Secretary of War 

SIR: I have the honor to report that as fast as possible the 
troops and supplies are being dispatched to the Gulf. 

The 8th New Hampshire embarks tomorrow. The trans 
portation for the remainder is in such progress that I hope to 
get all but two regiments off by next week. 

I propose to have three thousand men to sail on Tuesday 
next. One of the steamers is to take me up at Fortress Monroe, 
where we are to get some ordnance stores. By taking the 
rail I can gain time enough to meet the ship there, and visit 
Washington for my final instructions if you think that desir 
able. In this connection I desire to call attention to the fact, 
but not complainingly, that I have as yet received no written 
instructions or information in regard to the details of the expe 
dition, a memorandum of which I gave to the Commanding 
General, and of which he was kind enough to signify his ap 
proval except as to the number of light batteries. I presume 
in the press of more important matters these details may have 
been overlooked. Fearing however that the memorandum 
may be mislaid and in order to refer to it, a duplicate is sent 
herewith. 

I desire to be informed as to the disposition of the 17th 
Massachusetts and 5th New York and Nim s battery, which 
were to be detached from Major General Dix s division at 
Baltimore, and sent to Fortress Monroe. When will they 
be at the Fortress? What are their numbers, so that I may 
prepare transportation for man and horse. Very early knowl 
edge is needed upon this topic. 

Also a detail of signal officers for the service. I should like 
six at least, and could take them up at Fortress Monroe. 

The preparation immediately of two light draught steamers 
is an imperative necessity. I have to thank the Command 
ing General and Ordnance department for the Battery of 
Parrot guns so promptly ordered. 

I must again call attention to the Maine Cavalry regiment, 



350 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

if I am to have the horses. If not, I must purchase others for 
battery and transportation purposes. I would most strongly 
advise the dismounting of that regiment, both in an econom 
ical and military point of view. 

I send this report directly to the Secretary of War because 
I hear of the absence of the Commanding General across the 
Potomac. 

Most truly and respectfully, Your obdt. servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

Memorandum referred to in Foregoing Letter 

February, 1862 

IT is suggested that a military geographical department be 
created, to be called the "department of the Gulf," including the 
Gulf coast west of Fort Pickens, and so much of the adjoining 
states as may be occupied by the United States troops. Head 
quarters wherever the commanding General may be. 

That for the purpose of carrying on military operations there, 
the following corps be put under the command of Maj. Gen 
eral Butler, viz. 

Effective 
strength. 

1 12 Connecticut Vols. Estimated 900. 

2 13 Do. Do. " 900. 

3 7th Vermont. " " 900. 

4 8th " " " 900. 

5 8th New Hampshire " " 900. 

6 13th Maine " " 900. 

5400. 

7 14th Maine Volunteers Estimated 900 5400 

8 15th " " 900 

9 12th " " En route Ship Island 900 

10 26th Mass. " at " 900 

11 Eastern Bay State EnRoute " " 900 

12 Western Bay State 900 

13 9th Connecticut Vols. (Bat) at " " 900 

14 5th New York " " Baltimore. 900 

15 17th Mass. 900 

7800 
13200. 
Cavalry. 3 companies mounted men. 275. 

en route for Ship Island. 275. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 351 

Light Artillery. 

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, Maine Batteries Vols. 

145 each 870 

4th Massachusetts Ship Island 145. 

1st and 2nd Vermont Batteries. 145 each 290 

Everett s Battery (Massachusetts) 145. 

Nim s Battery at Baltimore. 145. 435 

Capt. P. A. Davis Co. unattached at Fortress 

Monroe. 100. 

Total. 15,165. 

That so much of the supplies of Siege Artillery now in 
Depot at Fort Jefferson as may be needed by him be put at 
General Butler s direction together with that suggested in 
Gen. Butler s report of December 2nd, 1861. 

That this force be transported with the greatest possible 
rapidity with proper supplies to Ship Island and the adjacent 
Islands, there to be made ready for such movements as may 
be directed in concert with the naval forces in the Gulf. 

It is desirable that the 12th Maine Cavalry and a squadron 
of Connecticut cavalry be dismounted, the men being given 
the option either to be transferred to the regular dragoons or 
to enlist in any other one of the service either Volunteers or 
regulars or be discharged, the officers mustered out of service 
and the horses taken either to mount the artillery or for the 
transport service. 

It is desired that Capt. H. M. Dudley, 10th Infantry have 
leave of absence for the purpose of taking command of the 
Western Bay State regiment. 

Also that the signal officers of the army be permitted to 
detail a suitable force for signal service. 

That Lt. Palfrey of the engineers be directed to report to the 
General commanding the department of the Gulf. It is desir 
able that a treasury draft for 10,000 dollars or $5000 minimum 
be passed in favor of the commanding General on account of 
army contingencies and charged to him as secret service money. 
This money is designed to pay spies and purchase intelligence, 
without which the best schemes fail. So small a sum is asked 
for because there will be frequent means of communication 
with the War Department. It is submitted that for this pur 
pose a sum is absolutely essential. 

It is desirable at least two steamers of small size and of 
the lightest possible draught that can be got down to the 



352 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Gulf be chartered and purchased for the purpose of towing 
barges and surf -boats into the bayous and creeks. The navy 
have no such light draught boats. It would be better to 
charter with privilege of purchase during the charter. This 
would throw the risk of the seas. It is desired that Maj. 
Welden of the Infantry have leave of absence to take com 
mand of the Eastern Bay State Regiment. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of New England, BOSTON, February 13th, 1862 

To the Assistant Adjutant General of the State of Massachusetts 

SIR: Enclosed please find list of the Officers of the Eastern 
Bay State Regiment, now numbered 30 Mass. Volunteers, as 
announced by order of the President of the United States, in 
special orders of the War Department No. 11, current series, 
and contained in a copy of that order. 

This copy of the order is sent by direction of the Genl. 
Commanding the department for the information of the Execu 
tive of Massachusetts of the organization of the regiment at 
the time of its adoption by the Commonwealth. 

All these gentlemen were recommended to the Commanding 
General. 1st. The line Officers by their recruiting in general, 
their companies, and those that did not, by their Services, 
in the various duties of organizations, and by their sacrifices 
in leaving home and friends to sail to a distant and supposed 
unhealthy Station. With some exceptions which will be stated 
these gentlemen still approve themselves to him. 

Lt. Claiborne of Company "I" has done some things that 
the General could not approve, and his resignation will 
be immediately sent up. The General would recommend 
Alfred F. Tremaine of Gloucester for the position so vacated. 

Capt. Nelson and Lt. Finnigan already hold Commissions 
from His Excellency, Governor Buckingham of Connecticut, 
in the 9th Connecticut, but being Massachusetts men, and 
the Company of which they are announced as Officers being 
exceedingly difficult of discipline, they were transferred with 
the Governor s consent to their present command as being 
especially efficient. They have subsequently resigned their 
Commissions. Lt. Col. French came recommended to the 
Genl. Commanding by the very highest names but these 
men were of little moment as the Gen. was aware how easily 
recommendations are gotten from those little interested. In 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 353 

addition, he was the chosen Commander of the oldest Military 
organization in the State, comprised for the most part of the 
retired Military officers of the State. But more than this, Lt. 
Col. French recommended himself by his efficiency, promptness, 
skill, and energy in organizing and disciplining his Command, 
and since the Regiment has had experience with him in twenty 
days life on board a transport ship, the most irksome of all 
service, every Officer has sent to the Commanding General a 
request that Lt. Col. French might be appointed Colonel. 

Of Major Paine, the General desires me to say that the con 
current testimony of all men that know him is in his favor. 

That the War Department have in compliance with the 
earnest request of the Commanding General, made on the 
llth day of Jany. last, consented to grant leave of absence to 
Col. Dudley to take the Command of this regiment, is a source 
of the profoundest gratification. That the Governor has at 
last yielded to the repeated requests of the Commanding 
General, and undertaken to Commission the Officers of this 
regiment and interest himself in the welfare of its members, 
is only what might have been expected from his unselfish and 
far seeing patriotism. 

The Officers who have been announced for this regiment 
have been examined by a competent and impartial board 
appointed under the Act of Congress whenever any suggestion 
has been made either of unfitness or incapacity. I have the 
honor to be Servant9 B F BUTLER 



From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of New England. Feb. 13th, 1862 

Hon. BENJ. WADE, United States Senator, Chairman, etc. 

MY DEAR SIR: I enclose to you, according to request, the 
order and instructions under which I took command at For 
tress Monroe. To these I have added a project of taking Nor 
folk, in the only manner possible for me to do without the 
aid of the Navy in reducing Crany Island, which at that 
time was so situated that it could not be taken without a 
large fleet of vessels for bombarding. 

The first and second instructions were fulfilled to the letter; 
no Battery accessible by land was erected within a half day s 
march, no batteries threatened Fortress Monroe. Crany 
Island could not be reduced without the Navy, and a landing 
could not be effected without boats, and all that were fur- 

VOL. I 23 



354 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

nished me by the War Department were unable of landing 
500 men at a time. No Artillery was ever given me. I picked 
up enough to mount my first Battery on the 19th of July, 
and on the 23rd one-half of all my forces were taken away 
and brought to Washington with the lamented Baker. 

I believe the project of taking Norfolk to have been the most 
feasible one then and most feasible one now. Whoever will 
follow it upon the map I think will be so convinced. 

I sent to Senator Chandler a Memorandum of my analysis 
of the number of Beauregard s and Johnson s forces at Bull 
Run, which I suppose you have seen. For the many expres 
sions of kindness and confidence made me by your courtesy 

you have my sincere thanks. ^ f -, v 

Most truly Yours, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl U.S.A. 
From George S. Boutwell 

BOSTON, 14^ Feby, 1862 

Hon. BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. 

MY DEAR GENERAL : A word dropped by our friend Pearson 
led me to think that the circumstance that I was in Wash 
ington last week while Governor Andrew was also there, might 
have caused some of your friends to think that I might have 
interfered in some way with matters pending in which you 
are interested. Our relations have always been such that I 
desire you to know the exact truth. You remember my call 
upon you at the time when I sought to mediate between 
yourself and Gov Andrew. Since that time I have never had 
a word with Gov. Andrew more than with yourself upon the 
subject, nor have I desired in any way to interfere. No one 
spoke to me at Washington upon the subject. I was before a 
committee in regard to coast defences; otherwise I took no 
part in any military affair. 

As between two friends I desired the adjustment of all 
difficulties; failing in this, I studiously avoided partisanship, 
trusting that time and circumstances might furnish a solution 
mutually satisfactory. 

Permit me to renew assurances of my regard, and of my 
best wishes for your success in the great undertaking immedi 
ately before you, as well on your own account as in the inter 
est of our common country. I remain, 

Very sincerely, Your friend and obt. servt. 

GEO. S. BOUTWELL 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 355 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept, of New England, BOSTON, February 15, 1862 

Col. BROWN, Asst. Adjt. General 

DEAR SIR: I am directed by the Genl. Commanding to 
enclose for the information of the Executive of Massachusetts 
the list of the officers of the Western Bay State Regiment, 
31st Massachusetts Volunteers, now at "Camp Chase," as 
now organized with officers under acting orders from these 
head quarters. Those marked with an asterisk (*) have 
already been announced as officers by the President by special 
orders No. 11 from the Adjutant General s office, Current 
Series. 

Lieutenant Smith, Company C, has been charged with 
some delinquincies since his muster into service, and the 
matter was submitted to a board of his brother officers, who 
have reported against him. This was entirely voluntary upon 
his part. He then procured a vote of the meeting of the line 
officers, at which there were only 19 present out of 27, and the 
affirmative was voted by 11 to 8 that of the following ques 
tion; Are the line officers willing to have Lieutenant Smith 
go with them as an associate officer? This meeting was 
called solely by Lieutenant Smith at his own suggestion. Lt. 
Smith may not be of service to the United States, but having 
been announced and mustered into the service he is entitled 
to his position if his charge of impropriety does not compel 
him to resign. The Commanding General will deal with his 
case according to law, upon a full investigation upon the 
merits. All the officers except those of Company K have 
procured the recruits for their respective commands, or paid 
the recruiting expenses, amounting in some cases to a very 
large sum, and in addition have so far approved themselves 
to the Commanding General as entirely worthy of their 
positions. 

Company K stands upon different grounds. It was recruited 
at the expense of the United States wholly. A Mr. Hovey, 
formerly a member of the Massachusetts Volunteers, began 
the recruitment, and acted with very considerable efficiency 
in the recruiting. And if other things had been equal he 
would have been recommended for the Captain by the Com 
manding General. But it came to the knowledge of the Gen 
eral that Hovey had made an offer to sell his influence for a 
commission to his company for a large sum of money, being 



356 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

shown by his own handwriting, and the recommendation of 
a party who had not passed a satisfactory examination for 
such commission. For this, among other reasons, the General 
declined to give him an acting appointment, or to recommend 
him for a commission, as well as the person making the offer 
of purchase. The other officer who had been recruiting the 
company was Mr. Torry, who had applied for permission to 
recruit before, but was rejected because of a physical defect, 
so that although he has shown activity in recruiting, the 
Commanding General declined to recommend him. The 
officers receiving the acting orders and recommended to com 
mission have recruited more men for the service of the United 
States than those they command, and are believed to be 
worthy and well qualified. 

No appointment has been made for colonel of the regiment 
waiting for the action of the War Department and of the full 
organization of the regiments. The Lt. Col. has made great 
sacrifices of time and money in raising, organizing, and dis 
ciplining the regiment, and is worthy of all praise. It is under 
stood he was offered by His Excellency, the Governor, a Lieut. 
Colonelcy in the 29th regiment Mass. Vol., which was after 
wards merged in the 28th, but declined it among other reasons 
because he thought himself under honorary obligations to the 
Commanding General to continue the recruitment in which 
he had previously engaged. The major is the unanimous 
choice of the line officers, and is a man of high intelligence 
and ability. 

That the Governor will commission these officers is a matter 
of high gratification to the Commanding General, as it takes 
away a source of difference between them. 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of New England, BOSTON, Feb. 15, 1862 

Brig. Gen. JOHN T. REED, Qr. Master Gen. of Mass. 

MY DEAR SIR: About to leave the State, I send you, as 
the Head of the proper Department, the "despatch box" 
which was furnished me by the State of Massachusetts when 
I left in April last. If any brigadier had been appointed to 
the 3rd Brigade, I would have turned it over to him. 

The "box" is parted with in regret. It has many associa 
tions about it of mingled emotions. It has traveled with me 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 357 

many miles, and been a daily and nightly silent, useful com 
panion. Possibly the State may have no use for it. If not, 
I would purchase it at its value not for its worth but because 
of perhaps a foolish sentiment. 

With kindest regards for the unvarying courtesy, aid, 
support, and friendship you have always tendered me, I am 

Most truly yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From Governor Buckingham 

HARTFORD, Received BOSTON, Feb. llth, 1862 

Major General B. F. BUTLER 

I WILL advance money to pay the Cavalry if you request. 
Reply and advise the paymaster of your decision. 

WILLIAM A. BUCKINGHAM 

From General Butler 

Feb. 17th 

I DO advise it. Have no doubt it will be refunded. 
From General Butler to Major Lester 

Feb. llth 

Gov. BUCKINGHAM will advance money for the Cavalry. 
Have advised this. Will you attend to it? 

General Butler s Memo, of Directions for Charles 

Feb. 18, 1862 

DURING the absence of myself and Mrs. Butler, Mrs. Heard 
is put in charge of the Homestead, the servants, and all matters 
pertaining thereto. All the servants will get their pay by her 
order to Mr. Webster. 

Charles will keep an accurate account of the time of all 
the men hired upon the place, or working in any way thereon, 
and report the same to Mrs. Heard, when they are to be paid. 

Charles will be held responsible for the proper carrying on 
of the place, getting the hay, keeping the garden, disposing of 
anything that may be to be sold, and accounting therefor 
weekly to Mrs. Heard. Charles may hire one man from 
the 20th of April to the 1st of November, this man to be 
hired for farmers hours and not bell hours. A fair price to be 
paid him as other hands are hired. 

Any misconduct of any person hired to be reported to Mrs. 



358 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Heard, and she to have the power of instant dismissal upon 
her own judgment. 

If repairs are needed, Mrs. Heard will order them, or any 
tools to be bought that may be needed. 

Nothing to be sold from the place without her consent. 

The hedges and trees to be kept neatly trimmed, the gravel 
walks clean, the garden and ploughed lands, free from weeds. 

A small space equal to the width of the washing platform 
may be paved with small round stones front of the barn. A 
pig to be brought and kept. Dan Riley on the "Acre" will 
give me one in payment for rent. 

The wall below the lot next the Rev. Mr. Edson s to be put 
in, if possible not less than six feet high with heavy stones, 
so as not to be thrown down on top, with an opening in which 
there is to be a high, strong picket gate securely fastened, 
wide enough for a carriage way in the most convenient place. 
A culvert to be put in for the conveyance of the water through 
the wall, and a drain covered to it so far as may be necessary. 

The ploughed land in that lot to be planted with potatoes, 
kept free of weeds, and to be laid down to grass in the fall. 

Manure sufficient for that purpose to be purchased and 
hauled with our own team. 

If it becomes necessary to top dress the lawn after haying, 
manure may be got for that. 

The hedge next to Merrimac Company to be carefully set, 
upon consultation with Mr. Hinkley. 

The cow to be fatted and sold early as may be, and a new 
one bought of the best quality. 

The utmost neatness and care is enjoined upon Charles, 
and if upon my return faithfulness and capacity, good conduct 
and sobriety is shown, he shall be rewarded. If any other 
qualities are exhibited by him, which I do not believe will be 
done, he is to be instantly dismissed, and another proper 
person hired in his stead. 

Occasional assistance may be had to show Charles about the 
gardening at which he is not proficient. 

From Colonel McCluskey 

BATH, Rec d BOSTON, Feb. 19th, 1862 

Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Commander N. E. Division 

AGREEABLE to your verbal order of the fourteenth (14), 
the fifteenth regiment is ready to march. I find no stores here, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 359 

and only one ship, the "General Butler." We don t want to 
be left behind to fight sand flies on Ship Island. 

JOHN McCLUSKEY, Colonel 15th Regiment, Me. Vol. 

From General Butler 

"GEO. WASHINGTON" left New York, be at Bath soon. 
Glad to hear of promotion. 

From General McClellan 

WASHINGTON, Feb. IQth, 1862 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, BOSTON 

LIEUT. WEITZEL of the Engineers perfectly familiar with 
your destination. Long stationed there. Is assigned to duty 
with you. When and where shall he report? Instead of 
Palfrey, I will give you McFarland, also acquainted with the 
Locality. Answer. G R McCLELLAN; Maj Genl Comdg _ 

From the Adjutant General 

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20th [1862] 

Major Genl. B. F. BUTLER, BOSTON 

THE following general order was approved by the Secy, this 
morning. Head Quarters of the Army, Adjt. Gens. Office, 
Washington, D.C. Feby. Twentieth, Eighteen Sixty two. 
GENERAL ORDERS: The temporary dept. of New England 
constituted in paragraph one of General orders No. eighty 
six, dated October one, Eighteen Sixty one, is hereby abro 
gated. The authority heretofore given Major General B. F. 
Butler, U. S. Vols. by the War Dept. in regard to raising and 
equipping volunteers in New England for certain purposes is 
withdrawn. All contracts made by authority of Gen. Butler 
and now in the course of execution will be completed. He will 
however enter on no new ones by order of Major General 

McClellan. . / T /T<, AJ-* n i 

Signed: L. THOMAS, Adjt. Genl. 

From A. J. Butler to General Butler 

SHIP ISLAND, Feb. ZQth, 1862 

DEAR BROTHER: In spite of the protest of Mr. Bates, Gen. 
Phelps has appointed a board of officers to take an account 
of and turn over all Q. Masters property on the Island to 
Lieut. Palmer of the 9th Conn., a very clever fellow, the 



360 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

reason he assigns is that a return must be made to Washington, 
and as I have been rejected 1 of course I will return to the 
States on your arrival, and that it had best be done now. Of 
course I could not object, but my reason for not making the 
return was that I had no data to start from, as there were no 
invoices or accounts here that would render such an account 
intelligible, or in which I could do George justice. I have 
receipts and requisitions for everything I have delivered, but 
the transports either have not arrived or are partially dis 
charged, and I have thought it best to take that course. 

Can t you get Harry C. Hill as a Lieut. He is brave, loyal, 
and honest, and no man to-day within the range of my acquaint 
ance better qualified for Qr. M. than him. 

I am to-day issuing for the next 8 days, with what I can 
borrow of bread and flour of the navy, can make up a kind of 
a ration for 25 days after that, but it would only be meal, bread, 

coffee, and rice. T L A T T> 

In haste, A. J. BUTLER 

By General McClellan 

Head Quarters of the Army, Adjutant Generals Office, 

WASHINGTON, D.C. Feb. 23, 62 

GENERAL ORDERS No. 20 

A NEW Military Department to be called "The Depart 
ment of the Gulf" is hereby constituted. It will comprise all 
the coast of the Gulf of Mexico west of Pensacola Harbor, and 
so much of the Gulf States as may be occupied by the forces 
under Major General B. F. Butler, U. S. Volunteers. 

The Head Quarters for the present will be movable, wherever 
the Commanding General may be. 

By command of MAJOR GENERAL MCCLELLAN 

From General McClellan 

Headquarters of the Army, February 23rd, 1862 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, U. S. Army 

GENERAL: You are assigned to the command of the land 
forces destined to co-operate with the Navy in the attack 
upon New Orleans. You will use every means to keep your 
destination a profound secret, even from your staff officers, 
with the exception of your Chief of Staff and Lt. Weitzel of 
the engineers. 

1 The appointments of Andrew Jackson Butler and Capt. Paul R. George were 
rejected by the Senate. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 361 

The force at your disposal will consist of the first thirteen 
regiments named in your memorandum handed to me in per 
son, the 21st Indiana, 4th Wisconsin and the 6th Michigan (old 
and good regiments from Baltimore); these three regiments 
will await your orders at Fort Monroe. Two companies of the 
21st Indiana are well drilled at heavy artillery. The cavalry 
force already en route for Ship Island will be sufficient for your 
purposes. After full consultation with officers well acquainted 
with the country in which it is proposed to operate, I have 
arrived at the conclusion that 3 light batteries fully equipped, 
and one without horses, will be all that are necessary. 

This will make your force about 14,000 Infantry, 295 
Cavalry, 580 Artillery, total 15,255 men. The commanding 
General of the Department of Key West is authorized to loan 
you, temporarily, 2 regiments. Fort Pickens can probably 
give you another, which will bring your force to nearly 18,000. 
The object of your expedition is one of vital importance, the 
capture of New Orleans. The route selected is up the Missis 
sippi River, and the first obstacle to be encountered (perhaps 
the only one) is in the resistance offered by Forts St. Philip 
and Jackson. It is expected that the Navy can reduce the 
works; in that case, you will after their capture leave a suffi 
cient garrison in them to render them perfectly secure. It 
is recommended that on the upward passage a few heavy guns 
and some troops be left at the Pilot station (at the forks of 
the road), to cover a retreat in the case of a disaster (the 
troops and guns will of course be moved as soon as the Forts 
are captured). Should the Navy fail to reduce the works, 
you will land your forces and seige train, and endeavor to 
trench the works, silence their fire, and carry them by assault. 

The next resistance will be near the English bend, where 
there are some earthen batteries; here it may be necessary 
for you to land your troops to co-operate with the naval 
attack, although it is more than probable that the Navy 
unassisted can accomplish the result. If these works are 
taken, the city of New Orleans necessarily falls. In that event 
it will probably be best to occupy Algiers with the mass of 
your troops, also the eastern bank of the river above the city. 
It may be necessary to place some troops in the city to pre 
serve order, though if there appears sufficient Union sentiment 
to control the city, it may be best for purposes of discipline 
to keep your men out of the city. 

After obtaining possession of New Orleans, it will be neces- 



362 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

sary to reduce all the works guarding its approaches from the 
east, and particularly to gain the Manchac Pass. 

Baton Rouge, Burwick Bay, and Fort Livingston will next 
claim your attention. A feint on Galveston may facilitate the 
objects we have in view. I need not call your attention to 
the necessity of gaining possession of all the rolling stock 
you can, on the different railways, and of obtaining control 
of the roads themselves. The occupation of Baton Rouge by 
a combined naval and land force should be accomplished as 
soon as possible after you have gained New Orleans. Then 
endeavor to open your communication with the northern 
column of the Mississippi, always having in mind the necessity 
of occupying Jackson, Miss., as soon as you can safely do so, 
either after or before you have effected the junction. Allow 
nothing to divert you from obtaining full possession of all 
the approaches to New Orleans. When that object is accom 
plished to its fullest extent, it will be necessary to make a 
combined attack on Mobile, in order to gain possession of the 
harbor and works, as well as to control the railway terminus 
at the city. In regard to this, I will send more detailed instruc 
tions as the operations of the Northern column develop them 
selves. I may simply state that the general objects of the 
expedition are, first the reduction of New Orleans and all its 
approaches, then Mobile and all its defenses, then Pensacola, 
Galveston, etc. It is probable that by the time New Orleans 
is reduced it will be in the power of the Government to rein 
force the land forces sufficiently to accomplish all these objects; 
in the meantime you will please give all the assistance in your 
power to the Army and Navy Commanders in your vicinity, 
never losing sight of the fact that the great object to be 
achieved is the capture and firm retention of New Orleans. 
Very respectfully, Your obedient Servant, 
GENERAL MCLELLAN, Major General Comdg. 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. BALTIMORE, Feb. %<tth 1862 

Maj. Gen. GEO. B. MCCLELLAN, Commander in Chief, &c. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

PLEASE telegraph orders to Gen. Dix to send Nim s Battery 
to Fortress Monroe, transportation is ready for it there. 
Reynold s Battery has been ordered to relieve it. The fog 

has detained boat. T> T^ T> 

B. F. BUTLER 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 363 

From General Butler 

HAMPTON ROADS Feb. 25th, 1862 

Maj. Gen. J. E. WOOL, Commanding Dept. of Va. 

GENERAL: I have to request that the 21 st Ind., 6th Michi 
gan, & 4th Wisconsin Regts., upon the arrival of Transport 
which I suppose will be the Steamer "Constitution," may be 
despatched to me at Ship Island. I also expect Nim s Battery 
from Baltimore and the Ship "De Witt Clinton" is provided 
for that. If you will so far add to your duties as to allow 
your Quarter Master to expedite these Regiments and this 
Battery you will add to the many favors which you have 
already done for me, and the debt of gratitude which I owe 

to you Very Respt. Your Obt. Servt. 

B. F. BUTLER, Major General 

From Mrs. Butler to Mrs. Heard 

FORTRESS MONROE, Feb. 25, 62. On board the MISSISSIPPI 

DEAR H. : We came on board at eleven o clock. A steam 
tug took us from the boat that brought us to Fortress Monroe. 
I found a way to the top of the tug, from that they threw 
a plank to the "Mississippi," and led by the Captain came 
safely on board without confusion. The others came up the 
side of the ship, by ladders and ropes. Such a struggle for 
places! Those that sailed from Boston occupied more room 
then could be yielded after the new arrivals. Sixteen hun 
dred people to be stowed away somewhere. Mr. Butler with 
the staff began giving orders, and in two or three hours it 
became very quiet, every one assigned his place by right of 
rank. Dinner served at two, plainly but very well. Con 
densed water, I do not like it. Mr. Butler and "staff" go on 
shore to dine with Gen. Wool. It is expected we shall be off 
tonight, in the meantime I should be glad of a place to warm 
my feet. 

PORT ROYAL 

How much of agonizing suspense, of despairing misery, 
has been crowded into this week. 

We are lying here now in safety, drawing up at the wharf, 
and the Naval people are at work to repair the ship. They say 
it can be done directly, but that does not seem so certain. 
The pumps they have made and are trying this morning are 
found too short, the work is to be done over again. We have 



364 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

been here two nights, and nothing done yet that gives promise 
of speedy sailing. The officers are impatient under this delay, 
for we believe the fleet to be ready for the attack, perhaps 
even now it has gone from Ship Island to enter the Mississippi ; 
or our friends who we hear, are at Island No. 10 may go down 
the river and take New Orleans. Then will their brows be 
bound with oak while we lie here, ignobly bound to a mud 
bank. Ship is embedded in mud to place her in position to 
repair. If they fret till the proud heart break it will not mend 
the hole in the bottom of the ship, nor give us the vessels 
lying in Port so idle; one would think they might welcome the 
change, and bear us onward whither we would go. I believe 
there is a promise of one that will take four or five hundred 
when she has discharged her cargo. The men show discon 
tent when there is talk of leaving them to come when the ship 
is repaired, the ship that they have a superstitious dread of 
from the repeated disasters that have beset her. They say 
she was launched on Friday, sailed on Friday, and call her a 
doomed vessel. If Mr. Butler will wait the repairs and sail 
in the Mississippi himself, they will be satisfied. I think he 
will do it. He selected this regiment to come with him, and 
after the dangers shared it would be hard to leave them behind. 
The soldiers are encamped on shore, roving up and down for 
oysters. I went on shore today. One plantation covers the 
Island. The planter s house is insignificant, backed by a 
dozen negro huts. Level fields, yellow pine trees in the dis 
tance, a ditch or two, here and there a scattering palmetto, 
stunted looking things, with a few leaves clustered at the top, 
rattling away like sticks. How can one think them comely? 
The trunk is rough, the bark standing out jagged and prickly, 
giving entrance and shelter to snakes during the cold weather. 
I began this letter to give you an account of our voyage thus 
far, but the dangers we have met are so recent and those to 
come so threatening that my mind seems willing to avoid both, 
and clings to the present moment, for here is land, sunshine, 
and safety. A few nights ago and we would have given a 
thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground, long 
heath, brown furze, anything. The storm came on soon after 
we left the bay and neared Hatteras, awful point. This is the 
second time I have been nearly lost there. 

Again the men formed in line, from hold to deck, and bailed 
water all night. The seas roaring, phosphorescent, gleaming 
as serpents backs, struck the quivering ship like heavy artil- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 365 

lery. The dread was when she plunged in the trough of the 
sea and the waves swept over her, that she would founder and 
go down. We turned our course north to run with the wind 
which blew from the southeast. We kept in it that night, and 
the next day until twelve o clock, then the storm was so far 
broken that we turned short about, ran up three sails and 
flew down the coast like a bird, past Cape Hatteras, Point 
Lookout down to Cape Fear. This distance we had made 
from twelve at noon yesterday, now nine in the morning. We 
were at breakfast, congratulating each other on our escape 
from the storm, the delightful weather, and the rapid speed 
we were making. I left the table a moment and was in my 
room preparing to go on deck, when there came a surging, 
grating sound from the bottom of the vessel a pause, a 
hush of dread throughout the ship it worked again the 
engine stopped began again, another heavy lurching, and 
quivering of the ship again the engine stopped. We were 
aground, on the Frying Pan Shoals, ten or fifteen miles from 
shore, the coast held by the enemy, four or five small boats 
and 1600 people aboard. Dismay on every face! I asked Mr. 
Butler of the danger, "A hundred fold worse than the storm, 
but there is no time for words, I must look after the ship." 
Yet for the time we were safe, the day was fair, the vessel 
embedded in sand, so that her keel would not be stove with 
rocks. Brains and hands worked busily, devising and execut 
ing ways to get her off, and men watched for sails at every 
point, for there in truth was almost our only hope; at last one 
appeared in sight. A signal was hoisted. It was proposed to 
hoist it with the Union down. "Not so," said Mr. Butler, 
"let the Union go up." Guns were fired to show our distress, 
though apprehensive she might prove a rebel steamer, and 
we be forced to fight her in our crippled state or yield our 
selves inglorious prisoners. She could not come directly to 
us, and hours were consumed before she could round the shoal 
and feel her way slowly with the lead, somewhere within a 
mile of us. She proved a friend. It was now late in the 
afternoon. We ran on at full tide, and must wait til it returned 
at seven in the evening before we could hope to pull her off. 
A hawser was stretched to the other vessel, and the soldiers 
moved at double quick fore and aft to loosen her from the 
sand. They labored and pulled, but failed to lift her; the 
tide was not yet full. Two or three hundred men were already 
sent to the "Mount Vernon." The wind began to rise and 



366 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the waves to swell into the heavy sea that looked so dark and 
wrathful. 

Mr. Butler came to me and said, "You must make ready 
to go in a few minutes." Captain Glisson was about to return 
to his own vessel and would take me with him. The General s 
duty would be to remain until every man was safe, or while 
the ship held together. This was clear enough, and I only 
said, "I would rather remain here if you are willing." I know 
not why, but I felt more safety where I was than in that little 
boat tossing below on the mad waves, or in the strange vessel 
in the distance. "Why do you think of such a thing?" he 
said. "Are you mad, that you would risk to the children the 
loss of both?" "I will go," I answered, "when the captain is 
ready." Mr. Butler went away to the pilot house. The ship 
was beating heavily on the surf, and men s hearts beat heavier 
still, and the night swept toward us. The deck was crowded 
with men. Major Bell gave me his arm. There was a move, 
a "make way for Mrs. Butler." I was helped over the railing, 
Capt. Glisson preceded me down the side of the ship, and 
aided as much as possible. The boat was tossing like a nut 
shell far below us, and down the unsteady ladder we slipped. 
When nearly at the bottom the Capt. said, "Jump madam, 
we ll catch you," and down I went into the boat. "Pull men, 
be lively," the Capt. called every few minutes. A wave 
leaped up and drenched the man at the tiller; he shrank from 
it, but the Captain urged to greater speed. In a quarter of 
an hour we were aboard the "Mount Vernon." Only two 
boats followed, two more were obliged to put back; the 
waves were so rough they could not make the ship. I sat in 
the cabin, sick and trembling. If they could not get off the 
shoal how could those thousand men escape! the duty of 
the officers was to take care of the men, and the highest in 
command must be the last to leave. The "Mt. Vernon" 
was too small to take them all, even if they could reach 
us. One would not like to encounter many such hours. The 
Capt. came often to tell me what was doing. He had sent 
his best officer to our ship, and when the tide was full, there 
was a chance she might be moved (I saw he had but little 
hope she would be). Only one ship had ever escaped from 
those shoals that had met the misfortune to ground there. 
Soon after the Capt. went out there came a long shout swelling 
over the waters, not a cry of distress but a shout of joy. 
"Hurrah, hurrah! she is off the shoals and into deep water!" 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 367 

In two hours we were out of those dangerous waters and 
safely anchored. The "Mount Vernon" touched three times 
while she was aiding, but happily escaped. The next morning 
Mr. Butler came on board to breakfast. It was decided we 
must keep on to Port Royal, a hundred and sixty miles, and 
there repair. Down the ship s side and again on our own 
vessel. This time I was drawn up in a chair draped with 
flags. I think many were glad to see me back, it looked as 
though we had confidence in the ship. I have not yet told 
you her condition: her forward compartment filled with 
water and leaking into the next the pumps working continu 
ally to keep it out; the bow much deeper in the water than 
the stern, but the machinery quite perfect. Our safety must 
depend on the weather. I must tell you the hole in the bow 
was made by the anchor thrown over after we had grounded 
the ship working around onto it. One would have thought we 
were fast enough without the anchor. We left the "Mount 
Vernon" in haste, for Captain Glisson discovered a schooner 
trying to run the blockade, and instantly gave chase. It was 
watched with interest from our vessel. We lay there, awaiting 
her return, to furnish us with another pump, and to have 
Captain Glisson s judgment of our chances of escape to Port 
Royal. The shore was alive with cavalry, dashing along 
apparently in high excitement thinking, perhaps, we were 
there to attack them. It was growing late in the day again, 
and hazy-looking. General Butler wanted a pennon made, to 
show which way the wind came. I went down to my trunk 
and brought a scarlet ribbon, which was fashioned and sewed 
with care, though we were there in sight of an enemy, with 
an almost disabled ship. Captain Glisson returned at length, 
with his prize. One of our officers went out to her, and brought 
us captured bananas and oranges. 

At least we started just in the state we were, without another 
pump, or any less water in the hold. The "Mount Vernon" 
accompanied us, but in storm could do little for us. One day 
and one night, too much time for thought, when it is inten 
sified. Mr. Butler was exhausted and slept. He would, I 
think, if a mine were beneath him liable to explode. I could 
only doze a moment, and wake with a shock. The day (Sun 
day) was passed on deck. Morning service at eleven o clock. 
Those that pray not often, I think prayed then; prayed that 
God would have mercy on us and let the waves be still. He 
was merciful for we are here. The next day the wind blew so 



368 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

fearfully it broke our fastenings at the Wharf and drove us 
into the middle of the creek. What would it have been at sea ! 
Of the thoughts that came crowding as I lay, sick and 
faint on the night of the storm, yes and since, then of the 
dear children s faces that kept coming and changing, of their 
altered futures if they lost us now, of relatives, friends, of the 
quick cry for mercy, "let us see them again, dear Christ, and 
die among our own people," of this I will write no more, and 
trust my next letter will not be less thankful but more cheerful. 
I will tell you of the town of Beaufort, our sail there, the 
flowers we gathered, roses, camelias, and orange blossoms in 
the open gardens of the spacious houses, and our voyage from 
this to Ship Island, when we have made it. Till then with 
love, quickened by danger, to the children, to you and all. 

SARAH BUTLER 

It is now the fifth day of our arrival here, there is less and 
less hope of repairing the ship here. She may have to be sent 
to New York or Boston. They are now looking for other 
transportation to Ship Island. I will write you the name of 
the vessel we go in before we leave. 

This letter must go, I cannot tell you what ship we sail in. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Ex. Carps. On board Steamer MISSISSIPPI 

off CAPE FEAB N.C. March 1st 1862 

Commdr. O. S. GLISSON, U.S.N. 

SIR: I respectfully request that you will in view of the 
disabled condition of this ship accompany us with the "Mount 
Vernon" a convoy to Port Royal S.C. or to such point inter 
mediate as may hereafter be decided upon. I am Sir 

Very Respt. Your Obt. Servt. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. 

P.S. I send herewith a Copy of report of board of Survey 
this day convened by my order. -g p BUTLER 

From General Butler 

On Board Steam Trans. MISSISSIPPI at anchor 

PORT ROYAL Mch. 2d 1862 

To the Flag Officer Comdg Squadron at PORT ROYAL 

SIR: In pursuing my voyage from Fortress Monroe to Ship 
Island we had the misfortune to run upon Frying Pan Shoals 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

off Cape Fear, and remained there some hours, from which 
position I have been kindly assisted by Commander Glisson 
of U. S. war Steamer "Mt. Vernon." By this untoward acci 
dent I fear that the vessel may have been strained. I know 
that she leaks badly forward, from the consequences of which 
we have been saved by water-tight compartments. I desire 
the means of freeing her from water, if within your command, 
& also that you will detail a competent board of officers for 
a survey, as I much desire to go forward in her with my troops. 
Any assistance which you may render me in my unfortunate 
condition will conduce to the public service & be gratefully 
remembered by me. I would do myself the honor of calling 
in person upon the Flag Officer but my presence is necessary 
here for the proper care of my troops. I have the honor to be 

Very Respt. Your Obt. Servt., 

B. F. BUTLER Maj. Gen. 

From General Butler 

On board the MISSISSIPPI, March 9, 1862 

Brig. Genl. T. W. SHERMAN, Comdg. at PORT ROYAL 

GENERAL: An unpleasant occurrence took place at this 
place upon the evening of the 8th inst., which I herein lay 
before you with my action thereupon. 

In the early part of the evening one "Wan Vanhan," a 
Sergeant in the 45th Penn. Vol., entered the quarters of Col. 
Gooding of the 31st Mass. Vol. under a pretence that he came 
to see the woman who kept the house in regard to his washing. 
He was informed by Col. Gooding that she was out, and he 
was desired to call again. The Sergt., instead of complying, 
proceeded to sit down. The Colonel, having guests with him, 
ordered the Sergeant to leave, which order he presumptuously 
refused to obey. Col. Gooding then ordered him arrested, but 
he refused to go under arrest, asserting that Col. Gooding had 
no right to command him, and that no one there could eject 
him from the house. Col. Gooding then called the guard, had 
the Sergeant arrested and placed in the Guard house of the 
31st Regt. 

Soon after this Captain Curtin, of the 45th Penn. Vol., 
without inquiry of, or report to, Col. Gooding, proceeded to 
the Guard house and called out the Sergeant and released 
him from custody, saying he was commander at this post, 
and did not wish his men put into the Guard house. 

VOL. I 24 



370 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Soon after this, some 20 or 30 of the Penn. Vol. gathered 
near the Guard house, unchecked by their officers, and 
endeavored to excite the soldiers of my command confined 
therein to mutiny. 

Upon a report of these facts to me, I sent for Captain Curtin, 
but he was not to be found, nor was his first Lieut, to be found. 
After sending three times during the evening, his 2nd Lieut, 
appeared and said he did not know where either of these 
officers were or when they would return. 

At about 11 o clock P.M. Capt. Curtin came in and said 
that he had been upon Pinckney Island, reconnoitering the 
enemy s pickets according to orders. He admitted the release 
of the Sergeant by himself in the manner herein before related. 

I deemed it my duty to act immediately upon an offense 
so grave, and therefore ordered him under arrest in close 
quarters, and to return the Sergeant to the Guard house, 
leaving further action in the premises to your judgment, being 
myself exceedingly unwilling to have even the appearance of 
interference with your command, knowing that he will receive 
justice at your hands. 

I feel it my duty to add that the management at this post 
during my stay here by this Captain of his command has 
been a disgrace to the service. There has been no order, dis 
cipline, nor even a pretence of vigilance among them, and I 
know that this has but to be brought to your notice to call 
out such a rebuke as will operate to make commanders of 
outposts aware that though out from under the immediate 
eye of the commanding General, their duties must be strictly 
and conscientiously performed. With great respect, I am, 

General > Your obdt. servt. BENJ. F. BUTLER 



From General Butler 

Transport Steamer MISSISSIPPI, HILTON HD. Is. S.C. Mch. Wth 1862 

Brig. Gen. T. W. SHERMAN, Comdg. at PORT ROYAL 

GENERAL: I have great pleasure in informing you that I 
have succeeded at last in putting my vessel in a proper con 
dition to proceed on her voyage in safety, and that I shall 
sail immediately. But I cannot leave without expressing my 
grateful sense of the many courtesies which I have experienced 
at your hands, and the readiness with which you have fur 
thered my requisitions & anticipated my wants. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 371 

Trusting that no necessities of your own will ever afford 
me an opportunity of repaying your civility in kind. I remain 

Your Obt. servant, B. F. BUTLER, Major Genl. 
From General Butler 

On board the Steamer MISSISSIPPI, Off HILTON HEAD S.C., March 12, 1862 

Major General GEO. B. MCLELLAN, Commander in Chief 
U.S.A. 

GENERAL: I have the honor to report the causes of my 
detention at this port, which will be fully set forth in the 
extracts from the itinerary herewith enclosed. It will be seen 
that after a series of most unparalleled marine disasters, I am 
at last ready for sea, and shall sail as soon as the weather will 
permit. I enclose also a copy of an order of arrest of the 
Master of the Steamer by whose fault and mismanagement 
our misfortunes have been caused. A competent Master and 
coast-pilot have been detailed from the Navy Squadron to 
command the "Mississippi" the rest of the voyage. I desire 
to express my deep sense of obligation both to General Sherman 
and officers of his command for every aid in our distressed 
condition. Thanks are especially due to Commander Boutelle, 
Asst. U. S. Coast Survey, for the very efficient assistance given 
by the Steamer "Bibb" under his command, and the untiring 
personal exertions in giving his services and those of his 
officers at my request, to get this ship in a condition for sea, 
and also in acting as pilot to get her off a shoal on which she 
had grounded in our attempt to get to sea. 

A Board of Survey of competent Naval Officers have pro 
nounced this Ship fit for sea, and I have no further fear of 
her under a competent commander. No serious casualty has 
occurred amid all these dangers. We have lost two men from 
diseases contracted prior to their enlistment. The health of 
the command is good. Of the conduct of nearly every officer 
and man during these perils, more trying and disheartening 
than the perils of any battle could be, I cannot speak too highly. 
I am General, 

Very respectfully, Your obedient Servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comd g. 



372 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

On board Steamer MISSISSIPPI, PORT ROYAL S.C., March \1th 1862 

Col. NEAL Dow, Comdg. troops on board steamer "Matanzas" 
COLONEL: Maj. Gen. Butler directs that you receive on 
board the Steamer "Matanzas" Capt. A. H. Fulton, late 
Commander of the "Mississippi," & see that he proceeds 
with you to Ship Island. He will be treated with the utmost 
courtesy and kindness, but you will be held responsible that 
he will not leave your ship until further orders from Gen. 

Butler. I am Col. T/ , v n ,, , 

Very Respt. Yr. Obt. Servt. 

GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. Genl. 
From General Butler 

On board Steamer MISSISSIPPI, March 12th, 1862 

Captain A. H. FULTON 

CAPTAIN: I transmit herewith a copy of the proceedings 
and testimony of a Board of Inquiry ordered upon the causes 
of the disasters which have delayed our voyage and imperiled 
our lives. The results of careful examination of the evidence 
are these: 

1st. That off Cape Hatteras we were in the most imminent 
peril from running over the shoal within four fathoms water, 
and that too in daylight. If we had struck there in the gale 
that followed every life must have been lost. Could compe 
tent foresight and seamanship have brought us in that posi 
tion? I cannot permit the statement made by yourself, that 
you learned in twelve or fifteen hours after we left Fortress 
Monroe "that the General wished to stop at Hatteras" to be 
any excuse. It was told you in Hampton Roads that it was 
necessary to stop at Hatteras Inlet to take up Gen. Williams. 
The testimony of William A. Dunn, one of the Quartermasters 
of the ship, shows that it was known at least to him. 

2nd. That in smooth water with a clear sky, land in full 
sight, with a buoy and light-house in view, the vessel was 
run ashore upon Frying Pan Shoals in less than three fathoms 
water. 

3rd. That being hard and fast aground in less than three 
fathoms and falling tide, the port anchor was let go, the Ship 
heading South West, the wind Westerly and the Fore Main 
Sails Spencer, Fore Sail and Jib being set (see testimony of 
Chief Officer), so that the Ship was forced upon it and a hole 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 373 

punched through the bottom. I do not feel myself competent 
to examine the courses and distances held by the ship by which 
we were brought into this position, having only a landsman s 
acquaintance with navigation, but the facts above stated are 
too prominent to escape the most careless observation. I 
will call attention however to some of the discrepancies of 
your statement, both with itself and with the direct testimony 
of others. You say (page 15th) that between five and six 
A.M. of the 28th February, you judged "yourself on the edge 
of the Gulf Stream," (page 17) you say that the edge of the 
Gulf Stream is from 30 to 40 miles from Frying Pan Shoals. 
You say you were running 8| knots per hour, that at 7 o clock 
A.M. you were in sight of the Main Land. How could you get 
in sight of Main Land within two hours, and finding yourself 
so much out of your place, not heave the lead till after the 
Ship struck. Besides, you say (page 15) you did not turn out 
till between 6 and 7 o clock A.M. What means had you of 
judging where you were between 5 and 6 o clock A.M. You 
observe also that your statement as to the depth of water off 
Hatteras, when the vessel was in the breakers, is expressly 
contradicted by at least four persons. You say that there was 
not less than 7 fathoms at any time (page 16), while the con 
current testimony of at least four witnesses is that the lead 
showed four fathoms and less. These are but a small part of 
discrepancies which show to me that your mind is in such a 
state of confusion as to events that the lives of my men are 
not safe under the guidance of your nautical skill. 

I am forced to the conclusion, therefore, that through 
your neglect or incompetency the lives of fourteen hundred 
men had thrice been in peril, that the important interests of 
the Government in the speed of this voyage have been greatly 
injured, and its objects much delayed and perhaps thwarted. 
After much detention we are now at anchor in Port Royal 
harbor, about to again start upon our voyage. 

With the convictions above expressed, I ought not, I cannot 
permit the voyage to proceed with yourself in command of 
this Ship; it has been found impossible to get another to carry 
the troops within any reasonable time. There is but one course 
of duty left to me a responsible and unpleasant one. You 
will therefore be placed under arrest in your state-room until 
you can be conveniently transferred to "Matanzas." You will 
be allowed to take from the ship with you only your personal 
baggage. Everything else will be left on board, and my receipt 



374 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

will be given you for the Ship, her tackle, equipment, and 
Stores of every description. You will proceed to Ship Island 
on board the "Matanzas" after landing the troops there. If 
I determine to terminate the charter party, the ship and crew 
will be again turned over to you if the owners so desire. Copies 
of the proceedings of the Board of Inquiry and of this order 
of arrest will be sent to the owners, together with the copy of 
the Log since we left Fortress Monroe, with a report of the 
voyage from the itinerary kept by my order. 

I am grieved to be obliged to this action, for our personal 
relations have been of the kindest character, and I know your 
self will believe that only the sternest sense of duty would 
compel me to it. I have the honor to be 

Very respectfully Your obedient Servant 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Com dg 

From General Butler 

On board Steam Transport MISSISSIPPI, off HILTON HEAD March \1th 1862 

To the owners of the Steamship "Mississippi" 

GENTLEMEN: I have the honor to transmit to you the pro 
ceedings and testimony taken by a board of Inquiry under 
my order upon the causes of this ship stranding upon Frying 
Pan Shoals. The inquiry you will see took a wider range & 
developed other damages which were by no means the least 
alarming. Please also find a letter of arrest, which explains 
the action I found myself obliged to take under the circum 
stances, as well for what I believe to be your interests as the 
safety of my command. This course was not taken without 
the most anxious deliberation and a deep sense of the respon 
sibility incurred. I believe it imperative. A competent board 
of Naval officers now pronounce the ship seaworthy. Acting 
Master Sturges, U. S. Navy, has been detailed to me as com 
mander, & Commander Boutelle of the Coast Survey whom 
you may have known has kindly given me Mr. Mitchell as a 
Coast Pilot, who has been employed 25 years upon the survey 
of this coast and the Gulf of Mexico. I shall proceed to sea 
as soon as the weather permits. Please also find a copy of the 
Itinerary kept by my order by Major Bell of my Staff, which 
will give you the detail of the voyage as understood by an 
intelligent landsman. I send a copy of the Log so far as it is 
written out. The first mate was taken with the measles on 
the 10th at evening, and is now sick with them, & I have 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 375 

appointed Mr. Mitchell temporarily in his place. The second 
mate has been sick for some days. I have also detailed 23 
men of my command who are sailors to assist in working the 
ship, some three or four of the crew being sick. 

I shall wait before I reinstate Capt. Fulton for advices 
from you, as I have written him. What I should prefer would 
be that you would despatch an agent to Ship Island with 
plenary powers in the premises. Trusting my course may sub 
serve your interests as well as the safety of my command, I am, 
Gentlemen, 

Your obt. servant, B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General 

Interview between General Butler and Captain Fulton 

SHIP ISLAND, March 25, 1862 [Not in chronological order] 

THIS day at about 4 o clock P.M. Genl. Butler had an inter 
view with Capt. Fulton at Head Quarters. The following 
conversation took place. Genl. Butler said, "I have received 
your note. I think that you mistake the purport of my letter 
to you." (Read that portion of letter relating to giving up 
the ship to Capt. at Ship Island) "I think your demand 
unreasonable, charter is not expired, the troops not landed, 
owners not heard from. When these happen I will give up 
the ship to you." "Since I left Fortress Monroe I have never 
said a harsh or unkind word toward you or behind your back" 
Capt. said, "No, Sir." The General said, "I have made no 
charge of want of integrity, and I have had no belief in the silly 
story of your secession principles. How then could you have 
said in substance at table that you wished that I had returned 
in the boat and that it had swamped?" Capt. said, "I have 
not said it, but I have used expressions as strong & harsh as 
that. I thought myself aggrieved, I had no fair trial, and I 
have spoken strongly." Genl. Butler then said, "I cannot 
allow a man who wished the death of the commander of this 
expedition to go at large. It is unsafe to the expedition. You 
shall have a fair trial by court martial." 

Called for Lt. Wright & Supt. of Guard. Told Capt. he 
had tried to excite mutiny on board the ship. Capt. made 
no reply. Ordered him into confinement, to have no inter 
course with ship or any one, except on paper to be examined 
by the General himself. He was removed. 



376 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From J. H. Foster and Co. 

Union Steam Ship Company, BOSTON, March 20th, 1862 

[Not in chronological order] 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. New England Division 
SIR: Having just heard that the Steamship "Mississippi" 
had left Port Royal for Ship Island, we deem it our duty to 
inform you that Capt. F. A. Lampson was sent out yesterday 
by us on board Steamer "Saxon," to take charge of the "Mis 
sissippi" in place of Capt. Fulton. We have furnished Capt. 
Lampson with proper authority, and have given him a letter 
to your address he is fully competent, and you may place 
every reliance upon him. We write this that in case of any 
delay to the "Saxon," you may know that we have taken 
steps to remedy the unfortunate disasters to the ship. None 
can feel more regret and mortification than we, and we trust 
the ship will not be allowed to leave Ship Island without Capt. 
Lampson in charge, or some competent master. We remain, 

Your obedient servant, 
J. H. FOSTER AND Co., Agents 

We trust you may be able to continue the "Mississippi" in 
service, and that her future may atone for the misfortunes of, 
the past. 

From General Butler 

SHIP ISLAND, Mar. 25th, 1862 [Not in chronological order] 

Capt. STURGIS, of the "Mississippi" 

CAPTAIN: Having heard that there have arrived doubts 
in the minds of the various employees on board the "Missis 
sippi" as to their pay from the date of the deposition of Capt. 
Fulton at Hilton Head, So. Car., I wish you to announce to 
them that I will see to it that their wages are fully and 
promptly paid, either by the owners of the vessel or the Gov 
ernment, or in case of failure I promise to pay them myself. 

Very respectfully 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of the Gulf, April 10, 1862 

[Not in chronological order] 

Capt. A. H. FULTON 

SIR: In reply to yours, General Butler directs me to say 
that he has understood you to complain that you were not 
brought to trial, and that in consequence he has been making 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 377 

preparation to bring you to trial. If, as he surmises from the 
time of your last communication, you have changed your 
mind in this respect, and desire to be sent home untried, he 
desires that you will state such change of mind, and present 
desire unequivocally that he may take it into consideration. 

Respectfully, 
J. M. BELL, Maj. & A.D.C. 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, Adjutant General s Office, WASHINGTON, March 15th, 1862 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, U. S. Volunteers, Comdg. etc., 
SHIP ISLAND, MISSISSIPPI 

SIR: On Sunday last the iron-clad steamer "Merrimac," 
called by the rebels the "Virginia," run out from Norfolk, 
attacked our blockading squadron, destroyed two frigates 
and two gun-boats. She was subsequently beaten back in a 
severe battle with our steamer "Monitor," and has not since 
attempted to come out. 

The rebel army has retreated from Winchester and Manassas, 
and retired, without fighting a battle, beyond the Rappa- 
hannock. The batteries on the Potomac have also been aban 
doned. These movements were evidently made in great haste, 
as they left behind pieces of artillery and other stores which 
they had no time to destroy. 

The President s order No. 3, herewith enclosed, relieves 
Major General McClellan from the command of the army, 
and confines him to the army of the Potomac. The Secretary 
of War directs that you make your reports and returns to 
him. He also directs that you forward despatches to him on 
the return of the despatch vessel, and permit no officer to 
detain her on any pretext whatever. I am, Sir, 

Very Respectfully, Yr. Obdt. Servt., 

L. THOMAS, Adjutant General 

From Henry Read 

BOSTON, March ISth, 1862 

Major General B. F. BUTLER 

As the last ship is now about leaving Boston that Capt. 
George is to control, it becomes necessary that I should be 
prepared with some means of conveyance for goods as Sutler 
to Ship Island; now, supposing I charter or hire a craft for 
that purpose, a question arises, How am I to obtain a 



378 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

clearance for such craft? Will you please advise me, and if 
necessary write to the Secretary of War (or whoever should be 
applied to) for permission for me to do so, or for me to trade, 
or convey goods to Ship Island and vicinity. You know what 
will be the proper course better than I. 

Capt. George refers me to you on this point, and Fisher is 
absent, consequently I know not how, or what should be done. 
Please advise me fully, as it becomes necessary for me to be 
advised at once. 

Your folks are all well and prospering under Harriet s 

administrations finely. ^ ^ 

Yours etc.) HENRY READ 

P.S. Please straighten me out at your earliest possible 
convenience. 

From Paul R. George to General Butler 

BOSTON, March IQth, 1862 

MY DEAR GENERAL: The "Saxon" sails today. The en 
closed note will give you the reason why she sails so light in 
freight; tampering with your command continues in all forms 
and in the most annoying way; for instance, until today I 
could not find out about Stone s conduct, and only now know 
by the within note. 

It is of the utmost importance to your future that all the 
bills contracted for the New England Div. be adjusted and 
settled as promptly as close attention will enable me to do it. 
Unless this be done, misrepresentation and falsehood will 
attach doubts as to their validity, and afford food for slander. 
I have all the bills in, and have made the estimate for their 
payment; in a week I can settle after I get the money. There 
are no more ships to hire, no more bills to purchase; direct 
from the War Dept., I suppose, will supplies be ordered for 
the future. 

It will need thought that your army always has plenty of 
food and clothing. I will be here in Boston until I hear from 
you. I will write more fully by the next transport, that sails 
this week. 

Upon consultation and mature reflection I have thought it 
wisest to grant transportation to all officers who had orders to 
report to Ship Island. Your being there, I thought this course, 
under the circumstances, the best. 

I have sent you newspapers by which you will get the current 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 379 

news. Your reconnoissance should be certain and your ships 
reliable, as upon your success in this great and most important 
enterprise of the campaign, success alone will answer. Pardon 
me, but much I fear the Navy will be repulsed by Iron Clad 
Boats from New Orleans. I can see no other serious danger 
but this last one alluded to. 

I pray God for your success, I pray fervently each night for 
your success, for the safety of yourself and good wife, who 
shares with equal readiness and joy your successes and your 
reverses. I weep, General, as I write, and I cannot help it. 
God bless and protect you is the sincere wish of your friend. 

P. R. GEORGE 

From General Butler 

On board the MISSISSIPPI, SHIP ISLAND, March 2lst, 1862 

Col. NEAL Dow, Commdg. 13th, Regt. Maine Vols. 

COLONEL: Major Hesseltine, 1 of the 13th Maine Regiment, 
has been ordered to report to you under arrest, and so to 
remain until further orders. His offence consists in making a 
verbal report to me that the men of your command had been 
three days without meat because they had no steam to cook it. 
He then modified that statement to two or three days. As 
I saw myself the "Matanzas" steam into the harbor between 
one & three o clock yesterday, I was quite confident he could 
not be correct, and asked him the source of his information. 
He referred me to Capt. Snell and to your acting Commissary 
as to having given that information. Upon asking him spe 
cifically, Major Hesseltine admitted that no such information 
had in fact been given him, but only that they had had no 
meat since yesterday, & this report was made before dinner 
to-day. Having already reprimanded Major Hesseltine for 
contradictory statements as to the causes of his leaving this 
ship and going on board the "Mount Vernon" when we were 
in peril, I proceeded to make use of harsher measures, as I 
am determined to put an end to complaints from discontented, 
unfaithful, or cowardly officers. 

Very respt. Your obdt. Servant,. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

1 Col. F. S. Hesseltine, on Feb. 5th, 1914 (fifty two years after the date of above 
letter) appeared before the Committee on State House and Libraries of the Massa 
chusetts Legislature as opponent to Senate Bill No. 17 and House Bill No. 294, 
regarding the erection of a statue to Major General Benj. F. Butler. 



380 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters on board Steamer MISSISSIPPI, March list, 1862 

Major H. C. WHITTEMORE, 30th Massachusetts Vols. 

MAJOR : The Commanding General has received your report 
and directs that you report for duty to Col. Dudley, 30th 
Mass. Vols. Major Paine will be mustered out of the service 
as soon as the General can land upon Ship Island and the 
proper orders issued. 

The Commanding General begs to assure you that much 
as he regrets the loss of so valuable an officer as Maj. Paine 
by the act of Governor Andrew, yet it now being decided by 
the U. S. Government that he has the right to appoint Officers 
for this regiment, the General wishes to treat yours and all 
other appointments of his Excellency to all the respect to 
which his official position entitles them. You will therefore 
receive from the General that courtesy and kindness which 
would be given to an officer of his own choice; and your atten 
tion to duty and gallantry in action will receive his warmest 
commendation and earliest mention. I am 

Respectfully Your obedient Servant 

GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. Gen. 

From Mrs. Butler to Mrs. Heard 

SHIP ISLAND, March 23, 62 

DEAR HARRIET: We arrived on Thursday, a thousand 
miles from Port Royal here. The weather was threatening a 
part of the time, and then I measured the distance by heart 
beats an odd way of reckoning, and a little dangerous to 
the machinery if long continued. Two days in the Gulf of 
lovely weather, soft and balmy, and the moonlight magnifi 
cent. On one of these nights I sat on deck till ten o clock. 
The officers, a little apart, were singing. The swift moving ship, 
the dancing, glittering waters, and the deep-toned music were in 
exquisite harmony. Very often their voices rang out in a full, 
rich chorus. How free and careless they felt, with no spot for 
the sole of the foot but that they must win by the sword. 

The last day seemed more capricious, but the wind was in 
the rear, every sail filled, and the Capt. delighted with our 
speed. We were within tweny miles of Ship Island when the 
Demon of the Storm, angry at our varied escapes, seized us 
once more in his ruthless clutch, and held us quivering another 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 



381 



TttE ttOVTtt OF THE 

MISSISSIPPI 
5MOWIMG TttE 
STRATEGIC POSITION 

OF 
SHIP ISLAND 

WITM 

APPROACHES TO 
NEW ORLEANS 



Shieldsboi 
Penrli 




MAP OF LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER 



382 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

long night; that is, I will answer for myself and the ship 
we quivered: soldiers, I suppose, are not so easily shaken. 
This was a thunderstorm; it began at nightfall, and continued 
till nearly morning. The lightning was almost incessant, pitch 
darkness in the intervals. The Captain dared not make the 
port lest we should run aground, but turned the vessel away 
from the haven we were so anxious to reach, and once more put 
out to sea. We ran out into the Gulf until nearly morning, 
then the storm broke, the day dawned clear and lovely, and 
by eleven o clock we were anchored at Ship Island in glittering 
sunshine. Large black vessels of war lay motionless; here 
and there a variety of smaller sails studded the water, and the 
air was flashing with sea gulls. 

The Island is attractive seen from the ship ; a long curving 
line of smooth beach, where the surf rolls in and breaks gaily 
in foam on the white sands. The tents, whitest of all, rise 
just beyond, and seem to cover half the Island, the center of 
which is not much higher than the beach, and you might easily 
think it was all floating. We have been here two days, and 
are not landed yet. That morning of beauty is all we have 
had. It began to blow a "norther" at noon and has not yet 
lulled, so as to be safe for small boats. We are anchored some 
distance from the shore. The "Constitution" and "Fulton" 
were here, but had gone before we arrived. They should have 
waited. Mr. Butler is very much vexed. Now there is 
not the proper transportation for the troops. The Mortar 
fleet has already left for its destination and the other vessels 
will leave as soon as the wind is over. What page will open 
upon us next I cannot say. 

I can see from the ship the house or room we are to have in 
addition to the tent. It is on one end of the island, you can 
see the water on three sides and very close to it. I shall expect 
some windy night to be swept off into the sea. If I am here 
in the hurricane season I shall abandon that part of the island. 

It is rather funny the trouble we have with the ship. In 
the first place the pilot undertook to take her up to the wharf, 
which is, you see, but a little thing (the wharf), and by the 
time we were up, the wind was blowing furiously. They did 
not dare to fasten to it she would have carried all away, 
so after holding there a while, she swept away, and in her 
backward movement caught a brig by the rigging, tangled it 
all together, knocked some wood from her bow, and held 
fast. Thus we anchored. The next morning made all clear 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 383 

and they prepared to separate, the wind still blowing. As 
the brig tried to draw off, it gave a lurch, came in endwise, 
and ran her bow clear up on to our deck. There it hung, 
broken and dangling, like an elephant s trunk, hoisted into 
our rigging. Everybody on deck was in danger, with this great 
thing striking in all directions, yet nobody could help laughing, 
and besides we expect anything now. At last, with pulling 
and cutting, they tore it away, and we started again on our 
adventures. This time we rushed madly at the "Black Prince," 
which was anchored a little farther on, knocked her out of 
her moorings and tore at her rigging. Then we plunged at 
another ship, the "Wild Gazelle," caught and grazed her, 
scattered a few splinters, then stood out into the harbor, and 
anchored apart from the other vessels. Their extended arms 
told their terror of encountering again this new monster of the 
deep. She might be said to have "run amuck." Maj. Bell 
proposed that the vessels should be ordered to quit the harbor 
without delay. Our ship was upon the "rampage," and as 
she had chawed up three for breakfast, it was likely that 
dinner and supper would finish the remainder. At evening, 
word came from the Flagship that we were drifting too near, 
and desiring that we should move a little off. Once more we 
raised anchor and steamed away to a greater distance. The 
monster was so gorged with breakfast that she was not un 
manageable. As we passed the flagship, the band gave us a 
charming serenade. The effect was peculiar. The night was 
wild, heavy masses of rolling clouds, and the sun had gone 
down in crimson. Today (Sunday) is the fourth of our arrival. 
The officers and men leave the ship for the island. I shall 
remain until tomorrow. . . . 

Tell F - I have a little shell for her, with a spray of coral 
attached, that came into the vessel when the hole was stove 
in the bow, on Frying Pan Shoals. There will not be many 
pieces taken from that place. It is nothing in itself, but the 
association is something. In a few days, Mr. Butler will 
leave here with most of the troops. I shall be left alone, unless 
I can get that great conjuror, Prospero, his daughter and their 
train to keep me company, but even in that event, I should 
yet prefer my own daughter. 

Dear Paul and Bennie, do think of me sometimes. I would 
write you a page but the mail is waiting. I did not think they 
would be ready these two days. Best love to all. 

S. 



384 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

P.S. Save this slip of sand, rolled up by the sea, we have no 
foothold. Cortez, and adventurers of the middle ages, present 
a parallel, but none in this war has the romantic, roving, 
hazardous features that characterize this expedition. 

From Mrs. Butler 

SHIP ISLAND, March 27, 62 

DEAR PAUL AND BENNIE: I am sure you would like to 
know how we are living on this island of sand, far out in the 
sea, and I wish to write for I would not like you to forget me. 
I came on shore last Tuesday. Our vessel was anchored a 
mile from shore, so that a small tug came alongside to carry 
us to the island. Mr. Wiegel and Capt. Davis came for me. 
Your father had been on shore two or three days. Mr. Weigel 
took my handbox and several packages, and in crossing the 
plank between the boats, the hat fell into the water. The 
soldiers caught at it with their bayonets, but missed it, but 
Wiegel slipped down the side of the vessel, holding by a sol 
dier s hand, and caught it with his feet. He gave it to me 
dripping with water. We dipped it in a pan of fresh water 
and smoothed it into shape, so that it will answer for the 
island. The room we occupy is about forty steps from the 
landing. It is fifteen feet by twenty in size, six windows and 
two doors, a sail spread over the floor and sprinkled with fine 
white sand. This is swept off daily and a new sprinkling 
given. Sometimes I amuse myself with drawing it into fanci 
ful waves with the broom. That I learned from Mrs. Peter 
Fox, a neighbor when we were children; and lived in Dracut 
many years ago. To have it like hers is rather pleasant for I 
thought hers a pattern of neatness, and draw my pattern in 
imitation. The room is furnished with a wardrobe, secretary, 
which we use for dishes, a highposted bedstead hung round 
with a mosquito net, safe, chairs, washstand, china bowl and 
pitcher, dining table and stove. Our trunks in addition give 
us rather a crowded look. This furniture was captured the 
day before we arrived. We have a small bedroom added for 
Caroline, of rough boards, and a kitchen eight feet square. 
Thus far, we have found plenty to eat. Ducks are floating 
about almost every morning. We have them shot for dinner. 
They are very nice, Paul, I know you would like them. Then 
we have fresh fish sent to us, and yesterday a net holding two 
dozen oranges and two pineapples came from one of the 
vessels with the compliments of the Capt. I expected an 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 385 

abundance of fruit here, but find there is none brought from 
Havana for trading purposes. How glad you would be, dear 
Paul and Bennie, to see the gulls and ducks. Sometimes the 
water is covered with them. We are close to the beach. They 
come up on the sands and flap their wide wings, and make 
such noise and merry-making as you never heard. It is pro 
posed to send some of the soldiers to the neighboring islands 
to hunt for their eggs. They would get thousands if they 
found the rookery, and we should like them very well to eat. 
Mr. Wiegel with a company of soldiers has been to one of 
the islands and captured fifty head of cattle. From them we 
picked a cow and calf, and have them tied close to the house. 
The calf takes all the milk for the present. They are both 
wretchedly poor, half-wild things, that have lived on rushes. 
When the cow is used to better food we shall use the milk. 
Paul, dear, do you and Bennie think of me sometime; and 
wonder what strange place I am living in? To me it seems 
like a dream, and every night I can see you getting into bed, 
the clean, nice chamber, and the pleasant rooms, hear Hattie s 
tongue running, and your chattering, sweet voices. When you 
say your prayers, pray that we may get back to you again in 
safety. You are master of the home now, Paul, do you and 
Aunt Harriet manage agreeably to each other and set the two 
younger ones, Bennie and Hattie, a good example? If Aunt 
Lotie is there I think her observations will be of great use. I 
should be so glad to take you up and kiss you if I could reach 
so far, but I shall soon be nearer and so happy to be with 



MOTHER 
By General Butler 

Headquarters Department of the Gulf, SHIP ISLAND, March 28, 1862 

GENERAL ORDERS No. 7 

IT has come to the knowledge of the Commanding General, 
that notwithstanding all his efforts to prevent the introduction 
of intoxicating liquors into the island and among his command, 
to be used as a beverage, we are still followed by this curse of 
the army. 

Forbidden by every regulation, prohibited by official author 
ity, condemned by experience, it still clings to the soldier, 
although more deadly, in this climate, than the rifle. 

All sales, therefore, within this Department, will be pun 
ished by instant expulsion of the party offending if a civilian, 
or by court-martial if an officer or soldier. 

VOL. I 25 



386 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

All intoxicating liquors kept for sale or to be used as a 
beverage will be seized and destroyed, or confiscated to hos- 

By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 
GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. G. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, March 30th, 1862 

Flag Officer FARRAGUT, Commanding Western Gulf Blockading 

Squadron 

SIR: I am now ready to put on board ship six regiments and 
two batteries, and will be able to be in the "Passes" in 1 
hours. I am still of the opinion that an effort be made to 
land above the fort as soon as you can get the gunboats by. 
Its moral, not to say actual effect would aid the attack if 
not compel a surrender. If the Navy are not to be ready for 
six or eight days I ought not to sail. My coal is running 
short, and I cannot carry more than for eight days sailing. 
May I ask that you send me word so as to reach me by Tues 
day morning, and I will be embarked in waiting? If you 
prefer, I will be in trim to attempt the landing off Isle Breton, 
and if I can aid you in any way here, please command me. I 
shall wait your advices. It is of importance that you advise 
me. Please do not fail. I am with much Respect 

Your obedient servant) 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comd g 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of the Gulf, SHIP ISLAND, Mar. 30, 1862 

Brig. Genl. M. C. MEIGS, Quarter Master Genl. U.S.A. 

GENERAL: I have the honor to call the attention of your 
Department to the absolute necessity of immediate attention 
to the requisition some time since put in for two light draft 
steamers for this Department. The movements of this divi 
sion are hampered daily, and operations against the Rebels of 
consequence are prevented for want of them. 

Trusting that the requisition will be met, I am, General 
Very respectfully, Your obt. servt. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 387 
From Mrs. Butler to Mrs. Heard 

SHIP ISLAND, March 30, 62 

DEAR HARRIET: We have been on the island now for a 
week. The days are warm, the nights damp and chilly. I 
have not been out to walk since I came ashore, until last even 
ing. Weary and heavy for want of exercise I ventured into 
the tent for the first time. The gentlemen of the staff are 
polite and very ready to oblige me. Major Bell offered his 
arm for walk, and we made our way through a crowd for ten 
or fifteen minutes, and returned to the house. It is "bustle, 
bustle" now, the vessels loading and unloading, six regiments 
to go on board the ships. The Gen. leaves today or tomorrow. 
Two steamers, the "Mississippi" and "Matanzas," tow 
three sailing vessels into the mouth of the Mississippi river, 
there they join the fleet and are ready for the attack on New 
Orleans. Notwithstanding our long delay in getting here the 
Naval Force is not yet ready, or Mr. Butler would have 
started yesterday. If they are successful we shall be in New 
Orleans in two or three weeks, if not, woe betide us, we must 
seek a lodgment somewhere else. They start with six regi 
ments, land them when they can find a place, and send the 
ships back for the other troops. It is reported the Rebels 
have extended a chain across the river just below the Forts 
to prevent the passage of the ships. How great an impedi 
ment this will prove we have yet to see, it does not seem to 
be much regarded by those that speak of it. We have Gen. 
Phelps, Gen. Williams of the Army, and acting Gen. Shepley, 
this appointment made for the time by Mr. Butler has given 
great offence to Col. Jones. He has not condescended to call 
on Gen. Butler. A very unfortunate thing has occurred. 
Dr. Sanborn, from distress of mind brought on by the perils 
of our voyage it is thought, has lost his reason. A watch is 
kept over him to prevent suicide. He will be sent home in 
the first vessel that goes. You see, as far as we are concerned, 
we are left without a doctor. We now regret that Dr. Martin 
was not taken, as Dr. Kimball does not intend to come. Mr. 
Butler, I think, would send for him, but it would be so late in 
the season before he could get the word and be here that I 
hardly think he would care to come. We have no vessels to 
send north, and the fighting, (the time when he should be 
here) will be directly; and then very soon comes the hot 
season which nobody wishes to encounter. The Sutler has 



388 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

no stock of goods at all for the demand, and it is thought there 
should be somebody here who has been used to a larger busi 
ness. There are between twenty and thirty thousand men 
including the Navy, all wanting luxuries if they could get 
them, and no way of being supplied except by the Sutler and 
a mail steamer that runs into every Port we hold between 
New York and Texas. If we get into New Orleans it will be 
the same thing that city is half -starved, flour at twenty- 
five dollars a barrel. The arrangements should be on a larger 
scale. Milton seems quite happy. When I first came he 
asked me seriously if I thought he had better send for Maria, 
Pamela, and the children. I asked him if he were mad, or if 
he wished to bury them down south. that no northern 
child could live here through the summer, and that Pamela 
was an invalid for I knew not how long a time to come. So 
he concluded to send next fall, which means nothing; we 
cannot see through the summer. This letter you cannot send 
to Blanche. I will write to her. Who do you think came 
today? (The mail ship arrived this morning, but goes to 
Texas and returns this way) Mr. Fay, father of the Middlesex 
Treasurer. I seem destined to meet these good people after 
a fashion. He came in, was introduced, we talked agreeably 
enough, then Mr. Butler entered and took up the conversa 
tion. Mr. Fay said he came down to Havana in the mail 
steamer, had touched at Key West, and would rather remain 
here till the vessel returned from Texas if he could find a 
place to stay in. Mr. Butler told him he thought a place to 
sleep in could be found, and would furnish a shot gun to 
shoot ducks and plovers. He had already lent it to Chaplain 
Chubbuck, and it is the only one on the island. It seems the 
Fays are fond of sporting, he accepted the offer at once, and 
informed us that he expected a son in the next ship. Presently 
they went out. In about an hour Mr. Fay returned with a 
friend, and two little boys bringing the luggage, which was 
deposited in one corner of my one room. The friend was 
introduced, another solid man from Boston, weighing I should 
think two hundred, and I perforce did play the hostess. Won 
dering when it would end, I still talked on. In the course of 
an hour Mr. Butler sent in to know if dinner was ready; I 
said yes, and that two gentlemen were waiting to see him. 
In the meantime the table had been laid as usual with our fine 
pewter from the camp chest. When Mr. Butler came in, after 
a little delay, the dinner was served, and we drew to the table, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 389 

soup, baked fish, cold ham, beef, and pie, all served at once. 
They gave me no trouble, could not now, any of the family, 
but I was puzzled to know if they were invited. During 
dinner Mr. Fay remarked that he had been trying all his life 
to get into a hard place, but had been unable to find one yet. 
"My good friend," I thought, "if you always act with the 
coolness you have shown on this occasion to take care of your 
self, I do not believe you ever will." Sometime in the after 
noon they came again with the two little boys, Mr. Fay hoped 
he had not troubled me with the luggage, and left without 
saying "good day, ma am." I have enquired, they were not 
invited. Of course, you will not speak about these little things. 
Mr. Fay called again today for the shot gun, and offered when 
Mr. Butler is away to escort me for a ride. If I go out at all 
it will be with Mr. Chubbuck, he has improvised a saddle, but 
I do not think I shall venture unnecessary perils. Say to 
Lizzie we like Mr. Chubbuck very much. He has shown 
himself courageous, and fit for his place in time of danger, 
as in daily duties, and is liked and respected by officers and 
soldiers. Dr. Cleaveland, Chaplain from Lowell, has called 
on me two or three times.. Milton says he is very much liked, 
and a better man could not be found. I have not heard him 
preach. Milton is constant in attendance. We have a little 
hope that Fisher and Capt. George will come on the "Saxon," 
she is expected every day. They would be of great service. 
Esterbrook is not worth a fig. I hope Capt. George is con 
firmed long ago. They will continue, of course, to send pro 
visions. There is enough for forty days, but that will soon 
slip by. I expect, of course, that Fisher will see this letter and 
shall not write to him directly. Ought not Capt. George to 
have receipts from here? I heard it spoken of and will ask 
Mr. Butler about it. It is very healthy on the Island, and 
probably will be through the summer. Those who have been 
here before say it is as healthy as any place in the country, 
and for years has been a watering place for southerners. Mr. 
Butler thinks Capt. George ought to come and get his receipts, 
and I think he is very desirous to have him here. They must 
not forget that here is a large army to feed, only one source 
for supplies, and continue to send constantly. Major Strong 
was alarmed when we first came. The provisions seemed 
short. More has arrived since then, but do not let us fall 
short. I think it would be well for them to come if they did 
not remain long. They would not be likely to have such a 



390 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

voyage as we did, and if you wish to accomplish much, some 
thing must be risked. The Sutler should have a ship of his 
own, and plenty of goods. Now let me take a few words for 
home. If you find the work too much for one, hire another 
girl. Have made for the children as many clothes as you 
please. There is linen in their bureau for collars. I am very 
anxious to hear from home, what you are doing, if Pamela 
or Loty is with you, if the children are well and happy, and 
all the details of home. My best love to all the families and 
Dr. Edson. Send Paul s letter to Blanche. 

Yours affectionately, SARAH 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters DepL of the Gulf, SHIP ISLAND, March 31st, 1826 

RICHARD S. FAY, JR. Esq. 

DEAR SIR: The United States gunboat "Cayuga" has 
made capture of a schooner with a small cargo of cotton and 
turpentine. I have use for the schooner, and so receipted for 
schooner and cargo. The cargo I have consigned to you 
for sale. For particulars, you will see the bill of lading. The 
value of the cargo will not be far from $5000. Having use for 
money here, I have drawn on you for $3823.95, which please 
meet from the proceeds of the above or from any other money 
of mine in your hands. The balance of the money you will put 
to my credit. If you will trouble yourself with this you will 

Very truly yours, (BENJ. F. BUTLER) 
From Richard S. Fay, Jr. to General Butler 

BOSTON, April Z8th, 1862 [Not in chronological order] 

DEAR GENERAL: I have received this morning your letter 
of "Black Prince" with Bill of Lading of cotton, of which I 
will endeavor to dispose to the best advantage. Your draft 
shall be paid of course. As for the trouble, anything I can do 
for you in this line or any other will always be a pleasure to 
me, if only in acknowledgement of the large debt of kindness 
still owe you. I am glad my father has gone to Ship Island, 
and hope he will further accompany you to New Orleans. We 
have to-day, through rebel sources, rumors of the passage of 
the forts by the fleet and of its appearance before New Orleans. 
If this is true, and I doubt not that it is, or will be, I congratu 
late you with all my heart upon your share of this most impor- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 391 

tant achievement of the War. I see that French was obliged 
to give up his position at last. What a thick hide Governor 
Andrew s bullock must have. Rev. Mr. Robinson called once 
a week to bespeak my good offices for his sons. I tell him 
they are in a position to command success if they deserve it. 
The Middlesex is doing all I could wish. Government has 
paid us in 12 months notes with interest, and these command 
99 cents on the dollar, I am perfectly satisfied. I do not write 
to my father, because I suppose he is at this time far on his 
way home, but if he is still with you this note contains all I 
should say to him. My family and his are all well. My 
mother is going to the country to-morrow. My wife has been 
through a very severe illness, having lost twins by a premature 
confinement, but is nearly well again. The secrecy of your 
movements has been perfect, from the fact that we have had 
no arrivals from Ship Island until now. I think this will be 
found an advantage to you so far as expectation goes, for your 
name has had a rest, and the public will be far more impressed 
by your success than if they had watched you day by day as 
they are doing poor McClellan at Yorktown. Truly that 
peninsula seems the modern military "Sleepy Hollow," 
where the administration put those Generals it fears. Best 
regards to Kensel, Strong and French. I suppose Mrs. Butler 
returned by the boat, but if she is still with you, pray offer 
her my regards. Faith f u ii y Yours, RICHARD S. FAY JR. 

If the Robinsons should need any money in case of wounds, 
etc., I will be their banker to any moderate amount. 

From Flag Officer Farragut 

MISSISSIPPI RIVER, April 1st, 1862 

Major Gen. BUTLER, Commanding U.S. Troops at 

SHIP ISLAND 

DEAR GENERAL: I rec d your note yesterday & hasten to 
answer it by the "Calhoun." I have not yet gotten the 
"Pensacola" and "Mississippi" over the Bar, but hope to 
accomplish one at least tomorrow, as the water is higher, but 
the fog is terrible. I think well of your idea of landing above 
the forts after the gunboats are there, but not before, and 
I think when the first feat is accomplished there will be very 
little difficulty in your doing as you please, that is, we will 
soon reduce the forts. The difficulty is in passing the forts. 



392 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

They will do all in their power to prevent it, & we must do it 
in the night or in a fog. But I fear it would be very dull for 
you here before the ships are over the Bar. I am now survey 
ing the coast outside of the forts, and will soon know if I can 
place the bomb vessels there. If I can, I think the work will 
be more easily accomplished. I will let you know the moment 
the ships are over the Bar. I wrote you this morning, but the 
letter got mislaid, & I have been obliged to write this hasty 
scrawl in the steamer. Please present me to Mrs. Butler. 
Very respectfully your obt. servant, 

D. G. FARRAGUT, Flag Officer 

From Fisher A. Hildreth * to Mrs. Butler 

April 1, 1862 

DEAR SARAH: I wrote a week ago to the General, but lest 
he may not have received the letter I may repeat some things 
in it to you. 

Now, as then, your children are all well, Blanche and Florence 
included; so also are all in whom you have an especial interest. 
Mr. Dawes came on here to investigate the New England 
Department, but he made out nothing as there was nothing 
to be made out. Gen. Wilson killed George, I have no doubt, 
by an agreement with Gov. Andrew. Wilson stated to Sena 
tor Nesmith that he knew George well, that he lived in a 
neighboring state, that he was corrupt, and an unfit man to 
be in the service of the Government, and so of course he was 
rejected. Hamlin, Fessenden, and Morrill went to the Secre 
tary of War and told him that George was employing disloyal 
men, to wit: John Babson and Ben. Wiggin, whom Hamlin 
said were more fit for Fort Warren than the Gov. service. 
The Q. M. General ordered their immediate discharge. The 
facts are, Wiggin was never employed a day in the world 
by the Capt., and Babson only to go to New York to hurry 
off the vessels that were to sail from there. Wilson I have no 
doubt took advantage of this charge about the employment 
of disloyal men to have George rejected that is, he will 
give this as the reason for his rejection without giving the 
Capt. the notice he agreed to, to wit: that he should not be 
rejected without a hearing, and that the Committee should 
report in his favor. I think the issue is fast approaching 
between emancipation and abolitionism, and conservatism 

1 Mrs. Butler s brother. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 393 

and constitutionalism. McClellan will be "crushed out" 
unless he soon wins victory that, however, I don t care for, 
as I think he has not proved himself equal to his place. His 
inefficiency is a Godsend to the emancipationists, as it gives 
a fair pretext for attacking him, while it is a great drawback 
to the Conservatives, as they attempt to sustain him because 
he is a conservative. Would it not be wise for the General 
to send you home? While I sincerely believe I am as anxious 
for his success and the Country as he himself; still, though I 
would not be an alarmist, I confess I have my fears for his 
success. The federal force is at present completely checked 
at Island No. 10 as yet, and how long it may be God only 
knows. Now, if it should turn out that the Rebels have iron 
boats at New Orleans, or Mobile, or wherever the Gen. may 
make an attack, of sufficient power to cope with our fleet and 
scatter it there, I can see but one chance for the General s 
army, and that is to have sufficient transports to move his 
army to Texas or somewhere else, for if the rebels can meet 
and drive our fleet with iron boats, then they can shell Ship 
Island when that would no longer be a place of safety. I 
wrote the General that I hoped he would move with caution 
and be prepared for the worst. The rebels have certainly 
made very formidable defences up the Mississippi, and why 
should they not at their principal Gulf ports? If they have 
not got the iron steamers or boats then Ship Island is a place 
of safety. But as a precautionary measure ought not the 
General to keep steamboats and other transports enough 
there to move his whole force to a place of safety until he learns 
certain whether or not the rebels have the iron boats? I 
think the chances are that our Mortar Boats will prove too 
powerful for the iron boats they would be likely to construct 
if they have constructed any, which they probably have; but 
still the prudent way is to be prepared for the emergency if 
they should prove too much for us. I believe I wrote the 
General that Capt. McKim had been directed to discharge 
the "Saxon," so I suppose she will be out of Gov. employ 
ment when she returns to Boston. Though I care nothing 
about Whitney s boat, still if she should be needed there, if 
he has not steamers enough without her, I hope he will hold 
on to her, as if she comes here he will not be likely to get her 
again. The General, will, I presume, draw his supplies direct 
from Q. M. General as the crew here are all opposed to him. 
The Capt. has sent 300 tons of hay and 25000 bushels of oats 



394 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

on vessels that are now on their way. The hay and oats are 
on the "George Washington," the "Gen. Butler" and the 
"Wizard King." FJSHER 

From J. S. Whitney 

79 State St. BOSTON, April 2, 1862 

To Gen. B. F. BUTLER, U.S.A. 

DEAR SIR: I desire to call your attention, unofficially, to 
the matter of the Steamer "Saxon." The "Saxon" was 
chartered to Capt. George, Quarter Master, as a Transport 
Messenger boat, or for towing purposes for your expedition. 
As she is under a very reasonable charge for a Steamer of her 
tonnage, I had hoped that she would be retained in the Ser 
vice for some time longer. It however seems that since the 
Quarter Master Dept. at Boston, has been turned over to 
Capt. McKim, he has made a report upon the "Saxon," the 
tenor of which report is unknown to me. Yesterday Capt. 
McKim delivered to me a letter with a Copy of a telegram 
from Quarter Master Gen. Meigs, saying, "The services of 
the * Saxon 5 under Capt. George s Charter are no longer 
required. Let the vessel be discharged." As the Charter of 
the "Saxon" provides that she shall be delivered to me, under 
discharge, at the Port of Boston, I have notified Capt. McKim 
that I will communicate to the Captain of the "Saxon" a 
copy of his letter to me, and will instruct the Capt. of the 
"Saxon" to ask you for discharge at Ship Island, and for 
orders to return to Boston. This, as I conceive, I am com 
pelled to do to protect my Charter. Now I wish to say that 
the exigencies of the Public Service at Ship Island are best 
known to yourself, and I have no desire to have the "Saxon" 
discharged if she is wanted for service in your Expedition. 
On the contrary, I should be pleased to have her kept, as I 
have fitted her at a large expense for the purposes of the Govt. 
If wanted, your request to Quarter Master Gen. Meigs or 
even your own order will, I suppose, retain her. I ventured 
to address this to you to avoid a misconstruction of my own 
wishes, when Capt. Snow shall present to you my letter to 
him, asking for discharge from Service at Ship Island. Wish 
ing you all success, I am General, with the highest respect, 

Your obt. servant, JAMES S. WHITNEY 

P.S. It is possible that the rumor that Benjamin Wiggin 
had an interest in the "Saxon" has occasioned the Order of 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 395 

Capt. McKim. Mr. Wiggin has now no interest whatever in 
the "Saxon" or in the proceeds of her Charter. 

As above, J. S. WHITNEY 



From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of the Gulf, April 2, 1862 

Flag Officer, Commanding Naval forces off SHIP ISLAND 

SIR: I sent yesterday the schooner "Cox," with a flag of 
truce on an errand of humanity to Biloxi, under charge of 
Maj. Strong, my assistant Adjutant Genl. The flag has not 
returned. I fear something wrong. May I ask that the "New 
London" or "Hatteras" and "Jackson" be sent over to make 
such demonstration as will right the wrong if one has been 
done, or to aid the party if in distress. I will send a regiment 
on board the "Lewis" if you think best. 

Very respy. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of the Gulf, SHIP ISLAND, April 2nd, 1862 

Major GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. General etc. 

MAJOR: Taking with you on board the Steamer "Lewis" 
the 9th Regt. Vols. and a section of Capt. Everett s Battery, 
and acting in conjunction with the Navy, you will proceed 
to Biloxi, and demand and obtain an ample apology for the 
firing into a flag of truce upon an errand of humanity under 
your command upon the 1st instant. 

The apology must be a proper one, and you will demand 
and obtain a guarantee against such occurrences in the future, 
signed by the Mayor, the principal inhabitants and the Colonel 
commanding the forces there. You will inform the authori 
ties and the citizens that no flag of truce must be hereafter 
sent to this island unless accompanied by a Commissioned 
Officer in full uniform with proper credentials, that civilians 
cannot be received under such flag, or if received will be 
detained. You will land and compel any force there to retire, 
and take such measures to secure and enforce the foregoing 
as you may deem best, either by seizing and bringing off the 
principal inhabitants or whatever else may be advisable. 

You will also proceed to Mississippi City and Pass Christian 



396 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

if desired by the Navy, and cooperate with it in any demon 
strations deemed advisable against those places. 

By Command of MAJOR GENERAL BUTLER. 
JOSEPH M. BELL, Major A.D.C. 

From General Butler 

BILOXI, Miss., April 3rd, 1862 

To the Mayor of BILOXI 

SIR: I am directed by Major General Butler, Commanding 
the Department of the Gulf, to call your attention to the fact 
that on the first instant a party of men under my command, 
bearing a flag of truce and on an errand of mercy, were fired 
into in the most cowardly manner, while their schooner was 
aground, and just after they had left your shore. An apology 
was made by a person claiming to be an Officer of the 3rd 
Mississippi Volunteers, but General Butler ordered that the 
repetition of such or similar outrageous action be the signal 
for the destruction of your town. 

I am directed, moreover, to inform you that all persons in 
Citizen s dress who visit the lines of the U. S. forces under a 
flag of truce will be detained if suspected. All such flags to 
be respected must be accompanied by a military officer in 
uniform and with proper credentials. 

Respectfully Yours, 
GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. Gen. 

From Mrs. Butler to Blanche Butler 

SHIP ISLAND, Headquarters, April 3rd, 1862 

MY DEAR CHILD: I think of you so much; you can never 
think how drearily, how anxiously, you are so far away from 
us, and so far from home. Paul and Bennie are at home in 
safety, as much as any of us can be any where, therefore, I 
have less anxiety for them. You are in a school with many 
young girls, it is not to be presumed that they are all as gentle 
and delicate in feeling and manners as a mother desires so 
much to find in her daughter. Young ladies sometimes talk 
in a rude way, or gossip to each other about things they would 
never speak of before persons they respected more. Now, 
dear Blanche, make this a rule, never listen to any conversa 
tion or take part in it which you would be unwilling I should 
hear. Do not think I wish to lecture you, far from it; I 
might say you rarely fail to please me. I write this only to 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 397 

make you careful. I have known where one ill-disposed girl 
in a large school could do much mischief. I hope you like 
your music and singing, and are making much progress in 
both. We have no word from home yet, it seems a great while 
since we left. A little girl of six or seven years came in to 
see me yesterday. Rather a fair-faced child, German in looks, 
and quite womanly, answering pleasantly any question that 
she could. Major Strong is to go with her under a flag of 
truce to Biloxi, this is about twelve miles. She was going with 
her parents from Havana to New Orleans, one of our ships 
chased her, they were both caught in a storm, the passengers 
and crew of the vessel where the child was aboard got into the 
boats. In the confusion the parents were separated from the 
child, the boat she was in was picked up, the others are 
thought to be lost. She is taken to Biloxi to be sent to New 
Orleans. I hope the poor child will find her parents alive. 
If she does, how great will be their joy to find her alive. They 
must think she is drowned. What do you think, they left 
the child at Biloxi, and while their boat was aground they were 
fired upon twice carrying a flag of truce. It was getting dark, 
and Major Strong proposed the crew should take the smaller 
boat with your uncle Parker, who was with him, and came 
back here for assistance. The "New London" gun boat had 
been sent to look for them in the afternoon, but they missed 
her after dark and rowed nearly all night and in great peril. 
In the meantime, the boat that was aground had only Major 
Strong, Capt. Townsend, and one sailor aboard of her. After 
a little, two boat loads of officers and men came from Biloxi 
(the boat was aground a little out at sea) and demanded her 
surrender. Major Strong refused. They asked how many 
men he had. "Not a great number, but enough to meet you 
with." They hesitated, and drew off. After a while they 
came again, and told him he must surrender. He firmly 
refused and they left him without firing. Why they did so, 
after proceeding so far, we are at a loss to know. Perhaps 
they were unwilling to proceed to the last extremity with a 
flag of truce. When the tide rose they got under way and 
very soon were taken in chase by the "New London." Today 
Major Strong goes over to Biloxi with two Naval Vessels to 
demand an apology, and if one is not given they will fire on 
the town. 

Aunt Harriet will send you Paul s letter, which will tell 
you how we live. Last night I sat at the door and looked out 



398 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

on the sea for a long time. The air was very soft, and phos 
phorescent light lay all along the waves (I never saw it before), 
and the moonbeams falling across the waves gave a beautiful 
checkered light. The surging swell and breaking of the surf 
is delicious to me. When I am on shore I love the sea, never 
tire of gazing at it, so full of mystery and fearful power. But 
when embarked, and subject, to the treacherous element, I 
have no delight, and shrink with dread from fierce old ocean. 
Ah, dearest, I wonder if you are well and happy; gathering, 
like the bee, sweet honey for future use. If you store your 
mind like the bee stores his honey in his cell, what a treasure 
I shall have, bye and bye. You have a fair outside; let the 
jewels be worth the casket. Your father is quite well, and 
always sends his love. Give mine to Florence. I think a 
great deal of her and of you always. 

Never think because I write so wretchedly that I can allow 
you to do so. Once more, goodbye. 

From Captain George 

BOSTON, April 3rd 1862 

Major General BUTLER 

MY DEAR GEN. : The Senate have decreed that I shall not 
follow your fate into the field. My rejection was simply the 
end of the purpose agreed upon before you left. The excuse 
this time was the employment of disloyal persons, to wit, 
Babson & Wiggin, Babson only did I employ, & him only a 
short time. It is not true that he is disloyal. Abolition just 
now is in the ascendant. It is well it is so, it is most danger 
ous, & will be the first phase in the war ended. What the two 
next stages will be I do not know. A financial crisis & terrible 
suffering will be one of them. I look upon the success of your 
enterprise in the gulf as the all important one, indeed as giv 
ing complexion to the condition of things. If you fail in occupy 
ing New Orleans, all will admit, procrastination will be the 
result. I would call for twenty -five thousand more troops 
upon the President. State your reasons, the points that must 
be occupied about N. O. to keep it after it is taken. To the 
Quartermaster & commissary at Washington direct should 
your staff in that line apply for their supplies. I have for 
warded you, by the ships "Genl. Butler," "Wizard," "King" 
& "George Washington," three hundred tons of hay & twenty 
thousand Bus. of oats. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 399 

Brigham will in a few days send forward the balance of 
provision w r e estimate for and you ordered before you left. At 
Washington they must think for you now. It is their duty. 

I would enclose my wants & estimates direct to Seward or 
sending them to Sec. of War. Write Mr. Seward fully, freely, 
& as if he was the only friend you have to uphold, foster, and 
protect you. As I live, my friend, after careful inquiry I 
think it is so. Bitter as Hell is the Andrew clique, but not 
alone are you, or he, without trouble, most of the merchants & 
best men of Boston defend you and curse him. The congres 
sional committee will report one-sided & unjustly, bearing on 
you all they can. But they have no facts. All their investiga 
tion here amounted to nothing. 

Wilson is a low, false man, Andrew s a bitter bad one. They 
think by injuring me to hurt you. That blow they have struck, 
you are still my General. I shall continue to write you often, 
as thoughts occur to me, freely & frankly as usual. I hope 
every facility will be granted my clerks in getting an account 
of goods sent to the Island. It is important to me, indeed I 
shall be ruined unless I get an account of all the property 
sent. Andrew can upset me much in this. I suppose this will 
find you engaged all the time; pardon me, but keep cool; 
what can reasonably be done in a given day, do, but don t 
over work in that climate. 

My opinion is, so much just now will depend in its results 
upon accidents & not upon the best counsel that human intel 
lect can conceive, that you, (considering your family) should 
have your wife in Lowell while you are in the Gulf. It is 
sudden and quick disease in that climate. Heed me in this 
advise, my dear General, & be yourself over careful of heat, 
of the least headache, &c. 

I think your success depends upon two facts, the possibility 
of your gunboats being equal to destroying any iron-clad boats 
of theirs, & the fact whether they have iron-clad boats. The 
"Saxon," upon reports from Boston, has been ordered by 
Meigs to be discharged. It seems to me a line from you to 
Meigs that you need and must have her will cause him to 
countermand that order. Remember me to Mr. Parker, 
your brother, to each member of the staff, to Maj. Bell & to 
all friends. I feel, of course, the liveliest interest in the expe 
dition, & watchful of its interests. 

P. R. GEORGE 



400 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3rd, 1862 

Major General B. F. BUTLER 

GENERAL: The Secretary of War directed Mr. Potts his 
chief clerk to transfer to me for you the sum of ten thousand 
dollars, to be expended by you for secret service. I have the 
draft in my hands, and on your presenting me your receipt 
for the amount I will deposit the amount with the Assistant 
Treasurer in the city of New York to your credit. I have the 
honor to be, 

Very respectfully, Your Obdt. Servant, 

L. THOMAS, Adjt. General 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of the Gulf, SHIP ISLAND, Apr. 3, 1862 
Consul SCHUFELDT, HAVANA, CUBA 

SIR: Upon reaching this Island and looking over my list 
of supplies, I find to my astonishment that the supply of 
coal sent down here by me has been used by the Navy. Of 
that I do not complain, but mention it only to show that I 
am not in fault for the want of the supply. I also learn, that 
which surprises me, that the fleet at the Passes is also sub 
stantially out of coal. You will see therefore that all opera 
tions upon the Mississippi river or the Gulf are in the most 
imminent danger of being crippled for the want of this most 
vital article for the operations of the fleet, to wit, coal. 

I trust that the Government has a supply at Havana, since 
it has not one at either Key West or the Fortress. I have sent 
the Ship "Black Prince," Captain Howes Master, to Havana 
for a partial supply. The "Black Prince" can take, say 1200 
tons. Captain Howes has been ordered to take on board the 
coal with which you will supply him, and at once report to 
the Commanding officers either of the land or naval forces 
at the Passes. 

The measures I have taken in sending the "Black Prince" 
will show you of how much interest I deem it to the public 
service that this matter should be promptly and efficiently 
attended to. 

I know that I can rely upon your well-known zeal and 
active patriotism to do all that may be done to forward the 
coal; even if it should leave the supply at Havana short, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 401 

still that may be replaced, in my judgment, more easily than 
we can do without the coal here. 

I send enclosed a formal order which may serve as a voucher, 
as you may not desire to expose this note upon your official 
files. I have the honor to be, 

Very truly, Your obt. servt., 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comdg. Dept. of the Gulf 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. etc. April 3, 1862 

Brig. Gen. MEIGS, Qr. Master Genl. U.S.A. 

SIR: I have forwarded requisitions for commissary stores 
and supplies of coal and lumber, and I send this so that if the 
other letters have not reached, these duplicates may do so. 

The Navy were out of coal here, and I have loaned them all 
I have, to wit, about 650 tons. 

The light draft steamers are of the utmost necessity, as we 
are only using shoal water. A steamer of five feet draft and 
two guns would be watched more than the "Colorado." 

While I was detained by my unfortunate shipwreck, Genl. 
Phelps, without orders, sent away both the "Fulton" and 
the "Constitution" steamers, so as to cripple me to the last 
degree in transportation. I much need that one of these be 
laden with provisions and sent back to me at once. This will 
most certainly be necessary if we are fortunate in taking any 
prisoners, for there is a most alarming state of famine upon 
these shores. I have the honor to be, 

Very Respectfully, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, M. G. 

From Mrs. Butler to Mrs. Heard 

Headquarters SHIP ISLAND, April 4, 1862 

DEAR HARRIET : I have sent a package of letters this morn 
ing directed to you by way of Havana. A vessel is sent there 
for coal. Col. Butler goes along in her for pleasure, to buy 
oranges, fruits, and jellies, etc., so that in the course of a fort 
night we shall have these delicacies. The mail ship has gone 
to Galveston and returns this way. I will have this letter 
ready for her. They think you will get those by Havana a 
little earlier, but I will make sure of both ways. Gilman 
arrived this morning. I was very glad to see him. He is a 
week later from home than I am, and I shall get all the par- 

VOL. I 26 



402 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

ticulars of that week. The horses came very well, but three 
lost out of the whole, Mr. Butler s quite safe. 

I must tell you of the sad event of Dr. Sanborn s death. 
It came upon us wholly unexpected. Mr. Butler came in 
yesterday afternoon and said he had heard Dr. Sanborn was 
dying. "Oh!" I said, "is it possible? I must go up and see 
him. It may not be so bad, perhaps he can have help." Mr. 
Butler thought I could not go, the day was so hot, and the 
regiment he belonged to was two miles up the Island. I told 
him I thought I must go, and he said I could take his boat and 
be rowed within a short distance of his tent. Caroline and 
Capt. Clarke went with me. In an hour we were nearly there. 
Before we reached the place Mr. Butler sent his orderlies, 
(they went on horseback) to tell me not to go in, he was then 
breathing his last, that I could do no good, and I had better 
not be present at his death. We sat down by the water and 
waited till nearly sundown. There was a regiment a little 
beyond us attacking a fort of sand for drill, and firing at a 
wreck that lay off in the water, another regiment was maneu 
vering a little in the rear of us, and twenty or thirty men, in 
the shallow water in front of us up to their hips, dragging 
along a raft of wood from the upper end of the island. Ten 
or twelve ships lay off a little distance, idle and motionless. 
The soft haze obscured the rays of the sun, so that we could 
look full at the great red globe, as it hung in the rear of the 
ships, and lighted a picture I shall long remember. Between 
us and the sand fort were eight graves with wooden head 
stones, the name, age, and place of residence inscribed on each. 
And is this the place, I thought, where poor Dr. Sanborn must 
sleep his long sleep; and more of us, before we shall quit this 
Gulf? What news for his family to hear, his sudden death, 
and how great the satisfaction hereafter if the body could be 
sent home! The physicians who attended were annoyed at 
his dying so suddenly, and know not to what to attribute his 
death. Last night Mr. Butler said he could not be sent home, 
when I urged it, there are no coffins that would answer, but 
today it is concluded to put the body in spirits and so convey 
it to the friends. The expedition to Biloxi to demand an 
apology for firing on a flag of truce has returned. They cap 
tured a steamer, schooner, tobacco, and various things. Major 
Strong was the leader. Kinsman, Wiegel, Davis, and Capt. 
Conant went with him. The last had his leg struck with a 
piece of shell, the wound is not severe. None was killed. The 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 403 

"Saxon" came in last night, Mr. Butler was very anxious 
for its coming. He will run down to the mouth of the Missis 
sippi and see if the fleet is ready. Mr. Butler had some hope 
that Capt. George and Fisher would be aboard her. But no 
such good news. Capt. George has sent young Kimball to finish 
up his business here, and he says the captain does not expect 
to be confirmed. We are grievously troubled. In fact I have 
fears they will neglect to send us supplies. Several ships have 
come in the last two or three days, so that the Sutler has 
more variety. But they have great difficulty in getting their 
stores out of the vessels so much coal and ordnance stores 
are piled above there they lie for days, even weeks, un 
moved. If Capt. George is not confirmed, one strong arm of 
the expedition is cut off. The reliance we felt that everything 
wanted would be forwarded in season is ended. If Gov. 
Andrew is to be the channel, that will run dry, and if a depart 
ment at Washington, that runs too slow. Our best hope must 
be in making an early and successful movement while we have 
provisions on hand. That will draw attention to us. But if 
we fail, ah me! I think we shall be left to starve in the Gulf. 
Bartlett says there is a ship coming in, a private venture, 
loaded with fresh beef, ice, and a variety of things. Fortu 
nately, the expedition is so far complete it is difficult to baffle 
it now. But there is an immense meanness in cheating a man 
of his fair meed of praise, by refusing to confirm him who has 
worked as Capt. George has done, for the success of this expe 
dition. Who has done more for it, than any other one, always 
excepting the General? Jackson says it is imperative that 
Capt. George should come out to settle up his accounts, and 
that he shall so write him from Havana. I cannot judge, but 
trust nothing will be left unfinished to give him future trouble. 
I am afraid, Harriet, you may not find Charles altogether 
trusty. Read the paper over to him that Mr. Butler left 
that he may know you have the power to dismiss him, and add 
to it, this, which Mr. Butler forgot to mention, that in his 
absence he cannot have men invited to the place, neither 
about the barn, the gardener s house, nor the grounds. Manage 
him if you can, but if he is much vicious, send him away. I 
am sorry we had not left Gilman with you. Perhaps we will 
send him back. He is reliable, and that is everything situated 
as you are. But with a mixture of firmness and kindliness you 
may be able to get along with him comfortably. Tilda will 
be better to be mostly with you. When there are two men 



404 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Charles should help with the sweeping. Soon as convenient, 
have the cellar cleaned some rainy day, and the bulkhead 
closed for the season, even before you put out the fire. That 
wine cellar is a great temptation. Go down sometimes and 
look about and keep the keys. Gilman says there is a quantity 
of hay to sell. You had better get Mr. Webster to attend to 
it. I do not know how long I shall stay here, but fear I cannot 
stand the summer. I do not feel as if I had any great force 
in reserve to contend with disease. The children must not 
lose me yet if I can help it. But I shall be troubled enough 
to go or stay. 

Tuesday, the 10th 

Mr. Butler has gone down to the Passes, the mouth of the 
Mississippi, in the "Saxon" to see how soon the fleet would 
be ready. He went night before last, and was to be back to 
day, but I do not think he can get here. It is blowing furiously, 
and the waves, all foam, are half way up to the house. It 
began yesterday afternoon, and in the night it blew a gale. 
The room where I live and sleep shook and creaked, I verily 
thought it would come rattling over me. I got up, hunted for 
a match, but could find none, looked out of the window and 
wondered what I had better do. The wind seemed more 
furious, and did so buffet the poor shell, and shriek through 
the crevices, that I sprung to the door, thinking it better to be 
out from the danger of falling timbers. But it was not inviting 
outside. The sail that is nailed to Caroline s shed, and the 
fence was swelling and beating like the sea, the negro cook 
sleeps in a small division next to Caroline, eight feet square. 
I thought the sail might lift them like wings and carry all 
away, including the cow and calf. I banged to the door, and 
looked out the other side. There were six or eight of the guard 
curled under the shelter of the opposite shed. It would never 
do to run out there, in my night clothes. They would take 
me for the witch of the winds, and shoot me like a snipe before 
I could "hop me forty paces." Then I bethought me that 
perhaps the room was stouter than I, to face the winds, and 
crept into bed again. Uneasy and watchful, I listened with 
both ears. Something was shaking in the room, and it sounded 
like the shuffling of feet, this noise made me nervous and 
finally I could hear it more distinctly than any other sound, 
though the ocean was booming with a never-ending roar. 
At that time I fell asleep, yet I was awake to the sounds. 
Now, I thought, will those feet never be still! and then they 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 405 

shuffled ten times more fiercely, and Lorenzo, the negro, was 
leaping through the room like a maniac. I gazed at him, 
paralysed with terror; his eyes were evil as a snake. When 
he sprang toward the bed, desperation seized me, "Strike," 
I screamed to Caroline, "help me to strike with this board, 
and batter him all to pieces." Could anything equal the fury 
of those blows, yet they fell without effect, he still shuffled 
and leapt toward me. The horror was too much, I woke and 
sat up in bed half dead. 

April Wth 

I have been sick, and could not write, for the last four days. 
I am better but not yet quite up. The "Connecticut" came 
in this morning, and only waits for the mail. I must send 
this as it is and write more next mail. Dear love to the chil 
dren, families and friends. Among the last, Dr. Edson s are 

y> , 

Very affectionately, SARAH 

There seems to be a moment more. I have had a slight attack 
of dysentery, but am getting over it and hope to dress this 
afternoon. Mr. Butler has sent out to get a bird shot. I am 
getting hungry for meat. Any letters or parts of letters that 
you think advisable read to Dr. Edson s family. I pity Mrs. 
Shed, how much she has been afflicted. Give her my regards 
and sympathy. I think of home almost all the time, and if 
I were at home I should think all the while of what might be 
doing here. Write to me whenever there is a chance to send. 
Mr. Butler would have left before now but there has been 
such a storm the troops could not be embarked. They will 
get on board perhaps today. The fleet are ready, and probably 
started up the river yesterday. The attack will be made on 
the Fort in the next few days. May success be certain. It 
hurts me to let this page go blank. I will send out to see if 
there is any more time. Mr. Butler sends me word there is a 
little more time. This storm has been the most violent that 
has been here for years. A thunder storm lasts all night, you 
have no idea of its violence, the lightning is incessant, and the 
bolts fall all the time. The guard house was struck, three men 
killed and four stunned. Four men were drowned the other 
day while bathing, the under tow swept them off. Your 
letters were received by Eben Kimball the day after he arrived. 
I began to think there were none for me. I was so glad to get 
them. Caroline is of great use to me now. In this sickness I 



406 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

should have been troubled without her. The day is pleasant, 
and the cool morning air makes me feel well. I write in a 
constrained position and very fast, but I think you can read 
it. Do not feel uneasy about me. I shall take great care 
not to get sick again. My best regards to Capt. George. 
Once more, goodbye. 

From G. F. W. Claiborne 

Zama Plantation, near PEARLYTON, Miss., April 7th, 1862 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER, U.S.A., Commanding Dept. of the South 

SIR: By your kindness and humanity a little girl, lately 
picked up at Sea, was sent, under flag of truce, to Biloxi. 
Her friends in New Orleans have appealed to me, by tele 
graph, to have her brought to them, and I am about to send 
the bearer hereof (a non-combatant) for her. As it is possible 
he may fall in with your troops, I have given him this letter. 
I trust it will secure him your protection. 

I am, General, one of your old political friends, and have 
more than once defended you in the editorial columns of the 
Southern press. I was a democratic member of Congress 
during the Van Buren administration, and have since held 
office under Polk, Pierce, and Buchanan. I am engaged in 
the culture of Sea Island cotton near the mouth of Pearl 
River, and since this unhappy rupture, which I deeply deplore, 
have confined myself to my premises, with the hope of happier 
times for the Republic. I have the honor to be, 

With great respect Your obt. servant, 

G. F. W. CLAIBORNE 

The bearer hereof, Mr. J. C. Hutchins, is a member of the 
bar in politics a Union man has taken no part whatever 
in the War and has visited constantly on this plantation, 
with me, ever since it commenced. 

From Flag Officer FARRAGUT 

PILOT TOWN, April 1th, 62. WISHIJAN Gun Boat 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Commanding troops at Ship Island 

DEAR GENERAL: I am happy to be able to announce the 
fact that our ships are now all over the Bar, lying off Pilot 
Town, taking in their munitions of War, etc. We will be ready, 
I think, in four or five days at furtherest, & you can use your 
own discretion as to when you will come over. I came down 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 407 

today with a heavy heart, thinking that if we did not get the 
Pensacola over today it would prove a failure, but with a 
strong hope that I would see her over, it so turned out she 
was coming up the river in tow of the 2 boats. I paid them a 
visit at the Forts yesterday in hopes to get a little fight out 
of their gunboats, but they fired at me from the fort, but their 
gunboats would not even venture outside the chain. I shall 
now go to work to destroy the chain. We could not get over 
4 feet water within 3 1-10 miles of the rear of Fort St. Philip. 
Your rifle gun will do good service here at long shot. They 
threw a shot between my masts 2 & 1-2 miles. 

Very truly your obdt. svt., 

D. G. FARRAGUT, Flag Officer 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of the Gulf, SHIP ISLAND, April 10th, 1862 

Brig. Gen. L. ARNOLD, Commanding Dept. of FLORIDA 

GENERAL: I regret that we are unable to cooperate with you 
at present in the capture of Pensacola, as the presence of my 
troops and transports is necessary as soon as possible in the 
Mississippi River. 

Should you not have taken that place before my return 
hither, I shall take pleasure in lending you any assistance that 
may be necessary, and I trust you will not fail to call upon me 
at all times for any aid I can render you. I am 

Very Respectfully, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From F. A. Hildreth to General Butler 

BOSTON, April 10th, 1862 

MY DEAR GENERAL: Mr. Read, your sutler, has been very 
much troubled since Capt. George s rejection on account of 
not being permitted by Capt. McKim to put his sutler s 
stores on board the transports going to your Department. 
What kind of an arrangement exists between Capt. McKim 
and Mr. Hardy, of whom Capt. McKim is hiring all his vessels, 
I know not; but Mr. Read until yesterday has not been enabled 
to get anything on board, and now only because he has given 
Mr. Hardy a letter to you recommending that his (Hardy s) 
vessels be kept in Government service by you. His vessels 
are the "Ocean Pearl" and "Wild Gazelle," chartered by 



408 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Capt. George, and the "Daniel Webster" and the "Sea 
Bride" and "Young Turk," chartered by Capt. McKim. 

Now, what I wish to inform you is simply that the letter of 
Read recommending Hardy s vessels should not receive the 
slightest consideration, because it was written under circum 
stances that should much more than offset Read s recommen 
dation. I have already given you all Read s reasons for 
writing in favor of Hardy s vessels. He has also written a letter 
to you recommending or introducing to you a speculator that 
Hardy has sent down to your department. Of course, it will 
be evident to you that Mr. Read cannot really desire that Mr. 
Hardy should establish an agency in your department, to 
speculate and take charge of or sell goods that Mr. Hardy 
may cheat into your department, when you have appointed 
Mr. Read sutler for the very purpose of supplying your depart 
ment with sutler s goods. 

If you could get time to drop a line to the Secretary of War, 
asking that he will consent that the Secretary of the Treasury 
shall authorize Collector Goodrich to clear a vessel for Mr. 
Read to take sutler s goods to your department, he can then 
get a clearance, and no longer be dependent on Capt. McKim 
or Mr. Hardy, or either of them. The Secretary of the Treas 
ury has notified Collector Goodrich to give Mr. Read a clear 
ance if the Secretary of War requests it, which I do not expect 
he will do unless you ask it, though Mr. Read is trying to 
get it. 

Having seen all the ships chartered by Capt. George, I 
venture to forward herewith a LIST of those that I believe to be 
among the strongest, safest, and very best ships for your service* 
quite as good as Mr. Hardy s, I believe; and if they are, 
I hope you will keep them instead of his, as I do not think, 
under the circumstances, he ought to have a preference over 
other owners. 

I forward you a lot of papers that show that Island No. 10 
has been taken, and a smart battle been fought at Corinth. 
Our cause seems to be gaining. I pray God it may in your 
Departments. 

Children and all the rest are well. God bless you! But 
depend upon yourself for success and safety. Love to Sarah. 
Gen. Wool has kept Nim s Battery back till now, but I under 
stand it will be sent to you in a few days 

FISHER 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 409 

From F. A. Hildreth to General Butler 

April 11, 1862 

DEAR BUTLER: Mr. Read received a letter from Robert 
Read, containing a long list of articles that the "Council of 
Administration" require that he shall keep on hand. These 
he will procure and forward as quick as he can get a clearance, 
or get them aboard any Government transport going to your 
Department. Much that the "Council" has ordered are 
already there or on the way. 

The "Council of Administration" also demand a tax of 
six cts. a month on every soldier, which Robert writes amounts 
to $24.00 a day. Of course, if this is enforced, you will see 
that he has a monopoly of all the business to the exclusion 
of other Sutlers, and especially to all outside traffickers so 
much is certainly just. In the Department generally the 
sutlers enjoy their monopoly the Division sutler his and 
Regimental sutlers theirs, and no tax whatever is imposed at 
that. It is certainly hard to submit to this tax when the 
Government will not transport sutler s goods for pay, and all 
outsiders are allowed to sell to the Regimental sutlers in your 
department and, for aught I know, to others. 

Mr. Read has forwarded over two hundred barrels of cider, 
which is on its way and arrived, which, I trust, under some 
restriction he will be allowed to sell, though Robert writes 
that the "Council" objects to its sale. Jones, I am afraid, 
is quite willing to embarrass Read s business all he can. A 
sutler who will supply your department and not deal in articles 
you prohibit (as Read has not) ought to have all the privileges 
that belong to him without being taxed, especially considering 
that he has had to get transportation, and the great distance 

from market. 

FISHER 

List of Best Ships: "Great Republic," "Tamerlane," "James 
Honey," "Wallace," "Premier," "Wizard King," "Idaho," 
"North America," "E. W. Farley," "George Washington," 
"Saxon." 

I think the damnedest outrage in the whole business against 
you was keeping that Battery back when the "De Witt 
Clinton" has been lying at Fortress Monroe for six weeks, 
waiting to take it to you. Hell is too good for somebody. 



410 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of the Gulf, SHIP ISLAND, April 13th, 1862 

To the Honorable Secretary of War 

SIR: I have the honor to report my safe arrival at Ship 
Island on the 21st of March, after a series of casualties set 
forth in my last report from Port Royal to the General Com 
manding the army, but from thence no further accident. 

For three days after my arrival a storm prevented a landing 
of either troops or stores. 

Upon consultation with Flag Officer Farragut, I was informed 
by him that he would probably be able to move in seven days; 
accordingly, by dint of most strenuous labor of my troops 
day and night, I had embarked and ready for embarkation 
6000 of my best men to support his operations, a force judged 
to be sufficient for the advance, to be at once supported by 
the remainder of my disposable force. After waiting four 
days with troops on shipboard, I learned from the Flag Officer 
that the storm and low water at the bar had prevented his 
getting up ships into position. For sanitary reasons I disem 
barked the troops, and shall embark tomorrow and sail for 
the head of the "Passes," when I am informed the Navy will 
be ready for operations. 

I have pleasure in reporting the safe arrival of all the troops 
assigned to this Department (the last regiment, 13th Conn. 
Regt., arriving last night) except Nim s Battery, the only 
drilled corps of Artillery given me, which has for some unex 
plained reason been detained at Fortress Monroe. During 
my enforced delay by shipwreck, General Phelps has sent 
away both the Steamers "Constitution" and "Fulton," so 
that I am much crippled for transportation, but "where there 
is a will there is a way," and I shall be able by means of sailing 
vessels taken in tow to make my way up the Mississippi. 
But for ulterior movements on the coast one at least of these 
Steamers will be of the last necessity, as well as several light 
draught Steamers for which I have made requisition upon the 
Quarter Master General. Meantime, I had sent a Regiment 
and section of a battery, under the direction of Major Strong, 
my Chief of Staff, to cooperate with the Navy to demand 
apology for an insult to our Flag of Truce sent on an errand 
of Mercy with a ship-wrecked passenger, as well as to destroy 
the position of a regiment of the enemy at Pass Christian. 

This service was gallantly performed; the proper apology 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 411 

was made at Biloxi; the town surrendered into our hands, and 
the rebels at Pass Christian, an equal force with four pieces 
of artillery, driven from their camp, which, with its materials, 
was burned. No lives lost and only two wounded of our men. 

I trust my next despatch, this being the first opportunity 
of sending by the Mail Steamer, will give account of larger 
and as successful operations. 

I think it due to the good conduct of the brave men in that 
expedition to ask to have published the General Order upon 
that subject enclosed. 

I put myself in communication with General Arnold, and 
have no doubt in conjunction with him of the easy capture 
both of Mobile and Pensacola, were it not that I felt bound 
as well by my instructions as my own Judgment not to hazard 
the success of the main object of the demonstration in the Gulf. 
I have the honor to be, 

Most Respectfully, Your obedient Servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

Enclosure referred to in Foregoing Letter 

Headquarters Department of the Gulf, SHIP ISLAND, April 12, 1862 

[Not in chronological order] 

GENERAL ORDERS No. 10 

THE Major-General Commanding desires publicly to testify 
his appreciation of the gallant courage and good conduct of 
the 9th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Col. Cahill com 
manding, and a section of the 6th Massachusetts Battery, 
under Capt. Everett, in the recent expedition to Biloxi and 
Pass Christian, as exhibited by the report of the Staff officers 
in command of that expedition. 

Of their bravery in the field he felt assured; but another 
quality, more trying to the soldier, claims his admiration. 
After having been for months subjected to the privations 
necessarily incident to camp life upon this island, these well- 
disciplined soldiers, although for many hours in full possession 
of two rebel villages, filled with what to them were most desir 
able luxuries, abstained from the least unauthorized inter 
ference with private property, and all molestation of peaceable 
citizens. 

This behavior is worthy of all praise. It robs war of half 
its horrors, it teaches our enemies how much they have 
been misinformed, by their designing leaders, as to the char 
acter of our soldiers and the intention of our Government, 



412 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

it gives them a lesson and an example in humanity and civilized 
warfare much needed, however little it may be followed. 

The General Commanding commends the action of the 
men of this expedition to every soldier in this Department. 
Let it be imitated by all in the towns and cities we occupy, a 
living witness that the United States soldier fights only for 
the Union, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the laws. 
By command of MAJOR GENERAL BUTLER 
GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. G. 

From Henry Read to General Butler 

LOWELL April llth, 1862 

DEAR GENERAL: As I feared would be the case, the Secre 
tary of War, as you will see by the enclosed letter from Hon. 
Chas. Train, refuses to ask the Secretary of the Treasury to 
grant me a clearance for a vessel of Sutler s goods to your 
department. You will see that he refuses on two grounds: 
first, he does not recognize me as Sutler; Second, he will not 
ask the Secretary of the Treasury to authorize a clearance 
unless Gen. Butler will certify that the goods are needed and 
will request a clearance. 

Now, I shall be obliged to get along the best I can with 
McKim and Hardy (who may refuse me any day) until you 
can write the Secretary of War, which I hope you will not 
delay doing, as, if you do, it will be impossible for me to get 
goods to your department. j^ ^ H 



P.S. All well, a letter has just been received from Blanche 
for someting to eat (it being Lent) . I sent her lots of preserved 
meats etc. 

April llth 

I have just succeeded in getting some $16,000 worth goods 
on Bark "Young Turk," which, with what others I have on 
the way to your Department, will last till you shall write to 
Washington and request that I have a clearance. 

From Chas. R. Train to Henry Read 

WASHINGTON, April 9th, 1862 [Not in chronological order^ 

DEAR SIR: The Secretary refuses to ask a permit from the 
Treasury Department, because he does not recognize you as 
a Sutler. He says, however, that if Gen. Butler will certify 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 413 

that your supplies are needed, and request a clearance, it shall 
be granted. In haste, r<ww ^ CHAS R 



From Henry Read to General Butler 

BOSTON, April 22nd, 1862 [Not in chronological order] 

DEAR BUTLER: I have at last learned the exact objection 
to my having a clearance of a vessel for Ship Island with 
Sutler s stores: it is, that Mr. Secretary Stanton says there is 
no such thing as "Division Sutler" known to the Army; that 
a "Post Sutler" and a "Regimental Sutler" only are known 
to the law, and if General Butler wants Mr. Read for Post 
Sutler, or Sutler for all the regiments under him, he will gratify 
him on learning that fact from him. Now if you will write 
to Secretary Stanton that you want me appointed, and that I 
may be allowed a "clearance," I suppose he will conform to 
your wishes, (and so says) and not otherwise. I have these 
facts to-day by return of a special messenger whom I sent to 
Washington on this matter 

Since I wrote you last I have been enabled to get on one, or 
two, of Capt. McKim s transports, a few thousand dollars 
worth of goods, sufficient perhaps to last till I can get a clear 
ance for a vessel for myself. Fisher is very anxious on this 
point, and has even dictated this letter. 

Yours etc., H. READ 

All well season cold Merrimack River very high indeed. 
From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of the Gulf April Wh 1862 

To Gen. WILLIAMS, Comdg. 2nd Brigade 

GENERAL: You will at once proceed to sea in tow of the 
"Jackson," and make for Pass a Loutre where I am informed 
there is water enough for you to get in. I will send the " Saxon " 
ahead to buoy out the channel. If the "Saxon" reports water 
enough, he will aid you in any way he can. I will send the 
"Lewis" tonight, expecting she will reach you tomorrow morn 
ing at sunrise; should follow with the "Matanzas" and 
"Mississippi." 

Respectfully) BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



414 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of the Gulf, off the 
"PASSES" Miss. DELTA, April llth, 1862 

lo the secretary of War 

SIR: I have the honor to report that I am now off the 
"Passes" with eight Regiments and three Batteries of Artillery 
of my best troops, under command of Brig. Gen. Phelps and 
Williams, ready to cooperate with the fleet, who move today, 
or, as I believe, tomorrow upon the Forts St. Philip and Jack 
son. These are all for which I have possible means of trans 
portation, owing to the circumstances stated in my dispatch 
of 13th instant, and all that I believe will be needed for the 
present emergency. 

You may think that we have delayed, but I beg to assure 
you that with the storms and the means at our disposal we 
have made every haste, and are ready as soon as we are needed. 

The health of the Command is very good, and their equip 
ment as to arms and provisions abundant. It was especially 
fortunate that I made so large a provision for coal, as I have 
been enabled to spare the Navy more than a thousand tons, 
without which they would have been very much embarrassed. 
I have taken the means to keep up my own supply, and now 
there will be enough for all for the present. Steamers are 
much needed of light draught. 

Very Respectfully, Your obedient Servant, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From Mrs. Butler to Mrs. Heard 

Headquarters, SHIP ISLAND, April 18, 1862 

DEAR HARRIET : I hear a ship may go north tomorrow, and 
must send something by every chance. I wrote a few days 
ago, and was not able at the time to sit up. Today I am well, 
but not very strong. The disease I had first is over, but it 
left me subject to another that sometimes plagues me and 
that has kept me weak. I am better of it now, and in a day 
or two shall be in perfect health. Seven thousand men are 
shipped ready to start. Mr. Butler leaves with them tonight. 
The Flag Officer sent word they would be ready to move yes 
terday. They have been a long while getting ready, but if 
they are perfect for the work now, the time is nothing. On 
this action hang the hopes of thousands, may its results over 
leap all expectations. "Upon these words sit laurelled vie- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 415 

tory" to overwhelm the foe, wherever found, either north 
or south. I should go were it not that I have been sick and 
fear that I am not quite strong enough for it. Major Strong 
and several others have urged it, think there would be no 
danger, that is, not great, for one who has gone through so 
much. I think Mr. Butler would consent, if I were perfectly 
well. Certainly it would be worth some risk to witness the 
taking of New Orleans. Caroline and I could assist the 
wounded. That is the work she came to do, and she would be 
glad to go with me. Four vessels have sailed out they will 
be at the mouth of the river in the morning. Mr. Butler goes 
in an hour or two and says he would take me if I were well 
enough. Well, well, I must be content, and perhaps it is better 
I should remain here. Mr. Butler says he shall send back in 
a few days for more troops, and if advisable I can go then. 
A letter from Fisher to Mr. Butler came yesterday. It agrees 
precisely with what I had written and sent to you. There 
will be nobody prompt to forward supplies, and our only 
chance lies in immediate success. Tell Capt. George nothing 
can exceed my regret that he does not retain his place, and I 
am very sorry to hear that he has been and is sick. 

They have gone. In a few days the steamers will be back 
for more men. Lotie asks in her letter if the Capt. of the 
"Mississippi" was arrested. He was put under guard at 
Port Royal, and transferred to another ship. The command 
was given to Capt. Sturgis of the Navy who took the vessel to 
Ship Island. The owners have sent a Capt. from Boston since 
our arrival, who is now in charge of the ship. Capt. Fulton is 
still here; but will be sent home by the first ship going north. 
When I am away from them I feel troubled about the children, 
their being sent to school so constantly, so much of their 
young lives passed in that little doleful schoolhouse. They are 
both delicate and easily injured. Let them sometimes leave 
before the school hours are over, or stay at home for a time 
if they wish to. Paul would be amused with you, if you have 
any time for him, and Bennie with Hattie that would pre 
vent too much running with older boys. I hope in your next 
letter I shall hear something of Pamela, that she is really 
better. I am sorry for her. She is very forlorn, and shall be 
glad to hear she is stopping with you. You ought to have 
Lotie a part of the time. Do not neglect your dinners, go 
down with the children and get nice sweetbreads or some 
agreeable tit-bits such as you and the children like, and take 



416 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

some little pains about it, for after all the daily comforts of 
life should not be overlooked, and if we do not think in season 
we fail to get them. The buying you will have to do entirely 
the children s summer clothes try and have abundant for 
changing, they always seem scanty, and have them in good 
season. But perhaps I will be back before summer comes and 
lighten some of your cares. 

I have had the sand taken off the floor, and we now live on 
the rough floors. I like it much better, for as the old rhyme 
runs 

"I told them all my feet were sore 
Dancing over the sanded floor." 

And the whiteness fretted my eyes. The boards were washed 
and the good brown color is agreeable. Flies abound with 
us, mosquitoes not very terrible yet. As she had no especial 
motive, it is a blessing to Lotie that she did not come. She 
could not dress here, the flies are so numerous, and the place 
would be too much for her. It is only such as I am, who are 
fit for all times and places. Were my health as perfect as it 
was five years ago I should hold myself invulnerable. 

From Mrs. Butler to Blanche Butler 

Headquarters SHIP ISLAND, April I9th, 1862 

MY DEAR DAUGHTER: I have had rather a severe sickness, 
confined to the bed nearly a week. The last few days I have 
gained very much, and shall soon be strong as ever. Your 
father has left this place with a part of the troops, and will 
send for more in a few days. I should have gone with him, 
but I was not able when he left to bear the fatigue of moving. 
We have listened all the forenoon to the distant sound of 
heavy artillery, and are uncertain if the firing is at Mobile, 
or at the forts on the Mississippi river, where your father 
has gone, together with the fleet, to make an attack. I think 
the firing must be at Mobile, some vessels, maybe, trying to 
run the blockade. It would seem impossible that the sounds 
could reach us from the Mississippi river sixty miles distant. 

Sat urday 

Today Mr. Parker sent us a turkey and came to dine with 
us. You know we have no market here, and delicacies are 
rare. There is not much more for the officers than the soldiers. 
A man ran away from Biloxi and brought in his schooner 
vegetables and eggs. We had five dozen, and on these I have 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 417 

grown strong. You can imagine the turkey was acceptable. 
Do not think but we have plenty to eat. There are very good 
fish caught, trout and sheepshead, the last, the finest fish 
found in the gulf. Lorenzo is to bake one for supper. Are 
you not surprised, turkey for dinner and delicate fish for 
supper. But this does not happen every day. I shall go out 
for a sail this afternoon if it is not too rough. We have been 
here five weeks, and I have only stept outside the door three 
times, and then for very short walks. It is not healthy to 
keep shut up so closely. Now you wonder, I think, how I can 
write on about these trifles while that fight is raging in the 
Mississippi river? (for all believe the firing came from there). 
/ must keep my nerves under even, steady control, or I should 
be exhausted before we could receive any intelligence, and 
then if the news came disastrous, I should be only a sickly 
incumbrance. I must neither hope, nor fear, exult or weep 
until I have seen the messenger. I shall become so stoical 
under the discipline of life that pleasure or pain will find me 
equally still and quiet. I have been out for an hour and a 
half in a row boat. Gen. Shepley, Mr. Chubbuck, and Mr. 
Frost made the party, the last two are clergymen. They 
returned with me to tea and have just left. I was afraid they 
would stay so long that I could not finish my letter to you. 
What are you doing, dearie, isolated in another part of the 
country, are you and Florence so busy and happy that you 
can sing all day like two birds in a cage? I shall hear your 
new-taught music when we all get home together, it will be 
sweeter to me, than the song of the nightingale. We must 
try and be in season for Paul s birthday, the fourth of July, 
and celebrate it with unusual splendor. Last year I believe 
you burned up a cambric dress throwing off fireworks, this 
year you will do much more, only be careful that you do not 
burn up yourself. Your soldier s dress is of wool (not combus 
tible). We will case you in that and call you a sheep in wolf s 
clothing. Your grandmother says, you know, that you have 
a lamb s face on a sheep s shoulders. Your Washington trip 
with me, I hear, did not agree well with you, a fit of indigestion 
followed. I feared it might be so, for I saw you were both 
eating heartily and too great a variety; that is one of the 
prices we pay for pleasure, unless we consent to be moderate. 
In about two months from the time you get this letter you 
\vill be ready to return home. Your uncle Fisher will go for 
you unless I take you on my way back. There are so many 

VOL. I 27 



418 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

things to be done in the next six weeks that one cannot say 
where they may be. The "Undaunted" goes out in the morn 
ing at eight o clock direct for Boston. 

I must send this, and cannot give you news of what they 
are doing in the river. I have a great mind not to send it; 
if I do I shall write again directly. Love to Florence, Dear 
love to you from -..- 

MOTHER 

General Butler s Instructions to Capt. French lightening the 
" Great Republic" 

Head Quarters Department of the Gulf, April 21, 1862 

Capt. JONAS H. FRENCH, Acting Inspector Gen. Aid de Camp 
CAPTAIN: You will take the "Saxon" and "Matanzas" 
and proceed to the bar, there to get over the "Great Republic." 
If thought possible you will, with the advise of Gen. Williams 
and the pilot of the "Colorado," attempt it today at 12, with 
out lightening. If not reasonably safe, you can lighten. Let 
the "Saxon" lie alongside and take all the coal she can. Let 
the "Matanzas" lay alongside on the other and take all the 
coal she can. Ask leave of the " Colorado" to allow a regiment 
to come on board her. I will send the "Lewis" to aid you as 
soon as repaired. Put a regiment on board start all the 
water on board the "Republic" and thus lighten her. If 
you can find a schooner light to take coal, all the better. 
Time is precious in order to be in readiness. If you are not 
otherwise profitably engaged tonight, run up and report to 
me; do not let this however interfere with your labors. 

A large discretion is given you to adapt your movements 
to the circumstances of the case. Exercise it with care, but 

with firmness. Tr ,- 77 

Very respectfully, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

P.S. For fear of accidents, do not let the "Lewis" lie in rough 
water. I understand she is without an anchor. Perhaps you 
can procure one of the Navy. B. F. B. 

From General Butler to General Williams 

Headquarters, April 22 [1862] 

GENERAL: I am directed by the General Commanding to 
say that he learns with surprise and regret, from the report 
of Capt. French of his staff, that you refused to allow him to 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 419 

carry out his instructions or yourself even to read them, 
which the General had carefully prepared in writing and had 
therein given every possible deference to your authority. 
That such jealousy, and as it seems to the Commanding 
General petty considerations, were allowed to interfere with 
the public service by an officer for whom the Commanding 
General entertains so high a personal regard, and to whose 
ability and experience he so much defers is a source of deep 
regret. Misconception must have arisen either from want 
of cool, good-tempered, careful thought, or from misunder 
standing the exact facts of the case. 

It became necessary to send three steam boats some 15 
miles to your assistance. One needed repairing. All must 
be under the charge of somebody to get them in order and to 
get them down to you. One of them contained a ranking 
officer to yourself, who, it is unnecessary to suggest to so old 
and punctilious an officer, would have "commanded there" 
by regulation, unless the Commanding General had taken 
care that Gen. Williams should not be so out ranked in the 
movement of his own brigade. 

Does this show any intention or action in the direction of 
wrongful interference with the authority of Genl. Williams? 

Again the exigencies of the public service made it necessary 
that the Genl. should have in his own control under his own 
instructions his means of transportation, so large a portion 
of which he was putting to the movement of a portion of 
Genl. Williams Brigade. It also became necessary to tranship 
coal from the "Republic" to both the "Matanzas" & "Saxon," 
superintendence and dispatch of which the Commanding 
General did not think would be agreeable to General Williams. 

General Williams will lighten his vessel as much as possible 
by putting what troops she may be able to bear upon the 
"Lewis," and so many as may be possible upon the "Colorado," 
and get over the bar if possible. At some convenient time 
Genl. Williams will have the "Saxon" and "Matanzas" take 
what coal they may be able from the "Great Republic." 
As soon as over the bar, proceed to the head of the passes and 
there await further orders. It will be necessary that the 
"Saxon" shall report to the command before 12 o clock tonight. 
The "Lewis" will tow the "Republic" up the River. 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 



420 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, April 23, 1862 

Brig. Gen. PHELPS, Comd g 1st Brig. 

GEN. : The state of affairs at the forts is such as to seem to 
require that all shall be held in readiness for an instant move 
ment in some direction. You will therefore not disembark 
your regiment until further orders. Take what coal you can 
from the "Republic," and remain at the head of the passes 
after you have aided that ship over the bar. After the " Saxon " 
has aided the "Republic" over the bar, she will take Capt. 
Browne s Company on board herself. You will see that rations 
in bulk for 10 days are put on board for them from the "Ma- 
tanzas." I send herewith a number of signals which the Gen 
eral will be enabled to make from the Ship on board of which 
he may be. Your intelligence will at once comprehend the 
mode of use. Have them put in the hands of some Staff 
Officer, whose duty it will be to attend to the reading of them 
when hoisted and the answer. 

Most respectfully your obt. servant, 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. Department of the Gulf, Steamer MISSISSIPPI, April 24, 1862 

Flag Officer FABRAGUT, Commanding Western Gulf Squadron 

SIR: Allow me to congratulate you and your command 
upon the bold, daring, brilliant and successful passage of the 
Forts of your fleet this morning. A more gallant exploit it 
has never fallen to the lot of man to witness. 

Capt. Porter, with whom I have had a conference, agrees 
that it was best we should at once proceed to carry out the 
plan agreed upon by yourself and me, to wit: that I should 
immediately land troops to cooperate with you at the Quaran 
tine Station, and so hem in the Forts. When I left the Mortar 
fleet about 8 o clock this morning, the rebel flag was still 
flying upon the Forts, the Ram had floated down on fire and 
was consumed, another rebel Steamer was burning. A signal 
had been made by Captain Porter to cease firing. 

The "Portsmouth" had returned to her anchorage unhurt. 
The "Winona" had been badly crippled, a shot through the 
boilers and several in her hull, making water fast. The 
"Itasca" had been badly used, but had lost no men, and was 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 421 

in an effective condition, all other men unhurt save trifling 
casualties. The "Harriet Lane" had but one killed. 

Captain Porter will forward your ammunition and supplies 
through the Quarantine Station, should you desire. I will be 
able to aid you from the same point immediately. 

Please send directions as to your wishes by the bearer or 
otherwise. I send this by Capt. Conant of the 31st Mass. 
Regt., who goes to communicate with you. He is the gentle 
man of whom I spoke to you as having made a reconnoissance 
in the rear of St. Philip night before last. He knows the con 
tents of this dispatch for fear of accident. He may be most 
implicitly relied upon and trusted. I hope he may be able to 
report to me off Point Sable when I will immediately communi 
cate with Capt. Porter. If in danger, Capt. Conant has been 
ordered to destroy this and remember its contents, and will 
do the same with any dispatches you may give him. 

If you design proceeding up the river, will you leave say two 
Gunboats at the Quarantine Station to protect our landings. 

Respectfully Yours, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l. Comd g. 

By General Butler 

Headquarters Department of the Gulf, 
Head of the MISSISSIPPI PASSES, April 24, 1862 

GENERAL ORDERS No. 14 

THE transports "Mississippi," "Matanzas," "Lewis," 
"Saxon," and "Great Republic," with all the troops now on 
board, will proceed under convoy of U. S. steamers "Miami" 
and "Sachem," and without delay, to Sable Island, with a view 
to reaching Quarantine Station, in rear of Fort St. Philip. 

All of the above named troops will be under the command 
of Brig. Gen. Williams until further orders. 

II. Brig. Gen. Phelps will remain in command of all the 
troops on board transport ships "North America" and "E. 
W. Farley," and hold himself in readiness to occupy the Forts 
as soon as they shall have been reduced. 

By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 
GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. G. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From John L. Lewis 

Head Quarters, Major General s Office, NEW ORLEANS, April 24, 1862 

Brig. Gen. A. G. POWELL Comdg. Brig. (C. S. A.) 
ORDERS 

BRIGADIER GENERAL A. G. POWELL, Commanding Third 
Brigade, will forthwith cause all cotton stored in various cotton 
presses and other places within his Brigade to be taken there 
from, rolled out into the streets, or other places, removed from 
any danger to surrounding buildings, and hold himself pre 
pared at a moment s notice to have the same committed to the 
flames and destroyed, and for this purpose he is hereby author 
ized to cause to be broken open all presses and places where 
cotton is stored or to be found. 

By order of JOHN L. LEWIS, 
Maj. Gen. Comd g (C. S. A.) 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Off FORT ST. PHILIP, 5 P.M., April 26/A, 1862 

MY DEAR WIFE : Here I am all right and well, but now about 
to do the most troublesome, annoying, and anxious business 
of the campaign To land my troops by surf boat in the 
.rear of St. Philip. The fleet, after bombarding the forts for 
six days, ran past the forts, and after taking 11 rebel gunboats, 
burning them and destroying a ram, an iron clad vessel, they 
ran up to New Orleans to take the city. Adm. Farragut has 
left some gunboats at the Quarantine Station in the river to 
protect my Army on the Gulf side. This I deem wholly an 
unmilitary proceeding on his part, to run off and leave forts 
behind him unreduced, but such is the race for the glory of 
capturing New Orleans between him and Commodore Foote 
that thus we go. 

However, we shall get on. Fear not. I have sent to Genl. 
Shepley for what I most need by the "Saxon," which returns 
immediately. Send letters and late papers. 

Your HUSBAND 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. Dept. of the Gulf, off FORT ST. PHILIP, On the Gulf Side, 

April 26*A, 1862 

Act. Brig. Gen. Geo. F. Shepley, Commanding at SHIP ISLAND 

GENERAL: The fleet passed by the Forts on the morning 
of the 24th with but little loss, leaving the Mortar fleet and 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 423 

a few gunboats below, without reducing the Forts. They 
have substantially cleared the River of boats, but have left 
the Ram and two rebel boats under the cover of the Forts; 
they are proving troublesome to the remnant of our fleet 
below in the river. 

The flag officer has gone up with twelve vessels of his fleet 
to New Orleans, leaving us to reduce the forts. I am endeavor 
ing to effect a landing on the Gulf side at the Quarantine 
Grounds. I am sadly in want of means of light transportation; 
the "Lewis" is broken down for want of coal. She very 
foolishly came away with only five days coal, having lain 
alongside the "Idaho" while mending her smoke-stack with 
out taking any. I must have soft coal. I suppose the coal, 
or a large portion of it, from the "Idaho" is now in a schooner. 
If so, send her at once, either under tow of the "Saxon" or 
under sail or both, but send the coal at all events. Make 
every possible dispatch, send also all the light draught schooners 
you have, those drawing not more than four feet say four 
feet (the little one I used to have), the "Gipsy" if repaired, 
and all the boats possible; all are needed at once. Have the 
"Parliament" ready to sail at a moment s notice, with every 
thing on board for 30 days provisions for us, plenty of rice. 
Send fresh meat if any has arrived. Do not send the "Parlia 
ment" until further Orders. You may send beef at once. 

If the "Washington" or "Butler" has a large quantity of 
lumber on board, send her at once. Dispatch is of the first 
moment. If you have a light-draught Steamer, send her by 
all means. The Devil is in the Commander of the "Saxon," 
and he is trying to break her down. Have her sent down here 
under sail if she breaks down, so that I may get the Govern 
ment property out of her. Tr ,. 77 

Very Respectfully, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 
P.S. Send three anchors by the "Saxon" -and one chair. 

No. 2. Send on board of one of the schooners a large supply 
of medical and surgical stores suitable for wounded men, - 
no great haste required as regards this. 



424 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Off FORT ST. PHILIP April (26^), 1862 

Acting Brig. Gen 9 1. SHEPLEY, Commanding at SHIP ISLAND 

GENERAL: Major General Butler directs that the "Saxon 
(whose Captain will hand you this) proceed to Ship Island for 
the tents belonging to the troops that are here and artillery 
harness sufficient for two light batteries, also that the "Parlia 
ment" be directed to sail instantly with the provisions. Please 
expedite the "Saxon s" return as much as possible. The 
General has gone to New Orleans, and it is all right, I think, 
as regards the "Louisiana." My compliments to Mrs. Butler, 
and if she would like to come on the "Saxon," she can have 
the ladies cabin on the "Mississippi" and be perfectly com 
fortable, and I ll take all the responsibility of the matter. 
Very Respectfully & truly, Your obedient Servant, 

GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. General 

General Butler s Instructions to Captain of the "Saxon" 

April 26th, 1862 

THE "Saxon" will go to Ship Island with all possible speed, 
there report to General Shepley at whatever hour of day or 
night she may arrive, take directions from him and have him 
endorse on the back of this letter of instructions the hour the 
"Saxon" reports. The "Saxon" will then, taking in tow what 
General Shepley may order, return and report here to the 
Commanding General. When the "Saxon" leaves, General 
Shepley will endorse on his sailing directions to the "Saxon" 
the hour of her leaving Ship Island. Dispatch is everything. 
The "Saxon" had better take only Schooner "Wilcoul," the 
others sent for will sail down here. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comd g. 

On back endorsed: "Saxon" reports at five thirty A.M., Sun 
day, April 27th. G. F. SHEPLEY 

"Saxon" leaves at one o clock same day. G. F. SHEPLEY 
From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

SHIP ISLAND, April 27, 1862 

DEAREST: I see by your letter they have left you behind 
and in a very unpleasant place. But have patience, you 
will yet be satisfied. I am puzzled to know why you land in 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 425 

the rear of St. Philip instead of going to New Orleans with 
the Fleet, but suppose it must be a necessity. 

If they cannot reduce the forts with the Mortar Fleet, I 
do not know what a land force could accomplish. What I 
have written is not worth a fig. Capt. Sturgis has been to 
see me, and now I know everything. I did not say what you 
had written. He says the fleet remains till the forts are taken. 
Com. Porter has gone round in the rear of Fort Jackson, and 
you are to land on this side in the rear of Fort Philip. Sixteen 
vessels passed the forts, but he seemed to have no idea they 
would go farther until the forts were taken. It seems to me 
the "Saxon" ran too near the fort during the action. An 
unlucky shell might have hit the boat, and proved the Gen l. 
to be too far from his army. Pray be more careful. Not 
when there is a real necessity; but do not expose yourself 
and others merely to show your contempt of danger. I sent 
you a note yesterday, no, the day before, and a quantity 
of newspapers were sent yesterday. In my note I told you 
how much I wished to join you, but in your present situation 
I suppose you would not hear of it. I feel sure all will go well. 
But use your best judgment and the noblest command of your 
self and others. If I see you safe and victorious, my exulta 

tion will be complete. ^ c 

Ever yours, SARAH 

From General Butler 

Department of the Gulf [April 27, 1862] 

To the Flag Officer 

WE have progressed, and so far I am waiting an answer. 
650 men in the fort. Send in "Monticelo" and "Harriet 
Lane" at once, if you please. ^ ped/M%> B R BuTLER 



From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of the Gulf, FORTS JACKSON & ST. PHILIP, 

Apr. 29, 62 

Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

SIR : I have the honor to report that in obedience to my 
instructions I remained in the Mississippi River with the 
troops named in former dispatch, awaiting the action of the 
fleet engaged in the bombardment of Forts Jackson and St. 
Philip. Failing to reduce them after six days of incessant fire, 
Flag Officer Farragut determined to attempt their passage 



426 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

with the whole fleet, except that part thereof under the immedi 
ate command of Capt. Porter, known as the Mortar fleet. 
On the morning of the 24th instant the fleet got under way, 
and twelve vessels, including the four sloops of war, ran the 
gauntlet of fire of the Forts, and were safely above. Of the 
gallantry, courage, and conduct of this heroic action, unprec 
edented in naval warfare, considering the character of the 
work and the river, too much cannot be said. Of its casualties 
and the details of its performance the Flag Officer will give an 
account to the proper department. 

I witnessed this daring exploit from a point about 800 
yards from Fort Jackson, and unwittingly under its fire. 
The sublimity of the scene can never be exceeded. The fleet 
passed on up the River toward New Orleans, leaving two gun 
boats five miles above to protect Quarantine Station. In 
case the Forts were not reduced, and a portion of the fleet 
got by them, it had been arranged between the Flag Officer 
and myself, that I should make a landing from the Gulf side 
in the rear of the Forts at the Quarantine, and from thence 
attempt Fort St. Philip by storm and assault while the bom 
bardment was continued by the fleet. I immediately went to 
Sable Island with my transports, 12 miles in the rear of St. 
Philip, the nearest point at which a sufficient depth of water 
could be found for them. Capt. Porter put at my disposal 
the "Miami," drawing 7| feet, being the lightest draught 
vessel in the fleet, to take the troops from the ships as far in 
as the water would allow. We were delayed 24 hours by her 
running ashore at Pass a Loutre. The 26th Regt. Mass. 
Vols., Col. Jones, were put on board of her, and within six 
miles of the Fort, when she again grounded. Capt. Everett, 
of the 6th Mass. Battery, having very fully reconnoitered the 
waters and bayous in this vicinity, foreseeing the necessity, 
I had collected and brought with me some thirty boats into 
which the troops were again transhipped and conveyed, by a 
most fatiguing and laborious row, some four miles and a half 
further, there being within one mile of the Steamer, only 2J 
feet water. A large portion of this passage was against a 
heavy current through a bayou at the entrance of Mannels 
Canal. A mile and a half from the point of landing rowing 
became impossible as well from the narrowness of the Canal 
as the strength of the current, which ran like a mill-race. 
Through this the boats could only be impelled by dragging 
them singly with the men up to the waist in water. It is due 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 427 

to this fine Regiment, and also to a portion of the 4th Wiscon 
sin and the 21st Indiana, who landed under this hardship 
without a murmur, that their labors should be known to the 
Department, as well as to account for the slowness of our 
operations. The enemy evidently considered this mode of 
attacking impossible, as they had taken no measures to oppose 
it, which might very easily have been successfully done. 

We occupied at once both sides of the River, thus effectu 
ally cutting them off from all supplies, information, or succor, 
while we made our disposition for the assault. Meantime, 
Capt. Porter had sent into the Bayou in the rear of Fort 
Jackson two schooners of his Mortar fleet to prevent the escape 
of the enemy from the Fort in that direction. In the hurry 
and darkness of the passage of the Forts, the Flag Officer had 
overlooked three of the enemy s gunboats, and the iron clad 
Battery "Louisiana," which were at anchor under the walls 
of the Fort. Supposing that all the rebel boats had been de 
stroyed (and a dozen or more had been), he passed on to the 
city, leaving these in his rear. 

The iron Steam Battery being very formidable, Capt. 
Porter deemed it prudent to withdraw his Mortar fleet some 
miles below, where he could have room to manoeuver it if 
attacked by the iron monster, and the bombardment ceased. 
I had left Brig. Genl. Phelps in the river below with two regi 
ments to make demonstration in that direction if it became 
possible. 

In the night of the 27th, learning that the fleet had got the 
city under its guns, I left Brig. Genl. Williams in charge of 
the landing of the troops, and went up the river to the Flag 
ship to procure light-draught transportation. That night, the 
larger portion, about 250, of the Garrison of Fort Jackson 
mutinied, spiked the guns bearing up river, came up and 
surrendered themselves to my pickets, declaring that as we 
had got in their rear, resistance was useless and they would 
not be sacrificed. No shot had been fired at them for three 
days, nor had they fired a shot. They said they had been 
impressed and would fight no longer. On the 28th, the officers 
of Forts Jackson and St. Philip surrendered to Capt. Porter, 
he having means of water transportation to them. While he 
was negotiating, however, with the officers of the Forts under 
a White Flag, the rebel naval officers put all their munitions 
of war in the "Louisiana" and set her on fire and adrift upon 
the "Harriet Lane," but when opposite Fort St. Philip she 



428 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

blew up, killing one of their own men by the fragments which 
fell into that fort. 

I have taken possession of the Forts, and find them sub 
stantially as defensible as before the bombardment, St. Philip 
precisely so, it is quite uninjured. They are fully provi 
sioned, well-supplied with ammunition, and the ravages of the 
shells have been defensibly repaired by the labor of the rebels. 
I will cause Lt. Weitzel of the Engineers to make a detailed 
report of their condition to the Department. I have left the 
26th Regt. in Garrison, and am now going up the river to 
occupy the City with my troops, and make further demon 
stration in the rear of the enemy now at Corinth. The rebels 
have abandoned all their defensive works in and around New 
Orleans, including Forts Pike and Wood on Lake Ponchartrain 
and Fort Livingstone, Barataria Bay; they have retired in 
the direction of Corinth and beyond Manchac Pass, and 
abandoned everything up the river as far as Donaldsonville, 
some twenty miles beyond New Orleans. I propose to so far 
depart from the letter of my instructions as to endeavor to 
persuade the Flag Officer to pass up the River as far as the 
mouth of Red River if possible, so as to cut off their supplies 
and make there a landing and demonstration in the rear as a 
diversion in favor of General Buel, if a decisive battle is not 
fought before such movement is possible. Mobile is ours 
whenever we choose, and can better wait. 

I find the city under the dominion of the mob. They have 
insulted our flag, torn it down with indignity. This outrage 
will be punished in such manner as in my judgment will 
caution both the perpetrators and abettors of the act, so that 
they shall fear the stripes if they do not reverence the stars 
of our banner. I send a marked copy of a N. O. paper con 
taining an applauding account of the outrage. Also please 
find the morning report book of Fort Jackson, giving their 
account of the bombardment. Trusting my action may meet 
the approbation of the Department. I am 

Most Respectfully, Your Obdt. Servt. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, M aj. Genl. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 429 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of the Gulf, Quarantine Station, April 30th, 1862 

Col. E. F. JONES, 26th Mass. Vols., Commanding 
FORTS JACKSON AND ST. PHILIP 

SIR: You will as soon as possible place Forts Jackson and 
St. Philip in a proper state of police and defence. 

In addition to the General Regulations of the army relating 
to the care of the fortifications, you will be guided by the 
following instructions : 

At both works, all frame buildings and everything combus 
tible must be at once removed to the outside of the main work 
to be placed under bomb-proof cover, the ammunition, care 
fully assorted, placed in the Magazine nearest to the Batter 
ies to which such ammunition belongs, and the magazines kept 
well ventilated, dry and bomb-proof, aired and cleansed. 

The serviceable guns left at the work will be arranged in 
position mostly for up-river defence. All the provisions will 
be carefully stored in as dry places as possible. Temporary 
bridges will be constructed only at the Main entrance. 

The damage to the earthwork at Fort Jackson will be 
repaired as much as possible, the ruins of the citadel will be 
removed to the outside of the work and the material used for 
walks wherever necessary. Col. Jones will establish a strict 
Quarantine at this station, allow no vessels to pass (save 
ships of War of the United States) until after the strictest 
surgical examination and with a clean bill of health. No com 
munication will be held with vessels by any person of his 
command without his express orders, and after the examina 
tion of the Surgeon. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From David D. Porter 

United States Steamer "HARRIET LANE," Mississippi River, April 30, 1862 

Hon. GIDEON WELLS, Sec. of the Navy 

SIR: . . . Fort Jackson is a perfect wreck. 1 Everything 
in the shape of a building in and about it was burned by the 
mortar shells, and over 1800 shells fell in the work proper, 
to say nothing of those which burst over and around it. 

. . . The mortar flotilla is still fresh. Truly the backbone 
of the Rebellion is broken. On the 26th of the month I sent 



1 See Gen. Butler s letter to Hon. E. M. Stanton, June 1, page 538. 



430 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

six of the mortar schooners to the back of Fort Jackson to 
block up the bayous and prevent supplies getting in. Three 
of them drifted over to Fort Livingston, and when they 
anchored the fort hung out a white flag and surrendered. 
The "Kittatinny," which had been blockading there for some 
time, sent a boat in advance of the mortar vessels, and, reach 
ing the shore first, deprived them of the pleasure of hoisting 
our flag over what had surrendered to the mortar flotilla. 
Still, the fort is ours and we are satisfied. I am happy to 
state that officers and crew are all well and full of spirits. I 
have the honor to be, 

Your obedient servant, DAVID D. PORTER 

War Records, Series I, Vol. XV. pp. 461-2. 

From Lieutenant Palfrey 

FORT SAINT PHILIP 

THE fort is as efficient as before the attack. Its armament 
is as follows, viz. On face 8, running from 7, are two 8-inch 
columbiads, one columbiad platform without rails, one 8-inch 
columbiad, one columbiad, one columbiad platform complete. 

JOHN C. PALFREY, 
First Lieutenant, United States Engineers 

War Records, Series I., Vol. XV, page 435. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of the Gulf, April 30th, 1862 

Brig. Genl. G. F. SHEPLEY, Commanding at SHIP ISLAND 

GENERAL: I send you the "Tennessee" for a transport. 
You will at once take so many troops as she can carry and 
proceed to Fort St. Philip, there delivering the camp equipage 
of Col. Jones, and then proceed to New Orleans or wherever 
I may be and report to me. I want three regiments, 8th 
Vermont, 12th Maine and 13th Conn. Leave the ablest 
Colonel you have in charge at the Island. Have provisions for 
us all for 30 days. I send Quartermaster Monroe for all the 
Camp equipage of the regiments here and reasonable baggage. 
Send all horses and baggage for self and Staff, so far as they 
have distinctive horses. If any accommodation, bring Mrs. 
Butler with you, if not take the "Saxon." I send the "Great 
Republic" for horses, all she can take, and Thompson s Bat 
tery with ammunition. She can take one of the regiments. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 431 

Do not put her below 15 feet or six inches more, if possible. 
She cannot get over the bar get a tow for her. 

Organize a number of men, say two hundred and fifty, 
with provisions for sixty days and a competent commander, 
to take possession of Fort Wood. Lieut. Read in the naval 
force at the Island will convoy the expedition. I have very 
direct information from rebel sources of its evacuation, but 
not official. Send "George Washington" or other ship with 
forage sufficient for present need at least, and as much as 
possible. Bring an invoice of the supplies at Ship Island, and 
take all the unissued clothing not absolutely needed at the 
Island. Let the Brig "Yankee Blade" sail at once without 
unloading. Bring her invoice. Let the Post Master transfer 
himself to New Orleans. Everything is so far successful and 
everything requires dispatch. 

2 P.M. 

I am now at the Passes; I find the "Great Republic" on 
shore there, "hors du combat." I am tired of waiting for her 
any longer. Take the "Ocean Pearl," or any other ship which 
does not draw more than 15 feet water, for the horses. Use 
your own discretion, the river is now open and free. I am 

Your obedient Servant, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen L Comd g. 

From General Butler to the Secretary of War 

HAVING been fully convinced, by strong proof collected 
since this City has been occupied by my command, that Mr. 
Pierre Soule ex-member of Congress and former Minister 
to Spain has been and still is engaged in plotting treason 
against the United States Government, I ordered him to be 
arrested on the 28th day of the present month and to be held 
in safe confinement until such time as he could be safely 
transferred to Fort Warren, Mass., as a political prisoner. 
The arrest was made as directed, and Mr. Soule was brought 
before me and is sent forward on board the transport "McClel- 
lan." The charges against him and the evidence of his guilt 
elicited, are as follows: 

Charge First. That Pierre Soule is member and leader 
of a secret service society known as the "Southern Independ 
ence Association," of which each member is solemnly sworn 
to "allegiance to the Southern Confederacy," and to "oppose 
forever the reconstruction of the old Union, at the peril of 



432 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

his life if necessary, whatever be the fate of the war, and to 
whatever extremities and disasters treachery or incapacity 
may reduce the Country," and "each and every member 
further pledges himself to assist to the utmost of his power 
in carrying out all laws of the Confederate Congress, and all 
laws of the respective states composing the Southern Confed 
eracy, which have for their object resistance to the United 
States by armed force or otherwise, the retaliation of injuries, 
the confiscation of property, and the detection and dispersion 
or punishment of spies and enemies in our midst." 

As information of the nature and object of the "Southern 
Independence Association," I have the honor to enclose an 
extract from its proceedings and deliberations on March 13th, 
1862, and a correspondence between a Committee of its mem 
bers and Dr. J. L. Riddell, late Postmaster of this City. 

Charge Second. That Pierre Soule was the Author of the 
insolent letters to Com. Farragut signed by the Mayor, John 
T. Monroe, in the pamphlet herewith enclosed, and is at pres 
ent the principal supporter of the Rebellion in this city. 

Mr. Soule s influence and position, social and political, here 
render him in my judgment so dangerous his treason so fla 
grant the overt acts so plain that I sent him forward to the 
Government at Washington. Had he been actually in arms, I 
should have held him by Military commission and executed the 
sentence, and will do so now if directed by the Department. I 

have the honor to be T- T> \ 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

P.S. Being Sheriff of the City of New Orleans, he has been 
untiring in his efforts to drive Union men from the City 
unless he could force them into the Confederate service. He 
has aided the Confederate cause in every way within his 
power. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of the Gulf, NEW ORLEANS, May 1, 1862 

GENERAL ORDERS No. 15 

I. IN anticipation of the immediate disembarkation of the 
troops of this command amid the temptations and induce 
ments of a large city, all plundering of public or private prop 
erty, by any person or persons, is hereby forbidden, under 
severest penalties. 

II. No officer or soldier will absent himself from his station 
without arms or alone under any pretext whatever. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 433 

III. The commanders of regiments and companies will be 
held responsible for the strict execution of these orders, and 
that the offenders are brought to punishment. 

By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 
GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. G. 



Proclamation of General Butler 

Head-Quarters, Department of the Gulf, NEW ORLEANS, May 1, 1862 

THE city of New Orleans and its environs, with all its 
interior and exterior defenses, having surrendered to the 
combined naval and land forces of the United States, and 
being now in the occupation of the forces of the United States, 
who have come to restore order, maintain public tranquillity, 
and enforce peace and quiet under the laws and constitution 
of the United States, the major-general commanding hereby 
proclaims the object and purposes of the government of the 
United States in thus taking possession of New Orleans and 
the state of Louisiana, and the rules and regulations by which 
the laws of the United States will be for the present, and dur 
ing the state of war, enforced and maintained, for the plain 
guidance of all good citizens of the United States, as well as 
others who may have heretofore been in rebellion against 
their authority. 

Thrice before has the city of New Orleans been rescued 
from the hands of a foreign government, and still more calam 
itous domestic insurrection, by the money and arms of 
the United States. It has of late been under the military 
control of the rebel forces, and at each time, in the judgment of 
the commanders of the military forces holding it, it has been 
found necessary to preserve order and maintain quiet by an 
administration of martial law. Even during the interim from 
its evacuation by the rebel soldiers and its actual possession 
by the soldiers of the United States, the civil authorities have 
found it necessary to call for the intervention of an armed 
body known as the European Legion, to preserve the public 
tranquillity. The commanding general, therefore, will cause 
the city to be guarded, until the restoration of the United 
States authority and his further orders, by martial law. 

All persons in arms against the United States are required 
to surrender themselves, with their arms, equipments, and 
munitions of war. The body known as the European Legion, 
not being understood to be in arms against the United States, 

VOL. I 28 



434 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

but organized to protect the lives and property of the citizens, 
are invited to still co-operate with the forces of the United 
States to that end, and, so acting, will not be included in the 
terms of this order, but will report to these headquarters. 

All ensigns, flags, devices, tending to uphold any authority 
whatever, save the flags of the United States and those of 
foreign consulates, must not be exhibited, but suppressed. 
The American ensign, the emblem of the United States, 
must be treated with the utmost deference and respect by all 
persons, under pain of severe punishment. 

All persons well disposed towards the government of the 
United States, who shall renew the oath of allegiance, will 
receive a safeguard of protection to their persons and property 
from the army of the United States, and the violation of such 
safeguard will be punishable with death. All persons still 
holding allegiance to the Confederate States will be deemed 
rebels against the government of the United States, and re 
garded and treated as enemies thereof. All foreigners, not 
naturalized and claiming allegiance to their respective govern 
ments, and not having made oath of allegiance to the govern 
ment of the Confederate States, will be protected in their 
persons and property, as heretofore, under the laws of the 
United States. All persons who may have heretofore given 
adherence to the supposed government of the Confederate 
States, or been in their service, who shall lay down or deliver 
up their arms, return to peaceful occupations, and preserve 
quiet and order, holding no farther correspondence nor giving 
aid and comfort to enemies of the United States, will not be 
disturbed in their persons or property, except so far, under 
the orders of the commanding general, as the exigencies of the 
public service may render necessary. 

Keepers of all public property, whether state, national, or 
confederate, such as collections of art, libraries and museums, 
as well as all public buildings, all munitions of war and armed 
vessels, will at once make full returns thereof to these head 
quarters. All manufacturers of arms and munitions of war 
will report to these headquarters their kind and places of 
business. All rights of property, of whatever kind, will be 
held inviolate, subject only to the laws of the United States. 
All the inhabitants are enjoined to pursue their usual avoca 
tions. All shops and places of amusement are to be kept open 
in the accustomed manner, and services are to be held in the 
churches and religious houses, as in times of profound peace. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 435 

Keepers of all public houses and drinking saloons are to 
report their names and numbers to the office of the provost- 
marshal, and they will then receive a license, and be held 
responsible for all disorders and disturbances arising in their 
respective places. 

Sufficient force will be kept in the city to preserve order 
and maintain the laws. The killing of American soldiers by 
any disorderly person or mob is simply assassination and 
murder, and not war, and will be so regarded and punished. 
The owner of any house in which such murder shall be com 
mitted will be held responsible therefor, and the house be 
liable to be destroyed by the military authority. All dis 
orders, disturbances of the peace, and crimes of an aggra 
vated nature, interfering with the forces or laws of the United 
States, will be referred to a military court for trial and punish 
ment. Other misdemeanors will be subject to the municipal 
authority, if it desires to act. 

Civil causes between party and party will be referred to the 
ordinary tribunals. 

The levy and collection of taxes, save those imposed by the 
laws of the United States, are suppressed, except those for 
keeping in repair and lighting the streets, and for sanitary 
purposes. These are to be collected in the usual manner. 

The circulation of Confederate bonds, evidences of debt 
(except notes in the similitude of bank-notes) issued by the 
Confederate States, or scrip, or any trade in the same, is for 
bidden. It has been represented to the commanding general 
by the civil authorities that these Confederate notes, in the 
form of bank-notes, in a great measure, are the only substitutes 
for money which the people have been allowed to have, and 
that great distress would ensue among the poorer classes if 
the circulation of such notes should be suppressed. Such 
circulation, therefore, will be permitted so long as any one 
will be inconsiderate enough to receive them, until farther 
orders. 

No publication of newspapers, pamphlets, or hand-bills, 
giving accounts of the movements of the soldiers of the United 
States within this department, reflecting in any way upon the 
United States, intended in any way to influence the public 
mind against the United States, will be permitted, and all 
articles on war news, editorial comments, or correspondence 
making comments upon the movements of the armies of the 
United States, must be submitted to the examination of an 



436 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

officer who will be detailed for that purpose from these head 
quarters. The transmission of all communications by tele 
graph will be under the charge of an officer detailed from these 
headquarters. 

The armies of the United States came here not to destroy, 
but to restore order out of chaos, to uphold the government 
and the laws in the place of the passions of men. To this end, 
therefore, the efforts of all well-disposed are invited, to have 
every species of disorder quelled. 

If any soldier of the United States should so far forget his 
duty or his flag as to commit outrage upon any person or prop 
erty, the commanding general requests his name to be instantly 
reported to the provost guard so that he may be punished and 
his wrong act redressed. The municipal authority, so far as 
the police of the city and environs are concerned, is to extend 
as before indicated, until suspended. 

All assemblages of persons in the streets, either by day or 
night, tend to disaster, and are forbidden. The various com 
panies composing the Fire Department of New Orleans will 
be permitted to retain their organizations, and are to report 
to the provost-marshal, so that they may be known, and not 
interfered with in their duties. 

And, finally, it may be sufficient to add, without farther 
enumeration, that all the requirements of martial law will be 
imposed as long as, in the judgment of the United States 
authorities, it may be necessary; and while it is desired by 
these authorities to exercise this government mildly, and after 
the usages of the past, it must not be supposed that it will not 
be rigorously and firmly administered as the occasion calls 

By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 

GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. G. 9 Chief of Staff 

From Mrs. Butler to Mrs. Heard 

Headquarters, NEW ORLEANS, May 2mf, 1862 

DEAR HARRIET: Long before you get this letter, Rumour, 
with her many tongues, will have borne you the news that 
New Orleans is in our possession. The chances were more 
desperate than I even anticipated. The fleet acted gloriously. 
After bombarding a week with the Mortar fleet without redu 
cing the forts, Flag Officer Farragut gave the signal for eighteen 
of the large vessels to pass the forts. The river is not more 
than a mile broad, at the forts on opposite sides, commanding 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 437 

it with a cross fire. When the signal was made (the raising 
of two small red flags) there was silence for fifteen minutes 
as the vessels moved up the river. Then the fire and smoke 
belched forth from the forts and filled the air. One of our 
ships was sunk, another disabled, and fell back. The rest 
went gallantly on, and passed with the loss of sixty killed and 
two hundred wounded. They destroyed eleven gun boats 
that were lying above the forts, and New Orleans was open 
to them. The famous ram charged upon them from under 
the fort, but the "Mississippi" gunboat ran into it, poured in 
their cannon and left it sinking. The forts are now in their 
rear, but not all subdued. The army ships ran down to the 
river mouth, about thirty miles, and up again on the Gulf 
side, in the rear of Fort Jackson. The land there between the 
river and the gulf is not more than a mile wide. And here 
they landed the troops to cari^ the forts by storm. Although 
they had thrown shells into them for a week, the casements 
were not injured nor the guns dismounted. But a portion of 
the fleet had passed, and the promptness of the army landing 
in their rear so frightened their soldiers that they declared 
they would not be sacrificed for the pride of the officers, and 
compelled them to pull down the flag. Flag Officer Farragut 
says this prompt movement of the army brought the immediate 
surrender of the forts. Happy for us, for me, that it was so, 
if they had been compelled to carry the fort by storm the 
dead and wounded would have strewn the ground. The forts 
were taken possession of by the army while the fleet went to 
New Orleans. They took some few boats, but most of the 
shipping and cotton was burned at the wharves before they 
reached there. Passing those forts was one of the greatest 
feats ever done by the Navy. No one can see why every ship 
should not have been sunk. While our forces were in the 
rear of the forts, they sent to Ship Island for tents, and Major 
Strong wrote me if I would come in the "Saxon" he would 
take the responsibility. The word came in the morning and 
we left in the evening. When we arrived at the place on the 
following morning, the ships had all left, and we could see the 
smoke from the steamers and the tall masts, moving over in 
the river the other side of the land. We made haste to follow, 
and reached the opposite side at nearly sunset. So we ran 
down, and upon the other side of the forts there lay three of 
our vessels covered with soldiers, clustering like bees to a 
hive, waiting for Mr. Butler who had gone down the river 



438 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

in a gun boat, but was to return directly. After dusk I left 
the "Saxon" and went on board the "Mississippi." As the 
"Saxon" came along-side they gave us a cheer of welcome 
that startled the echoes. I had not confidence or lacked the 
good wit to rise and wave my handkerchief. About nine Mr. 
Butler returned, and the next day at noon we were at New 
Orleans. The people are as sullen and dangerous as at Balti 
more when Mr. Butler first entered that town. All places of 
business are shut up, the St. Charles closed, and the proprietor 
refused to open it. Mr. Butler gave him his choice, to open 
and receive us as guests for liberal pay, or to have it taken for 
barraoks. They concluded to take us, and the Gen l. and staff 
have ample room, nobody else in the house. The people 
were at the point of starvation. Speculators held what flour 
there was at twenty-five dollars a barrel, Butter a dollar a 
pound, eggs a dollar a dozen, and so on. Mr. Butler has 
ordered flour to be sold at New York prices. Mr. Soule and 
the Mayor have been to see him about these things, and getting 
provisions by the Red river, etc. I meant to have written this 
in detail, but the water has affected me. I am not quite well 
and the vessel goes soon. I am almost at the point of taking 
passage in her. Mr. Butler is quite well. I am thankful that 
he is, as there is too much work to falter now. It was wrong 
not to give more troops. I have been urging Mr. Butler to 
send for more, but they are wanted now, and the distance is 
great. Every town on the Gulf could be occupied in a fort 
night if we had the troops. Mr. Butler says we can do well 
enough as it is, and I hope he is right. I believe he can do 
more with small means than any other man. But this town 
as yet is dangerous we have six thousand soldiers here, and 
some at the forts. Seventy miles below, three thousand more 
under Gen. Shepley are on their way from Ship Island. Gen 
erals Phelps and Williams are here. A portion of the fleet is 
still here, some of the vessels have gone to bombard Mobile 
it would be better if we had more troops to throw into these 
places. We can get two regiments and a half from the Tortu- 
gas and Key West. Beauregard has sent word, we hear, that 
as soon as he has beaten above he will come down and drive 
us out. That will happen when the city is in ashes, not before. 
We cannot hear how far Com. Foote is on the way, but know 
he has passed Island No. Ten. They say we should have twelve 
thousand troops in this city. That does not leave many to 
invest other towns with. But no matter, few or many we 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 439 

shall triumph. Have we not already? What say our dear 
friends and ugly enemies in the North? And what do you 
think of my being among the first to enter New Orleans! 
Our vessel drew up at the wharf, the troops were disembarked 
that night, and in silence marched through the black and 
sullen town to the Custom House. The next day Mr. Butler 
ordered the opening of the St. Charles, compelled a hackman 
at the point of the bayonet to drive us to the Hotel. We had 
no guard but an armed soldier on the box and another behind 
the carriage. A regiment was drawn up around the hotel 
and four howitzers on the corners. If we were to encounter 
a mob, it was decided to give them an opportunity^ The 
band was stationed on the piazza, and they played with fiery 
energy all the national airs from Yankee Doodle to the Star 
Spangled Banner. We coulu not foresee what would be the 
result of this, but it was time the Federal power should be 
established and mob law suppressed. I was excited in view of 
all these things, but felt no fear. My spirit rises when men 
assail. I could enter a battle-field with something of that 
inspired courage that have raised women to Leaders of armies. 
In storms and shipwrecks, sickness, and the death of friends, 
when God afflicts us, I yield and feel that we are nothing, and 
without His help to bear us up, must wither away like autumn 
leaves. But I am getting far away from where I began. There 
was some disturbance in one of the streets but it was quelled. 
A crowd collected, listened to the music, and dispersed with 
out any demonstration. Every day there will be greater secu 
rity, for the poor will be relieved, and confidence increased. 
Gen. Phelps has gone to Carrollton, about six miles out, and 
taken possession of their fortifications. The "Rhode Island" 
mail boat should have gone yesterday, but has got aground. 
Now the time is uncertain. There is an immense mail 
waiting. I did not think to have written half so much, but 
today I am well again and so continue to write. I am very 
desirous to see home again, but cannot say exactly when I 
may leave. I should much prefer to go up the Mississippi to 
St. Louis, then on by land. But the river is not yet open, and 
if it were I do not know how I can leave Mr. Butler here with 
the summer before him, and this load of care and work on 
his shoulders. Why could they not have given him Cushing to 
share it? If I go he will miss me terribly, and if I stay and get 
very sick it will be ten times worse for him. He bears the cli 
mate so far better than I do. Well I must wait a little longer 



440 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

before I decide, and trust in Heaven to keep me well. I shall 
not send a letter to Blanche this time, forward this if on read 
ing you think it best. I expect of course that Fisher sees all my 
letters. I dream of the children very often, sometimes pleas 
antly, sometimes not. I need not write how anxious I am to 
see you all, you know it well enough. My dearest love to all 
the Families, including Dr Edson s. Always remember my best 

regards to Capt. George. 1/f /r . . ? c 

Most affectionately, SARAH 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of the Gulf, NEW ORLEANS, May 2, 1862 

GENERAL ORDERS No. 17 

THE proprietors of the New Orleans "True Delta" having 
refused to print the Proclamation of the Major General com 
manding this Department, the publication of that paper is 
suspended until further orders. 

By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 
GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. G. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of the Gulf, NEW ORLEANS, May 3, 1862 

GENERAL ORDERS No. 18 

GENERAL Order No. 17, current series, from these Head 
quarters, suppressing the publication of the "True Delta" 
newspaper, is hereby revoked, and its publication, under 
limitations expressed in the Proclamation of the 1st inst., is 
permitted. 

The commanding General having demonstrated the ability 
of his officers and soldiers to do everything necessary for the 
success of his plans without aid from any citizen of New Orleans, 
and shown the uselessness of aimless and unavailing opposition 
by the people, desires to interfere no further with that press. 
By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 
GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. G. 

From Postmaster J. L. Riddell 

No. 12 Dryades St. (the 3rd Street back of St. Charles, between Canal and 

Common St.) NEW ORLEANS, May 3rd, 1862 

Major Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

SIR: I desire you to send me to the above address a pass to 
enter the Post Office, that I may finish hunting over the debris 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 441 

left by the late mob, for vouchers, etc. I also desire to arrange 
my accounts and remove some little private property belong 
ing to me, one item of which is 300 pounds of bacon, now needed 
by my family. I was appointed Post Master of New Orleans 
in August, 1860, by Pres. Buchanan. I found myself in charge 
of the office when the Confederates took possession June 1st, 
1861. They shortly after appointed J. M. Read Post Master, 
who was not confirmed. About six weeks ago they appointed 
and confirmed Leonel Berthe as New Orleans Post Master, 
but he has failed to take possession of the office. I have never 
formally resigned the United States appointment. I sent my 
last account to the Post Office at Washington on the 27th 
of August, 1861, if I remember right, and the Department 
gave me great credit for a satisfactory settlement, I having 
paid drafts of the Department in final liquidation as late as 
the middle of August, amounting to near $150,000, after the 
seizure of the mint on January, 1861. I received in answer to 
my enquiries from Post Master General Blair minute instruc 
tions, dated May 18th, 1861, as to the proper course for me 
to pursue under the anomalous circumstances then existing or 
likely to occur, which instructions I followed. 

As a matter of course, I fell under the suspicion of individ 
uals and secret societies, and it has taxed my powers of watch 
fulness and prudence to preserve my life from the mob to this 
time, although I have resided here for twenty-six years. At 
the present time I consider my life in danger. Under all the 
circumstances, I feel assured in advance that you will grant 
me the pass and permission which I request. 

I have kept so far in safety some twelve or fourteen thousand 
dollars worth of United States Postage Stamps and stamped 
envelopes, and I would ask you, if practicable, to point out 
some opportunity for their return to the Post Office Depart 
ment, Washington City, as they are all of the old, and, as I 
understand, repudiated pattern, and therefore useless except 
as vouchers; or perhaps you may think preferable to have 
them enumerated and destroyed by a commission of your own 

appointing. Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant, 

J. L. RIDDELL, Post Master 



442 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 
From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of the Gulf, NEW ORLEANS, May 3, 1862 

GENERAL ORDERS No. 19 

THE Commanding General of this Department has been 
informed that there is now at Mobile a stock of flour purchased 
by the City of New Orleans for the subsistence of its citizens. 
The suffering condition of the poor of this city, for the want 
of this flour, appeals to the humanity of those having authority 
on either side. 

For the purpose of the safe transmission of this flour to 
this city, the Commanding General orders and directs that a 
safe conduct be afforded to a steamboat, to be laden with the 
same, to this place. This safe conduct shall extend to the 
entire protection of this boat in coming, reasonable delay for 
discharge and return to Mobile. The boat will take no pas 
sengers save the owners and keepers of the flour, and will be 
subject to the strict inspection of the Harbor Master detailed 
from these Headquarters, to whom its master will report its 
arrival. 

The faith of the city is pledged for the faithful performance 
of the requirements of this order, on the part of the agent of 
the city authorities, who will be allowed to pass each way with 
the boat, giving no intelligence or aid to the Confederates. 
By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 
GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. G. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of the Gulf, NEW ORLEANS, May 3, 1862 

GENERAL ORDERS No. 20 

THE President, Directors, and Company of the Opelousas 
Railroad are authorized and required to run the cars over the 
road, for the purpose of bringing to the city of New Orleans 
provisions, marketing, and supplies of food which may be 
offered, in order to supply the wants of the city. 

No passengers other than those having the care of such 
supplies, as owners or keepers, are to be permitted to come 
into the city, and none others are to leave the city. All other 
supplies are prohibited transportation over the road either 
way, except cotton and sugar, which may be safely brought 
over the road, and will be purchased at the fair market value 
by the United States, in specie. The transmission of live 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 443 

stock is especially enjoined. An agent of the City Govern 
ment will be allowed to pass over the road either way, stopping 
at all points, on the faith of a pledge of such Government 
agent that he transmits no intelligence and affords no aid 
to the Confederates. 

The officer commanding the post having the terminus of 
such road within his pickets, will cause a thorough inspection 
of the cars and boats for the purpose of furthering this order, 
and will offer no further hindrance, so long as this order is 
in good faith complied with. 

By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 
GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. G. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of the Gulf, NEW ORLEANS, May 4, 1862 

GENERAL ORDER No. 22 

THE Commanding General of the Department, having been 
informed that rebellious, lying, and desperate men have 
represented, and are now representing to the honest planters 
and good people of the State of Louisiana that the United 
States Government, by its forces, have come here to confiscate 
and destroy their crops of cotton and sugar, it is hereby 
ordered to be made known, by publication in all the news 
papers of this city, that all cargoes of cotton and sugar shall 
receive the safe conduct of the forces of the United States; 
and the boats bringing them from beyond the lines of the United 
States forces may be allowed to return in safety, after a reason 
able delay, if their owners so desire: Provided, they bring no 
passengers except the owners and managers of said boat and 
of the property so conveyed, and no other merchandise except 
provisions, of which such boats are requested to bring a full 
supply, for the benefit of the poor of this city. 

By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 
GEO. C. STRONG, A. A. Gen. 

From Count Mejan 

TRANSLATION. NEW ORLEANS, May 5th, 1862 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, Commanding U.S. Forces, 

NEW ORLEANS 

GENERAL: When my colleagues and myself had the honor 
of an interview with you, you spoke about the transfer of a 
horse belonging to a Captain in the active Service, said trans- 



444 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

fer having been made through a foreigner residing in this 
city. I have been informed that Dr. Elliot, a French citizen, 
was accused to have done this transaction. I have examined 
him, and he has declared that for the last year this horse has 
been in his stable, that Capt. James McMilligan, the owner, 
was indebted to him in the sum of 317 dollars, for different 
items; that he considered that he had a right to keep the 
horse until the debt, for which the horse was security, was 
paid. Dr. Elliot does not refuse to deliver the horse, but in 
taking it, it would be just to indemnify him to the amount 
of the sum due him by the proprietor of the horse. I have 
been informed also that Dr. Elliot has been obliged to receive 
horses in his stables, but he cannot be held responsible for 
them, having no guard to protect them. I cannot understand, 
General, considering the principles which you have expressed, 
in favor of my countrymen, that a property belonging to a 
French citizen was the first one occupied by the military, and 
that this man was obliged to such service, when many stables, 
besides his or Mr. Detot s, also a Frenchman, could have been 
taken. 

I take the liberty to address you this reclamation, because 
yesterday you have expressed much kindness for foreigners in 
general. Accept the assurance of my high esteem 

The French Consul, COUNT ME JAN 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. NEW ORLEANS, May 5th, 1862 

To Flag Officer FARRAGUT, Comdg. 

SIR: I am informed that the Steamer "Tennessee," which 
you ordered to report to me and which I sent to Ship Island 
with orders and dispatches of the greatest moment, was at 
the passes ordered back without going to Ship Island for the 
purpose to bring supplies for the Navy. Please inform me at 
the earliest moment if this is true, because if so my whole 
command is in the utmost danger and all operations paralyzed. 
I have the honor to be 



QU 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 445 

From Flag Officer Farragut 

U.S. Flag Ship "HARTFORD," off NEW ORLEANS, May 5, 1862 

Genl. B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Dept. of the Gulf, etc. 

DEAR GENERAL: The Gun Boat "Kennebeck" arrived this 
morning from below and informed me that the "Tennessee" 
had not yet returned from Ship Island, so she is still on your 
mission if no accident has happened to her. Unfortunately 
our supply vessel the "Rhode Island" has not yet got off. 
Very respectfully, Your obdt. Servt., 

D. G. FARRAGUT, Flag Officer etc. 

From Flag Officer Farragut 

U. S. F. S. "HARTFORD," O/NEW ORLEANS, May 6, 1862 

General B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. of the Gulf 

SIR: In reply to your note, I have to state that I will turn 
the vessels over to you now that the "Rhode Island" is off, 
as fast as possible all except the "Tennessee" and "Lan- 
dis." The former is at Ship Island on your business now, 
and the "Landis" will have to go down and tow up the "Ports 
mouth." As soon as that duty is performed, unless some other 
duty may require her, she will be turned over to you also. I 
presume you have engineers and men to man them, as we can 
not spare ours. The "Rhode Island," I presume, will sail 
to-morrow for New York or Philadelphia, so Col. Deming 
can get ready with your despatches. I did not take the Pilot 
as I had some evidence of his bad disposition, and I shall be 
glad if your Provost Marshal can find me another. He denied 
that he was a Pilot, and the men said he was a bad fellow. 
Very respectfully and truly yours, D. G. FARRAGUT, 

Flag Officer West Gulf Blockading Sq. 

From Richard S. Fay, Jr. 

BOSTON, May 7th, 1862 

Brig. Genl. M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster Genl. U.S.A., 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

GENERAL: I received, April 27th, a letter from General 
Butler, written from Ship Island (of which I enclose a copy), 
enclosing me a Bill of Lading of some Cotton and Spirits of 
Turpentine per "Black Prince," and advising me of a draft 
against the proceeds. 



446 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

On proceeding to receive the merchandise, I was met by 
an objection from Capt. McKim, Asst. Quartermaster at this 
post, that transporting merchandise in Government trans 
ports was irregular, that he did not understand how General 
Butler could have come into personal possession of the prop 
erty, and that he therefore felt confident it must be govern 
ment property. 

After some negotiation, however, Captain McKim very 
courteously agreed to deliver me the merchandise, upon my 
personal agreement to be accountable to him for the proceeds, 
in case his course in delivering it should be disapproved by 
you. 

The facts having been laid before you by Captain McKim, 
your decision was that the property must be held by him for 
account of whom it may concern. In the meantime I had 
sold the Spirits of Turpentine, and part of the Cotton, at 
prices considerably above those ruling today. The balance I 
have re-delivered to Captain McKim, and shall pay him the 
proceeds of what I have sold so soon as it is collected. 

I now wish to ask your reconsideration of this case, and that 
you will order the merchandise and money retransferred to 
me. General Butler s intention that it should be placed in 
my hands is clear from his letter, and it is equally clear that 
it is his personal property, from his having drawn on me for 
the proceeds. How he became possessed of it is a question, 
it seems to me, to be dealt with entirely independently of the 
disposition of the property. 

My commercial credit is involved in the transaction, and a 
wrong will be done me if property consigned to my charge is 
withheld from me, and I am obliged to protest General Butler s 
draft. Wrong will be done to the holder of the draft, a third 
party entirely disconnected with the transaction ; and General 
Butler s credit and reputation will sustain great injury by the 
refusal of his private draft through the interference of Govern 
ment with his private transactions. 

I am informed that a larger quantity of cotton is on the way 
from Ship Island, consigned to me by General Butler, per 
"Undaunted." The precedent established in the case of the 
first shipment, will of course, govern the second. I respect 
fully beg your favorable consideration of my representation 
that the merchandise per "Black Prince," and any other 
under the same circumstances, belongs to me as Consignee, 
and should be delivered to me; and I earnestly protest against 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 447 

any other disposition of the property. I have the honor to 
be, General, 

Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant, 

RICHARD S. FAY, JR. 

Endorsements: Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War. 
This letter relates to the cotton and turpentine which was 
shipped to Boston by General Butler, under consignment to 
Mr. Fay and sold on private account. As the previous papers 
in the case were referred to the Secretary of State, a similar 
reference of this letter and its enclosure is suggested. 

M. C. MEIGS, Qr. Ms. Genl. 

Qr. Ms. GenVs Office, May 13th, 1862 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, WASHINGTON CITY, D.C., June 11, 1862 
[Not in chronological order]] 

Hon. WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State 

SIR: I am directed to refer the enclosed letters of Capt. 
McKim and Richard S. Fay, Jr., relative to the Cotton and 
Spirits of Turpentine, per "Black Prince" and "Undaunted," 
and in accordance with the suggestions of the Quarter Master 

By order of the Secretary of War 
C. P. BUCKINGHAM, Brig. Genl. & A. A. G. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of the Gulf. SHIP ISLAND, March 3lst, 1862 

[Not in chronological order] 

RICH. S. FAY, JR. Esq. 

DEAR SIR: The U. S. Gunboat "Cayuga" has made cap 
ture of a schooner with a small cargo of turpentine and cotton. 
I have use for the schooner, and have receipted for her and 
cargo. The cargo I have consigned to you for sale, for partic 
ulars you will see the bill of lading. The value of the cargo 
will not be far from $5,000. Having use for money here, I 
have drawn on you for $3,823.95, which please meet from the 
proceeds of the above or from any other money of mine in 
your hands. The balance of the proceeds you will place to 
my credit. . . . You will find two additional bales of cotton, 
consigned in the name of John M. G. Parker, which you will 
sell separately on private account. ... B F B 



448 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From the Wife of a Southern Planter 

_, May 7th, 1862 

To Gen. BUTLER 

IN your order Number 22, you speak of having been in 
formed that "lying, rebellious, and desperate men, having 
misrepresented the intentions of the United States govern 
ment towards the Planters." // you have been so informed, 
allow me to correct the false impression produced on your mind. 
We have never been deceived: One and all with what our 
unbiased judgment consider good reasons: detest your govern 
ment, and feel your orders as insults to our common sense. 
We are however willing to send you our cotton, if this enclosed 
sample pleases your majesty. Tis the last of 600 bales we 
burnt on our plantation. Twelve thousand bales in Baton 
Rouge were prepared for your acceptance in a similar manner. 
Indeed, if you had continued your summer tour up the river 
in time, your eyes would have been charmed, and your amiable, 
just, generous disposition wrought to the loftiest height of 
enthusiastic admiration at the touching alacrity with which 
Old Abe s "disobedient flock," fire-brand in hand, rushed with 
one accord to lay the fruits of our industry at your feet. "But 
Yankee, proud Yankee! drest in a little brief authority," 
when our gallant Beauregard comes to deliver us from the 
inflated myrmidon of the tyrannical Buffoon at Washington, 
we shall see with intense joy the noble Picayune Butler flying 
from the Vatican, in finished Bull Run or Bethel style, with 
all his Yankee rabble infesting our City at his heels. Your 
early training as newsboy, or printer s devil, will then stand 
your friend. When you reflect, does not your position fill you 
with wonder? In the early periods of your existence, a cun 
ning, industrious, cute little Yankee, running through the 
streets crying, "Here s the Low-ell morning In-tel-li-gence." 
And now, now! Oh Jove! look down upon this miracle! 
This poor boy, "born in a garret, in a kitchen bred" is now 
placed on a par with the President of a foreign nation called 
the United States. The antecedents of both are strangely 
similar, and your destinies will be. "Your names, your human 
names to every eye the climax of all scorn, shall hang on 
high, exalted o er thy less abhor d compeers, and festering in 
the infamy of years." Perhaps you can escape; as you piously 
informed many Citizens "that your power was equal to the 
Pope s, the Holy Ghost, to Christ himself." You must recol 
lect the devil was ignominiously expelled from heaven, and 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 449 

plunged into the lowest pit of perdition, for making the same 
blasphemous error. No matter, take courage. If anyone 
could cheat heaven, it would surely be a smart Lowell Yankee. 
Have you power to change our true Southern hearts? No. 
Do you dare meet our brave Generals, our gallant defenders on 
land? No-no-no-Cowards, you dare not. You can bluster 
and tyrannize over a defenceless City, won by no courage 
or military skill, but by the impossibility of our coping 
with your Navy at the present time. Our Cities you may 
steal: That is acting according to your base Yankee nature. 
Our hearts you can never, never subdue. You talk of the 
Union sentiment! You are welcomed by natures congenial to 
your own. The basest and most degraded of our sex. And by 
the lowest class of foreigners, whose souls are in their pockets. 
The high classes of foreigners look with scorn or indifference 
on the Yankee Government, who threaten and insult European 
powers, and then sneak out of the consequences with a humble 
apology. Some few others also, who desire City offices, and 
would take the oath to Beelzebub if it would further their 
base selfishness. I arrived in the City after seeing my cotton 
safe out of your clutches, and I shall leave ere this meets your 
eye. I do beg, if there is anything in it to annoy, you won t 
out of spite cause the City to be bombarded by the humane 
and heroic Farragut. Poor fellow; you know he was so anxious 
to shell us, and cut the levee and drown those he could not subdue. 
You also have a bad habit of appropriating the residences of 
Citizens, who positively refuse to give them. I suppose the 
eighth Commandment has been left out of the United States 
prayer book. One thing your Government will learn sooner 
or later, that "We are a band of brothers, native to the soil, 
fighting for the property we gained by honest toil. Hurrah, 
hurrah for Southern rights: Hurrah, for the bonnie blue flag 
has gained the eleventh Star." My husband, my brothers! 
I buckled on their knapsacks, and sent them to the bloody 

field of Shiloh. ^ ,, .- - ,, D7 . 

From the wife of a Southern Planter 

[A copy of this has been sent to the French Sloop of War " Milan "] 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. Department of the Gulf, NEW ORLEANS, May 7th, 1862 

Col. S. P. TAYLOR, Commissary General U.S.A. 

SIR: There is need for some haste in answering the accom 
panying requisition, for the reason that it may become neces- 

VOL. I 29 



450 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

sary to feed the people of this City out of said subsistence 
stores in the absence of other food. The requisition of April 
6th has not yet been received; we shall need it thirty days 
from date hereof. I have the honor to be 

Very Respectfully Your Obt. Servt., 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. Department of the Gulf, NEW ORLEANS, May 8th, 1862 

Hon. WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State 

MY DEAR SIR: I write this note simply as a remembrance 
of your kindness and support to the expedition which has 
accomplished such fortunate results. 

I find that the British Consul here has complicated himself 
and his countrymen with the rebels in every form. The 
precise contrary course I believe has been taken by the French 
Consul. The "British Guard," now all claiming protection 
as British subjects, having organized themselves into a com 
pany, on the night of the occupation by our forces, voted to 
send their arms and uniforms to Beauregard, and a portion 
of them were sent. For this violation of Neutrality I have 
ordered every man who cannot produce his arms and uniform 
to leave the City in 24 hours. Allow me to suggest for your 
consideration whether the Port of New Orleans might not 
now be opened. Mogt ^ your f r i en d, BENJ. F. BUTLER 



From George Coppell 

British Consulate, NEW ORLEANS, May Sth, 1862 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Dept. of the Gulf 

SIR: Mr. I. I. Burro wes, a British Subject and who lately 
commanded a company composed entirely of British Sub 
jects, organized to comply with the Law of this State, has 
informed me that, at your request and in conformity with 
an order from Brig. Genl. - - , he appeared before you 
yesterday for purposes which I shall have the honor to state 
in this communication, and he begs my interference in behalf 
of himself and of the other British Subjects concerned. 

Mr. Burrowes states to me that you informed him that 
every member of the "British Guard" must report to you with 
uniforms and arms, and those failing to do so must leave this 
city within 24 hours or be sent to Fort Jackson. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 451 

It has come to my knowledge within the past two days, 
and I am given to understand that you are in possession of 
information to the same effect, that some members, a minority 
of the whole of the Company of British Guard, believing that 
the duty which had been imposed upon them by the Law of 
this State was at an end, and their services no longer required, 
a short time prior to the occupation of this City by the 
Military Authorities of the United States, sent their arms & 
equipments their own private property, I believe, from 
the City, to whom or where Mr. Burrowes is unable to in 
form me. 

For this reason it will be impossible for them to report to 
you as soldiers, a character in which the British Subjects now 
in question have never been desirous of showing themselves 
in the existing strife in this Country. 

It is not my intention in this communication to shield my 
countrymen in the Step they have taken, for it may be con 
strued as a Breach of that neutrality imposed by Her Majesty 
on all of Her Subjects, but if it is looked upon in that light 
I feel convinced that they, when they took such action, were 
ignorant of the importance that might be attached to it, and 
did it with no idea of wrong or harm. 

It may not, Sir, be irrelevant for me to mention that I 
much regret to hear that the position of British Subjects in 
this City, as Neutrals, should have been questioned or doubted. 
When the Militia Law of this State was enforced by the 
Authorities, requiring all men between the ages of 18 and 45 
years who w r ere in the State to perform Militia duty, I was 
compelled to oppose the Law, and informed the Executive of 
this State that the service imposed upon British Subjects 
was contrary to the Law of Nations, and placed them beyond 
that neutral position which had been enjoined upon them by 
their Government. This was partly at the instance of many 
British Subjects, and conjointly done with the Consuls of 
seven other European Governments. In consequence of our 
action, the United States authorities, on taking possession of 
this City, found that the City was to a great extent in the 
charge of the foreign corps, and they were performing a service 
allowed by their own Governments and one not deemed incom 
patible by either belligerent. Consequently it is scarcely 
reasonable to suppose that after so strongly opposing the 
Militia Law for fear of losing or violating their rights as 
British Subjects, they would voluntarily & knowingly place 



452 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

themselves in that unpleasant position which they have for 
many months so carefully avoided. 

As I have had the honor to state above, for the cause men 
tioned it will not be possible for some of the British Subjects 
who were members of the British Guard to obey the verbal 
order, of questionable legality, given to Mr. Burrowes, that 
they should report to you as soldiers, and it would become 
my duty to solemnly protest, in the name of Her Majesty s 
Government, against the alternative stated by you, the enforce 
ment of which would infringe the rights of British Subjects 
residing in the United States. I have the honor to be Sir, 

Your most obedient Servant 
GEORGE COPPELL, H. B. M. Actg. Consul 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. Department of the Gulf, NEW ORLEANS, May Sth, 1862 

To the Secretary of War 

SIR: I have the honor to report my further operations since 
my dispatch of the 29th ult. 

I commenced the disembarkation of my men on May 1st, 
when I took formal possession of New Orleans. The 21st 
Indiana was landed at Algiers, a small town on the right bank 
of the river opposite New Orleans, at the inner terminus of 
the N. O. & Opelousas R. R. 

All the rolling-stock of the Road has been seized, and the 
Road is now running under my direction, only for the purpose 
of bringing in provisions to the City. 

That regiment under Col. McMillan, on the 5th of May, 
was sent to Brashier, eighty miles (the whole length of the 
Railway), and Berwick s Bay, and there captured two brass 
six-pounder field guns with ammunition for the same, some 
1500 pounds of powder, and some other ordnance stores, and 
dispersed a military organization there forming, captured and 
brought off two citizens who persisted in insulting our troops. 

There are now no Confederate forces on the right or Western 
bank of the Mississippi within possible reaching distance of 
which I have any intelligence. The remainder of my troops 
which I had been able to take with me by means of any trans 
portation which I had to wit: 30th & 31st Mass., 4th Wis 
consin, 6th Michigan, 9th & 12th Conn., Manning s and 
Everett s 5th & 6th Mass. Batteries, Holcomb 2nd Vermont 
Battery and two companies of Cavalry, I landed in the City 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 453 

proper, posting and quartering them at the Customhouse, 
City Hall, Mint, and Lafayette Square. I thought it neces 
sary to make so large a display of force in the City. I found 
it very turbulent and unruly, completely under the control 
of the mob, no man on either side daring to act independently 
for fear of open violence and assassination. On landing we 
were saluted with cheers for "Jeff Davis" and "Beauregard." 
This has been checked, and the last man that has been heard 
to call for cheers for the rebel chief has been sentenced by 
the Provost judge to three months hard labor at Fort Jackson, 
which sentence is being executed. No assassinations have 
been made of any U. S. Soldier, with the exception of a soldier 
of the 9th Conn, who had left his camp in the night, and was 
found dead the next morning in an obscure street, having 
probably been engaged in a drunken brawl. My officers and 
myself now walk in any part of the City when occasion calls 
by day or night without guard obstruction or annoyance. 
There is, however, here a violent, strong, and unruly mob 
that can only be kept under by fear. 

On the 5th instant, I sent Brig. Gen. Phelps with the 9th 
and 12th Conn, and Manning s Battery to take possession of 
the rebel works on the North side of the City, which run from 
the river to the marshes of Lake Ponchar train, about seven 
miles above the City. I could make no earlier movement 
because all the Steamers captured and in repair were claimed 
by the Navy, and were used either in towing their supply 
ships or tugging off the "Rhode Island," which had gone on 
shore, and detained us all three days. This point in the 
judgment of the engineers on both sides is a most defensible 
one. The Northerly side had been fortified by the rebels 
with heavy earthworks, and can be maintained with a few 
regiments against any force, however large, that may be 
brought against it. The sloop of war "Portsmouth" and the 
gunboat "Iroquois" are anchored so as to enfilade the front 
of the embankments, which were abandoned by the rebels. 
These can easily be put in a defensible position, although 
before the arrival of the army and after the evacuation by 
the enemy, who spiked the guns, a party from the advanced 
gun-boats landed and burnt the gun-carriages, which we must 
supply from the captured at the Customhouse. 

All the rolling-stock of the Jackson R. R. was carried away 
by the retreating General Lovell, and he has cut the road 
fourteen miles above the City. I am now taking measures 



454 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

to possess ourselves of the whole road to Manchac Pass. The 
fleet have gone up the river as far as Baton Rouge. The Flag- 
Officer started yesterday, and I have sent two regiments to 
accompany him and make any landing necessary. 

The projected expedition from Vicksburg to Jackson, of 
which I spoke in my last dispatch, has become nugatory be 
cause I am reliably informed, from different sources, that 
Beauregard has fallen back upon Jackson with his whole 
army,