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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 iCSATHER 







PRIVATE AND OFFICIAL 

CORRESPONDENCE OF 

GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 



PRIVATE AND OFFICIAL 
CORRESPONDENCE OF 

GEN. BENJAMIN F. RUTLER 

DURING THE PERIOD 
OF THE CIVIL WAR 



IN FIVE VOLUMES 

VOLUME IV 
March 1864 August 1864 



PRIVATELY ISSUED 
1917 



4 47 



.-, f 



COPYRIGHT, 1917 
BY JESSIE AMES MARSHALL 



j\ 

X 



THE PLIMPTON -PRESS 

NORWOOD-UASS U S A 



PRIVATE AND OFFICIAL 

CORRESPONDENCE OF 

GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 



305504 



PRIVATE AND OFFICIAL 
CORRESPONDENCE OF 

GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From C. S. Agent Quid 

C. S. Steamer "Roanoke," mouth of the James River, March 29th, 186-1 

Major Gen. B. F. BUTLER, U. S. Agent for Exchange: 

SIR: I am here for the purpose of having a conference with 
you in relation to matters connected with the delivery and 
exchange of prisoners. Respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, Ro. OULD, 
C. S. Agent for Exchange 

Official Records, War of Rebellion, Series II, Vol. 6, Page 1111. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Va. & N. C. t FORT MONROE, VA., March 29th, 1864 

Hon. ROBERT OULD, Confederate Commissioner for Exchange 

I HAVE the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note 
of to-day announcing your arrival at the mouth of the James 
River for the purpose of a conference in relation to the delivery 
and exchange of prisoners. Looking to the inclemency of the 
weather and our mutual comfort, I respectfully invite you to 
accompany Major Mulford to Fort Monroe, where I shall be 
happy to meet and confer with you upon the subject of your 
note. I have the honor to be, Very Respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MOXROE, March 29th, 1864 

Rear Admiral S. P. LEE, Commdg. N. A. B. Squadron, 

off NEWPORT NEWS 

ADMIRAL: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your 
confidential communication with regard to the attempted 
reconnoissance by your gunboat, and also the subsequent 

VOL. IV I 1 



.*: LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

information of what they found on the banks of the James 
River. I am very much obliged to you for the information, 
and congratulate your officers upon their success on this 
expedition. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, 

Yr. obdt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, March 29th, 1864 

Rear Admiral S. P. LEE, Commdg. N. A. B. Squadron, 

off NEWPORT NEWS 

ADMIRAL: You may have some interest in the report of which 
enclosed telegram will give you the falsity, and I therefore 
take leave to send it for your information. I have the honor 
to be, very respectfully y f M ^^ 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 
From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Dept. of Va. & N. C., FORT MONROE, March 29th, 1864 

I HAVE received captured by my officers original papers, of 
which the enclosed are copies. 

Now, making all the proper allowances for the feeling of 
parents, and that I so do will be evident from the writing, it 
cannot be permitted that yourself and Mrs. Pratt shall supply 
an officer in the Rebel army, although a son, with money and 
means, while living under our Government. 

I permitted you while here to send a small sum to relieve 
his necessities, but thousands of dollars will not, nay must 
not, do. 

That I do not have both yourself and Mrs. Pratt arrested 
at once is a proof that I wish to deal leniently, as I shall cer 
tainly be obliged to act harshly if this is repeated. 

Respectfully, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

Enclosures referred to in Foregoing Letter 

DEAR MOTHER: I have just been ordered to Savannah. 
I am very well. I have drawn on you for five hundred dollars 

Your affectionate son, THOMAS H. G. PRATT 

Mrs. THOMAS G. PRATT 

YOUR son has been ordered to Savannah, Ga. Needing 
funds for the trip, etc., I cashed another draft for him on you 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 3 

for $500. It will be handed you by Mr. Robert Clarke, to 
whom please pay the money. 

Mr. Clarke has also a draft of Hammond Claude s to my 
order on his mother, which I wish paid to him if there should 
be any difficulty please identify Mr. Clarke. 

Your son was well and in good spirits when he left Richmond. 
Should he need anything I will see that his wants are attended 
to, and if any accident should occur, I will be by his side. 

Respectfully, J. H. MADDOX 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, VA., March 3Qth, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

SIR: Upon a personal conference with Mr. Quid, the Con 
federate Agent of Exchange, he complained to me that there 
were several persons confined in the Penitentiary at Alton, 
Illinois, upon judgment of Military Commissions, for breaches 
of their parole, and conduct made to appear criminal, because 
of obligations undertaken, while in confinement, by the Military 
authorities of the United States. But Mr. Quid assured me 
that by an agreement with the Agent of Exchange for our 
Government, dated May 8th, 1863, many of these men had 
been declared exchanged, and released from their paroles and 
other military obligations, and were now suffering because of 
supposed breaches thereof. While I cannot admit for a mo 
ment that this may be the fact, yet complaint being officially 
made, I think it is due to this Government that it should be 
examined and the matter investigated. 

If you agree with me, I will send an officer to make such 
investigations, and ascertain from examination of the prisoners 
and the records whether there can be any foundation for this 
complaint. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, 

Your obt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, March 30th, 1864 

Hon. THOMAS L. DAVIS, Member of the House of 

Representatives 

DEAR SIR: I have your note in relation to the examination 
of Capt. McLoughin, and have every desire to oblige you, and 
would do so were I not sure that if you understood the circum- 



4 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

stances, as I do, you would agree with me in my approval of 
the Board of Examination. And to make sure of that, I send 
you a copy of that examination. Now, Capt. McLoughin s 
complaint is that he was "not asked any question in Infantry 
Tactics." 

After the first statement, as you will see, of his service in 
Infantry, it was assumed by the Board that he had sufficient 
knowledge of Infantry Tactics without further examination; 
so that there was no occasion of asking him upon that subject. 

The matters to be passed upon were: had he sufficient 
present knowledge of the profession to fit him to command a 
company of Heavy Artillery? or not having that, had he a 
sufficient ground-work of education or general knowledge to 
render him likely to learn easily, and readily, his profession? 

Now, my instructions to the Board were that a man asking 
for a position of lieutenant should be able to pass such examina 
tion as a youth of seventeen would be obliged to do, to be per 
mitted to enter West Point, and it would seem clear that a 
Captain, to command one hundred and forty-five men, should 
be able to tell, "How much coffee is your Company of one 
hundred and forty-five men entitled to, at fifteen pounds to 
the one hundred rations, for seven days?" which Capt. Me- 
Loughin could not do. He should be able to tell, "How much 
is one-half of five-sixths?" which Capt. McLoughin could not do. 
He should be able to answer, "How many pounds of bread 
would you draw for a Company of one hundred and forty men 
for seven days : the daily allowance for each man being thirty- 
two ounces?" which Capt. McLoughin could not do. How 
could Capt. McLoughin make a requisition for supplies for 
his Company to start on a march? 

Again, in general knowledge, one would suppose that a 
Captain in the Artillery branch of the United States service 
in this age of the world, should know "what form of Govern 
ment has the United States?" which Capt. McLoughin did not 
know. 

It would seem that a New Yorker, bred and born there, of 
twenty-two years of age, who aspires to command a Company 
of New York Heavy Artillery, should at least know that New 
York, does not bound Pennsylvania on the South. Otherwise 
he might possibly, being in Pennsylvania, march his Company 
south, in order to get into New York. Until Capt. McLoughin 
so answered the question, I would not have believed that there 
was any New Yorker, bred and born, who did not know "when 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 5 

and where Alexander Hamilton lived"; but Capt. McLoughin 
did not. 

A gunner Quadrant is one of the means used to get the eleva 
tion of a piece of Heavy Artillery, and yet a man who aspires 
to be a Capt. of Heavy Artillery, in actual service in the field, 
when asked, "What is a Quadrant of a circle?" answers that 
he "never heard the term" before. Now, Sir, if you, as a 
member of the Congress of the United States in the House of 
Representatives thereof, representing the great State of New York, 
which does not bound Pennsylvania on the South, and where 
Alexander Hamilton lived and died, after reading this examina 
tion will certify to me that in your judgment you disagree 
with the findings of my Commission in the case of Capt. 
McLoughin, "That Capt. McLoughin does not evince suffi 
cient general knowledge to perform the duties of a Captain of 
Artillery, but might do well in a lower grade, where he could 
profit by the experience of a competent Captain," I promise to 
carefully review Capt. McLoughin s case, and join the recom 
mendation that he be re-examined for his position, but I am 
certain, my dear Sir, that you will fully agree with me that, 
however meritorious in other respects Capt. McLoughin may 
be, there are men in New York more capable from general 
education and knowledge of the profession of arms to perform 
the duties of a Commander of a Company of Heavy Artillery 
than Capt. McLoughin. I have the honor to be, very respect- 

Yr. obdt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 
From General Butler 

March 30th, 18G4 

Rear Admiral DAHLGREN 

DEAR SIR: I have received the most positive assurances from 
Judge Ould upon 2 points that may interest you, First, that the 
statements in the Richmond papers of many indignities to the 
remains of your son are false, that they were decently and 
properly buried under the direction of an officer of equal rank 
in the Confederate service. 

2nd I have the most positive assurances from him that you 
shall receive the remains of your son by next Flag of Truce boat. 
I beg leave to add my own assurances that the moment Col. 
Dahlgren s remains arrive at this point, they shall be safely and 
most speedily forwarded to you. 

/ have the honor to be, etc, 



6 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Admiral Dahlgren to General Butler 

March 3(M/t, 1864 

MY DEAR GENERAL: Your note conveys to me a melancholy 
satisfaction. It is my earnest desire to be with the remains 
of my son from the first to the last. Would you be so good, 
therefore, as to telegraph me of the arrival here, and to cause 
proper measures to be taken for their preservation until I 
come down. Nothing but the requirements of public duty 
will prevent my doing so. 

I have already mentioned to Major Mulford that it will be 
unnecessary to remove the body from its present receptacle; 
that can be done at Washington, though it may be well to 
enclose it in another box. Accept my best thanks and be- 

llf-* VP k TT1 f* 

Truly yours, JOHN A. DAHLGREN, R. Admiral 

It is some alleviation to learn that the statements made by 
the Richmond press are unfounded. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, March Slst, 1864 

Major THOS. M. VINCENT, Asst. Adjt. GenL, 
WASHINGTON, D.C. 

MAJOR: I forward this application to you without approval, 
because GenL Wild has not directed it to me. 

The Secretary of War has been kind enough to entrust to 
my discretion the recommendations of officers for appointment 
in colored and other regiments, recruited in this Department, 
which power I am exercising by Provisional Commissions, 
subject to the approval of the President. 

I propose to do the same in this case. If this is so under 
stood in your office, please return this application to me with 
your endorsement, that GenL Wild may be instructed. I have 
the honor to be very respectfully, 

Your obt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., FORTRESS MONROE, April 1st, 1864 

Col. JOSEPH HOLT, Judge Advocate General, 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

COLONEL: On the 14th of December I addressed a communi 
cation to the Secretary of War, asking an order on his part to 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 7 

direct certain offenders, convicted before a Court Martial 
and sentenced to hard labor, to be confined at the Peniten 
tiary at New York, or in Massachusetts, and urging the 
reasons therefore. On the 22nd of December I received a 
refusal of that request from the Secretary, based on an official 
opinion from your office, a copy of which was enclosed to me, and 
a copy of which I take leave to enclose to you. The question 
has ceased to be of any practical value so far as this Depart 
ment is concerned, as we have the men laboring. But lest the 
growth of the opinion might mislead the Secretary in some other 
case, [I] respectfully ask your attention to it. You ground your 
opinion upon the Act of July 16th, 1862, which you state pro 
vides that no person convicted upon the decision of a Court 
Martial shall be confined in the Penitentiary of the District of 
Columbia, or in a Penitentiary in any one of the States. 

Upon examination of that Act, you w^ill find that it pro 
vides only that persons shall not be confined in the Peniten 
tiary of the District of Columbia, except in cases in that Act 
specified. 

Your opinion would probably have been different but for 
the misquotation of the Statute. I have the honor to be 
very respectfully, 

Your obt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

April 1, 1864 

Brig. Gen. WILD, Comdg. at NORFOLK 

LIEUT. GEN. GRANT will visit Norfolk and Portsmouth 
about 5 P.M. to-day. BENJ R BUTLER> Maj ^ Comdg _ 

From General Butler 

April 1, 1864 

Col. S. C. BAKER, 1st D. C. Cav y., Washington City 

HAVE the boats with your Cavalry report at Fort Monroe. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. 

From General U. S. Grant 

CONFIDENTIAL. FORT MONROE, VA., April %d, 1864 

Major Genl. BENJ. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. of Va. & N. C., 

FORT MONROE, VA. 

IN the spring campaign, which it is desirable shall com 
mence at as early a day as practicable, it is proposed to have 



8 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

cooperative action of all the armies in the field, as far as the 
object can be accomplished. 

It will not be possible to unite our armies into two or three 
large ones, to act as so many units, owing to the absolute 
necessity of holding on to the territory already taken from the 
enemy. But generally speaking, concentration can be prac 
tically effected by armies moving to the interior of the enemy s 
country from the territory they have to guard. By such 
movement they interpose themselves between the enemy 
and the country to be guarded thereby, reducing the num 
ber necessary to guard important points, and at least occupy 
the attention of part of the enemy s force, if no greater object 
is gained. Lee s army and Richmond being the greater 
objects towards which our attention must be directed in the 
next campaign, it is desirable to unite all the force against 
them. 

The necessity for covering Washington with the Army of 
the Potomac, and of covering your department with your 
army, makes it impossible to unite these forces at the begin 
ning of any move I propose, therefore do what comes nearest 
this of anything that seems practicable. The Army of the 
Potomac will act from its present base, Lee s army being the 
objective point. You will collect all the forces from your 
command that can be spared from garrison duty. I should 
say not less than twenty thousand effective men, to operate 
on the south side of the James River, Richmond being your 
object point. To the force you already have will be added 
about ten thousand men from South Carolina, under Major 
Gen. Gillmore, who will command them in person. Major 
Genl. W. F. Smith is ordered to report to you to command 
the troops sent into the field from your own department. 

Genl. Gillmore will be ordered to report to you at Fort 
Monroe with all his troops on transports by the 18th inst., 
or as soon thereafter as practicable. Should you not receive 
notice by that time to move, you will make such disposition 
of them and your other forces as you may deem best calcu 
lated to deceive the enemy as to the real move to be made. 

When you are notified to move, take City Point with as 
much force as possible. Fortify or rather intrench at once, 
and concentrate all your troops for the field there as rapidly 
as you can. From City Point directions cannot be given at 
this time for your further movements. 

The fact that has already been stated, that is, that Rich- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 9 

mond is to be your objective point, and that there is to be 
cooperation between your force and the Army of the Potomac, 
must be your guide. This indicates the necessity of your 
holding close to the south bank of the James River as you 
advance. Then should the enemy be forced into his intrench- 
ments in Richmond, the Army of the Potomac would follow, 
and by means of transports the two armies would become a 
unit. All the minor details of your advance are left entirely 
to your direction. If, however, you think it practicable to 
use your cavalry south of you, so as to cut the railroad about 
Hick s Ford about the time of the general advance, it would 
be of immense advantage. 

You will please forward for my information at the earliest 
practicable day all orders, details, and instructions you may 
give for the execution of this order. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieut. General 

From General Butler 

CIPHER. April 2, 1864 

To the PRESIDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

I HAVE had an interview with Ould, the Rebel Commis 
sioner of Exchange, in which the matter is now brought down 
to two or three propositions in which I suppose you would 
desire to exercise your own judgment. 

Can you not find a pleasant and necessary relaxation from 
official cares by coming here and spending a day? Mrs. 
Butler much desires Mrs. Lincoln to accompany you. 

Perhaps Mr. Stanton will come with you. 

Of course I shall be at your service to come up to Washing 
ton if you would prefer that. 

Notify me when you will be ready to come, & I will send you 

a comfortable boat. ^ T> i r n n j 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From Captain C. B. Wilder 

FORT MOXROE, VA., April 2, 1864 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. Va. & No. Car. 

GENERAL: I have the honor to report, that on the receipt 
of the enclosed communication, first sent to Gen. Wistar, and 
there referred by you to me, I immediately went to York- 
town, and with Mr. Churchill, the asst. Supt. Negro Affairs 
at that Post, had an interview with Gen. Wistar, not only, 
as he suggests, to designate such plantations as were needed, 



10 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

but also to learn personally his interpretation of your orders. 
He assumes to decide what we may do, and what we may 
not. I found him favorably disposed to assist us, if we would 
do as he wished, to wit: take the colored people in that dis 
trict off from the places they are now on, and put them, to 
shift for themselves, on poor out-lands, where there are neither 
buildings or fences. He offered neither a team, tool, boards, 
or nails; and no shelter for over a thousand persons save 
seven old tents, and those, provided they could be spared. 
I then requested him to allow me to occupy the farms that 
with the advice of Gens. Dix and Keyes I had last year, and 
also several others, having on them several out buildings 
unoccupied, and which with trifling repairs I believed to be 
nearly sufficient to furnish comfortable shelter for all the 
colored persons in that vicinity requiring aid. He did not 
deny that these places were clearly rebel property, and wholly 
occupied by "secesh" squatters and negroes, but said they 
had taken the "oath," and therefore he did not care to dis 
turb them. 

On one of these farms, I had made a contract with an ex 
cellent Massachusetts farmer, who with a large number of 
colored people had done, and was doing, a great deal in prepa 
ration for Spring crops. With a full knowledge of your own, 
and Col. Kinsman s orders, and without a pretense of any 
thing wrong, other than this, General Wistar ordered him 
arrested as a culprit, and reprimanded him sharply, and 
forbade his going near the place again. 

On another plantation from which I had removed a squatter, 
and put in his place a good Union man, more particularly to 
get the use of the grist-mill upon it, which we very much 
needed, the Union man was driven off and the squatter re 
stored, and no rent required. 

On another was a man who had formerly been the over 
seer of the place, and who had had the use of the stock, tools, 
etc. for nearly three years. I notified him to remove, within 
a reasonable time. The General retained him, and gave him 
the stock, tools, etc. for his personal property. 

Several of this class of men are living upon farms border 
ing upon York River, and at certain points within sight of 
the rich rebel, A. M. Dean s house which is on the opposite 
side of the river, and beyond our lines. This rebel has re 
markable facilities for getting the very latest intelligence and 
papers through the lines, and not only by signals day and 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 11 

night, but from a cupola in his house, with his large spy-glass 
he can discover the movement of our troops and gunboats, 
- as is believed he did just previous to our last attempt 
to enter Richmond, and start off, as often as he pleases, 
the waiting spies. A deserter might know something, but 
this man more. Gen. Wistar was informed of these facts, 
by one of his officers. He called for the evidence, and hav 
ing examined it, he expressed himself satisfied. The next 
morning his informant waited on him, hoping to have the 
privilege of going over to this house, and breaking up the 
rendezvous, and capturing the man and his spies. On intro 
ducing the subject, the General replied that he has sent the 
man a little warning to desist, or he would arrest him and 
burn his house. I do not state this case of my own personal 
knowledge, or in the form in which I think it should appear, 
but it comes to me from a source in which I have entire con 
fidence, and partly corroborates itself; and it shows that 
General Wistar has these facts before him, and still allows 
such men to remain at exposed points, and refuses to let 
them be rented to such men as are recommended by Dr. Loring 
and Mr. Bancroft of Salem, or even to let me stock them, and 
manage them myself, the only reason he assigned for refusal 
being his fear that the negroes would smuggle. I told him 
that I had been accustomed, and by your orders was author 
ized to call for, or take possession of all plantations and per 
sonal property, considered as heretofore belonging to rebels, 
giving them notice, and if they wished to avail themselves of 
any right they often pretended to have, recourse could be had 
to the Provost Judge. He said he did not recognize them, your 
orders, as having any reference to him, but to us. He said he 
was acting under an old order from Gen. Dix, and until it was 
revoked, and an order given more explicit than any he had yet 
seen, he should not recognize our right to do anything either 
there at Yorktown, or anywhere in the County, with negroes or 
plantations, except by his consent. He having said we had no 
business there, I proposed to report to you that Mr. Churchill 
had better be withdrawn, and the whole enterprise given up, to 
which he objected, urging that if anyone was to be there, he 
should be, to act as an agent of his, and that no other course 
would be tolerated except by your Special Order. 

Respectfully submitted, C. B. WILDER, 
Capt. & A. Q. M . & Supt. Negro Affairs 
Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. & N. C. 



12 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 
From Mrs. George A. Williams to General Butler 

BALTIMORE, April 3rd, 1864 

GENERAL: Excuse me for again trespassing on your valua 
ble time, but as some malicious and utterly false reports have 
been circulated concerning my husband s conduct during the 
period of his parole, by parties ignorant of the fact that it 
was by your authority he enjoyed the privilege of a visit to 
his home, I am most anxious to assure you on my word of 
honor that your restrictions were most particularly observed. 
My husband did not cross the threshold of his door, nor did 
he even appear at a window during his stay, but on the third 
day of his visit he was summoned by order of the Provost 
Marshal to report in his presence. Capt. Williams had not 
been informed by Capt. Patterson that such a ceremony was 
necessary, but Major Haynes said an officer paroled from one 
Department and sent into another was always subject to 
arrest unless he reported at Head Quarters. This I assure 
you was the only time he was absent from his home, but some 
person, seeing him driving through Madison St. on his way to 
the Marshal s office, or probably seeing him drive from the 
boat to his home on the morning of his arrival, reported to 
the Marshal that Capt. Williams had been driving about the 
city generally, on which charge he was arrested a few hours 
before his departure, by order of Major Haynes. On exami 
nation the charges being proved groundless, he was not pre 
vented from leaving here in time to report to Capt. Patterson 
according to the terms of his parole. 

I feel sure, General, you had confidence in the sincerity of 
my promise at the time you granted my desire, and now need 
no further assurance that we have acted in good faith through 
out. Be assured I shall always feel the debt of gratitude I 
owe you, and hope I may some day have an opportunity in 
person of expressing my thanks. 

Respectfully, Mrs. GEO. ARCHER WILLIAMS 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 4th, 1864 

Hon. O. H. BROWNING, Member of Congress 

SIR: Your note endorsed on the letter of J. M. A. Drake 
Esq., requesting a pass for him to go to Raleigh, N. C., and 
return, has been received. 

Such permission cannot be granted. If he is a disloyal 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 13 

man, of course not, and if he is a loyal man, he would not 
be safe in having it. And the granting of his request would 
be the worst favor that could be done him. I have the honor 
to be, very respectfully, 

Yr. obdt. sent., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MOXROE, April \th, 1864 

Commodore JOHN W. LIVINGSTON, 

Commanding Naval Station, Norfolk 

COMMODORE: Lt. Gen. Grant shared with me the regret both 
felt at not being able to land at the Navy Yard, and meet you, 
as we had proposed, owing to the threatening inclemency of 
the weather, which rendered it necessary for us to return at 
once. 

I trust in a few days we shall see Gen. Grant here again, 
when we will endeavor to do that which we failed to do on 
Friday. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 4th, 1864 

His Excellency HORATIO SEYMOUR, Governor of New York 

SIR: I have the honor to enclose you the statement of 
Capt. Kalb, of the 138th Regt. N. Y. Vols., and the report of 
Col. Jourdan thereon with the proper endorsement. If this 
statement is true, and it seems to be well authenticated, great 
injustice is done to the other officers of the Regt. in the ap 
pointment of O Conner to be Major, an injustice of which no 
doubt your Excellency was not aware. 

By General Orders No. 57, Series of 1861, War Dept., an 
officer resigning in the face of the enemy cannot be received 
into the service of the United States. 

Now, it seems O Conner voluntarily resigned his commission 
for frivolous reasons, left his brother-officers to bear the bur 
dens and dangers of the campaign during the summer season, 
and now receives a commission giving him promotion over 
them, which if permitted will work manifest injury to the 
service. I pray Your Excellency therefore to revoke the 
commission, unless there are reasons which I do not know for 
the appointment. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, 
Yr. obdt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 



14 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 4th, 1864 

Hon. ROBERT OULD, Commdr. of Exchange of the Confederate 

Authorities 

SIR: I had an application the other day from a hospital 
steward to be discharged, on the ground that he was a non- 
combatant following the class of surgeons. 

I have ordered him to be released and sent to you, and I 
would suggest that this should be made a general rule as in 
the cases of Surgeons and Chaplains. 

Please inform me whether it meets your approbation, and 
if so, we will publish a reciprocal General Order upon the sub 
ject. I have the honor to be, very respecty. 

Yr. obdt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, 
Major Gen. and Commr. for Exchange 

From General Butler 

Head-Quarters ISth Army Corps, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORTRESS MONROE, April 4>th, 1864 

Honorable GEO. F. BIGELOW, Chief Justice Superior Court 

of Mass. 

MY DEAR JUDGE : I should apologise for not having answered 
your kind note in relation to Captain Dabney, but as you 
will see by the copy of the letter enclosed I was not unmindful 
of the business which you suggested. I am sorry that the 
Department will not give me a Captain, because I have great 
need of one. Upon the other suggestion of your note as to 
future prospects, I think the coming campaign will deter 
mine them more definitely than any possible prediction or 
prophecy we can make. I still think you would do well to 
bear in mind the suggestions which I made to you as to your 
own course in the future. The time has come when there is 
more need of a well-balanced mind, high integrity and learn 
ing in council than upon the Bench, inasmuch as our political 
and governmental relations are more disturbed and require 
more finesse of purpose and intelligence of thought than do 
the individual relations of citizens with the government need 

the attention of the Bench. .. .. 

MAJOR GENERAL COMDG. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 15 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 4>th, 1864 

MY DEAR Miss Dix: I got your telegram, and immediately 
dispatched four (4) steamers to cruise south of Cape Henry. 
They staid two days running down the coast eighty (80) 
miles. In the meantime the "Spaulding" came up from 
Beaufort. They heard and saw nothing of your distressed 
steamer. The "Fair Haven," with four hundred (400) 
troops on board, went ashore back of Cape Henry on Friday, 
and perhaps she was your steamer. All hands were saved, 
but the steamer is a total loss. 

My dear Miss Dix, why didn t you tell me that too much 
of the "New York" was occupied by the Captain? If you 
had done so, I would have seen it corrected without trans 
mission through Washington. I am, 

Very truly, your obedient servant, 
B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

Head-Quarters 18th Army Corps, Department of Va. & North Carolina, 

FORTRESS MONROE, April kth, 1864 

Brig. Gen. M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster Gen. U.S.A. 
WASHINGTON, D.C. 

GENERAL: I have the honor to enclose herewith the report 
of a Board of Survey ordered by me on the steamer "New 
York." 

They appraise her cash value at ninety-five thousand 
($95,000) dollars. She is put in charter on the first of De 
cember, at one hundred and fifty thousand dollars; a very 
gross over valuation. The Board was a very competent one, 
consisting of Gen. Graham, the United States Naval Con 
structor at Norfolk Navy Yard, and the master machinist at 
the Atlantic Iron Works. 

Upon this valuation, the United States own four-fifths of 
her, provided she is bought, as she ought to be, under the 
accruing clause. 

You will bear in mind that I seized her on the 1st of February 
in obedience to orders from the Secretary of War, and am still 
holding her, awaiting the result of the investigation. I have 
the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, Your obedient servant, 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



16 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, March 15th, 1864 

[Not in chronological order] 

Commodore LIVINGSTON, Commandant at Gasport Navy Yard 

SIR: Please allow your Naval Constructor, Mr. Hanscomb, 
to serve in a board of Survey with Gen. Graham and my master 
machinist, to appraise the value of the steamer "New York." 

Very respectfully, Yr. obdt. servt., 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj . Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

April 29, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

Brig. Gen I M. C. MEIGS, Qr. Master Gen I, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

As I have written you, a board of survey has established 
the valuation of the "New York" at $95,000. Mr. Getty 
gives me to understand that you are willing to accept a valua 
tion of $150,000 with accruing clause from the 7th of June. 
Do you so advise? He says that there is a letter of the 30 
of March from you to that effect, of which I have no receipt. 
Please refer to my letter of the 4th of April. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs. DepL of Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 4th, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the 
letter of the learned Attorney General of the United States, 
in relation to the supposed confiscation of the estate of John 
Williams, a Rebel at Norfolk. 

The letter of the Attorney General is based upon the com 
plaint of one Chas. W. Butts, who was at one time an officer 
in the United States service, and resigned from that service, 
and has since occupied his time in plundering United States 
soldiers who were so far unfortunate as to become criminals. 
I have had my eye for some time on Butts, and it was owing 
to the press of other business that I did not order him out of 
the Department long since, an omission I sincerely regret, 
but one I have since remedied. 

The accompanying report of Gen. Wild, with the papers 
enclosed, will explain the entire transaction. In relation to 
Williams estate, his whole action in the premises meets my 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 17 

full approval. He uses the word confiscate where he should 
have used the word sequestrate, but his explanation upon that 
point is satisfactory. The difficulty was that Gen. Wild is 
not a lawyer. Now, with the utmost respect to the learned 
Attorney General of the United States, I have the honor to in 
sist as a lawyer, as well as the Commander of the Depart 
ment, and in the first capacity, I have some right to an opinion, 
that the taking possession of an enemy s property for mili 
tary purposes is not a "stretch of military law," but is in 
exact conformity with it, and with General Order 100, series 
of 1863, which was published for the benefit of Commanders. 
But without that order, which settles it beyond all possibility 
of cavil, there never could have been any doubt thereof, and 
the learned Attorney General, I know, will, upon reading 
the report of Gen. Wild, concur fully with me in the opinion I 
have expressed as to Butts, and had ordered him out of his 
District, before I had finished him, by ordering him out of 
the Department. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



Enclosures referred to in Foregoing Letter 

Attorney Generals Office, WASHINGTON, March 21, 1864 [Not in chronological order]] 

Hon. Secretary of War 

SIR: I have this day received the enclosed letter, from 
Charles W. Butts, a resident, practising lawyer at Norfolk, 
Virginia. I do not personally know Mr. Butts, but under 
stand that he is a very respectable man and a lawyer of fair 
attainments. He was an officer in a Pennsylvania Regiment 
of Cavalry, and at the end of his military service settled him 
self in Norfolk to practise law there. He was highly recom 
mended for U. S. Attorney in that District. The Military 
Order of which he complains (as copied into the letter) is 
very extraordinary, and seems to me a great stretch of power 
without and against law. I have no evidence upon the sub 
ject but Mr. Butts letter, and therefore do not affirm the 
genuineness of the Order, but I suppose of course the facts 
must be known in the War Department. 

The confiscation laws require that proceedings for condem 
nation shall be judicial and in the Court, and the President 
by special orders has charged this Department with the general 
superintendence and control of such proceedings. 

I respectfully refer the matter to your consideration, and 
VOL. iv ^ 



18 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

beg that if such an order has really been issued, you will take 
such measures as may seem to you most proper to redress the 
wrong. I have the honor to be , 

Very respectfully, Your obt. servt., EDW. BATES 

P.S. Please return the letter of Mr. Butts to this office. 

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, March 19th, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

Hon. EDWARD BATES, Attorney General, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

SIR: I have felt it my duty on several occasions to com 
municate certain facts to you, but have desisted from writing, 
knowing that your present duties are so onerous that you have 
but little time to look after such matters : But when [a] Briga 
dier General of the Army takes the civil law in his own hands, 
and orders real estate to be confiscated without legal cause, 
totally disregarding the laws of the country, as this man 
Wild has, I feel constrained to write. 

General Wild, as you are aware, is the Military Com 
mander of the respective cities Norfolk and Portsmouth, and 
has a Provost Marshal in the City of Portsmouth who, in 
my opinion (and I have had considerable military experi 
ence), is not a fit and proper person to be a Provost Marshal 
over white people. What I wish to complain of is the follow 
ing order (Copy enclosed). 

Mr. Williams resides in Portsmouth with his family, and 
has taken the Oath of Allegiance under the President s 
Proclamation. 

If consistent with your views or duties you will greatly 
oblige by giving this letter your attention as soon as possible. 
Very respectfully, your obt. servt., CHAS. W. BUTTS 

Hd . Qrs. Norfolk and Portsmouth, NORFOLK, March 30th, 1864 

[Not in chronological order^ 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Dept. 
Va. and North Carolina 

GENERAL: In reply to your endorsement, in relation to the 
seizing of John Williams estate, I have the honor to report. 

I am fully aware of the difference between confiscation by 
due course of law, and a military confiscation, seizure, or oc 
cupation. The estate of John Williams was taken wholly 
in the latter way : and I have never pretended that it was any 
more a final disposition of his property than in several other 
cases of estates occurring lately; on the contrary, as the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 19 

Order complained of (No. 1) will show, Williams had (10) 
days grace before occupation to show cause why the estate 
should not be taken for military purposes. The circum 
stances were these: Dec. 10th, General Order No. 49 (No. 2) 
from Headquarters Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, 
inviting all to take the Oath under the President s Amnesty 
Proclamation, was issued, and the consequences of a refusal 
were published to all. Two months later, February 12th, 
was issued General Orders No. 20 (No. 3), from Department 
Va. and North Carolina. 

During this interval, every property holder had plenty of 
time to make up his mind whether to register himself as a 
friend or a "rebel." Yet even then I w r aited two or three 
weeks longer before ousting any resident rebels to occupy their 
estates; though all the time in need of houses for military 
purposes. 

John Williams, though always living within gun-shot of 
the Provost Marshal s office, had never taken the Oath of 
Allegiance: on the contrary, had openly refused to do so, 
and openly declared his sympathies were with the South; 
a barefaced, shameless rebel. 

March the 7th, nearly a month after the promulgation of 
General Orders No. 20, his case being reported by the Provost 
Marshal, Capt. Brown, Supt. of Negro Affairs, made appli 
cation for the use of some of his houses, which I at once ap 
proved, as seen by the accompanying document (No. 4). 
This being merely a hasty endorsement, in using the word, 
"confiscate" I neglected to define it as military and not a 
judicial confiscation; thereby laying myself open to attack 
from patriotic and discriminating "Butts," but the real intent 
and manner of the seizure is plain in the remaining phrases 
of the same endorsement by which these tenements were put 
through the usual form of our military occupation, for which 
see the accompanying circular (No. 5) of March 18th. This 
circular will show that our work is not done loosely, dishonestly, 
or blindly. 

This endorsement was enough for the Provost Marshal to act 
upon ; he accordingly issued the Order complained of, adopting 
from one the offensive word "confiscate." But to give the 
Post Q. M. proper authority, we, as in all other cases, issued a 
Special Order (No. 6). This being the permanent record, con 
tains as will be seen nothing about confiscation, but makes it 
a purely military occupation under General Order No. 20. 



20 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Thus far, we have in fact proceeded under authority 
and according to precedent. But at this crisis there came in 
a new and complicated phrase; John Williams, after contem 
plating his fate for five days, concluded that it would be better 
to take the Oath than to try "beggary," accordingly applied 
to the Provost Marshal, Captain Messinger, of Portsmouth, 
for that purpose, acknowledging that he proposed to take the 
Oath avowedly to save his property, acknowledging that his 
heart would remain as rebellious as ever. Capt. Messinger 
very properly refused to administer the Oath under such cir 
cumstances, which decision I confirmed for that and all simi 
lar cases. Williams then came to these Head Quarters, and 
commenced sounding Capt. Johnston, A.A.G., as to what he 
might expect from me, providing he took the Oath saying 
that he proposed to take the Oath to save his property, and if 
it would not save his property, he would not take the Oath. 

Captain Johnston expounded to him the nature and force 
of the Oath, and stated to him that if he took it in good faith, 
and meant to live up to it, that I might consider his case 
favorably. Encouraged by this, he then slipped into the 
office of Lt. Col. Wheldon, Provost Marshal of Norfolk, tak 
ing him unawares. Col. Wheldon, being ignorant of the fact 
that Williams lived in Portsmouth, where, by his own (Col. 
(Wheldon s regulations, Williams Oath could only be issued 
by Capt. Messinger, Provost Marshal of Portsmouth. Lt. 
Col. Wheldon administered the Oath (No. 7). Williams 
then went home, and penned the following letter (No. 8), 
bringing it in person to these Head Quarters, where in con 
versation he again avowed that he took the Oath to save his 
property, and proclaimed his sympathy with the Confederate 
Government. Learning all the circumstances, I directly in 
terfered, considering the Oath worthless, taken under false 
pretence, improperly administered, and violated in the very 
act of taking. I therefore, after explaining to Col. Wheldon 
the circumstances, sent back the certificate with a note which, 
with his reply is appended (No. 9). 

Col. Wheldon erased his name from the certificate, and 
erased the Oath from the records, and I declared the Oath 
revoked, and Williams released from all obligations there 
under. This transaction being annulled, the proceedings of 
seizure went on as previously. 

Four days after this, March 19th, the patriotic "Butts" 
sends his complaint, or appeal, to the Attorney General, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 21 

stating that "Williams has taken the Oath of Allegiance under 
the President s Proclamation," but omitting the date thereof, 
and all the context: entirely ignoring the fact that this Oath 
was annulled the same day (4 days previous), which fact he 
knew. I am glad to see that in thus annulling this Oath I 
am now supported by the recent Proclamation by the Presi 
dent of the United States, dated March 26th, 1864. 

The letter from the Attorney General of the United States 
complains that my "Military Order seems a great stretch of 
power without and against law," and that proceedings of con 
demnation should be judicial and in the Courts. 

I respectfully submit that my action in no way interferes 
with the action of the Courts, which may proceed tomorrow, 
or next year, to condemn and confiscate or to restore the whole 
undiminished. The late owner has the same refuge, and the 
same chance for justice, as if I had not touched his estate. 
I do not pretend "to take civil law into my own hands." 
I do not proclaim that my decision shall be final and to the 
exclusion of all other processes : I merely, as the centre of mar 
tial law in this District, seize upon those who violate martial 
law to prevent further harassing and embarrassing the United 
States Government, and I give to the U. S. the use and benefit 
of the enemy s property during a time which may be longer 
or shorter, according to the final decision of the courts of law. 
That I am justified in thus using martial law in this place is 
shown by General Orders No. 41 (No. 10) from Major General 
Dix, which has never since been modified. 

By this, martial law takes precedence, and civil law is 
merely tolerated when it does not interfere with martial 
law, which reigns supreme. Should this relation be changed, 
during the present condition of society here, the people would 
be miserable indeed. Very respectfully, 

Your obt. servant, EDW. A. WILD, Brig. Genl. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April Mh, 1864 

Commodore JOSEPH SMITH, Chief of Bureau of Yards and Docks 
COMMODORE: Your letter of March 28th to the Quarter 
Master of this Department has been referred to me, and I 
have the honor to answer that we found certain piles in the 
Elizabeth River driven there for the purposes of obstructing 
the channel, and as they had remained there for two years 



22 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

without any effort on the part of the Navy Department or 
anybody else to pull them out, and as they rendered the navi 
gation between this Point and Norfolk dangerous to our boats 
in foggy and rough weather, I contracted with a wrecker to do 
it, and if the Navy will pay the cost of their removal, I will be 
very happy or turn them over to Commodore Livingston at 
the Navy Yard. I have the honor to be very respectfully, 
Your obt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From Mrs. George A. Williams to General Butler 

BALTIMORE, April 4th, 1864 

GENERAL: I have just received a letter from Capt. Williams, 
dated from the Hygia Hotel, Fort Monroe. He says owing to 
the storm on Friday night he was unable to connect with the 
line to Point Lookout, and on reporting to Capt. Cassel, 
Provost Marshal, he had been allowed to remain on parole 
at the Hotel, and await his exchange. Would you, General, 
add to my already heavy debt of gratitude, one more favor? 
Will you not send me a pass to come to Fortress Monroe, and 
allow me to stay with him the short time he may be there? 
I suppose you have ere this received my letter of 3rd explain 
ing the annoyance which arose from some false reports. If 
you should be pleased to grant me this kindness, let the pass 
be of such a nature that I may not have any difficulty here 
with the officials about going on board the boat. 

Hoping soon to hear from you, I am sincerely and respectfully, 

MRS. GEO. ARCHER WILLIAMS 

From W. G. Betterton to General Butler 

General Agent, Shipping and Commission Merchant, NEW ORLEANS, Uh April, 1864 

SIR: Pardon me, but my respect and regard for the late 
A. J. Butler prompts me to offer you my condolence in the 
bereavement, which the wisdom of the "Almighty architect of 
the universe" has seen proper to lay on you, by the death of 
one whose soul when living was as noble as it was chari 
table; and though his hand is closed in death, his spirit lives 
to animate those who knew him, will ever remember him, and 
drop a silent tear to his memory; and I part with him only 
to remember his virtues. 

Wishing you well in all respects, and hoping the wisdom of 
the administration may place you with us again, and especially 
so during the strife, I remain. 

Very respectfully yours, W. G. BETTERTON 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 23 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. Dept. Va. and N. C. f FORT MONROE, April 28f/z, 1864 

YOUR kind letter of condolence upon the death of my 
brother is very grateful. You knew him and you loved him, 
and I am happy in the belief that none who knew him well 
failed to do so. His last words on earth were "God bless all 
my friends." 

With many thanks for your kind remembrance, I am, 

Very truly your obdt. Servt., BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

FORT MONROE, VA., April 5, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

THE Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts Volunteers, who are 
now returned from the Department of the Gulf on furlough, 
was the regiment which I enlisted from my neighborhood, 
in my own town of Lowell, to go to the Gulf. Out of 600 
they have re-enlisted 541 men, leaving only about 200 recruits 
in New Orleans who could not re-enlist. It would be very 
pleasant for me to have that regiment. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

War Rec., No. 1, p. 808. 

From C. S. Agent Quid 

April 5th, 1864 

Respectfully returned to the Honorable Secretary of War 

GENERAL BUTLER represents that a regular military inquiry 
was made into the circumstances attending Major B. s death. 
He promises to furnish a copy of the record in the case. He 
insists that Major B. was shot at the window while he was 
attempting an escape, and after he had been ordered by the 
sentinel to retire. He further says that he believes Major 
B. was in delirium at the time. He further says the sentinel s 
act, though censurable, was not such as should subject him 
to punishment. When the record is furnished, I will present 
it to the Honorable Secretary. 

Ro. OULD, Agent of Exchange 

Official Records, War of Rebellion, Series II, Vol. 6, Page 1110. 



24 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, WASHINGTON CITY, April 5, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. of Va. and N. C. 9 

FORT MONROE, VA. 

SIR: The Secretary of War directs me to acknowledge the 
receipt of your communication of the 28th ultimo, requesting 
that Colonel Streight and his regiment might be transferred 
to your department, and to inform you in reply that he cannot 
consistently grant your request at present. Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, ED. R. S. CANBY, 
Brigadier-General and Assistant Adjutant-General 

War Rec., No. 1, p. 808. 

From General Grant 

BY TELEGRAPH from CULPEPPER C. H., April 5, 1864 

Maj. Genl. BUTLER 

MAJOR GEN. W. T. H. BROOKS, an officer Gen. Smith 
thinks most highly of, has been ordered to report to you. 
If Neil can be spared I will send him also. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Genl. 

From Captain J. W. Denny 

Office Chief of Provost Marshal, NEWBERN, N.C., April 6th, 1864 

Major Genl. PECK, Comdg. A.M.D., NORTH CAROLINA 

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, in accordance with 
your verbal orders, I have investigated the facts concerning the 
seizure of the schooner "Sample" and her cargo of shingles. 
The investigation shows: 1st That the schooner and cargo is 
owned by Isaiah Respass of Washington, N.C., and that previ 
ous to her seizure by order of Col. Jourdan, Comdg. Sub-Dis 
trict of Beaufort, she sailed from Beaufort to Bath, N.C. and 
thence up the Pungo River to the mouth of Pantego Creek. 

2nd that she had only one clearance or sailing permit, viz: 
from John A. Hedrick, Collector of Beaufort, N.C., dated 
Feb. llth, 1864, permitting the vessel to go in ballast from 
Beaufort to Washington, N.C. 

3rd That said vessel went up the Pungo River to Pantego 
Creek under special orders from the owner, Mr. Respass, 
who admits that he gave such orders without seeing any 
clearance papers, and without any knowledge of his right to 
send the vessel up the Pungo River. It is fair to state that 
Mr. Respass states that he supposed the papers were all right. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 25 

The Captain of the schooner and Mr. Respass do not agree 
upon one important particular: Capt. Bragg states that Mr. 
Respass told him that the permit to go in ballast from Beau 
fort to Washington was sufficient authority for her to go up 
the Pungo River. Mr. Respass declares that he did not make 
this statement. The vessel had no permit to go to Bath, and 
she had no permit to go up the Pungo River to Pantego Creek. 
In going to either of these places she violated her clearance 
papers, and is therefore liable to confiscation. Mr. Respass, 
as it appears, is the only responsible party in the transaction. 
He says he sinned through ignorance. It is a question how 
long a man has the privilege of pleading ignorance in viola 
tions of military rules and regulations. It might be sup 
posed that Mr. Respass, having for years been the owner of 
many vessels sailing from different ports, and a man of well- 
known business shrewdness, and having but recently experi 
enced the effect of violating military rules and regulations 
under these circumstances it might be supposed that Mr. 
Respass would have been more careful in his trading transac 
tions and exercised great caution. I know he was properly 
cautioned and advised to seek proper instructions before he 
attempted to enter again upon speculations. 

The evidence is clear that it is not safe to go up the Pungo 
River for any man who is loyal to the U. S. neither is it 
safe for the Government to allow irresponsible parties to go 
up to that section of country. 

I desire to call your attention particularly to the statement 
of Mr. Hedrick, the Collector at Beaufort. He states that 
he don t like to give permits to go up the Pungo River because 
he has heard the Rebels were there, but yet, if any one called 
for such a permit, he would give it. He thinks there is no 
doubt about his right to give such clearances under the instruc 
tions regulating the Treasury Dept., and yet Mr. Ritch, another 
agent of the Dept., who I submit respectfully is a gentleman 
of intelligence and more than ordinary capacity as a business 
man, thinks there is nothing specially laid down regulating 
clearances for vessels, and states that he has no special instruc 
tions where vessels may go. I send up with this paper six 
"permits to purchase and sell," and two "clearances," for 
examination, which I think will satisfy you that there is gener 
ally a very loose way of managing this important business. 

I believe that Col. Heaton, Supt. Special Agt., is also satis 
fied that some further restrictions are necessary to compel 



26 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

obedience to regulations and prevent abuses on the part of 
speculators, who are intent only upon their gains and not 
particular of the means employed to consummate the object. 
Respectfully representing that I would not limit the privi 
lege now enjoyed by loyal people living in these trade or supply 
districts in bringing the products of their industry to market, 
and allowing them to buy and take out sufficient goods to 
supply the actual wants of their families and to keep them 
from starving, yet wholesome restrictions upon speculators 
and a well-defined limit to the extent of their speculations, 
and also to what points vessels may be cleared within the 
waters of this state, would be advantageous. Those who 
come from outside our actual lines with produce to exchange 
for goods, are under the eye of the officers of my Depart 
ment, and cases are rare when disloyal or improper persons 
gain a benefit by the operation. But a person who obtains a 
clearance or permit to trade outside our lines goes beyond our 
supervision, and is not subject to our control. Papers of 
clearance at the Custom House, or at the offices of the local 
agents, should be so clear that there can be no doubt as to their 
meaning, and no papers should be recognized as valid unless 
the name of the vessel, the master, and the crew are plainly 
written. I think Col. Heaton intends to draw up instruc 
tions to his local agents which may cover these points. I be 
lieve every agent and officer should be held personally respon 
sible for his individual official acts, & if this were done the 
business would be more closely conducted, and would give us 
far less trouble. While Col. Heaton, as I believe, is actuated 
solely for the public good, and endeavors to administer the 
affairs of his Department in strict compliance with the Rules 
and Regulations of the Treasury Dept., endeavoring to work 
amicably with the military authorities, I am also free to say, 
respectfully, that on the part of one or two of his agents there 
is a decided looseness of business habits and inefficiency which 
demands correction. I have the honor to be, General, 
Very respectfully, &c., J. W. DENNY, 

Capt. & Chf. Pro. Marshal 

Head Qrs. Dept. Va. & N. C., April 23rd, 1864 

RESPECTFULLY referred to the Judge Advocate to report his 
opinion on the matter. 

By command of Maj. Genl. BUTLER 

H. C. CLARKE, Capt. & A.D.C. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 27 

/. A. 0. Dept. Va. & N. C., FORT MONROE, April %5th, 1864 

RESPECTFULLY returned. Isaiah Respass has certainly 
again violated a well-defined military rule, and his vessel 
should at once be confiscated. Whether Respass repeated 
offences arise from knavery, imbecility, or both combined, he 
is clearly an unsafe person, and should not be allowed to remain 
at large in the Department. 

It is also respectfully submitted that the license given to 
Agents of the Treasury Department to give permits to trade 
in any quarter of the Department needs some restrictions or 
surveillance on the part of the military authorities. The 
agents of the Treasury are, & in most cases necessarily must 
be, but scantily informed as to the presence at various parts 
of the country of rebel forces or guerillas continually shifting 
from time to time. Nor are they possessed of the information 
secret or otherwise had by the military authorities of the 
enemy s movements. Giving them credit, therefore, for the 
best intentions, they must frequently make serious blunders 
& send men, supplies, and information directly in the way of 
the enemy. I respectfully suggest that their permits should 
be inspected by some officer of the army at the port where 
granted before being valid. I would respectfully recom 
mend that Respass be arraigned before the Provost Court for 

J. L. STACKPOLE, Maj. & Judge Advocate 
From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dcpt. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 6th, 1864 

Hon. SCHUYLER COLFAX, House of Representatives, 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

MY DEAR SIR: I hasten to answer your kind note, and will 
call the Confederate Commissioner s attention to the matter 
contained in it at once. I have an engagement, and my boat 
has now gone up to perfect it, by which all the sick and wounded 
who are able to be moved from Richmond will come down. I 
expect 1000 of them, and I hope that Lieut. Butler will be among 
the number. I am, F ^ respectfully, B. F. BUTLER, 

Major General Commanding 



28 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 6th, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

SIR: In looking over my Batteries to see if they are fit for 
field service, I find this condition of things: Battery "A," 
5th Artillery has but two officers, 1st Lieut. Muhlenburg and 
2nd Lieut. Crabb, so it is substantially inefficient for want of 
officers. Almost the same condition of things obtains in 
Battery "L" of the 4th Artillery. I am informed and believe 
it to be a fact that out of the sixty (60) Batteries of the United 
States Army, but one Captain is serving with his Battery, 
the rest being on detached service or promoted, or as one 
would almost say they considered it, disgraced, by being made 
superior officers of Vols. 

Now, it is a gross injustice to the subaltern officers serving 
in the Batteries that their chance of promotion should be 
taken away because their superiors are holding one rank in 
the Army while they are actually serving in the Volunteers, 
or else are on detached service as Commissaries of Musters, 
or office duty, so that no one of them gets killed by any chances. 
Without any more than calling your attention to this matter, 
which can only be settled by an Act of Congress, my present 
desire is that at least four (4) officers of the rank of Lieut, 
to take command in regular Batteries should be detailed to 
me. I have the honor to be very respectfully, 

Your obt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 6th, 1864 

Col. GEORGE D. RUGGLES, A. A. General, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

COLONEL: After waiting in vain for orders about the 16th 
N. Y. Artillery, and finding it necessary to bring them into 
some order, and finding a surplus of some 800 men which I 
propose to distribute among other Regiments, I ordered a 
very efficient Board, a copy of whose report I send you, to 
examine and report the proper disposition of those who were 
unfit for service in the field. 

They report 444 unfit, and recommend that most of them 
be transferred to the "Invalid Corps" now called the "Veteran 
Reserves," but how boys 13, 14, and 15 years of age are to be 
"Veteran Reserves" is a question I shall leave to the Depart- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 29 

ment to settle. I asked the Commission why they recom 
mended these men to be transferred to the "Veteran Reserves" 
instead of discharging them, and it answered if they were dis 
charged they would simply go to New York, get high bounties, 
enlist again, be again counted in the quota, and be sent here to 
be discharged again, and consequently they had better be 
retained here now. There seeming to be good sense in this 
proposition, I yielded to it and advise the transfer. 

Please therefore send me an order to discharge those who 
ought to be discharged, without pay, as their enlistment is a 
fraud on the Government, and to transfer those to the "In 
valid Corps" who are recommended to be transferred, and 
further to transfer the remainder of the recruits above the 
maximum of an artillery regiment to other New York regi 
ments in this Department that are not filled up. 

Your early attention to this is requested, as we are getting 
ready for the field. I have the honor to be, 

Your obedient servant, B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

CIPHER. April 6, 1864 

Maj. JOHN HAY, Maj. & A. A. GenL, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

TELEGRAM received. Points will be submitted. I beg 
leave to assure the President that I have no desire to visit 
Washington, but wish he should visit Fortress Monroe as 
expressed in my telegram of Saturday. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From President Lincoln 

Executive Mansion, WASHINGTON, April 7, 1864 

Major -General BUTLER 

MRS. L(INCOLN) and I think we will visit Fort Monroe 
some time next week. Meanwhile, whatever is to be done 
on the business subject will be conducted through the War 
Department. Please do not make public our probable visit. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 5, Part I, p. 1154. ^ LINCOLN 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 7th, 1864 

Capt. JAMES R. SHAFFER, A.D.C., NEWBERN, NORTH CAROLINA 

CAPTAIN: Please examine the enclosed papers in regard 

to recruitment in North Carolina, and see how much and what 



30 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

truth there is in various reports and suggestions, also the letter 
of Col. Foster and Barnes Griffith with the endorsements of 
General Wild. 

See if Griffith is fit for a Lieutenant, and if so, tell him I will 
commission him, and for him to send his bill for recruiting 
expenses in. Bring up the thirty colored recruits with you. 
Get a list of their families so that orders can be given to give 
them rations. Examine into the question of how rations are 
distributed to destitute families. 

Find out from the Commissary how many are distributed, 
and under what rule, and be prepared to make a full report 
upon all these topics, and also whether any Commission is 
necessary to look after the poor whites there. Ascertain 
also if the Quartermaster and Pro. Marshal in Newbern are 
opposed to negro recruiting. 

Examine into the affairs of the Pro. Marshal at Beaufort. 
He wants to resign, but is charged with making money. See 
Mr. Oscar Doolittle, whom I have appointed a Special Pro. 
Marshal, and see if he is fit for his position. See if he is fit 
for a Lieutenant, and if I appoint him if he will be a proper 
person for Provost Marshal. 

Be able to give a full and thorough report as to the condi 
tion of recruiting, both white and colored, in each organiza 
tion, and each person who claims a right to recruit in North 
Carolina, and all the difficulties in the way of recruiting there. 
Look over all the appointments, and see the men, if possible 
in the 2nd North Carolina Vols., and be able to report to me 
what kind of men they are. 

Take time enough to do this. I think I have given you 
enough for a week s work. I have the honor to be, respectfully 
Your obedient servant, B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 7th, 1864 

Commander English Ship "Buzzard" 

WE have a blockade runner captured on board the steamer 
"Dan," by name John Philpot, who represents himself as having 
belonged to the Royal Navy. If so, he must be a deserter. 

My Provost Marshal will send him on board your ship to 
be examined by you if you desire. I have the honor to be, 
very respectfully, 

Yr. obdt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 31 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs., April 7th, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Sec. of War 

PERMISSION is desired for leave to Capt. Farquhar, Chief 
of Engineers in the Department, to visit Washington to get 
some plans needed here, supposed to be in the Engineer Bureau, 
and to arrange for some boats for bridges with Qr. Master 
Department. BNJ p BuTLER? Ma ^ Genl Comd > gm 



From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 7th, 1864 

Brig. Gen. J. J. WISTAR, Commdg. at YORKTOWN, VA. 

GENERAL: In order to leave myself and my Military Com 
mander free from taking care of the negroes that are thrown 
upon our hands, and of the abandoned plantations, I made a 
system of turning them all over into the hands of Superin 
tendents duly appointed, and their Asst. Supt., the Super 
intendents being commissioned officers and their Asst. Supt. 
being their clerks, for whom they are responsible. 

You are therefore directed to turn over all plantations aban 
doned by their owners and all farms so abandoned within your 
pickets to the Supt. of Negro Affairs, and refer all questions in 
relation to them to the Gen l Supt. of these Headquarters, to 
be finally determined here. 

The fact that any man without a lease from the United 
States claims to hold possession of land belonging to the 
Government under any supposed contract, will not be an 
answer to the claim of the United States to the occupancy of 
that land, and of course the buildings thereon. You will 
thus be relieved from all responsibility in this matter. 

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, 
Yr. obdt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 7th, 1864 

J. W. STANTON, Esq., STONINGTON, CONN. 

SIR: I am asked by you for a statement in regard to the "St. 
Charles" and "Anglo American," two steamboats which were 
used by the Government in New Orleans. 

Admiral Farragut arrived on the 25th of April in front of 
New Orleans, and claimed all the boats then lying at the 



32 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

wharfs and levies, below Carroltown, as prizes to the Navy, 
taking formal possession of them. On the 27th he took actual 
possession of the "St. Charles," and put her in use. On the 
22nd of May I took possession of the "Anglo American," 
repaired her, and put her to towing. 

Afterwards, Admiral Farragut turned over all these boats 
to my Quartermaster s Department, and I receipted for them, 
which receipt I turned over to the Navy Department. The 
boats were used thereafter until their claimants, Stanton and 
Co. made such title to them that they were turned over to 
them. 

I know of no other fact which would affect their claim except 
that in March, 1862, the firm of J. W. Stanton & Co. subscribed 
five hundred dollars to the million and a quarter loan of the 
Confederacy, which was placed in the hands of the "Committee 
of Safety" for the defense of New Orleans, against the United 
States. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, yr. obdt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 7th, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a com 
munication of April 6th, 1864, from the War Department, 
asking my report on the facts connected with the origin, char 
acter, and proceedings, and the nature of the testimony re 
quired in relation to the Commission established by Order 
No. 91, of Nov. 9th, 1862, of the Department of the Gulf. 

I respectfully presume that it is not my fault in the language 
of the communication of the War Department, that the infor 
mation in relation to the Commission on the files of the War 
Department is indefinite. 

It was established by No. 91, of Nov. 9th, 1862, and had 
hardly got itself working for three weeks, when I was relieved 
from the command on the 14th of December, and the mem 
bers of the Commission, two of whom were on my Staff, were 
relieved from duty at the same time with myself. 

There should have been the fullest and amplest records in 
regard to it on the files of the War Department, for the preser 
vation of the rights of all parties concerned, because, by its 
operation, property "in return" was taken away from indi- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 33 

viduals, and held by the Government to be returned accord 
ing to the loyalty or disloyalty of the former owners. 

The Order itself, a copy of which I believe to be on file in 
the War Department, and which if not, can be found in Par- 
ton s "History of the Administration of the Gulf," page 581, 
entered largely into details, in order to explain the object of 
the Commission, as well for the guidance of the officers as for 
those who should be affected by it. 

When I took possession of the Lafourche District, in which 
was almost the entire sugar crop accumulated for two years, 
and also at the season of the year, the first of November, when 
it would become necessary, if at all, to make preparations for 
grinding the cane, then ready for the knife, I found that all 
the property, as well as the growing cane, and the manufac 
tured sugar was likely to be taken from the inhabitants, whether 
loyal or disloyal, without any corresponding advantage to the 
United States. 

All the transportation in that District being under mili 
tary control as well by water as by rail, and all the mules and 
horses taken for the use of the Army, it became impossible for 
the private planter to bring his sugar to market. Again, he 
was operated upon by his fears either from his rebel procliv 
ities, or action under compulsion from the Rebel authorities, 
if without these proclivities, that he would have his property 
taken away from him. 

Actuated by these motives, he was therefore willing to part 
with his property for a nominal price, and a crowd of enter 
prising and speculative gentlemen were rushing into that 
District to buy his property from him. Sugar worth $80 
a hogshead was being sold for twenty-five and thirty dollars. 
Cotton, worth sixty cents a pound, was being sold for six, 
so that the loyal and disloyal denizens of the soil were equally 
deprived of their property. 

Again, in the matter of the growing cane then ready for 
harvest, the negroes had all fled from the plantations, and 
would not go back except to be under Government control, 
which they supposed would guarantee them their freedom 
as well as if they came within our camps, so that labor 
could not be had by the individual planter to gather his 
crops. 

Again, wood and supplies for the sugar houses for the manu 
facture of the sugar could not be transported, except through 
Government means, and therefore many plantations were 

VOL. IV 3 



34 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

abandoned, and their cane crops were being sold out at nomi 
nal prices to speculators. 

Again, this difficulty presented itself. That as soon as 
the sugar crop was gathered, we should have all the negroes 
in that District of the country on our hands, without any 
employment for them for the coming Summer, unless some 
body took it in charge to see that the "rattorus" or cane- 
cutting, from which the next crop must be raised, were laid 
down and protected from the frost, for the Spring planting. 

This state of things had also a very demoralizing effect 
upon the Army, because the speculators having bought this 
sugar and cotton at a small price, could afford to pay, and did 
pay very large sums to have them brought to New Orleans by 
the Army transportation, either by water or by rail, so that my 
officers were sub j ect to all kinds of temptations, offers, induce 
ments, and bribes. 

In view of these difficulties and for the purposes fully set 
forth in the Order, which need not be recapitulated, that 
Commission was ordered to take possession of all the prop 
erty in a geographical District named, and was by the same 
Order sequestrated for the use of the Government, and the 
sales and transfers thereof forbidden. 

They were directed to bring the personal property which 
was intended for sale to New Orleans, and there sell it at public 
auction. To permit any quiet, peaceable, loyal citizen, or 
one who desires to return to his Allegiance, to occupy his 
plantation, gather his crop, and put into the hands of the Com 
mission, who would sell it at auction to the highest bidder, 
keeping an accurate account of the sales, charging for the 
transportation at such rates as fully to reimburse the Govern 
ment, when Government transportation could be spared from 
military uses. 

Further, the Commission was to furnish labor for all the 
plantations, to see that the negroes were well used, to make 
provisions for the negroes, and for the planting of the crops 
in the Spring. 

As the numerous creeks, bays, and lagoons in that country 
rendered the smuggling of supplies from it to the enemy so 
very easy, the whole question of supply to that region of 
goods which might possibly be used for the Rebel Army was 
put into the hands of that Commission, and it was their duty 
to supply the planters, who chose to carry on their plantations, 
at fair market prices, in order that permits might not be con- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 35 

tinually asked for supplies to that country, which might be 
forwarded to the Rebels. 

I speak from memory, but something like three-quarters 
of a million of dollars worth of personal property was taken 
possession of by the Commission. Plantations were leased, 
laborers were sent back on them, supplies were furnished to a 
large amount, and the whole affair was in course of successful 
experiment when I was relieved. 

It was never intended that the property so taken and held 
in trust by the Commission should be put into the hands of, 
or mingled with the Quarter Masters funds of the Depart 
ment, but was to be held for the purpose of being paid over to 
the claimant when he should come forward, if found to be 
entitled thereto, and only that which should be found, after 
proper adjudication, to belong to the United States, after pay 
ing expenses should be turned over to the Quarter Masters 
Department. By this means each claim could be properly 
ascertained in regard to the amount which should be paid. 
No injustice could be done to any party. The Commission 
could then adjudicate on the spot with all the evidence before 
them, and all the means of investigation around them, and 
would then have in their possession, the precise money which 
was received for the property sold for the party claimant, or 
for the LTnited States. Many hearings were had, much prop 
erty restored, and in some cases appeals were made from the 
decision of the Commission to the Commanding General, 
and were heard and decided by him. 

But upon General Banks taking command of the Depart 
ment of the Gulf, apparently without investigation into the 
subject, and certainly without any conference with the Gen 
eral whom he relieved, but who offered him every facility and 
every means of information in his power, the assets of the Com 
mission were ordered to be turned over to the Chief Quarter 
Master of the Department and mingled with the Quarter 
Master s funds, and spent for the use of the Army, so that now, 
the claims, many of them just, because the property was not 
taken under any claims of confiscation, but only for the preser 
vation of the rights of loyal citizens, as well as those of the 
United States, come under the Treasury, and are to be adjudi 
cated at Washington. It will be therefore necessary that the 
books and accounts of that Commission should be forwarded 
to the War Office, and placed in the hands of whoever shall 
attempt to adjudicate them, and I would respectfully suggest 



36 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

that the Commission of proper officers of the Department of 
the Gulf be ordered to forward their books, papers, and fix 
tures, and all their proceedings to the War Department. But 
in event that cannot be done I will endeavor to supply the 
omission. 

Fearing that it might be necessary at some time to re- 
examine all those questions, and wishing to protect themselves 
against possibility of misunderstanding, one of the gentlemen 
connected with the Commission took the precaution to take 
duplicate copies of all papers and books, so that if there is 
not means of doing justice as well to the claimants as to the 
United States at the War Office, we have the means. At 
the War Office we have the means of ascertaining every fact 
up to the day we left, when the Chairman of the Commission 
turned over three hundred and fifty odd thousand dollars to 
the Quarter Master of the Department, most of which I 
doubt not belongs to some of the residents of the Lafourche 
District. I have, by telegraph, tendered those copies, with 
the gentleman who made them and who knows all about the 
affair, having acted as clerk of the Commission, to the Solicitor 
of the War Department for his use, and they will be at his 
services whenever he desires them. 

Permit me in closing to say that I hope the affairs of the 
Commission up to 15th Dec. 1862 will be examined with the 
utmost scrutiny, care, and discrimination. After that date I 
have no interest in it, or care whether it is investigated or not, 
presuming it was all done right afterwards, as I believe it was 
judicially and properly carried on before that time. I have 
the honor to be very respectfully, 

Your obt. servt. y B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

The Sequestration Commission 

Under General Order No. 91, Department of the Gulf, 

Gen. BUTLER 

THIS commission commenced by having three Provost 
Marshals in Lafourche District (others probably in other 
Districts). This commission applied and had jurisdiction 
only over all territory above New Orleans. Territory below 
New Orleans was in charge of a Mr. Weed, supervisor of plan 
tations there (there was but a few of them). The Provost 
Marshals were appointed by General Butler. Captain T. K. 
Fuller, Captain Fiske of Donaldsonville, Colonel 1st Louisiana 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 37 

Infantry, and - - were Provost Marshals. These did 

all the seizing of property aided by military forces. 

The mode of operation was for the Provost Marshal to take 
a detachment of soldiers and teams, and visit the different 
plantations, and seize all the sugar, cotton, and molasses. 
The seizure was complete of all property except farming 
utensils. This property was taken from the plantations by 
teams, railing, etc., to New Orleans. These seizures were 
made on all the plantations in the military lines of the Depart 
ment. The property \vas sold at public auction at New Or 
leans for money, and the money credited to the estate or per 
son from whom it was seized. 

Much of the property, after being carried to New Orleans, 
was released to the owners on their proving themselves loyal, 
and their ownership, and paying for the transportation, etc. 
Notice was always given of the seizure to give time to owners 
to make their claims before sale. After sale the proceeds 
were given in the same way with the same limitations. 

The Commission existed after General Butler left, after 
General Banks, who ordered no more seizures to be made by 
General Order No. 8. The property that was on hand, how 
ever, was disposed of as before, and all claims were settled as 
before. The funds, proceeds of the sales, were in the hands 
of the Commission, but were turned over to General Banks 
Chief Quarter Master of the Department, Colonel S. B. Hola- 
bird, who now holds them. Amount turned over to Hola- 
bird, $332,576 22/100 in cash now in his hands. December 23, 
1862. 

In order to supply the inhabitants with goods necessary for 
existence, such as groceries, clothes, books, shoes, family sup 
plies, General Butler established mercantile agencies, seven 
in all. Each agency kept a store for the sale of these articles. 
The Agents were under strict supervision of Provost Marshals, 
and were responsible and reliable men, whose duty was to 
take care that no property should go beyond our lines. The 
goods were supplied by the funds of the Commission and 
charged in the Commission books. These goods were pur 
chased in New Orleans for cash of traders there. The amount 
of stock of these Agencies on hand at the time of turning over 
the cash (December 23, 1862) was $192,365. 

By order No. 8, Par. 4, all supplies were directed to be sold, 
etc. (see that order). Thereupon, all Agents sent down to 
New Orleans all their stock on hand, and this closed up said 



38 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Agencies. In doing this there was a loss of $98,000. So 
many goods being thrown upon the market, they would hardly 
pay their freight down to New Orleans. 

It had been the practise of these agencies to furnish planters 
goods on credit when they had not the means of going on with 
their plantations, and this gave lien on the crops. This order 
made a loss of this lien. Value thus lost $20,000 to $22,000. 

The books are now in charge of the Chief Quarter Master 
at New Orleans. Charles [J.] Palmer, who was Secretary of 
the Commission and makes this statement, has copies of bal 
ance sheets thereof. 

From C. J. Palmer 

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 12^, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

ON the 10th of April, 1863, when Palmer left, claims having 
been previously settled and paid out of the sequestration fund, 
the balances on hand were, 

$269,806.97 in hands of CM. Q. M. Holabird. 
251,162.00 " " Cong. Col. Beckwith. 

1,218.32 Bills receivable. 

21,052.87 " Collectable. 



$543,240.16 

Memo. After General Banks took command, under his 
direction new commissioners were appointed by General Banks 
(see order No. 8), and these commissioners went on settling 
claims as before, under Banks order, and did settle claims 
and pay out the amount of $173,838. Mr. Palmer shows a 
list of the items. 

C. J. PALMER, Late Secretary of U. S. Seques 
tration Corps under Gen. Butler and 
Gen Banks 

From General Butler 

April 7, 1864 

Brig. Gen. E. R. S. CANBY, Asst. Adjt. Genl. 

COMMUNICATION from the Sec y of War through you in 
relation to the Sequestration Commission under Order No. 
91 of the Dept. of the Gulf, has been received, asking me to 
report the proceedings of that Commission for the information 
of Mr. Whiting, Solicitor of the War Dept., who is investigat 
ing claims under it. I can give a report, but it will be a general 
one. I have within my control the Sec y and Clerk of that 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 39 

Commission, a man of intelligence who has preserved copies 
of all the books and proceedings, and can give all items of its 
receipts and expenditures. Shall I send him with his vouchers 
to Mr. Whiting? BNJ p 



From General Butler 

FORT MONROE, VA., April 8th, 1864 

Hon. P. H. WATSON, Assistant Secretary of War 

WE are about going into the field. I have got one battalion 
of Baker s cavalry, and two unmounted battalions are at 
Washington. I must have them within ten days. Please 
see that they are equipped. I apply to you because then I 
always get what I want. 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 824. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 8th, 1864 

Mr. HARVEY BARNES, NORFOLK, VA. 

SIR: You appeal to me in behalf of Capt. Swift by a tie 
which never should be lightly invoked, and certainly not for 
an unworthy object. 

If you have taken the obligations which you claim, you 
know that they do not call upon either of us to interfere to 
protect the criminal or defend the wrong. We should go many 
miles, aye even bare foot, and over frozen ground, to aid a 
worthy brother; but not one inch outside of the path of duty 
to aid an unworthy one. 

If I could believe for a moment that this was Capt. Swift s 
first offense, without any appeal to my Masonic obligations I 
would overlook it, but I am well assured that it is not; and 
charges for other like offenses are filed against him, previous 
to this time. Therefore I must do my duty by sending him 
to a Court Martial, of which you say he is a member, and the 
service, whose uniform he wears. I have the honor to be, 
very respectfully, R R BUTLER> 

Maj. Gen. Commanding 



40 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April Sth, 1864 

Brig. General E. A. WILD, Commdg. at NORFOLK, VA. 

GENERAL: I give you a sentence in a letter from the Hon. 
Henry Wilson, Chairman of the Military Commission, which 
may be of interest to you. After receiving your note I tele 
graphed him. The sentence is as follows: 

"General Wild s name was before the Senate, and was sent 
back to have the words for colored troops stricken out, when 
it will be acted on favorably." 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From D. Heaton 

Office of Third Tr. Agency, NEWBERN, N.C., April Sth, 1864 

Major General PECK 

SIR: I have fully examined the papers sent to me by you 
relating to the seizure of the schooner "Sample," and have 
also read the remarks and strictures made by the Chief Prov 
ost Marshal, and therewith respectfully return the same. 

While it is true that the place where the vessel went is 
within the lines of our "trade district" as established by you 
and myself, yet it is palpable the schooner ought not to have 
gone there. The vessel is undoubtedly liable to confiscation 
for a gross violation of Treasury and Military regulations in 
going to a point not designated in the clearance. Proceedings 
will doubtless be had accordingly. 

After saying this, it seems to me that a few general obser 
vations are necessary. The subject of internal water communi 
cation is one of deep interest, in my judgment, to the Military, 
Naval, and Civil interest of North Carolina. The sounds, 
rivers, and creeks of the Eastern part of this state are peculiar, 
and seem absolutely necessary for inter-communication. Let 
them all be closed against navigation at one time, and the 
amount of embarrassment and suffering would be incalculable. 

The important point to be attained at present seems to be 
how far they can be navigated and used for purposes of neces 
sary and legitimate trade without benefitting the enemy or 
injuring our own cause. 

It is hardly necessary for me to assert that it is the earnest 
wish of this agency to co-operate with the Military and Naval 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 41 

authorities in rendering the trade which is allowed, as clear 
and exempt as possible from contact with the enemy. 

I find in some instances permits have been recently given 
in an informal way, and contrary to my intentions. When 
ever these facts are brought to my notice, however, I take 
immediate steps to remedy the error and prevent a repetition 
of the same. 

I have just completed a circular letter, addressed to all the 
Local Treasury Agents in the state as well as to the Collector 
and other officers in the revenue service, a copy of which I 
herewith send you for your information. I think you will 
see that such instructions have been given as will have a marked 
influence in preventing future violations of trade regulations. 
I shall expect a strict compliance with the instructions issued. 

While it is true that errors have been made on the part of 
some engaged in the service of the Treasury Department, yet 
I have no hesitancy in asserting that the services which have 
been rendered by the different local agencies have been of the 
highest importance, not only to the Government but to the 
loyal and suffering people within our military lines. Thou 
sands of needy persons, men, women, and children have been 
literally fed and clothed through the instrumentality of these 
treasury agencies. The evidence in this regard is too over 
whelming to admit of dispute. It is susceptible of the clear 
est demonstration that the excellent system by which this 
humane object has been performed has relieved the Military 
and Naval Departments of a vast amount of labor, vexation, 
and embarrassment. While food and clothing has thus been 
furnished, loyal sentiment has been nurtured and strengthened. 

When we come to compare the condition of trade in Eastern 
North Carolina under the present Treasury Regulations with 
that which existed eight months or a year since, the change 
for the better is most palpable. Then it was a matter of 
notoriety that large quantities of goods and supplies went 
beyond our lines, occasioned by the irregular and irresponsible 
manner in which business was transacted. Noiv, if a few 
articles only reach the hands of the enemy it creates general 
surprise. While the Chief Provost Marshal indulges freely 
in legitimate criticism, and presents in strong terms the faults 
of one or two officers, it would seem no more than just that he 
should recollect what has been accomplished for the general 
interest. 

The allusions having a bearing upon those engaged in the 



42 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

revenue service will be referred to in another official paper 
which will soon go before you. My earnest desire is that 
while the rights and powers of each department in the public 
service shall be scrupulously respected, such a course shall be 
taken as will insure harmony and concert of action in the 
future. All the power and influence I have will be exerted to 

Very respectfully, Your obdt. Servant, 
D. HEATON, Sup. Spl. Agt. Tr. Dept. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Va. & N. C. f FORT MONROE, April 8th, 1864 

Lt. Gen. GRANT, Commanding Armies of the U. S. 

GENERAL: Wincoop s Regiment of Cavalry, stationed at 
Harrisburg I understand, commanded by a very excellent 
officer, is now full, and I respectfully ask that it may be or 
dered to this Department. I also desire that you will order 
me a first class Brig. General for a Cavalry Officer. I have 
none in my Department, and referring to my conversation 
with you as to a Cavalry movement, you will see the neces 
sity. I ask that Lt. Col. Bowen, A. A. General, now with 
the 9th Army Corps, be ordered to report to me for duty with 
General Smith, provided General Burnside offers no objec 
tion. I am afraid that there may be some hitch in transpor 
tation in view of that which has been sent to General Gilmore, 
and the delay getting off from New York, and also because the 
sea-going vessels drawing 15 feet will be hardly able to ascend 
the bars of York River and the Pamunky with 9 ft. of water, 
but will endeavor to do everything I may to remedy the evil. 
I beg leave to call your attention to the substance of a tele 
gram forwarded you today with regard to the detail of Col. 
Hiram Burnham to take charge of a Brigade, and also beg 
leave to refer to Generals Hazen and Neal. General Brooks 
has been ordered to report here, but has not yet done so, and 
in view of what has taken place probably will not do so. For 
this reason I press the applications for Generals Hazen and 
Neal. If General Brooks should be confirmed as Major 
General, he would rank General Smith, which I suppose was 
not your intention, but I understand that his name has been 
withdrawn. I have the honor to be, 

Very Respectfully, Your obedient Servant, 
BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 43 

From General Butler 

April 8, 1864 

Lieut. Gen I GRANT, Comdg. Armies of the U. S. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

PLEASE order Col. Hiram Burnham, 6th Maine, whose name 
is now before the Senate for appointment as a Brigadier, to 
me to take a Brigade, & also Gen ls. Hazen & Neal if possible. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l. Comdg. 

From General Grant 

CULPEPPER COURT-HOUSE, VA., April 8, 1864 

Major-General HALLECK 

IT is the intention to operate up the James River as far as 
City Point, and all the co-operation the navy can give, we 
want. Two of the iron-clads are wanted as soon as they can 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General Commanding 
From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from CULPEPPER, April 8, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comd g. 

GENERAL W. H. T. BROOKS, a reliable Division Commander, 
has been ordered to you. Hazen nor Neal can be spared from 
where they are without injury to the service. I will find out 
if Colonel Burnham can go, and if so, send him. 

U. S. GRANT, Lt. Gen l. 

From D. L. Dix to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, April 9th, 1864 

MY DEAR SIR: I am this instant in receipt of your letter, 
for which I thank you. I certainly hope that the steamer 
from which so many lives were saved from destruction by 
wreck may have been that spoken by the "Fulton," but we 
fear it is not. 

Your reference to the captain s use of so large quarters on 
the Flag of Truce boat surprised me. I answered inquiries, 
"Why there was so little room for the use of Army officers 
etc.," by explaining how the vessel was occupied and sup 
posing the officers of the boat had permission to use so large 
portion of the comfortable parts of the boat, but of course 
little was left for our returning officers from Richmond. 

I had no idea of complaining of abuses in your Department 



44 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

certainly I should at once, if I felt called on to complain, 
address you in the few instances. My knowledge of your 
readiness to "rule all your affairs rightly," and experience of 
your energy, promptitude, and justice, leave me no reason to 
pass you by and appeal to a higher command, and Major Mul- 
ford certainly had no more room than was absolutely neces 
sary for the transaction of the business he was expected to 
accomplish. 

When I see you I think I can explain some facts connected 
with the boat it is not now important to state, and which it 
is probable have led to enquiries here on the part of the De 
partment. I have certainly heard at Annapolis as well as in 
Washington, severe remarks on the lack of proper care for the 
invalid and sick returned prisoners, and I have myself taken 
occasion to say that I openly and fully censured the Hospital, 
and told Dr. Elliot I could hardly feel justified in not report 
ing the same to the Medical director. 

If it has not been in all respects reformed, I hold myself 
ready to be called in evidence that it was disgracefully fithy 
and neglected, and that the steward was totally incompetent 
though he meant well perhaps. Yours Sir, with faith and 

g od - wi11 D. L. Dix 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 9th, 1864 

Hon. E. M. ST ANTON, Secretary of War 

SIR: Upon the last Flag of Truce boat which carried up 
Confederate Prisoners in our hands, I sent up from Point 
Lookout some four hundred odd prisoners, being the wounded 
and sick Confederates who were sufficiently convalescent to 
bear the voyage. 

Upon the return of the boat, I was informed by Major Mul- 
ford that the Confederate Agent of Exchange would meet me on 
the James River on Wednesday the - - March. Accordingly 
I received notice from Admiral Lee, late in the evening of that 
day, that a Flag of Truce boat was seeking communication 
at the outer picket line of the blockading fleet, at the mouth 
of the James River. 

The same messenger brought a communication from Rob 
ert Quid, Esq., Agent of Exchange of the authorities of the 
belligerents at Richmond, directed to Major General Butler, 
Agent for the Exchange of Prisoners on behalf of the United 
States, signed with the official Signature of "Robert Quid, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 45 

Agent of Exchange Confederate States," informing me that he 
was then on board of the Confederate States Steamer "Roa- 
noke," and desired an interview upon the subject of exchange. 

Deeming this to be an official recognition of the Commis 
sioner of Exchange of the United States, on behalf of the 
belligerent authorities at Richmond, and an abnegation of 
the letter to General Hitchcock, Commissioner of Exchange of 
the date, Dec. 27th, 1863, refusing to treat with myself as 
Commissioner of Exchange on the part of the United States, 
I sent Major Mulford with a steamer to officially inform Mr. 
Quid that I would confer with him as proposed, and suggested 
as a matter of comfort to both parties that he should meet 
me with his assistant at Fortress Monroe. Owing to the 
darkness, and storminess of the weather, he was not able to 
come down the river until the following day. 

Upon meeting, Mr. Ould informed me that most of the sol 
diers of the United States in the hands of his authorities had 
been sent to Americus, Ga., for the convenience of furnishing 
them with food, and for the purpose of relieving us from the 
temptations of continual movements upon Richmond for the 
purpose of their liberation, and that in further exchange he 
would desire to have these prisoners delivered to us at Fort 
Pulaski, in Savannah River, and urged as a reason that it was 
more desirable to have them come by sea than to suffer the 
discomforts of a ride of many hundred miles by railroad. 
From motives of tenderness to the prisoners, and to prevent 
their being broken down by the journey, I assented that in 
case the exchange went forward our Government would receive 
those prisoners at that point, although the expenditure would 
be much heavier than at City Point; but leaving that question 
as well as the other, whether the prisoners held by us in the 
West might not be delivered somewhere on the Mississippi 
River, and thus save an expensive land transportation, to be 
adjusted by future conference, after other questions of more 
moment were settled. 

We then proceeded to discuss the points of difference which 
had arisen in the matter of Exchange, and the points reduced 
themselves to a few, which for more convenience for refer 
ence were put in a memorandum, a copy of which is herewith 
enclosed. I confess that, excepting the first point, as to 
persons of color, which I beg leave to discuss last, I can see 
no reason why an agreement upon all points of differences 
cannot be arrived at, upon just and equitable terms. 



46 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

In regard to the paroles, the Confederate Commissioner 
claims nothing, so far as I can see, which he is not willing to 
concede to us, acting under the cartel and our General Orders, 
with the exception that I believe on both sides it should be 
yielded that as well before as subsequently to Order No. 207, 
of July 3rd, 1863, that paroles should not be accepted by either 
belligerents, of officers or soldiers, who were not so far in the 
power of the captor as to be taken to a place of safety, and I 
believe this proposition will be agreed to by the Confederate 
Commissioner, although for paroles given prior to July 3rd 
I was at a loss to answer the fact claimed, which I supposed 
to be the fact, that paroles of prisoners taken on raids had been 
insisted upon on the behalf of the United States, as in the case 
of Kilpatrick s first expedition to Richmond, and had been 
allowed and counted by the Confederate authorities. But I 
have still no doubt that that matter can be easily adjusted. 

The next question of difference that presented itself in dis 
cussing what paroles should be allowed, was the necessity of 
defining what is the meaning of the words "Commanders of 
two opposing Armies in the Field," as used in the Order No. 
207. And this was further complicated with the question 
when that Order should be considered as taking effect. 
Whether at its date, July 3rd, 1863, or on the date of its 
being notified to the Confederate Commissioner of Exchange, 
July 8th, or at some other period. The practical result of the 
difference of opinion upon this question would be this : pf] the 
"Commanding Officer of an Army in the Field," should only 
mean an officer actually commanding a Military Department, 
or an Expeditionary Corps, in a given section of country, and 
the Order should be held to take effect July 3rd, the day of 
its date, then the Confederate Commissioner claims that the 
paroles at Vicksburg were invalid, under Order No. 207, 
which took effect July 3rd, as the surrender was July 4th by 
General Pemberton, who was not "Commander of the Army 
in the Field," the Commander of the Dept. being General 
Johnson, who was then within a few miles, and the immediate 
superior of Genl. Pemberton, who was not negotiated with in 
the act of capitulation at Vicksburg. Or if it should be held 
that Order No. 207 took effect on the 8th of July, the date of 
its notification to the Confederate Commissioner, then the 
paroles at Port Hudson would be invalid, because that sur 
rendered on the 9th of July by Colonel Gardner, an inferior 
officer of the Confederate States Army, in command of a forti- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 47 

fied post simply, who would in no ordinary sense be deemed 
to be a "Commander of an Army in the Field," he in fact being 
at that time under the command of General Johnson. 

And it was further claimed that upon this point Gen. Banks 
had himself given a construction as to what was meant by a 
"Commander of an Army in the Field," by refusing to recog 
nize the paroles of the Colonel commanding New Liberia, 
who, being a subordinate of Gen. Banks, surrendered to Gen. 
Dick Taylor, commanding Confederate Forces, and negotiated 
paroles of himself and men without the consent of his immediate 
superior, Genl. Banks, who was at that time further distant 
with the remainder of his Army from New Liberia, where the 
surrender was effected, than was General Johnson from Port 
Hudson at the time Col. Gardner, the Commander there, 
negotiated the surrender of that fortified place, \vith General 
Banks. There might be no other cases cited on the side of 
the United States, but these claims of the Confederate Com 
missioner will sufficiently illustrate the importance of the 
question, and the necessity of agreeing, in case the exchange 
goes on, upon some principle which shall obviate the difficulty, 
and therefore the definition was suggested which appears 
upon the point discussed, to wit: That in addition to the gen 
eral meaning, it ought to include a Commander of a besieging 
force and the Commander of the fortified place besieged. 
Also to Commanders of detached forces, acting for the time 
independently of Head Quarters, either by order, or because 
of the necessities of warlike operations, where it is in the power 
of the captor to hold and bring his prisoners. 

And it was further suggested that to cover all the cases 
[sufficiently], both on the one side and on the other, as to 
the time General Order 207 should take effect, that it should 
be held to take effect within a reasonable time after its pro 
mulgation for the Order to have reached the Commanding 
Officer giving the parole, which time should be judged of 
according to the distance from Washington. And I think 
upon both these points an agreement upon the bases here 
suggested may be arrived at, so as to settle without further 
debate the capitulations of both Vicksburg and Port Hudson, 
and others standing in like cases. In order to prevent any 
temptation for the capturing party to take along the sick and 
wounded of the other party, who are not able to be moved, 
another modification of General Order No. 207 was suggested, 
to wit: that when the captured party is disabled or wounded, 



48 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

so that his transportation would endanger life or limb, then 
his own parole should be respected if he is released. 

To prevent the complications which now arise by the unau 
thorized, sporadic, and ill-judged acts of some officers holding 
commands in the Rebel forces, I suggested another addition 
to the cartel which is found as the last point of discussion, 
to wit: in all cases of condemnation to death, imprisonment 
at hard labor, or confinement in irons, except upon sentence 
of death, of any person in the Military or Naval Service of 
either belligerent, before execution of the sentence the copy 
of the records of the trial and conviction shall be submitted 
to the Agent of Exchange of the accused party, and unless a 
communication of an order of retaliation within fifteen days 
thereafter be made to the Agent of Exchange furnishing the 
records, no retaliation for such execution or for such other 
punishment shall be claimed or executed by the other party. 

By this the continual necessity for retaliation [which] be 
cause of unauthorized acts of individual officers, and the cruel 
treatment of prisoners by confinement in irons causelessly or 
without hearing, might call for retaliation on the other side, 
can be prevented so that the Confederate authorities and the 
Government of the United States can both assume the respon 
sibility of any act of this sort before it is committed, and not 
be called upon after the act is done to either assume, disap 
prove, or retaliate it. 

If all the points of this discussion in the memoranda could 
be fully settled, and the principle upon which paroles should 
be allowed on the one side and on the other could be adjusted 
and faithfully acted upon, I do not see why the exchange 
under the cartel ought not to go on. The cartel was a very 
hard bargain against us, but still it is our compact, and I 
suppose it is to be stood by; the details of these paroles I 
have no doubt all can be perfectly and satisfactorily settled 
upon the principle I have suggested, none being claimed or 
allowed on either side except where officers and soldiers of 
known and recognized military organizations shall have been 
captured, provided always that citizens may be paroled and 
changed for citizens. The question of paroles becomes of 
less consequence to settle in detail, because after allowing all 
the paroles of the Confederates claimed by them as now exist 
ing on their behalf, and allowing the ten thousand paroled at 
Vicksburg declared exchanged, which the Confederate Com 
missioner claims he had a right to declare exchanged under 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 49 

the cartel to meet an equal number of prisoners actually de 
livered to us at City Point, which we have a right to declare 
exchanged, there will then remain a balance of paroles in favor 
of the United States of some twenty-five thousand men; the 
Confederate Commissioner claiming to have now in his hands 
only sixteen thousand paroles. 

I would suggest, therefore, that, passing the first question 
which I now desire to bring to your notice, I have authority 
to settle and determine all these questions of paroles upon the 
basis suggested in the "Points of Discussion" and in this 
note, because I think it important to get these questions out 
of discussion and out of difficulty and settled between the 
Confederate Authorities and the LTnited States, in order that 
the only question which shall prevent a full and just carrying 
out of the cartel shall be the very important one which stands 
at the head of these Points of Discussion. Because while I 
do not believe that the good sense of the Country, the justice 
of the Government, or humanity towards our suffering brother- 
soldiers in the Confederate prisons, will permit us for a moment 
to break off the cartel upon any difference arising from any 
of these questions about paroles, numbers, and details of pa 
roled men, which can be settled upon the basis adjusted in 
this note, yet I do believe that the dignity of the Government, 
its right to its self-respect and the respect of other Nations, 
require us to hold with a hand rigid as iron the point of dis 
cussion first presented, and that we shall be justified not only 
by the judgment of the civilized world, but by the self-respect 
of our Government and by the consent of all good men, and 
even by those of our sons and brothers who may suffer in 
prison because of the stand we take, as well as by our own 
consciences in refusing for a moment to permit those black 
men whom we have made free, uniformed and armed, and put 
in our service, when captured to be treated as slaves. 

And I desire therefore that this point of difference between 
the United States Government and the Confederate authori 
ties shall stand out alone, full justification, if not yielded by 
them, for setting aside the cartel, because of a gross violation 
of it by the Confederate authorities. It will be remembered 
that by the Declaration and Proclamation of Jefferson Davis, 
of December 23rd, 1862, that all officers commanding colored 
troops were to be delivered over to the Governors of States 
to be punished under their laws for inciting negro insurrec 
tions, which is a paraphrase for punishment [by] ignominious 

VOL. IV 4 



50 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

death, and that the colored soldiers so commanded were not 
to be treated as prisoners of war, but were to be turned over 
to their masters to hard labor as slaves, and that this was 
substantially the recommendation of Mr. Davis s message to 
the Confederate Congress, and that an Act was passed sub 
stantially in accordance with this recommendation. Now, 
while it may be conceded as a usage of civilized warfare, that 
prisoners of war necessarily supported by the capturing 
Government may be employed by that Government to labor 
upon public work, yet it has never been, among nations mak 
ing professions of Christianity, held that captives of war, 
either by land or sea, could be made slaves. And it will 
also be remembered that the United States Government went 
to war with Tripoli and other Barbary powers, in 1804, to 
force them at the cannon s mouth to repudiate this doctrine. 
It will be seen that the Confederate Commissioner, however, 
has so far modified his claim that officers in command of col 
ored troops and free negroes, although both may be serving in 
company with slaves as soldiers in the Army of the United 
States, are to be treated as prisoners of war, so that the ques 
tion of difference between us now is not one of color, because 
it is admitted now that free black men of the loyal states are 
to be treated as prisoners of war. But the claim is that every 
person of color who ever was a slave in the thirteen Confed 
erate States shall not be treated as prisoners of war, but when 
captured are to be deemed to be slaves, and may be turned 
over to their masters as such by the Confederate Government. 
Now, as the United States Government has by the Procla 
mation of the President, and by the law of Congress, emanci 
pated all slaves that have sought refuge within the lines of 
the Union Army, declared that they shall not be returned to 
their masters, and as men heretofore slaves when duly enrolled 
in the United States Army must be deemed and taken to be 
within the Union lines, therefore we have no slaves in our 
Army, and the question is whether we shall permit the belli 
gerents opposed to us to make slaves of the free men that they 
capture in our uniform, simply because of their color; because 
upon no ground of national law, so far as I am advised, can it 
be claimed for a moment that to any slave from any State 
when found within our lines any right of property can attach 
in behalf of his former master; because treating the slaves as 
property only, his capture by us from a belligerent would 
give the captor the right of property, the jus disposendi, and 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 51 

we have exercised that right by disposition of making him 
free. 

But suppose we had not done so, recapture on land by the 
Confederate forces, treating them as representatives of a 
Government, would make the slave as an article of property 
the property of the Government that captured him, and would 
by no means replace the title in the former owner. 

To use an illustration which has occurred to my mind. 
Suppose on land we captured from the Rebels a horse, belong 
ing to "A," that here disposed of by our Government is taken 
into the Government service, and is afterwards recaptured by 
the Confederate forces, would there be any doubt that 
the property in the animal would have been divested from the 
original owner "A" by the first capture, and come to the 
United States and given to the Confederate Government by 
the second capture. 

Further to permit this would be a violation of the laws of 
some of these very Confederate States. Virginia has emanci 
pated her slaves by provisions which no one can doubt must 
be held, according to every usage, to be operative within the 
lines of the United States Army. Many slaves are thus made 
free who are now in our Army, and we cannot of course suffer 
them to be enslaved by the fact of the capture by the Rebels. 

I understand this right to thus dispose of black soldiers in 
arms to be made a sine qua non by the Confederates, and there 
fore I take leave to suggest that I may be instructed to settle 
with the Confederate Commissioner upon further conference 
with him all points of difference except this, and to declare 
exchanged numbers equal in either side heretofore delivered 
and paroled, so that this point may be left standing out sharply 
alone, and in regard to it, to insist that the cartel applies, as 
it does apply, to these colored prisoners of war, and that no 
further exchange can go on by the delivery of prisoners cap 
tured until this point is yielded, with the purpose, but not with 
the threat of exact retaliation, in exact kind and measure 
upon their men, of the treatment received by ours. 

Awaiting instructions, I have the honor to be very respect 
fully, Y our O u. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



52 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Memorandum of Points discussed between Benj. F. Butler, 
U. S. Agent of Exchange, and Robert Quid, C. S. Agent of 
Exchange, at a Conference at Fortress Monroe, March 31st, 
1864 

UNITED STATES claims that cartel should be set aside be 
cause of the declaration of authorities of Confederates of 
December 23rd, 1862, of January 12th, 1863, and Act of Con 
federate States Congress in regard to treatment of officers 
in command of colored troops and their troops. 

Officers and men (not slaves), even if serving with slaves in 
the United States forces, shall be treated as prisoners of war. 

That slaves captured shall not be treated as prisoners of 
war, and that a right exists at the pleasure of the Confederate 
States to return them when captured to their former owners, 
being in the Confederacy. 

By slaves are meant persons held to life-service by masters 
belonging within the States of Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, 
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South 
Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. 

Confederate States claim paroles of all officers and soldiers 
(not citizens) captured and paroled by commanding officers of 
Armies and Expeditions prior to July 3rd, 1863, as per General 
Orders prior to Order No. 207, and all captured and paroled 
by officers of Armies since. 

It may be granted to persons in the Military and Navy 
Service paroled, who could not be held and brought away, 
and held in confinement by the forces upon such expeditions. 

To this it is answered that United States have claimed and 
had allowed in exchange paroled men captured on raids, like 
Kilpatrick s raid, who could not be brought away by the 
expeditionary force; and if practicable would be willing to 
adjust accounts in that way from the beginning, but do not 
believe it to be practicable. 

It is suggested that Order No. 207 shall apply only to paroles 
granted after a reasonable time for the Order to have reached 
the Commanding Officer, giving the parole time to be judged 
of in each according to his position and distance from 
Washington. 

For the purpose of the cartel, who shall be held to be Com 
manders of two opposing Armies in the Field? A definition 
is suggested that in addition to the general meaning it 
ought to include a Commander of a besieging force and the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 53 

Commander of the fortified place besieged, also to Commanders 
of detached forces, acting for the time independently of Head 
quarters, either by order or because of the necessity of warlike 
operations, where it is in the power of the captor to hold and 
bring off his prisoners. 

It is further suggested, when the captured party is disabled 
or wounded, so that his transportation would endanger life 
or limb, then his own parole should be respected if he is released. 

In other respects cartel to be carried out, and exchange and 
parole to go forward, according to its prisoners. 

In all cases of condemnation to death, imprisonment to 
hard labor, or confinement in irons, except upon sentence of 
death, of any person in the Military or Naval Service, of either 
belligerent, before execution of the sentence the copy of the 
record trial and conviction shall be submitted to the Agent of 
Exchange of the accused party, and unless a communication 
of an order of retaliation within fifteen days thereafter be 
made to the Agent of Exchange, furnishing the record, no 
retaliation for such execution or for such punishment shall be 
claimed or executed by the other party. 

From Admiral Lee 

Flag-Ship Xorth Atlantic Blockading Squadron, 
Off NEWPORT NEWS, VA., April 9, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Department of Virginia and 
North Carolina 

GENERAL: The vicinity of Smithfield and Chuckatuck are 
known to be infested by guerillas, who are reported to have 
boats concealed up those creeks and their tributaries. You 
are aware that the rebels have an organized system of boat 
expeditions all along the coast, operating at one time from 
creeks in Matthews and Gloucester Counties against the East 
ern Shore counties, Cape Charles lighthouse, &c.; at another 
time against the gunboat "Underwriter" at Newbern, and 
now against this ship here. In all these cases they harbor in 
the vicinity of their operations. This was explained by your 
prisoner, Acting Master Webb, of the rebel Navy, captured 
while thus engaged in the Neck counties near Yorktown, 
where, as in the vicinity of Smithfield, &c., the small creeks 
are numerous and not accessible to our gunboats. 

I respectfully suggest that you send at once a sufficient 
force to capture these rebels and destroy their boats on the 
upper creeks, and to co-operate with a naval force to prevent 



54 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

their escape by the river, which I will send as soon as you are 
ready. I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully 

y urs > S. P. LEE, 

Acting Rear-Admiral, Comdg. N. A. B. Squadron 

War Rec., No. 1, p. 834. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORT MONROE, VA., April 9th, 1864 

Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

SIR: I have the honor to report upon the case of the Rev. 
Geo. D. Armstrong, upon the complaint made to the Hon. the 
Secretary of State from Anna Silliman, a sister of said Arm 
strong, who claims some favor from the Secretary of State on 
the ground that she visited at the same house he did in 1819. 

Without stopping to remark upon the issue of misrepre 
sentations and falsehoods contained in the letter concerning 
my action, or the idea of the applicant upon what constitutes 
neutrality, or stopping to inquire what may be her definition 
of a "good union neutral," I take leave to at once proceed to 
the facts. 

The Rev. Dr. Armstrong having signalized himself some 
years ago by a book containing an ardent defence of the Chris 
tian authority upon which human slavery was established, and 
having proved conclusively to those whose interests it was to 
believe that God had ordained that certain men should labor 
forever for certain others without compensation, did more 
probably to bring about this war than all his preaching had 
ever done good. Remaining in Portsmouth after its evacua 
tion by the rebels, I find his house, his society, and his influence 
more prejudicial to the interests of the United States than 
would have been a company of rebel cavalry in the same situa 
tion. I was somewhat surprised to hear that he took the 
Oath of Allegiance upon the publication of General Order 49 
in December last, but learning that there was a meeting held 
by some of the leading secessionists and rebels of Norfolk and 
Portsmouth, in which it was concluded that the oath could be 
taken to save their property, and they remain in the same 
vein and heart toward the United States as before the taking 
of the Oath, the matter was explained. 

The next information I had of him was that he not only 
refused to pray for the President of the United States in his 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 55 

church but was preventing those that would, saying that 
"there were two parties to please here." 

The next thing that was brought to my knowledge of him 
was that in company with his father-in-law, Charles Reed, 
coming out of the Provost Marshal s Office, fresh from taking 
the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, both of them, 
Reed said to him that he "should like to spit in the face of the 
Northern Yankees," a remark which would have been innocu 
ous enough in itself, because it could not have made Armstrong 
more disloyal than he really was, but it so pleased him that he 
felt it his duty to retail the story about Portsmouth, for the 
purpose of encouraging others to take the oath in the same 
spirit; and being a clergyman his example seemed to give a 
sort of absolution to his flock to commit perjury by being dis 
loyal after taking the oath as he afterwards on his examination 
admitted himself to be. 

Believing his example to be very pernicious, and hoping to 
bring him to some guide to his duty as a loyal citizen, and 
having published an order that no man should undertake to 
teach the people in my Department who was not loyal, I had 
him examined by my staff officer (a copy of which examination 
has been printed more or less correctly, and make one of the 
enclosures to me, a correct copy of which is appended to this 
report). Not wishing, however, to do Mr. Armstrong any 
injustice, after giving him some days for repentance and 
thought, I sent for him and took the trouble to examine him 
personally upon the main and more objectionable portions of 
his previous examination, and therein so far from showing 
any contrition or any repentance of his treason, he insulted 
the Government of the United States and every loyal man by 
saying that while true it was that Charles Reed, his father-in- 
law, had made the declaration "that he should like to have spit 
in the face of Northern Yankees," he pretended that he took 
that oath in the same spirit that he, Armstrong, did, and the 
only excuse for insulting language which Armstrong had caused 
to be circulated was not in the language of his advocate here, 
that he was a "good Union neutral, " but that it was the natural 
irritation of a conquered people. I had but one of two things 
to do, send him South as he desired to be, to preach and aid 
treason, or to shut him up, and believing it in my power, and 
knowing it to be my duty, I ordered his confinement. Now, 
I do not consider that I am bound to feed and house a rebel 
at the expense of the United States without an equivalent. 



56 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Therefore I directed that he should be put to labor, and so 
made my order. I respectfully submit that this is a matter of 
police regulation and punishment within my Department for 
which I am not called upon to account to any other Depart 
ment of the Government, to any one save my immediate 
superiors, and I pray the attention of the Hon. Secretary of 
War that the calling for a report upon each case which takes 
hours to prepare, solely upon the communications of the 
sisters, more or less disloyal themselves, brothers, aunts, cousins, 
uncles, and nephews of the different men we find it necessary 
to punish here, within our own jurisdiction, makes a draft 
upon the time of the Comd g General of this Department 
which renders his duties exceedingly onerous. While I am 
always happy to make a report of anything I have done, and 
only object for want of time, yet the reference of one of these 
complaints to me which is done in one minute at the Adjutant 
General s Office takes me hours to answer and prepare the nec 
essary vouchers. 

I have the honor to remain, Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, B. F. B. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 9th, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

SIR: The French Consul at Richmond is here about taking 
away his tobacco. He has called upon me for assistance, which 
I have furnished him and shall continue to do so. Upon 
examination, however, of the Convention between the two 
Governments, I find that five months were given in which to 
take away the tobacco, which expires the 23rd of this month. 

By no possibility can the French Government get away 
their tobacco from here in that time. I desire instructions 
whether I shall allow them to go beyond the time, or whether 
some new convention has been entered into extending it. I 
have the honor to be very respectfully, 

Your obt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Grant 

CULPEPPER COURT-HOUSE, VA., April 9, 1864 

Maj. Gen. G. G. MEADE, Commanding Army of the Potomac 

.... Gillmore will join Butler with about ten thousand 
men from South Carolina. Butler can reduce his garrison so 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 57 

as to take twenty-three thousand men into the field directly 
to his front. The force will be commanded by Maj.-Gen. 
W. F. Smith. With Smith and Gillmore, Butler will seize 
City Point and operate against Richmond from the south side 
of the river. His movement will be simultaneous with yours. 

Lee s army will be your objective point. Wherever Lee 
goes, there you will go also. The only point upon which I am 
now in doubt is whether it will be better to cross the Rapidan 
above or below him. Each plan presents great advantages 
over the other, with corresponding objections. By crossing 
above, Lee is cut off from all chance of ignoring Richmond and 
going north on a raid ; but if we take this route all we do must 
be done while the rations we start w T ith hold out; we separate 
from Butler, so that he cannot be directed how to co-operate. 
By the other route, Brandy Station can be used as a base 
of supplies until another is secured on the York or James 
Rivers. . . . 

Should by Lee s right flank be our route, you will want to 
make arrangements for having supplies of all sorts promptly 
forwarded to White House, on the Pamunkey. Your esti 
mates for this contingency should be made at once. If not 
wanted there, there is every probability they will be wanted 
on the James River or elsewhere. If Lee s left is turned, large 
provision will have to be made for ordnance stores. I would 
say not much short of five hundred rounds of infantry ammuni 
tion would do. By the other, half the amount would be 
sufficient. r g GRANT> Lieutenant-General 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. 18th Army Corps, Dcpt. of Virginia and N. C., 

FORT MONROE, April 10, 1864 

Rear- Admiral S. P. LEE, Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading 

Squadron 

ADMIRAL: I have your note in relation to the pirates of the 
creeks and inlets of the James River and the means of destroy 
ing them, and am desirous of co-operating with you in that 
object. I have therefore sent General Graham, who is charged 
with the duty of making all such dispositions as you may 
judge necessary after conference w T ith him, for the purpose 
indicated. Very respectfully yours, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 837. 



58 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

FORT MONROE, VA., April 10, 1864 

His Excellency A. LINCOLN, President United States 

SHALL I send a boat for yourself and party? If not, 
please telegraph me when you leave, or will arrive. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol 51. Part I, p. 1156. ^ENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Brig. Gen l HECKMAN, Getty s Line A ^ il 10 > 1864 

Is it possible in the state of the roads to move a Brigade 
from Suffolk to the Blackwater with Artillery and wagons? 
I want to capture a small force there. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April Wth, 1864 

Maj. Gen. JOHN J. PECK, Commdg. District of No. Car., 
NEWBERN, N.C. 

GENERAL: I am instructed by the Maj. Gen. Commdg. to 
instruct you to send the following batteries to this Point, viz. 
Battery "K" and "E," 3rd N. Y. Artillery. 

I am further instructed to direct you to use the first avail 
able transportation in sending the 3rd N. Y. Cavalry to this 
Point, and any surplus transportation will be used in forwarding 
the Batteries. 

The Commdg. General directs that the utmost endeavors be 
used in expediting the movement, and that all officers under 
your command connected with this movement be instructed 
to forward the same with the utmost despatch. 

All horses belonging to the 3rd N. Y. Cavalry will be sent, 
and any of the men who may be dismounted will be sent with 
the Regiment. I am, Sir, most respectfully, 

Yr. obdt. servt., 
R. S. DAVIS, Major and A. A. A. Gen. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April IQth, 1864 

DAVID S. CREAMER, U. S. Asst. Assessor, FORT MONROE 

SIR: There is no obligation on the part of the Army to 
furnish you with an office; that matter has been settled by the 
Secretary of the Treasury. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 59 

There are plenty of buildings in Norfolk which you can 
occupy. The permission you ask cannot be granted. Very 

respectfully, ^ L ,. 

Your obedient servant, 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 
From President Lincoln 

BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April llth, 1864 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, Commanding 

MRS. L. is so unwell that I now think we will not make the 
contemplated trip this week. Will notify you in time. Will 
probably get a boat here, but will accept yours if necessary. 

Thanks for your kind interest in the case. 

A. LINCOLN 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, Apr. llth, 1864- 

Lieut. Col. J. B. KINSMAN, Supt. Negro Affairs 

COLONEL: Turn over to Mrs. Stone from Capt. Brown s 
lumber three thousand feet at fifteen dollars a thousand, to 
be used in finishing the cabin for destitute colored families in 
Hampton. 

The Quartermaster will furnish transportation for this lum 
ber, to a spot to be designated by her in the rear of the "Old 
Episcopal Church." I have the honor to be, very respectfully, 

Yr. obdt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, Apr. llth, 1864 

To President American News Company 

SIR: Your note of the 8th of April is received. You have 
not been correctly informed. The privilege of selling daily and 
weekly newspapers not published in my Dept. has been put 
exclusively in the hands of one man, Mr. Bond, who pays the 
United States a certain tax for the privilege, and he is held 
responsible for the loyal character of the reading furnished the 
soldiers. By that means I have no difficulty in controlling the 
circulation of such papers as The News, The World, The Catholic 
Depository, Boston Courier and other treasonable sheets of a 
like character. Every one agrees that there ought to be regula 
tions to regulate the sale of poisonous liquors and drugs which 



60 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

kill the body. How much more ought there to be a regulation 
of the sale of poisonous and pernicious writings that kill the 
Soul. 

Mr. Bond pays a portion of the profits to the Government of 
the United States, and keeps the prices within proper limits. 

All other periodicals, such as magazines and pamphlets, are 
sold freely through the Department. 

If you have any complaints to make of his refusal to deal 
justly and properly for loyal newspapers, I should be happy 
to receive and redress them. I have the honor to be, very 
respectfully, 

Yr. obdt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, Apr. llth, 1864 

Hon. WM. P. FESSENDEN, U. S. Senator 

DEAR SIR: Anxious to have a very deserving young officer 
from your State, Col. Appleton, in my command, I have asked 
that he may be transferred, and his father, judging from the 
enclosed letter has made some interest with you to obtain the 
transfer. But by some mistake it seems that the transfer 
asked for has been for Col. Appleton s Regiment. 

Now the Sec. of War is right. I do not need the Regiment. 
I need the Commanding Officer, and he needs me. We under 
stand each other. If he were Col. of State Vols. there would 
be difficulty in transferring him. But being a Col. of U. S. C. S., 
an organization throughout the whole country, there need be 
no difficulty in the transfer. 

If you will interest yourself enough to make another applica 
tion for him I shall be obliged. It would be but justice to him 
to be transferred with his present rank. 

It is against all rules of military correspondence to speak of 
more than one subject in one letter, but I suppose to supply 
the ripe wants of a friend we might break a custom, therefore 
as I am here at one corner of the world, kept in utter ignorance 
of all political news except what I learn through the news 
papers, may I ask a word of information from you who are at 
the center of intelligence. I have the honor to be, very respect- 

fully Yr. obdt. servt., 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 61 

From Thomas J. Moore 

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., April llth, 1864 

To B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. U. S. Army 

DEAR SIR: Permit a stranger (personally) to you to address 
you, one who has long desired to do so. I was born in good old 
Massachusetts, God bless the dear old state, at the beginning 
of the present century, consequently have seen the Union 
involved in 3 wars. I have watched with intense interest all 
our prominent military men in their most important move 
ments, and have always acted politically with the most anti- 
slavery party. Am an uncompromising Union man, none 
more so. Now, what I most desire to say to you is that in my 
opinion no military man has so faithfully and justly discharged 
his duties in every case as you have. I know of no Union 
man who does not agree with me on this point. 

There is no man that I think would fill the Presidential 
chair to the best interests of the nation as B. F. Butler, and I 
know that millions agree with me, and I hope "something will 
turn up" between now and 7th of June next that will make 
you the successful candidate. I have no "axe to grind," as I 
neither desire or ask any office, so I do not flatter or write 
you from any sinister motive. Gen. Banks friends are pro 
claiming for him that New Orleans and Louisiana owe their 
present prosperity to him. But the foundation of their present 
condition was not laid by N. P. Banks, and every intelligent 
man knows it. My prayer is that your future may be as 
glorious and prosperous as your past military career has been, 
I should dearly like the pleasure of grasping you by the hand. 
Truly and affectionately yours, THOMAS J. MOORE 

P.S. My grandfather was a Captain in the "Revolution"; 
from him, when a boy, I learned to love liberty. 

P.S. I have just read your answer to the traitor schoolmarm. 
Also your colloquy with the Rev. Traitor, and most cordially 
approve your decision in both cases. 

Lincoln and many others high in authority are quite too 
angelic for this devilish rebellion. We need more of the spirit 
of Andrew Jackson in our men in high places. I still hope and 
trust you will give both the "he" and "she-devils" of rebellion 
their just deserts, which are a rope, lead, or poison. I thought 
it might possibly cheer your heart a little to know that an old 
man, a stranger to you, 1500 miles away, held the views in 



62 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

regard to your course that I have herein expressed. It is a 
satisfaction to me to write it. 

From General Butler 

Brig. Genl WISTAR, YORKTOWN April " 1864 

DETAIL a Court Martial at once, try them on the spot. 

Send to me for approval of the conviction by telegraph. 

Catch those that are running away at all hazards. Shoot 

v * BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

FORT MONROE, VA., April 11, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

I AM much embarrassed with the movements of the French 
vessels, about getting their tobacco from Richmond. Allow 
ing two vessels of war and sundry merchant ships to go up and 
down the James River for the next thirty days will as effectually 
inform the rebels of our movements as if I officially reported 
them to Seddon. Shall they go on? 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 843. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April llth, 1864 

Captain HENRY DE MARIVAULT, Captain of His Imperial 
Majesty s Frigate " Tisiphone" 

DEAR SIR: The revenue officer at this Port has made the 
inquiry of me if he shall examine the merchant ships who are 
to go up the James River after the tobacco under the French 
Flag, as other merchant vessels are examined at this Port. 

I have declined answering the question until I can ask if 
there is any objection to that course by the Government. The 
rule of the Port is that no merchant vessel passes in without 
examination. 

Awaiting your reply, I have the honor to be, very 

respectfully, v ,,. 

i our obedient servant, 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 63 

From General Butler 

April 11, 1864 

Hon. S. P. CHASE, Sec y of the Treasury, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

THE merchant ships employed by the French Gov t. to 
bring tobacco from Richmond are arriving here. Shall the 
Revenue Officers examine them for contraband goods here, or 
have they been examined in New York, which would render it 
unnecessary? An immediate answer is requested to prevent 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l Comdg. 
From Secretary Chase 

BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April 3, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

Maj. Genl. BUTLER 

THE transaction referred to in your telegram of the eleventh 
is purely international, and the officers of the Revenue have no 
duty to perform in connection with it. 

S. P. CHASE, Secretary of Treasury 

From General Butler 

To ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President U. S. April 12 1864 

TELEGRAM received. In regard to the question of pardon 
or respite, I send the extract from the General Order, which 
approved the order: to wit: "In the case of Private Charles 
Crumpton, Co. G, 10 Regt., New Hampshire Vols., it appear 
ing that the accused enlisted as a substitute and received his 
bounty in payment therefor, then deliberately procured a 
Rebel uniform with which to aid him in deserting, and did 
desert from his regiment, and was detected in the act, and 
when detected attempted to pass himself off as a rebel deserter. 
No excuse is left for his act, and indeed none is attempted to 
be given. He has been tried before a general Court Martial, 
and upon satisfactory evidence, although defended by counsel 
of his own selection, he has been found guilty. The pro 
ceedings, findings, and sentence are therefore approved and 
confirmed." 

I know nothing which can by any possibility be urged in 
Crumpton s favor except that he was defended by one Butts, 
a lawyer who neglected his case, but I examined the record 
and came to the facts above stated. 

Large numbers of the New Hampshire substitutes have 
deserted from Yorktown yesterday and to-day, some have 



64 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

gone to the enemy, some are lurking in swamps, and some are 
attempting to get to Baltimore; they are from the regiments 
lately at Point Lookout, which I have had to remove from 
there because I found them colluding with the prisoners and 
escaping, three (3) having seized a boat and carried off five 
(5) prisoners. Those that we catch are being tried by Court 
Martial, and believe it will be necessary to execute quite a 

number of them. T^ T> IT n n j 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General George H. Gordon 

PRIVATE. HILTON HEAD, S. CAROLINA, April \%,th, 1864 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Dept. of Va. 

MY DEAR GENERAL: The Court Martial before which my 
military character has been sought to be damaged, has almost 
concluded its labors. 

One case has been disposed of, the second is about closed. 
I am very positive the first shows great diligence where neg 
lect was charged, obedience where disobedience was charged, 
and a just protest in mild terms when disrespect was alleged. 

The case arose under an order to send away one of my 
regiments. It went in less than twenty-four hours from the 
time the order was received. I gave all necessary orders the 
instant I received them, and did all the most zealous General 
could do to carry out Gilmore s orders in spirit and intent. 
All this I proved. 

The disrespect was alleged to arise from not explaining 
why I had detained a few clerks and orderlies of the regt., of 
which I was accused I protested against the accusation, 
and intimated that if a report was asked, the falseness of the 
accusation would be apparent. 

The case now on trial occurred six months ago. I ordered 
a regimental Quartermaster to be shut up in the guard tent 
for insubordination and repeatedly refusing to obey my orders. 
Gilmore ordered a court of inquiry in the case six months ago, 
and after the report told me he was satisfied that I had never 
intended to disobey any orders of his, under which the Quar 
termaster alleged he was acting, although it is admitted and 
proven that not one of these orders were ever communicated 
to me. 

Gilmore ordered the officer away from my post at the time 

six months thereafter Gilmore orders this Quartermaster 

to prefer charges against me for shutting him up in a guard 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 65 

house. The testimony shows that he was not put into a guard 
tent, but into the private tent of two officers, assistants of the 
Provost Marshal. 

Where are the causeless actions upon which I have been 
tried? I have a very good division of troops here, experienced 
troops with good Brigade Commanders, generals of experi 
ence, can you not secure their services and thus expedite my 
removal from a Dept. in which no service to the country can 
be rendered? 

Where you are is the point. We talked the matter over in 
your office in Boston. I shall be thankful to be elsewhere. 
With great personal regard, I am, 

Sincerely yours, GEO. H. GORDON, Brig. Genl. 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April \%th, 1864 

To Major Genl. B. F. BUTLER 

YOUR despatch of the llth instant to the Secretary of War 
in relation to the shipment of tobacco by the French Govern 
ment has been referred to me for my orders. The agreement 
made by the Secretary of State (copy of which you have) will 
have to be carried out, but make no agreement to extend the 
time for doing so beyond the twenty-third (23rd) instant, at 
which time the agreement expires by limitation, unless di 
rected to do so by the President or Secretary of War. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Genl. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, Apr. 12th, 1864 

Messrs. KIMBERLY BROS. 

I HAVE taken the whole matter into consideration. I can 
give you an issue out of your trouble. I will have your build 
ing appraised, allow you fifteen per cent, interest on its cost, 
and will put the rent to the highest bidder, which will put it 
fairly into competition in the market, as well to yourself as 
to others. 

I am informed that you have made at least twenty five 
per cent, addition upon your prices of staple articles within a 
week. You will judge whether you can afford to do that. 

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, 

Yr. obdt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

VOL. IV 5 



66 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 
From J. K. Herbert to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, April 12, 1864 

DEAR GENERAL: I have just had conversation of so much 
interest to you as I conceive it that I hasten to write it for you 
"in short hand." 

I have been spending the evening with "Tom Ford," of 
Ohio. He tells me that within a few days a rumor reached 
Mr. Lincoln that "Butler, Fremont, Chase, and Banks were 
going to make common cause for his defeat in a nominating 
convention." Great consternation ensued at the White 
House. Mr. Webster, Se ward s private secy., came down for 
Ford, he was taken direct to see the Pres. 

Lincoln said that he did not believe the story as to Chase, 
but was credulous as to the balance of it. Told Ford that he 
had been induced to believe that he, Ford, could find out just 
what Butler was doing in the matter. Ford told him he did 
not then know, but that he could find out to a certainty by a 
certain day. By the certain day he had found out to a cer 
tainty that you were doing no such thing, and told Mr. L. so. 

Mr. Lincoln was greatly delighted, and Butler stock had 
the greatest rise it has ever had with Lincoln. Ford says that 
as the result of half a dozen private interviews with Mr. L. 
on his presidential policy, he personally knows that you never 
stood so well with Mr. L. I told him that he might tell Mr. 
L. that Gen. Butler had been heard to say within a month 
that he was for Mr. Lincoln. 

Ford says the thing caused the greatest sweat he has seen 
in a long while that it was amusing, and that his story as to 
your status set several men who were toadying in various 
ways almost on their heads. 

Pomeroy says it is getting more doubtful every day whether 
they can postpone the convention they are trying. What 
ever transpires whilst I am here, I am in a good shape to learn, 
and of course you will learn also. 

Ford is going to the Pres. for me. Says I will have no 
trouble says that in order to get me assigned to you the 
Pres. may want something from you requesting it. If the 
Pres. telegraphs you, I will be obliged if you will answer 
give him the best rank you can, and send him on. Or if you 
will send me such an application in writing, I will have Ford 
use it. 

I know you may have objection to asking favors if you 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 67 

have, don t do it. I can force what I want, but it will be more 
trouble. 

Several things have transpired in two days that I would 
like to talk with you about but cannot write. I am, in haste, 

Your obt. servt., J. K. HERBERT 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Department Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 12^, 1864 

Captain SAWTELL, Supt. Prison Labor, NORFOLK, VA. 

CAPTAIN; I have ordered the carts and harnesses that you 
require. Take the most energetic measures to see that the 
city is clean before the opening of warm weather, to avoid 
pestilence. Keep an accurate account of all expenditures for 
such purposes, as it will be kept as a claim against the city. 
Act as economical as possible but efficient. 

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, 

Yr. obdt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department Va. and North Carolina, FORT MONROE, April 12, 1864 

Rear Admiral S. P. LEE, Commdg. N. A. B. Squadron 

ADMIRAL: The Commdg. General directs me to inform you 
that he has made an effort to obtain the nine uniforms in Balti 
more, but the price was too high to warrant the purchase of 
them, and he is therefore again obliged to ask you if you can 
not arrange it so that he can purchase of the Navy. 
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, 

Yr. obdt. servt., A. S. P., Capt. & A.D.C. 

From A. W. Hodge to General Butler 

NEW ORLEANS, April 12th, 1864 

DEAR SIR: It is with the deepest feelings of gratitude I 
have to thank you for your kindness to my son Robert in 
granting his release and giving him transportation to this 
city. You have laid me upon lasting obligations to you, and 
I hope it may be in my power some day to repay you for your 
kindness. Our hearts were made glad to see him home once 
more; and far from the iron rule of tyrants and traitors. 

Let me assure you, Sir, that you are held in the highest 
estimation by all good Union men and women here, and many 
have been the regrets that you ever left this place. May you 



68 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

and your good lady enjoy long lives of usefulness, and your 
posterity follow your footsteps. With kind regards for you 
and Mrs. Butler, from Mrs. Hodge and myself, I am General, 

Your obdt. Servant, A. W. HODGE 

From General Butler 

FORT MONROE, VA., April 12, 1864 

Lieutenant-General GRANT, Commanding U. S. Army 

DON T think me importunate, but for the good of the ser 
vice can you not send me Brig. Gen. J. H. Wilson, now of the 
Cavalry Bureau, as chief of cavalry, to lead our expedition. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 850. 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON CITY, April 12, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER, FORT MONROE 

GENERAL BURNHAM is ordered to report to you. General 
Brooks will be there also. Williams has not the rank for the 
command you suggest. It will be impracticable to give you 
either Neill or Hazen. If possible to give you a cavalry 
commander, I will accommodate you. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

War Rec., No. 1, p. 850. 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from ANNAPOLIS, April 12, 1864 

To Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

GENERAL WILSON has been assigned, and commands a 
Division of Cavalry with the Army of the Potomac. He 
reported there for duty today. If I can send you General 
Rucker, now doing Qr. Master duty, I will send him, or sub 
stitute him for Wilson, and send the latter. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Gen l. 



From General Butler 

April 12, 1864 

Rear Admiral LEE, off NEWPORT NEWS 

GEN. HECKMAN informed me that the enemy are in some 
force at Suffolk. He proposes to make a movement upon 
them, very early to-morrow morning. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 69 

Will you please send a boat up the Nansemond as far as she 
can go, to co-operate with Gen. Heckman at daylight in the 
morning? BENJ p BuTLERj 



From General Butler 

Brig. Gen l HECKMAN, Getty s Station April 12 1864 

YOUR despatch received. The Commanding General directs 
that you send an expedition consisting of all your available 
force (except what is intended for Graham) to Suffolk, and if 
possible clear out the rebel forces. Report condition of affairs 
frequently. j w g HAFFER> CoL & Chie f O 



From the Secretary of State 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from NEW YORK, April \Zth, 1864 

To Major General B. F. BUTLER 

YOUR despatch received here. Say to French officers that 
I authorize delay until I see French Charge at Washington. 
I shall arrive at Washington to-morrow morning, and I will 
give final directions there. 

WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State 

From J. B. Hutchins to General Butler 

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, April 13th, 1864 

GENERAL: I would respectfully call your attention to the 
fact that many matters that are transpiring at your Head 
Quarters that should be kept secret, such as expeditions, antic 
ipated movements of troops, and removal of Generals, are 
being revealed by some of the officers connected with the 
Head Quarters, who tell it secretly to some of their confiden 
tial friends. They then tell it to some of their friends, and 
thus it goes, until a large portion of the community are aware 
of the destination of expeditions before they move, and many 
other important matters. 

I cannot for the present give you any definite information 
as to who those parties are, but I would respectfully suggest 
that Lt. Col. Kensel, Supt. of Negro Affairs, and Lieut. 
Schrouder, Acting Asst. Adjt. General, be cautioned about 
revealing matters which are transpiring at Head Quarters. 
I am, General, Very Respectfully, 

Your obedient Servant, J. B. HUTCHINS 



70 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Sec y of War April 13 1864 

SPECIAL Order received, requiring the sending of two hun 
dred (200) unassigned men of the 16th New York Heavy 
Artillery, Army of the Potomac. Col. Morrison, commanding, 
reports that when those ordered to be discharged because unfit 
for service, and transferred to the veteran Reserve Corps, 
and those who have voluntarily enlisted to fill up other New 
York regiments in this Department, are taken from his 
regiment, there will be none left. I can send four hundred 
and forty-three (443), not a man of whom was fit for duty, 
and never was, since they were enlisted in the regiment. I 
await instructions, but we have no unnecessary recruits of 
that regiment. BENJ R BuTLER> Maj . Gen . C omdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 13th, 1864 

Captain WILDER, A.Q.M. & Supt. of Negro Affairs 

CAPTAIN: Report to me at once the condition of the title 
and who the occupants are of Dr. Wood s house. Also any 
reasons, if you know any, why it cannot be occupied as an 
asylum for the orphan black children. 

Report to me how many families (taking whole families 
where at least one-half of them shall be above the age of ten 
(10) years) can be got ready to be sent to Philadelphia. I have 
the honor to be, ^ respectfully, yr. obdt. sent., 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

Brig. Gen l. WISTAR, Comdg. at YORKTOWN AprU 13 1864 

I HAVE not respited the execution for any want of purpose, 
to make the most pungent examples of these substitute de 
serters, but we cannot take life without the forms of law except 
the imperious law of necessity. The record of the proceed 
ings is defective in this, it contains no statement of a point at 
which the prosecution closed their case. 2nd there is no 
record that the accused was allowed to examine witnesses in 
his own behalf, there is no record that he was allowed to make 
any statement to the court in his behalf. Now I have no 
doubt that all this was done, because all Court Martials do it; 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 71 

the difficulty is that the record, to have it amended, [must go] 
by special steamer. Shall ask you to call the Court together to 
have it amended to-night. When I receive it amended, a tele 
gram will go to have the execution done. See that the other 
records are amended and sent back by the boat. Have the 
record state in each case whether the man is a recruit, substi- 
tute, or conscript. 



From General Gordon to General Butler 

HILTON HEAD, S.C., April 13th, 1864 

MY DEAR GENERAL: I shall deem it a very great favor if 
you will apply for me to take a command in your proposed 
movements. I have a very good division. I fear Gilmore 
will take part of it with him, just enough to break up my 
command. I think I can do you service with or without it. 

The vexatious Court Martial is over. I have no doubt I 
have cleared myself of all blame, even in this frivolous matter 
of misunderstanding and mistakes. No charges affecting 
my military reputation or character were made. 

Disrespect was alleged, and too much punishment of an 
insubordinate Lieut. I ordered him shut up in the guard 
house, but he was not. You would have shot him. Anxiously 
awaiting your reply, I am, 

Sincerely yours, GEORGE H. GORDON, Brig. Gen. 

From General Butler 

Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Sec y of War April 13 1864 

I HAVE need of a large guard for Provost and other duty 
at Norfolk. I desire all able-bodied men I have, in the field. 
Can you send me a Battalion or regiment of the Veteran Re 
serve or Invalid Corps, for the purpose of such Provost Guard 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Lieut. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Head Quarters April 13 1864 

CULPEPPER COURT HOUSE 

I HAVE no objection to General Rucker. Believe him to be 
a good officer, but for our expedition would prefer Gen l 
Wilson, a younger man. I have no Cavalry officer, it is 
of the last importance that I have one at once. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



72 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April 13, 1864 

To Maj. Genl B. F. BUTLER 

I CAN send you Colonel Kautz to command your Cavalry 
Division. He is a good cavalry officer. Do you want him 

U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Genl. 
From the Secretary of State 

BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April 13th, 1864 

Maj. Genl. BUTLER 

I CONFIRM General Grant s despatch of the twelfth (12) 

instant. TTr TT ~ 

W. H. SEWARD 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April 14, 1864 

Maj. Genl. BUTLER 

YOUR report respecting negotiations with Commissioner 
Ould for the exchange of prisoners of war has been referred to 
me for my orders. Until examined by me and my orders 
thereon are received by you decline all further negotiations. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Genl. 

From General Butler 

April 14, 1864 

Lieut. Gen l GRANT, Comdg. U. S. Armies 

COL. KAUTZ is a most excellent officer, but my Cavalry 
Colonels rank him. No officer ordered here has as yet re 
ported. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April Uth, 1864 

Maj. Gen. P. H. SHERIDAN, Commdg. Cavalry Corps, 

Army of the Potomac 

GENERAL: Yours of the 10th is this day received. I will see 
that your request is attended to without delay, and will make 
a special application for the officer. I have the honor to be, 
Very respectfully, yr. Obdt. servt., 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 73 

From General Butler 

Eon. E. M. STANTON, Sec y of War April u - 1864 

THERE is a large quantity of gun metal, exploded shell, and 
other iron in this Department belonging to the Ordnance 
Department, that is only an incumbrance and is much needed 
in manufactures. It can only be sold by your authority to 
the Ordnance Department. Please authorize the Chief of 
Ordnance to put it to sale at public auction. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Halleck 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April 14, 1864 

To Maj. Genl. BUTLER 

LIEUT. GENERAL GRANT desires that about one-half of the 
railroad iron at Norfolk be removed to Alexandria. It is 
reported that there is enough at Norfolk to lay about twenty- 
one (21) miles of track. The Quartermaster s Department will 

send for it as it is wanted. TT wr TT -\r - r< >i 

H. W. HALLECK, Maj. Gen I. 

From General Butler 

Brig. Gen. WISTAR, YORKTOWN April u 18G4 

I FORWARD you by the boat to Yorktown the approval of 
the proceedings in the case of privates Egan & Holt, whom 
you will cause to be executed at such time and place as you 
choose to direct after receiving the order, and had better in 
form them at once of the order and its time of execution, and 
of the fact that it is irrevocable. 

Send forward any other records that you have, and see that 
they are correct. The record of the case of Holt is slightly 
irregular in not saying whether the prisoner had an oppor 
tunity to examine witnesses, but having counsel there, and 
having exercised it, that may properly enough be presumed. 
A good way to do is to say after each witness (if the fact be so) 
that the prisoner did not wish to question this witness. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secy of War 

I HAVE here a Chaplain who has some colored blood in him, 
duly appointed and commissioned by the President of the 



74 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

United States, and mustered into service and doing duty quite 
as efficiently as most of the white Chaplains. It is decided 
by the pay department that they can pay him but ten (10) 
dollars a month, three of which may be retained for clothing. 
Please direct the usual pay of a Chaplain. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From Mrs. Butler to James Parton 

FORTRESS MONROE, April Uth, 1864 

DEAR SIR: You will think me the most uncourteous person 
living, that I have not acknowledged the receipt of your 
books, or thanked you for your politeness in sending them. 

The last copy is very handsome. Let me express my 
thanks, and confess I have not yet the courage to read the 
letters contained in the appendix. Portions of them, woven 
into the narrative, as we spoke of, might have been useful 
and interesting, but I shiver to look at them, standing there 
alone. I believe Mr. Butler has read them with satisfaction. 
Published by order, they should be a "superior article" and 
in keeping with the times. 

"Well, time is the old justice that examines all such of 
fenders, and let time try." Through his maw run the waters 
of oblivion, and therein the daily folly and wisdom of life are 
alike engulfed and forgotten. 

Mrs. Heard and the children are with us, and this odious 
climate (for such I think it) has prostrated her with a rheu 
matic affection, so that she is almost helpless. I only wait for 
an abatement of the disease to take her home again. We shall 
stay a day or two in New York, where I hope to have the pleas 
ure of meeting you. 

Genl. Grant, wife and party, left yesterday. They were 
weather-bound for a day and night. The detention gave us 
the pleasure of more intimate acquaintance than we should 
have made in many casual meetings. The leader of our armies, 
and the expected conqueror of Richmond, he is of course ob 
served with marked interest. I trust the baby is still lovely 
and thriving. Make my kindest regards to Mrs. Parton, and 
with best thanks for your polite attention, believe me, 

Very sincerely yours, SARAH BUTLER 

P.S. You have not yet made us the promised visit. There 
will be time before I leave, so if you cannot give the time now, 
my stay at home will be very short and the weather more 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 75 

settled on my return. Say to Mrs. Parton, she might see 
things here quite worthy of her pen. 

From General Butler April u,isu 

A. V. DAVENPORT, 24 Court St., BROOKLYN, N. Y. 

YOUR son had nothing to do with the article in question, 
save to find out the rascal who wrote it. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From the Secretary of the Navy 

Navy Department, WASHINGTON, April \\th, 1864 

Maj. Genl. BUTLER, U. S. Army, FORTRESS MONROE, VA. 

SIR: Enclosed herewith a copy of the report of the Court 
of Inquiry which was convened in consequence of the com 
plaint made in your letter of February 20th. 

Should any of the officers of the Flotilla in question render 
themselves answerable on the grounds stated in your letter, 
the Department will not fail to take proper notice of their 
conduct. I am, respectfully, 

Your obdt. Servt., GIDEON WELLES, 

Secretary of the Navy 

From General Grant 

CCLPEPPER, VA., April loth, 1864 

Major Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

PLEASE ask the Secretary of War to give Colonel Kautz 
certificate of appointment as brigadier-general, and order him 
to report to Major-General Butler to command his cavalry. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 877. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 15th, 1864 

Capt. G. V. Fox, Asst. Secretary of Navy 

CAPTAIN: The receipt of your communication enclosing 
list of captured officers of the Navy, in the hands of the Rebels, 
is received. If exchanges go on I will see that the Navy get 
their fair share. You are quite right in your supposition that 
all that have been captured, paroled, or delivered for exchange 
prior to December 1st, 1863, are exchanged. I have the honor 
to be very respectfully, 

Your obt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



76 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler to General Grant 

(UNOFFICIAL) Headquarters 18th Army Carps, DepL of Virginia and 

North Carolina, FORTRESS MONROE, April 15, 1864 

MY DEAR GENERAL: You dealt so kindly with the sugges 
tions as to the movements which I desired should be made 
from Fortress Monroe up the James and upon Richmond, and 
showed so much consideration for the views I ventured to 
express, that it has occurred to me possible you might, in some 
slight degree, have bent your plan of campaign to meet those 
views and wishes, although perhaps the inclination of your 
more matured judgment would lead you to prefer a movement 
through North Carolina, of which you at first spoke to me. 

Specially has this thought pressed itself upon my mind since 
I have been called upon to furnish transportation for two 
millions and a half of rations to North Carolina, which inclines 
me to believe that a movement is intended in that direction. 

If this be so, as I have a very strong opinion that but one 
co-operative movement with the Army of the Potomac should 
be made on the south of the James, and fearing lest a desire to 
oblige me might possibly in some degree have swayed your 
judgment, I take leave to say to you that any disposition of 
the troops under my command will be most agreeable to me, 
which shall, in your opinion, subserve the public service. So 
that if you think it best to have my troops for the North Caro 
lina movement, do not regard in the least degree my supposed 
wishes or position, as I shall be most happy to co-operate 
most heartily in any of your movements. 

I pray you, General, to take this note in the exact spirit 
in which it is meant. I believe fully that but one movement 
(and that the one I indicated) south of the James, with all the 
concentrated forces that can be spared, able to fight Lee in the 
field if we can get men enough, or if not, as near it as we can, 
is feasible, and so believing, I do not for a moment desire that 
any thought of myself or its effect upon the extent of my com 
mand should stand in the way of such concentration wherever 
it shall be thought best; this, besides being a duty, is at least 
but a just return for the kind consideration you have shown me. 

I have possessed General Smith with my views as well upon 
the subject of the movement as upon the number of troops 
which can be spared from my lines for the purpose, and beg 
to refer you to him for any explanation you may desire. Be 
lieve me, Trul our ^ BENJ F BUTLER 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 77 

From General Butler 

CONFIDENTIAL. Headquarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORTRESS MONROE, April 15, 1864 

Rear- Admiral S. P. LEE, Commanding, etc. 

ADMIRAL : As I had the honor to suggest to you in a personal 
interview in which we had the pleasure of interchanging views 
upon the subject, it is intended to land at City Point and 
above, on the south side of the James River, below a point 
called Osborn, a force of from thirty to thirty-five thousand 
men, with the necessary supplies, artillery, and trains. To 
this purpose it is proposed to use the Appomattox as far up as 
Port Walthall as a convenient rendezvous for transports. 
To move this force will take a fleet of about fifty transports 
besides some thirty schooners and barges for landing and other 
purposes. From this position it is contemplated to move 
along the south side of the James upon Richmond, in co 
operation with General Meade s army. 

To effect this landing and keep this position, it is expected 
that the navy will hold the James from above Farrar s Island, 
and the Appomattox from above Port Walthall, free from all 
attacks by rebel water-craft, at all hazards, as upon this depends 
the success, and, indeed, the safety of the expedition. In 
order to prevent annoyance by the enemy, as well of the trans 
ports as the naval vessels, it is proposed to seize and hold Fort 
Powhatan and Wilson s Wharf, nearly opposite each other on 
the James, which are supposed to be the only bluffs or high 
points below City Point from which we can be substantially 
annoyed by the enemy s light artillery or sharpshooters. 

It is proposed to start a flying column on board transports, 
with means of effecting a landing, and seize Wilson s Wharf 
and Fort Powhatan, and leave an adequate force there to 
intrench the same; thence proceeding upwards to seize City 
Point, and commence landing on both sides of the Appomattox 
while the navy take and hold Osborn, as indicated above. 

The navy will be expected to cover the landings at each of the 
places indicated, by its guns, and to aid, by a flanking fire, the 
army in holding its positions until intrenched. As this move 
ment is to be in the nature of a surprise, it will be necessary 
for the naval vessels to go up with the leading column of army 
transports with the utmost celerity, so that the several positions 
indicated may be taken both by the land and naval forces be 
fore the enemy can concentrate opposition. The Commanding 



78 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

General offers the use of the armed boats of the army, being of 
very light draft, to precede the naval force, and drag the river 
for torpedoes or obstructions, as their loss (if so unfortunate) 
would not be so serious as a loss of more valuable vessels with 
their armament, to be, if desired, under your orders. 

It is required by the Commanding General of the army that 
the joint expedition be ready for this movement at a date not 
later than the 30th instant. 

After the landing is effected, in the ulterior operations as 
well as before, the army will expect to render all the aid and 
co-operation in its power to the navy, to enable it to clear the 
river of water craft and obstructions, and to receive that hearty 
and genial co-operation from the navy which the Commanding 
General has always had the good fortune to receive from the 
navy such as protecting his water transportation and cover 
ing his flanks when lying on the rivers, so that the great 
objective point, the capture of Richmond, may be the joint 
enterprise of the united services of the army and navy. 

I believe, Admiral, I have answered each of the propositions 
contained in your note of to-day with as much particularity 
and distinctness as the subject-matter will admit, and upon 
which, and every point and part of which I would desire to 
interchange views with you in person, and to do so will hold 
myself in readiness to meet you when and where you will honor 
me with an appointment for that purpose. 

I desire especially to call your attention to the question 
whether you can hold the point at Osborn as against the rebel 
water craft, as that is vital; or whether I shall make provision 
to aid you by sinking obstructions in the channel, or such other 
devices as engineering skill shall suggest. I have the honor 

to be 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General Commanding 
From General Butler 

Head Quarters, DepL of Va. & N. C., FORT MONROE, April 15th, 1864 

MY DEAR MR. NICOLAY: I thank you for your courtesy in 
sending me so promptly the record in the case of Capt. Wiegel. 
He was formerly on my staff and I feel some interest in him. 
I have examined the findings of the Court without demeaning 
them, still I do not think that the offense, under the charge of 
"conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman," is fairly 
made out. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 79 

In the popular sense of the term, to quarrel at all is unbecom 
ing an officer and a gentleman, but in the sense of the Articles 
of War, that conduct is the doing of acts which would render a 
man infamous, and an unfit associate for officers and gentle 
men, such as stealing, lying, cheating at cards, and the like. 

This seems to be the case upon examination of the records. 
Capt. Wiegel met Lieut. Col. Cheeseborough, who was holding 
the rank of Lieut. Colonel because he was Adjutant General 
of an Army Corps, but who has since been returned to his 
Regiment as Second Lieut, and got into some conversation 
with him about some letter that Cheeseborough had written 
about his (Wiegel s) family. That then upon some reference 
to the Secretary of War, Col. Cheeseborough called the Secre 
tary "a fool and an ass," and said he had clerks in his office 
that knew more about business than he did. Thereupon 
Wiegel replied, that if Col. Cheeseborough said that, he was a 
"liar or a damned liar." 

This appears although the Judge Advocate took great pains 
to keep it out as irrelevant, although the very question in one 
of the specifications was whether Capt. Wiegel had sufficient 
provocation for his words. 

Then Wiegel becoming excited, called Cheeseborough a 
"dirty loafer," whereupon Cheeseborough told Wiegel he was 
"drunk," which was a false accusation, as was fully proved 
on the trial. Thereupon Wiegel told him again that he 
4 lied," and used some opprobrious language in the heat of the 
discussion. 

Now, while all this may be unfortunate and foolish, yet I 
don t think it is such a crime as should dismiss a meritorious 
officer from the service, in a case where all the members of the 
Court save one recommend him to Executive clemency, in 
consideration of his previous good conduct and military ser 
vices. To these last I can bear witness, because Lieut. Wiegel 
behaved with great gallantry at Fort Hatteras, landing in the 
surf, for which act I promoted him to my Staff, and he went with 
me to the Department of the Gulf. The animus of the prose 
cution may be seen by the charge against Capt. Wiegel, of his 
conduct toward one Mills. 

It seems that Wiegel was present at one time, in a bar-room, 
where a toast was proposed "to the Union, the Constitution, 
and the Stars and Stripes," and one Mills, a Baltimore Union 
man, so-called, was asked to drink to that toast, whereupon 
the giver proposed to amend it by adding, "and Abraham 



80 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Lincoln, his Emancipation Proclamation and the nigger, wool 
or no wool." This Mills declined to drink, and thereupon the 
proposer of the toast and Mills got into an altercation, in which 
the toast-giver got the worst of it, and was thrown upon the 
floor, whereupon Capt. Wiegel interfered and called Mills a 
damned Rebel for not drinking the toast, and said he should 
not strike the man on the floor because he was a cripple, all of 
which, with the exception of the profanity, I think conduct 
highly becoming a Union officer and a gentleman. And yet 
that was made one of the charges against Capt. Wiegel. 

If the President will but examine the case and look to the 
recommendation to clemency of Capt. Wiegel, I am sure he will 
find no difficulty in disapproving the proceedings and findings. 

May I ask a further favor, that you will bring the case to 
his attention? I am, 

Most truly Yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER, 

Major General Commanding 

From General Butler to Miss Dix 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 15th, 1864 

MY DEAR Miss Dix : My Master of Transportation returned 
yesterday after another cruise in search of the steamer spoken 
by the "Fulton" (probably the "Thos. A. Scott"), but I regret 
to say that he was unable to find her. He thinks that she 
drifted down into the Gulf. I have made every possible effort 
in her behalf, and should have undoubtedly been successful 
but for the very violent and continuous storms on the coast. 

Referring to your remarks about the condition of the "New 
York," I have to inform you that my Medical Director had 
already noticed the filth, &c., and we had taken steps towards 
the reform, and he will not stop until the vessel is as cleanly as 
it is possible for a boat in her business to be. I am, 

Very truly yours, B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

P.S. Since the above was written the "Thomas A. Scott" is 
reported as having arrived safely at New York. B. F. B. 

From General Butler 

April 15, 1864 

Hon. E. M. ST ANTON, Sec y of War, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

THE "Swann" transport steamer is reported to me as hav 
ing arrived at Morehead City in a sinking condition, bound for 
New Orleans, having on board the 25 U. S. Colored Troops, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 81 

Col. Scroggs. Gen l Peck has no transportation in North 
Carolina, neither have we any here, that can be spared. There 
are three hundred and seventy-six (376) men. As Providence 
has given us the regiment perhaps it might as well stay. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

D. W. Hill to General Butler 

COLUMBUS, OHIO, April IGth, 1864 

GENERAL: I take the liberty of addressing you to ascertain 
if you will grant me the privilege of opening a store in your 
department, having moved from Lowell to the West, and from 
thence south to Louisiana, where I unfortunately was at the 
breaking out of the Rebellion, and where I lost all I possessed, 
and in fact was glad to get off with a whole skin. 

I have friends in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Baltimore who 
have kindly offered to furnish me with a stock of goods, if I 
can find a place to open. If you can grant me the privilege, 
please designate the point and the kind of goods you would 
prefer brought to your department, I would prefer Norfolk, 
if you allow any preference. I am, General, Very respectfully, 

Your obdt. Servant, D. W. HILL 

April \mh, 1864 

Answer: Any honest man can open a store and sell anything 
but liquor or contraband of war. B. F. B. 

From General Q. A. Gillmore 

Hdqrs. Tenth Army Corps, Dept. of the South, 

HILTON HEAD, S.C., April 16, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. of Va. and N. C., 

FORTRESS MONROE 

GENERAL: In the letter from the General-in-Chief directing 
me to report to you with certain forces from this department, 
to be selected by myself, he says: "The troops which you bring 
with you and those which join you at Fort Monroe will con 
stitute the Tenth Army Corps." 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General, Commanding 

War Rec., No. 1, p. 886. 



VOL. IV 6 



82 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Halleck 

CIPHER. By TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April 16, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

THE Thirty third (33d) New York and the Fifth (5th) New 
Jersey Batteries have been ordered to Fortress Monroe. 
General Meigs will send ocean transportation for the part of the 
colored troops at Morehead City. 

H. W. HALLECK, Maj. Genl. & Chf. of Staff 

From General Grant 

CONFIDENTIAL. Head Quarters Armies in the Field, 

CULPEPPER C. H., VA. ApL IGth, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comd g. Dept. of Va. & N. C. 

GENERAL: I have just this moment received your letter of the 
15th of April, brought by the hands of Maj. Gen. W. F. Smith. 

You are entirely right in saying there should be but one 
movement made south of James river. At no time has more 
been intended. I went to Fortress Monroe for the express 
purpose of seeing you and telling you that it was my plan to 
have the force under you act directly in concert with the Army 
of the Potomac, and, as far as possible, towards the same point. 
My mind was entirely made up what instructions to give, and 
I was very much pleased to find that your previously conceived 
views exactly coincided. 

All the forces that can be taken from the coast have been 
ordered to report to you at Ft. Monroe by the 18th inst., or as 
soon thereafter as possible. What I ask is that with them, 
and all you can concentrate from your own command, you seize 
upon City Point, and act from there looking upon Richmond 
as your objective point. If you can send Cavalry to Hicksford 
and cut the rail-road connection at that point, it is a good thing 
to do. I do not pretend to say how your work is to be done, but 
simply lay down what, and trust to you, and those under you, 
for doing it well. 

Keep what vessels may be necessary for your operations. 
No supplies are going to N. Carolina except such as may be 
necessary for the troops there. I presume the call for vessels 
is in consequence of the preparations ordered for supplying our 
Armies after a new base is established. The Q. M. did not 
know where they were to go, but that he was to have supplies 
afloat, and supposed they were for N. Carolina. I hope this de 
lusion will be kept up, both North & South, until we do move. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 83 

If it should prove possible for you to reach Richmond so as 
to invest all on the south side of the river and fortify yourself 
there, I shall have but little fear of the result. 

The rains have now continued so long that it will be impossi 
ble to move earlier than the 25th, so I will set that date for 
making your calculations. All men afloat could then be sent 
up York River, as you proposed, to conceal our real design, if 
you were not then prepared to move. I am, Gen., Very Truly, 

Your obt. svt., U. S. GRANT, Lt. Gen. 

War Rec., No. 1, p. 885. 

From General Grant 

BY TELEGRAPH from CULPEPPER, VA., loth via WASHINGTON, April 16, 1864 

To Maj. Gen. BUTLER 

DID not receive your cipher of this morning until I arrived 

U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Genl. 
From General Butler 

FORT MONROE, VA., April 17, 1864 

Rear-Admiral JOHN A. DAHLGREN, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

FLAG-OF-TRUCE boat arrived. Ould assures Major Mulford 
that upon going to the grave of Colonel Dahlgren it was found 
empty, and that the most vigorous and persistent search fails 
to find it; that the authorities are making every exertion to 
find the body, which shall be restored if found. 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 180. 

From General Grant 

Head Quarters Armies of the United States, Infield 

CULPEPPER, C.H. VA., Apr. I7th, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comd g Dept. Va. & N. C., 
FORTRESS MONROE, VA. 

GENERAL: Your report of negotiations with Mr. Ould, 
Confederate States Agent, touching the exchange of prisoners, 
has been referred to me by the Secretary of War, with directions 
to furnish you such instructions on the subject as I may deem 
proper. 

After a careful examination of your report, the only points 
on which I deem instructions necessary, are 



84 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

1st. Touching the validity of the paroles of the prisoners 
captured at Vicksburg and Point Hudson. 

2nd. The status of colored prisoners. 

As to the first. No arrangement for the exchange of prisoners 
will be acceded to that does not fully recognize the validity of 
these paroles, and provide for the release to us of a sufficient 
number of prisoners now held by the Confederate authorities to 
cancel any balance that may be in our favor by virtue of these 
paroles. Until there is released to us an equal number of 
officers and men as were captured and paroled at Vicksburg 
and Port Hudson, not another Confederate prisoner of war 
will be paroled or exchanged. 

As to the second. No distinction whatever will be made in 
the exchange between white and colored prisoners; the only 
question being, were they, at the time of their capture, in the 
military service of the United States. If they were, the same 
terms as to treatment while prisoners, and conditions of release 
and exchange must be exacted and had, in the case of colored 
soldiers as in the case of white soldiers. 

Non-acquiescence by the Confederate authorities in both 
or either of these propositions will be regarded as a refusal on 
their part to agree to the further exchange of prisoners, and will 
be so treated by us. I am, General, Very respectfully 

Your Obt. Servant, U. S. GRANT Lieut. General 

From General Butler 

CIPHER. April 20, 1864. [Not in chronological order] 

Lieut. Gen I GRANT, Comdg. Armies of the U. S., 

CULPEPPER, C. H., VA. 

INSTRUCTIONS in regard to exchange of prisoners rec d, & will 
be implicitly followed. I assume, however, that they are not 
intended to interfere with the special exchanges of sick & 
wounded prisoners on one side & the other now going on. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April ZQth, 1864 

[Not in chronological order] 

To Maj. Gen I B. F. BUTLER, FORT MONROE, VA. 

RECEIVE all the sick and wounded the Confederate authori 
ties will send you, but send no more in exchange. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Gen 9 1 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 85 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 17th, 1864 

Act. Rear Admiral S. P. LEE, Commdg. N. A. B. Squadron, 

Off NEWPORT NEWS, VA. 

ADMIRAL: I enclose to you copies of two communications I 
have just received from General Peck, which I commend to your 
attention. I myself am not much impressed with the views of 
Generals Wessells and Peck upon the information stated, but if 
it would not be inconsistent with your views of service for a few 
days I wish you would send the "Perry" or some other light 
boat down there for reasons which you understand. I do not 
propose to reenforce with troops. I have the honor to remain, 
Very respectfully. Yr. obdt. servt., 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From Colonel Shaffer 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 17th, 1864 

Maj. General JOHN J. PECK, Commdg. Army & Dist. of N . C., 
NEWBERN, N. C. 

GENERAL: Your communication of the 14th inst. enclosing 
letter of Gen. Wessells received. 

It will be necessary for you to hold North Carolina with your 
present force. The Commdg. General suggests that you 
send to Gen . Wessells at once a sufficient number of troops from 
Newbern to enable him to hold his present position against any 
force likely to attack him. 

While it is best to be prepared, yet the Commdg. Gen L 
believes the force of the enemy to be greatly over-estimated. 

Admiral Lee has been furnished with a copy of Gen. Wessells 9 
letter, and requested to send one or more boats to co-operate 
with him. 

You will have to defend the District with your present 
force, and you will make such disposition of them as will, in 
your judgment, best subserve this end. I have the honor 
to remain, 

Very respectfully, yr. obdt. servt. 
J. W. SHAFFER, Col and Chief of Staff 



86 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Colonel Shaffer 

Headquarters, Department Va, and N. C., FORT MONROE, Apr. 17, 1864 

Brig. Gen. JNO. W. TURNER, Chief of Staff, 
Dept. of the South 

GENERAL: Your letter of 15th inst. received. I have 
required for 20,000 shelter tents for your Corps, also arranged 
for ammunition and small arms. I had made arrangements to 
supply you with what land transportation and ambulances 
you would be short of. I would recommend that you bring 
with you the four or six guns that you say you have no horses 
for, and I will endeavor to supply you with horses here. 

As fast as troops arrive I send them to Yorktown, where it is 
intended to rendezvous your command. 

Please see to it that all light draught transportation is 
sent up. 

Cavalry horses are very scarce. Bring with you all that are 
fit for service. Respectfully, yr. obdt. servt., 

J. W. SHAFFER, Col. & Chief of Staff 

From General Butler 

Brig. Gen l WISTAR, YORKTOWN April 17 1864 

COL. HOLMAN, of the 7th Conn., with the troops under his 
command, on board of the "Spaulding," is ordered to report 
to you at Yorktown, and is now en route for that place. He 
will be placed on the Gloucester side. A party will go up to 
morrow under charge of Capt. Ainsworth, Capt. of the Port, 
to prepare two wharves, one on each side of the river. As the 
10th Army Corps is en route for Yorktown, it will not be well 
to brigade them, as their Brigade Commanders will follow 
shortly. BENJ R BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, Apr. 17th, 1864 

SINCLAIR TOWEY, President American News Co., 
121 Nassau St., N. Y. 

SIR: Mr. Bond s privilege for selling newspapers was given 
him as the highest bidder, but with restrictions that he should 
not raise the price of his periodicals, and he has not done so. 
You were misinformed upon that point. 

I have no doubt of the proposition of political economy that 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 87 

the tax upon an article is paid by the consumer, that depends 
on whether there is free trade in that article so as to bring it 
down to a living profit by competition. But in this case, 
Mr. Bond sells the papers as cheap as anybody else, but for 
the exclusive right to sell them pays so much to the United 
States, and a portion of the profits, which is regulated by his 
profits. This can be made very plain. 

Suppose the rate of interest was fixed at seven (7) per cent, 
by law, and a given bank should pay a large sum of money for 
the sole privilege of loaning money which it might well afford 
to do, would a borrower therefore pay any more than seven 
per cent, on his loans because by doubling or trebling the busi 
ness of the bank, it made three times the profits, and could 
afford to pay one-third of the profits for the privilege and still 
make a third more? 

I shall deal with Mr. Bond very severely if I know of any 
attempts of his to enhance his prices beyond those charged 
elsewhere, because of the sum which he pays for his exclusive 
privilege of selling. 

Your communications are respectfully returned, with refer 
ence to the endorsements of Capt. Cassel, Pro. Mar. 

In reference to the matter of permission to bring books into 
this Department, that stands upon the same ground as all 
other merchandise. This being an insurrectionary district, 
by trade regulations nothing can be sent into it of any sort, for 
sale, without a permit from my Headquarters, and this regula 
tion exists all over the revolted States, and these permits are 
always granted upon application of reputable people. 

By an examination of the Treasury Regulations, at the Cus 
tom House, you will be able to ascertain the rules about this 
matter. At least certain it is that I cannot spend more time 
in instructing you in the trade regulations of the Treasury 
Department. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, yr. obdt. servt., 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Grant 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, In Field 

CULPEPPER C.H. VA., Apr. 17, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. Va. & N. C. 

FORTRESS MONROE 

GENERAL: Enclosed you will please find statement of 
Federal and Rebel prisoners of war delivered since last dec- 



88 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

laration, together with explanatory letter of Maj. Gen. E. A. 
Hitchcock, Commissioner for exchange of prisoners. I am 
General, Very respectfully, 

Your Obt. Servant, U. S. GRANT, Lieut. General 



From General Hitchcock 

WASHINGTON CITY, D.C., April 15th, 1864 [Not in chronological order} 

Lieut. Genl. U. S. GRANT, Gen.-in-chief 

GENERAL: I have the honor to enclose herewith the state 
ment signed by Col. Hoffman, which was directed to be pre 
pared by the Secretary of War in your presence last evening; 
and beg leave to explain, that the last formal declaration of 
exchange of prisoners, which was agreed to by both of the 
Agents, was dated June 8th, 1863, and was published in General 
Orders No. 167. 

At that time Col. Ludlow was our Agent of Exchange, and 
the declaration left us indebted to the rebels, officers and men 
reduced to privates by rates agreed upon in the cartel 
12,794 men. Since the date of that declaration, the rebels have 
delivered to us 18,485 men, making our total indebtedness 
31,279. Since the declaration referred to, and soon after it, 
the tables were turned by the capture of Vicksburg and Port 
Hudson, which brought the rebels largely indebted to us; in 
addition to which, there had been delivered, rebel prisoners by 
us, up to July 25, 1863, 8,359 men, and after that date, 7,191, 
which, added to the Vicksburg and Port Hudson prisoners, 
makes a total of 65,182. 

Sometime in July, 1863, Mr. Ould, without any conference 
or agreement with our Agent, Col. Ludlow, announced a 
declaration of exchange in favor of Lieut-Gen. Pemberton, and 
a few other officers of high rank, which Col. Ludlow protested 
against and refused to recognize, because it was contrary to 
usage, and because we had no rebel officers of equivalent grades 
in our hands to be exchanged for them; and it was supposed 
that Mr. Ould acquiesced in the protest, but he subsequently 
reaffirmed this declaration. Col. Ludlow was relieved from 
duty as Agent of Exchange, and was succeeded by Gen. 
Meridith. Not long afterwards, Mr. Ould renewed his mode 
of action, without any conference or agreement with Gen. 
Meridith, and made an arbitrary declaration of exchange in 
favor of a considerable portion of the Vicksburg prisoners, 
without stating any definite number, but defining them by 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 89 

certain commanders and Corps, which we ascertained included 
a large excess over the number of Federal troops who had been 
captured by the rebels, been returned to us, and were on parole 
waiting to be exchanged. 

Notwithstanding the irregularity of this proceeding on the 
part of Mr. Ould, his conduct left us no alternative but to 
make a declaration of exchange in favor of a portion of the 
Federal paroled prisoners in our hands, and a declaration was 
made extending to 23,056. 

We were then in hopes that irregular declarations would not 
be repeated by Mr. Ould; but we were disappointed. He 
made several declarations of exchange, extending to rebel 
prisoners on parole in the South; all of them without confer 
ence or agreement with our Agent. 

As I considered this proceeding entirely without warrant 
from the cartel, and wholly unprecedented in the history of war, 
I advised, as the Commissioner of Exchange, that we should 
not follow Mr. Quid s example; and though greatly to our 
disadvantage, in the hope of a return to proper principles, 
- no declaration of exchange was made by us, except the first 
and only one made by Gen. Meridith, while he remained the 
Agent of Exchange; so that, when he was relieved, we had a 
good and valid claim against the rebels for a large number of 
men, I feel very sure amounting to over 20,000, stated by 
Col. Hoffman from his official papers at 23,213 (vide page 2, 
statement) . 

Independently of this claim, we have another, arising from 
the difference between 9,814 (rebel troops on parole) and 8,223 
(Federal troops on parole), being a claim to 11,591 (tide page 2, 
statement), which number, in fact, should be added to the 
23,213, to show the total indebtedness of the rebels to us. . . . 

I have the honor to be very respectfully, Your Obt. Servt. 

E. A. HITCHCOCK, Maj. Gen. Vols. 
Corner for Exch. of Pris. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., April 18th, 1864 

Maj. General Q. A. GILLMORE, Commdg. 10th Army Corps, 

PORT ROYAL, S. C. 

GENERAL: The Commanding General directs me to request 
that you bring with you the engineering material spoken of 
in your letter to him of 16th inst. 



90 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

We will endeavor to comply with your request in regard to 
Artillery. Everything will be done that can be with our 
limited means, to furnish you with whatever is necessary to 
make your command efficient. 

It is all important that you get here with your command at 
as early a day as possible. I have the honor to be, 

Your obedient servant, 
J. W. SHAFFER, Col. & Chief of Staff 

From General Butler 

April 18, 1864 

Maj. J. C. KELTON, A.A.G., WASHINGTON, D.C. 

ALL the wrecked troops were sent to Alexandria on the 
"Montauk." 

Left here Friday evening under a competent officer. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler .. 

April lo, Iou4i 

Brig. Gen l LEDLIE, NORFOLK, VA. 

The following telegram I have just rec d. 

"YORKTOWN, April 18, 1864 
Maj. Gen 1 Butler 

THE 91st, 96th & 98th N. Y., have just reported. All their camp equipage is in 
North Carolina. The Quarter-masters have sent for it. Please order the officer at 
Norfolk to facilitate them. There is no shelter for them here whatever. 

J. J. WISTAR, Brig. Gen I. 

Do not sleep until you have made every possible effort to 
hurry up the camp equipage, or I shall hold you responsible 
for neglect of duty. BENJ R BUTLER> 



From General Butler April is,is<* 

Brig. Gen l WISTAR, Comdg. at YORKTOWN, VA. 

SHELTER as many of the 91st, 96th, & 98th N. Y. as you 
can on the "Ericsson." Gen l Ledlie has the most explicit 
orders to hurry up the camp equipage. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

April lo, Ioo4 

Maj. Gen. WALLACE, Comdg. 8th Army Corps, 

BALTIMORE, MD. 

RECRUITS intended for the Dept. upon their arrival in Balti 
more are frequently allowed by the officers who have them in 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 91 

charge full liberty to go around the city, the result of which 
is they get drunk, fill their canteens with bad whiskey, & 
create great disturbances on the boat. Will you please issue 
an order for all officers in command of detachments to report 
to your Provost Marshal, that he may take charge of the 
men & keep them under close guard until such time as the 
boat is ready to leave for Fort Monroe. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Grant 

CULPEPPER, VA., April 18, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

YOUR note of this date, inclosing copy of Mr. Geoffrey s 
note to the honorable Secretary of State, together with the 
reply he proposes to make, is just received. It is rather 
embarrassing to know how to answer, because to refuse to 
allow the French to go on bringing out their tobacco would 
indicate that we expect to use the line of the James River; 
to permit a continuance will give the enemy information of 
the very day we make any move from Fort Monroe. Alto 
gether, I think it would be better to say that the time expir 
ing on the 23d instant for French vessels bringing out tobacco, 
they will be allowed until that time and no longer, until new 
stipulations are entered into, and which will not be entertained 
until after the spring campaign is over, or at least shall grant 
no privileges to enter rebel ports until such campaign is closed. 
This I give simply as my view. Any other arrangement en 
tered into, with the sanction of the President, of course I 

shall not oppose. TT ^ T . , . n , 

U. S. GRANT, Lxeutenant-General 

War Rec., No. 1, p. 896. 

From General Butler April 19> 1864 

Maj. J. E. MULFORD, Barnums Hotel, BALTIMORE 
I have just received the following despatch: 

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 19, 1864 
Maj. Gen 1 Butler, Comdg. 

INVALID prisoners have been ordered from Johnson s Island & Baltimore to Point 

Lookout for exchange. 

W. HOFFMAN, Com. Gen I. Pns. 

Wait for them, and in the meantime run over to Washing 
ton to facilitate their transportation, and telegraph me as to 
your arrangements & movements. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



92 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

April 19, 1864 

Col. W. HOFFMAN, Commissary Gen I. of Pris. 9 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

TELEGRAM rec d. All the invalids have not been delivered 
who could be taken with comfort to themselves on board the 
hospital boats. I am desirous of finishing the transportation 
of all invalids both ways, irrespective of other questions of 
exchange. BNJ R BuTLERj Ma j Gen C omdg. 



From General Butler 

April 19, 1864 

Col. W. HOFFMAN, Commissary Gen I of Prisoners 

THE "Express" and "New York" are at Baltimore, having 
just landed the sick and wounded prisoners from Richmond. 
They are fully fitted up as hospital boats, and I would suggest 
the return by them of all sick and wounded confederates we 
have, either at Fort Delaware or Baltimore or Washington. 
Please telegraph me if this disposition is acceded to, and order 
forward the sick. The "Express" could go to Fort Delaware 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 
From Edward A. Guilbert 

Office of Grand Master of Masons in Iowa, DUBUQUE, April 19, 1864 

Maj. General B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Headquarters, 

FORTRESS MUNROE, VA. 

DEAR SIR AND BROTHER: As a frater of the world- wide 
fraternity, and as the official chief of that order in Iowa, I 
address you in warm, respectful, and fraternal commendation 
of the course you have pursued since you entered the Army 
of the Union. Your Masonic brethren of the West have learned 
to regard you as the truest exponent of the philosophy of this 
Mad Rebellion; and with me they have regretted that circum 
stances have not been so propitious as to place you where your 
ideas might have "free course," and thus enable the nation 
speedily to reach that "consummation" so "devoutly to be 
wished for." You have been one of our most active history 
makers, General, and many thousands of your loyal country 
men approbate and believe in you now, and will delight to do 
you honor by and by "in the good time coming." As a 
patriot, I am proud of your career, as a Mason, I love you, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 93 

and I invoke upon you the choicest blessings of the G. A. O. 
T. U., chief est among which are length of days, health, and 
largely increased opportunities for usefulness. 

I make no apology, General, for thus addressing you. A 
Grand Master of Masons may approach the highest in station 
without subjecting himself to unpleasantness, so long as he 
observes the commonest forms of courtesy. I know not that 
you will care for my commendation, or that of those with 
whom I mingle on the mosaic pavement, but it has suited me to 
write as I have written ; and I am so unfashionable as to think 
that a meritorious and conspicuous "public servant" rather 
likes to hear from one of the "sovereigns," who is capable to 
"know whereof he affirms," that he has a hold upon the affec 
tions of his countrymen which it will be difficult to loosen. 

God speed and keep you, General, in knightly bonds and 

fraternallv, ^ . ^ 7 ir 

EDWARD A. GUILBERT, Grand Master 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 19th, 1864 

Maj. Gen. LEW WALLACE, BALTIMORE, MD. 

GENERAL: Robert Hare, Esq., formerly of Howard Co., 
Md., met me in Philadelphia on the night of the 19th of 
April, 1861, and placed the National Hotel, near the depot in 
Baltimore, at my disposal, for the purpose of quartering my 
troops in if I went through. 

Finding the bridges burnt, I made the detour to Annapolis. 
Mr. Hare there joined me, and acted as my volunteer aid 
during the Maryland campaign, went with me into Baltimore 
when the United States forces took possession of the city, and 
piloted me to Federal Hill, and did most active service, in 
bringing the city into a state of order, and at the head of a 
detachment of United States troops seized the Armory, where 
were collected a large quantity of arms which were being 
stolen by the Secessionists and sent to Harpers Ferry, and 
conveyed the same to Fort McHenry. 

I was then, and ever since have been very glad and grate 
ful to him for his services. The country owes him considera 
tion for his patriotic cause, and I think that any claim he may 
have for property taken away should be most carefully con 
sidered, and promptly acted upon. I have the honor to be, 

Very respy, yr. obdt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 



94 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Dept. of Va. & N. C., FORT MONROE, April 19th, 1864 

Colonel JAMES B. FRY, Provost M. General 

COLONEL: A question has arisen and will probably often 
occur which I respectfully ask you to decide. Men who 
enlisted in 1861, and whose time is now about expiring, wish 
to be mustered out 3 years from the date of their original 
enlistment. The question arises whether they should be 
mustered out three years from date of enlistment, when they 
began to receive pay and perform their duties, or from the 
date of their muster, which in some cases was two, six and 
even nine months afterwards. It seems but right that the 
soldier should be entitled to his discharge after having really 
served his three years, and not to be made to suffer for the 
fault of the government in delaying the necessary forms. I 
have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, your obt. servt., 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 19th, 1864 

Brig. Gen l. JOHN A. RAWLING, Chief of Staff 

GENERAL: I enclose to you the examination of a messenger 
from Richmond. He comes to me from a reliable source, and 
I have no doubt of the reliability of the information he brings 
so far as the knowledge of the person who sends it extends. 

Miss Eliza mentioned, is a lady from Richmond of firm 
Union principles, with whom I have been in correspondence 
for months, on whose loyalty I would willingly stake my life. 
The information which she sends is what is known to the 
Union people of Richmond. Thinking it may be useful to 
the Commdg. General, I take the liberty of sending it to you. 
I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, yr obdt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Grant 

Head Quarters, Armies in the Field, CULPEPPER C.H. VA., Apl. 19th, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comd g. Dept. of N. C. & Va. 

GENERAL: I send Lt. Col. Dent, of my staff, with this note, 
with the view of changing any instructions heretofore given, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 95 

but more particularly to secure full cooperation between your 
command and that of Gen. Meade. I will, as you under 
stand, expect you to move from Fort Monroe the same day 
Gen. Meade starts from here. The exact time I will telegraph 
as soon as it can be fixed. At present the roads are in such 
condition that the time could not be fixed earlier than the 
27th inst. You can understand therefore you have fully to 
that date to make your preparations. You also understand 
that with the forces here I shall aim to fight Lee between here 
and Richmond if he will stand. Should Lee, however, fall 
back into Richmond, I will follow up and make a junction 
with your Army on the James River. Could I be certain that 
you will be able to invest Richmond on the south side, so as 
to have your left resting on the James, above the city, I would 
form the junction there. Circumstances may make this course 
advisable anyhow. I would say, therefore, use every exertion 
to secure footing as far up the south side of the river as you 
can, and as soon as possible. If you hear of our advancing 
from that direction, or have reason to judge from the action 
of the enemy that they are looking for danger to that side, 
attack vigorously, and if you cannot carry the city, at least 
detain as large a force there as possible. 

You will want all the cooperation from the Navy that can 
be got; confer freely with Admiral Lee your plans, that he 
may make as much preparation as possible. 

If it is possible to communicate with you after determining 
my exact line of march, I will do so. If you can possibly 
get scout through to me, do it. 

Inform me by return of Col. Dent your present situation 
and state of readiness for moving. Very truly, 

Your obt. svt., U. S. GRANT, Li. Genl 

Instruct the Commanding Officer at Plymouth to hold the 
place at all hazards, unless it is of no importance to hold. 
Have transports there ready to carry off and place aboard of 
them all baggage to be removed with the troops. Instruct 
the officers in command that the moment the enemy abandon 
their siege to put the force previously designed to draw from 
there aboard and start with them. If the enemy will con 
tinue to hold a force to threaten the place, we can well afford 
to keep enough to resist them and make by the bargain. 
The enemy will unquestionably, however, bring everything to 
Richmond the moment we begin to move. 



96 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

When I telegraph we will start, rain or shine we will start, 
and hope that from all points I have made preparations, or 
am making them, for a full siege equipment to use if the enemy 
should fall within the intrenchments at Richmond. Noth 
ing of this kind need be looked after by Gen. Butler further 
than he expects to require such auxiliaries whilst acting 
separately. 

Every effort is being made to draw troops from the Northern 
States to Washington, so as to have reserves ready if they 
should be required at any point. 

Speak to Gen. Butler particularly about the possibility and 
for what I now see probability of my making my appearance 
on the south side of the river. 

From General Butler 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Sec y of War April 19 1864 

SEVERAL thousand recruits intended for regiments in my 
command are now at camp for recruits in the States of New 
York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and 
Pennsylvania. There are more in New York than the other 
States. Will you please devise some means by which these 
can be sent to their regiments at once. 

It is all important to me that I should have them. I am 
satisfied that there is great negligence and want of energy on 
the part of officers in charge of these camps. 

The recruits for Gen l Gillmore s command should be hur 
ried here as fast as possible. 

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

From General Butler 

Hon. E. M. STANTON ClPHER - *** 19 1864 

FLAG of Truce boat arrived, 547 sick & convalescents. 
Dates to 16th April. Richmond papers have the following 
telegram: "Mobile, April 15, Mississippi River advices from 
different points report great battles between Kirby Smith & 
Banks near Shreveport, in which Banks is defeated, with the 
loss of (14000) fourteen thousand men killed and wounded 
and captured. Baton Rouge and other hospitals are full of 
the Yankee wounded." " Meridan, April 14- Advices from 
beyond our lines confirm the report of the Confederate vic 
tory in the Trans-Mississippi Department. The wounded are 
arriving in^Baton Rouge in large numbers." 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 97 

Ould, the Confederate Commissioner, believes this. It is 
credited at the Rebel War Department. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

CIPHER. April 19, 1864 

M aj. Gen I HALLECK, Chief of Staff, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

GEN L GILLMORE informs me that owing to the affairs in 
Florida he is short of Artillery for his own Corps. Can there 
not be sent me Capt. Kusserow s New York Battery, now at 
Harper s Ferry, and also the 4th New Jersey now at Camp 

Barry? BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Sec y of War Aj>rit 19 - 1864 

W^HILE Gen l Wilson was in charge of Cavalry Bureau I 
required for 2000 Cavalry horses. He requested me to send 
Inspectors thirty days ago, which I did. I have not received 
a single horse. It is all important that I should have them. 
My Cavalry has important work to do. Will you not please 
make an extra effort to furnish me at least one thousand and 
forthwith. My Inspectors have been sent away from Wash 
ington to inspect horses I know not where. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

CIPHER. April 19, 1864 

Lieut. Gen. GRANT, Head Qrs. Army of Potomac, 

CULPEPPER, VA. 

I HAVE received communication that the enemy have 
attacked Plymouth in considerable force. Thus far have 
been repulsed. Your iron-clads have not yet come into action. 
I have directed Gen l Peck to make such disposition of the 
forces in his District as best to repel this movement. I have 
taken from him a single cavalry regt., & a light Battery. He 
must have 10,000 men under his command. Shall I do any- 
thing more? BENJ p BuTLEE> Maj Ger>:l Comdg _ 



VOL. IV 7 



98 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from CULPEPPER, April 19, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

GENL. PECK should be able to hold Plymouth with the 
force he has. You, however, will have to be the judge of what 
is best to do. The moment you move from Fort Monroe all 
the rebel forces threatening along the North Carolina Coast 
will be withdrawn, and you can then bring away surplus troops 

to reinforce your moving army. TT c ^ T . n 1 

IT. S. GRANT, Lieut. Gent. 

From John C. Nicolay to General Butler 

PRIVATE. Executive Mansion, WASHINGTON, April 19th, 1864 

MY DEAR GENERAL: I find the following statement float 
ing about the newspapers: 

Mrs. J. Todd White, a sister of Mrs. President Lincoln, 
was a rebel spy and sympathizer. When she was passed 
into the confederacy a few days ago, by way of Fortress 
Monroe, she carried with her in trunks all kinds of contraband 
goods, together with medicines, papers, letters, etc., which 
will be doubtless of the greatest assistance to those with whom 
she consorts. 

W 7 hen Gen. Butler wished to open her trunks, as the regu 
lations of transit there prescribe, this woman showed him an 
autograph pass or order from President Lincoln, enjoining 
upon the Federal officers not to open any of her trunks, and 
not to subject the bearer of the pass, her packages, parcels, 
or trunks, to any inspection or annoyance. 

Mrs. White said to General Butler, or the officers in charge 
there, in substance, as follows: "My trunks are filled with 
contraband, but I defy you to touch them. Here (pushing it 
under their noses) here is the positive order of your master I" 

Mrs. White was thus allowed to pass without the inspec 
tion and annoyance so peremptorily forbidden by President 
Lincoln, in an order written and signed by his own hand, and 
to-day the contents of his wife s sister s trunks are giving aid 
and comfort to the enemy nor least is the shock which 
these facts will give to the loyal hearts whose hopes and prayers 
and labors sustain the cause which is thus betrayed in the 
very White House. 

Now, the President is not conscious of having given this 
lady a pass which permitted her to take anything more than 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 99 

the ordinary baggage allowed, nor which exempted her from 
the existing rules of inspection. He certainly gave her no 
such extraordinary privileges as are above described and 
implied. 

Will you please inform me whether Mrs. White presented 
to you what purported to be anything more than the usual 
pass on which persons have been sent through our lines, or 
which purported to entitle her to carry more than ordinary 
baggage? 

2nd Did she take with her more than ordinary baggage? 

3rd Was or was not her baggage inspected? 

4th Did she use the language alleged in the above state- 

Your obdt. Servt., JOHN C. NICOLAY 

P.S. Are such passes usually taken up by our officers? If 
so, please send me this pass or a copy of it. J. C. N. 



From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Va. & N. C., FORT MONROE, VA., April 2lst, 1864 

in chronological order] 



MY DEAR NICOLAY: I am sorry that you or anyone else 
should be annoyed with the silly story about the conduct of 
Mrs. White when she passed through Fortress Monroe. If 
she had been anyone else but a relative of the President she 
would have entirely escaped observation. Perhaps the better 
way to answer the newspaper article which you enclose is to 
take it point by point, and give you a categorical affirmation or 
denial of the statement. 

To an analytical reader the paragraph contains its own 
refutation, for it states that she conveyed with her in trunks 
all kinds of contraband goods, together with medicines, papers, 
letters, etc., while it is stated in the next paragraph that her 
trunks were wholly unexamined because of an order from the 
President to that effect. How, then, can it be known to the 
paragraph maker what the contents of her trunks were if 
they never were examined. 

It is true, as stated, that Mrs. J. Todd White, a sister of 
Mrs. President Lincoln, did pass into the Confederacy a few 
days ago by way of Fortress Monroe. There was no evidence 
which came to my knowledge or observation at the Fortress 
that she was either "a rebel spy or sympathizer." 

General Butler did not wish to open her trunks. This 



100 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

woman did not "show him an autograph [pass] or order from 
President Lincoln, enjoining upon the Federal Officers not to 
open any of her trunks, and not to subject the bearer of the 
pass, her packages, parcels, or trunks to any inspection or 
annoyance." 

Mrs. White did not say to General Butler or the officers in 
charge there in substance as follows, "My trunks are filled 
with contraband, but I defy you to touch them." She did 
not say, "Here (pushing it under their noses) here is the posi 
tive order of your master," for she had no such order nor any 
such pass in substance or effect, and had nothing but a pass 
in the usual form, which the President has given sometimes 
when he thought proper to allow ladies to pass our lines. 

The interview between Gen. Butler and Mrs. White was 
not other or different from the usual courteous and ladylike 
deportment which passes when gentlewomen call upon him 
upon similar occasions. Mrs. White showed no other or dif 
ferent reluctance than usual with ladies to have their baggage 
examined by revenue and other officers when travelling. 

Mrs. White was not "thus allowed to pass without the in 
spection and annoyance so peremptorily forbidden by Presi 
dent Lincoln, in an order written and signed by his own hand," 
because there was no such order. I have not the pass or I 
would send you a copy of it, but I take leave to assure you it 
was in the usual ordinary and common form, indeed not so 
peremptory as is usually given by the President when he writes 
in haste. If I had seen reason to suspect or cause to believe 
anything wrong in Mrs. White s transit, I should have done 
as I have done in another case of his pass, with his approba 
tion, detain the lady and telegraph him the fact, and I know 
nothing which has occurred which should "shock any loyal 
hearts." 

I did understand that there were in Mrs White s trunk 
some bridal presents to a young relative about to become a 
bride, and as I knew it must have taken so much Southern 
gold to buy them as they could not have been bought with 
their currency, and could be of no possible use to the Southern 
army, I concluded it was a fair exchange, or at least one in 
which we got the better bargain. 

I saw the article in the paper, and authorized a contradic 
tion to the Tribune and Herald, and I am told it was there 
published. I can t believe that the President has been much 
annoyed by this foolish story. If he has, it is because he has 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 101 

not been pounded in that way as much as I have, and got 
hardened. I have the honor to be, 

Very Truly Yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER, 

Major General Commanding 

From John C. Nicolay to General Butler 

Executive Mansion, WASHINGTON, April %8th, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

MY DEAR GENERAL: I thank you for your kind letter of 
the 21st inst., answering my inquiries in the case of Mrs. 
White. I sent the enclosed brief editorial to the N. Y. Tri 
bune, which appeared in its issue of yesterday. I felt myself 
that the whole canard was too silly and trivial to merit an 
official contradiction, but thought that a correction in this 
shape was due and proper, and troubled you with the matter 
only that I might get the exact facts to have them put into as 

few words as possible. T , , _,, ^ XT 

lour obdl. Servt., JOHN C. NICOLAY 

The Story about Mrs. White 

"WE have the highest authority for the following state 
ment in connection with the story that Mrs. M. Todd White 
(a sister of Mrs. Lincoln) was permitted by the President to 
carry contraband goods south: Mrs. White went south with 
only the ordinary pass which the President gives to those 
persons whom he permits to go. The President s pass did 
not permit Mrs. White to take with her anything but ordi 
nary baggage, nor did she attempt to take anything more. 
The President s pass did not exempt her baggage from the 
usual inspection; and her baggage did undergo the usual 
inspection. Gen. Butler found no contraband goods or letters 
in her baggage. She did not insult or defy Gen. Butler; nor 
was there anything in her words or actions which led him to 
suspect that she was either a Rebel spy or emissary, or that 
she was violating any of the rules under which persons are 
sent through the lines. As the Copperhead papers through 
out the country ^quoted J The Tribune as authority in this 
matter, and [usedj that authority to sustain assertions never 
made through our columns, we hope they will give this state 
ment a speedy and wide publication." 



>a -. , c t! * a t * "j i i% > " A- 
*"*.* a * *; "i ^** - * 

102 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

FORT MONROE, VA., April 20, 1864 

Rear-Admiral JOHN A. DAHLGREN, WASHINGTON 

I HAVE reliable information from Richmond that Colonel 
Dahlgren s body has been taken possession of by his Union 
friends, and has been put beyond the reach of the rebel author 
ities. I propose to take in the matter the course indicated in 
my last conversation with you. Please advise me if you wish 
any other. BENJ R BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 181. 

From General John J. Peck 

Hdqrs. Army and District of North Carolina, NEWBERN, N.C., April 20, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding, &c. 

GENERAL: I have this morning received this very bad news 
from Plymouth, and inclose a copy of the despatch for your 
information. There is no doubt but that Plymouth is lost 
by this time, and the ram will probably come down to Roa- 
noke Island, Washington, and Newbern. Unless we are imme 
diately and heavily re-enforced, both by the army and navy, 
North Carolina is inevitably lost. 

The ram is heavy and very formidable, and none of the gun 
boats here can stand against its power. The "Southfield" 
is sunk, and the rest disabled. Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, JOHN J. PECK, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 283. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 9Mh, 1864 

Hon. THOMAS L. DAVIS, M.C. 

DEAR SIR: Thanks to you again for the confidences you are 
pleased to express in me. 

I have the honor to return your letter with reference to the 
endorsement of the Chairman of the Board to whom I referred 
it, and also enclose you a copy of the examination. 

You will certainly not believe that it is best to keep a man 
in service who does not intend to stay there and learn his 
duty who thinks that 8 times 9 is 70 that 11 times 8 is 
80, and that 12 times 9 is 110, and don t know where the battle 
of Lexington was fought. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, yr. obdt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commdg. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 103 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April %Qth, 1864 

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy 

SIR: In the early Fall of 1862, having occasion to operate 
up the bayous and through the canals in the La Fourche 
country, and in the waters of Berwick Bay and the Teche, 
which were much infected by guerillas, it became necessary 
that some light-draft boats protected against field artillery and 
sharp shooters by iron-plating, should be had for that service. 

That kind of boat it would have been impossible to have 
brought from the North. Upon consultation with Admiral 
Farragut, being possessed of the plating which was left by the 
Rebels, which was being prepared for the ironclads "Louisi 
ana," and "Mississippi," I determined to take two or three 
boats, best fitted for that service, and cover them so as to 
protect the boilers and the men in some degree. I think there 
were three in all. One of them was called "Baratania No. 2." 
She had been in service in the Quartermaster s Department, 
and had considerable carrying capacity, with a light draft of 
water, some twenty-seven inches after she was covered. 
This boat was the property of Mr. James Taylor, a loyal citi 
zen, who had acted as pilot for us in the Louisiana waters, 
and had aided us in every way that lay in his power. 

Finding him a competent person to superintend the repairs 
and operations, he was employed by the Quartermaster s 
Department to do so, and was paid from that Department 
eight hundred dollars on his accounts, having a balance un 
paid of $699.71. 

Before she was finally fitted for service, I was relieved, and 
on the 22nd of December gave him a memorandum note of 
the transaction, which he has still to show. At the moment 
of my leaving, he had a just right to his boat, and to be paid 
her value when she was finished and we took her, and this 
contract would have been faithfully carried out, as it justly 
ought to have been on the part of the United States, if I had 
remained in New Orleans, for I paid my just debts, and those 
of the Government while I commanded in that Dept., and 
the Navy Dept. would not have been troubled with the 
transaction. 

After Gen. Banks took command, he turned over the "Bara- 
tania" to the Navy Department, which finished her repairs, 
and she went into the service of the Govt. Therefore have I 



104 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

deemed it proper to address this note to you in order that a 
truly loyal man should receive his just dues. 

If there should be any difficulties in your mind upon this 
transaction, a note to Rear Admiral Farragut, I have no doubt, 
will bring such a response as will convince you that Capt. 
Taylor should be paid. 

The Quartermaster Department of the Army of the Gulf 
refuse to pay this bill now, I am informed, because the boat 
was turned over to the Navy. 

I have had three such boats fitted up, which came into the 
hands of the Navy, and this one is the only one in which the 
Navy Department had been called upon to pay anything, or 
ever will be. 

Commending Mr. Taylor to your favorable consideration, I 

have the honor to be, T7 ,/. 17 i-,. 

Very respectfully, yr. oodt. servt., 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 
From J. K. Herbert to General Butler 

PRIVATE. WASHINGTON, D.C., Apr. 20^, 1864 

GENERAL: I got an item to-day that must be news to you, 
and ought to be interesting. 

Gov. Ford and I had just been in to see the President, and 
were coming down past the Treasury Dept. when we met 
Gov. Pierpont, of Va. I invited him to join us in a glass of 
ale, and the three of us with two other friends went into Mark- 
ham s for that purpose. 

Whilst waiting for the ale, several items were talked over 
by us, but finally Gov. Pierpont said that he thought Norfolk 
was the greatest place for villainy in the whole United States. 
"Well, Gov., who is the patron saint of the enterprize?" I 
asked. "Oh, Gen. Butler," he said; "he has transported 
the forty thieves from Boston." 

He told of a firm in Norfolk (I do not remember the name, 
and dare not make any note in his presence) who were called 
upon by your officer to know how much liquor they had on 
hand as to the cellar they said "about fifteen barrels," as 
to the shed they said "go and see." And that on examination 
it was found that there were in the shed about forty bbls. 
marked "Cider Vinegar," and he said that it had been brought 
down from Richmond before the war broke out. 

He said that the liquor was all seized, on grounds which 
he stated, false returns, &c., & keeping a shop open in vio- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 105 

lation of orders, and sold at public auction for over fifteen 
thousand dollars. He also said that in a few days after a 
Boston firm came in there and opened shop with a stock of 
about forty thousand dollars. 

He said you had no right to tax men in any shape whom the 
President had concluded to protect under his Am. Proc., &c., 
&c. And that he had prepared a pamphlet exposing you and 
your connection w r ith trading in Norfolk that would be out 
in a week. I asked him if the pamphlet would be anonymous 
- he said no, that he was doing it on his own hook and in his 
own name. He said it would be a document of fifty pages, 
a little more or less. 

I opposed his notion just enough to draw him out he 
unbosomed completely. Just as we separated, he uttered 
some kind of platitude that I don t remember I said you are 
right there, I agree with, "Give it to him." 

Gov. Ford, Col. Bruce of Cleveland, O. (a friend of the 
Gov. s), and another gentleman whose name I do not know 
were witnesses to the whole of our conversation. And Gov. 
Ford is one not unwilling, nor unable to tell the whole truth 
in regard to it. Of course I do not know how this may be of 
use to you, or whether it can serve you at all, but it certainly 
will be worth the reading. I will give you further details 
when I see you. 

The Pres. has this morning referred my case to Holt for an 
opinion. I ll watch it closely get the earliest action and 
I have no doubt as to the result. Mr. Lincoln was pleased 
with the case we had a great deal of sport for an hour that 
we were with him several stories that I ll tell you some time. 

I wrote you the other day I must beg pardon for not 
marking it private. At first I thought it unnecessary, as I 
did not use an official envelope. 

If, when we come to that, the Pres. wants an expression from 
you, I ll ask him to telegraph you himself. I don t care to 
dictate your answer no man could I am sure. 

I have the honor to be r, -, 7 /. , 7 T T^ TT 

Faithfully yours, J. K. HERBERT 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April ZQth, 1864 

Brig. Gen. CHAS. R. GRAHAM, NORFOLK, VA. 

GENERAL: I am directed by the Major General Commdg. 
to forward to you the enclosed order, and to inform you at the 



106 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

same time that the order is not to apply to any of the troops 
now under the command of Brig. Gen. Heckman, who is at pres 
ent moving his forces to what is known as the inner line of de 
fences, which lines with the Heavy Artillery stationed in the 
fortifications are properly under your command. 

After properly dismantling the fortifications in his present 
front, Gen. Heckman will leave Portsmouth with his Infantry 
forces, having the Cavalry under the independent command 
of Brig. Gen. August V. Kautz, U. S. V. Chief of Cavalry in the 
Department, and the defence with all other troops will be under 
your command. 

This letter is written to prevent any conflict of jurisdiction 
until General Heckman is relieved, which will be in a few days 
or as soon as he completes the new lines of defences. I have 
the honor to remain, ^ respectfyUy ? ^ ML ser ^ 

H. S. S. Lt. and A. A. A. Gen. 
From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April, 2Qth, 1864 

Brig. Gen. C. A. HECKMAN, Getty s Station 

GENERAL: The Commdg. Gen. directs me to say that Brig. 
Gen. A. V. Kautz, Chief of Cavalry for this Dept., had been 
ordered to you for the purpose of taking command of all 
the Cavalry in your Department. You will please render 
him all the information and assistance you can to enable him 
to make the cavalry force as efficient as possible. 

Gen. Graham has been ordered to relieve Gen. Wild and 
assume command of all the forces in Norfolk and Portsmouth; 
this will give him the command of the troops (intended for 
defence) within your inner line. He is instructed not to inter 
fere with any arrangements you have made nor with any 
troops that may be within his District that heretofore be 
longed to your command, the intention being to have you 
command all your own District, and as much of the District 
of Norfolk and Portsmouth as will enable you to complete the 
inner line of defence. As soon as this is done, you will be 
relieved with your infantry force and ordered to another 
field, leaving General Graham in command of his District 
together with all the defences and General Kautz in command 
of the entire Cavalry Forces. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, yr. obdt. servt., 

J. W. S., Col. and Chief of Staff 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 107 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 10th, 1864 

Brig. Gen. AUGUST V. KAUTZ, Chief of Cavalry, 
Dept. of Va. and N. C. 

GENERAL: You having been by General Orders assigned 
to duty as Chief of Cavalry in this Department, it is the desire 
of the Commdg. Gen. that you make your Headquarters at 
or near Portsmouth, Va., and take immediate command of 
all the Cavalry in that District. Organize and discipline it 
that it may be made as effective as possible with a view of 
active operations. 

It will be necessary to use part of the Cavalry for the pres 
ent to guard and picket the line of Albermarle and Chesa 
peake Canal. 

You will apply at once to these Headquarters for whatever 
is necessary to render your command effective. I am, Gen 
eral, most respectfully, 

IV. obdt. servt., J. W. SHAFFER, Col. and Chief of Staff 

From General Halleck 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April 20, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

PLEASE telegraph as soon as General Gillmore reports in 
person. 

The Cavalry bureau cannot at present fill your requisition 
and those of the Army of the Potomac. Lieut. General 
Grant will decide which shall have the preference. 

H. W. HALLECK, Maj. Genl. & Chf. of Staff 

From General Butler 

CIPHER. April 20, 1864 

Maj. Genl. HALLECK, Chief of Staff, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

TELEGRAM received. Gen l Gillmore writes that he will 
not be able to report for some days. 

From the tenor of his letter and the necessary delays he 
speaks of, I should judge it would be 10 days. He did not 
receive his orders until the llth inst. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl Comdg. 



108 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 
From J. W. Turner to General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of the South, HILTON HEAD, S.C., April IMh, 1864 

DEAR GENERAL: For some most unaccountable reason 
there is a strong opposition in the military committee of the 
Senate against the confirmation of General Gillmore. I 
suspect where this opposition comes from, but am not certain, 
and I think it is brought to bear upon Wilson, but of this 
again I am not confident. But this is the shape it puts things, 
if Gillmore is not confirmed; that you lose the best possible 
commander you could get for the 10th Corps, as a Brigadier 
he is junior to Gen. Terry, who though a good man would 
say himself that he is not the person to fill Gen. Gill more s 
place. And to bring in a new Major General would be to 
lose all the esprit the Corps has now, and particularly in Gen 
eral Gillmore. You know too well that it is not on the eve 
of a momentous campaign, which the one we are at present 
entering upon promised to be, that an army should change 
commanders. 

I was greatly pleased when I heard you were to have two 
such Lieutenants as Gillmore and Smith, but I should regret 
exceedingly did I think you were to lose the services of Gill- 
more, as I should be pained if my friend Gen. Gillmore should 
be deprived of the reward his services has so justly entitled 
him to. In addition to anything that may occur to you to 
do for Gillmore, either to assist his confirmation or to retain 
him in command of the 10th Corps, allow me to suggest that 
you write Gen. Grant a pointed note upon the subject. I am 
sorry we could not have got our Corps to you earlier; but it 
has been an impossibility. We are pushing things to the 
utmost. Hoping to see you soon, I am 

Yours sincerely, J. W. TURNER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Va. & N. C., FORT MONROE, VA., April 9Xtth, 1864 

Brig. Genl. PALMER, Commanding Dist. N. C. 

GENERAL: I am exceedingly anxious to concentrate as 
many troops as possible and as rapidly upon the Peninsula. 
I look upon the present demonstration of the enemy as made 
simply for the purpose of preventing such concentration, 
and therefore I have felt but little apprehension of the result 
of the movement upon Plymouth. I don t think we can spare, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 109 

to hold the posts in North Carolina, the amount of troops that 
are there. My judgment of the duties of the Government and 
the necessity of concentration of our forces forbids it. In 
deed were I left solely to my own judgment as a military ques 
tion, I should abandon certainly all but one of our posts in 
North Carolina, rather than expend the troops in holding 
them. I send therefore this note to you by my aid, Capt. 
Shaffer, in order that you may suggest to me what will be the 
best regiments to form a Brigade for the field, consisting of 
(4) regiments which can with safety be spared. I wish you 
also to send me at once the First U. S. Colored Troops. That 
was only loaned to General Peck upon the supposition that 
Pickett would attack him with (15,000) fifteen thousand 
men. Send with this Regiment all the men detailed for extra 
and other duties; leave not a man that belongs to it who shall 
not be in their ranks. This is imperative. The fact that they 
are Quarter Masters and other Clerks must make no difference. 

I know it is usual in a General in Command when sending 
away troops to send the poorest, but I rely upon your patriot 
ism and well-known sense of duty to reverse the rule and send 
me the best for the field, and I know that our judgment upon 
that point would coincide. 

As soon as we commence operating upon the upper line, 
you will comprehend that North Carolina will be at once 
relieved, everything the Rebels have will be brought together 
to meet General Grant on the line of the Rapidan. I have 

the honor to be, T r ,/. 77 v , -,- , 

V ery respectfully, i our obedient Servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 
From General Butler 

April 20, 1864 

Major Gen l H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff, 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

HAVING sent two of my colored regiments to Point Look 
out because of their fidelity as guards, that breaks up my 
Division of colored troops. May I request to be sent me two 
colored regiments to supply their place. There are two in 
Maryland which perhaps might be spared. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen I Comdg. 



110 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORTRESS MONROE, April 20, 1864 

Lieut.-Gen. U. S. GBANT, Com d g. Armies of the U. S. 

GENERAL: On Monday evening I received a note from 
General Gillmore, by hand of General Vogdes, who arrived 
here with two regiments of troops from Hilton Head. The 
letter contained the following extracts, which are all that 
are specially material as to the time when General Gillmore 
will probably be here: 

"Brigadier-General Vogdes bears this letter, and it is di 
rected to report to you to take command of the Tenth Corps 
as it arrives from time to time. Brigadier-General Terry will 
follow in a day or two, and will then command the corps until 
my arrival. General Turner will remain a few days longer 
still, while I do not propose to leave here, or turn over my 
command of this department, until all my troops are in mo 
tion, and the last regiment ready to embark. Great delay 
has occurred here in concentrating my scattered forces, but 
it could not be avoided." 

From the tone of his letter, and my conversation with 
General Vogdes, I am of opinion that he will not be able to 
be here, or to even get his troops here until at least ten days 
from to-day. I have directed those troops to assemble at 
Gloucester Point, opposite Yorktown, under the immediate 
command of General Vogdes, assigning General Smith to the 
Camp of Instruction at Yorktown, and the command of the 
troops on both sides of the river. 

I have information, upon which I most implicitly rely, that 
the enemy have three iron-clads done near Richmond. One, I 
am informed, but of that I am not certain, is up the Appo- 
mattox River, I shall take measures to make certain of that 
fact. Neither of the iron-clads to be furnished by the navy 
has yet reported, nor do I believe they will be here for some 
time. I have some two thousand of my cavalry dismounted 
for want of horses, although the requisitions have been in 
a long time, and I have forwarded my officers for the purpose 
of inspecting them. General Halleck telegraphs me that you 
will decide whether I shall be filled up, or the other armies, 
and as you know my needs, I am very well content to abide 
by your decision. I have no further news from Plymouth in 
addition to my telegram, save the report of Captain Flusser, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 111 

the naval commander there, to Admiral Lee, "that he needed 
no reinforcements, but was confident of success" against the 
rebel ram. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General Commanding 

From S. A. Whitely to General Butler 

CONFIDENTIAL. FORTRESS MONROE, VA., April 20th, 1864 

GENERAL: I forgot to mention to you a little bit of news 
which may perhaps be no news to you. It has been in my 
possession for a long time, and I have communicated it to Mr. 
B., but did not suppose it would interest you. Some two or 
three months ago, my friend, Hon. Phil B. Fouke, mentioned 
to me that he was engaged in a big cotton speculation on the 
Western waters, and that he and his associates had managed 
through the agency of the rebel guerillas to procure the owner 
ship of large quantities of cotton on Red River, and that very 
soon a powerful expedition, combining both the army and 
navy, would be fitted out to enable them to get out their 
produce. 

The matter had passed from my memory until the Banks 
and Farragut expedition to Red River was announced. Upon 
inquiry there I ascertained that it was entirely as Fouke had 
predicted, Ben. F. Camp and Phil. B. Fouke were the princi 
pals, associated with them were Mitchell of the N. Y. Times, 
the editor of the St. Louis Republican, and some others. It is 
said that Hooper, M. C., of Massachusetts, furnishes the 
money, but of this I have not positive information. 

However, the expedition was, as you will perceive, purely 
of a private and commercial character, and not for military 
purposes other than to enable private citizens to take away 
from rebeldom the produce which constitutes their only 
sinews of war. There is in the matter one salient fact. That 
is that the Navy not only sanctioned, permitted, and connived 
at the proceeding, but actually employed all its gunboats on 
the Western waters to carry the expedition out and effect the 
removal of the produce. Wliat can the hyper-virtuous Mr. 
Fox say to this? I am inclined to get Jack Hale to bring in 
a resolution of inquiry upon the subject. Would it be worth 
while to use the facts? Yowg ^ g A WHJTELY 



112 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Halleck 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April 21, 1864 

To Major Gen l. B. F. BUTLER 

ONE thousand horses will be sent to you in preference to all 
others. After that the Army of the Potomac must next be 
supplied. 

The colored troops in Maryland have been assigned to Maj. 
Gen l. Burnside. 

H. W. HALLECK, Maj. Genl., & Chief of Staff 

From General Butler 

April 21, 1864 

Brig. Gen. M. C. MEIGS, Qr. Master Gen l, 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

I UNDERSTAND that there are three (3) Veteran Regts. of the 
10 Army Corps at Alexandria, coming to join Gen l Gillmore 
here. 

Will you send them, or shall we send up transportation? 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., 
FORT MONROE, April 21st, 1864 

Col. J. B. FRY, Provost Marshal General, 
WASHINGTON, D.C. 

COLONEL: Mr. S. N. Turnbull, living in Maryland, says that 
two (2) of his slaves have fled from him into Pennsylvania and 
enlisted in the 6th U. S. Colored Troops there. He now wants 
a certificate of their enlistment, by which he can get the $300. 

I tell him I doubt, as they are fugitive slaves, whether to 
give the certificate would not be returning the slaves to the 
master, as against the Act of Congress. It certainly would be 
returning the equivalent. This case must have arisen before. 
What shall I do? I have the honor to be, very respectfully, 
Your obt. servant, B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, Apr. 27th, 1864 

[Not in chronological order] 

Mr. S. N. TURNBULL, NEW LONDON, MARYLAND 

SIR: The Commdg. General directs me to forward for your 
information a copy of a letter from Major C. W. Foster, repre- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 113 

senting the War Department, relative to the payment of the 
three hundred dollar bounty claimed for your two slaves, who 
ran away and enlisted in the 6th U. S. C. T., and to say that 
if you will send him the names of the men, their company 
and all other necessary particulars, he will have the proper 
certificates forwarded to you. I have the honor to be, 

Yr. obdt. servt., A. F. P. Capt. and A.D.C. 

From General Butler 

April 21^, 1864 

Brig. Gen I SHEPLEY, Willard s Hotel, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

CAPT. THORNTON is here, & reports you in Washington. 
Would you like to come down here and take charge of Nor 
folk? If so, apply to the Sec y and show him this telegram. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen I Comdg. 

From General Butler 

April 21, 1864 

Admiral DAHLGREN, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

THE remains are not so far within my control as to be able 
to remove them from Richmond, where every effort is being 
made by the detectives to find them. But they are, I am 
informed and believe, in the hands of devoted friends to the 
Union, who have taken possession of them in order that proper 
respect may be shown to them at the time which I trust is not 
far distant. I hardly dare suggest to Ould, when he reports to 
me as he will that he cannot find them, that I can put them 
into his possession, because that will show such a correspond 
ence with Richmond as will alarm them and will re-double 
their vigilance to detect my sources of information. I am, 
however, under the direction of the President. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

April 21, 1864 

Capt. G. V. Fox, Asst. Secy of the Navy, WASHINGTON, D.C. 
MY boats keep getting on the piles and obstructions between 
here & Norfolk. I employed a man to get them out. There 
was a quantity of chain around them which would have paid 
for getting them. He has received an order from your Dep t mt 
to stop & be paid for what he has got. It will cost a good deal 
more to stop now than it would to go on. The chains which 

VOL. IV 8 



114 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

were around them will pay for getting them, and they will be 
lost if not seen to. Why was he stopped? 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l Comdg. 

From General Butler 

April 21, 1864 

Hon. G. V. Fox, Asst. Sec y of Navy, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

DESPATCHES from Beaufort, N. C. Rebel Ram came down 
the Roanoke, passed Plymouth, sunk the "Southfield," dis 
abled the "Miami, " and has gone out into the Sound. Flusser 
is killed. Great consternation there. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

April 21, 1864 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff, WASHINGTON, D.C. 
DESPATCHES from Beaufort. Rebel iron-clad has come down 
Roanoke river. Sunk one gunboat, disabled another. Com 
mander Flusser, a very valuable officer, is killed. She has 
passed Plymouth. My three posts, Plymouth, Washington, 
Newbern, are well garrisoned with all the force I ought to 
spare them. With provisions, munitions, & arms they ought 
to hold out, and I have every confidence they will. Perhaps 
this is intended as a diversion. Any instructions? 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

FORT MONROE, VA., April 21, 1864 

G. V. Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy 

HAVE received particulars from the surgeon of the "Miami." 
Ram floated down the river in the night, passed the battery at 
Plymouth, first discovered immediately under the bows of the 
"Miami," floating with the current. The "Southfield" and 
"Miami" were lashed together. Flusser went forward and 
sighted his bow-gun, loaded with shell, 10-second fuse; the 
shell struck the iron-clad, rebounded, and killed Flusser 
instantly at the gun, one piece cutting his heart out. The 
ram then went into the "Southfield," and she sunk in five 
minutes. The "Miami" cast loose, and being afraid she would 
run aground, backed down the river, firing at the ram, with 
what damage is not known. When "Miami" got into the 
Sound, she came to anchor and sent the "Whitehead" up to 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 115 

see what had become of the iron-clad. The "Ceres," gun 
boat, took Flusser s body to Roanoke Island, and brought 
away the surgeon, with despatches for Admiral Lee. In the 
meantime, the enemy had invested Plymouth, and were 
threatening an assault. Our last report from General Wessells, 
in command, was that he was holding out, and the enemy were 
engaged shelling the town. It is reported Plymouth is cap 
tured, but not credited. Ram is 125 feet long, draws 8 feet of 
water, has two independent propellers, and makes about 4 
knots; has two guns, only 20-pounders. She will have done 
all the mischief she can do, probably, before our obstruction, 
and your cannon could be ready. Admiral Lee has sent down 
a gun-boat. I have sent three army gun-boats, under Graham, 
carrying 30-pounder Parrotts, light-draught and very swift, 
with orders to Graham to run her down. I think we will get a 
good account of her yet. Will send your telegram to Graham, 
with instructions to sink the obstructions if practicable. 
Surgeon thinks she had not power enough to go up the Roanoke 
against the current. So far as I can judge, after Flusser was 

killed no fight was made. T> T? T> i/ r> i 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 279. 

From General Butler 

Gen l. HECKMAN 

TELL Col. Roberts to telegraph all particulars, but no sensa 
tion reports. If Plymouth is lost, why any commotion there? 
If there is commotion, then it is not lost. Send report at once. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April list, 1864 

Brig. General PALMER, Commdg. Dist. of N. C., NEWBERN, N. C. 
GENERAL : I have been informed of the disaster to the Naval 
force. I have had no report either from Gen. Peck or yourself 
of any land attack, nor that either of you had heard from 
Plymouth. I wonder at the delay. Your posts are all fully 
armed, garrisoned, munitioned, and provisioned, and I have 
but one instruction, and that is hold them at all hazards, as 
you know the military proposition is that a Post is only worth 
what it costs the enemy to take it. Now then, you can make 
your Posts as valuable as you please. I see no indication that 



116 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

there is a sufficient force opposite to you to take either Plym 
outh, Washington, or Newbern. If there is sufficient force 
for that purpose, then the plan of the rebels is to evacuate 
Virginia and hold North Carolina, and they have either brought 
from the South or sent down a sufficient force for that purpose, 
so that any reinforcements to your garrison merely would be 
substantially useless. I will send down the army gunboats for 
the purpose of attempting to open communications, and await 
further developments of the designs of the rebels. I have the 
honor to be, very respectfully, Yr Mt ^^ 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 
From General Butler 

April 21, 1864 

Lieut. Gen l GRANT, Comdg. Armies of the United States, 
CULPEPPER, VA. 

THE following extract from a letter of Gen l Wessells at 
Plymouth on the 16th inst. is forwarded for your information: 

" Longstreet s Army is in motion for Richmond. Gen l 
Pemberton and many officers passed up to Richmond last 
week, and talked freely of the spring campaign. It is Lee s 
intention to anticipate Lt. Gen l Grant s combinations, and 
take the initiative." BENJ R BUTLER; Maj Ggn Comdg 

From the Secretary of State 

Department of State, WASHINGTON, Zlst April, 1864 

To the Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

SIR: I have the honor to enclose two communications from 
Mr. Geofroy, one to each of the French naval Commanders, 
who were charged with superintending the shipment of the 
tobacco at Richmond. A translation of them is also enclosed. 
It is desirable that the originals should be delivered to the 
officers, to whom they are addressed. I will consequently 
thank you to send them forward for that purpose. I have the 
honor to be, Sir, 

Your obedient Servant, WILLIAM H. SEWARD 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 117 

From L. de Geofroy 

TRANSLATION. Legation of France to the United States. 

WASHINGTON, 2lst April, 1864 

To the Commandant of the Gunboat "Grenade," at 

FORTRESS MONROE 

MR. COMMANDANT: I have the honor to pray you will be so 
good as to detain until further order at the anchorage at 
Fortress Monroe the merchant vessels chartered at New York 
by Mr. Paul, the consul, for the transportation of our tobacco, 
which shall present themselves to enter the James River. 
Accept, Sir, the assurances of my distinguished consideration. 
The Charge d Affaires of France, L. DE GEOFROY 

From L. de Geofroy 

TRANSLATION. Legation of France in the United States. 

MR. COMMANDER 

NEW circumstances oblige us momentarily to suspend the 
shipping of the Tobacco of the administration. In conse 
quence thereof I have the honor to invite you to quit immedi 
ately City Point, or any other anchorage on the James River, 
at which you may be on the receipt of my letter, and to come 
down without the least delay to Fort Monroe with the "Bid- 
well, " whether her loading be or be not completed. 

Be pleased to inform Mr. Paul of this decision. If he has 
any counter-orders to give at New York to suspend the freight 
ing begun, he can write to me respecting them. I will take 
upon myself their transmission. 

I write by the same opportunity to the Commander of the 
"Grenade," whom I suppose at Fort Monroe, in order that he 
may detain the second merchant vessel, which you were ex 
pecting, if she be not already on her way to City Point. I 
beg you as soon as you have returned to Fortress Monroe to 
advise me thereof. 

Accept, Mr. Commander, the assurances of my most dis 
tinguished consideration. 

The Charge des Affaires of France, L. DE GEOFROY 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from CULPEPPER, April 22d, 1864 

To Maj. Gen I. B. F. BUTLER, Comd g. 

YOUR despatch received. You must not let movements of 
the enemy interrupt carrying out your programme in the com- 



118 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

ing campaign. It would be better to evacuate Washington and 
Plymouth than to have your whole force neutralized defending 

them * U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Gen l. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 22nd, 1864 

Col. A. H. DUTTON, Commdg. 21st Conn. Vols., 
NEWBERN, N.C. 

COLONEL: I have read your report in relation to your letter 
to Lieut. Hawkins with emotions of mingled pain and pleasure, 
and in which the latter largely predominates. While I see in it 
so many indications of a good officer, I am pained still to think 
you do not fully appreciate the effect to be derived from an 
honorable discharge from the United States service. 

I would there were a middle ground such as you suggest 
between an honorable and dishonorable discharge, but there 
is none. Therefore whoever is not honorably discharged must 
be dismissed from the service, which is perhaps ex vi termini a 
dishonorable discharge. To be cashiered is clearly a dis 
honorable discharge. To be dismissed from the service may 
not certainly be a dishonorable discharge, as a man may be 
dismissed for physical disability who refuses to resign. 

You will see how difficult is the position of the Commanding 
General who can only judge from the reports of his officers. 
Now, I have made it a rule where a party does not resign, never 
to dismiss him from the service without a personal examination 
of his case, but where he tenders his resignation upon frivolous 
pretexts, and then his officers in whom I have confidence, and I 
beg leave to say from your reputation that I have the highest 
confidence in yourself, make an unfavorable report either of 
inefficiency or of any act which shows him an incapable or 
improper officer, I believe myself at liberty, nay my duty 
requires, that I should dismiss him from the service, and there 
fore you will see how much I may be misled by an endorse 
ment made "in the hurry of business," which does not exactly 
set forth the opinion of the reporting officer, and in this case 
you see I am called upon to defend my action to the Presi 
dent, because of your action "in the hurry of business." It 
gives me pleasure to add that after an examination of the 
whole matter, that the explanation is satisfactory, and ac 
quits you of anything that should sully your character as an 
officer. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 119 

With sentiments of respect, I have the honor to be, very 

Your obedient servant, 
B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from CULPEPPER, April 23d, 1864 

To Maj. Gen I B. F. BUTLER, Co-md g. FT. MONROE, VA. 

GENERAL HALLECK telegraphs me that one iron-clad reached 
Ft. Monroe this morning. One on way from Boston. One 
leaves New York today. One Philadelphia Monday. Will 
probably have six (6) there in course of a week. 

Some of the prisoners paroled from Ft. Monroe are known 
to be in our front now. 

I do not want to place you in a position to show bad faith in 
our dealings with the Rebels as they have done with us, but 
before sending another man, who by any possibility can do 
duty in the next three (3) months, I would have an explanation 
on what ground they have placed men on duty, released by 
you on parole. ^ g 



From General Butler 

April 23, 1864 

Hon. HENRY WILSON, U. S. Senate Chamber, 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

PLEASE have no action taken at present upon Gen l Gill- 
more s confirmation if he is likely to be rejected. His Corps is 
ordered here, and I should not like to change commanders 
just now. BENJ F BuTLERj Ma j Gen Comdg. 



From General Butler 

April 23, 1864 

Capt. G. V. Fox, Asst. Secy of the Navy, WASHINGTON, D. C. 
I THINK you can do more good to the service by coming 
here for 24 hours than any where else. Please breakfast with 
me to-morrow morning at 9 o clock. Perhaps you can bring 
the President with you. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



120 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

April 23, 1864 

Hon. G. V. Fox, Asst. Secy of the Navy 

GLAD to hear that Smith is coming here, but it is not upon 
the N. C. matter that I desire to see you. It is something 
more important. Do come. Will send a 16-knot boat for 
you. You are not getting out the piles, as I am informed. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l Comdg. 

From General Butler 

April 23, 1864 

Major Gen l SMITH, Comdg. U. S. Forces, YORKTOWN 

Do you know of a Commissary you want for the 18th Army 
Corps? If so, telegraph his name, and where he is to me. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

April 23, 1864 

Major F. JACOBS, JR., Inspector of Catfy Horses, 
ALBANY, N.Y. 

I FORWARD for your information an extract from a telegram 
from Gen l Halleck of the 21st inst. 
"Maj. Gen l BUTLER 

One thousand (1000) horses will be sent to you in preference 
to all others. After that the Army of the Potomac must next 
be supplied." BENJ R BuTLER? Ma j Gen > t Co mdg. 



From General Butler 

April 23, 1864 

Editor "Baltimore American" 

MY attention is called to an article in your paper headed, 
"A protest from General Butler," which supposes I have 
written a letter having the silly paragraph therein contained. 
I have written no such letter. It is not the kind of letter I am 
accustomed to write. There has been no shadow of occasion 
for it. All and more than all the consideration to which I am 
entitled has been shown me by the Government in relation 
to my present command. 

I should not break my habit of not contradicting newspaper 
paragraphs save that if uncontradicted it may affect others 
than myself. BENJ R BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 121 

From General Butler 

CIPHER. April 23, 1864 

Maj. Gen I HALLECK, Chief of Staff, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

I HAVE received by the hands of Col. Kautz a communica 
tion in relation to the French vessels. 

The tenor of the note of the French charge is equivalent 
to saying that a movement is pending up James River which 
is to be communicated to the Consul at Richmond, the time 
having expired to-day limited by the convention for shipping 
tobacco. May I not be permitted to notify the French com 
mander at City Point that the time has so expired, and there 
fore he is to come down at once and deliver the despatches of 
the French Minister after his arrival at Fortress Monroe? 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Grant 

CULPEPPER, VA., April 23rd, 1864 

Major-General HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

GENERAL BUTLER S despatch of this date suggests, I think, 
the right course to pursue in notifying the French to discon 
tinue shipping their tobacco. Please direct him to adopt it. 

IT. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 956. 

From General Halleck 

BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April 23rd, 1864 

To Major Genl. BUTLER 

You have a copy of the letter of the Secretary of State, and 
will use your own judgment as to the manner of carrying out 

H. W. HALLECK, Maj. Genl., Chief of Sta/ 
From General Butler 

Headquarters, DepL Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, Apr. 23rd, 1864 

To the Commanding Officer of the Confederate Forces at 

CITY POINT 

THE limit of time having arrived which was fixed by the 
convention between the representatives of His Imperial Majesty 
the Emperor of France and the United States for shipping 
tobacco on French account at City Point, I have sent up 
Colonel Paine of my Staff for the single purpose of delivering 
despatches to the Commandant of the French Vessels. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

I have thought it proper that he should communicate with 
you that you might know his mission. I have the honor to be, 
very respectfully, 



B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 
From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 23rd, 1864 

Col. CHAS. J. PAINE, A.D.C. 

COLONEL: You will take the "Greyhound" "under a flag 
of truce," proceed up James River with the utmost despatch, 
report to the Admiral s Flag Ship as you pass, showing him 
this letter of instructions, communicate with the Count Mari- 
vault, Commdg. French Vessels near City Point, and deliver 
him the despatch of which you are the bearer. 

You are also charged to explain to him verbally and also to the 
Commander of any other French Vessel, if it becomes neces 
sary, lying at City Point, or in the James River above our picket 
boats, that they and each of them, are respectfully requested 
and desired at once to return to Hampton Roads, whether they 
have shipped their tobacco or otherwise, as the time limited 
by the convention between the Governments has expired. 

You will also communicate with the Senior Officer of the 
Confederate forces whom you may meet, explain to him the 
messages with which you are charged and deliver to him a 
despatch which will be given you. 

You are at liberty to offer to any of the officers of the French 
ships passage back on board your boat, but that is in no way to 
interfere or to hinder or delay the return of the French vessels 

to this Point. ** n 
Respectfully, 

B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 
From General Butler to Count Marivault 

Head Quarters Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORT MONROE, VA., April 23rd, 1864 

COUNT: The 23rd day of April being the time limited by 
the convention between the representatives of His Imperial 
Majesty the Emperor of the French and the Hon. William H. 
Seward, Secretary of State of the United States, in regard to the 
shipment of certain tobacco therein specified from Richmond, 
and not having been notified of any further convention between 
the two high contracting parties, or order of my Government to 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 123 

extend the time for such shipment, I am obliged to request you 
to leave your anchorage at City Point, or wherever else you may 
be with your vessel on James River, and to return immediately 
to Hampton Roads near Fortress Monroe, to await further 
instructions from the representative of your Government. 

You are expected and respectfully desired to return and 
bring with you all ships, vessels, and boats belonging to or 
under charter of the representatives of the government of His 
Imperial Majesty, employed upon the mission referred to in 
the convention between the two governments, whether the 
tobacco shall have been received by you or not. 

Trusting that you may not be subjected to much incon 
venience by the course which I feel it my duty to suggest and 
direct, and with assurances of personal esteem. I have the 
honor to be, ^ respect f u ll y 9 Your obdt. Serrant 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 23r</, 1864 

FREDERIC BERNAL, His Majesty s Consul, BALTIMORE, MD. 

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
communication relating to Mrs. Gilber, to inform you in reply 
that she is at Fortress Monroe, charged with being a blockade 
runner, and carrying information to the rebels. Was caught 
in the act. Papers and goods were found in her possession, 
and upon her examination she avers that the British protection 
which she has, and I believe signed by you, was given her 
without any personal application. That she never made oath 
that she was a British subject, and it was procured by a friend, 
a slightly irregular proceeding if true. She is awaiting trial. 

I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, 

Yr. obdt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., FORT MOXROE, April \th, 1864 

[Not in chronological order] 

Hon. WM. H. SEWARD, Secretary of War 

SIR: Your letter with the enclosures of a copy of a note of 
Lord Lyons relative to a pass for Mrs. Mary H. Randall, is 
received. The pass will be forwarded. 

I have the honor to be very respectfully your obt. servt. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



124 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Halleck 

WASHINGTON, D.C., April Wth, 1864 

Lieutenant-General GRANT, CULPEPPER 

GENERAL: .... Again last year, when it was very desirable 
to re-enforce the Army of the Potomac, it was represented to 
me by army and navy officers that to abandon either of the 
above-named places (Newbern, Washington and Plymouth) 
would be extremely injurious to our cause in North Carolina, 
fatal to Union men who had accepted our protection, and 
destructive to our flotilla in the sounds. Admiral Lee has 
frequently represented that his fleet was barely sufficient for 
the blockade of Wilmington, and we know that even that is 
very imperfect. 

After a full consideration of the case I could not decide to 
abandon these places, when the demand for troops elsewhere 
was even greater than at present. I therefore cannot advise 
it now, but will order it if you so direct. It is useless for me to 
consult with General Butler on this subject, for his opinion 
would not change my judgment. Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, W. H. HALLECK, 

Major-General, Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 966. 

From the Captain of the " Tisiphone" to General Butler 

CITY POINT, April 24fA, 1864 

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the 
despatch of the 23rd of April, in which after reminding me that 
the convention of the 23rd of November, 1863, allows five 
months only for the exportation of the tobacco belonging to the 
French Government, you require me to come back with all the 
vessels under my orders, to the anchorage of Hampton Roads. 

Fully recognizing the legitimacy, under the terms of the 
convention of your request, I have just given orders to the 
"Grenade" to light her fires, and come down the river with 
the ship she had in tow. I at once stop the work, already com 
menced, of loading the "Bidwell": to this end, I write to stop 
the loads which are on their way from Richmond and from 
Petersburg; and, as soon as the engine of the "Tisiphone" is 
in a condition to turn, that is to say, at some time to-morrow 
probably, I will take in tow the second ship, which is partly 
loaded, to conduct her to Hampton Roads. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 125 

It is my endeavor, General, to call your attention to the fact 
that I should have been ready to leave this anchorage at the 
exact hour which ended the time fixed by the convention if I 
had not been authorized to suppose you had received further 
orders from your government prolonging the time. My 
authority for the supposition is the following phrase of a 
despatch from the Minister of France in answer to observations 
made by me, and of which I have verbally communicated to 
you the substance: 

"There has been no new convention. The points on which 
that of the 23rd of November require modification are and will 
be regulated by direct orders from the State Department to 
General Butler. It is in this w r ay that I shall cause the delay 
stipulated in article XVI to be prolonged, and that procedure 
will be had in all cases not foreseen by the said convention." 

This security of mine will explain to you, General, why I 
had not my engine in working order at the very moment your 
despatch was received by me. I am with profound respect, 

General, ^ r 77? 

I our very humble Servant, 

The Captain of frigate comdg. the "TISIPHONE" 
From the Captain of the " Tisiphone" to General Butler 

On board the " Tisiphone," April %8th, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

GENERAL: I received last night the letter of M. de Geofroy, 
dated the 21st, which you showed Lieutenant Sequin on 
the 24th. 

I cannot suppose you already had in your hands the letter 
of the Representative of H. M. at Washington at the moment 
you sent me, on the same day, a flag of truce bringing me a 
requirement, made in your own name, to leave City Point 
because the term of the convention had expired. But, admit 
ting that this letter did not reach you until after the departure 
of the first flag of truce, I am none the less astonished that 
this letter of which Mr. Seward, Minister of State, had asked 
to take charge, for the purpose of sending it to me by special 
messenger, was not immediately forwarded to me. 

You cannot fail to recognize, General, that the dispositions 
taken on quitting City Point may have been influenced by the 
fact of my ignorance, and that of the French Consul, of the 
orders of our Government, w T hich were kept back in your 
hands, and, I am confident, that you will be so good as to send 
me, by return of the officer who brings you this letter, such 



126 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

explanations as will absolutely remove the responsibility from 
me. I am, with the most profound respect, General, 

Your very obedient Servant, 
The Captain of frigate Comdg. the "TISIPHONE" 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, Apr. 29^, 1864 

[Not in chronological order] 

Count HENRI MARIVAULT, Commdg. His Imperial Majesty s 
Ship "TISIPHONE" 

CAPTAIN: The time limited by the convention between the 
two governments having expired was sufficient reason why 
His Imperial Majesty s vessels should return from City Point. 

I had the honor, when I saw you before you went up, to 
warn you that your stay could not be prolonged by that time, 
unless by a new order, and I supposed and expected that you 
would have returned in time to have been here on the 23rd 
without further notice, but probably from an imperfect under 
standing of the language in which the conference was carried 
on, you did not comprehend the fact that you were so expected 
to return, therefore when the time expired I sent you a request 
to return, and that request was in the course of my duty as an 
Officer of the United States, and relieves you from all respon 
sibility because of complying with it and returning to Fortress 
Monroe. 

At the earliest hour in which you arrived here I forwarded 
the communications of the representatives of your government 
copies of these, translations of which were furnished me, and 
so far as I could understand it, there was no occasion to for 
ward them earlier. 

Trusting that this communication will accomplish all you 
desire, please accept, Captain, assurance of my continued 
respect and personal regard. I have the honor to remain, 
very respectfully, 



From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, May 2nd, 1864 

[Not in chronological order] 

Captain HENRI MARIVAULT, Commanding H. I. M. Ship 

"TISIPHONE" 

CAPTAIN : I see by the Richmond papers that some officer or 
officers of the French ship, while at City Point, left their ves- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 127 

sels and went to Richmond and remained there some days, and 
that the delay occasioned in coming down was waiting for the 
return of that officer or those officers. 

May I inquire without offence whether that newspaper 
statement is true, and if true, under what article of the con 
vention in regard to the shipment of the tobacco, or under what 
authority, these officers visited Richmond. I have the honor 
to be, very respectfully, Yf Mt ^^ 

B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 
From the Captain of the " Tisiphone" to General Butler 

On board the " Tisiphone," May 2nd, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

GENERAL: I learn by the letter you do me the honor to send 
me, May 2, that the newspapers of Richmond speak of "the 
presence of French officers in Richmond, and of a delay occa 
sioned in the return of the vessels by the presence of said 
officer, or officers, in that city." 

I am absolutely ignorant of what the Richmond newspapers 
say, and the newspapers of all countries have taught me never 
to accept their statements without any great reservations. 

But I fear I do not correctly understand your letter, for I 
think I see in it, on the subject of the conduct of my officers, a 
demand for explanations which it is impossible for me to accept 
under this form. 

Believe me, General, that if any irregularity had occurred of 
a nature to affect you, I should have informed you of it myself, 
and that, very far from experiencing at this moment a senti 
ment of exaggerated or unreflecting susceptibility, I have a 
lively regret (knowing how easy all explanations of affairs 
become when they are made face to face, simply and frankly) 
that I am not yet in a condition of health which would permit 
me to go and present my respects to you in person. I am, with 
respect, General, y ^ ^ obedient Servant, 

The Captain of frigate commanding the "TISIPHONE" 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 24^, 1864 

Brig. General PALMER, Commdg. Dist. No. Car., NEWBERN 

GENERAL: I have your despatch of the 22nd, 2 P.M., an 
nouncing the loss of Plymouth. I had hoped better things. 
It is however not right to judge an officer without hearing, and 



128 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

I wait to hear Gen. Wessells* report. Still, it seems to me that 
a more determined defence might have been made. The place 
could not have been taken by assault. It was Gen. Wessells 
fault if it was not well munitioned and provisioned, and the 
Ram was substantially powerless against the land forces; 
but again I repeat that I don t wish to prejudge. 

On the question of holding Little Washington, it is not now 
nor never was of any strategic importance, and never should 
have been garrisoned, in my judgment, as I believe I expressed 
to you when I saw you last November. I do not suppose the 
naval commander will allow the Ram to get around into the 
Pamplico Sound, so there will not be the fear of the Ram, but 
whether Little Washington can stand a siege against all the 
forces which may be brought against it is a question which I 
shall leave to your discretion. 

If you think it can, and there will be no more surrenders, it 
may be taken but it never should be surrendered, then you 
may hold it. You know the necessity we have for troops, and 
can easily guess why I do not reenforce. Therefore I think the 
troops that are there will be quite as much of use elsewhere 
as is the holding of the place. 

See to it, if you do evacuate, that you bring away all the 
baggage and guns, and use your transportations to bring away 
families and persons who would likely be ill-treated, and who 
desire to come, and carry them to Beaufort, concentrate upon 
Newbern, and stand a siege, the longer and more severe the 
siege, concentrating the larger number of troops upon you, 
the better. If you concentrate, you clearly can send back 
the troops that I have sent for. 

If upon the whole you conclude to defend Little Washington, 
you may retain the Light Battery which has been ordered 
away. 

I have known many an officer promoted for a strong, vig 
orous, although unsuccessful defence; I never have yet known 
one in any service for a surrender. You may be overpowered, 
I know you will never surrender. 

When there might be some hope of reinforcing Plymouth, I 
sent down to Roanoke Island the 25th Mass., which I must 
have back at all hazards forthwith by the earliest possible 
transportation. You can order it back upon the same trans 
portation that brought it down, to wit, the "Burnside" and 
"Reno." Do not detain any transportation which we shall 
send down to you. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 129 

I wish to tell you further for your information that if either 
Washington or Newbern can hold out fifteen (15) days I shall 
be in condition to relieve them, perhaps sooner. The inclina 
tion of my mind is against holding Washington if it can be 
evacuated, bringing off all our stores and munitions. Any aid 
that you mean to give me by the way of troops I must have by 
the 30th, or they will be substantially useless. I have the 

honor to be, very respy., v , , 

Yr. obdt. servt., 

B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 
From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MOIJROE, Apr. 2M, 1864 

Brig. General C. K. GRAHAM, Commdg. Army Gunboats, 
NORFOLK 

GENERAL : You have learned of course before this that Plym 
outh has fallen. Naval boats have been despatched which 
are supposed to be sufficient to hold the Pamplico Sound. If 
you have not before the receipt of this destroyed the Ram, I 
think your services will be of more use in another direction. 

You will therefore return so as to be here ready for duty as 
early as the 30th. Order back the 25th Mass, on board the 
" Reno " and " Burnside. " Lieut. Commander Melancthon Smith 
has been ordered in command of the naval force in the South. 

See to it, if you get this despatch before you leave, that the 
25th regiment is on its way back. I have the honor to be, 

Very respy., yr. obedient servant, 
B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Dept. of Va. & N. C., FORT MONROE, VA., April 24tfz, 1864 

Major General PECK 

You were relieved in pursuance with an arrangement made 
with the Lieut. Gen. Commanding the Armies, for the purpose 
of taking another specific command, which will be more con 
sonant with the condition of your health than the extended 
command of the Dist. of N. C. While I have no doubt that 
Gen. Palmer will be glad of your advice and assistance in the 
emergency in which he finds himself placed, yet I wish as soon 
as your health will allow you will report yourself here for light 
duty. We must grieve over the loss of Plymouth, but I hope 
the defense of General Wessells has been so determined as to 

VOL. IV 9 



130 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

fulfil the military axiom in regard to a post that it should 
always be taken but should cost the enemy all it is worth. 

If the enemy choose to attack Newbern or Washington, and 
General Palmer can hold out 15 days I shall be in a condition 
to relieve him. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully your obedient servant, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, Apr. 24, 1864 

Hon. HENRY WILSON, WASHINGTON, D. C. 

DEAR SIR: The Second New Hampshire came down from 
Point Lookout, from whence I had to take them because I was 
afraid some of the men would collude with the prisoners and 
escape as they had done. 

They were placed at Yorktown, and eighty of them deserted 
in a single night, principally substitutes under assumed names, 
like the William Smith alias William Kennedy whose case you 
suggested to me. They were all caught, and two were shot 
the next day, and deserting has stopped. I am trying them 
slowly. I shan t shoot any more unless necessary. I think a 
man who enlists under the assumed name ought to be shot 
although his brother may be a very good Republican and 
voted for Mr. Lincoln in Ohio. 

Since writing the above I learn that Smith is a sailor, and 
as I have plenty to shoot, he has been transferred to the Navy. 
I have the honor to remain, 

Very respectfully, yr. obdt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from CULPEPPER C.H., April 24, 1864 

To Maj. Genl. B. F. BUTLER, Comd g. 

A RICHMOND paper of the 22nd, brought in by a deserter, 
reports capture of Plymouth with one General, 2500 prisoners, 
and all the stores. I do not think it advisable to attempt the 
recapture if this is true. 

What are your preparations for holding Washington, N.C.? 
It will be much better to hold Newbern strongly than to have 
little posts picked up in detail. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieut. General 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 131 

From General Butler 

April 24, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Sec y of War, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

GENERAL SHEPLEY is here. Please issue an order that he 
may report to me for duty, and a consent for his Adjt. Gen l 
to proceed to Washington & get his papers & baggage. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

April 24, 1864 

Capt. G. V. Fox, Asst. Secy of the Navy, WASHINGTON, D.C. 
REFERRING to my last telegram, I am certain that you can 
do no so good a thing to the public service as to come down 
here. Do say you will come. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 25^, 1864 

Major General HALLECK, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

GENERAL : I have the honor to enclose the reports of Generals 
Palmer and Peck upon the capture of Plymouth. It will be 
seen that Plymouth really fell because the theory of its de 
fences presupposed an occupation of the river by our gunboats, 
which w T ould cover our flanks. When the Naval force was 
driven out by the rebel ram, then her fire flanked our defences 
instead of our fire enfilading the enemy. 

So far as I can learn, there was no fighting except artillery 
firing after the ram got possession of the river, Tuesday morn 
ing up to Wednesday 3 P.M., w r hen the surrender was made. 

If the reports are correct, it had cost the enemy in men all 
it gained. The Commander of the Naval forces had expressed 
the most unbounded confidence in his ability to hold the river, 
and on this I have no doubt General Wessells relied. I have 

the honor to be, T7 . - J7 ,. 

Very respectfully your obt. servt., 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 
From Admiral Lee 

CONFIDENTIAL. Flag-ship "Minnesota" NEWPORT NEWS, VA., April 25, 1864 

To Maj. -Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Dept. of Virginia and 

North Carolina, FORTRESS MONROE 

GENERAL: I will thank you to inform me of the extent and 
character of the joint expedition which you propose to make, 



132 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

showing the exact service which you expect the navy to render, 
the time when and the points to which the different military 
and naval movements are to be made, and the assistance which 
the army will give the navy in taking and holding the different 
positions deemed necessary (which should be named), the 
number and kind of transports requiring convoy and protection, 
where to and when. In a word, to give me such full and perfect 
information in writing as will enable the Navy Department 
fully to understand the nature of the service to be performed, 
to ascertain its ability to furnish the means needed, and to 
enable me to make timely professional dispositions. 

I send this by Fleet-Captain Barnes, my chief of staff, and 
solicit an early reply. I have the honor to be, General, 

Respectfully yours, S. P. LEE, 
Acting Rear-Admiral, Corrig N. A. Blo g Squadron 

From General Halleck 

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 25^, 1864 

Lieutenant-General GRANT, CULPEPPER 

.... Despatches just received from Generals Butler and 
Peck state that the garrison at Plymouth, after a small loss, 
surrendered to the rebels on Wednesday, the 20th. No 
particulars. General Butler says nothing about what he 
intends to do. ... 

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 979. 

From General Halleck 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April 25th, 1864 

To Maj. Genl B. F. BUTLER, Comd g. 

ALL detachments and furloughed men belonging to General 
Gillmore s command have for several days been under orders 
to rejoin at Ft. Monroe. 

H. W. HALLECK, Maj. General & Chief of Staff 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April 25th, 1864 

Maj. Gen. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
the extract from the Inspection Report of my Department of 
the 16th New York Artillery in the following words: 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 133 

"No change for the better in the 16th New York Artillery, 
but the increase of the undisciplined mass to nearly 3000 men, 
has made their condition rather worse because more unwieldy. 
It is scarcely possible to obtain correct statement from the 
inextricable confusion that prevails in the Adjutant s Office." 

I examined the report before it was forwarded, and think 
the criticism a just one. The difficulty is an almost insuperable 
one, that owing to orders direct from Washington I have not 
been able to make the proper transfers of surplus men, dis 
abled men, of aged men, of children, cripples, epileptics, that 
have been mustered into that Regiment. 

I respectfully ask an order to make proper transfers to the 
Invalid Corps to reduce its surplus men to a minimum regi 
ment, and I hope in time to bring it into some sort of order. 
I have the honor to be very respectfully, 

Your obt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

April 25, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secy of War, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

I AM receiving a large number of permits from various non 
commissioned officers & privates to appear before a board of 
examination for commissions in Regts., and also to attend a 
free Military School for the same purpose. I respectfully ask 
permission to retain these men until the close of the Spring 
Campaign. BENJ R BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Com. 

From General Butler 

April 25, 1864 

Brig. Gen. TERRY, GLOUCESTER POINT, VA. 

YOUR communication to Maj. Gen. Halleck, Chief of Staff, 
is received, having been forwarded to me for approval. The 
attention of the Commanding General of the Department has 
been drawn to the difficulties you suggest therein, and efficient 
means have been taken to remedy them. The troops are al 
ready on their way. 

Brig. Gen. Terry s attention is called to General Order of the 
War Dept. relating to correspondence which is forwarded him 
by mail. No correspondence either by telegram or letter 
upon military subjects can pass except through these Hd. Qts. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



134 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From E. W. Winons to General Butler 

NORFOLK, April 25^, 1864 

DEAR SIR : In behalf of the Northern people residing in this 
city, permit me to ask your consideration of these few lines in 
regard to the regiment just brought in here to do Provo duty. 
We understand that they are rebel prisoners. Now, if they had 
been deserters, then we would have had some confidence in 
them, but since our residence here we have seen so much of 
the effects of rebels taking the oath that we feel that they cannot 
be trusted. And with the almost entire absence of Union 
troops in this vicinity, we cannot but feel that it would be very 
easy for this general to admit a Co. of rebels here at any time, 
w^ho would secure this city, destroying the lives of all Northern 
ers here with a massacre equal to that at Fort Pillow. 

I know that business men, teachers of colored schools, and 
Yankees generally are feeling an insecurity, which has never 
been felt before since your administration here in this depart 
ment. On the entrance of this regiment into the city, yester 
day, the blinds and windows of the secesh were all thrown 
open, while the inmates looked upon their march as never 
before upon a Union Co. This to us is one reason for feeling 
that they expect to find them like themselves Union outwardly, 
traitors at heart. 

To those who have been here for some time and know of 
what they speak, there is very little confidence felt in those 
who have taken the oath. And with this regiment to guard 
our jails and outposts, must result in a great many leaving 
for the North who have been established here. I have con 
versed with a hundred or more, and all express the same feel 
ing. I remain very respectfully, 

Yours for the right, E. W. WINONS 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., April Zlth, 1864, FORT MONROE 

[Not in chronological order] 

E. W. WINONS, NORFOLK 

SIR: I have read your letter. There is no cause for fright 
on your part. These men doing Provost Duty are more 
bitterly hostile to the rebels that you can be. 

The other rebel prisoners killed three of their number after 
they enlisted, that I left in camp. They call them "Gal 
vanized Yankees." 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 135 

I have every confidence in them. I think them as reliable 
troops as I have. They are mostly North Carolinians and 
Tennesseeans, heartily sick of the rebellion and certain to be 
hanged if they are ever captured. If you are afraid you had 
better go North. I have the honor to be, 

Very respy., yr. obdt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONTIOE, Apr. Z5th, 1864 

C. C. COFFIN, Correspondent of Boston "Journal" 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

DEAR SIR: Your note received: of all things I should 
desire to have an intelligent, loyal, observing, discreet, and 
faithful correspondent of the press within my Department, 
and will send you the passes with pleasure. 

I have but a single remark to make in regard to the duties of 
a correspondent, and that is to desire that you will confine 
yourself to reporting facts done, and in regard to any supposed 
knowledge of future operations that you will adopt the advice 
of Hamlet to Horatio. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, yr. obdt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 

From General Butler 

April 25, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secy of War, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

I AM much obliged to you for your suggestion about visitors. 
I have no occasion for visitors now. If any gentlemen have 
business, if they will telegraph by your leave I will send word 
whether I w^ant them or not. 

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

From General Butler 

April 25, 1864 

Maj. Genl. SMITH, Comdg. at YORKTOWN 

THE lumber is contiguous to Grove s wharf for everything 
except the plank. If you will state how much plank you want 
we will put it off at the end of the wharf on board a vessel. 
Send as many men as you w^ant to do it in three days. Make 
requisitions for spikes to go at the same time with the lumber. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 



136 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Halleck 
CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, April 26, 1864 

Maj. Genl. BUTLER, Comd g. 

GENL. GRANT telegraphs that he wishes Newbern held at all 
hazards, and that he would prefer to have everything removed 
from Washington N. C. to having our forces in North Carolina 
picked off in detail, or to having our offensive operations aban 
doned to defend them. 

H. W. HALLECK, Maj. Genl. & Chief of Staff 

From General Butler ^ Z26 , 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Sec y of War, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

MAJ. JACOBS, 3d N. Y. Cavy., was sent to inspect horses. 
I understand he has been ordered elsewhere. Please order 
him by telegraph to join his regiment at once. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

April 26, 1864 

Col. DRAPER, Comdg. at POINT LOOKOUT, MD. 

FIND out who the correspondent of the Baltimore American 
is at Point Lookout. Caution him against giving any more 
movements of troops, or else shut him up in the rebel prison. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

FORT MONROE, VA., April Wth, 1864 

Lieut. -General U. S. GRANT, CULPEPPER, VA. 

DESPATCHES from Newbern. All quiet at Newbern and 
Little Washington, N.C. Deserter captured reports Martin s 
brigade, of which he is a member, and other troops being for 
warded, via Weldon to Richmond, and railroad seized for that 
purpose. Do not apprehend further demonstration in North 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 1000. 

From R. McMurdy to General Butler 

PRIVATE. WASHINGTON CITY, April 27th, 1864 

MY DEAR SIR: My friend, Gen. Slough, handed me the 
Norfolk paper, and called my attention to the following: 
"W T e have Gov. Pierpont s History of Virginia, 5 which 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 137 

owing to its indecency, he voluntarily suppressed, and shall 
publish a digest of it in a day or two, with some observations 
of our own. It is a very singular work." 

If you have obtained a copy of the pamphlet only from myself, 
would it not be well to have the remarks of the Editor prefaced 
with something like : "We understand that the following is an 
accurate digest, &c, " without stating that "we have" &c. 

The copy sent was obtained in such manner that it ought 
not to be traced to myself. If you have obtained a copy else 
where, please have me informed. 

Chaplain, of the N. Y. Herald, who visits me occasionally, 
told me that he was trying to obtain a copy promised by Gov. 
Pierpont, and would send you a copy. Gen. Slough told me 
this A.M. that Chaplain had obtained a copy, but would not 
let the Gen. see it, as he had promised Gov. P. that he would 
show it to no one. I can meet with no one possessed of a 
copy. I am told that Gov. Pierpont says that he was requested 
by the War Department not to issue it at present. 

There is no concealment of the fact that the members of the 
Cabinet generally are more uneasy about your hold upon the 
hearts of the people than of aught else. When your friends 
here assure certain parties that you are not a candidate for the 
Presidency, and that you are in no w r ise in opposition to Mr. 
Lincoln, they are scarcely credited, and yet they see us sup 
pressing as ill-timed at the present local demonstrations in this 
direction. \Y<- do not hesitate to avow our preference, and 
distinctly affirm that when the time comes we are more than 
ready to act. But that the friends of Mr. Lincoln and the 
friends of Gen. B. must be a unit that Gen. B s friends can 
only sustain Mr. Lincoln by his giving Gen. B. fair play and 
that Gen. B. in the right juxta-position, is the least that will 
satisfy his friends and attract to Mr. L s support, the mass of 

the radical supporters of Gen. Fr 1, that we don t know, 

nor wish to know, Gen. Butler s mind, but act simply upon 
our own convictions and for the public good and that Gen. 
B s friends are too wise and unselfish to allow Gen. B. to be 
placed in any uncertain or injudicious position. 

Forney paid you a high compliment the other day he 
said that you were the only genius that the war had thus far 
developed. 

But a truce to these things that are better said than written. 
My kind regards to Mrs. Butler, I am, 

Yours very truly, R. McMuRDY 



138 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Colonel Shaffer 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, Apr. 9,7th, 1864 

Brig. General GEO. F. SHEPLEY, NORFOLK 

GENERAL: Brig. General Vogdes, a very fine officer, has been 
ordered to report to you to be assigned to command of the line 
of defences. 

This was done knowing that most of your time would be 
occupied in the internal affairs of your district, and that the 
line would necessarily be commanded by one of your Colonels, 
and as that line is of great importance, the Commdg. General 
thought best to send you a good General Officer that you could 
rely upon. I would suggest that he make his Headquarters 
at either Portsmouth or at Gen. Heckman s old Headquarters. 
You will find Gen. Vogdes a first-class soldier, and you need not 
hesitate to entrust him to any extent in military matters. 
I am, General, Most respectfully, 

Yr. obdt. servt., 
J. M. SHAFFER, Col and Chief of Staff 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April Z7th, 1864 

GEO. E. WILMOUTH, Troop "C," N. Y. Mounted Rifles, 

WlLLIAMSBURG, VA. 

SIR: Your letter asking a furlough has been received. I am 
only sorry that the exigencies of the public service will not 
permit me to grant it. You need no apology for writing me. 
I can sympathize fully with you, having been obliged to remain 
at my post and leave my only brother to die without seeing him. 

I know how hard it is, still we must do our duty. I cannot 
feel it to be mine to allow you to go at present. I have the 
honor to be, very respeetfy. y ^ Mt ^^ 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 
From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April Wth, 1864 

Maj. General JOHN J. PECK, Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N. C. 

GENERAL: I have read your General Order No. 70, and I 
wish to call your attention to this paragraph: "Many of 
the troops have been in the field since the outbreak of the 
Revolution." 

What revolution do you mean? The revolution of our ances- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 139 

tors, against England? There has been no other revolution 

in the United States since, but there has been and is a rebellion. 

It is not usual for officers in the United States service to 

style the rebellion as a revolution. I have the honor to be, 

Very respv " Yr. obdt. servt., 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

From General Butler 

April 27, 1864 

Lieut. Gen 1. U. S. GRANT, Comdg. Armies U. S. 

COL. ROWLEY has arrived. But one iron-clad here yet, 
three more to come. Will not be here before Sunday. Gen l 
Gillmore not before Saturday, if then. Six Regiments of his 
troops behind, two of which are near Washington. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From Admiral Lee to General Butler 

CONFIDENTIAL. Flag-ship North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, 

HAMPTON ROADS, VA., April 27, 1864 

GENERAL: I received, late on the night of its date, your 
confidential communication of the 25th inst., referring to 
our previous interview, and giving me more fully your views 
respecting the movement you contemplate, and including 
the Appomattox to Port Walthall as part of the base of your 
operations. This plan was, in our interview yesterday with 
the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, modified in this that 
you abandoned the idea of landing troops, or sending your 
transports above City Point, on James River. 

I have the "Onondaga," and I expect also three Monitor 
iron-clads and with these I shall be able to co-operate with 
you as far up James River as their draft and the depth of 
water will allow them to go; viz: to Trent s Reach, in which 
there are but eight and one-half feet of water. Our iron 
clads enter or operate in the Appomattox, but I can co-operate 
with you in small wooden vessels to Broadway, and, perhaps, 
as high as Point Rocks, if there are no obstructions in the 
river, or rifle-pits on the banks to drive the men from their 
guns on these open deck vessels, or batteries with which such 
vessels cannot contend. The iron-clads can, barring accidents, 
average five knots an hour to Harrison s Bar, which is fifty 
miles above Newport News. They require high water by day 
to cross that bar. The river at Harrison s Bar, before City 



140 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Point, in the Appomattox, and from City Point to Farrar s Island, 
requires to be examined for torpedoes, and if we meet with no 
resistance, this can be done by day, and in part of a day. 

I thankfully accept the offer of your light-drafts to act 
under my orders in the performance of this important duty. 
The engineering device of defense by obstructions (the means 
of making which you kindly propose to provide) above the 
iron-clads in James River, would materially aid in preventing 
the success of attempts to blow them up, and of surprise by 
torpedo vessels and fire-rafts. The confusion and loss which 
would inevitably ensue among your numerous transports, 
crowded in the river, in the event of such an alarm, would be 
very serious. I would suggest Trent s Reach, or Dutch Gap, 
as a good location for such obstructions. 

I do not see clearly how such a movement can be made a 
surprise, as the enemy has a signal corps in operation along 
James River. 

I would respectfully suggest that the occupation of Dutch 
Gap, which is high and narrow, could be a great advantage to 
us, and that a body of skirmishers, to land, clear, and picket 
the bluffs on the left bank, between Eppes Island and Farrar s 
Island, would be a very desirable protection to the gunboats 
against sharp-shooters and torpedo operators. 

The wooden gunboat force expected is not as large as I have 
desired; it will, however, I hope, be sufficient to give the 
convoy required, and assist the iron-clads in covering the land 
ings contemplated. 

Be assured, General, that intelligent and hearty co-operation 
is the first wish of myself, and will be the effort of the officers 
and men of my command. I have the honor to be, General, 
Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, S. P. LEE, Acfg. Rear Admiral 

From General Grant 

Head Quarters, Armies of the United States, CULPEPPER C.H., VA., Apl. 28, 64 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER, Comd g. Dept. of Va. & N. C. 

GENERAL: If no unforeseen accident prevents, I will move 
from here on Wednesday, the 4th of May. Start your forces 
the night of the 4th so as to be as far up James River as you 
can get by daylight the morning of the 5th, and push from 
that time with all your might for the accomplishment of the 
object before you. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 141 

Acknowledge the receipt of this by telegraph. 

Everything possible is now being done to accumulate a 
force in Washington from the Northern States, ready to rein 
force any weak point. I will instruct General Halleck to 
send them to you should the enemy fall behind his fortifica 
tions in Richmond. Will you therefore keep the Hd Qrs in 
Washington advised of every move of the enemy so far as 
you know them. I am, General, Very respectfully, 

Your obt. svt., U. S. GRANT, Li. Gen. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April Z8th, 1864 

Maj. General LEW WALLACE, Commdg. 8th Army Corps, 

BALTIMORE, MD. 

GENERAL: Please have one Capt. Baker, who runs a boat 
in Chesapeake Bay to prevent smuggling, arrested and sent 
to me. 

Mr. Lambden, who is in some business in Baltimore requir 
ing a number of laborers, knows Baker. I have evidence 
that Baker has been engaged in kidnapping colored people. 
I have the honor to be, 

Yr. obdt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From General Wallace to General Butler 

Head Quarters, Middle Department, 8th Army Corps, BALTIMORE, May 2, 1864 

[Not in chronological ordeiQ 

GENERAL: In compliance with your request, I have caused 
Lieutenant John G. Baker, Rev. Cutter Service, to be arrested. 

It is possible that the persons complaining to you did not 
inform you that Lt. B. is of the service named. If there is no 
mistake, I think it my duty to report the arrest, with the charge 
and circumstance, to the Tr. Dept. 

You will oblige me by letting me hear from you again on the 
subject. Very resp. 

Your friend & svt., LEW WALLACE, 

Maj. Gen. Com d g. Mid. Dept. 



142 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

April 28^, 1864 

Lieut. Gen l U. S. GRANT, Comdg. U.S.A. 

CAPT. CLARKE of my Staff has just returned from North 
Carolina, reports North Carolina relieved from Rebel troops, 
that have gone to Virginia. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, Apr. 28th, 1864 

Rear Admiral LEE, Commdg. N. A. B. Squadron 

ADMIRAL: I have received your note containing information 
received from Mr. Davis of Wilmington. Later information 
brought to me puts Beauregard s advance at Petersburg on 
their way to Richmond, and Lee s Army in Virginia. 

Captain Clark of my Staff has just come up and reports the 
rebel troops are leaving North Carolina. Plymouth is evac 
uated, and Little Washington and Newbern are relieved from 
all threats of operations. I have the honor to be, 

Very respy. yr. obdt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 

From General Butler 

April 29, 1864 

Capt. G. V. Fox, Asst. Sec y of the Navy 

I HAVE transferred to the Navy from this Dept. seven 
hundred and thirty-three men (733). Will be able to fill the 
quota at once. BENJ R BUTLER; Maj 



From General Butler 

April 29, 1864 

Col. GREEN, Comdg. 1st U. S. Vols., POINT LOOKOUT, MD. 
Is your regiment armed and equipped? If not, why not? 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From 0. E. Babcock 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, 
CULPEPPER COURT-HOUSE, VA., April 29, 1864 

(Maj. Gen. WILLIAM F. SMITH) 

DEAR GENERAL: Your letter of the 26th, Yorktown, reached 
me last night. I showed it to Comstock, who entered into the 
spirit of it, and during the evening had a talk with the general 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 143 

upon the subject, though not mentioning your letter. The 
general is very fixed in letting Butler have his own way with 
all minutiae. He was so firm in the matter that Comstock and 
I both think he would decline at once if asked direct to send 
such staff officer. The general thinks General Butler has 
sufficient number of able generals to render him all necessary 
aid to execute the details, and he has indicated his starting 
point and objective point. I would send your letter to Wil 
son, but I am sure Comstock has more influence than he 
(Wilson). The general is quite well. You did not speak of 
Bo wen s being with you. He was ordered some time ago. 
I hope he is not sick again. Burnside is in his position this 
morning. Comstock came in from Nashville last night. 
General Sherman is feeling quite well, and nearly ready. A 
Captain Montgomery, assistant adjutant-general of volun 
teers, wished me to ask for a place on your staff. I promised, 
but knowing you would not want that kind, I have not done 
so before. No chief engineer yet. Rumor says Halleck is 
to be the one intended by the President. We have no news. 
Banks official reports make out his battle a victory, but it was 
without doubt a disgraceful defeat the first day. Banks retook 
three pieces only of artillery. My kind regards to all your 
staff; also to Madam Smith. I shall expect to meet you in 
Richmond, if not before. Very truly, 

Your obedient servant, O E. BABCOCK 

War Rec., Vol. 33, p. 1019. 

From General Butler 

April 29, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secy of War, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

BRIG. GEN L MARSTON is very sick. Gen l Weitzel has not 
yet been heard from. I am in great need of Brigade Com 
manders. Please order Brig. Gen l Stannard, now on duty 
with Gen l Dix, to report to me immediately. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, M aj. Gen. Comdg. 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, WASHINGTON, April 29^, 1864-5.40 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, FORT MONROE 

GENERAL STANNARD has been ordered to report to you; 
also Brigadier Generals Terry and Martindale. The number 
of brigadiers allowed by law is filled up, so that there is no 



144 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

vacancy just now for Major Ludlow; but two or three will 
probably be mustered out next week, in which case there will 
be a vacancy for his nomination. 

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 1017. 



From General Grant 

CONFIDENTIAL. Hdqrs. Armies of the United States, 

CULPEPPER COURT-HOUSE, VA., April 29, 1864 

Major-General HALLECK, Chief of Staff of the Army 

GENERAL: If General Gillmore reaches Fort Monroe in 
time, and if four of the iron-clads promised by the Navy are 
also there, our advance will commence on the 4th of May. 

General Butler will operate on the south side of James River, 
Richmond being his objective point. I will move against 
Lee s army, attempting to turn him by one flank or the other. 
Should Lee fall back within his fortifications at Richmond, 
either before or after giving battle, I will form a junction with 
Butler, and the two forces will draw supplies from the James 
River. My own notions about our line of march are entirely 
made up, but as circumstances beyond my control may change 
them, I will only state that my effort will be to bring Butler s 
and Meade s forces together. 

The army will start with fifteen days supplies; all the coun 
try affords will be gathered as we go along. This will no doubt 
enable us to go twenty or twenty-five days without further 
supplies, unless we should be forced to keep in the country 
between Rapidan and the Chickahominy, in which case sup 
plies might be required by way of the York or the Rappahan- 
nock Rivers. To provide for this contingency I would like 
to have about 1,000,000 rations and 200,000 forage rations 
afloat, to be sent wherever it may prove they will be required. 
The late call for one hundred days men ought to give us all 
the old troops in the Northern States for the field. I think 
full 2,000 of those in the West ought to be got to Nashville 
as soon as possible. Probably it would be as well to assemble 
all the balance of the re-enforcements for the West at Cairo. 
Those that come to the East I think should come to Wash 
ington, unless movements of the enemy yet to develop should 
require them elsewhere. With all our reserves at two or 
three points you will know what to do with them when they 
come to be needed in the field. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 145 

If the enemy fall back, it is probable General Butler will 
want all the force that can be sent to him. I have instructed 
him, however, to keep you constantly advised of his own 
movements and those of the enemy, so far as he can. 

General Burnside will not leave his present position between 
Bull Run and the Rappahannock until the 5th of May. By 
that time the troops to occupy the block-houses, with their 
rations, should be out. If they cannot be sent from Wash 
ington, I will have to require General Burnside to furnish the 
detail from his corps. When we get once established on the 
James River there will be no further necessity of occupying 
the road south of Bull Run. I do not know as it will be nec 
essary to go so far south as that. In this matter, your oppor 
tunity of knowing what is required being far superior to 
mine, I will leave it entirely to you. Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 33, Page 1017. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April, 1864 

His Excellency A. LINCOLN, President of the U. S. 

SIR: The bearer, Col. S. H. Stafford (whom I beg leave to 
introduce to your favorable consideration), was selected by 
me to superintend the organization of Colored Troops in New 
Orleans, and commissioned Colonel of the First Regiment. 

At the time of the selection he was a volunteer aid on my staff 
and was acting as Deputy Provost Marshal, and by his action in 
that office had acquired the good will of and influence with the 
free colored people. This, together with my knowledge of his 
energy and efficiency as Major of a New York Regiment in the 
Spring and Summer of 1861, induced his appointment. 

I believe his zeal and energy secured the speedy enlistment 
of the free colored men in the first two regiments, notwith 
standing many embarrassments. He informs me that he has 
been dismissed the service subject to your approval without a 
trial or hearing, and without receiving any copy of charges, 
though he applied for them. I believe him truthful and loyal 
to the country and administration, and earnest in the cause of 
colored troops, and that he may be relied on. If retained in the 
service, and it meets your approval, I can make him useful in 
this Department. ^ respectfull ^ B R BuTLER 

VOL. IV IO 



146 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, April, 1864 

Lieut. Genl. IT. S. GRANT, Commanding U. S. Army 

GENERAL: I have the honor to enclose official copies of 
the correspondence between Genl. Pickett, Commanding Con 
federate forces District of North Carolina, and General Peek, 
Commanding U. S. Forces in said District, in relation to the 
execution of certain prisoners belonging to the Second North 
Carolina Regiment. 

Many of these men were conscripted by the Rebels, all of 
them were citizens of the United States who owed their alle 
giance to the Government. If misguided, they forfeited their 
allegiance, repented, and returned to it again. They have 
only done their duty, and in my opinion are to be protected in 
so doing. 

I do not recognize any right in the rebels to execute a United 
States soldier because either by force or fraud, or by volun 
tary enlistments even, he has been once brought into their 
ranks, and escaped therefrom. 

I suppose all the right they can claim as belligerents is to 
execute one of the deserters from their army, while he holds 
simply the character of a deserter during the time he has re 
nounced his allegiance, and before he has again claimed that 
protection, and it has been accorded to him. [Thus] by no law 
of nations and by no belligerent s rights have the rebels any 
power over him other than to treat him as a prisoner of war if 
captured. 

I would suggest that the Confederate authorities be called 
upon to say whether they [approve] this act, and that upon 
their answer such action may be taken as will sustain the 
dignity of the Government and give a promise to afford pro 
tection to its citizens. I have the honor to be, very respect 
fully, Y our O u. servt., B. F. BUTLER, M aj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

BY TELEGRAPH from FORT MONROE, May 1st, 1864 

To Com g Officer, POINT LOOKOUT 

BY the direction of Col. Hoffman, Commissary of Prisoners, 
you will direct all surplus clothing in the possession of rebel 
prisoners, issued to them by the Government, to be taken from 
them on flag-of-truce boat, and returned to be issued to other 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 147 

prisoners. They are not permitted to take with them either 
blankets, caps, shoes, or great-coats, and the Commissary of 
Prisoners thinks it would be advisable to take their coats from 
them. This order is rendered necessary for the reason that 
many have taken away a complete outfit to the rebel service. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, M aj. Genl. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

BY TELEGRAPH from FORT MONROE, VA., May 1st, 1864 

To Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Sec. of War, WASHINGTON, D.C. 
FLAG-OF-TRUCE boat is in with four hundred (400) sick prison 
ers. The necessity of haste renders it imperative that these 
prisoners should be landed at the hospitals in Annapolis. I have 
accordingly so ordered Major Mulford. I trust the order will 
be approved. BNJ R BuTLER> Ma - Qenl Comdg , 



From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Dept. of Va. & N.C., FORT MONROE, May 1st, 1864 

Hon. MONTGOMERY BLAIR, Provost Marshal General 

MY DEAR SIR: Do you wish to do me a personal favor, and 
the Government a service? If so please remove the post 
master at Norfolk, and appoint anybody you please. 

You cannot go wrong in comparison with Mr. W. King. 
If you have nobody, I will find some disabled, \vounded officer 
whom I can recommend to you. You can appoint some ref 
ugee driven from home and property by the Rebels. I am 
indeed earnest about this, as this Mr. King is not to be trusted. 
I have been trying to detect the correspondent of the New 
York World, who is giving every information about our move 
ments, and I am thwarted by this man who says, "What 
would the Democratic party do if I, King, allow the corre 
spondence to be examined?" 

Yours truly, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, May 1st, 1864 

His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the 

United States 

LIEUTENANT DANIEL RUSSELL, of the 10th New Hampshire 
Vols., presents his case to me under the following statement of 
fact: 



148 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

He enlisted in the three (3) months service, and served 
faithfully and well during that term. Then enlisted in the 
19th Mass. Vols., served well through the battles of the Penin 
sula for ten (10) months down to Harrison Landing. There, 
was tempted by an older man than himself, he being now but 
twenty (20) years of age, to desert and go to his home, having, 
as he alleges and he seems truthful, home-sickness to such a 
degree as to amount to the disease nostalgia. 

After being home two or three months, he came to a sense 
of his situation, and enlisted in the 10th New Hampshire. 
Served bravely and faithfully with them, was in the battle of 
Fredericksburg, and was promoted for good conduct to be 
second lieutenant, which office he now holds. He has been in 
actual service of the United States thirty-three and a half 
(33 J) months out of thirty-six. 

He is now arrested for desertion. In consideration of his 
youth, and the strong effect of home-sickness upon youth, his 
subsequent good conduct, and his evident intention to be 
faithful to the service, I have released him from arrest, but 
still cannot prevent his being tried on the charge of desertion 
to which he must and will plead guilty if it is pressed, as I 
suppose it will be perhaps from some personal ill-will. 

It is therefore respectfully recommended to the President 
that of his grace and clemency he will issue a full pardon for 
the crime of desertion to young Russell. 

I have the honor to enclose a recommendation signed by a 
large majority of the officers of his present regiment. I have 
the honor to be, V(yfy respect f ully your obi servL 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from CULPEPPER C.H., May 1st, 1864 

To Maj. Gen l. BUTLER, Comd g. 

HAVE any more iron-clads reached you? Has General 
Gillmore arrived? 



From General Butler 

CIPHER. Sunday 12, A.M. 

ONE iron-clad has arrived, two more now due. Four 
Gunboats due besides. General Gillmore not yet arrived. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 149 

From General Butler 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from Head Qrs., May 1st, 1864, 4 1-2 P.M. 

To Lieut. Genl. IT. S. GRANT, Comd g. Armies of the United 

States, CULPEPPER 

YOUR confidential communication of the 28th of April 
received at this hour, & contents noted. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from CULPEPPER, 5.30 P.M., May 1st, 1864 

To Maj. Genl. BUTLER, Comd g. 

HAVE you received letter from me giving date for commen 
cing operations? 

If General Gillmore arrives by morning of the (3d), those 
directions will be followed. Answer. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Genl. 

From General Butler 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from Head Qrs., May 1st, 1864 

To Lieut. Genl. GRANT, Head Qrs. of the Army, CULPEPPER 

LETTER & telegram in regard to commencing operations 
received. Flag-of -truce boat just in. All quiet. Seized 
West Point today. Enemy fortifying fords on the Chicka- 
hominy. Have answered receipt of despatch before. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Dept. of Va. FORT MONROE, VA., May 1st, 1864 

Rear Admiral S. P. LEE, commanding N. A. B. Squadron 

ADMIRAL: I have the honor to enclose to you a copy of a 
letter from Lieut. General Grant fixing the date probably of 
our movement. Can you be ready to cooperate with us at 
that time. Very respectfully, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From General Butler 

BY TEL. from H d Qrs., May 1st, 1864 

To Major VAN VLIET, Quartermaster at NEW YORK 

IT is of the first consequence that General Weitzel should 
receive this immediately on his arrival from New Orleans. 
Oblige me by attending to it. 



150 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Brig. Gen. Godfrey Weitzel 

WE are awaiting you with the utmost anxiety. Quit all and come at once if only 
for a few days. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

From General Weitzel 

To Major General BUTLER BT Tn -* " Y " Ma " * nd 1861 

I HAVE just arrived. Will be with you Wednesday morning. 

G. WEITZEL, Brig. General 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, M ay 2nd, 1864 

WM. H. ADAMS, GENEVA, 111. 

SIR: You could hardly have been more surprised at the 
contents of my note than I should be at yours if I could be 
surprised at anything. You seem to be aggrieved that your 
adopted son s incompetency was not discovered until after 
five (5) months service. It might be a sufficient answer to 
say that after so many months preparation he was put into the 
field, and then his incompetency was discovered. The first 
notice I had of the fact was from his letter resigning his com 
mand, an official copy of which is enclosed, wherein, over his 
own signature, he tenders his resignation on account of in 
competency and for no other reason. This resignation was 
approved by his immediate Commander, who from his own 
observation knew of its correctness, and of course I had no 
alternative but to accept it. 

You seem to complain that the "boy is now cast adrift." 
Would not "cut himself adrift" be a better phrase? 

I join in your sorrow that he had not been able to fill his 
position, because it has cost the United States a large sum of 
money and much time to attempt to educate an incompetent 
officer. This case illustrates the folly of relying upon recom 
mendations. I have the honor to be, 

Very respy., yr. obdt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From J. K. Herbert to General Butler 

Willartfs, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 2, 1864 

DEAR GENERAL: I mail to you, herewith, two copies of the let 
ter of Gov. P. to which I alluded in my note of a few days ago. 
You get the very first that leave the printer s hands. I went 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 151 

with the Gov. this morning and got them. I have saved a 
copy have not had time to examine of course, but in fifteen 
minutes perusal I thought it was a failure. 

Major Gaines, Judge Adv., said to me on seeing what I had 
in my hand, "My God, a man of his calibre to undertake a task 
of that kind." 

If anything occurs that I can do here, command me of course. 
My case is not reached satisfactorily yet but no matter 
for me. 

This letter of the Gov. will go on the tables of members and 
senators to-day. 

There is a fight in the Cabinet between Chase & the Blairs. 
Chase has not been at the Dept. for several days it is thought 
that one or the other must get out of the way now. 

There is evident trouble in the White House. The Pres. 
quarreled with Sam. Galloway of Ohio the other day, and I 
just guess that he put off to see you. If he did, you know the 
case by this time if he did not, it is not important immedi 
ately, and I ll tell you at another time. 

McMurdy, an Episcopal Minister, is one of the delegation 
sent to smell out your status by Gov. Ford, and at the instance 
of the Pres. 

The Chase quarrel may become profitable for parties en 
tirely out of the ring. I am, 

Yours faithfully, J. K. HERBERT 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MOXROE, May Ind, 1864 

Hon. ROBERT OULD, RICHMOND, VA. 

SIR: I am informed by the father of Capt. J. T. Harris that 
his son is still in irons. I trust and believe that this is a mis 
representation from misinformation. 

Since the conference I had with you on the subject, the under 
standing was that no Federal officer is now in irons in the 
Confederacy. Harris is at Columbia, South Carolina. 

The best way of convincing our people that your authorities 
are misrepresented in this matter will be to send him forward 
for exchange, as I will give an officer of equal rank for him, 
whom you may select. 

Your special attention to this is requested, and it will confer 
a personal obligation. I have the honor to be, 

Very respy. yr. obdt. servt. 
B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commdg. 



152 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

United States Military Telegraph, May 2, 1864 

To Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secy, of War, WASHINGTON, D. C. 

OULD, the Rebel Commissioner of Exchange, has declared 
without consultation all rebel prisoners delivered at City 
Point up the 10th of April, exchanged. This he justifies under 
the 5th article of the cartel, Gen. Orders 142, series of 1862. 
These men will be sent into the field against us, and he 
claims he has the right so to do. I see no other way, and so 
far as my judgment goes I can see no harm in making a similar 
declaration upon our part, which will permit our officers and 
soldiers to take the field in opposition. It is now settled under 
Gen. Grant s order that the exchange cannot go on. The 
rebels will make their theory of the colored soldiers a sine qua 
non, and upon this point the cartel is entirely annulled. Please 
have the declaration made. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, M aj. Genl. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, May 2nd, 1864 

Brig. Gen. M. C. MEIGS, Quarter Master General, 
WASHINGTON, D. C. 

GENERAL: Your note concerning the charter of the "New 
York" is received, recommending that the accruing clause 
shall commence on the 7th of June, 1863, that she shall be 
paid her charter money for services up to February 1st, 1864, 
and thence $300 per day when employed in inland navigation 
and $400 on outside navigation, with a valuation fixed on 
that day at $150,000. Your recommendations will be carried 
out, as I believe fully in the maxim, "chacun a son metier." 
Still, I cannot forbear calling your attention to the fact that a 
competent board of survey fixed her value on that date at 
996,000. 

But there is another question which I desired to be decided 
before I determinedly fixed the charter. That is to say: the 
boat has now earned for the Government, under the accruing 
clause up to Feb. 10th, 1864, say $75,000, now, why should the 
United States continue to pay to the owners 33 per cent, for 
$28,000 per annum on its own money which is invested in that 
boat? Why not execute a new charter party with a valuation 
stated at the amount of the owners interest in the boat on the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 153 

1st of February, deducting what is earned for the United States, 
which would at the same time be an amount upon which to 
calculate the 33 per cent., and for the Government to pay in 
case of loss by war less the new accretions. 

That is the form in which I should make my bargains, as I 
do not like to pay interest on my own money. Awaiting your 
instructions, I am Mogt respectfully and truly yours> 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 
From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Va. & N. C., FORT MONROE, VA., May Ind, 1864 

Brig. General PALMER, Commanding Dist. N . C. 

GENERAL: The report of your action in North Carolina is 
received and approved, and perhaps it may be pleasant for you 
to know that it is also approved by the Lt. General Command 
ing the Army. The matter of the immense amount of rations 
I do not understand. I have had no information about it; 
on the contrary, when it was suggested to Lt. Col. Briggs by 
Capt. Webster that he was ordered to furnish transportation 
for the rations, I sent to Washington and understood they were 
not to be forwarded. However, you must take the best care 
of them you can until further orders. 

Your regiments all arrived safe and in good time and condi 
tion. Unless you are taken within the next five (5) days, you 
may be sure we will relieve you from all pressure, and as soon 
as you find you are relieved I would advise frequent and bold 
incursions into the enemy s country. 

The Rebel General Ransom is now in command of the de 
fences of Richmond, and part of Hoke s Brigade is on the Black 
Water. Beauregard was in Petersburg is believed to have 
gone to the Army of Northern Virginia with his forces. 

Your second North Carolinians are so demoralized that you 
had better send them up to Norfolk. 

I am now to take the field, and communication may be 
substantially cut between us, but from the vigor and ability of 
your administration I have no fears in leaving North Carolina 
in your hands. I have the honor to be, 

Your obedient servant, 
BEXJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 



154 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Va. & N. C., FORT MONROE, VA., May 2nd, 1864 

Rear Admiral LEE, Comdg. N. A. B. Squadron 

ADMIRAL: I have no doubt I shall be able to hold the land of 
North Carolina now occupied by the army with my troops, 
but my water communications may be cut off at Roanoke 
Island, which is the only point about which I have any concern. 
I should agree to the withdrawal of one of the double-enders 
and Captain Smith. 

I have a despatch-boat which leaves at (6) six o clock this 
evening, but it would be tedious to send it through the canal, 
and I propose to send it over the swash at Hatter as. I have 

the honor to be, T7 , f T-,, 

Very respectfully, your oodt. servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 
From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, May Znd, 1864 

Rear Admiral S. P. LEE, Commdg. etc. 

ADMIRAL: I have the honor to forward you a copy of a letter 
from Col. Wardrop, under date of April 30th, 1864. I have 
the honor to be, 



B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 
From Colonel Wardrop 

Headquarters, Sub. Dis. of Albermarle, off Mouth of the Neuse River, 

NORTH CAROLINA, Apr. 30. 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

Major R. S. DAVIS, A.A.G. Dept. Va. and N. C. 

SIR: The Ram came out of the Roanoke River yesterday 
P.M., the gun-boats fell back to Roanoke Island, where they 
still remain, so she is at large somewhere in the Albermarle 
Sound. I am trying to ascertain her whereabouts. I am, Sir, 

Very respectfully, &c., 
D. W. WARDROP, Col. Commdg. 

From General Grant 

CULPEPPER, May 2, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, FORTRESS MONROE 

WHAT is the late news from General Gillmore? What 
number of his troops is yet to arrive? 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 345. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 155 

From General Butler 

Lieut. Gen. U. S. GRANT FoETRES9 MoNROE Ma * 1864 

TELEGRAM as to probable time of General Gillmore s arrival 
already sent. Will be here tomorrow night or Wednesday 
morning with all his forces. Not more than two regiments and 
three batteries behind now. Three iron-clads here; one more 
expected tomorrow. Three more gun-boats to arrive. Wash 
ington, N.C., quietly evacuated, bringing away everything. 
Four regiments received from North Carolina. Shall be ready 
at time indicated. All quiet on the south bank of James 

River so far. ^ -& -n *T n / 

BENJ. r. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 345. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, May Ind, 1864 

Capt. MARTIN 

WILL you see Col. Roberts, and have him cause a request to 
be made for as many as 100 and 150 men who will volunteer for 
service in any army-gunboat under General Graham, and under 
such officers from the Regiment as are accustomed to the sea. 
I want the utmost diligence used in obtaining these men, so 
that they may report to General Graham to-morrow afternoon. 
If you can not get volunteers, have a detail made of the best 
seamen. Let them understand that this is for short, honorable, 
and perhaps profitable service, and that I will divide among 
them the proceeds of prizes taken. Respectfully, 

B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From General Butler 

BY TELEGRAPH from FORT MONROE, VA., May 2nd, 1864 

To Maj. Genl. HALLECK, Chief of Staff, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

WOULD it be possible to send me at once five hundred (500) 
cavalry horses? If so, they would be of immense service. 

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

From General Halleck 

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 2, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER, FORT MONROE, VA. 

NOT another cavalry horse can be sent to you at present. 
H. W. HALLECK, Major-General and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 346. 



156 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from Head Qrs. A. of P., May 2d, 1864 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER 

I HAVE ordered Brig. Gen. J. B. Carr to report to you. He 
is now commanding a division in this Army, but the Senate 
refusing to confirm him with the date of his appointment, will 
make him Junior to the Brigade Commanders who have been 
serving under him. If it embarrasses you to give him a 
Brigade, you need not give it. His reputation as an officer is 

good U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Genl. 

From General Butler 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from Head Qrs., May 2nd, 1864 

To Lieut. Genl. GRANT, Head Qrs. of the Army, CULPEPPER 

THE following has just been received from Point Lookout, 
in addition to a despatch that there was a movement on the 
Rappahannock sent yesterday. 

CIPHER. POINT LOOKOUT, 12 Noon, May 2nd, 1864 

"CAPTAIN HOOKER, Potomac Flotilla, sends word that the force which crossed the 
Rappahannock is very heavy, composed of many thousand men, principally cavalry, 
probably intended as a flank movement against General Grant 

A. G. DRAPER, Col. Comd g. District 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 
From General Cooper 

RICHMOND, VA., May 2, 1864 

General G. T. BEAUREGARD, KINGSTON, N.C. 

Dispatch received. By General Hoke s force was meant that 
which he took with him to Plymouth. The troops will move 

S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General 

War Rec., Part II, p. 941. 

From General Whiting 

May 2, 1864 

General BEAUREGARD, WELDON, N.C. 

HAGOOD is under orders, and will move at once. Evans 
will follow. Am I to be left without any? Cavalry all gone. 
Will not have men enough to do picket duty or guard public 
property. 

W. H. C. WHITING, Major General, Commanding 

War Rec., Part II, p. 942. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 157 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from CULPEPPER, May Id, 1864 

To Maj. Gen. BUTLER 

WHAT is the latest news from General Gillmore? State 
what number of his force is yet to arrive. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Gen I. 

From General Grant 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from CULPEPPER, May 2nrf, 1864 

To Maj. Genl. BUTLER 

START on the date given in my letter. There will be no 
delay with this Army. Answer that I may know this is re 
ceived, and understood as regards date. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Gen 9 1. 

From General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, VA., May [3], 1864 

Lieutenant-General GRANT, Commanding armies U. S. 

YOUR telegram is received this morning. General Gillmore has 
just arrived, but has not yet landed. We understand the order 
to be on Wednesday, the 4th, at 8 o clock P.M., and it will be 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General Commanding 
From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, May 3rd, 1864 

Hon. ROBERT OULD, Agent for Exchange, RICHMOND, VA. 

SIR : I have the honor to enclose you a letter from Brig. Gen. 
Dow, late a prisoner at Libby, with reference to the statement 
therein contained with the endorsement thereon, and to assure 
you that unless I have assurance under the hand of the party 
therein named that the treatment set forth is either misrepre 
sented or has ceased on the part of those you represent, I shall 
immediately subject to as nearly a similar treatment as possible 
a like number of Confederate officers of equal rank, provided 
always that I can find a place of confinement which shall come 
up to the description of General Dow. The attention of Mr. 
Commissioner Quid is further respectfully called to the case of 
the Kentucky officer mentioned in Gen Dow s letter. I have 
the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, yr. obdt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, 
Maj. General Commdg. and Comms r. of Exchange 



158 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, May 3rd, 1864 

Major General SHERIDAN, Commanding Cavalry Corps, 

Army of the Potomac 

GENERAL: I have done all that I possibly can to get your 
Aide-de-Camp relieved by exchange, and I hope that the 
Secretary of War will allow me to make such a Declaration of 
Exchange as will relieve him and many others who ought to 
be in the field. I have the honor to be, 

Very respy. yr. obdt. servt., B. F. BUTLER, 
Maj. Gen. Commdg. & Commsr. of Exchange 

From General Lee 

Headquarters, May S, 1864 

.... If General Beauregard can take care of the flank 
movement on Richmond, and I can get all the troops belonging 
to this army , Pickett, Hoke, and R. D. Johnston, I will endeavor 
to hold the front. If this cannot be done, it may be better 
for me to be nearer Richmond, which I request the President 
to decide. I do not think that Burnside has 27,500 men, and 
I do not know where General W. F. Smith can get 35,000. 
He will get all of those that can be drawn from Florida, Georgia, 
and the Carolinas, in addition to those at Suffolk, on the 

Peninsula, &c. _^ T n . 

R. E. LEE, General 

War Rec., Part II, p. 943. 

From General Cooper 

RICHMOND, VA., May 4, 1864 

General GEORGE E. PICKETT, PETERSBURG, VA. 

TURN over your command to the next officer in rank, and pro 
ceed with your division staff to Hanover Junction, where your 
division is being assembled. One brigade is there, the others 

S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General 

War Rec., Part II, p. 950. 

From General Beauregard 

WELDON, N.C., May 4, 1864 

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General 

WAS it intended in the order for the movement of troops from 
this department that the cavalry and artillery should go also? 
If so, in what proportion? 

G. T. BEAUREGARD, General, Commanding 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 159 

Hdqrs. Armies of the Confederate States, May 5, 1864 

For General BRAGG 

Endorsed: Respectfully returned to Adjutant General. He 
should send one-half the artillery and such cavalry as can be 
spared to Petersburg, moving all by dirt road. 

JUNO B. SALE, Colonel and Military Secretary 

War Rec., Part II, p. 950. 

From General Butler 

FORT MONROE, May 4, 1864 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

TELEGRAM received. Am moving tonight, as ordered. 
Line not working across the bay; communicate by mail. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 391. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, May 4th, 1864 

JOHN M. DUNN, Assessor 4lh Dist. of Va., NORFOLK, VA. 

SIR: I have received your note, saying that you are assessing 
for State licenses for 1864, and further that "the regulations 
giving the privilege of bringing spirituous liquors into the city 
to a few persons only is giving dissatisfaction to many persons, 
and will reduce the number of licenses and consequently the 
revenue from this source." 

You then further give me your opinion that restricting the 
sale of liquors to a few persons will not reduce the consumption, 
and that you think that all merchants of good standing should 
have the privilege, and that you are satisfied that I did not 
make the regulations in the interest of the few. 

I have given licenses to twelve (12) persons to sell liquor in 
Norfolk, they keeping accurate books to whom they sell, and 
they are held responsible for the purposes to which it goes to 
the extent of their licenses. If the license is a valuable thing 
to them, that makes a check upon their actions. I was in 
formed before the order issued that the " Soi disant Governor" 
of Virginia, Pierpont, had complained that the non-granting of 
liquor licenses in Alexandria by Gen. Slough had nearly bankrupt 
the treasury of Virginia. I think a state which cannot exist 
without deriving its principal revenue from the unrestricted 
sale of poisonous liquors to its inhabitants had better get itself 
out of existence. If my regulations in this regard should have 



160 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

that effect upon such a state as I have described, it would be a 
source of congratulation. 

Twelve (12) persons selling liquor at retail, and all respect 
able hotels selling it to their guests, would seem to be enough 
in a city of ten thousand and five thousand blacks to engender 
pauperism and crime, and prevent there being a monopoly, and 
as you and I agree that the less sold the better, the more restric 
tion thrown around the sale the less will be sold is the universal 
law of trade. 

I have not the personal acquaintance, and prior to the grant 
ing of the licenses have never spoken to or seen but two of the 
twelve persons to whom this permit was given. After the 
twelve were filled up, one of my warmest and oldest personal 
friends in trade in Norfolk I was obliged to refuse, because I 
had fixed the number at twelve. Because of this I have been 
abused by the supposed Governor of the State of Virginia, in a 
scurrilous pamphlet which is the only aid I have received from 
him since taking charge of this Department toward suppressing 
the rebellion, or in governing a disorganized community. 

I have done what I believe to be right in this regard, and 
neither the opinions of the Assessor for whom I entertain a high 
respect, or the abuse of the Governor, will be very likely to 
move me from my position. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, yr. obdt. servt., 
B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commdg. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters I8th Army Corps, Department of Virginia & North Carolina, 

FORTRESS MONROE, May 4>th, 1864 

AT the request of the French Consul, Monsieur Paul, per 
mission is given for the French ship of War "Tisiphone" and 
the English vessel "Bidwell," under French charter, to proceed 
to City Point, if Monsieur Paul so desires, for the purpose of 
clearing the tobacco already shipped, leaving Fortress Monroe 

on the 6th inst. /T> T^ T> \ 

(B. F. BUTLER) 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., FORT MONROE, May 4ith, 1864 

Rear Admiral S. P. LEE, Commdg. N. A. B. Squadron 

ADMIRAL: I have received positive orders from the Lieut. 
General Commanding to start tonight. We shall start as 
nearly at the time agreed upon as possible. I should advise 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 161 

that you issue your orders to the Commanders, as I see no harm 
can result from it. Everything apparently is progressing 
favorably. My belief is that the earlier you start the iron-clads 
the better. The crepusculum commences at half past four. 

I have the honor to be, jr 77, 

Vy. respy., yr, oodt. servt., 

B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 
From General Grant 

Message from Sparta, two [2^ A.M., FORD, May th 

For Maj. Gen. HALLECK, WASHINGTON 

THE crossing of the Rapidan effected. Forty eight (48) 
hours now will demonstrate whether the enemy intends giving 
battle this side of Richmond. Telegraph Maj. Gen. Butler 

that we have crossed the Rapidan. T , n ^ 

Li. Gen. GRANT 

From General Halleck 

CIPHER. BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, 3 P.M., May 4, 1864 

To Maj. Gen. BUTLER 
LT. GENERAL GRANT Comd g has crossed the Rapidan. 

Maj. Genl. HALLECK 

From General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, VA., May 4, 1864 

Genl. KAUTZ, Comd g. Cavalry, Getty s Line 

LET the expedition start at the time indicated without fail. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

FORT MONROE, VA., May 4, 1864 

Maj. Genl. GILLMORE, GLOUCESTER POINT 

How do you succeed in embarking? Are you all ready? If 
so, push off your divisions in the order you mean they shall land. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Gillmore 

BY TELEGRAPH from GLOUCESTER PT., May 4, 1864 

To Gen. BUTLER 

ONE division will be off by 8 o clock. Another two hours 
later. I will send you word further. ^ QlLLMORE 

VOL. IV II 



162 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Maj. Genl. W. F. SMITH FoRT MoNROE VA " May 4 1864 

How gets on the embarkation? 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. FORT MONROE, VA., May 4, 1864 

Maj. Genl. W. F. SMITH, Comd g at Yorktown 
LET steamers leave as fast as loaded. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, VA., May 4, 1864 

Major-General GILLMORE, GLOUCESTER POINT 

HAVING waited for your army corps from Port Royal I am 
not a little surprised at waiting for you here. Push everything 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General Commanding 
From General Gillmore 

BY TELEGRAPH from YORKTOWN, Midnight, May 4, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER 

Two divisions have started. The miserable conveniences 
for embarking troops have been cause of great delay. No 
greater speed could have been made under the circumstances. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

Circular from General Meade 

Headquarters Army of the Potomac, May 5, 1864 

INFORMATION has been received that Averell has cut the 
Tennessee railroad and destroyed a depot of supplies at 
Dublin; also that General Butler has carried the outer works 
at Fort Darling and closely invested the garrison. 

GEO. G. MEADE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 405. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Dept. Va. & N. C., on board Steamer "Greyhound," May 5, 64 

CAPT. YOUNG, Comd g steamer "George Leary," will be 
confined in the guard-house at Fort Monroe until the return 
of the Comd g Genl. to that point. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 163 

Capt. Cassels, A.D.C. Provost Marshal, will execute this 

By command of Maj. Genl. BUTLER 
A. F. PUFFER, Capt. & A.D.C. 

From General Butler 

Headqrs^ Dept. Va. & N. C., May 5, 1864, on board steamer "Greyhound" 

THE Chief QYmaster will cause to be forfeited five (5) days 
pay on the charter party of the steamer "George Leary, " 
because of the incompetency of the officers of the boat, and the 

absence of her Captain ( ?) at a moment when there was 

unusual necessity for his presence. 

By command of Maj. Genl. BUTLER 
A. F. PUFFER, Capt. & A.D.C. 

From General Butler 

May 5th [1864], off NEWPORT NEWS, "Grey Hound" 

S. P. LEE, Rear Admiral, Comd g. &c. 

ADMIRAL: I think that the gunboats had better proceed at 
once. Owing to delays it has been impossible to get my boats 
off as they were ordered. I will remain behind and bring up 

BEXJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. ConuTg. 
From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Morning, May 5th, (1864) 

DEAREST: Am at wharf. Troops are delayed. Am back 
to drive them up. Have so far got them off with four hours 

delav. Off at once. 

BENJ. 

From General Butler 

Off CITY POIXT, Thursday Eve., May 5th, [1864] 

Lt. General GRANT, Commanding, etc., WASHINGTON 

WE have seized Wilson s wharf, landing a Brigade. Wild s 
Col. Troops there. Fort Powhatan landing two Regiments of 
same Brigade. Have landed at City Point, Hinks Division of 
colored troops, remaining brigades and battery. 

Remainder of both 18th and 10th Army Corps are now being 
landed at Bermuda Hundreds above the Appomattox. No 
opposition thus far, apparently a complete surprise. Both 
Army Corps left Yorktown during last night. Monitors all 
over the bar at Harrison s landing and above City Point. The 



164 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 




LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 165 

operations of the fleet have been conducted to-day with energy 
and success. 

Genls. Smith and Gillmore are pushing the landing of their 
men. Gen. Graham with the army gunboats led the advance 
during the night, capturing the signal stations of the rebels. Col. 
West with 1800 Cavalry made demonstration from Williams- 
burgh yesterday morning. Gen. Kautz left Suffolk this morn 
ing with 300 cavalry for the service indicated in conference with 
the Lt. General. The New York flag-of -truce boat was found 
lying at the wharf with four hundred rebel prisoners, which she 
has not had time to deliver. She went up yesterday morning. 

We are landing the troops during the night, a hazardous 
service in face of the enemy. 

Duplicate of this has been sent to the Secretary of War. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Of CITY POINT, Thursday Evening 9 P.M. \_May 5, 1864] 

THE "Lady Johnson" will be despatched under charge of 
Capt. Puffer of my staff with despatches to Fort Monroe. 
Capt. Puffer will make haste to return with despatches from 
Fort Monroe, and will bring intelligence as to the telegraph 
line to Jamestown Island. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, May 6, 1864, 2.45 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding Department 

I HAVE just seen General Terry, and he reports that he can 
not get the use of any of the wharves where the Eighteenth 
Army Corps have been disembarking, and that the pontoons 
are so unwieldy that they cannot make more than two trips 
tonight. The only wharf I have had is one arranged for the 
landing of General Ames division. Colonel Serrell reports that 
the landings or scows brought up have neither anchors nor 
ropes, nor any means of making them fast. All the arrange 
ments for landing seem very imperfect. Whatever they are, 
they are being and will be used to their utmost capacity, but 
my command will not be on shore by daybreak by considerable. 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 472. 



166 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Near CITY POINT. VA., May 6th, 1864 

MR. RICHARD O BRIEN, telegraphic operator, will take the 
last sailing steamer "Amanda Winants" & go to Jamestown 
Island, there if the telegraphic line is completed will forward 
the enclosed despatch to Washington; otherwise he will go 
on to Fortress Monroe and there telegraph. In either case 
returning with the utmost diligence himself to Jamestown 
Island. He will send back the steamer with all the information 
of the movements of troops that can be obtained of General 
Wild at Wilson s Wharf or elsewhere. The utmost despatch is 

required in this order. T> T^ T> * /Y i /? j 

B. F. BUTLER, May. Genl. Coma g. 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs. Dept. Va. & N. C., near CITY POINT, VA., May 6th, 1864 

Li. Genl. GRANT, Comd g. Army U. S. 

IN continuation of my telegram of yesterday, I have to 
report that we have not been disturbed during the night, that 
all our troops are landed, that we have taken the positions which 
were indicated to the Comd g. General at our last conference, 
and are carrying out that plan. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From Captain Melancthon Smith 

United States Steamer " Mattabessett" At Anchor of Roanoke River, May 6th, 1864 

Brig. Gen. I. M. PALMER, Comdg. Land Forces, N. C. 

GENERAL: I have to inform you that I engaged the Ram 
"Albermarle" yesterday from 4.40 to 7.30 P.M. with all my 
force, and regret that our efforts to capture him were not 
attended with success. Our shot had no perceptible effect 
upon her close along side. I drove her, however, into the mouth 
of the Roanoke River, somewhat damaged I think, but with 
machinery not disabled. I captured the "Bombshell" with 
thirty-seven prisoners, officers, and men. Have not as yet had 
any official returns from the "Sassacus," who has her in charge, 
and is anchored several miles below. Our loss in the large 
vessels is five killed and twenty-six wounded. I shall be able 
to hold possession of the sound against any force the Rebels 
can organize at this point. I am, 

Very Respectfully, Your Obdt. Lieut., 
MELANCTHON SMITH, Capt. & Senior Naval Off. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 167 

Flag Steamer " Malrern," May llth, 11.30 A.M. 

Endorsed: Returned with my best thanks for the information. 

S. P. LEE, A. Rear Admiral 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Near CITY POINT, May Qth, 1864 

NOTHING new to report. We are getting along as well as 
could be hoped. B F R 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, May 6, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding Department 

I WILL give General Smith a battery if I get two. I urge 
that the monitors be sent up the river farther. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 473. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, in the field, May 6, 1864 

Maj. Gen. W. F. SMITH, Commanding Eighteenth Army Corps 
GENERAL: The project of striking the railroad tonight with 
a detachment from this command has been abandoned for 
what I deem good and sufficient reasons. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 475. 

From General Smith 

Headquarters Eighteenth Corps, May 6, 1864, 8.30 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

MY effort to reach the railroad today with General Heck- 
man s brigade failed. I think had General Gillmore carried 
out my suggestion, and made a corresponding move on the 
right, that one or both would have succeeded. As it is, I think 
it of vital importance that the road should be cut, both for 
the morale of our troops and to effect the object for which I 
suppose we are here. I would, therefore, respectfully suggest 
that a picked force be taken from both corps of sufficient size 
to make success certain. I suggest a detail from both corps in 
order not to too much weaken the line across the Neck. It is 



168 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

my opinion that for this purpose only the most reliable officers 
and troops be selected for the attempt. 

Very respectfully, WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 475. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, May 6, 1864 

Maj. Gen. WILLIAM F. SMITH 

WHY did the attempt fail? Please send by bearer a full 
report of what was done, so that I may make some guess of 
the force necessary. Give me also your judgment of that 
force and suggest your detail. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol 36, Part II, p. 475. 

From the Secretary of War 

WASHINGTON CITY, May 6, 1864, 11 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, FORTRESS MONROE 

A DESPATCH of the New York Tribune reporter just received 
states that yesterday the Army of the Potomac came in colli 
sion with Lee s army near Chancellorsville; that Lee s whole 
army is there, and that a general battle would take place 
today. After he left the army on his way in, heavy cannonad 
ing was heard, showing that the engagement was going on. 
Burnside reached the field with his forces last night. 

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 471. 

From General Smith 

Headquarters Eighteenth Corps, May 7, 1864, 1 A.M. 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

THE attempt on the railroad failed because the enemy re 
sisted with unexpected strength. The place could have been 
carried probably, but only with a loss which General Heckman 
did not consider it proper to suffer for this object, and risking 
the possible annihilation of his command. It is proposed now 
to renew the attempt with a force that will overcome all 
opposition. General Heckman reports troops brought in by 
rail from both directions during the fight. Colonel Dutton and 
Captain West, who were present, report our troops as most 
ably handled and behaving with the greatest gallantry. Gen 
eral Heckman and both these officers are confident that the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 169 

opposing forces consisted of veterans, and were little, if any, 
inferior in numbers, their position being one of great strength, 
although not fortified. Unless you have bad news from the 
Potomac Army, I think a detail of one brigade from each divi 
sion in the entire command will be sufficient to make both the 
feints and real attack. I agree with Colonel Button in think 
ing that a strong feint should be made at the same place, and 
the real attack elsewhere nearer Richmond. I recommend 
for the details from this command the brigades of Generals 

Heckman and Burnham. mr i? c u n i 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 521. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs., May 1th, 1864 

Maj. Genl. GILLMORE, Commanding 10th Army Corps 

You will cause one brigade of each division of your command 
to report to Gen. Smith at eight o clock A.M. this morning, for 
the purpose of an attack upon the line of railroad. The detail 
should be of your best troops and under your best Brigade 
Commanders. Answer hour of execution of this order. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs., May 7th, 1864 

Maj. Genl. SMITH, commanding 18th Army Corps 

I HAVE ordered one brigade from each division of Genl. 
Gillmore s command to report to you at 8 o clock this morning, 
for the purpose of cutting enemies line of communications 
between Richmond and Petersburg. You will cause like force 
to be detailed from your command on the line, and under such 
Division Commander as you ^desire], cause attack to be made. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. BERMUDA LANDING, May 7th, 1864 

To Major Genl. SMITH, Comdg. 18th A. C. 

GENERAL: I send you a copy of a despatch just received 
from Washington. No bad news there, but hurry up your 
defences anyhow. Let there be every diligence in putting 
your line in posture of defence. 

The Navy have been shelling out some pickets on the other 

side of the river. ^ T^ T> * r r< i n j> 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



170 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From the Secretary of War 

BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, D.C., May 7th, 1864 

To Maj. Gen. BUTLER 

No communication from Gen. Grant has been received since 
the date of my telegram last night, nor any reliable informa 
tion except that a severe engagement took place yesterday 
without any decisive result. Various conflicting reports are 
in circulation of success and disaster on both sides, but they 

are mere conjectures or . Fulton of the Associated Press 

applied today for leave to publish your despatch to Gen. Grant, 
which he says was forwarded to him from Fortress Monroe by 
mail. As it cannot be supposed that Gen. Grant would desire 
to have official communication to him published in the news 
paper without his consent, allow me to suggest the propriety of 
an inquiry who transmitted your despatch to Fulton. 

EDWIN M. STANTON 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. BERMUDA LANDING, May 7th, 1864 

To Maj. Genl. GILLMORE, Comd g. 10th A. C. 

GENERAL: I send you a copy of despatch just received. It 
will be necessary to put your line in posture of defence at once. 
Your rations will be along in time. I took your teams for the 
purpose of sending along your shovels; work first, eat 
afterwards. 

I presume the reasons for not making the demonstration 
ordered were perfectly satisfactory to you; I trust they will 
be to me when I see them. 

The Navy have been shelling out some pickets on the other 

side of the river. T> T? T> 11- /> i / j> 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. Dept. Va. & N. C., in the Field, May 7th, 1864 

[Hon. E. M. STANTON] 

DESERTER captured from Richmond and a citizen say Lee 
and Pickett dangerously wounded, Jones & Jenkins killed. 
Uncertain at Richmond which got best. Say Grant fell back 
short distance. B F B 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 171 

From General Butler 

CONFIDENTIAL. Head Qrs. May 7th, 1864, BERMUDA LANDING 

Hon. HENRY WILSON 

MY DEAR SIR: I must take the responsibility of asking you 
to bring before the Senate at once the name of Genl. Gillmore, 
and have his name rejected by your body. Gen. Gillmore may 
be a very good engineer officer, but he is wholly useless in the 
movement of troops. He has been behind in every movement. 
He has lost 24 hours in making his line in a state of defence, 
but above all he has refused to move when ordered. I directed 
him to co-operate in a movement with General Smith when he 
went to make demonstration on the Petersburg Railroad, and 
he failed to do so, and then sent me w r ord that he did not obey 
the order for reasons that seemed good to himself, and 
has not deigned to give me the reasons, although he has sent 
me a report of his operations, or rather w^ant of operation. I 
have known Gen. G. only since he came here, but I find many 
of his troops are desirous of getting away from him. I have a 
good Corps Commander here in his place. Show this to Wade, 
Chandler, and Fessenden, and bring the matter to vote at once. 
I write only for the good of the service. We have made 
demonstration today on the railroad, cut it, and are about to 
destroy it permanently. If we can hold on here, we can drive 
Lee out of Virginia. His great line of supplies and operations 
is gone. We have been eminently successful thus far. If you 
desire to know exactly where we are take map, look up Point of 
Rocks on the Appomattox, then look across to Farrar s Island 
on the James. That is our line directly on the rebel commu 
nications. We are entrenching here. Will then advance from 
this base. Telegraph your action, time is important. 

B. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

CIPHER. TELEGRAM. Hd. Qrs. BERMUDA LANDING, May 7th, 1864 1 P.M. 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Sec. of War 

WE got into position yesterday. Are entrenching for fear 
of accident to Army of the Potomac. Sent out a reconnois- 
sance yesterday on the Petersburg railroad. Have sent two 
divisions this morning to take possession of the road. 

Up to this moment have exceeded my most sanguine expec 
tations. The fleet have lost a gunboat by a torpedo. The 



172 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

operator shot. Have telegraphic communication with James 
town Island. T T-T vr n i s* 7> 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Coma g. 

From General Butler 

TEIJEGRAM. CIPHER. Head Qrs. BERMUDA LANDING, May 7th, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

WE have made demonstration today on the railroad between 
Petersburg and Richmond, and have succeeded in destroying 
a portion of it so as to break the connection. We have had 
some very severe fighting to do, but have succeeded. We 
hear from a rebel deserter and a citizen that Lee is dangerously 
wounded, Pickett also, Jones and Jenkins killed. We have no 
news from Gen. Grant. If he has been in any degree successful 
then can we not have here ten thousand of the Reserve? They 
can be here in one day after the L. General gives the order. 
Transportation is at Annapolis for them. 

If the Army of the Potomac is unsuccessful, then we want 
them here for the safety of the country. Please send them 
forward. Beauregard is in command in operation. In three 
days our line will be perfect. We have to strongly garrison 
three points on the river to save our transportation, of which 
we have a good deal for movable column. All is submitted 
to your judgment. _ R ^^ Maj ^ ^^ 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

May 7th, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH: Everything gets on here. We have had 
some pretty severe fighting today to break up the railroad, but 
have succeeded. We shall renew tomorrow. Meantime you 
had better go to New York. Buy me a dozen handkerchiefs. 

Thanks for your letter. v T> 

Yours, BENJ. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May 7, 1864 

DEAREST : There has been a variety of things sent you ; the 
last that I know of, a couple of sheets, pillow cases, and the two 
camp chairs. Mr. Farrington made up a box, and Bennett will 
go to Baltimore tomorrow night and gather something more. 
I shall send for the handkerchiefs by him. The tutor will be 
here in the morning. He has been detained at Baltimore for 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 173 

three days. The Secretary of War has ordered that none shall 
pass. Mr. Nichols came down with goods, was stopped at 
Baltimore, and has gone home to Lowell, waiting for Farring- 
ton to send him a pass. You have gone into a tent, did you 
not find it more comfortable aboard the boat? We have no 
news of any fighting on Sunday, of course; we know nothing 
of today. Could you write a line a little more frequently? If 
Johnny Kimball has leave to go home, the two Harriets will 
go with him. I shall go no farther than Philadelphia and 
return here. I can ascertain in a fortnight if this man will 
answer to instruct the boys. If so, he can take them home 
and I shall remain for Blanche, perhaps longer, that is in the 
future. What did Kinsman write you this morning? I have 
several little things to tell you of him, how foolish of me to 
think you can give any attention to such matters now. 

From Shaffer s sending for his clerk I should think you 
expected to remain where you are. Fisher got a telegram and 
started directly for New York last Friday. He expects to 
return here very soon. Webster wrote for a pass, which I 
sent and wrote him. I would give him the earliest information 
of your movements that he might join you at Richmond if 
you have the fortune to get there. Would you like me to come 
up to City Point and see how you look? Send me a few words 
of your plans, they govern mine somewhat. I am told the 
heat is fearful in those tents. You would be better on the 
boat. You must believe we are thirsting for news. 

Yours SARAH 

From Edward Everett Hale 

BOSTON, Saturday, May 7, 1864 

MY DEAR GEN. BUTLER: I have never been so disappointed 
as in my failure to accept at once your very kind invitation. 
I have been kept here, actually from day to day, and as I must 
be here on the 15th I have most reluctantly given up going till 
that night. 

I hope to be at Ft. Monroe on the 17th. Will you give such 
an order there that I may be passed up to you wherever you 
may be? And may this pass take with me my friend and yours, 
Mr. Kidder, (the acting partner of J. E. Thayer & Co.). 

You have my wishes and prayers every hour for your success. 

Very truly yours, EDW. E. HALE 

Endorsed: Pass sent. 



174 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, BERMUDA LANDING, VA., May 8, 1864 

General GILLMORE 

I NEED not say that your works must be pushed with the 
utmost vigor during the day, but give your troops a good 
night s rest. Let your remaining brigade push the works 
while you are gone. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 556. 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, BERMUDA LANDING, VA., May 8, 1864 

Major-General GILLMORE 

You will take all your command but three brigades, which 
were detailed before, and demonstrate to the right and front 
via Ware Bottom Church, upon the railroad, accomplishing its 
destruction at any place where you may strike it, and along 
as much of it as possible. The enemy are in our front with 
scarcely 5,000 men, and it is a disgrace that we are cooped up 
here. This movement will commence at daylight tomorrow 
morning, and is imperative. Answer if you have received this 
order and will be ready to move. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 555. 

From General Grant 

Headquarters, PINEY BRANCH CHURCH, May 8, 1864, 11.30 A.M. 

[Received 3.15 P.M.] 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK 

THE army commenced moving south at 9 P.M. yesterday, and 
when closed up to the position assigned for first day s march 
will stand thus: General Warren s corps at Spotsylvania Court- 
House; Hancock s at Todd s Tavern; Sedgwick s on road from 
Piney Branch Church to Spotsylvania, and General Burnside 
at Alrich s. It is not yet demonstrated what the enemy will 
do, but the best of feeling prevails in this army, and I feel at 
present no apprehension for the result. My efforts will be to 
form a junction with General Butler as early as possible, and 
be prepared to meet any enemy interposing. The result of the 
three days fight at Old Wilderness was decidedly in our favor. 
The enemy having a strong intrenched position to fall back on 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 175 

when hard pressed, and the extensive train we had to cover, 
rendered it impossible to inflict the heavy blow on Lee s army 
I had hoped. My exact route to the James River I have not 
yet definitely marked out. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 526. 

From the Secretary of War 

CIPHER. By TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, May 8th, 1864, 4.30 

To Maj. Gent. BUTLER 

YOUR despatch of the 7th has just reached me. We have as 
yet no official report from Grant. Nothing is known of his 
condition except from newspaper reports, which represent 
two (2) days hard fighting on Thursday & Friday, from 6 to 8 
thousand mounted are sent back, & Ingalls telegraphs yester 
day at noon to Genl. Meigs that "It is said the enemy are 
retiring." In respect to the reserve mentioned in your tele 
gram, there are none at the disposal of the Department. Gen. 
Grant has with him all the troops, & you will have to depend 
only upon such as may have been provided in your program 
with him. Your despatch will be forwarded to him to ap 
prise him of your condition & for his instructions. Your 
success thus far is extremely gratifying to the President & this 
Department, & we hope your skill and good luck may accom 
plish all vour wishes. T? A r c o > t rr/ 

E. M. STANTON, Sec y of War 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, BERMUDA LANDING, VA., May 8th, 1864 

Major-General SMITH 

You will take all the troops that can be spared from your 
line and demonstrate to the front and left upon the railroad, 
pushing the work on your line with those that remain with all 
vigor. This movement w r ill commence to-morrow morning at 
daylight, and is imperative. Former order which went out 
last night, and upon your letter to the chief of staff is revoked. 
Gen. Gillmore has orders to make the same demonstration to 
the right and front upon the railroad at the same hour, via 
Ware Bottom Church. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 



176 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Humphreys 

Headquarters Army of the Potomac, May 8, 1864, 10 P.M. 

General SHERIDAN, Commanding Cavalry Corps 

THE major-general commanding directs you to immediately 
concentrate your available mounted force, and with your 
ammunition trains and such supply trains as are filled (exclusive 
of ambulances) proceed against the enemy s cavalry, and when 
your supplies are exhausted proceed via New Market and Green 
Bay to Haxall s Landing, on the James River, there com 
municating with General Butler, procuring supplies, and return 
to this army. Your dismounted men will be left with the 

train here " A. A. HUMPHREYS, 

Major-General and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 552. 

From General Smith 

Headquarters, May 8, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding Department 

GENERAL: General Brooks and his whole command returned 
last evening as soon as the wounded were removed. Colonel 
Button reported to you while here that General Brooks was 
then falling back. He has not yet received reports from all 
the brigades that were with him, but thinks 200 will cover his 
entire loss. I have received your order for the movement of 
to-morrow. Respectfully, &c., 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General, Commanding 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, May Sth, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Commdg. Department of Virginia 

and North Carolina 

GENERAL: Your two despatches of this date are received. 
I shall move as ordered at day-break to-morrow. All necessary 
preliminary orders have been issued. My instructions are to 
take my whole command except three brigades. I understand 
this to mean the infantry force and such artillery as I can use. 
I respectfully recommend that a demonstration be made at the 
same time on the left, in order to divide the enemy s force. I 
would also urge that a cavalry force be sent to report to me 
to-night. I shall need them much. I have the honor to be, 

Very respctfy. yr. obedient servt., 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General Commanding 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 177 

P.S. I forward this by my chief of staff, Brigadier-General 
Foster, who will confer with you in regard to the matter. He 
is entirely in my confidence. 

Very respectfully, Your obedient servant, 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General Commanding 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May 8th, 1864 

DEAREST: We hear today that our troops hold Petersburg. 
If that is so, you must expect an attack at City Point. If Lee 
falls back on Richmond he has no outlet, and no chance for 
supplies unless he can dislodge you from your two points, if 
you really have Petersburg. Lee will be at bay; there must 
be fearful fighting somewhere. If it comes your way, I pray 
you to act with caution as well as with determination. No 
display of personal courage merely will have any weight com 
pared to the glory you will win if your part of the grand move 
ment is carried through without a mistake. I was vexed to 
hear that you were beyond the pickets and in danger of being 
ignominiously captured, where you ought not to have exposed 
yourself. Pray avoid repeating it. You will have danger 
enough to satisfy you before you have finished the campaign 
without seeking it in that form. Haggerty is miserable. He 
walked up and down till three o clock at night, repeating shame, 
shame, that he could not go. I cannot see why you should 
take Stackpole and leave Haggerty behind. The one is your 
devoted friend, the other is Abbott s and Foster s, or any 
other person s quite as much as yours. You gave me a reason 
for leaving Haggerty, but I do not see why the same reason 
would (not) apply to the other. I hope you will think it well 
to send for him, and return both to Norfolk when success is 
complete, as I have the fullest faith it will be if you will not too 
carelessly expose yourself and grieve your ,y 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, May 9, 1864, 5 A.M. 

Major -General BUTLER 

No cavalry has reported to me yet. In advancing beyond 
Ware Bottom Church the right and rear of the column will be 
so exposed that I must leave a portion of my infantry there. 
I would request that the cavalry be hurried forward. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major -General, Commanding 

VOL. IV 12 



178 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Endorsed: William S. Hunting reports General Gillmore just 
starting from his headquarters, and his column just began to 
move when he received this despatch. B F B 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs., May 9th, 1864, 5 A.M. 

Gen. GILLMORE 

MY cavalry have arrived, but must have a couple of hours 
rest. At seven I will make the demonstration to the right 
with them which was proposed. Please inform your cavalry 
scouts so that there may be no mistakes. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. Va. & Ca., May 9th, 5.30 A.M. 

Gen. GILLMORE 

AT 5 A.M. sent despatch relating to cavalry. When I arrive 
with the cavalry I will order forward your infantry. Please 
so inform your officers. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, May 9th, 1864, 6.40 A.M. 

Major General BUTLER 

DESPATCH received. I leave two regiments of infantry 

where the roads fork to the right of Ware Bottom Church. 

When you can relieve them with cavalry please order them to 

follow this command up to the turn-pike to join their command. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General Commanding 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, May 9, 1864, 8 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

I AM waiting for the cavalry. The pickets are engaged on 
my right, and I do not like to leave this place till the cavalry 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General, Commanding 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 179 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, May 9th, 1864, 8.10 A.M. 

Major General BUTLER 

GENERAL AMES is destroying the railroad. General Turner 
is within supporting distance. Terry, except two regiments, 
is behind Turner. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General, Commanding 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, May 9th, 1864, 9.45 A.M. 

Major General BUTLER 

A FEW of the enemy s cavalry are on the turnpike on our 
right. Can you not send and drive them away or capture 
them? There may be a heavier force behind them, and the 
pike should be struck by the cavalry this side of the creek you 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General Commanding 
From General Smith 

May 9th, 1864 

Major-General GILLMORE 

I WOULD respectfully suggest to you that I think we can 
capture a force of rebels supposed to be stationed at the Junc 
tion, if you will swing your right well around so as to come in 
their rear. We can then destroy the road at our leisure. 

Very respectfully, WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

From General Smith 

May 9th, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding Department of 

Virginia, &c. 

GENERAL: I am of opinion that if you order General Gill- 
more to stop destroying the road at present, and to swing his 
right well around, he can take a force of rebels at the railroad 
junction, and perhaps take Petersburg early to-day. We can 
then destroy the road at our leisure. 

Very respectfully, WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 



180 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, near Railroad, May 9th, 1864 

Major-General SMITH 

DESPATCH received. General Gillmore is moving his troops 
to aid you as you suggest. We have got the railroad pretty 
well destroyed already. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General, Commanding 

From the Secretary of War 

WASHINGTON, May 9th, 1864 

To Maj. Genl. BUTLER 

ADVICES from the front give reason to believe that Gen. 
Grant s operations will prove a great success and complete 
victory. On Saturday night the enemy had been driven at 
all points, and Hancock was pushing forward rapidly to Spott- 
sylvania Court House, where heavy firing was heard yesterday. 
It was reported yesterday by a deserter that the enemy s 
only hope was in heavy reinforcements from Beauregard. 

EDWIN M. STANTON, Sec. of War 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, Turnpike, May 9th, 1864, 10.15 A.M. 

Major General BUTLER 

I HAVE just received despatches from General Smith, and 
shall move my command toward the left on the railroad to 
keep up communication with him. My headquarters will be 
with General Ames division on or near the railroad. No 
enemy on the railroad, so far as I know. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major General, Commanding 

From General Grant 

Near SPOTTSYLVANIA COURT-HOUSE, May 9, 1864 1 P.M. 

Major-General HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

IF matters are still favorable with Butler, send him all the 
re-enforcements you can. The enemy are now moving from 
our immediate front either to interpose between us and Fred- 
ericksburg or to get the inside road to Richmond. My move 
ments are terribly embarrassed by our immense wagon train. 
It could not be avoided, however. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

War Rec., Part II, p. 561. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 181 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, Tenth Army Corps, in the field, May 9th, 1864, 3 P.M. 

Major General BUTLER 

MY three brigades are closed up on the right of the Eighteenth 
Corps. Ames has been deployed, but now awaits Weitzel s 
advance to form on his right. I sent you the boy that brought 
the information forwarded to you by Lieutenant-Colonel 
Smith. Your despatches to me must have miscarried, for I 
have received no order for over two hours. 

Yours, <fcc., Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General, Commanding 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, 3.20 P.M., 9th May 

Major-General BUTLER 

A BEARER of despatches from General Meade has just reached 
here by way of Fredericksburg. States that on Friday night 
Lee s army were in full retreat for Richmond, Grant pursuing 
with his army. Hancock passed Spottsylvania C. H., before 
daylight yesterday morning. Meade s headquarters were 
yesterday at Ladd s Tavern. We occupy Fredericksburg. 
Twenty-Second New York occupied it about 8 o clock last 

EDWIN M. ST ANTON, Secretary of War 
From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, Tenth Army Corps, in the field, May 9th, 1864, 3.25 P.M. 

Major General BUTLER 

Do you desire me to extend my command, or any portion 
of it, on the right of the Eighteenth Corps, or have you any 
orders to give? The men are well rested now. Very respect- 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General Commanding 
From General Butler 

Headquarters, near BERMUDA LANDING, May 9, 1864 

Hon. E. M. ST ANTON, Secretary of War 

OUR operations may be summed up in a few words. With 
seventeen hundred cavalry we have advanced up the peninsula, 
forced the Chickahominy, and have safely brought them to our 
present position. These were colored cavalry, and are now 
holding our advance pickets toward Richmond. 

General Kautz, with three thousand cavalry from Suffolk, 



182 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

on the same day with our movement up James River, forced 
the Blackwater, burned the railroad bridge at Stony Creek, 
below Petersburg, cutting in two Beauregard s force at that 
point. 

We have landed here, intrenched ourselves, destroyed many 
miles of railroad, and got a position which, with proper sup 
plies, we can hold out against the whole of Lee s army. I have 
ordered up the supplies. 

Beauregard, with a large portion of his force, was left South 
by the cutting of the railroads by Kautz. That portion which 
reached Petersburg, under Hill, we have whipped to-day, 
killing and wounding many, and taking many prisoners, after 
a severe and well-contested fight. 

General Grant will not be troubled with any further rein 
forcements to Lee from Beauregard s force. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

From H. T. Schroeder 

BY TELEGRAM from FORTRESS MONROE, May 9, 1864 

Major R. S. DAVIS, A.A.G., BERMUDA HUNDRED 

ATTACK on Newbern. After two days fighting the enemy 
retired. Captain Smith, U.S.N., attacked the ram, and drove 
her up Roanoke River. Was unable to sink her or roll her over. 
HENRY T. SCHROEDER, Lieut, and A.A.A.G. 

From the Secretary of War 

CIPHER. WASHINGTON, May 9, 4 P.M. 

M aj. Gen. BUTLER 

A DESPATCH from Gen. Grant has just been received, he is 
on the march with his whole army to form a junction with you, 
but had not determined his route. Another despatch from 
him is being translated. M STANTON> ^ of Waf 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. In the Field, May 9th 

To the Adjutant-General, 10th Corps 

SIR: You will see to it that the order to Genl. Gillmore goes 
to him at once, and as soon as he has given the necessary orders 
he will repair to my Head Qrs. for consultation. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 183 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, in the Field, May 9th [1864], 6.35 P.M. 

General HIXKS 

UPON consultation it is thought best that you should not 
advance beyond your picket line before seven o clock, so that 
all the force may be drawn to the advance of Gen. Smith. 
When you hear his guns & have word from him, engage the 
enemy and push on. B R 



From Generals Gillmore and Smith 

SWIFT CREEK, 7 P.M., May 9, 1864 

Maj.-Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Department of 

Virginia and North Carolina 

GENERAL: We have conferred together upon the problem 
before us, and respectfully suggest for your consideration 
whether it would not be better, and secure to us greater advan 
tages, to withdraw to our lines tonight, destroying all that part 
of the road this side of Chester Station which we left to-day, 
and then cross the Appomattox on a pontoon bridge, that can 
be thrown across below General Smith s headquarters, and 
cut all the roads which come into Petersburg on that side. Such 
a bridge can readily be constructed in one night, and all the 
work of cutting the road, and, perhaps, capturing the city, can 
be accomplished in one day, without involving us in heavy 
losses. If we should remain here and be successful to-morrow, 
the roads coming into Petersburg on that side will remain 
intact, with the Appomattox between us and them, and we may 
even then be forced to adopt the plan we now suggest. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servants, 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Maj.-Gen. Coind g Tenth Army Corps 
W. F. SMITH, Maj.-Gen. Com d g Eighteenth Army Corps 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, May 9th, 1864, 8 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

I INCLOSE despatches just received from Colonel Voris, com 
manding one of the regiments left on our right this morning. 
I have had additional consultation with General Smith in regard 
to withdrawing within the intreiichments. We think it should 
be done by all means, as there is nothing to gain here but 



184 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

what can be secured with more certainty by the plan suggested 
in the despatch sent in by General Devens. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General, Commanding 

From General Butler 

Headqrs., May 9th, 1864, 9.30 P.M. 

Brig. General HINKS, Commanding &c. 

WE have very good news from the Army of the Potomac. 
This involves change of plan. You will therefore not move 
on Petersburg. Labor diligently to make all safe at City 
Point, and go yourself to Fort Powhatan to give personal 
supervision to the work, neglected by Col. Stafford. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

Gen. GILLMORE, Commanding, &c. Head Qrs " May m > 10 20 P M 

MAKE such dispositions of your forces as to render safe your 
right if threatened by the enemy. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

By General Warren 

Circular No 40 Headquarters Fifth Army Corps, May 9, 1864, 12 P.M. 

DIVISION commanders will make sure to have their com 
mands prepared for any demonstration of the enemy by day 
light. It is designed, also, to force the enemy s pickets back 
to his line of battle, and ascertain its location, and early prepa 
rations will be made accordingly to advance when ordered. 

By command of Major-General Warren 

A. S. MARVIN JR., Assistant Adjutant-General 

P.S. The Richmond papers report General Butler s com 
mand to be within 10 miles of Richmond, on the south side. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 576. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

BERMUDA HUNDRED, May 9, 1864 

Major-Generals W. F. SMITH and Q. A. GILLMORE, 

Commanding Eighteenth and Tenth Army Corps 
GENERALS: While I regret an infirmity of purpose which did 
not permit you to state to me, when I was personally present, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 185 

the suggestion which you made in your written note, but left 
me to go to my headquarters under the impression that an 
other and far different purpose was advised by you, I shall not 
yield to written suggestions which imply a change of plan 
made within thirty minutes after I left you. Military affairs 
cannot be carried on, in my judgment, with this sort of 
vacillation. 

The information I have received from the Army of the Poto 
mac convinces me that our demonstration should be toward 
Richmond, and I shall in no way order a crossing of the Appo- 
mattox for the purpose suggested in your note. If, as I believe, 
General Kautz has been successful, the communications of 
the enemy have been cut so far below Petersburg as to render 
the Lynchburg and Petersburg Railroad useless as a means of 
communication with the South, and if the Danville road is to 
be cut at all, it had better be cut near Richmond on the south 
side, in conformity with the plan agreed upon between the 
lieutenant-general and myself. Therefore, as early as possible, 
consistently with safety, you will withdraw your forces from 
Swift Creek, attempting, in the first place, to destroy the rail 
road bridge, and then complete a thorough destruction of the 
railroad as we return to our position, with the intention of 
making a subsequent early demonstration up the James from 
the right of our position. I have written you this note jointly 
because you have agreed in a joint note to me. I have the 

honor to remain, T7 . - , , . 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General Commanding 
From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, near SWIFT CREEK, May 10, 1864 

Maj.-Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Department of 

Virginia and North Carolina 

GENERAL: I have received your despatch in reply to the 
note signed by General Smith and myself. That note con 
tained simple suggestions, nothing more. It could not have 
contained any recommendation from me to change plans, as I 
did not know what the plan of operation was, further than to 
cut the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad. Presuming 
that it was desirable to cut all the railroads leading out of 
Petersburg, I could see no better way to do it than the one 
proposed. I had had no opportunity to confer with General 
Smith until I met him in your presence, and did not converse 



186 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

with him upon the nature of his instructions, or the objects 
aimed at, until after you had left. My orders from you were 
to destroy the railroad, and afterwards, verbally, to support 
General Smith s movement on Swift s Creek. Further orders 
from you, regulating the movements of the two corps, seem 
necessary. At Brandon Bridge the enemy have infantry and 
cavalry this side of the creek, and the approaches are open and 
covered by artillery on the other side. No practicable ford 
has been found yet. I am destroying the railroad near the 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General Commanding 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, In the Field, May 10, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. W. F. SMITH 

GENERALS: Brigadier-General Turner has been withdrawn. 
The Third New Hampshire Regiment, from the bridge, is 
here; my entire force is retiring and on the pike. General 
Ames took the old pike on the right, but General Smith s force 
is in General Ames advance. The enemy are turning General 
Terry and should be attacked in flank. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 619. 

From General Smith 

May 10, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding Department of 
Virginia and North Carolina 

GENERAL : I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your 
letter directed to General Gillmore and myself, and to reply to 
it only so far as I, myself, am personally concerned. 

Just after you had left yesterday General Gillmore proposed 
this plan, and it seemed to me to be one worthy of your consid 
eration, as having a tendency to save waste of life to a certain 
extent, and to more effectually cut the enemy s communica 
tions than any infantry force on this side the river could do. 
I understood you yesterday positively to say that Colonel 
Kautz was going south on the railroad, which he had already 
cut. This was, in my mind, a leading idea in giving to this 
plan the weight which I did. The objections to it were, first, 
that it would have the semblance of a repulse here; and, 
secondly, that if we could force our way across the creek, we 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 187 

would gain valuable time over the other plan. These con 
siderations, which I know would occur to you, were, therefore, 
unnecessary to mention. The suggestions were made, so far 
as I \vas concerned, merely to call your attention to a plan 
which seemed to me to possess merit. I am happy to state 
that General Gillmore s idea received the sanction of General 
Weitzel and Colonel Dutton. I have made this long explana 
tion for peculiar and private reasons, and can only say, in 
conclusion, that as I have never before been accused of in 
firmity of purpose, I shall not take the charge as one seriously 
affecting my military reputation. I had forgotten to mention 
that the letter was not drawn up or signed by me as a formal 
protest, but only in a semi-informal manner, and in the quickest 
time of conveying to you the ideas which had been discussed 
by General Gillmore and myself. [^FromJ pure consideration 
for the troops here and the cause in which we are engaged, it 
becomes my duty to you to express the opinion that the with 
drawal from this point must be made in accordance with some 
well-regulated plan published from headquarters of the army, 
and not according to the separate wishes and interests of corps 

commanders. T ^ ,- /7 7 , , 

V enj respectfully, your obedient servant, 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

From General Smith 

Headquarters Eighteenth Army Corps, May 10, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding Department 

GENERAL: I have the honor to state that yesterday evening 
I requested Major-General Gillmore to relieve General Heck- 
man s brigade, which has been fighting three days out of four 
that we have been here, by a brigade of General Turner s 
division, stating at the time that I had no troops not actually 
in the presence of the enemy, and that I was anxious to give to 
General Heckman a chance to make some coffee for his men 
which they could not do on the front. This request was 
denied. Later in the evening, upon being informed by General 
Gillmore that our rear was threatened by infantry and cavalry, 
I requested General Gillmore to give me one regiment to guard 
the roads leading to the rear of my lines, stating at the time 
that I had no regiment that I could safely withdraw from my 
front, on this duty. Still later in the night, at a time when I 
thought General Burnham was being driven back, and knowing 
that the safety of our command depended, in a great measure, 



188 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

upon that position being held, to save time I sent directly to 
General Turner, asking him to give me two regiments to aid 
General Brooks to maintain the position. I have therefore, 
now, respectfully to request that in accordance with the usages 
of military service General Heckman s brigade be relieved by 
troops that have not been to the front, at once. 

Very respectfully, WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

From General A. V. Kautz 

Major-General BUTLER ClTT POINT May 10 1864 ^- M - 

I HAVE arrived here with my entire command. Have burned 
the Stony Creek Bridge, the Nottoway Bridge, and Jarratt s 
Station. I have about one hundred and thirty prisoners. 
Loss in my command about thirty killed and wounded. I want 
rations and forage as soon as I can get them. 

A. V. KAUTZ, Brigadier-General 

From General Meade 

Edqrs. Army of the Potomac, May 10, 1864, 10 A.M. 

General Orders 

INTELLIGENCE has been received officially that Major- 
General Butler at Petersburg has whipped the enemy badly, 
and is advancing on Richmond; that General Sherman has 
whipped the enemy at Tunnel Hill and Dalton; Johnston 
retreating and leaving his dead and wounded in our hands. 
GEO. G. MEADE, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 598. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, in the Field, May Wth, 1864, 12 M. 

Brig. General KAUTZ, at City Point 
REPORT in person. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, May 10th, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER 

TIME that might be of great value to us can be saved by 
retiring from the line of Swift Creek just as we lie. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General Commanding 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 189 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, May 10, 1864, 2 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, via FORT MONROE 

YOUR despatch of yesterday, stating the operations under 
your command, has just been received, and I have sent it to the 
Capitol to be read there. I congratulate you and your gallant 
command upon the skill, energy, and success of your operations. 
We have nothing direct from the Army of the Potomac later 
than my telegram of yesterday, but reports say that Lee is 
retreating and Grant pursuing with his whole army. Des 
patches from General Sherman state that he has been engaged 
for the last two days with Johnston s army, and there is reason 
to hope for a brilliant victory in that quarter. General 
Kautz was confirmed as brigadier on Saturday, and I am re 
joiced he is so well vindicating the merit of the appointment. 
His commission will be forwarded immediately. 

EDWIN M ST ANTON, Secretary of War 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 617. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, May Wth, 1864. 2 o clock. 

Maj. General GILLMORE, commanding, &c. 

BY examinations of prisoners taken from the enemy I learn 
that but two Brigades left their entrenchments at Drury s 
Bluff this morning, leaving nobody there. Barton s and 
Hunton s or Graycie s Brigades are the ones. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, junction of old and new pikes, near railroad, 

May 10, 1864, 2.40 P.M. 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Department 

of Virginia and North Carolina 

GENERAL: Your despatches by bearer are received. General 
Terry is at the same place, on the new pike next to the railroad. 
The fighting there has been severe. General Turner received a 
flag of truce from the enemy just as he was retiring. I have 
ordered him to detain them, subject to your instructions. 
General Turner s brigade is at this junction, and will not move 



190 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

until I hear again from General Terry. I inclose you the papers 
concerning flag of truce, and await your orders. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 618. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, 

May 10, 1864, 3.30 P.M. 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Department 

of Virginia and North Carolina 

GENERAL: I am now at the junction of pike and the direct 
road to Chester Station. General Terry has pushed the enemy 
up the pike, and holds the ground the enemy held this morning. 
Colonel Howell is at Hewlett s house, beyond Ware Bottom 
Church, on James River, and is all right. General Turner s 
brigade is at the junction of new and old pikes, near the rail 
road, and will remain there until further orders. Colonel 
Howell ought to hold his ground if you expect to demonstrate 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General^ Comdg. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 618. 

From J. A. Seddon 

War Department, C.S.A., RICHMOND, VA., May 10th, 1864 

General G. T. BEAUREGARD 

THIS city is in hot danger. It should be defended with all 
our resources to the sacrifice of minor considerations. You 
are relied on to use every effort to unite all forces at the earliest 
practicable time with the troops in our defenses, and then to 
gether either fight the enemy in the field or defend the intrench- 
ments. Our lines are a little in front of Drury s Bluff, crossing 

the railroad and turnpike. T A c * TT/ 

J. A. SEDDON, Secretary of War 

War Rec., Ch. XLVIII, Part II, p. 986. 

From General Butler 
Genl. GILLMORE ***. u i, UM 

WILL order Ames* brigade to relieve Wistar, and Turner to 
relieve Heckman, and as soon as Heckman & Wistar are re 
lieved and get into position, Gen. Turner & Gen. Ames will 

retire * BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 191 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, in the Field, May 10th, 1864 

Maj. General Q. A. GILLMORE 

YOUR despatch received. Let all the troops be ordered 
within the defences to-night. 

By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 

R. S. DAVIS, Major and Assistant Adj. General 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May Wth, 1864 

DEAREST: Kimball came back today from City Point, also 
Major L T sher. Both say that you are getting on bravely. The 
last is full of admiration of you and your behest s(?) Mr. 
Webster writes that every one expects you to enter Richmond. 
I expect anything, and everything that is pleasant, and a 
part of that is, that you think of, and love me very much, pay 
very little heed to any body else unless it may be to Maj. 
Genl. Butler, that he does not exhaust his health or throw away 
his life, in the hazardous race for glory. Mr. Owen is here. I 
have set him to work. Tonight I run up to Philadelphia, 
back on Sunday or Saturday morning. 

I will send you a cake tomorrow if possible. You can 
imagine a change here at the Fort, all the officers away. Mr. 
Kimball will go to Philadelphia with me. I wonder if I shall 
get a word from you before I go. Paul and Benny whined 
and felt very lonely the day after you left. We are all waiting 
earnestly for news, and we hear you are all dust, in a great 

huiTv, and little to eat. T . 7 

i ours most truly, SARAH 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. off CITY POINT, May llth, 1864 

ROBERT OULD, Esq., Confederate Com. of Exchange 

SIR: Being informed that the Police Guard Surgeon, Hospi 
tal attendants, and Signal Officer captured at City Point 
yesterday were left there for the purposes connected with the 
exchange of prisoners, I have ordered their release. 

Your attention is most earnestly invited to my communica 
tion in relation to colored soldiers. 

Yours respectfully, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



192 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

In the field. March llth, 1864 

DEAREST: Don t scold me any more. I will not expose 
myself. All is going on well so far. We shall demonstrate 
toward Richmond tomorrow. I have now done all I agreed to 
do with Grant. You better go to New York and make your 
purchases. I shall be here campaigning for a month to come. 

I was never better in health. v -n 

Yours, BENJ. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May llth, 1864 

DEAREST: I hear that the rebels have attacked three times 
yesterday, and were repulsed, and that tomorrow you take the 
offensive, I hope to be victorious. I have read the papers more 
carefully of late it seems to me we only hold our own this 
spring. It may be the expiring effort of the rebels, but they 
certainly come fiercely to the work. You will not get this 
until after the battle tomorrow. May you greet it with 
triumph, and not with disaster or defeat. But if the last does 
come, you will not be disheartened. I know how quickly you 
can banish all regret and start anew in action. Fisher I think 
will be here tomorrow or the next day. He asked me to tele 
graph, but there was nothing especial beyond what the papers 
say. Sanborn did telegraph yesterday, and one was returned 
to me from N. Y. saying he was not there. The one sent to 
Lowell will bring him. The children are studying very well. 
I think we shall like the tutor and like this way of educating 
them. I do not hear much from you as to how you live or 
what you do but I conclude you have not much time to 
write even to me. If you have and do not do it, it would be 
very pitiful. It is very quiet at the Fort. At the north they 
are wild with excitement, eager for news, and amazed, I sup 
pose, that they get so little. I shall look anxiously for word 
from you tomorrow. You have not much time in the morning 
now. I shall write to Blanche, but I feel an excitement that 
prevents my writing to you in anything like order. 

Your devoted WIFE 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 193 

From General Butler 

Genl GlLLMORE ^11,1864 

I SEND the following for your information: 

Wash., 4 P.M., May 9th, a despatch from Gen. Grant has 
just been received. Is on the march with his whole army to 
form a junction with you (me) but had not determined his 

E. M. STANTON, Sec. of War 

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

From General Butler 

Maj. General HiNKS Headquarters, &c., May nth, 1864 

COUNTERMAND army order to send boat to Fortress Monroe. 
The prisoners will be turned over to Maj. Mulford. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Ransom 

Headquarters, camp near DRURY S BLUFF, May llth, 1864 

General BRAXTON BRAGG, RICHMOND 

THE enemy fell back last night from their position of yester 
day toward the James River, apparently in some haste. Their 
pickets have appeared in large numbers on James River in 
vicinity of Hewlett s and Dutch Gap. . . . 

R. RANSOM, JR., Major-General 

War Rec., Ch. XLVIII, Part II, p. 990. 

From J. A. Seddon 

War Department, C.S.A., RICHMOND, VA., May llth, 1864 

General G. T. BEAUREGARD, PETERSBURG 

DIVISION of your forces is earnestly objected to. It is 
decidedly preferred that you carry out the instructions given 
last night, and endeavor to unite all forces. 

J. A. SEDDON, Secretary of War 

War Rec., Ch. XLVIII, Part II, p. 991. 

From General Lee 

President DAVIS SPOTTSTLVANIA COURT-HOUSE, May llth, 1864 

IF Hoke s brigade is in Richmond, please send him with 
train of provisions and forage to Guiney s Station. Despatch 
necessary. Please answer. R F T 

War Rec., Ch. XLVIII, Part II, p. 988. 

VOL. IV 13 



194 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Jefferson Davis 

Executive Department, C.S.A., RICHMOND, VA., May llth, 1864 

General R. E. LEE, SPOTTSYLVANIA COURT HOUSE, 

via GUINEY S, VA. 

HOKE S brigade left Petersburg this morning with other 
troops, to effect if possible a junction with Ransom at Chester. 
I have been painfully anxious to send your troops to you, but 
unaccountable delays have occurred, and we have been sorely 
pressed by enemy on south side. Are now threatened by their 
cavalry on the Brook turnpike and Westham road. I go to 
look after defense. Will have supplies attended to at once, 
and as soon as possible send troops to you. May God have 
you in His holy keeping, and support your efforts for your 

country s cause. T 

JEFFERSON DAVIS 

War Rec., Ch. XLVIII, Part II, p. 988. 

From General Butler 

Headqrs. in the Field, May llth, 1864 [9.30 P.M.] 

Maj. Gen. GILLMORE, Commdg. 10th Army Corps 

A MOVEMENT will be made tomorrow morning at daybreak of 
the troops in the manner following: Gen. Smith will take all of 
his Corps that can be spared from his line with safety, and will 
demonstrate against the enemy up the turnpike, extending his 
line of advance to the left with his right resting at the beginning 
of the movement on the river at or near Howletts House, press 
ing the enemy into their intrenchments with the endeavor to 
turn them on the left, if not too hotly opposed. Gen. Gillmore 
will order one division of his corps to report to Gen. Smith with 
two days rations, ready to march at any time at or after day 
light at Gen. Smith s order. Gen. Gillmore will make such 
disposition with the remainder of this Corps as to hold the 
enemy in check if any movement is made upon the rear of Gen. 
Smith, or upon our lines from the direction of Petersburg, 
holding such troops as may not be necessary to be thrown 
forward by him upon the turnpike in reserve ready to re-enforce 
either point that may be attacked. Of course Gen. Smith s 
demonstration will cover the right of Gen. Gillmore s line of 
works, unless he is forced back. Gen. Kautz has orders to 
proceed as soon as the demonstration of Gen. Smith s troops 
has marked his movements from, at, or near Chester Station, 
to make demonstrations upon the Danville Road for the pur 
pose of cutting it. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 195 

It is intended to develop the entire strength of the enemy in 
the direction of Richmond, and if possible either to force them 
within their entrenchments or turn them as the case may be. 
If successful, it is supposed that the troops will occupy during 
the night the line of advance secured. 

Gen. Hinks has orders to seize and hold a point opposite 
Gen. Smith s Head Quarters pending this movement. 

The Commdg. Gen. fails to make further order in detail, be 
cause of personal explanation given to each Corps Commander 
of the movement intended. (BENJ R BUTLER) 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Va. & N. Carolina, infield May 11, 10 3-4 P.M. 1864 

Genl. SMITH 

CAPT. BROOKS of Gen. Terry s staff has information in 
regard to the enemy that you should know. Genl. Butler 
desires that you should in the morning feel the enemy, & use 
your own judgment in regard to the plan of attack. The 
orders to Genl. Gillmore will not be changed, leaving the whole 
matter to your discretion. 

The Genl. Comd g thinks the enemy are only on the defensive. 

Resp y, J. W. SHAFFER, A.D.C. 

From the Secretary of War 

BY TELEGRAPH from WASHINGTON, May 11, 1864 [11.10 P.M.] 

To Maj. Genl. BUTLER 

DESPATCH from Gen l. Grant just received. The two (2) 
armies are still at Spottsylvania Court-House, where the rebels 
are making a desperate stand. There have been two (2) days 
hard fighting without any material advantage to either side, 
but Gen l. Grant considers himself the gainer. He is looking 
with great interest for the results of your operations. 

E. M. STANTON, Secy of War 

From General Smith 
General BUTLER 

GENERAL TURNER will have to march back across the creek to 
get to General Gillmore and then march around to him. His 
men are very much fatigued. Under these circumstances do you 
think he can make the march tonight to be of any assistance? 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 691. 



196 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

In the Field, May Uth, 1864 

Monsieur PAUL, French Consul 

You can go with Maj. Mulford on board the flag-of -truce 
boat "New York" to the enemies lines. Giving your parole 
of honor not to disclose to the enemy anything of Army or Navy 
operations you may have seen or heard, and to take through 
no communications either written or published whatever. 

Respectfully, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. in Field, May I2th, 11.20 A.M. 

To Maj. Gen L GILLMORE 

GENERAL: Yesterday morning Kemper s, Clarke s, Ran 
som s, and one other brigade left Petersburg, and encamped 
last night just four miles this side. This morning they moved 
at daylight up turnpike toward Richmond. Yesterday Gen 
eral Hoke passed upon north side of turnpike toward Doctor 
Hewlett s; very probably the same that were reported by 
pickets last night. B R BUTLER> Maj ^^ Comd , g 

From General Gillmore 

OLD PIKE, May VUh, 1864, 12.25 P.M. 

General BUTLER 

I HAVE just received your despatch of 11.20 A.M. I under 
stand from it that all the troops you mention are now in Smith s 
front. I think he must have engaged their rear guard. Ames 
is in position and Terry coming up. I inclose despatch just 
received from my signal officer on Dr. Hewlett s house. 

Your obedient servant, 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

From General Smith 

May Uth, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER 

Do you wish me to understand from Farquhar s note that I 
am only to feel the enemy, or do you desire me to move ahead? 
General Turner has just joined our line. 

Very respectfully, WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 197 

From General Butler 

In the Field, \ past 12 M., May I2th [1864] 

General SMITH 

GENERAL: I sent what Farquhar wrote in order that you 
might have all the information I have. From that I infer, the 
enemy is in front, so that we are at liberty to press him. I have 
also sent despatch from Gen l. Gillmore s signal station. Un 
less you see something that I do not, press him vigorously. 

Respectfully, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

From General Smith 

Headquarters, Eighteenth Corps, May 12th, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER 

GENERAL: I have given the orders for an attack at once. 
Should there be no demonstration from Petersburg, or no 
prospects of danger from that direction, I would request that a 
portion of General Ames force be sent to me at this point, as 
I have no reserve. My troops are all in the lines. 

Respectfully, &c., 
WM. F. SMITH, Major-General, Commanding 

From General Butler 

In the Field near CHESTER STATION, May l%th, 1864, 3.30 P.M. 

Hon. Sec. of War 

I AM now pressing the enemy near Fort Darling. I have 
before me all the troops from North and South Carolina that 
have got up. Beauregard s courier, captured this morning, 
going to Gen. Hoke, in command of Drury s Bluff, had des 
patch that Beauregard would join him as soon as the rest of his 
troops came up. I have left Gillmore to hold our entrench 
ments while Smith demonstrates upon Drury and the enemy s 
line. While this demonstration is going on I have sent General 
Kautz with his cavalry force to cut the Danville Road near 
Appomattox Station, and perhaps the canal on James River. 
Will do all he can, but the country is a terrible one to operate 
in. Please communicate this to General Grant. He will see 
at once where we are. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 



198 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Halleck 

WASHINGTON, May 12, 1864, 3.40 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, JAMES RIVER, VA. 

THE Fifth Massachusetts Colored Regiment (about 1,200 
men) and the First Connecticut Heavy Artillery, Colonel Abbot 
(about 1,800) men, have been ordered to report to you at 
Bermuda Landing. Colonel Abbot s regiment has been 
designated by General Grant for a special service, and in the 
mean time will be used by you to hold your defenses, but will 
not be sent into the field, as the lieutenant-general may, at any 
moment, order them to be detached for special service. 

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 688. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. in the Field, May llth, 1864 

Maj. Gen. GILLMORE, Comd g. 10th Army Corps 

A COURIER from Gen. Beauregard has just been captured 
with despatches for Gen. Hoke, whom he was to find on the 
Drury s Bluff Road. He came out from Petersburg on the 
turnpike, and states that he met about a regiment of cavalry 
going towards Petersburg this morning. He further states 
that there are but few troops now in Petersburg, but that 
many have passed through there within the past few days. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

From General Grant 

Headquarters Armies of the United Stales, May 13, 1864 

Major-General HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

PLEASE telegraph General Butler to have the Richmond 
and Danville road cut if possible. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieuten ant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36. Part II, p. 697. 

From the Secretary of War 

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 13, 1864, 6 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

YOUR despatch of yesterday, 3.30 P.M., has been received and 
forwarded to General Grant. A despatch just received from 
the battle-field reports a general attack by Grant at 6 A.M., in 
which great success was achieved. Hancock has captured 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 199 

Ma j. -General Edward Johnson s division, taken him and 
Early and forty cannon, and the prisoners were counted by 
thousands. Nothing has been heard for two days from Maj. 
General Sherman. The lines are broken by a heavy storm. 

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secy of War 

From General Butler 

May 13th, 1864 

Rear Admiral S. P. LEE 

I THINK it would be of great public service if you can put 
your boats so as to cover my landing for supplies at Howlett s 

House B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

May 13th, 1864, 7 A.M. 

General AMES 

GEN. GILLMORE has carried the enemy s works on their 
right. We are before them on the left. Glorious news from 
Grant enclosed. Can you hold your own without aid? Guard 
against surprise and night attack. Report to me frequently. 
News Half-Way House (Dr. Chenthuns). 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General, Commanding 

From General Butler 

In the Field, May 13, 8 A.M. 

General GILLMORE 

I HAVE sent your despatch to Gen l. Ames. The whole line 
is advancing. I will try the pathway you reconnoitred as soon 
as General Smith returns, he having gone out to advance 
General Brooks line, which you know now holds the left next 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 
From General Butler 

In the Field, near D HURT S BLUFF, May 13th, 9 A.M. 

Rear Admiral LEE, Commdg. &c. 

WOULD it not be possible for you to bring up the gunboats 
and monitors opposite Dr. Howlett s, so as to cover our flank 
on the river and relieve a considerable body of my troops. 
Both sides of the river there are low and flat, and it is an excel 
lent point for the gunboats to lie. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General 



200 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

In the Field, May 13, 9.30 A.M. 

Gen. GILLMORE 

I AM rejoiced to learn that you are well started. Have been 
waiting. We cannot engage the enemy without assaulting the 
Creek you are to turn. Push on vigorously, and engage the 
enemy yourself. R R BUTLER; Maj 



From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, Tenth Corps, May 13th, 1864 

M ajor-General BUTLER, Commanding Department 

YOUR despatch is received concerning Langdon s battery. 
My column is now crossing the railroad at Chester Station. I 
cannot find any road leading to where I can turn the batteries, 
except one through the woods, and another 6 miles long. I am 
going through the woods, and have 2| to 3 miles to go. The 
two regiments from the intrenchments are on the pike. 

Respectfully, Q. A. GILLMORE, Major General 

From General Smith 

May 13th, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER 

I HAVE only 150 colored cavalry, and they are on picket. 
General Turner has reported to me that it is utterly impossi 
ble to communicate with General Gillmore without going 
back across Proctor s Creek? Shall I send them? 

Respectfully, &c. 
WM. F. SMITH, Major-Gen. Commdg. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, May 13th, 1864, 9.40 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding Department 

THE two regiments sent out to General Ames are now about 
half or three-fourths of a mile in your rear on pike. The two 
ordered up from intrenchments have not been heard from, but 
will be due in a couple of hours. 

Very respectfully, 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Major General of Volunteers 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 201 

From General Butler 
Gen. GHAHAM /n rt. FM* Jf., is*. 10 *.. 

I AM informed that there is a rebel signal station working 
at Pwans Point. Stop it. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 

From General Butler 

Gen HINKS ln the Field May I3th> 1864 10 A M> 

REPORT operations to me further. How far have you 
obeyed the order to fortify that point opposite Smith s Head 
Qrs.? Look out for Fort Powhatan. The Rebel newspapers 
threaten to attack it. 

BEXJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Gen . GILLMORE At Half - Way House May 13 12 M * 

DESPATCH received. Don t open up the gap between our 
flanks too wide. We are here between the two creeks, Vings- 
land Creek is their line. Can you turn that? 

BEXJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen L, Comd g. 

From General GUI more 

Headquarters, Tenth Army Corps, right of the Enemy s line (inside his works), 

Major General BUTLER 

AFTER a severe conflict we have taken the enemy s works 
on his extreme right. Ammunition and provisions for this 
command should be sent here. I have not heard from Gen 
eral Ames since my last despatch, or from any other portion of 
your command. I do not know where you are or where to 
communicate with you. I send this by way of the railroad 
over which one column of my command advanced. The 
troops have behaved splendidly. 

Very respectfully, 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General, Commanding 

From Colonel Abbott 

BERMUDA HUNDRED, May 13th, 1864, 5 P.M. 

Maj. R. S. DAVIS, Assistant Adjutant-General 

IN accordance with orders from General Halleck I have the 
honor to report with my regiment, the First Connecticut Ar- 



202 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

tillery, about seventeen hundred strong. ... I respectfully 
request orders as to point of debarkation. 

Very respectfully, <&c., 
HENRY L. ABBOTT, Col. of 1st Conn. Art. 

From the Secretary of War 

Maj. Genl. BUTLER w " Dep 6 40 P M " May 13 18M 

LEE abandoned his work last night & retreated. Grant is 
pursuing. There have been thirty-six (36) hours hard rain, 
& the roads are heavy. At last accounts Hancock had come 

up to his rear guard. -,-, I\T c cr ^ TT/ 

EDWIN M. STANTON, Sec y of War 

From General Butler 

Gen. GlLLMORE Ma, im, 1864, 7 P.M. 

DESPATCH received. Your success is truly gratifying, and 
worthy your energy and perseverance. 

We are before the enemy s works at this point, Half- Way 
House. Ammunition and provisions will be sent forward. 
Can you not hold your own there? 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Commanding 

From General Butler 

Headquarters in the Field, May 13th, 1864, 11 P.M. 

The Officer commanding at entrenchments 

You will at once send two of your best regiments with a 
competent Colonel commanding to march to guard an ammuni 
tion train to report to General Gillmore. Their place will be 
supplied on your line with the 1st Connecticut Artillery, which 
will report to you by daylight to-morrow morning. The 
utmost despatch and promptness will be required. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Commanding 

From General Butler 

Headquarters in the Field, May 13th, 1864 

Col. HENRY L. ABBOTT, Commanding 1st Con. Artillery 

You will march at once and report to the officer in command 
of entrenchments on the line at the centre thereof, so as to 
reach that line by daylight tomorrow morning. This order 
must be promptly complied with. No waiting for teams or 
horses will excuse delay. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l. Commanding 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 203 

From General Wild 

Head Qrs. 1st. Brigade-3rd Division, WILSON S WHARF, May 13, 64 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Dept. 

SIR: I have the honor to forward two canes and a secession 
flag taken from the house of late President Tyler. The 
inscription upon the blade of the sword cane is quite charac 
teristic. These were taken as abandoned property. I would 
earnestly recommend that they be sent to the great Sanitary 
Commission Fair, now preparing in Philadelphia, where they 
would doubtless realize a very large sum of money, for the 
benefit of our soldiers, and therefore for the public good. In 
no other way probably, could they be of so much use. 

If consigned to Geo. Augustus Wood, No. 237 South Eight 
eenth Street, Philadelphia, they would reach their destination. 

The Tyler mansion is near us, in Charles City County. 
Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, EDW. A. WILD, Brig. Gen. Vols. 

From General Beauregard 

Hdqrs. Dept. of X. Carolina and Southern Virginia, 

DRURY S BLUFF, VA., May 14, 1864 

General B. BRAGG, commanding C. S. Armies, 
RICHMOND, VA. 

GENERAL: Considering the vital importance of the issue 
involved, and resting upon the success of the plan I suggested 
to you this morning, I have deemed it advisable and appro 
priate that their substance should be briefly communicated 
in writing. General Lee s army, at Guiney s Station, and my 
command, at this place, are on nearly a right line passing 
through Richmond. Grant s army is on the left flank and 
Butler s on the right. Our lines are thus interior. Butler s 
aim is unquestionably to invest and turn Drury s Bluff, 
threatening and holding the Petersburg and Danville rail 
roads, opening the obstructions in the river at Fort Drury for 
the passage of war vessels, and necessitating the return of 
General Lee to the lines about Richmond. With the rail 
roads held by the enemy, Grant in front and Butler in rear of 
the works around Richmond, the capital would be practically 
invested, and the issue may well be dreaded. 

The plan submitted is: That General Lee should fall back 
to the defensive lines of the Chickahominy, even to the inter 
mediate lines of Richmond, sending temporarily to this place 



204 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

15,000 men of his troops. Immediately upon that accession 
to my present force, I would take the offensive and attack 
Butler vigorously. Such a move would throw me directly 
upon Butler s communications, and, as he now stands, with 
his right flank well turned toward his rear, General Whiting 
should also move simultaneously, and Butler must necessarily 
be crushed or captured, and all the stores of that army would 
then fall into our hands, an amount, probably, that would 
make an interruption of our communications for a period of 
a few days a matter of no serious inconvenience. The pro 
posed attack should be accomplished in two days at furthest 
after receiving my re-enforcements. This done, I would 
move with 10,000 more men to the assistance of General Lee 
than I drew from him, and Grant s fate could not long remain 
doubtful. The destruction of Grant s forces would open the 
way for the recovery of most of our lost territory, as already 
submitted to you in general terms. Respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 
G. T. BEAUREGARD, General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 1024. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, Tenth Corps, May 14th, 1864, 4 A.M. 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, Commdg. Dept. 

of Virginia and North Carolina 

GENERAL: All has been comparatively quiet during the 
night. I succeeded in driving the enemy back from my left 
and rear after Colonel (Kensel) and Captain M. left last 
night. The caissons supposed to have been captured are all 
safe, having arrived. I sent one company to Chester Station 
last night to aid in getting up provisions and ammunition. 
I shall attack the enemy at daylight. Very respectfully, 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

From General Ames 

Headquarters, Third Division, May 14th, 1864, 4.45 A.M. (daylight) 

Colonel SHAFFER, Assistant Adjutant-General 

COLONEL: The night has passed without any disturbance or 
alarm of any kind. Everything is quiet, and no indications of 
the enemy at any point on my front. 

Yours, &c., A. AMES, Brigadier General 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 205 

From General Butler 

Hon. E. M. STANTON Head Qrs " HALF WAY HouSE > Ma v 14 > 8 ** 

WE are still before the line of the enemy s works at Drury s 
Bluff, Fort Darling. The enemy are here in force. Gen. 
Gillmore, by a flank movement with a portion of his Corps 
and a brigade of the 18th Army Corps, assaulted and took 
the enemy s works on the right at dusk last evening. It was 
gallantly done; troops behaved finely. We held our lines 
during the night, and shall move this morning again. 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. Head Qrs. HALF-WAY HOUSE, May Uth, 1864, 9.40 A.M. 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Seer, of War 

GEN. SMITH carried the enemy s first line on the right this 
morning at 8. Loss small. The enemy have retired into three 
square redoubts upon which we are now bringing our artil 
lery to bear with effect. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. ComtTg. 

From General Smith 

Major-General BUTLER May 1M 1864 

GENERAL: I would respectfully suggest that Colonel Onder- 
donk be sent immediately up the railroad, and rather off to 
our left, to see what may be coming in that direction. I have 
heard the cars whistling, and the enemy are reported as feeling 
our left. This is very important, and should be attended to 
at once, taken in connection with the rumors afloat regarding 
re-enforcements sent to Richmond. Respectfully, etc., 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General, Commanding 

From General Butler 
Gen. GILLMORE aft,, wtt. ISM, H.SO *.. 

SEND out Onderdonk s Cavalry as far to the left and front 
as he can demonstrate, to watch what is coming or can be 
found in the direction of Richmond. Tell him to report 
frequently. BEXJ R BUTLER) Ma - Gm ^ Comd > g . 



206 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 
Genl SMITH Head ^ s Dep L Va & N C " HALF WAY HousE Ma y 14 >64 

I HAVE ordered Onderdonk out on a reconnoissance to see 
what the trains mean. I think they mean ammunition & 
supplies. _ Certain it is that a thousand men can march 
eight (8) miles sooner than they can be loaded and unloaded 
on a railroad train & carried eight (8) miles. I have ordered 
all the rifled guns up. I hope you will get them into position 
so that they can be used. I would not make an assault until 
I had used all my artillery. I have also ordered Beecher s 
battery of light 12 pdrs. to report to you. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Smith 

May Uth, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding Department 

of Virginia, &c. 

GENERAL: I send you a copy of despatch just received from 
General Weitzel. I am trying to silence the enemy s guns, and 
waiting to hear from our extreme left before ordering an assault. 
I have already reported to you the whistling of trains on the 
railroad, but can say nothing definite in regard to them. 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General Commdg. 
From General Butler 

Gen. GlLLMOEE May Uth, 3 o clock, f .M. 

I DO not desire you to assault the works in front. Why not 
mass your artillery in the skirt of woods that Brooks de 
scribed? Prevent the enemy from doing anything more to 
it. And try and turn it, only move promptly. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen 9 1., Comd g. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, May \th, 1864, 6.20 P.M. 

Major General BUTLER : Commanding in the Field 

I RECOMMEND that Brigadier-General Ames, now at Port 
Walthall Junction, be ordered to report here to me, with all the 
command there except one regiment of infantry and one section 
of artillery. One-half his colored cavalry, or even all of it, might 
be left there. If these works are to be turned it must be done 

IT! 1 51 Yfff* TOT*^*^ 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General Commanding 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 207 

From General Butler 

Headquarters in the Field, May 14, 1864, 7 P.M. 

Lieutenant-Colonel FULLER 

YOUR despatch received. My compliments to General 
Sheridan. Say to him I think he had better not come over 
with his forces, but should be happy to receive him. Give 
him all the forage and rations he needs. Tell him I have 
reliable information from a deserter and a prisoner that to 
night there are but two hundred men at Chaffin s farm, thir 
teen miles only from where he is, and opposite where I am 
now fighting. All the rest have been hurried over to fight 
me. They have no bridge. Can he not take Chaffin s farm? 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major -General Commanding 

From General Butler 

General SHERIDAN In the FiM ila! > Ulh > 1864 9 " 

SINCE I wrote a hurried note to Lt. Col. Fuller, I have 
thought best to request you to join me with your command. 
You can aid us very much in our operations here, and as we 
shall soon be joined by Lt. General Grant you will be able 
best to report to him. I wish you might be able to capture 
"Chaffin s Farm," as I suggested in my note to Col. Fuller. 
At any rate I wish you would do this service to the Navy. 
They are much annoyed by torpedoes, these torpedoes are 
exploded by means of galvanic Batteries on the shore. The 
person who brings the note w r ill have with him a negro who 
can give you all information in regard to torpedoes. Please 
send up a force along the north bank of the James as far as 
Chaffin s Farm and make diligent search for torpedoes, and 
at once burn any house where such machines are harbored. 
Capture and bring to me all persons that have anything to 
do with them. 

I should be most happy to see you personally at the earliest 

possible moment. n ,/ ?? -D T- T> 

Respectfully, BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Halleck 

WASHINGTON, May \Uh, 1864, 8.45 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT desires that you will have the 
Richmond and Danville railroad cut, if possible. 

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General and Chf. of Stf. 



208 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Gen l. SMITH Head Qrs - in tke Field May u 9 " 

I THINK well of the proposed movement upon the enemy s 
works. I have therefore ordered up Gen. Ames command 
with the exception of two regiments to fill the gap in the line 
made by taking away the moving column, Ames to be here 
at 6 A.M. I have also ordered up the 8th Maine left below 
guarding the road at our former Hd. Qrs. to report to you. 
As the Seventh Connecticut has Spencer s columns or rifles, 
I would suggest that regiment should be detailed as skirmishers 
for the moving column. 

The choice of troops under your command will be left to 
your selection for the work. Gen. Gillmore has been ordered 
to hold himself in readiness to make a vigorous demonstration 
at the proper moment. 

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



From General Smith 

May Uth, 1864, 10 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding Department 

of Virginia, &c. 

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
your communication of 9 P.M. When Lieut. Michie left here 
this P.M. I simply requested him to say to you that the only 
possible chance of carrying the works in front of us, as devel 
oped by his reconnoissance, was on the front of the line of 
rifle-pits between two main works, visible from his point of 
observation. I did not intend to propose any movement, 
but simply to indicate to you my opinion as to the only pos 
sible point where we could hope for a successful assault on or 
near my front. If, as I understand from you, you wish an 
assault made, I have to request that Lieutenant Michie may 
be ordered here to aid me by his knowledge of the country 
and properly placing the troops, and also to act as engineer 
officer for the movement. I will most cheerfully and to the 
best of my ability endeavor to carry out any orders which 
may be given to me, and, if I am not mistaken in the meaning 
of your note, will make the assault at as early an hour in the 
morning as the troops can be formed. If General Ames 
brigade is sufficient to freshen the line, I shall be obliged to 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 209 

take it for a portion of the assaulting column, to avoid the de 
lay in changing rny lines. 

Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

WM. F. SMITH, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From Lieutenant Colonel Fuller 

BERMUDA HUNDRED, May Uth, 1864, 11 P.M. 

General B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Dept. of Virginia 

and North Carolina 

GENERAL: Your note is just received. I have now but 
returned from General Sheridan s command. Two days 
rations for 14,000 horses and men w^ere at the dock at Haxall s 
Landing three hours since. General Sheridan has decided 
to remain on the other side of the river, and will go out to see 
you in the morning. He has everything that he requires. 
... I have sent an officer with your despatch to me to 
General Sheridan, and will telegraph you if he advances on 
Chaffin s Farm to-night. I have the honor to be, 
Very respectfully, yr. obdt. servant, 
C. F. FULLER, Lieut. -Colonel and Quarter Master 

From General Butler 

May Uth, 1864 

Rear Admiral S. P. LEE 

WE have found our torpedo just opposite the Half -Way 
House, and destroyed the wires. Have news of another on 
the other side, and have requested a force from Gen. Sheridan 
to search out and destroy this and others on the South Bank. 

The enemy have left North Carolina. They are removing 
these obstructions in the river along Drury s Bluff. Truly 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 
From General Hinks 

Headquarters, Third Division, Eighteenth Army Corps, 

CITY POINT, VA., May Uth, 1864 

Maj. General B. F. BUTLER, Commdg. Department 

of Virginia and North Carolina 

GENERAL: From the most reliable information I can obtain 
concerning the reconnoissance made by the rebel General 
Pickett on Tuesday, the 10th instant, I gather the following: 
He probably came down from Petersburg in two columns, 
one composed of two regiments of infantry and six guns by 

VOL. IV 14 



210 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the river road, near Spring Hill, and the other composed of 
two regiments of infantry and two guns by the middle road, 
over Cedar Level. These columns united and formed line of 
battle about a mile this side of Temple s house, and 2 miles 
from my earth- works. Contrabands state that General Pick- 
ett s line when formed was about twice the length of mine on 
the day before, when I made a reconnoissance with 1,900 
infantry and six guns. Pickett himself made minute inquiries 
of a contraband whether or not we had lost many men by their 
shells on Monday on the reconnoissance, and made the re 
mark in the hearing of a contraband that he should not attack 
the Yankees, but had only come down to gratify the feelings 
of the People of Petersburg, who were very much excited and 
alarmed. After remaining in position for about half an hour 
in my front, Pickett fell back rapidly about dark across Cedar 
Level. During the day of reconnoissance I was at Fort Pow- 
hatan. The enemy did not expose himself at any points to 
my line of pickets. I am, general, 

Very respectfully, yr. obdt. servt., 
EDW. W. HINKS, Brigadier-General, Commdg. Division 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N. C., HALF WAT HOUSE, May Uth, 1864 

Brig. General E. W. HINKS, Commdg. &c. 

GENERAL: You are authorized to make the change in the 
troops indicated. Fort Powhatan is a very important posi 
tion. Require from my ordnance officer what heavy guns 
you may need for Fort Powhatan, but get them here soon. 
I can not at present spare the colored cavalry, but will as soon 
as Kautz gets through. 

By command of Maj. Gen. BUTLER, 

H. C. CLARKE, Capt. and A.D.C. 

From General Whiting 

Headquarters, PETERSBURG, May 15, 1864 

General BRAGG, Headquarters Confederate Armies, RICHMOND 

GENERAL: I arrived here by order of General Beauregard 
on the 13th, having received a telegram to "come on and con 
fer with him if I could leave Wilmington without danger." 
On arriving I found the general about leaving, and received 
orders to assume command of the department, to make my 
headquarters where necessary, and to report to the War 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 211 

Department. I have examined the situation of affairs here 
and the system of defense. It is my duty to tell you that both 
are very unpromising the latter worthless. The enemy 
having been permitted to occupy the important position of 
Hewlett s Neck, between the James and Appomattox, with 
the force he possesses, threatens equally Drury s Bluff and 
Petersburg. The latter is in great danger because on the 
north side toward the enemy it has no fortifications, it having 
been apparently thought that the river would be defense 
enough, whereas it is an advantage to the enemy. 

They have also occupied the Red Bluff and the river from 
City Point, on the right bank, to the Red Bluff. This is 1 1-2 
miles from the city lines, and completely commands the line 
occupied by our troops on the north of Appomattox, and will 
give them and their gun-boats a ready entrance to the town 
when they please. The breast-works on the south side are 
9 miles in extent, and of no use as to the enemy s present posi 
tion and object. It is, therefore, in his power to take this 
city, with my present force and position, when he pleases, 
unless he is attacked on his right. His object is undoubtedly 
Petersburg, the capture of which is easy, and which equally 
affects Richmond; indeed, would be more serious than the 
taking of Drury s as well as easier. The massing in front of 
Drury s is, I think, a feint. They can change that in any one 
night, and if not instantly attacked on their right can readily 
force this insignificant line of Swift Creek held by a small 
brigade and enfiladed from Red Bluff. 

They appear to have been established and fortifying at 
Red Bluff for some days. In my opinion they are only wait 
ing to commence here for the return of their cavalry raid, 
which, having cut the Danville and South Side railroads, are 
now approaching the Weldon road. I have positive informa 
tion that this force is under Spear, and after their previous 
attack on the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad crossed over 
at City Point, and when our forces moved to Drury s, passed 
by their rear to strike the Danville road. As soon as they 
return they will command the country and threaten the city 
lines to the south and east. I expect an attack today, cer 
tainly very soon. The force here, about 5,000 present of all 
arms according to the return, including militia, is not adequate 
to maintain a position under so many disadvantages, and un 
less supported it will not be probable that I can save the 
town hardly the troops. I do not think it prudent to accu- 



212 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

mulate stores here. I shall do the best I can, but as to the 
position of affairs I must say that with the enemy on the James 
and strongly fortified between the two rivers, neither Rich 
mond nor Petersburg can long be held except by force superior 
to the enemy s this place especially. 

Very respectfully, W. H. C. WHITING 

Major-General 

So much for the situation. Now for what we may be able 
to do. I wish to fight for the place to the last extremity. If 
pressed in heavy force on the north side of the river, my 
reliance must be in a prompt and vigorous attack of the army 
at Drury s on the enemy while I hold them back as long as 
possible. I hope this will be done and successfully, for the 
safety of this place is vital to Drury s and to Richmond. The 
convalescent, sick, and all that can be moved ought to go on 
return trains to the hospitals in Halifax. They are not wanted 
here. Surplus stores, if any, must be put at Danville Junc 
tion. The South Side road was cut yesterday 27 miles from 
here. I expect hourly to hear of the line of the Weldon road 
being again cut the raiders moving in a circuit. 

War Rec., Ch. XLVIII, Part II, p. 1005. 

From General Beauregard 

DRURY S BLUFF, May 15, 1864 

General BRAGG 

SLIGHT firing last night. All quiet this morning. Whiting 
cannot be here until Tuesday afternoon. Attack will com 
mence Wednesday morning. Gun-boats must participate. 
Send General Ransom to confer with me as soon as practicable. 

G. T. BEAUREGARD 

First indorsement 

RECEIVED, Richmond, 8 A.M., and respectfully submitted 
to His Excellency the President. 

JNO. B. SALE, Colonel and Military Secretary 

Second indorsement. May 15, 1864, 10 A.M. 

RESPECTFULLY submitted to the President. 

May I be pardoned for saying that this proposed delay 
seems to me fatal? By Wednesday our fate will in all proba 
bility be settled, and, besides, it is almost certain that by that 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 213 

time the enemy will have the aid, either on his side of the river 
or by co-operative attack on this, of 10,000 or 12,000 more 
cavalry. I cannot conceive why General Whiting could not 
have moved yesterday or may not to-day. My judgment 
is that the attack has been already too long delayed, and 
should now be made at the earliest practicable moment and 
I take the responsibility of recommending that you give posi- 
tive orders to that effect. j A SEJ)DO ^ Secretary o/ War 



Third indorsement. May 15, 1864 

I CONCUR in the necessity for a prompt attack for the reasons 
given and others not less important. General Whiting can, 
I hope, reach here to-night, so as to take part in the attack 
to-morrow. Inform General Beauregard of the probability 
of the return of Sheridan s cavalry. y D - 

War. Rec., Ch. XL VIII, Part II, p. 1004. 

From General Whiting 

Headquarters, Petersburg, May [15?], 1864 

General BRAGG 

ALL my cavalry have gone after raid and to protect line 
of Petersburg and Weldon Railroad. Have recalled them. 
Available force will be about 3,000, unless the railroads are 
given up. Four regiments off on that duty. All the wagon 
trains of Hoke, Pickett and Martin now between here and 

Weldon. ^ T TT ^ TX7 

W. H. C. WHITING 

From General Whiting 

Headquarters, PETERSBURG, May [15?], 1864 

General BEAUREGARD 

DESPATCH received 11 A.M. Time is rather short, but will 
do my best. Number of wagons very small; not yet arrived. 
If any come to-day will forward. Sent train for Hoke and 
Kemper; ought to be along if raid has not cut road. I think 
Butler is feinting in your front. He is after Petersburg. 

W. H. C. WHITING 

War Rec., Ch. XLVIII, Part H, p. 1006. 



214 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, in the Field, May 15, 18641.30 A.M. 

M aj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

TELEGRAM of 13th in relation to Danville railroad received. 
General Kautz was sent out for that purpose Thursday, May 
12, also with directions to cut James River Canal, if possible. 
Please telegraph General Grant. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major -General 

From General Butler 

Genl. SHERIDAN Mayuth.i^ 

You must move promptly up to our support on the right. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From Lieutenant-Colonel Fuller 

Major-General BUTLER BERMUDA May 15 1864 

GENERAL SHERIDAN said that he would send a force toward 
Richmond this morning, and if there was anything at Chaffin s 
Farm he would chase them out. They seem confident that 
they can go anywhere and do most anything. 

C. E. FULLER, Lieutenant-Colonel 

From Assistant Adjutant General Bowen 

May 15, 1864 

Brigadier-General TURNER 

GENERAL: Major-General Smith desires me to say that as 
he expects every moment to receive orders to make an assault, 
"I wish you to leave in your first line as small a reserve as 
possible, and send your other regiments close along General 
Brooks rear, to report at these headquarters, to be posted so 
as to cover my right in case of disaster." 

Respectfully, N BowENj Assistant Adjutant-General 

Second indorsement. Headquarters Tenth Army Corps 

REFERRED to Major-General Butler. General Turner re 
ported to me with his command yesterday morning. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General, Commanding 

Third indorsement 

THE troops I expected to cover my right flank while the 
column of assault was moving are not under my orders. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 215 

Can General Gillmore spare Marston s brigade to come back 
to me? WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, May 15, 1864, 9.12 A.M. 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Department 

GENERAL: The earth- work on the enemy s right to our left 

of the railroad, on which they were at work yesterday, has 

been occupied by artillery within the last hour. Cavalry has 

also been seen moving to our left. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major -General 

From General Gillmore 

GILLMORE S SIGNAL STATION, May 15, 1864, 9.49 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

I HAVE ordered that the advanced lines of Terry s and 
Turner s divisions be somewhat reduced in strength, by grad 
ually withdrawing some of the men, to save unnecessary loss 
of life. I shall not change the position of any regiment. I 
have ordered some of Onderdonk s cavalry to go out on the 
Chesterfield Court-House road as far as possible. My loss 
in Terry s division yesterday and day before, and Turner s 

yesterday, will reach 700. ^ A ^ , . n 1 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

From General Butler 

In Field 10 o clock 

General GILLMORE 

THE commanding general directs that you move to your 
right and rear of Smith to hold the turnpike, Smith pressing 
to his right to hold a road there. Smith can t move till you 
reach the turnpike. Get there at once. The troops at 
General Ames old position at junction are forced back. If 
you don t reach the pike at once we must lose it or the short 
road on right of Smith. Press strongly. This is peremptory. 
We will lose turnpike unless you hurry. 

By command of GENERAL BUTLER 
J. W. SHAFFER, Colonel and Chief of Staff 



216 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, May 15, 1864, 10.25 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, Comdg. in the Field 

FROM a man who worked on the fortifications in our front, as 
well as those we have taken, I learn that the most formidable 
line of defense lies in rear of the batteries which now con 
front us. Such was the condition one (hour) ago. I have not 
heard anything more of the cavalry moving to our left. Two 
or three companies only were seen. Six pieces of artillery also 
moved in the same direction. Onderdonk is out on my left. 
When he reports I will at once notify you. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

From General Butler 

Genl GILLMORE ^,15,1864 

Is ordered to hold the roads and left on turnpike. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. 

From Captain Farquhar 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, May 15, 1864 

Maj. Gen. Q. A. GILLMORE, Commanding Tenth Army Corps 

SIR: The general commanding desires that you order a 
portion of the engineer troops to the front for the purpose of 
making fascines and doing other duties pertaining to engineer 
operations. The general desires that this may be done with 
the greatest despatch. 

With much respect, I have the honor to be, general, your 
obedient servant, 

F. U. FARQUHAR, Captain U. S. Engineers 

From General Gillmore 

Ed. Qrs. 10th Army Corps, in the Field, May 15, 1864, 10.49 A.M. 

Maj. Genl. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept., &c. 

GENERAL : If the enemy threaten our left seriously, I have not 
enough force here to occupy all the line taken from the enemy. 

I am sorry my corps is so split up. If we don t occupy the 
extreme left it will be necessary to withdraw beyond range of 
that position. I send Col. Serrell to get your views, as I can t 
leave here just now. 

Very respectfully, Q. A. GILLMORE, M . Genl. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 217 

From General Butler 

Genl. SHERIDAN a< "> IM 1864 3 P M 

You will bring your command at once across the river to 
Bermuda Landing, then march it on to the ground near How- 
lett s house, and between that and the railroad encamp it then 
and give your horses rest. No more duty on horseback will be 
required of you than to picket your own position and the ap 
proaches leading thereto. The utmost despatch in getting to 
your position is desired. Qr. Master will supply transportation. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Genl. SHERIDAN Hcad Quarim - Ma l5 18C4 3 p u 

You will turn over all your disabled and unserviceable 
horses to the Qr. Master at Bermuda Landing, by him to be 
turned out to graze in the neighborhood there for the purpose 
of recruitment. 

You will at once make all the necessary requisitions upon 
the Qr. Master, Commissary, and Ordnance officer to the end 
that we may send to Fort Monroe for supplies. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Maj. LUDLOW, Chief of Cavalry May 15 1864 

You will report to Gen. Sheridan. He will put with your 
charge all cavalry force as you may need with which to cover 
the banks for torpedo workers, as far up as possible. 

BEXJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From Admiral Lee 

U.S. Steamship " Agawam" TRENT S REACH, James River, May 15, 1864, 3.30 P.M. 

Maj. -Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

YOUR despatch answered by signal corps. Enemy vigorously 
intrenching on the heights at Hewlett s under a destructive fire 
from gunboats. They will doubtless mount guns to-night to 
command Trent s Reach. Only a land attack can dislodge 
them. River falling. Careful soundings to-day show (that we) 

cannot cross this bar. c T> T r> A j / 

S. P. LEE, Actg. Rear-Admiral, 

Comdg. North Atlantic Block. Squad 

P.S. 4 P.M. The rebel artillery has appeared on the heights 

at Dutch Gap. . . ^7-7 

S. Jr. LEE, Acting Rear- Admiral 



218 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Carps, May 15, 1864, 3.40 P.M 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding Department 

GENERAL: I have directed the engineer force of Tenth 

Corps, which has just joined me, to commence making seige 

material in accordance with your direction, communicated 

through Captain Farquhar. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

From General Ames 

Headquarters Third Division, May 15, 1864, 4.45 P.M. 

Colonel SHAFFER, Chief of Staff 

COLONEL: I left the Thirteenth Indiana and One Hundred 
and Sixty-Ninth New York Volunteers at the Junction. 
The Twenty-first Connecticut was the one I sent to General 
Weitzel, in obedience to orders to send a regiment to him 
about an hour ago. 

Yours, &c., A. AMES, Brigadier-General 

P.S. I have the One Hundred and Twelfth New York and 
Ninth Maine here with me. The Ninety-seventh Pennsyl 
vania is back on the road, under General Butler s orders. 
The Eighth Maine has reported to General Turner this morn 
ing. The Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania and the Sixth New Hamp 
shire were detached yesterday or the day before. 

Yours, &c., A. AMES, Brigadier-General 

From General Halleck 

WASHINGTON, May 15, 1864, 8.30 P.M. 

Lieutenant-General GRANT, Army of the Potomac in the Field 

GENERAL BUTLER says that General Kautz was sent on 
the 12th, with orders to cut the Danville railroad, and also 
the James River Canal. General Augur estimates that the 
re-enforcements which will be at Belle Plain by to-morrow 
night for the Army of the Potomac will be at least 24,000. I 
hope in a few days to increase the number to 30,000. 

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General and Chief of Staff 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 219 
From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May 15th, 1864 

DEAREST: Back from Philadelphia this morning. Now I 
am ready to join you. Would it not be possible for you to 
give me an item of news a little more frequently? Only one 
note from you, and you have been away nearly a fortnight. 
Is that quite fair? I had some talk with Col. Falls as I came 
down. He says that Lee had been making the ground ready 
for a battle at the Wilderness for the last year, and moved 
down parallel with Genl. Grant until they reached Wilderness 
where he wished to give battle, and had every advantage of 
position, that the rebel loss by no means equaled ours, etc., 
and from another source I heard that in Washington it was 
not thought altogether a success for us thus far. These I 
hope are but the expression of rebel sympathizers. The news 
was good when I reached the fort. Eighteen thousand cav 
alry sent by Genl. Grant had crossed the country and joined 
you at City Point. Now, you have sixty thousand troops; 
with that force on one side, and Genl. Grant on the other, it 
does seem as though Richmond must fall. That order of 
the Secretary of War should be modified a little. Business 
men should not be kept from their employments. You write 
that you will be campaigning for a month. I cannot see why 
it should be so. If the other armies are as complete as yours, 
w r hat is there to be gained by delay? You have not said if 
you want me to run up and see you. What do you think of 
it? Is there anything to eat or is it tolerably cooked, or can 
I send nice, pshaw, when I have anything to send will be 
time to do it without asking questions. I have a letter from 
Mrs. Bell, full of kindness. Major Bell is growing better all 
the time, reads the papers with avidity, and is deeply interested 
in all the movements here. Judge Abbott has lost another 
son. He was shot in the last battle. Their grief must be 
great that battle was terrible, the loss of men fearful to 
think of. No one knows what will come next, but we must 
win this campaign be the cost what it may. I have much 
more to write, more than you have time to read. I send 

Blanche s letter. , 7 . xxr 

Your true and loving WIFE 

I send you Milton s letter. 



220 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Halleck 

Headquarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, May 16, 1864 

Lieut. Gen. TJ. S. GRANT, near SPOTTSYLVANIA 

MY DEAR GENERAL: I think you will concur with me that 
Meade and Sherman should be made major-generals of the 
army, and Hancock and H. G. Wright should be made briga 
dier generals of the army in their places. Of the four, I think 
Wright has the most solid intellect, but as he has before won 
less distinction than the others, he should be put at the foot 
of the list. If you would write a letter to the Secretary of 
War urging these promotions I think they would be made. I 
do not wish to see these vacancies left so long unfilled, lest 
outside political influences may cause the President to fill 
them by the promotion of persons totally unworthy. I 
know that influences have been exerted in favor of a man 
utterly unfit to hold any commission in the army. After your 
splendid victories, almost anything you ask for will be granted. 
The case may be different if you should meet with reverses. 
I therefore ask that, if you concur with me in the recommen 
dation, you will urge them now. I think you would fully 
appreciate the importance of doing so, if I were at liberty to 
tell you who is a candidate for one of the vacancies. 

Yours truly, H. W. HALLECK 

War Rec., Ch. 48, Part II, p. 811. 

From General Butler 

May 16, 1864, 6 A.M. 

General GILLMORE 

THE enemy has advanced from his works on our right and 
made a vigorous demonstration there. A rapid movement on 
the left would, I think, carry his lines in your front. Make it 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Comdg. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 834. 

From General Gillmore 

May 16, 1864, 7.07 (A.M.) 

Major-General BUTLER 

SINCE my despatch of 6.40 the enemy have made two as 
saults on General Terry s front in force, and have been re 
pulsed. No troops have been taken from my front. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 834. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 221 

From General Gillmore 

General BUTLER J/. 16, 1864, 8.*o (.,*.) 

Two regiments have already gone to re-enforce General 

Smith. No others are moving. ^ n 1 

GILLMORE, General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 834 . 

From General Gillmore 

General BUTLER J/->, 16, ^ 0.30 [., M .] 

I AM forming line of battle in the brush in rear of my old 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

First indorsement 

GENERAL GILLMORE is ordered to hold the roads and left 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Second indorsement 

GENERAL GILLMORE has lost all connection with me. I 
have done my best to inform him of the movement necessary 
for the safety of this command, supposing the reports to be 
true of the re-enforcements crossing the river. 

WM. F. SMITH 

Third indorsement 

I AM falling back on two roads between the railroad and 

Q. A. GILLMORE 

From General Butler 

General GILLMORE 3/a * 16 1864 9 30 A u 

Why falling back? Lieutenant Davenport reports no fight 
ing at Ware Bottom Church nor on our right. I sent him 

back to see and report. -^ ^ 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 835. 

From General Butler 

In the Field, Head Qrs., May 16, 9.45 

Rear-Admiral LEE 

THE enemy are passing troops over the river on my right. 
Cannot this be prevented? 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen I., Comd g. 



222 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

General SHERIDAN May 16 1864 

You must move promptly up to our support on the right. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 839. 

From General Ames 

On the Left, May 16, 1864, 10.30 A.M. 

Colonel SHAFFER, Chief of Staff 

COLONEL: I am at Mrs. Clay s on the old turnpike. No 
firing in our front. I have ordered the line forward. An 
officer on the pike, not far from where it crosses the railroad, 
was fired at. The rebels had formed a line of battle on this 
side of the creek and on the railroad, and were making prepa 
rations evidently for an advance up the new turnpike. 

Yours, &c. A. AMES, Brigadier-General 

From General Butler 

Gen l. GILLMORE Uay lmh n A M 

MUST bring his command with promptness on to the turn 
pike to cover the movement of Gen l. Smith to the right. 
This is the third order to this effect. 

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

From General Butler 
General AMES I/ay 16, 1864, n.45 A.M. 

PRESS that force across Swift Creek, and develop its strength 
so that we may know what may be done with it. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General Commanding 

From General Ames 

Near WALTHALL JUNCTION, May 16, 1864, 1.30 P.M. 

Colonel SHAFFER, Chief of Staff 

COLONEL: I have pressed the enemy back to the hills be 
yond the crossing of the pike and railroad. There he has 
taken a position and is now shelling my advance. The size 
of my force and the long front I cover do not justify, in my 
opinion, an effort to attempt to force the enemy from his 
position. His artillery fire has ceased. 

Yours, &c., A. AMES, Brigadier-General 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 223 

From Admiral Lee 

Flag-Ship "Agawam," Above AIKEN S LANDING, James River, May 16, 1864, 2 P.M. 

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy 

WE have taken up torpedoes in Deep Bottom and Dutch 
Gap, and are removing present obstructions in river. Heavy 
firing near Drury s Bluff from 7 to 8 this morning. Sheridan s 
cavalry are crossing from left to right bank, to join General 

Butler. All well. c r> T < ^ T> 4^-1 

8. P. LEE, Acting near-Admiral 

From General Ames 

Near Crossing of Railroad and Turnpike, May 16, 1864, 2.10 P.M. 

Colonel SHAFFER, Chief of Staff 

COLONEL: I am occupying the position held by us before 
we fell back from this front. A reconnoissance to the Appo- 
mattox shows but a small force in that direction, which fell 
back as our cavalry approached. I am occupying the railroad 
by cavalry pickets; the pikes by infantry. The rebels have 
about one battery of artillery. I cannot tell the amount of 
infantry. When I drew my advance back out of sight, their 
fire (artillery) ceased. I think they are not disposed to 
advance upon us. Am collecting and posting my men. 

Yours, &c., A. AMES, Brigadier-General 

A battery of rebel artillery and three regiments of their 
infantry are reported on the rising ground east of Port Wal- 
thall Junction and south of Bake-House Creek. All quiet. 

A. AMES, Brigadier-General 

From General Butler 
Gen. GILLMORE Mayw.t.u. 

ADVANCE two regiments of Turner s reserve line to the Half- 
Way House to relieve the regiments there of Genl. Brooks 
command. You are expected to hold the turnpike and cover 
the left of Gen. Smith while his Corps advances by the right. 
Acknowledge receipt with hour of reception. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major Genl. Comd g. 

From General Gill-more 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, May 16, 1864, 2.40 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

YOUR order to send two regiments to the Half-W T ay House 
to relieve whatever force General Brooks may have had there, 



224 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

has been received and carried out. The balance of my com 
mand is where you directed it to be put, covering General 
Smith s left and rear. I judge from the artillery fire in my 
front and left that the entrenchments which I was ordered 
to fall back upon this morning have been reoccupied by the 

mv Very respectfully, Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

From General Butler 

Gen. GILLMOEE May wth - s s 

YOUR despatch notifying me that my order as to your posi 
tion and the two regiments is received. You received no 
order from me or any member of my staff to "fall back from 
entrenchments" till after you had sent me a despatch that 
you were falling back on two roads. Upon comparing dates, 
Colonel Kensel did not leave with the order to "hold the 
roads" until after your despatch was received, and the order 
he carried was originally written, "Why falling back?" 

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

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Corps, May 16, 1864, 3.20 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

THE signal officer at the Half -Way House reports that a 
brigade of infantry and a regiment of cavalry are seen moving 
to the left of our position. They are near the brick house. 
If I get further information I will send it. The two regiments 
ordered to Half- Way House by you are there. 

Very respectfully, Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

From General Sheridan 

Head Quarters Cavalry Corps Army of the Potomac, 

HAXALL S LANDING, May 16, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comd g. Dept. of South, Va. 

GENERAL: I have the honor to report for your information 
that after an examination of my command of this date I will 
be in readiness to return to the Army of the Potomac as 
directed by General Meade tomorrow morning. 

Very Respectfully, Your obt. servant, 

P. H. SHERIDAN, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From B. C. Ludlow 

Head Quarters Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, May 16, 1864 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER 

I TAKE a force of cavalry and will go to the Kingsland road 
and then to the river. From which point I design circling 
the bank down to 4 mile creek. I have communicated with 
Admiral Lee, who is now dragging for torpedoes just above 
the mouth of 4 mile Creek. 

Gen. Sheridan tells me that he returns to the Army of the 
Potomac tomorrow morning, which necessitates the removal of 
the cavalry under my command, and then the left bank will 
be open to the sharpshooters, which will deter transports 
from going up the river, even in case all the torpedoes are 
removed. As Gen. Sheridan only allows the cavalry for the 
day, I will send you a report to-night and will await orders at 
Bermuda Landing for any further duties you may wish me 

Your obdt. servant, B. C. LUDLOW 
From General Grant 

SPOTTSYLVANIA, May 17, 1864, 8.45 A.M. 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

SEND all cavalry horses here to mount men who are without 
horses. I think it will be advisable to repair the railroad 
from Aquia Creek at once. Sheridan s dismounted men ought 
to return from James River by boat. I want him to get back 
here as soon as possible. If Sheridan has not started back, 
he had better turn over all his weak artillery to Butler. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 840. 

From General Sheridan 

HAXALL S LANDING, May 17, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Commanding 

GENERAL: I have the honor to inform you that I move out 
at 11 A.M. today, en route to join the Army of the Potomac. 

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

P. H. SHERIDAN, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 858. 



VOL. IV 15 



226 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Edqrs. Dept. of Virginia and N. Carolina, in the Field, Va., May 17, 64 

ORDERS 

OWING to the exigencies of the service, the work upon the 
lines of defenses must be pressed with the utmost diligence. 
By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 

R. S. DAVIS, Major and Assistant Adj. Gen. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 859. 

From Mrs. Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May 17th, 1864 

MY DEAR MRS. BELL: I was delighted on my return from 
Philadelphia to find your letter waiting me, together with 
one from Mr. Butler and another from Blanche. You will 
not be offended if I say yours seemed to belong to, and was 
equally welcome with the family letters. For the last three 
years we have known your husband so well, have shared 
together such perils and triumphs, as makes friendship strong 
as the ties of kindred. 

If this campaign succeeds (as it must though so fearfully 
bloody on the Potomac), Mr. Butler s headquarters may be at 
Richmond. In that event there would be but one thing 
needed to complete his gratification, that Major Bell 
should have his court in Richmond as he did in N. Orleans. 
No substitute can fill his place; Mr. Butler never expects to 
receive such aid until Maj. Bell returns to him. It was in 
N. O., I fear, that his health was injured. I am rejoiced to 
hear it is steadily improving. We have thought and talked 
of you so often since you left. The cheerfulness and energy 
you and Miss Bell showed while worn with anxiety was be 
yond praise. Mrs. Heard and I looked from our windows 
onto the ramparts many times after you left, expecting, for 
the instant, to see your figures flitting by for the daily walk, 
and turned away sadly to remember that the most pleasant 
and interesting ones had left us. Mrs. Heard is still with me. 
Her health is improved but she is not yet well. In a few days 
she will go North. I shall remain for a time I know not 
how long, but home is too far away, with these battles raging, 
to seek it now. I must be where I can get the quickest news. 
The wounded are being brought down to the Fort today and 
yesterday. Not many in number yet, but tomorrow, well 
I need not anticipate. Tell Maj. Bell that Mr. Butler s 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

headquarters are in a large brick house about three miles 
from Fort Darling, almost within reach of the shells; the rat 
tling of the musketry is plainly heard. This I learn from one 
of the clerks who came down today. I close, dear Mrs. Bell, 
with thanks for the letter that brings good tidings of your 
husband s improved health. The sofa-cushion is not a trifle. 
I shall be so proud and pleased to have such a mark of remem 
brance, doubly gratifying because you have wrought it. 

Mrs. Heard desires to be remembered to yourself, husband, 
and sister. Miss Bell s flowers that were "watered with her 
tears" have made their acknowledgment by putting forth 
the most tender and lovely blossoms. Give her my kindest 
regards and best regards to Major Bell. 

A drive on the beach in May is more lovely than on the 
finest day in Winter, even if warm enough as we one day found 
for a butterfly to be abroad. Believe me, 

Most truly and affectionately yours, SARAH BUTLER 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May \lth, 1864 

I KNOW exactly how you live, in the large brick house in the 
grove, and of the fighting and of the wounded, but I want you 
to write a word if you can give a moment s time. 

I will send you coffee, cakes, and bread tomorrow morning. 
"While I would not hold you back, yet be careful both for your 
self and the troops; this immense loss on the Potomac is 
fearful. But this cannot be helped. I am sure all will go well,, 
and we shall soon be in Richmond. 

Ever your devoted WIFE 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May llth, 1864 

DEAREST: You have lost your brick house and fallen back 
five miles. I hope you are strongly intrenched, for if Beau- 
regard is at Fort Darling they will come down upon you. 
It grieves me to hear of the men being killed, but there is 
no help for it to some extent. That was a neat thing to put 
the wires among the trees and throw the rebels in such confu 
sion. They must have lost largely then. Have you received 
but one note from me? I have written two since my return. 
Col. Green was here today. He says McClellan, although he 
dislikes him, praised Genl. Smith very highly. Green thought 



228 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

he would dig into Fort Darling. He says his wife writes him 
the people in Boston are very gloomy from the great loss of 
life on the Potomac. I hope Genl. Grant is really successful; 
he surely has the better of Lee to some extent. Your courage 
and hopes are high I know, and need no stimulant, but all 
that man can command will be needed yet before these rebels 
are conquered. If one could win these battles by stratagem 
rather than rivers of blood it would surely be better. Col. 
Green says we are in the condition of prize fighters, and that 
side that can bring up men for the greatest number of rounds 
in the end must win, that it is not war but prize-fighting. He 
says you have too much sense to throw away your soldiers 
unless compelled by necessity. This is not what I meant to 
write, and I have filled the paper all full. You will use your 
best ability, and man can do no more. Think of me some 
times in all this tumult as your T . ^j 

Loving WIFE 

I send you today by Sanborn, cakes, coffee and bread. 
From General Butler 

Headquarters, in the Field, May 17, 1864, 1.30 P.M. 

His Excellency A. LINCOLN, President of the United States 

ON the 16th of May, 1861, I was honored by your kindness 
with a commission as major-general, U. S. Volunteers. I have 
heard that such commissions expire by limitation of three 
years. I by no means desire to quit the service till the war 
is done. Do you think I have done enough to entitle me to 
one of the vacant commissions in the army to date from May 
16, 1861; otherwise I should prefer my present one, if you 
think me fit to hold either, and I can hold on to it. 

Truly, yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Comdg. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 858. 

From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters, May 17, 1864 

Hon. E. M. ST ANTON, Secretary of War 

ON Thursday, May 12, as stated in my last despatch, I 
sent out General Kautz with orders to cut the Danville road, 
thoroughly destroy the iron bridge across the Appomattox, 
and then, if possible, to cut the canal on the James, the 
only remaining line of transportation to Richmond, and 
thence to cross the Appomattox and cut the Weldon railroad 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 229 

at Hicksford and Stony Creek, where it was obliged to be 
massed because of the former cutting at the latter place. To 
prevent Kautz being interrupted or followed until at least 
he was well advanced, and to concentrate the troops on this 
command that were marching round from Petersburg, so that 
they should not re-enforce Lee, I marched my whole column, 
leaving a force of observation upon the enemy at Petersburg, 
and made demonstration upon the intrenched lines of the 
enemy around Drury s Bluff, and remained before them until 
I learned from the Richmond press that General Kautz had 
cut the railroad at Coalfield, and had safely arrived at the 
bridge over the Appomattox. Meanwhile we had assaulted 
and carried the first line of the enemy s works, which extends 
from Drury s Bluff over the railroad and around to Manches 
ter. On Monday morning about sunrise the enemy, having 
received re-enforcements which made them equal to my 
command, taking advantage of a very thick fog, made an 
attack upon the right of General Smith s line, and forced it 
back in some confusion and with considerable loss. As soon 
as the fog lifted General Smith s lines were established, and 
the enemy was driven back to his original lines. The troops 
having been on incessant duty for five days, three of which 
were in a rainstorm, I retired at leisure within my own lines. 
At the same time with the attack upon my front the enemy 
made a heavy attack upon the force guarding my rear from 
Petersburg, in an endeavor to get possession of my intrenched 
lines. This attack was handsomely repulsed. We hold the 
railroad between Petersburg and Richmond. Prisoners inform 
us that Davis and Bragg were present in person. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

NYar Rec., Ch. 48, Part II, p. 11. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters in the Field, May 18, 1864 (via FORT MONROE, 19th.) 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

GENERAL KAUTZ returned last night to City Point with 
his command. He cut the Danville railroad at Coalfield 
Station, Powhatan, and Chula Stations, burning depot, 
water-tanks, and two freight trains and a locomotive, with 
large quantity of commissary and other stores; then, crossing 
below, cut the Petersburg and Lynchburg Railroad at Wilson s, 
Wellville, and Blacks and Whites Stations, destroying switches, 



230 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

tanks, station-houses, and the track for many hundred feet; 
then, crossing the Petersburg and Weldon road at Jarratt s 
Station, again burned the water-tank, newly-built since the 
former cutting, tore up the track and destroyed the rails, 
some of which had been relaid, although much twisted by the 
fire altogether a most successful expedition. The enemy 
are now moving down from Richmond in large force to cover 
the turnpike and railroad opposite my position, so as to repair 
it. We have captured some of Longstreet s men and the 
Charleston (South Carolina) City Battalion. 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 12. 

From General Butler 

Rear-Admiral S. P. LEE May 18 1864 

CAN you not put your guns on the right of our line, just this 
side of Hewlett s house, so as to get a fire on the enemy in 

case of an advance? -D T* T n/r n i n j 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General Comdg. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 898. 

From General Butler 

General GILLMORE Gener(d Butler s H ^ uarters > Ma v 18 > 1864 

I AM at my headquarters. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 901. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORT MONROE, May 18th, 1864 

MY DEAREST WIFE: Do you know exactly "how we live in 
a brick house in a grove"? Now I have not lived in any 
"brick house in any grove" at all. So much for "reliable 
information from the front." 

We are having some very severe fighting here, and shall 
have more. A part of Lee s army has been withdrawn and 
is here, Longstreet s Corps, I believe. 

All well, and do not be uneasy. I am to go through this, 
I trust and believe. 

I enclose a letter about Jos. W. Mansur. Please show it 
to Fisher, and ask him what he thinks I can do for him. I 
should be glad to do something for him if I knew what to do, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 231 

- for the sake of old times. Write Blanche for me tell 
her how much she is like her mother in our young days when 
you fell in love with me, you know. 

Yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From Admiral Lee 

GUN-BOAT SIGNAL STATION, James River, May 18, 1864, 1.15 P.M. 

General GILLMORE 

I AM firing on the house and barn. They are covered from 
the gunboat fire, and it will take land artillery to attack them. 

LEE, Admiral 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 899. 

From General Butler 

General GILLMORE General Butler s Head i uarters > Ma v 18 1864 

WHAT is the cause of the firing on the right? 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 899. 

From General Gillmore 

General BUTLER Gillmore s Headquarters, May 18, 1864, 1.20 P.M. 

I HAVE just heard from the force sent out toward pike. I 
presume the firing we hear is from them. They encountered 
the enemy s strong pickets before they got much beyond Ware 
Bottom Church. I directed them to develop strength of 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 899. 

From President Lincoln 

CIPHER. WASHINGTON, D.C., May 18, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER, BERMUDA HUNDRED, VA. 

UNTIL receiving your despatch of yesterday, the idea of 
commissions in the volunteers expiring at the end of three 
years had not occurred to me. I think no trouble will come 
of it; and, at all events, I shall take care of it so far as in me 
lies. As to the major-generalships in the regular army, I 
think I shall not dispose of another, at least until the combined 
operations now in progress, under direction of General Grant, 
and within which yourself and command are included, shall 
be terminated. 



232 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Meanwhile, on behalf of yourself, officers, and men, please 
accept my hearty thanks for what you and they have so far 

done. 

A. LINCOLN 

"Abraham Lincoln," p. 140. 

From General Butler 

May 18, 1864, 3 P.M. 

GENERAL GILLMORE will take the most energetic measures 
to have the two points of wood, nearly opposite the redoubts 
on the hill, slashed so as to leave a clear space of at least 750 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 899. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, May 18, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER 

I GAVE the orders to have the slashing extended to the 
front about two hours ago, as directed in your despatch just 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 900. 

From General Gillmore 

General BUTLER Gillmore s Headquarters, May 18, 1864, 3.30 P.M. 

I SENT a cavalry force around to Walthall Junction with 
orders to try and get on the turnpike if possible, which I have 

not heard from yet. ^ A /- ** n ? 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 899. 

From General Gillmore 

Major-General BUTLER Ua * 18> 1864 3 30 (p M ) 

THE force sent out by me found the enemy in considerable 
strength from Dr. Hewlett s house and Ware Bottom Church 
down to and beyond Widow Clay s house. All the roads 
leading from the pike are covered by infantry. Their left 
seems to rest toward Port Walthall Junction. He is in force 
on all the roads, and is cutting timber near Widow Clay s, 
either to obstruct roads or with a view to offensive movements. 
A strong force will be necessary to drive him back. I have 
withdrawn my force until further orders, as it was too small 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 233 

to effect the purpose. My force attacked them twice, but 
was unable to dislodge them. I sent a cavalry force around to 
Port Walthall Junction, with orders to get on the turnpike, 
\vhich I have not heard from yet. 

Yours, etc., Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I , Vol. 36, Part II, p. 900. 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, 

May 18, 1864. (Received 4.20 P.M.) 

Major-General GILLMORE, Commanding Tenth Army Corps 

GENERAL: You will order the cavalry which reported to 
you this morning to return to the cavalry camp. 

By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 
R. S. DAVIS, Major and Assistant Adj. Gen. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 900. 

From Admiral Lee 

May 18, 1864 (Received 5.35 P.M.) 

Generals BUTLER and GILLMORE 

THE naval pickets were driven in at Lower Dutch Gap, 
and the rebel artillery is getting in position there. 

LEE, Admiral 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 899. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, May 18, 1864, 5.50 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

GENERAL TERRY will at once send 50 of his best sharp 
shooters to the bluff opposite Dutch Gap, to keep down the 
artillery fire there, as reported by Admiral Lee. General 
Terry will consult with the admiral upon the matter. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 901. 

From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters, May 18, 1864, 6.25 P.M. 

Major-General GILLMORE 

SEND dow T n teams from your light batteries to bring from 
landing two 20-pounder Parrotts to put in position near Curtis 
house, to shell batteries at Lower Dutch Gap, and also at 
Hewlett s. Admiral Lee telegraphs that batteries are being 



234 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

put up at both places. Get guns up and in position tonight. 
Send also for ammunition for these guns. Inform Colonel 
Abbot to be prepared to mount guns. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 901. 

From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters, May 18, 1864, 6.30 P.M. 

General GILLMORE 

TAKE measures to effectually prevent a surprise tonight or 
in the fog in the morning. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

(Same letter sent to General Smith) 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 901. 

From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters, May 18, 1864, 8 P.M. 

Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

WE have opposite us a larger force than we have, after 
keeping open our communications on the river. General 
Sheridan has left us with his force, via Jones Bridge, across 
the Chickahominy, and New Kent Court-House, to join 
General Grant. Can we not have re-enforcements? We can 
hold on as we are if they cannot be spared. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 898. 

Beauregard s Plan of Campaign 

Hdqrs Dept. of North Carolina and Southern Virginia, Hancock s House, 

<l\ Miles North of WALTHALL JUNCTION, VA., May 18, 1864, 9 P.M. 

THE crisis demands prompt and decisive action. The two 
armies are now too far apart to secure success, unless we con 
sent to give up Petersburg, and thus place the capital in jeop 
ardy. If General Lee will fall back behind the Chickahominy, 
engaging the enemy so as to draw him on, General Beaure- 
gard can bring up fifteen thousand men to unite with Breck- 
inridge, and fall upon the enemy s flank with over twenty 
thousand effectives, thus rendering Grant s defeat certain 
and decisive in time to enable General Beauregard to return 
with reinforcements from General Lee to drive Butler from 
before Petersburg, and from his present position in advance 
of Bermuda Hundred. Petersburg and Richmond could be 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 235 

held three days, or four at most, by the forces left there for 
that purpose. Without such concentration nothing decisive 
can be effected, and the picture presented is one of ultimate 
starvation. Without concentration General Lee must even 
tually fall back before Grant s heavy reinforcements, whereas 
the plan presented merely anticipates this movement for offen 
sive purposes. Meantime, it is impossible to effectually pro 
tect our lines of communication with North Carolina, and 
impossible to hold our present line in front of Butler with a 
much more reduced line. At present, three thousand men can 
be spared from there with safety; day after tomorrow per 
haps two thousand more, for our lines will probably be stronger 
if, as w^e expect, our advanced line can be occupied tomorrow. 

G. T. BEAUREGARD 



From General Butler 
To my WIFE Jfiri**,i8M 

DEAREST: You will find an article enclosed which perhaps 
you might send to Parton to have put in Tribune. You may 
send the canes to the Sanitary fair in Philadelphia by Adams 
express, with a note to the leader of it that they were taken 
from an abandoned house. I will send a flag to go with them 
by Sanborn. Write them a pretty little note in your own 
name, now. You must take part in the anti-extravagance in 
dress movement. I see you are one of the Vice Preside ntesses. 

The enemy are making an attack on our line, and I must 
mount and go to the fight. Have no fear. -o 

From the Secretary of War 

WASHINGTON, CITY, May 19, 1864, 10.30 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

YOUR telegram of 8 P.M. yesterday, asking for re-enforce 
ments, reached here this morning and w r as submitted to the 
President, and by his direction transmitted to General Grant 
for his instructions. All the forces of the Government, as 
you know, are under his orders, and to be disposed of as he 
may direct. The available troops at Washington have all 
been forwarded to him. Great interest is felt by the President 
and this Department in the success of your operations, and 
by holding the enemy in front of you, Grant is to that extent 
relieved, and you will contribute greatly to the success of the 



236 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

campaign. Nothing in our power will be spared to support you, 
and add to the important results you have already achieved. 
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 935. 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Va. and N. C., in the Field, Va., May 20, 1864 

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 62 

THE dispositions following will at once be made to resist an 
attack upon our lines: 

I. Eighteenth Army Corps, Major-General Smith com 
manding : 

General Martindale s division: One regiment of the First 
Brigade will hold the line of works in front of the brigade. 
The remaining regiments of the brigade will act as division 
reserve, and be posted in rear of the left of the division. Two 
regiments of the Second Brigade will hold the line of works 
in front of the brigade. The remaining regiments of the 
brigade will act as reserve to General Brooks line, and will 
move, in case of an attack, to the rear of the center of that 
division. The picket-line of this division, when driven in, 
will deploy as skirmishers under cover of the counterscarp 
crest of the main ditch, and will there remain. If its losses are 
large in coming in, it will be strengthened by sending a few 
men from the main line. 

General Brooks division: One brigade will hold the main 
line in front of the division. The remaining brigades of the 
division will form a division reserve, and be posted in rear of 
the right of the corps. The picket-line of this division will 
hold the edge of the ravine in its front to the last moment. 
If driven in, it will hold the crest of the counterscarp of the 
main ditch, deployed as skirmishers; being re-enforced, if 
much reduced, by sending a few men from the main line. 

II. Tenth Army Corps, Major-General Gillmore com 
manding : 

General Ames division: The whole of this division, except 
ing two regiments, will hold the line in front of the division. 
The two remaining regiments will form the division reserve, 
and be posted in rear of and near the center of the division 
line. 

General Terry s division: Two brigades of this division 
will hold the line in front of the division. The third brigade 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 237 

will form the division reserve, and be posted in rear of and 
near the center of the division line. 

General Turner s division: This division will form the corps 
reserve, and be posted in rear of the center of the corps. The 
picket-line of the Tenth Corps will be very strong. If driven 
in, it will fall back as skirmishers, and take post under cover 
of the counterscarp crest, or behind the abatis, each man 
covering himself as well as possible where there is no counter 
scarp, and there remain, being re-enforced, if much cut up, 
by sending a few men from the main line. 

All reserves will be posted in line during the artillery fire 
of the enemy, but will be formed in column, so as to be readily 
thrown to any threatened point. The reserve artillery will be 
moved so that it can most effectually bear upon any assaulting 
column of the enemy. All the troops will at once be encamped 
in the positions above indicated, excepting the two regiments of 
the Second Brigade, Second Division, Eighteenth Army Corps. 
All horses and wagons must at once be removed out of sight of 
the enemy, and, if practicable, out of range. The troops of this 
command will form every morning at 3.30 A.M., and so remain 
under arms until daybreak or fog lifts, until further orders. 
These instructions will be read to each regiment and battery 
in the respective corps, so as to be clearly understood. 

By command of MAJ. GEN. B. F. BUTLER 
R. S. DAVIS, Major and Assistant Adjutant-General 

From General Meigs 

General BUTLER WASH.NGTO*, May 20, 1861. 10.30 A.M. 

THE Rappahannock has been scoured by the navy. Gun 
boats are at Fredericksburg. To-morrow morning a fleet of 
supplies and for transportation of wounded will attempt to 
ascend the river. Can you send some of your Wiard or other 
gun-boats, with orders to protect the fleet, and to scour the 
river for boats, and prevent the planting of torpedoes? 

M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III,- p. 29. 

From General Butler 
General GILLMORE ff**. May to, ISM, 10.35 *.. 

THE weak spot in your line is just at Ames left. I would 
recommend strong reserves there. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General Commanding 



238 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Brig. Gen. WEITZEL In the FW Ma mh - n m 

WILL make a tour of inspection of the lines of intrench- 
ments, and his orders and suggestions in regard to working 
parties and supports be implicitly carried out by Corps, 
Divisions, and Brigade Commanders. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

General GILLMORE May * 1864> n 40 A M 

I THINK your skirmish line near Widow Hewlett s should 
be re-established. It is important, for reasons in which you 
concur, that line should be held. It was too easily lost. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

From General Gillmore 

Major-General BUTLER oahmf> **". * 20 > 1864 - 12 - 10 * 

I OMITTED to report that Brigadier-General Walker, of the 
rebel service, is wounded and a prisoner in charge of my 

medical director. ^ A ^ ,, . n 7 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Mayor -General 

P.S. Two of Turner s regiments came off picket this even 
ing; have been fighting all day, and have been allowed to 
remain in camp to clean up their pieces, but are to move to 

front in case of firing. ^ ^ 1/f . n 7 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Mayor-General 

From General Butler 

Rear Admiral S. P. LEE Ma mh * 12 45 P M " 

ADMIRAL: Your despatch received. I should be happy to 
meet you at Bermuda Landing with an ambulance to bring 
you to my Head Qrs. for conference. Will you do me the 
honor to ride up and lunch with me? 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

May 20<A, 64, 1 P.M. 

GENL. WEITZEL will please give all orders in relation to 
engineering operations or other orders to his own division in 
the form following to save all questions. 

By command of MAJOR GENL. BUTLER 

G. WEITZEL, Brig. Gen. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 239 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, May 2Qth [1864] 1 P.M. 

GEN. WEITZEL is serving as chief engineer in absence by 
sickness of Capt. Farquhar, and his orders will be mine, and will 

be given in my name. u T> n / n ^ 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Gen. SMITH *.**. ISM 

KEEP your brigades in readiness till further orders. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comd g. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, May 20, 1864 

Colonel SHAFFER, Chief of Staff, Dept. of Virginia 

and North Carolina 

COLONEL: I find the enemy in strong force, and am losing 
heavily. The left seems to be safe enough. A prisoner says 
their line runs from one river to the other, with rifle-pits, etc., 
and the number supposed to be there is about 20,000 men. 
I think if you wish the attack pushed, I should have more 
troops. General Terry has just informed me that the right of 
his picket-line is threatened by a mass of troops, said to be a 

brigade. T r .- 77 

v ery respectfully, yours, 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General, Commanding 

First indorsement. 4.45 P.M. 

General SMITH 

You will send two brigades to the relief of General Gillmore. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Second indorsement. Headquarters Eighteenth Army Corps, 

May 20, 1864, 4.55 P.M. 

I HAVE one regiment not in line. Every regiment beyond 
that leaves a gap in my line. I shall give the orders to get 
ready, but shall not order them to report till I get other notice. 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 36. 

Third indorsement 

THE enemy is very strong, I have no doubt, and General 
Gillmore appears to think that additional forces must be sent 



240 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

him, or he will have to draw off. I cannot decide here. The 

loss is heavy. T ^ T 

J. W. SHAFFER 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 36. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, May 20, 1864, 5.15 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

I HAVE my trenches now garrisoned by the minimum force 
to make them safe. One full brigade at least should be sent 
to me in order to drive the enemy from the rifle-pits they cap 
tured this morning. If it is sent at once to replace my troops 
in the intrenchments, I will take off the latter and recapture 
the position lost this morning. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records. Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 36. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, May 20th, 1864, 5.30 P.M. 

Genl. GILLMORE 

IF with the force you have you have been unable to force 
your line back, I think it may be too much risk to attempt it 
farther with the force which can be sent from General Smith s 
line. Can you hold what you have? Are the enemy pressing 
you if you retire? 



From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. May 20, 6 P.M. 

Brig. Gen. SHEPLEY, NORFOLK 

THERE are but one thousand rebel cavalry south of the 
James, and they are Bearing s Brigade jaded by a two hun 
dred mile march from North Carolina. 

You can hold Norfolk as long as we are here with a Corporal s 

Guard - B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. May 20^, 9 P.M. 

Genl. GRAHAM, BERMUDA LANDING 

LET the "Burnside" go with the force named to make 
every diligence, and report to the Commander of the Potomac 
Flotilla. Send her under an experienced commander. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 241 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. In the Field, May 20, 1864, 9 P.M. 

Quartermaster-General MEIGS, WASHINGTON 

DESPATCH received. I have sent the "Burnside," two 
launches, and 60 men to aid in scouring the river Rappa- 
hannock. She will be there in twenty-four hours. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

From General Butler 

In the Field, May 2Qth, 1864, 9 P.M. 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

HAVE been fighting all day. Enemy are endeavoring to 
close in on our lines. We shall hold on. Have captured 
Rebel General Walker. Gen. Sheridan is at White House, 
and has sent for a pontoon brigade which I have forwarded 
him. Have also sent one of army gunboats with launches up 
the Rappahannock as requested. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Gen. GILLMORE In <he FiM M iM ^ 186 1<U5 

YOUR despatch dated 7.30 P.M. was received at 10.30. 
You had better draw in your line according to the sugges 
tions of my despatch of 5.30. The weakness of your works 
requires this that we take no risks. You will see to it that 
strong working parties are kept busy upon the line during the 
night. Guard against surprise. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 
Genl. GILLMORE tf ao, MM, n p.. 

You will have Turner s division in the immediate rear of 
Ames ready to support him in case of a possible assault by the 
enemy at daybreak. I think this important. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May 20th, 1864 

DEAREST: I am very much pleased that you missed the 
letter for yesterday. I did not think you would notice it. 
Now I shall write not only because I wish to but for the still 

VOL. IV 16 



242 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

better reason that you will be disappointed if I do not. Capt. 
Martin came today. I have learned from him what I did not 
before very well understand. I thought from your advancing 
to Fort Darling that you were determined to attack it, or 
move on toward Richmond. This, I now suppose with your 
force would be madness, and that it will require all your 
strength to remain where you are. Beauregard must be in 
Richmond, and Fort Darling is but a post of Richmond. It is 
not strange that they pause a little on the Potomac, I should 
think there would be a reluctance to renew that sanguinary 
conflict. These battles are terrible, but delay is useless un 
less the supplies are wholly cut off from Lee. And the longer 
Gen. Grant delays the greater is your danger. Judge Abbott s 
son was buried in Lowell. A very large funeral. I will write 
no more of these gloomy subjects. How do you make your 
toilet now? Is your hair nicely perfumed and curled? On the 
contrary, I am very much afraid you let your beard grow, and 
that I shall discover your side curls are entirely white when 
this campaign is over. Poor George, the white curls make 
me think of him ! How his mind would seethe and glow during 
this time; if living he would surely be here. I look for Fisher 
tomorrow morning. He will probably go up to you directly. 
Both the boys creep in with me at night. I began with one, 
but before morning I found them both. You have not said 
yet if you want to see me. Blanche, poor thing, is full of 
anxiety, and tired to death of the school. I do not wonder. 
Are you happy amid this deprivation and danger? So believes 

Your loving WIFE 

You can put my letters in a package and send them back. 
Rev. Mr. Hale has just arrived in the morning boat. I do 
not know where he will eat, but I suppose some place will be 
found with you or the staff. He has promised to keep you 
back from the bullets. 

From Mrs. Ex-President Tyler 

CASTLETON HILL, NORTH SHORE, STATEN ISLAND, May 21, 1864 

President LINCOLN 

DEAR SIR: Filled as I am with the deepest and most painful 

concern by a letter which I have received today, I hasten to 

you in my distress of mind as the one most potent to relieve 

- and I trust I am not mistaken in thinking you will be ready 

to remove from me, if possible, the causes of my disquietude. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 243 

The enclosed letter, hurriedly written as you will perceive, 
which was sent under an envelope of the Provost Marshal for 
Va. & N. C., will explain much that I wish you to know. 
As for the rest, I can assure you that Mr. Clopton in appeal 
ing to me for a vindication of his character as an honorable 
and truthful gentleman, and one of the kindest and most 
considerate of masters to his slaves, could not have appealed 
to one who knew him better. He has been my good and 
respected neighbor for all my married life, and the terrible 
treatment he has been suffered to receive I do assure you is 
most undeserved. Besides this, he is a man advanced in 
years, and entirely a non-combatant himself. Immediately 
on the receipt of his letter today I addressed myself to Gen. 
Butler, presenting such statements in regard to him as I hope 
and trust will result in his release, and all reparation possible 
for his terrible injuries. 

At the same time I have asked the generous consideration of 
Gen. Butler for my oivn case in the terrible difficulties which 
surround those I left in charge of my household and property, 
Mr. John C. Tyler, an elderly nephew of my husband, and his 
orphan cousin, a young lady, both of whom at my urgent 
request resided at my place to take care of it during my resi 
dence with my mother. Mr. Tyler had been a non-combatant 
during the war, and was most especially a quiet and peaceable 
citizen. ^Yhile I had remained at my home it had been so 
respected by the contending armies that I felt I had nothing 
to apprehend in the future if upon leaving it for the happiness 
of being with my dear mother and friends it was placed in 
the charge of the gentleman I have mentioned, but imagine 
how greatly I am shocked and distressed to hear that he also 
has been taken prisoner without the slightest cause, and Miss 
Tyler, the delicate orphan girl, without her protector, exposed 
to a fate I dread even to think of. What has become of my 
home and its treasures, which I left at the mercy of those I 
ventured to suppose would almost sacredly regard them, I 
cannot judge, but even they are of secondary importance. 

I do beseech you, President Lincoln, by the memory of my 
husband, and what you must be assured would have been his 
course in your place had your wife appealed to him, remove 
from me these causes for anxious suspense which are \vell 
calculated to agonize a heart of greater fortitude than mine. 

Fortunately, I have all my children under my own protec 
tion except one, whom I left at boarding school in Va. It is 



244 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

my prayer he was not at home during the awful scenes that 
must have prevailed there, though even of that I have not 
the relief of being perfectly assured. 

Repeating again and again my hope in the strong arm of 
your intervention, I am yours, With great respect, 

JULIA GARDNIER TYLER, Mrs. (Ex. Pres.) TYLER 

Enclosure referred to in Foregoing Letter 

BERMUDA HUNDRED, May 17, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

MY DEAR DEAR FRIEND: I have seated myself under most 
trying circumstances to write you a hurried letter to give you 
a very concise account of what is going on relative to myself 
and family and yours. On last week, John C. Tyler was 
taken prisoner, and Miss Maria came over to my house on 
Tuesday. After keeping out of the way a day or two I went 
in to Gen. Wild, commanding a negro brigade at Kinnon s 
Bluff, and reported, so I might be paroled to remain with my 
family, but to my astonishment some of my negro women had 
gone down and told him that I was a most cruel master, and 
consequently I was stripped and whipped most cruelly by 
negroes. I was carried to Old Point, where the officers found 
it out and preferred charges against him, and consequently 
I am detained here by Gen. Butler, who says I have been badly 
treated, and he will have the matter investigated. Oh, I 
wish I could see you a few hours, and your mother and family. 
I could describe scenes to you truly appalling. My dear 
wife and Miss Maria, I presume, are at my house entirely 
alone, not a negro left, Andrew and Nelson left with their 
wives, Louisa was forcibly carried off. I am compelled to close 
this as the mail is about to close. Please write me a letter stat 
ing my general character for truth and as a gentleman, and 
what sort of master you think I made during your acquaintance 
with me. I want it to exhibit upon trial ask your man and 
the Col. to join in it, and oblige a friend in distress. 

Ever Yours Truly, WM. H. CLOPTON 

Write me in haste, Care of Provost Marshal of Va. & N. C. 

WM. H. CLOPTON 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May Zlst, 1864 

DEAREST: What are you thinking of! You know I never 
did such a thing as to write to a sanitary Fair, and as for the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 245 

dress extravagance I did not know what honor had been con 
ferred upon me, and I actually have bought a carriage hat of 
straw, white velvet, and a long white feather. I thought it 
would but barely answer to grace the taking of Richmond. 
I will instantly send it home and order it put in the darkest 
closet in the attic. I have written to Mr. Parton as you de 
sired. Today I talked with Mr. Owen about terms. He said 
he knew but two private tutors, and they received a thousand 
dollars apiece a year, and he spoke of what teachers receive 
in schools, that they have somewhere near that sum. Now, 
it seems to me in the present state of the country this is more 
extravagant than matters of dress. Send me your opinion. 
Pray be careful that no one sees my letters, for I write as fast 
as I can scratch, and whatever I think of first. You had better 
send them back to me. Capt. Clarke of the "Regime" told 
me that there is no pause in the firing, that somewhere on the 
lines you fight all the time. When will this campaign be 
over? Do not trust too much to your lucky star, but take all 
proper precautions, the chances will not be too good at that. 

Very devotedly yours, SARAH 

They say Fort Powhatan is attacked. That cuts off your com 
munication. Stafford is not equal to it. I am sure you will 
think so. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORT MONROE, May 3,1st, 1864 

MY DEAR WIFE: I write you every day, and am surprised 
that you should not get my letters. But I say that I am well 
and trying to do all I can. I have opposed to me more men 
than I have got, which renders it rather difficult to operate. 

Tell the boys they must be good boys and learn fast, study 
hard, and obey their teacher as they would me, and I shall be very 
proud of them. Please send me some loaf sugar the crushed 
I have is adulterated. Fisher might come up if he sees fit. 

Your HUSBAND 

From General Grant 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, Near SPOTTSYLVANIA COURT-HOUSE, 

in the Field, May 21, 1864, 7 A.M. 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

I FEAR there is some difficulty with the forces at City Point 
which prevents their effective use. The fault may be with 



246 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the commander, and it may be with his subordinates. Gen 
eral Smith, whilst a very able officer, is obstinate, and is likely 
to condemn whatever is not suggested by himself. Either 
those forces should be so occupied as to detain a force nearly 
equal to their own, or the garrison in the intrenchments at 
City Point should be reduced to a minimum and the remainder 
ordered here. I wish you would send a competent officer 
there to inspect and report by telegraph what is being done, 
and what in his judgment it is advisable to do. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

War Rec., Vol. 36, Part III, p. 43. 

From General Halleck 

War Department, WASHINGTON, May 21, 1864, 1.40 P.M. 

Lieutenant-General GRANT, near SPOTTSYLVANIA, VA. 

ORDERS in accordance with your letter of yesterday have been 
sent to General Hunter. Generals Meigs and Barnard have 
been sent to James River to make the investigations and 
reports, as directed in your telegram of 7 A.M. to-day. 

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General, and Chief of Staff 

From General Halleck 

Head Quarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 21, 1864 

Brig. Gen. M. C. MEIGS & Brig. Gen. J. G. BARNARD, 

Present 

GENERALS: Lt. General Grant directs that you imme 
diately proceed to the Army on the James River, examine 
the position which is occupied and the means of defense. You 
will report on the supplies, and whether gunboats can be 
spared for the Rappahannock and York Rivers. General 
Grant wishes particularly to know what is being done there, 
& what in your judgment it is advisable to do. This of course 
involves an estimate of the enemy s force & defenses, the con 
dition of our army, whether active operations on our part are 
advisable, or whether it should limit itself to its defensive 
position, and if so what troops can be spared from that de 
partment to reinforce the army of the Potomac. You will 
report by telegraph the result of your observations as directed 
in the telegram of Gen. Grant. If troops can be spared from 
the James River, the number will be telegraphed to the War 
Department for the proper orders, and the Quartermaster 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 247 

General will prepare the transportation to Belle Plain or Port 
Royal as may be directed. 

Very respectfully, Your obdt. servt., 
H. W. HALLECK, M . G. & Chief of Staff 

BERMUDA HUNDREDS, May 21, 1864 

Endorsed: Copy respectfully furnished for information of 
Major General B. F. Butler, Coindg. 

M. C. MEIGS, Qm. M. Gn. 

From General Butler 

CIPHER. CONFIDENTIAL. May 21s/, 1864, 5 P.M. 

Hon. HENRY WILSON, Chairman Military Committee, 

U. S. Senate 

PLEASE send me what is the precise state of Genl. Gillmore s 
name before the Senate, if not inconsistent with the public 
service. Have you received a letter from me under date of 
May 7th? Please answer by telegraph. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, in the Field, May 21, 1864 

General TERRY 

THE major-general commanding directs unless very strong 
already you strengthen the left of your picket-line. Re- 

^ Your obedient servant, ISRAEL R. SEALY 

Capt., 47th New York Vols., Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 73. 

From General E. W. Hinks 

May 21, 1864, 5.45 P.M. 

General BUTLER 

GENERAL WILD reports that Fort Powhatan has been 
attacked. I shall proceed thither at once with a part of the 
Fifth Regiment. This may be a ruse to weaken our force at 
City Point. Will you send a gun-boat to cover our right flank 
at City Point on the Appomattox River? Colonel Russell, 
Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry, will be in command here during 

my absence. -^ ^ 7 TT D j* /Y / 

E. W. HINKS, Brigadier-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 75. 



248 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

May 21, 1864 (Received 8.45 P.M.) 

Commanding Officer, CITY POINT, VA. 

BE careful against surprise. If the enemy attacks he will 
probably attack at daylight, but at no hour let the command 
be unprepared. Be specially careful these foggy mornings. 
Let the troops understand that if they hold out we can have 
re-enforcements to them within a couple of hours; that will 
prevent panic. Visit your pickets personally, and see that 
they are doing their duty. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 75. 

From General Hinks 

Major-General BUTLER FORT Pow ^ *<* 21 > 1864 9 - 

ALL quiet here. No enemy in sight. A few shots from our 
guns entirely scattered them. Affairs were much exaggerated 
by a staff officer of General Wild. Shall return to City Point 
as soon as I have inspected our lines. Colonel Kiddoo is the 
right man in the right place, and sufficient for any affair that 

is likely to occur here. -rr D . , . n -. 

HINKS, Brigadier-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 75. 

From General Butler 
Major-General SMITH H-dpwfcr* May 21, 1864 

HAVE you made the dispositions directed in general order 
as to troops on the lines, especially as regards the two reserve 
brigades on Brooks right, Ames left, as General Ames re 
ports the massing of troops on his front? 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 73. 

From General Butler 

General GILLMORE In ^ FM May "* 1864 m5 P M 

YOUR despatch in relation to a force from the 18th Corps is 
received. Gen. order for disposition of forces in case of attack 
provides that two brigades of Brooks division shall be held 
in reserve on his right, which is next to Ames left, so that the 
contingency you suggest has thus been provided for. 

B. F. BUTLER 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 249 
From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May %%nd, 1864 

DEAREST: Nothing can be better than what Genl. Wild 
has written, and evidently with the expectation of its being 
forwarded. Nothing is required but a handsome endorse 
ment from yourself to make it complete. Forward it, and I 
will enclose Genl. Wild s note, and send the whole to the Fair. 
It is very hot and today I feel anxious. Capt. Clark has 

given me but a minute to write this v c 

Your SARAH 

Would something like this answer? "Mrs. Butler, in com 
pliance with Genl. Butler s request, has the pleasure of send 
ing two canes and a secession flag to the great Sanitary 
Commission Fair, together with a note from Genl. Wild which 
explains where they were taken and suggests the noblest 
use to which they can be devoted." This would be better for 
you to write than for me. 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, May 22, 1864 

Major-General GILLMORE, Commanding Tenth Army Corps 

GENERAL: It is desirable to ascertain the position and 
strength of the enemy, whether there is any movement, and 
also whether there is any movement on the railroad. You 
are authorized to offer rewards for this purpose, not exceed 
ing $500 each, to any shrewd, keen, adventurous men to the 
number of not more than 6, who will in their uniform penetrate 
the enemy s line during the night as scouts and ascertain their 
condition, and bring in valuable and reliable information. 
Explain to the men what is desired, and explain to them that 
false information will be as rigidly punished as true and 
valuable knowledge brought will be promptly and amply 
rewarded. 

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your 

obedient servant, -r T n* n ? 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

(Same letter sent to General Smith.) 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 104. 



250 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Smith 

May 22, 1864 

Colonel SHAFFER, Chief of Staff 

ALL the dispositions have been made as far as circumstances 
will admit, but they cover in spirit the commanding general s 
order. The enemy probably wanted our picket-line in front 
of General Ames, and I think they must have taken it. It is 
probably restored by this time. 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 108. 

From General Butler 

CURTIS HOUSE, May 22, 1864, 12.15 P.M. 

Genl. GILLMORE 

WILL you give me a list of your working parties, their 
numbers, the divisions from which they are detailed, and the 
points at which they are employed today. Officer will await 
answer. BENJ R BUTLER, Maj. Genl Comd g. 

From General Butler 

In the Field, May 22ne2, 1864, 1.30 P.M. 

Maj. Genl. B. W. JOHNSON, ComcTg. &c. 

GENERAL: Your note by flag of truce inquiring for General 
W. S. Walker is this moment received. Gen. Walker is 
wounded and a prisoner. His leg has been amputated, and 
he is doing very well, so that we are moving him by steam 
boat. I take leave to assure you he has every care. In 
quiry shall be made for Lt. Jones. Among the many officers 
captured my memory does not serve me, and as will be seen 
1 1 hasten to answer this despatch in the field. In considera 
tion of Gen. Walker s condition, and his anxiety to be with 
his friends, I will waive the difference of ranks and exchange 
specially Genl. Walker for Brig. Genl. Heakman, now in your 
hands. I will have Gen. Walker at Aikens Landing at any 
hour you will name that Genl. Heakman will be there for 
exchange. I have the honor to be, Very Respectfully, 

Your obt. servant, BENJ. F. BUTLER, 

Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 251 

From General Butler 

BY TELEGRAPH from Headquarters, May 22, 1864, 7.30 P.M. 

To Officer in command at CITY POINT 

INFORM me if Gen. Hinks has returned. What is your 
opinion of the condition of your port as to its capability for 
resisting attack, and what is its present position? 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

To Brig. Gen. WILD, at Wilson s wharf 9 ?M 

I AM informed that there is a signal station working at 
Harrison s Landing. Is it not possible to break it up? 

BENJ F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Grant 

BETHEL CHURCH, VA., May 22, 1864, 8 P.M. 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

THE enemy have evidently fallen behind North Anna. 
Prisoners have been captured today from Pickett s division, 
and there is evidence of other troops having been sent from 
Richmond also. Besides these, Breckinridge is said to have 
arrived. The force under General Butler is not detaining 
10,000 men in Richmond, and is not even keeping the roads 
south of the city cut. Under these circumstances I think it 
advisable to have all of it here except enough to keep a foot 
hold at City Point. If they could all be brought at once to 
Rappahannock or West Point by water, that would be the 
best way to bring them. They might march across, but if 
the enemy should fall back of the South Anna this might be 
come hazardous. Send Smith in command, and send neither 
artillery nor cavalry, unless it is deemed expedient to march 
over to West Point, thence up north side to join this com 
mand. I shall be on the Anna to-morrow or meet the enemy 
this side. Notify me which way they will be sent. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

War Rec., Vol. 36, Part III, p. 77. 

From General Smith 

n -D T Smith s Headquarters, May 22, 1864 

I HAVE sent out 7 trusty men, 1 in excess of your number. 

WM. F. SMITH, Major -General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 108. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Hiriks 

May 22, 1864, 9.15 P.M. 

General BUTLER 

I RETURNED last night at 12 o clock; Powhatan is safe. 
Can hold City Point against a greatly superior force. I 
forwarded a detailed report of operations by a messenger this 
P.M. Everything is quiet on our front. 

E. W. HINKS, Brigadier-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 112. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the Field, May 22nd, 1864 

MY DEAREST WIFE: Your idea of curled and perfumed 
hair is rich and rare. There s poetry for you! Why, I get 
to bed at midnight, to be disturbed from three to six times 
during the night, to awake at 6 in the morning and mount at 
7 o clock. Yet all is well. The enemy attacked my lines at 
11:30 last night, but were repulsed with loss. 

Mr. Hale got here, and Haggerty last evening. I have 
made a change in staff arrangements. I have made Weitzel 
Chief Engineer, and put Genl. Martindale in his division. 
Poor Farquhar is most grievously disappointed. I pity him, 
but as Weitzel ranks him some 9 years he has no reason to 
complain. 

Your cake was very welcome. Send Fisher up. Let him 
see war. Poor Blanche should not be anxious. 

Yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

P.S. To show you what becomes of letters sent into the 
field, I send you the letter of the rebel General Walker from 
his wife. It is perforated by the bullet that hit him. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May 22nd, 1864 

DEAREST: I have received my package of letters and two 
notes from you. I am rejoiced that G. Weitzel is on your 
staff. He is a cool, brave, experienced soldier. I have been 
so afraid from day to day that I should hear he was killed or 
wounded. The Brig. Generals are fearfully exposed in these 
battles. Besides that, I like him to be with you. I am very 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 253 

well pleased. You have not yet said if you wish to see me, or 
if it would be possible for me to go up. Perhaps you thought 
the question too absurd for an answer. I have thought of 
your position, dearest, very carefully, and though you give 
me no information I think it is about this, Genl. Gillmore 
has been used to give not to receive command. He is slower 
than you are, and I fear the understanding between you is 
not quite perfect. If this is so, may it change for the better. 
I am sure you will endeavor that it shall do so, for on that 
depends success to a great degree. Genl. Smith is prompt 
and ready for action. His corps have suffered severely. 
Your force is not sufficient to attack Fort Darling unless Gen. 
Grant is fighting successfully on the Potomac. Indeed, to 
hold where you are with this continued attack from the rebels 
is no easy task. I suppose I have written what I should not, 
but it is only a woman s view, and woman-like I am not, but 
I must drop this. Kinsman wants to send more negroes and 
let them take the place of soldiers in unloading ships or any 
other work. You will laugh at all this, it is folly in me to 
write it. I will only add further that you ought (not) to ride 
at the head of your staff, in sight of the sharpshooters. 

Most truly yours, SARAH 

From General Halleck 

Headquarters of the Army, WASHINGTON , May 23, 1864 

Lieutenant-General GRANT 

WHAT you say in your note of the 20th about the major- 
generals is correct. There are two vacancies. The law 
allows five. You filled an original vacancy, and I last year 
urged Sherman s name for Wool s place; but could not get 
him appointed. Your promotion makes a second vacancy, 
and I have urged the names of Meade and Sherman, and 
Hancock for Meade s place as brigadier. There is some 
obstacle in the way, and I can t remove it. I am not cer 
tain what it is but can guess. Perhaps you will be enlightened 
a little by knowing what are some of the outside influences. 
I understand the names of Butler and Sickles have been strongly 
urged by politicians, in order they say to break down "West 
Point influence." It will not be difficult to draw conclusions. 
This is entre nous. Yourg ^ R w HALLECK 

War Rec., Vol. 36, Part III, p. 115. 



254 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Halleck 

May 23, 1864, 12.30 P.M. 

Brigadier-Generals MEIGS and BARNARD, via 

FORTRESS MONROE, VA. 

GENERAL GRANT has moved south to Milford Station, and 
changed his base of supplies to Port Royal. He says Lee 
has been reinforced by Pickett s division and other troops 
from Richmond, and that General Butler s force is not detain 
ing 10,000 of the enemy. Your report anxiously looked for. 
Water transportation for troops to the Rappahannock should 
be prepared. 

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General and Chief of Staff 

War Rec., Vol. 33, Part III, p. 140. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, May 23, 1864, 10 P.M. 

General SMITH 

PLEASE report to me any information you have received 
from the scouts you sent out, or other sources, as to the posi 
tion of the enemy. General Gillmore, at his own request, is 
about to make a reconnaissance to-night in front of his line. 
Perhaps you might feel the enemy on the road to the left at 
the same time. R R BUTLER, Major-Genl. Comd g. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 144. 

From General Smith 

Smith s, May 23, 1864, 10.30 P.M. 

General BUTLER 

FOUR of 7 scouts have returned. Two could not pass 
General Gillmore s lines on my pass. The other 2 report 
that they reached the railroad between the Junction and the 
burnt mill, and that it is not yet repaired, but that parties 
were working on it from both directions. One scout reports 
a field-work being thrown up on the hill overlooking the burnt 
mill, but no works seen on the hills near the Junction. The 
men were both ordered to report to you in the morning, and 
I had intended to send this information to you before this. 
I see no practicable good and much chance of ambuscade and 
confusion to result from a night reconnaissance; in addition 
to that I should be almost certain in the darkness to leave 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 255 

dead and wounded on the field. I shall, therefore, make no 
demonstration unless under an order. 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 144. 

From Generals Meigs and Barnard 

BERMUDA HUNDRED, VA., May 23, 1864, 
via JAMESTOWN ISLAND and FORT MONROE, VA. 

Major -General HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

WE arrived here Sunday evening, too late to examine the 
position, and so ascended in the night to Trent s Reach to 
communicate with Admiral Lee. He has asked for more 
gun-boats, and says the navy cannot remain above Deep 
Bottom and Turkey Bend if a determined effort is made by 
rebels to occupy the shore at those points and cut off supply 
of coal. He wishes the army to hold position on the north 
bank of the James at one or both those points. If recon- 
noissance shows this practicable we should recommend it; 
but if it is not done the ironclads could be supplied by hauling 
coal from the Appomattox, and the wooden gun-boats be 
withdrawn. 

General Butler thinks he has evidence that eleven brigades 
of the enemy are detained in front of him, and estimated to 
number from 25,000 to 30,000 men. He has captured 
prisoners from ten brigades within the last four days. On Fri 
day evening captured General W. S. Walker; has his pocket- 
book with valuable memoranda showing his brigade to number 
4,100 men. Petersburg paper of 21st says that three bri 
gades attacked our pickets on Friday night with loss of 600 
men. D. H. Hill commanded, and Beauregard was present. 
A deserter from Ransom s division came in to-day; was at 
Plymouth and battles near this place; says they have orders 
to hold the works they have lately constructed in front of us 
to the last extremity, but does not think they mean to attack. 
General Pickett went north about May 9, under a cloud for 
allowing himself to be surprised in this position. General 
Butler is positive that within the last four days divisions of 
Hoke, Ransom, Bushrod [R J Johnson, and Whiting have been 
before him. We think it possible, however, that very recently, 
and since our force has been entirely on the defensive, rebel 
troops have gone to Lee. 

The brigades mentioned by General Butler as before him 



256 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

are Oracle s, Corse s, Clingman s, Hoke s, Walker s, Hunton s, 
Ransom s, Barton s, Hagood s, Kemper s, Martin s. Wise is 
here also. General Butler s position is strong; can be de 
fended, when works are complete, with 10,000 men, leaving 
20,000 free to operate. We think it already strong, and think 
if General Grant is engaged in decisive operations that Gen 
eral Butler should not remain on the defensive. We think 
that this force should not be diminished, and that a skillful 
use of it will aid General Grant more than the numbers which 
might be drawn from here. 

Supplies of all kinds are abundant; the troops in good 
spirits. General Weitzel has just been made chief engineer 
to General Butler, and advises and co-operates heartily. 
We have not yet been able fully to post ourselves as to the 
relations of the corps commanders, but think the report of 
want of harmony may be exaggerated, at least so far as Gen 
eral Smith is concerned. We would prefer taking another 
occasion to speak on this subject. Will remain here to 
morrow, continuing our investigations and awaiting further 
orders. If it be desired to transfer troops to General Grant, the 
transportation is in the Potomac and James Rivers. General 
Rucker and Colonel Biggs can send it here on being notified. 

M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster -General 
J. G. BARNARD, Brigadier-General and Chief Engineer 

War Rec., Vol. 36, Part III, p. 140. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May 23rd, 1864 

DEAREST: Mr. Hale sent me a note this morning. He does 
not seem to believe much in the danger, though there is plenty 
of firing, as in the jungle one animal answers to the roar of 
another, making night hideous. I have no taste for the canes 
- never affected Fairs, shall never shine in that line. I never 
wished to see anything of mine published but once, and then 
only because it was part of a wild romance in which I had 
shared, and that suits my nature. I was disappointed in that, 
and have no desire to enlarge on the common events of life, 
or post myself as an excellent good woman. If I should ever 
write a line beyond scribbling to you and Blanche it should 
be the events of my life, and if I possessed the force of impas 
sioned expression as I have it in feeling, I might a story tell 
without the aid of fiction. Poor little Buntie! I wrote her a 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 257 

letter today. I said nothing about the fighting, but described 
the pretty hat and dress I have bought her, and when I expected 
to see her. If she thinks I have no fears she will naturally feel 
easier. I wrote you yesterday that Kinsman was annoyed 
that you did not notice him. I suppose you intended he should 
be, and I cannot wonder you feel so, for every little while 
something comes up, as there did today, that is unbearable. 
Mr. Farrington said he asked you if it would be well for me to 
go up, and you replied you had just issued an order for all 
white women to leave. Is it possible, a swarm of women 
from Nor. & Port, have been allowed to follow the army? 
I will not ask you again if you want to see me. I hear you 
have Genl. Lee s daughter as a prisoner. I should send her 
to her father, as we should beg Blanche might be sent to us if 
so unfortunate. I do not feel so cheerful tonight, but tomorrow 
I shall work hard, as I have since you left. 

Yours, SARAH 

P.S. I do not know but I write so often that you are bored 
with it, and I suppose you would not like to say so if you were. 
I send by Sanborn bread, butter, and cakes. Once more adieu. 
Give my regards to Mr. Hale. 

From Generals Meigs and Barnard 

JAMESTOWN, VA., May 24, 1864 

General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

WHAT has been done here is, first, to occupy and fortify a 
strong position as a depot and base; second, to demonstrate 
upon and occupy a strong force of the enemy, while railroads 
have been cut and their use temporarily interrupted; third, to 
collect ample supplies of subsistence, forage, and ammunition. 
What can be done is, first, to assume the offensive with the 
object of again cutting railroads, occupy the enemy, and per 
haps recalling any troops lately detached to re-enforce Lee 
with a chance of capturing Petersburg, and a certainty of being 
prepared to unite with General Grant in the investment of 
Richmond, or, second, remain purely on the defensive, sacri 
fice the water communication by the James River for a time, 
and spare 20,000 men for transfer to the Army of the Potomac. 
Wliat in our opinion ought to be done is either, first, to place an 
officer of military experience and knowledge in command of 
these two corps, thus making them a unit for field operations, 
and then assume the offensive; or, second, to withdraw 20,000 

VOL. IV 17 



258 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

men to be used elsewhere. General Butler is a man of rare and 
great ability, but he has not experience and training to enable 
him to direct and control movements in battle. A corps gives 
its commander full occupation on the battle-field, and leaves 
him no time to make suggestions to the commander-in-chief as 
to the movements of two corps. General Butler is satisfied 
with the ability and aid of General William F. Smith. He does 
not appear to be satisfied with General Gillmore. General 
Butler evidently desires to retain command in the field. If his 
desires must be gratified, withdraw Gillmore, place Smith in 
command of both corps under the supreme command of General 
Butler; let Smith put Brooks in command of one corps, and 
Weitzel of the other, unless you can send here better officers. 
You will thus have a command which will be a unit, and General 
Butler will probably be guided by Smith, and leave to him the 
suggestions and practical execution of army movements ordered. 
Success would be more certain were Smith in command un- 
trammeled, and General Butler remanded to the administra 
tive duties of the department in which he has shown such rare 
and great ability. We are on our way to Washington, touch 
ing at Jamestown to forward this despatch, and at Fort Monroe 
where orders may reach us, if desirable. A deserter today 
from Colquitt s (Georgia) brigade states that it is reported in 
the enemy s camp that troops have been detached to re-enforce 
Lee. He thinks that only about four brigades remain, but that 
Beauregard still commands. Troops at Wilson s Wharf were 
attacked by Fitz. Lee, and steamer fired into today. The 
attack was repulsed. 

M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General 
J. G. BARNARD, Brigadier-General, &c. 

War Rec., Vol. 36, Part III, p. 177. 

From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters, May 24, 1864, 12.30 A.M. 

Hon. EDWIN M. ST ANTON, Secretary of War 

I HAVE some 25,000 effective men for duty on this peninsula,, 
besides my own worn-out cavalry and the negro troops neces 
sary to hold open communication at Forts Powhatan, Clark, 
and Wilson s Wharf. There are nearly 10,000 guarding the 
various railroads and bridges forming the connections south. 
I know I am employing one-third more of the enemy s force 
than I have, yet as soon as I can get my lines so strengthened 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 259 

as to be able to leave them in charge of few men I shall resume 
offensive operations at the earliest moment. I telegraph this 
to correct what seems to be a misapprehension. 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

War Rec., Vol. 36, Part III, p. 176. 



From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters, May 24, 1864, 12.30 A.M. 

Ho n. EDWIN M. ST ANTON, Secretary of War 

YOUR despatch relating to movement of General Grant is 
received. There is an entire mistake in that part of it relating 
to Hoke s troops being in the Army of the Potomac, unless 
they left since last night. There are before me the following 
brigades, all of which have prisoners taken within the last four 
days: Ransom s brigade Forty-Ninth North Carolina, 
Colonel McAfee; Twenty-fourth North Carolina, Clarke; 
Fifty-sixth North Carolina, Faison; Twenty-fifth North 
Carolina, Rutledge; Thirty-fifth North Carolina, Jones; 
Hunton s (Garnett s old) Eighth Virginia, Berkeley; Nine 
teenth Virginia, Gantt; Twenty-eighth Virginia, Allen; 
Thirty-second Virginia, Montague. Barton s (Armistead s 
old, Colonel Aylett, of Fifty-third Virginia, commanding) 
brigade Ninth Virginia, Owens; Fourteenth Virginia, 
Hodges: Thirty-eighth Virginia, Edmonds; Fifty-third Vir 
ginia, Aylett; Fifty-seventh Virginia, Dyer. Corse s 
Twenty-ninth Virginia; Fifteenth Virginia, Morrison; Seven 
teenth Virginia, Herbert; Thirtieth Virginia, Cary; Eighteenth 
Virginia, Carrington. Terry s (Kemper s old) First Vir 
ginia, Williams; Third Virginia, Mayo; Seventh Virginia, 
Patton; Eleventh Virginia, Otey; Twenty-fourth Virginia, 
Terry, commanding brigade. Hoke s old brigade, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Lewis now commanding brigade Sixth North Caro 
lina, Colonel Avery, now at Plymouth; the rest of the brigade 
are here; Twenty-first North Carolina, Colonel Pfohl; Forty- 
third North Carolina; Fifty -fourth North Carolina, Mc 
Dowell; Fifty-seventh North Carolina, Godwin; Twenty -first 
Georgia, Mercer. Hagood s brigade Eleventh South 
Carolina, Colonel Gantt; Twenty -first South Carolina, 
Colonel Graham; Twenty-fifth South Carolina, Pressley; 
Twenty-seventh South Carolina, Bushrod Johnson s brigade - 
Seventeenth Tennessee; Twenty -third Tennessee; Sixty- 
third Tennessee, Fulkerson; Tennessee. Wise s brigade 



260 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Fifty-ninth Virginia, Tabb, and three Virginia regiments. 
Clingman s brigade of North Carolina troops. Grade s of 
South Carolina and Georgia troops. Walker s of Georgia and 
South Carolina troops is here, and Martin s, of North Carolina 
troops. 

General Walker, of South Carolina and Georgia troops, was 
captured on Friday. His brigade consists of 4,100 men, by 
memoranda found in his pocket. The Petersburg Saturday 
paper admits between 500 and 600 killed and wounded in the 
contest with us on Friday, in which it says Wise s, Martin s, 
and Clingman s brigade took part. It says: "Our column 
was under the immediate command of D. H. Hill, but General 
Beauregard was on the field, and his superior military abilities, 
of course, contributed largely toward the success of the move 
ments, while his presence inspired the enthusiasm which ren 
dered our men irresistible." 

I have a prisoner from Grade s brigade, of Anderson s 
division, of Longstreet s corps, and he says that his brigade is 
here present. A part of Pickett s division went north before 
we landed here, leaving Petersburg entirely bare of troops 
until the remainder came from North Carolina. In a confer 
ence with a flag of truce today my officers talked with the bri 
gade and regimental commanders of two different brigades of 
two different divisions besides those mentioned in the Peters 
burg papers. I have prisoners from each of these brigades, and 
from nearly every regiment. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

War Rec., Vol. 36, Part III, p. 175. 

From General Grant 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, North Anna, May 24, 1864, 8 A.M. 

Major Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

THE enemy have fallen back from North Anna; we are in 
pursuit. Negroes who have come in state that Lee is falling 
back to Richmond. If this is the case, Butler s forces will all 
be wanted where they are. Notify him to hold Smith in readi 
ness to be moved, but to await further orders. I will probably 
know today if the enemy intends standing behind South Anna. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

War Rec., Vol. 36, Part III, p. 145. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 261 

From General Butler 

Maj. Gen. BIRNEY 10 c " A M Ma 24 1864 

PLEASE march at once a Division to Gen. Ord. He informs 
me that the enemy are passing troops in his front, as if to make 
an attack. BENJ R BuTLER> Ma j t Genl Comd g. 



From General Halleck 

Major-General BUTLER WASHINGTON, May 24, 1864, 7.30 P.M. 

GENERAL GRANT directed that you have 20,000 men, ex 
clusive of artillery and cavalry, which are not wanted, ready 
to be moved as may be ordered. Your position at City Point 
will be prepared for defense by a small force. General Grant 
crossed the North Anna near railroad bridge on the 22d, and 
on the 23d was moving on the South Anna. 

HALLECK, Major -General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 176. 

From General Halleck 

WASHINGTON, May 2th, 1864, 8/20 P.M. 

Lieutenant-General GRANT, in the Field 

\YHEN I received your telegram of 8 A.M. yesterday, I had 
prepared orders to General Smith to join you with 20,000 men. 
General Butler is now ordered to hold him in readiness to move. 
I wish everything was away from the south side of the James 
and with you. It would be much better. I do not like these 
divided commands, with the enemy intervening. I would 
rather use them altogether under your own eve. 

H. W. HALLECK, Maj. Gen. and Chief of Staff 

War Rec., Vol. 36, Part III, p. 145. 

From the Secretary of War 

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 24, 1864, 9.40 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

DESPATCHES from General Grant, just received, report that 
yesterday the enemy were driven across the North Anna with 
severe loss, and our troops are pursuing. Negroes report that 
Lee is retreating to Richmond. General Grant says every 
thing looks exceedingly favorable for us. Your despatch of 
(12.30) this day is received and sent to General Grant. 

E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 



262 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORT MONROE, May 24, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH: I send you flowers from City Point where 
they are blooming in wild and sweet profusion in deserted 
gardens. They will be withered before you get them, but the 
gift is in the heart of the giver. 

That I want to see you and should be glad to have you here 
you ought not to doubt, but it would be entirely impossible, 
nor is it possible for you to stay or be within three miles of me. 

Generals Barnard and Meigs came here to see what they could 
find out that was wrong, and have a movement made from here. 
It is the worst sign I have seen of the movements of Grant, that 
he is looking to get his reinforcements from here. Don t fret 
yourself over the situation, as all will go well. You have an 
other correspondent now in Mr. Hale. I do not think Mr. 
Owen s price too high if he is worth it, but that must not in 
clude board in the family if he has that he must have it 
deducted. I do think that you must join the anti-extrava 
gance in dress movement. 

Write what you please to the Sanitary fair let it be your 

contribution. ^ ^ 

BENJ. F. 

From General Butler 

BY TELEGRAPH from Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va & N. C., 

May 25th, 1864, 6.40 A.M. 

To Hon. E. M. STANTON 

MAJOR GENERAL FITZHUGH LEE, lately promoted, made 
with cavalry, infantry, and artillery an attack upon my post at 
Wilsons wharf, north side of river below Fort Powhatan, 
garrisoned by two regiments of negro troops, Brig. Genl. Wild 
commanding, and was handsomely repulsed. 

Before the attack Gen. Lee sent a flag, stating that he had 
force enough to take the place, demanded its surrender, and in 
that case the garrison should be turned over to the authorities 
of Richmond as prisoners of war, but if the proposition was 
rejected he would not be answerable for the consequences when 
he took the place. To this Gen. Wild returned, "We will try 
that." Reinforcements were at once sent, but the fight was 
over before they arrived. Loss not yet reported. Despatch 
relating to Lee s being driven over the South Anna received. 
Will be ready to march on the instant. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 263 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORT MOXROE, May 25th, 1864 

MY DEAREST WIFE: I trust you did not take to heart my 
joke to Farrington. The women smuggled themselves through, 
and have been very mischievous. A well-ordered household 
I do not find save in my own home, and alas ! I cannot be there. 

Grant telegraphs that he has driven Lee across the South 
Anna, and I am to be ready to move when ordered. I have 
had Genls. Meigs and Barnard here a sort of smelling com 
mittee, but I believe they have gone away satisfied. 

I am getting quite ragged. Continual seat in the saddle is 
sad for the trousers. Can you not find a pair of flannel blue 
pants that have not been worn out quite? 

Thanks for the bread and cake. It was very grateful. Has 

Fisher come up? v ^ n 

1 ours, BENJ. F. B. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina. 
In the field, May [25to], 1864 

MY DEAREST SARAH: We have good news from Grant. He 
has driven the enemy across the South Anna River, and is 
himself some 15 to 20 miles from Richmond on the other side. 
We are to await him here. Fisher is here, and will not go 
down today. We are all well. 

Will you send me some pickled oysters and some sausage 
meat? Thanks for your flowers, and to Bennie for his roses. 

Tell the boys to study hard, and how much I shall love them, 
and how proud I shall be of them. It is absolutely impossible 
for you to come here; besides we shall move in a few days. 

Wild s negroes at Wilson s Wharf had quite a brilliant affair 
of it day before yesterday. They repulsed Fitz Hugh Lee and 
his force with heavy loss to them and small loss to us. Don t 
be anxious or apprehensive. We shall get on very well yet. 

Patience is a cardinal virtue. 1/r , , / TT 

Most truly your HUSBAND 

P.S. Send me some nice corned beef. B F B 



264 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 
From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May 9,5th, 1864 

DEAREST : I shall only write a few lines, perhaps you will be 
glad of it. Up to this time I have written, I think, very cheer 
fully, but there is a feeling almost of apathy, so I will write but 
little today. I went to the hospitals. The officers do not 
wish to be seen except by friends, which seems very natural. 
I felt a delicacy about going in to see the soldiers, but the 
matron seemed to desire it. Mrs. Usher went with me. I 
talked with several of them, and felt as though I ought to do 
something, but what, is the question. I asked Benriet to get 
me twenty-four boxes of strawberries, to send over tomorrow. 
The soldiers do not have ice water all the time; it seems to me 
they ought to have it. It is sent for in the morning, but does 
not arrive very soon. It is a sad-looking sight to see so many 
suffering men, yet they are very cheerful. I send you two 
pairs of pants, thick and thin. You may move, then, at any 
time? Fisher is with you, I suppose, tonight; I have hardly 
spoken with him yet. The children bathe every day, and have 
the regular hours for schooling. You say I must take part 
in the dress movement. I do not know what part to take but 
to be quiescent. I hope all will be right with you, and that 
Richmond will yet be ours. 

Most affectionately your SARAH 

From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters, May 25, 1864, 11 A.M. 

Hon. E. M. ST ANTON, Secretary of War 

GENERAL FITZHUGH LEE abandoned his attack on our post 
on Wilson s Wharf during the night, having completely failed. 
He lost 20 killed, whom he left on the ground in our hands. 
Among these is reported Major Breckinridge, of the Second 
Virginia Cavalry. He removed his wounded. We took 19 
prisoners from him. Our own loss is 1 man killed, 20 wounded, 
and 2 missing. The defense was commanded by Brigadier- 
General Wild in person commanding a force of 1,800 men, all 
of whom were negroes. I have the honor to be, with great 
respect, 

Your obedient servt., BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 269. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 265 

From General Butler 

BY TELEGRAPH from Headquarters in the Field, May 25, 1864. 11.30 A.M. 

To Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON, Sec. of War 

SIR: I most earnestly request that 3000 Spencer Rifles with 
appropriate ammunition be forwarded to this command. I 
think it would be more than equivalent to reenforcing us with 
that number of men. I will only give them to tried and 
deserving regiments, and they shall be the prize of gallantry 
and good behavior. BNJ R BUTLER> J/QJ 



From General Grant 

JERICHO FORD, VA., May 25, 1864, 12 noon 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief oj Staff 

THE enemy are evidently making a determined stand 
between the two Annas. It will probably take us two days to 
get in position for a general attack or to turn their position, as 
may favor best. Send Butler s force to White House, to land 
on north side and march up to join this army. The James 
River should be held to City Point, but leave nothing more 
than is absolutely necessary to hold it, acting purely on the 
defensive. The enemy will not undertake any offensive opera 
tions there, but will concentrate everything here. Breckin- 
ridge is unquestionably here. Sixty-six officers and men have 
been captured who were with Hoke in the capture of Plym 
outh. If Hunter can possibly get to Charlottesville and 
Lynchburg, he should do so, living on the country. The rail 
roads and canals should be destroyed beyond possibility of 
repair for weeks. Completing this, he could find his way back 
to his original base, or from about Gordons ville join this army. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 183. 

From General Meigs and General Barnard 

FORT MONROE, VA., May 25, 1864, 2.30 P.M. 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

THERE is confusion in the command here. No officer of 
sufficient rank appears to have command at Fort Monroe, and 
the Quartermaster, Lieutenant-Colonel Biggs, seems to be 
practically exercising the command. If General Gillmore is 
withdrawn from Bermuda Hundred, this fort, Norfolk, Ports- 



266 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

mouth, Yorktown, Williamsburg, Gloucester Point, and their 
dependencies, would constitute a district, the immediate com 
mand of which, subordinate to General Butler s general com 
mand of the department, would fully occupy him. 

M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General 
J. G. BARNARD, Chief Engineer 



From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the Field, May 25th, 1864 

J. W. SIMMONS, A.V.Lt., in command U. S. Steamer 
"Dawn" in James River 

SIR: Your letter to Col. Fuller, Chief Quartermaster of the 
Army in the Field, relating to the captain of the "Thomas 
Powell," has been referred to me, and would have had weight 
were you not too swift and willing a witness. Such a one 
usually injures the cause he advocates. 

You say that the "Powell" was coming up at the com 
mencement of the attack. She did not attempt to come up 
the river till she had landed her men at Wilson s wharf. There 
had been some fighting, which had ceased at the time she came 
up. I have examined the case, and your words to the captain 
as he attempted to pass between you and the North shore 
were, "Get out of my way. Go over to the other shore:" this 
both witness and the captain agree in. You now say that you 
ordered her to go down the river. You will please hereafter 
give no orders to the army boats. They are not under your 
control. In the precise language of Admiral Lee, "My officers 
are ordered to receive information from the navy officers, but 
no orders." 

You say that you did not consider it safe for her to pass the 
enemy s sharp-shooters. Why then did you ask the "Powell" 
as she returned up the river to carry a message to the "Pequot " 
to come to your assistance? Evidently you thought the fight 
was not over, or you would not have sent for assistance. If it 
was not safe to pass up just before, how came it more safe to 
pass up then, when you were sending for assistance? 

You farther say, "I take pleasure in saying that the Captain 
done all I asked him promptly." All that you now say you 
asked him to do was to go down the river, which he seems to 
have done with great alacrity. You farther say, "The Captain 
proceeded up the river as soon as I gave him permission." The 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 267 

fact is the Captain was under arrest, tied down in the cabin, 
before the boat returned up the river, which settles the truth 
fulness of that assertion. He had nothing to do with the boat s 
going up the river. And when it was related to you by Major 
Ackley, the officer in command, that the Captain had refused 
to go up the river, you said, "Put him in irons! Put him in 
irons!" This was twice reiterated. When informed that the 
boat had no engineers to go up the river, you said, you would 
send your own engineers. 

You never gave the Captain any permission to proceed up 
the river. You never saw him after you waved your hand 
and told him to go up on the other shore. You never said any 
thing about him except, "Put him in irons!" 

You further say in your letter, "I consider the Captain per 
fectly blameless." Why then did you desire that he should be 
put in irons? Is that the way you order perfectly innocent 
people to be treated, or is your head cooler now, and do you 
regret the course which you took then? The course then taken 
seemed to me a very proper and officer-like one. Of your 
present course, in this letter excusing an insubordinate trans 
port master, I pass no opinion. It will speak for itself in the 
light of these facts. These facts I have from the personal 
examination of the master of the transport. 

You are directed in the future not to interfere with the army 
transports, either ordering them up or down the river. I have 
the honor to be, very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, (BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. In the Field, May 26th, 1864, 9.45 A.M. 

Genl. HINKS 

THERE will be no more immediate attack at Wilson s wharf, 
and the dispositions herein directed will cover Powhatan. 
Concentrate your forces so as to leave say 1000 men at Wilson s 
wharf, Wild commanding, and nearly the same number at 
Powhatan, so as to leave there at least some of your best 
regiments as a movable brigade of reserve at City Point, to 
remain there till further orders. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



268 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Henry Wilson to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 26, 1864 

DEAR GENERAL: I have received your telegraph of the 21st, 
which a short absence from the city has prevented my answer 
ing sooner. 

Gen. Gillmore s confirmation has been suspended for some 
time, but there seems to be a better feeling respecting him now, 
and I am inclined to think he will be confirmed. I shall be 
glad to receive any suggestions you may have to make. 

Truly yours, H. WILSON 

From General Halleck 

WASHINGTON, May 26, 1864, 10 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, BERMUDA HUNDRED, VA. 

GENERAL GRANT directs that you retain no more troops than 
may be necessary to hold the James River to City Point, acting 
solely on the defensive, and send all else to White House, on 
the Pamunkey, to land on the north side and join the Army of 
the Potomac. This column will be placed under command of 
Major-General Smith. One or two field batteries and a regi 
ment of cavalry will go with it, to cover the landing. General 
Gillmore or General Weitzel should be placed in the immediate 
command of your defensive position on the James, as they are 
familiar with defensive works. General Grant, at noon yester 
day, was between the two Annas, and the enemy seemed dis 
posed to dispute his farther advance. Some irregularities in 
the command at Fort Monroe and Norfolk are reported, the 
correction of which should receive your attention. 

W. H. HALLECK, Major-General and Chief of Staff 

War Rec., Vol. 36, Part III, p. 234. 

From General Hinks 

May 26, 1864, 11.30 A.M. 

General BUTLER 

YOUR despatch relating to the disposition of troops is re 
ceived, and its details will be executed with the least possible 
delay. It will be necessary to withdraw one of the two regi 
ments now in the works at Spring Hill, in order to concentrate 
the movable brigade required at City Point. 

HINKS, General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 243. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 269 

From General Butler 
Maj. Genl HALLECK CIPHER - M ^ mh > 1864 

No irregularities have been reported to me at Norfolk or Fort 
ress Monroe. Please indicate what they are, and they shall re- 
ceive attention at once. BENJ R BUTLER> Maj ^ C(mff ^ 

From General Butler 

CONFIDENTIAL. Headquarters, in the Field, 
near BERMUDA HUNDRED, VA., May 26, 1864, 8.30 P.M. 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

TELEGRAM of 10 A.M. to-day received. Orders were already 
given this morning to put, say, 17,000 infantry in condition to 
move at once, leaving what may be sufficient only, in the judg 
ment of myself and officers, to hold the line of defenses between 
the James and Appomattox, near Point of Rocks, which is our 
defensive line. You say "hold the line of the James to City 
Point." Is it intended to abandon this line and retire to City 
Point? This will be a work of time to save material and men. 
General Meigs can explain the difference. At all events send 
transportation which has been ordered to Washington. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Dept. Va. & N. C. In the Field, May 26, 1864 

Maj. Gen. HALLECK 

AT the request of Gen. Smith I send to ask if the point of 
debarkation can be changed to West Point. The river from 
that point to the White House is narrow, tortuous, and filled 
with torpedoes, & no known landing exists on the north side 
of the Pamunkey at the White House. At West Point the 
wharves were repaired under my direction before we left for 
this point, and the landing can be perfectly covered by gun 
boats, & a safe depot made there if desirable. 

Genl. Smith thinks time will be saved by the change in the 

order BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From J. K. Herbert to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 26, 1864 

DEAR GENERAL: I arrived here at 11 A.M. to-day. It is 
now 2.30 P.M. I have seen Senators Wade, Chandler, Pomeroy, 
Harlan, Lane (Ind.), Fessenden, Wilkinson, Sumner, and as 



270 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

soon as Morrill comes in I will see him. I have read the letter 
to the gentlemen, and said that in addition to the justice of the 
desired rejection, you would esteem it a personal favor if their 
prompt action should relieve you of a nuisance (or a worse 
thing) as Gen. G. had proven himself to be, so far. 

Wade, Chan. Pom. & Wil. were especially glad to hear your 
request. Chandler said he would have a little executive ses 
sion and attend to his case. He is already reported against 
by the Com. I asked them to telegraph the result at once when 
they had acted. I think they will act promptly and satisfac 
torily. Just now I have seen Wilson. He says they are 
engaged very closely on the tax bill, but he will try to get a 
short Ex. Sess. and have a vote on Gil s case. He is against 
Gillmore himself, so I think still more than when I wrote 
above, that the result will be what you desire. 

Sen. Chandler was making remarks about Copperheads in 
the National dining hall yesterday afternoon Voorhees of 
Ind. heard his name mentioned approached Chandler and 
after a few words struck at Chan. The blows were warded 
off, and some dealt to Voorhees face. As soon as it became 
apparent that V. was getting the worst of it a friend of his 
threw a pitcher at Chandler s head and cut him slightly in the 
forehead. Farns worth held Chan. They took up chairs on 
the Copperhead side. Nobody was badly hurt, but somebody 
may be yet, as I have heard that Chan, says it is not all over. 

I shall now attend somewhat to my own matters. Hoping 
I may have served you successfully in this matter, & that you 
succeed as you deserve, I am, sir, 

Faithfully your ob t serv t, J. K. HERBERT 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. Head Qrs., May 26th, 1864, 4.45 P.M. 

Generals GILLMORE & SMITH 

IN making the changes provided for in General Orders as to 
the occupation of lines, give directions that each relieved 
officer shall give the fullest instructions and information to the 
new officer, as to topography, situation of the enemy, the situa 
tion even of picket lines, points of probable attack and means 
of supporting it, so that the relieving officer shall at the earliest 
possible moment have full knowledge to fit him for his duties. 
See to it also that the new officers are fully instructed in the 
provisions of Genl. Order No. 62 Current Series. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 271 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs., May 26th, 1864, 6.15 

Genl. GILLMORE 

AMES and Turner Divisions are to take their shelter tents 
with them. Genl. Turner and Ames will report in encamp 
ment by General Smith s orders as a part of his column. 
Ames tents should be changed during the night so as not too 
much to attract attention. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. CIPHER. May 26th, 1864, 9 P.M. 

Col. BIGGS 

SEND me all the transportation you can to Bermuda Hun 
dreds, and telegraph what is coming. 

BEXJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. In the Field, May 26th, 1864 

Gen. GILLMORE 

I SEE by an article in the New York Herald, said to be de 
rived from authentic sources, that Genl. Gillmore earnestly 
advised me "to make his (my) position secure by intrench- 
ments against sorties or any movements of the enemy to oust us 
from them" when before Fort Darling, and that I answered 
"that I could not pause for defensive preparation." This is 
the first I ever heard of this. Did you or do you authorize it? 
Please answer and correct an injustice. 

BENJ. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Com. 

P.S. I send article by my chief of staff who will wait answer. 
B. F. B. 

From General Gillmore 

Hd. Qrs. 10 Army Corps, May 26, 1864 

Maj. Genl. BUTLER. Comd. 

GENERAL: In reply to your note of this date, I beg to say 
that I know not who the author of the editorial in the Herald 
of yesterday is, & that I did not do not authorize it. I never 
advised you as stated. 

I sent a staff officer to you in regard to certain changes in the 
line, but there was not time to make those changes, even if 
they had been ordered. Very ^ Q A GlLLMORE 



272 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina. 
In the Field, May 27, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

To the Editor of the "EVENING POST" 

IT is a rare occurrence to correct the misrepresentations of 
the press. I generally prefer to suffer. But a paragraph, 
extract from which alone, I see in The Herald, has such a ten 
dency to shake the confidence of my command in the officer 
to whom the Government has seen fit to entrust the direction of 
the operations here, and as unjust as well to my own reputation 
as to the reputation of Gen. Gillmore, if he could be supposed 
for a moment to advise such a stupidity in engineering and 
military operations as that suggested in your article, that "to 
supply the ripe wants of a friend, I break a custom." 

Upon seeing the article, a copy of which I enclose, I addressed 
the enclosed note to General Gillmore and received the enclosed 
answer, official copies of which I send you. You will make 
such use of them as your sense of right and justice, to which I 
appeal, may dictate. I have great preference, however, not 
to appear in print with any comment upon my military opera 
tions in my own name. 

You would do me a great favor and subserve the cause of 
truth and justice if you would give me the name of your 
"authentic source." 

I have the honor to be, 

Your obedient servant, B. F. BUTLER, 

Maj. Gen. Commanding 

From General Gillmore 

Hd. Qr. 10th Army Corps, May Wth, 1864 

N. Y. Vol. Engineers 

COL. SERRELL, who examined the line of works captured in 
front of Drury s Bluff & was directed to submit to Maj. Gen. 
Butler a plan for shortening it & facing it towards Richmond, 
will report the action he took in the matter. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Maj. Genl. Comdg. 

From Colonel Serrell 

Hd. Qr. N. Y. Vol. Engr., May 21th, 1864 
[Not in chronological order] 

I TOOK Gen. Gillmore s note of May 15th, 10.49 A.M., to 
Maj. Gen. Butler, remarking to him that Gen. Gillmore directed 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 273 

me to say something about changing the enemy s lines we then 
occupied to defences for ourselves to which Gen. Butler 
replied, "Say to Genl. Gillmore we are on the offensive not 
defensive, he need have no apprehension about his left." I 
immediately returned and so reported to Gen. Gillmore, in the 
presence of several officers. 

Res. &c. 9 EDW. W. SERRELL, Col. Engr. N. Y. 

Hd. Qr. Wtk Army Corps, May Wth, 1864 

RESPECTFULLY returned to Maj. Gen. Butler for his informa 
tion. The following is a copy of the note which Col. Serrell 
carried. 

Hd. Qrs. 10th A. C. In the Field, May 15, 1864, 10.49 A.M. 

THE result of Col. SerrelFs visit to Maj. Gen. Butler was 
reported to me verbally by the Colonel, in the presence of other 
officers, which accounts for the fact that it was no secret. It is 
needless to say that the publication of the facts was unknown 
to unauthorized by me. I have not seen the article from 
which the New York Herald claims to have derived its informa 
tion. I understand it w r as an editorial. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Maj. Genl. Comdg. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May IQth, 1864 

DEAREST: I thought I should not write today, but the New 
York papers have stirred me to it; besides, I thought you might 
possibly miss it if I did not. The Herald takes an article from 
the Evening Post, and calls on you to defend yourself; of course 
you have seen all this, and also something in the Tribune. 
But I wish to know if you think it comes from the source that I 
think it comes from. You thought Genl. Meigs was satisfied. 
I think he took his impressions from others rather than you. 
The words you had w^ith Genl. Gillmore did not make him too 
favorably disposed toward you. And if Genl. Grant did not 
succeed in the movement he has since made, or in those he has 
yet to make, you are a very convenient scapegoat. But I 
must not write in this w r ay, you will not think it well that I 
should express opinions on these matters in a letter which 
may not reach you, nor would you maybe agree with me in the 
least if I were talking with you. But that article in the Even 
ing Post is not written by a correspondent, but is very guardedly 
yet explicitly stated as if from authority, and the Evening Post 

VOL. IV 1 8 



274 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

is a careful paper. Your position is difficult; if you win or 
lose you are dangerous or obnoxious. Capt. Farquhar came 
to see me today, he looks poorly in health. I am sorry he 
left you. I think he should have stayed. It was not beneath 
him to be second to Genl. Weitzel in such a command. He says 
you were very kind to him about it, and said you would see 
him again; he thinks you will come down, but I do not think 
so. I hope you will do any kind thing for him that you can. 
There is nothing new here. The boys are ailing a little this 
morning. I shall send them home the first of the week. 

Affectionately yours, SARAH 

Give kind regards to Mr. Hale. I appreciate his politeness 
highly. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May 11th, 1864 

DEAREST: The roses were beautiful, splendid in size and 
fragrance and variety. The box is half full of sweet rose leaves. 
I have pulled them from the stems, and shall keep them as a 
souvenir of your battle at City Point. My letter of yesterday 
was not very well. I am quite sure you would be glad to see me 
if it were proper for me to go. The day has been very hot, you 
have suffered there I fear will the soldiers be able to bear 
the heat if it continues like this? The campaign ought to have 
begun a month earlier. What do you think of our chances? 
But that is a question you won t answer, or if you do, it would 
be that we shall win. Oh, I hope it will be so, but it looks like 
very heavy work. That is a strange thing you write of. Our 
resources are limited indeed, if they come to you for help. Is 
there not something else under it? Why, you can hardly 
maintain your ground as it is. But I must not write about 
this. You had better send my letters back daily enclosed in 
your own. I have talked with Mr. Owen of terms again. He 
could not get but a thousand even if he had the good fortune 
to be accepted, and out of that he has to live. I told him six 
hundred would be better in a family like ours than a thousand 
in Boston, and he thinks so but would like more, but will stay. 
I think you ought not to give him more at present at least. 
Benny is but nine years old, so do not change my plans. He 
wished me to write to you, I told him I would but you were too 
busy to give it attention just now. In the meantime he is 
quite ready to go on. Give regards to Mr. Hale, tell him I am 
so much obliged for his notes. They give me detail, which 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 275 

you have not time to do. I should be so glad to see you. I 
cannot but think very much about you, though I do not know 

as you deserve it. v 7 , TXT 

Your devoted \\IFE 

Do you get time to read my letters? They are fearfully long 
for one in a hurry. 

I send six boxes of strawberries. Fisher will go up this 
morning. He came today. 

Tomorrow I shall go over to the hospital, though I am half 
afraid to do it, for fear they will think me troublesome. I shall 
take some flowers, they can t object to those. 

From General Halleck 

WASHINGTON, May 27, 1864, 11.30 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, BERMUDA HUNDRED, VA. 

Ix using the words, "Hold the James to City Point," I pre 
sume General Grant meant the point you now occupy, above 
the Appomattox and opposite City Point. No name is given 
to it on my maps. General Grant undoubtedly means that 
you are to hold your present fortified position. Advices from 
Fort Monroe were that there was no officer of sufficient rank in 
command to control affairs at that place (Norfolk, Portsmouth, 
Yorktown, and their dependencies), and to secure concert of 
action; that, to accomplish this, in your absence, there should 
be a district commander over the whole, acting under your 
general instructions. No particular irregularities were specified 
by inspection report. Rebels seem to be making a desperate 
stand on the South Anna, and General Grant thinks that Lee 
has been heavily re-enforced from Richmond. General Smith 
should take every possible precaution in landing on the Pamun- 
key. Transports ordered here are already on their return. 
H. \Y. HALLECK, Major-General and Chief of Staff 

War Rec., Vol. 36, Part III, p. 261. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina. 

In the Field, May (27), 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH: Grant has sent for all my troops to move 
over on the other line and help him. This is a sign of weak 
ness I did not look for, and to my mind augurs worse for our 
cause than anything I have seen. 



276 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

It is quite possible that I shall be down at the Fortress in 

a day or two. ^ -o 

Yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, (May 27) 1864 

DEAREST: I can write to you now, for you are in trouble, 
- a few words from me may be welcome. So, they have 
shorn you utterly at last! Never heed it. You will yet go 
beyond them. In their wish to kill they will o erleap the mark, 
and stumble to their own downfall. I shall be very glad to 
see you here. Bennett will give me no more time. 

Yours affectionately, SARAH 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Department of Virginia and N. Carolina. 

In the field. 2.30 P.M. May 27, 1864 

Maj. Gen. SMITH, commanding 18th Army Corps 

I SEND you herewith a copy of the Petersburg paper. You 
will see that the number of Beauregard s wounded is 3040, which 
is considerably more than ours. From the two corps we lost 
about 4500, of whom 1478 were missing and about 750 killed. 
This you see is without reckoning any of their wounded who fell 
into our Jiands. You will also see, General, by examining 
article of the Sentinel and the leader of yesterday s paper, that 
it will be impossible for any column to reach Hanover Junction 
in time to be of service. Very respectfully, &c 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

GOT.KMJTZ May **- 1864 9 5 

I AM informed that there is some trouble about your picket 
line. Please superintend in person the posting and instructing 
there to guard against surprise tonight. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May 11th, 1864 

DEAREST: I could not rest easily without sending you a 
telegram. I think you will understand from it what I wished to 
say. It related of course entirely to you. I wished to express 
a word about your going elsewhere, and I do not know but you 
will leave before a letter can reach you. My letter before this 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 277 

will give you some idea what I think, though it may not be 
worth but a moment s consideration, yet, give it that moment. 
If you go to the Potomac you leave Genl. Gillmore in command, 
of course with a competent force that must take nearly one- 
half. I am writing this believing it rests with you whether you 
go or stay; if you are ordered to go, that ends it. But if you 
are, I should want to write to Genl. Grant to ask him why the 
plans are changed, and your command removed just at the 
favorable time to attack Petersburg, when you had already 
given orders for the attack. Do you think a command on the 
Potomac better than where you are? Capt. Farquhar told 
me yesterday the army of the Potomac was fully reinforced, 
that no more were wanted, how comes it necessary to divide 
your force? Do you not look better in the place you were 
sent to capture and move from than engulfed on the Potomac? 
I think very much of Genl. Weitzel s opinion if he knows the 
circumstances. You will think this is all nonsense, and be 
angry at the telegrams and letter. If you escape sharpshooters, 
political intriguers, and the poisonous malignity, oh fie, well, 
if you do, you bear a charmed life. 

If you could hold your command complete, now would seem 
to be the time when you could win glory for the country and 
yourself, but even divided with a chance to reinforce as best 
you can, with your active mind in expedients, you could inflict 
more injury upon the enemy and give greater aid to Gen. Grant 
than to be swallowed up in his immediate command. I may 
be entirely wrong in all I have written, but you will know if it 
is worth the least attention. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

May 28th, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH: I do not understand your telegram. 
What personal change do you refer to? I have written you 
none to be made by me that I am aware of. I am a little sick 

today Goodbye, BENJ. 

From General Butler to Henry Wilson 

CONFIDENTIAL. Head Quarters. In the Field, May 28, 1864 

MY DEAR WILSON: You do not seem to have received my 
letter of May 7th. I therefore enclose a copy of it. After 
very considerable experience with General Gillmore I see no 
cause to alter any suggestion in it. 



278 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

You will allow me to say that there is not a word of truth in 
the report about Gillmore s supposed advice to me in regard 
to fortifying our lines before Drury s Bluff. I have written his 
contradiction of it, which I have forwarded to the Evening 
Post, where the story was started by an officer of his command, 
for his own self-glorification. I am convinced and I think it is 
the judgment of any well judging officer that Gen. Gillmore is 
not fit for the command he exercises. 

I take leave to enclose to you, also, a copy of our correspond 
ence, and a copy of the newspaper article which you may not 
have seen. I am 

Truly yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. N. C. and Va. 

From General Halleck 

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 28, 1864, 10 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, BERMUDA HUNDRED 

GENERAL GRANT S order was to White House. I cannot 
make any change. Probably General Smith can communicate 
with him from West Point by express sent up north side of the 

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 278. 

From General Butler 

To General SMITH Head Quarter in the Field - May * 8 - 1864 l 

THE artillery you desire shall be ordered to report to you. 
I have doubts upon the subject of that picket line of General 
Hinks. I think it had better be from Broadway up to Spring 
Hill, so as not to excite attention, and you can mass your troops 
between it. Then let Gen. Hinks go forward in the morning 
and capture the pickets if possible as you go ahead. 

I have asked Gen. Weitzel to confer with you upon that 

^ Very Respectfully Yours, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Commanding 

From General Halleck 

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 28, 1864, 2.30 P.M. 

Maj. Gen. W. F. SMITH, via FORT MONROE 

GENERAL GRANT directs that on reaching White House you 
will put the railroad bridge there in condition for crossing 
troops and artillery, and leave a force sufficient to hold it. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 279 

Ask General Butler to give you artillery enough for that pur 
pose. The railroad bridge corps will immediately leave Alex 
andria with men and materials for executing the work. As 
soon as you occupy the place, telegraph here your progress in 
ascending the river and landing. 

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 285. 

From General Butler 

May mh, 1864, 2.30 P.M. 

Gen. SMITH 

As Petersburg is now uncovered, you will take your movable 
column prepared for that purpose, and cross the river by the 
pontoon bridge and attack Petersburg. 

Gen. Hinks will aid you with his brigade of troops according 
to the plan verbally agreed upon last night. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd"g. 

From General Butler 

May 28<A, 1864, 5.45 

Maj. Gen. GILLMORE 

You will cause two thirty-pounder parrots from the line and 
two hundred rounds of ammunition therefor to be at abutment 
of Pontoon bridge across the Appomattox on this side at 8 
o clock tomorrow morning. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters in the Field, May 28^, 1864 

Gen. HINKS 

IN consequence of the imperative orders to embark at once 
Genl. Smith s column in aid of General Grant and the arrival 
of the transportation thereupon, the attack on Petersburg 
from which we hoped so much must be postponed. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

r, Mau 28, 1864 

Gen. SMITH 

THE transportation of your column arrived, although in 
my judgment not sufficient, yet in consequence of impera 
tive orders from General Grant your column will move to his 
assistance. You will use the utmost expedition in embark 
ing and getting on. If you desire any cavalry to accompany 



280 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

you, please designate what regiment or battalion. I grieve 
much that this weakness of the Army of the Potomac has 
called the troops away just as we were taking the offensive, 
and that the attack on Petersburg, which was agreed on to 
take place tomorrow morning, must be abandoned; but it is 
so ordered, and herein against our wishes and judgment we 
must obey. I propose to give you every facility in going off. 
You will have to use great caution in going up the Pamunky, 
and in getting into White House. The torpedoes in the water 
or a well-arranged surprise on land would bring your expedi 
tion to grief. As you will not have the advantage in going 
away which we had in coming, your destination will be exactly 
known by the rebels the moment you start. Indeed, they 
have heretofore predicted it in the newspapers. I have the 
honor to be 

Very truly yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER, M aj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, in the Field, May 28, 1864, 7.15 P.M. 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

As I informed General Halleck in my despatch of 8.30 of 
May 26, I had already got my best troops into a movable 
column for the purpose of offensive operations. My defensive 
line was in such position as to be safe to leave it with the dis 
mounted cavalry, the invalids, and a few good troops. I 
found that the rebels had uncovered Petersburg, and its im 
portance as a depot to them cannot be overrated. I had 
proposed to attack the place to-morrow morning, with every 
prospect of success, but the imperative orders transmitted 
through General Halleck, and the arrival of the transporta 
tion, although not sufficient in my judgment, but yet suffi 
cient to begin with, rendered necessary a change of order. 
General Smith embarks tonight. I have now left here one 
division and two regiments of infantry, invalids, dismounted 
cavalry, and artillery. Much of the light artillery I shall 
send away as soon as my transports return. I regret exceed 
ingly the loss of this opportunity upon Petersburg. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 281 
From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May [29</T], 1864 

DEAREST: Your note came this afternoon. I know you are 
gloomy and half sick, but after a little it will look brighter, 
the clouds will roll away. You have my letter before this 
which explains my telegram. It was obscure, but I thought 
as I referred to the note brought by Fisher or sent on the day 
he came you would understand my meaning, and the fact that 
I never telegraph I thought would be significant at such a time 
as this, that I only referred to you and your movements. I 
did not know but you might be down here by this time. You 
may be sure I shall be very glad to see you. I could almost 
laugh, if I did not feel so earnest about your matters, at the 
disgust you felt at a night telegram that you could not under 
stand. But I think you gave it little heed; there are other 
things to worry and disgust you more than that. I will not 
write much. I think you have but little time to give to letter 
reading, unless directly relating to the business in hand. 

The children leave today. I did not know but you would 
see them before they started. I see by the Tribune this morn 
ing that a correspondent does not believe Lee will fall back 
on Richmond. 

Bennet has come for my letter. ^ f 7 c 

Most truly, your SARAH 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs., May 29th, 7.40 A.M. 

Gen. GILLMORE, commanding defences, &c. 

DIRECT an inspection and return at 11 A.M. today of all the 
forces along the line and the reserves, so that we may have 
tonight an exact account of every man we have & where he 
belongs. BENJ p BuTLER? Ma j Genl Comd g. 



From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. In the Field, May 29th, 1864, 10 A.M. 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Sec. of War 

FLAG of truce boat just in with papers to the 28th. They 
report May 27th, 12 M., a large force of the enemy appeared 
and pressed our cavalry back at Hanover Court House. 
Prisoners captured from Sixth Corps say that they have orders 
to move to the White House. Atlanta, May 27th, our advance 



282 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

came up with the enemy at New Hope, four miles east of 
Dallas on Wednesday, our right rests on the road from Ach- 
worth to Dallas, about three miles north east of New Hope, 
and extends from the Cutter point nearly west. Clinton, 
May 24th, via Summit, May 26th. Banks has escaped from 
Alexandria via Smisport. A. J. Smith s Corps has gone up 
to Natchez and Vicksburg, the balance of his army is in full 
retreat towards New Orleans at Morgunza on the West bank 
of the river. Canby has arrived and assumed command. 
In view of this news, as the Nineteenth Army Corps are disen 
gaged, I respectfully suggest that it be sent by water to land 
here or at West Point in aid of Gen. Grant. Gen. Weitzel, 
who so well knows the military situation in Louisiana, concurs 
in this suggestion. It can be here in 14 days to reinforce 
the army, depleted by the battles to be fought in the 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 
From General Butler 

May 29, 1864, 10.30 A.M. 

Gen. GILLMORE 

CAN you send me two intelligent and faithful men, willing 
to act as scouts and take a risk to be paid for. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head. Qrs. in the Field, near POINT OF ROCKS, APPOMATTOX RIVER, VA., 
May 31st, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

SAMUEL SYMINGTON, AYERS VILLAGE, HAVERHILL, MASS. 

MY DEAR SIR: I write to inform you that upon the recom 
mendation of his officers I employed your half -son, Sergt. 
Symington, on an important and difficult service in behalf of 
his country, and promised him as he had not time that I would 
write to inform you that you might not be alarmed at his 
absence. I trust and believe he is safe and well although you 
may not hear from him for some time. You have reason to 
be proud of him as a soldier, and to hear that when about to 
leave his thought was of you and your welfare. If you re 
ceive this hurried note, which is written in my despatch book 
in the field, and have need, you can draw on me for fifty 
dollars per month until further advices. 

Most respectfully Yours, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 283 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAPH. Headquarters, 12.30 P.M., May 29, 1864 

To Maj. Gen. GILLMORE 

DESPATCH received. Your disposition as regards Kautz 
and Turner is approved. 

Gen. Weitzel will do anything in the way of engineering to 
which Gen. Gillmore does not feel himself competent on our 
line. Col. Henry L. Abbot is also a very accomplished engi 
neer officer in your command. In my judgment Col. Ser- 
rell is now of more use in his present position than he can be 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Commanding 

(The foregoing despatch was returned at 2.15 with this endorsement) 

The operator will have this repeated and will request the 
other station to have it examined by Gen. Butler, before he 

sends it again. 

Q. A. GILLMORE 

From General Butler 

May 29, 1864, 2.15 

GEN. GILLMORE has returned my despatch of 12.30 for 
examination. 

I see no word to alter save that Genl. Gillmore may object 
to the word "competent." The sense in which it may be 
used might be objectionable, but there are many kinds of 
incompetency and knowledge, and the other s want of time, 
pressure of other duties for superintendence of details and 
supervision works, because of which Gen. Gillmore asked for 
Col. Serrell, and to which I have suggested the services of 
Genl. Weitzel & Col. Abbot. 

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

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina. 

In the Field, May 29th, 1864 

MY DEAREST WIFE: I have no thought of going out of the 
Department. I have sent away 17,000 of my best men to land 
at W r hite House, and must hold here with the remainder. 

Why do you send the boys home? Mr. Owen goes with 
them, of course. You get your letters back punctually, do 
you not? I was quite sick yesterday, so as to keep my bed 
nearly all day from that bowel trouble, but this morning it 



284 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

has substantially gone, I hope. I sent for some pickled oysters, 
some corned beef and sausage meat, but you have not been 
able to get them, I suppose. Your 



From General Butler 

Head Qrs. May 29th, 1864, 6 P.M. 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Sec. of War 

THE following is an extract from the Richmond Examiner 
of 27th instant: "Trains commenced running regularly on the 
Petersburg R. Road yesterday, 26th." It will be seen, there 
fore, that we have held the Road lor three weeks, May 5th 
to 26th. Our prisoners in Richmond are on half rebel rations, 
so are the rebel soldiers. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Shepley 

Head-Quarters District of Eastern Virginia, NORFOLK, VA., May 29, 1864 

Colonel J. WILSON SHAFFER, Chief of Staff, 
FORT MONROE, VA. 

COLONEL: In accordance with the suggestions of the Com 
manding General I have forwarded to the Postmaster General 
the name of E. W. Whipple for Postmaster of Norfolk. 

I have delayed doing this until I could get the right man, 
who would not combine with the opposition to the military 
authorities. 

I am sure Mr. Whipple is the best man for the place in 
Norfolk. He has a son, a lieutenant in the 3rd New York 
Infantry. 

Everything is quiet in this command. 

There is a line of rebel signals from Chuckatuck, via Smith- 
field and Surrey Court House. I shall soon break it up. 

The information sent to me that there were pickets oppo 
site Jamestown Island undoubtedly referred to ten (10) of 
the rebel signal corps who are stationed at Surrey Court 
House. Seven (7) more are at Chuckatuck, and seven (7) at 
Smithfield. I am, Colonel, very respectfully, 

Your obedient Servant, G. F. SHEPLEY, 
Brig. Genl. Comdg. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 285 
From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May [29tfT], 1864 

DEAREST: I saw those transports go by today (loaded with 
your troops) with anger and disgust. Every man belonging 
to your Department is gone. The reinforcements brought by 
Gillmore, or a part of them, are all you have left. Twenty 
thousand troops removed, twelve or fourteen left, to hold a 
point of vital importance! If Lee falls back on Richmond, a 
Tribune man says he will not fall back there, but get round 
Genl. Grant and threaten Washington, Penn., Ohio, etc., but 
whichever way he goes, or if he stands still, and is defeated, 
it would not be safe politically to leave a force in your hands 
by which you could capture Petersburg or attack Richmond 
if there were but a remnant of troops left to defend it. You 
know that some of us believed before the troops left Yorktown 
that you would be so closely shorn of command that no possi 
bility of distinction would be left you. But Genl. Grant s 
belief in your capacity and his sense of justice prevailed for 
the time, and you were allowed to originate and to direct the 
capture of City Point; expected to be a most difficult and 
dangerous movement. But so carefully and adroitly was it 
strategized that we had possession without bloodshed before 
the rebels were aware that such a plan was formed, their dar 
ing and daily attempts to dispossess us show the importance 
they attach to it. Now it is fortified, has been examined from 
Washington, and it is thought you may be able to hold with 
the force you have left and not enough to make it dangerous 
you can do more. Your works must be strong if you are 
able to hold on with that force if Lee can spare a day from 
Grant. How gloomy you must feel, stripped of command 
on the hour of movement and in belief of success, only, a 
man need call for "patience, patience," like old King Lear, 
when turned forth to the tempest of his inhuman daughters. 
You will wonder why I write this; because if I write I shall 
not forget. It will not trouble you. With you the storm has 
passed already, or will before you get this. The children 
went tonight. Owen with them. Fisher is yet here the 
house is very lonely. If I had thought you desired them to 
stay I would still have kept them, but two or three days ago 
it was very hot and both were ailing, and I was afraid to keep 

them. rr 7 c 

1 ruly your SARAH 



286 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

If Gen. Grant needed those troops his condition is very critical. 
If they were not a necessity, it is determined to make your affairs 
desperate every way. I hear you have approved that Carney 
shall send all the vegetables left in the market up to City Point. 
Will there not be a great waste in that and a chance for com 
plaint? If Dr. McCormick could see what is wanted for the fee 
ble and wounded, and give an order both for there and here too, 
or Dr. McClellan get a note from you to that effect for the hos 
pitals here, would it not be better? I have sent for fifty boxes 
of strawberries to be brought this morning at your expense. 
And shall go over with Parson Cheever to see the wounded sol 
diers, though I am almost afraid for fear they should address 
me as they did one woman, with the question, "Have you come 
to see the show?" I send you a piece of corned beef, and have 
ordered the oysters to be pickled. It is too late for the sausage 
meat. I will send butter crackers soon as they can be had. I 
enclose Parton s letter. You have returned all my letters but 
the last one. I have no more time, and you are glad. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

In the field, May 30th, 1864 

MY DEAREST SARAH: Why think that your letters are not 
welcome? All the more when they speak of yourself. That 
I do not always agree with your views of matters of public 
policy is because you do not always know all the facts on which 
to base an opinion. 

Gilman is going down and will bring you this. You can 
come up to stay a day, as the children are gone and you must 
be lonely, but mind you will have to bear all manner of pri 
vations. This is camp. I should be very glad to see you. 
Mr. Hale leaves today to go home to make arrangements to 
finish the campaign with me. I send by him a tree (twig) 
which has accidentally grown up in front of my headqrs., 
to set out at home as a trophy. Modest, is it not? 

You see how cruelly and Fisher has told you how falsely I 
have been abused in the newspapers. However, this will all 
cease after the 7th of June. 1 

I am quite well this morning, having recovered from my attack. 

Most truly your HUSBAND 

1 On the 7th of June the movement was to take place as described in General 
Grant s letters of June 5th and 14th, and would show the reasons for General Butler s 
position at Bermuda Hundred, and its importance in carrying out the plans of the 
whole campaign. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 287 

From Admiral Lee 

CONFIDENTIAL. Flag-Ship, N. Atlantic Block. 

Squad., James River, May 30, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Commdg. Department 
of Virginia and North Carolina 

GENERAL: I have information from a deserter from the 
rebel vessel-of-war "Hampton" that the enemy have now 
below Drury s Bluff three iron-clads, six small gun-boats, 
plated with boiler-iron, each mounting two guns of 6-inch and 
4-inch bore, all fitted with torpedoes, and nine fire-ships filled 
with combustible material, with which they propose to attack 
the fleet in James River at as early a moment as practicable 
by sending down the fire-ships first, closely followed by their 
iron-clads and other vessels. The deserter says that the 
vessels have been ready since Monday a week ago, that the 
crews of the vessels were supplied by men from Lee s army. 
Information received previously from deserters intimated 
that the rebel land forces were intended to co-operate with the 
attack of the rebel naval vessels. If an attack of the nature 
of the above is made upon the fleet, it would at the time of 
attack require all the forces at my disposal to meet it. I 
would respectfully suggest the probability of a simultaneous 
movement against you. 

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, yours, 
S. P. LEE, Acting Rear-Admiral, 

N . Atlantic Block. Squad. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 368. 

From General Butler 

Gen. GILLAIORE ln ihe FieU Mav mh > 18M WAS A M 

I observe the .Colored Brigade is encamped on the left of 
Kautz s command. Your attention is called to the order 
which provides they shall be encamped in the rear of Brooks 
right, in the open field as much out of range as may be. 

BEXJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Grant 

Two miles southwest of Haws Shop, May 30, 1864, 4 P.M. 

Major-General HALLECK, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

THERE seems to be some prospect of Lee s making a stand 
north of the Chickahominy, his right near Shady Grove. I 



288 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

have heard nothing yet of Smith s troops reaching White 
House. If I can get up to attack will not await his arrival. 
I wish you would send all the pontoon bridging you can to 
City Point, to have it ready in case it is wanted. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

War Rec., Vol. 36, Part I, p. 10. 

From General Butler 

Admiral LEE Head " In the FM Mtt 30 - 5 20 " 

YOUR despatch relating to fire-ships and enemy s naval 
force received. In view of the torpedo boats and fire-ships, 
had you not better anchor your obstructions at least, if not 
sink them in your front, leaving a channel for pursuit? They 
are awaiting your orders. Can Graham aid you? Gen. 
Grant is now across the Parnunkey at Hanover Town, 15 miles 
from Richmond. As for the land attack, let them come on. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

(Secretary of War) HA " In the FM May 30th - 6 30 P M 

I LEARN from a reliable deserter from the enemy that Hoi- 
court s Legion, consisting of three or four hundred men has 
gone to Charleston, and that Colquit s Brigade is to follow on 
behind them. 

They were sent in pursuance of a telegram received by Gen. 
Beauregard on Saturday, saying that by the time he (Beaure- 
gard) received the despatch Secessionville would be in the 
hands of the enemy. This the deserter heard from Col. 
Gilliard of the 27th South Carolina. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

To Maj. Gen. GILLMORE m "- m \ mh < 1864 8M " 

GENERAL: I enclose to you a note received today from 
Admiral Lee, and my reply thereto. I would suggest to you 
the propriety of sending the twenty (20) pounder Parrot gun 
Battery to the right, selecting a good position for it to aid in 
any attack upon the gunboats. By a little arrangement of 
the other artillery it can be made serviceable on your right 
and front if needed there. It may be necessary to cut down a 
few trees to obtain a range for your fire on the river. Please 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 289 

inform Admiral Lee of these dispositions. Perhaps an epaule- 
ment might be of use to cover the guns from the battery at 
Dr. Hewlett s house. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. GenL Comd g. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

In the Field, May 31st, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH: I do not know what I should write you 
this morning save to say that I have nothing in the world to 
say. The tide of deep, bitter disappointment has rolled over, 
and most sharply has the wrong done as well to the country as 
myself been felt, but it has been borne as well as may be. 
At least, none have heard outward sign of complaint. My 
time will come, and that not long delayed, when either a quiet 
grave or full pow r er to right myself will be mine. There is 
not much choice in the alternatives. Do not think me sad 
and complaining far from it. I was never more quietly 
calm, cool, or determined. Two days will decide whether we 
are to be pounced upon here or not. I think not, and then I 
take the offensive. 

Oilman speaks of bringing you up. If so, this note will 
hardly reach you but at any rate, it will serve as an envel 
ope to yours and Mr. Parton s. 

My best respects to Mr. Parton when you write. 

Yours, BEXJ. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, May 3lst, 1864 

DEAREST: I have only a few minutes this morning. Last 
night I was detained, and lost the time when I write to you. 
Mr. Hale did not call, he was but just in season for the boat, 
It is possible I may go to you tomorrow. Gen. Shepley s two 
daughters are with him at Norfolk. I may ask him to go with 
me. Fisher will go along also. Gen. Shepley is very desirous 
I should bring Blanche down. The house is quite lonely with 
out the children. I think they are home this morning, would 
you like to be there too? I suppose not much at this time. I 
do not think your views and mine are very dissimilar. I shall 
write mine out as clearly as I can express them, and then I shall 
be able to detect the flaws more readily. I keep very busy 
most of the time, and therefore tolerably cheerful, and very 

Affectionately your SARAH 

VOL. IV 19 



290 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Captain Fox to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, May 31, 64 

DEAR GENERAL: I am glad to see that you have brought up 
all standing Gillmore s N. York correspondent. He had the 
same fellow to cry him up and Dahlgren down off Charleston, 
but Dahlgren did not understand managing such cases. 

Yours most truly, G. V. Fox 

From General Butler 

May 31^, 1864, 9.50 

Gen. HINKS 

YOUR forces at Spring Hill are being attacked by the enemy 
in force. I have ordered over Duncan s Brigade. Can you 
not open from City Point? R R BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs., May 31st, 1864 

GENERAL HINKS will tell me how many troops he can take 
from City Point and Spring Hill for the purpose of a movement 
on Petersburg. Infantry and cavalry alone wanted. 

I have sent five hundred (500) men from Duncan s Brigade 

to Spring Hill today. T> -r T> 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Hinks 

Headquarters Hinks Division, CITY POINT, VA., May 31, 64 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Department 

of Virginia and North Carolina 

GENERAL: In the event of a movement being made upon 
Petersburg, it would not be prudent to leave City Point with 
less than 500 men, and a like number should be left at Spring 
Hill. This would leave free for movement the regiments in 
Duncan s brigade, and the regiment of Colonel Ames at Spring 
Hill, and of Colonel Russell s cavalry at City Point, say 2,632 
men and officers. I am, general, 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

E. W. HINKS, Brigadier-General, Commanding Division 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 421. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 291 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. CONFIDENTIAL. Ed. Qrs., May 31st, 1864 

GENERAL WILD will say exactly how many troops he can 
spare me and hold his place under the circumstances at Wil 
son s Wharf. Give me all the men and the best organized he 
has. I don t w T ant artillery but infantry. He will also go to 
Fort Powhatan and see how many troops may be spared there 
so long as Fort Powhatan is covered, and w r hat is the best 
organization to send from there. 

Infantry alone is wanted. To be returned there after a 
special purpose. This information is wanted immediately, 
to be sent by despatch boat which brings this. It will also 
take General Wild to Fort Powhatan, his own boat taking 

him back a^ain. ^> -r< -o ir n i ^ 

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

From General Bntler 

POINT OF ROCKS, May 31, 18G4, 12 M. 

General GILLMORE 

I AM no engineer, but still must insist that the bluff near 
Curtis , which is about 50 feet high, is the place for the 20- 
pounders to aid the navy. At 5 degrees their range is 2,100 
yards. To attack Admiral Lee, the rebels must come around 
Dutch Gap and Farrar s Island, every foot of which is w r ithin 
2,000 yards of your guns so placed for more than 3 miles. , If a 
height is not the best position to meet gun-boats, why have the 
rebels put their battery at Hewlett s about 50 feet high instead 
of at Farrar s Island, where they would be even with the water? 
Wliy is a plunging fire ever thought the best? Why build very 
high castellated forts like Sumter and Calhoun to oppose 
ships? Rebel General Whiting made a sort of martello tow r er 
at Wilmington with logs and sand to resist our ships 60 feet 
high to mount heavy guns. He was an engineer officer of the 
army, brought up at the feet of cannon-ball. Under the advice 
of my chief engineer and in my own judgment I must adhere 
to the bluff. Gen. Weitzel will point out the site. 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 417. 



292 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From J. K. Herbert to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 31^/64 

DEAR GENERAL: I saw Senator Wade to-day at the White 
House, waiting to see the President, and had opportunity to talk 
with him at length. He will come and pay you a visit before 
going south. He will call for the correspondence we spoke of 
- will have me go down along will look after the rent & 
commutation matter whether I go along or not. We went over 
the entire ground down there fully, to-day for the first time 
he is anxious for me to go down with them, and says he can 
keep the War Dept. out of my way. I cannot write all he 
said I ll tell you more. He is skeptical as to a much-desired 
presidential success next Nov. as well as you and I. It was 
reported here yesterday that you were ordered back to Fortress 
Monroe by Gen. Grant, but the papers this morning contra 
dicted their story of last night. The Mass, delegation be 
lieved the story and had a caucus on the subject last night, as I 
am informed. Gen. Eckley told me he learned from some of 
them that they were going to have one. 

They had an executive session of the Sen. last Saturday, and 
Wilson had Gillmore s case laid over I can t learn why. He 
is reported against I think I wrote you. 

The Pres. simply does nothing with my case yet. I am get 
ting very impatient. What I can do to hurry up Gillmore s 
case I am doing all the time. 

Yours faithfully, J. K. HERBERT 

Chase wanted Wade to present his (C s) ultimatum on the 
Blair case to the Pres., and Wade said, "No, you don t I 
remember you near blocked the wheels of the Rep. Party when 
I represented them as one of a com. in the case of Bro. Seward. 
You can t get me twice in that fix." 

From General Butler 

May Slst, 12.25 

Col. AMES 

I SEND reinforcements, perhaps you can drive them out of 
the brush. As soon as possible cut that skirt of woods between 
Agen and our left, so that we can cover your plunder. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 293 

From General Butler 

May Blst, 1864, 6 P.M. 

Col. GARRARD 

How many carbines with the utmost pluck under good 
officers can you spare me in the lines tomorrow? 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. May 3lst, 1864, 6.30 P.M. 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Sec. of War 

YESTERDAY all day heavy firing in the direction of Mechans- 
ville. Six refugees from Richmond report Grant at Mechans- 
ville turnpike, 4 miles from Richmond. Yesterday they 
heard the firing and that Grant was driving Lee. A woman 
reports that a meeting was held yesterday while she was in 
Richmond to see whether the city should be surrendered or 
burnt. The Mayor advocated surrender, and was put in 
Castle Thunder. 

The enemy attacked my lines yesterday, and were repulsed. 
Today all day they have been demonstrating against my 
(wing) on Spring Hill, easterly side of the Appomattox, but 
are repulsed. BXJ R BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 1, 1864 

DEAREST: I am very much obliged for your note, especially 
at such a time. I shall look with great anxiety for the news 
tomorrow. I will make no comments, but there is much about 
it that looks strange, if you expect a larger force to be with 
you soon. I shall know more by and by. Today I went to the 
hospital with Parson Cheever and Mrs. Usher. This makes 
three days in succession. My nerves will not be steady to 
follow it every day. On our return I proposed to cross by 
Buckrow Farm and on to the beach. We missed the road and 
rode round by Fox Hill back into Hampton. It was quite 
late when we got back to the Fort. I found the band in front 
of the house to serenade me. Now, as last night, it is quite 
late for writing. Phillip has his appointment from the Presi 
dent through Boutwell s influence. For some reasons which 
were given to Mr. Beech he preferred not to be known in it. 
I am very glad he has it, if he has the sense and energy to go 



294 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

through. I think his mother will be delighted. But you have 
not much time to pay heed to these matters just now. I do 
not understand if you go with Gillmore or not. I hope and 
pray the move may be successful. If it is not, we must be 
"patient, good cousin, and shuffle the cards again." Fisher 
was to take my letter to Parton, and see what he thought of 
it, but he is so often detained he will never get there. I shall 

expect the news today. v 

Yours, SARAH 

From General Butler 

June 1st, 64, 10.20 A.M. 

Col. AMES 

Is the slashing done between you and Fort Wistersin to 
uncover your flank? If not, why not? 

B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From Colonel Ames 

SPRING HILL, LEYL STATION, June 1st, 1864 

To Genl. BUTLER 

THE trees on my right are all slashed. I am now working at 
the rear and right. 

Fort Wistersin is not yet unmasked. My picket line is re 
established on the old line. The enemy shows only a few 
pickets in front. 

One of my pickets captured yesterday, escaped last night, 
reports the biggest army he ever saw, all cavalry. 

Col. AMES 

From General H. W. Benham 

Headquarters Engineer Brigade, FORT MONROE, VA., June 1, 1864, 10.30 A.M. 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, BERMUDA HUNDRED 

I AM here with nearly 1,500 feet of pontoon bridging, and a 
siege train, tools, etc., by order of General Meade, to await here 
further orders. Last evening an order of General Halleck to 
commanding officer here directed all pontoon bridging to be 
sent to you, and I am now sending these pontoon rafts with 
nearly 200 men, enough to lay the bridge, to reach you, I trust, 
during the night. I am myself uncertain by my orders, whether 
it is wished that I should go up with the balance of my men 
here say 300 and my animals, wagons for tools, and the 
siege material now in barges. Will you please reply to me as 
early as practicable as to what you know to be intended, or 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 295 

what you desire, or deem expedient, in regard to this material, 
trains, and men? 

H. W. BENHAM, Brig. Gen. Comdg., Engineer Brigade 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 472. 

From General Butler 

Gen. GlLLMORE TELEGRAM. Ed. Qrs., June 1st, 1864, 10.30 A.M. 

WILL please telegraph me a full report of the cause of the 
artillery fire last night. By whose orders it was done, the 
casualties therefrom. The number of guns used by the enemy, 
and the details of what should have been a most serious engage 
ment to have justified the expenditure of ammunition. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Gill more 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, June 1, 1864 

Colonel SHAFFER, Chief of Staff 

ABOUT 2.30 last night the enemy opened with light artillery 
along their entire line on Terry s front. We replied from 
Battery No. 3. There was no picket-firing. We had 2 men 
wounded. The gun-boats fired some shots, but not many. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Maj.-Gen. Comdg. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 473. 

From General Lee 

Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia, June 1, 1864, 12.45 P.M. 

General G. T. BEAUREGARD 

IT would be disadvantageous to abandon the line between 
Richmond and Petersburg, but as two-thirds of Butler s force 
has joined Grant, can you not leave sufficient guard to move 
with the balance of your command to north side of James 
River and take command of right wing of army? 

R. E. LEE, General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 864. 

From General Butler 

A 7 7 o T T June 1st, 1864, 3.30 P.M. 

Admiral S. P. LEE 

YOUR envelope enclosing letter to French Consul in Rich 
mond, and request for the barque & schooners for obstructions, 
is received. Orders have gone out to Chief Qr. Master Fuller 
to send them up at once with a tow. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



296 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. Ed. Qrs., June 1st, 1864 

Lt. Col. FULLER, Chief Quartermaster, 

BERMUDA HUNDRED, VA. 

PLEASE send the bark "Franklin" and the five (5) schooners, 
which were brought here for the purpose of being sunk as 
obstructions, to Admiral Lee, giving them a tow with your tugs. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs., June 1st, 1864 

Lieut. Col. FULLER, Chief Quartermaster, 

BERMUDA HUNDRED, VA. 

You will send up a barge to the Spring Hill wharf, to 
be there at six (6) o clock tomorrow morning, capable of 
taking the two thirty (30) pounders Parrot guns across the 
Appomattox. BENJ R BuTLER> 



From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs., June 1st, 1864 

Col. AMES 

AT seven (7) o clock tomorrow morning please have the 
two thirty (30) pounder Parrot guns with the ammunition on 
board a barge which will be at Spring Hill wharf, to be taken 
over to the Ordnance wharf near Point of Rocks. You will 
have nothing to do with them after they are fairly put upon 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Commanding 
From General Hinks 

Headquarters Rinks Division, CITY POINT, VA., June 1, 1864 

Maj. R. S. DAVIS, Asst. Adjt Gen., Dept. of Virginia and 

North Carolina 

MAJOR: I send for the information of the major-general 
commanding 1 colored refugee, who left Petersburg yesterday, 
and 2 contrabands, who left Fort Clifton yesterday evening, 
who represent that there are but few troops in Petersburg, 
nearly all having been withdrawn for the defense of Richmond. 
I respectfully suggest to the general whether it would not be 
well to withdraw General Wild s troops from Wilson s Wharf 
as soon as that position is covered by the movements of General 
Grant, letting the gun-boats hold the left bank of the river. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 297 

This disposition, and the return of Duncan s brigade, will give 
us about 3,600 men of this division, which could be used for 
immediate operations against Petersburg. It seems to me to 
be entirely practicable to surprise and enter the place with 
about 6,000 men. I respectfully request that the refugee and 
contrabands be returned to this post. I am, general, 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
E. W. HINKS, Brigadier-General Commanding Division 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 475. 

From General Hinks 

General BUTLER ClTT PolNT VA - Jme * 18M w 30 A M 

HAVE you ordered General Wild to send men to report to 
me? General Wild has sent Colonel Holman with 1,200 men 
to report to me, with the intention of going to Petersburg, as 
he says, pursuant to orders from me, which orders I never issued. 
I fear it is a ruse to weaken Powhatan. Shall I send him back 
immediately? I have received no orders and made no prep- 

arations HINKS, General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 521. 

From General Butler 

June Zd, 1864, 1 o clock A.M. 

Gen. HINKS 

I HAVE ordered some of Wild s men that can be spared to 
Spring Hill with a purpose. You need not send them back. 
Send them to Spring Hill, and let them remain on board the 
boats till morning light, and then further orders will be given. 
I thought you were notified of the bringing up of the men; it 
is a mistake you were not. Grant s movements may change a 

plan> B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl Comd g. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, June 2, 1864, 7.58 A.M. 

General BUTLER, Commanding 

GENERAL TERRY S pickets on the right, Ames old front, have 
been driven back from their advanced rifle-pits. The enemy 
pierced the line in several places. They still hold the woods. 
I have ordered re-enforcements and intrenching tools out. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 515. 



298 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. in the Field, June 2nd, 1864 

Rear Admiral S. P. LEE, Comd g N.A.B.S. 

ADMIRAL: Your communication, dated June 2nd, in regard 
to the obstructions is received. The five (5) vessels sent up 
were procured by my order for the purpose of being used as 
obstructions to the river if in the judgment of the naval com 
mander they would add to the security of his fleet. I have no 
difficulty as to the point at which we desire to secure the river. 
It is the right of my line near Curtis house at the ravine, but 
whether the river shall be secured by obstructions or by the 
vessels, or a disposition of your obstructions, or by the vessels 
of your Navy, neither myself or my engineers have any right 
to feel ourselves confident to give an opinion. The vessels are 
wholly at your service, but upon your judgment and not mine 
must rest their use. 

In accordance with your request, as I informed your officer, 
I will visit you this afternoon and designate the spot we desire 
to be held, but whether by means of obstructions or by your 
ships or by both combined must be solely for you to determine. 
While I know you would not undertake to give directions to 
my engineers as to the situation of our earthworks on land, so 
we ought not to presume to advise you as to your means of 
defending the water. 

I have not consulted the War Department upon the question 
whether I should procure these obstructions. I suppose that 
was fairly within my direction, and I venture respectfully to 
add that the question whether you should use them is entirely 
within yours. The Navy Department cannot know the urgen 
cies as you know them, and I am certain must leave that 
question to the good judgment of the Rear Admiral Command 
ing the fleet. 

I am aware of the delicacy naval gentlemen feel in depending 
upon anything but their ships in a contest with the enemy, 
and if it was a contest with the enemy s ships alone I certainly 
would not advise the obstructions, even at the great risk of 
losing the river. But in a contest against such unchristian 
modes of warfare as fire rafts and torpedo boats, I think all 
questions of delicacy should be waived by the paramount 
consideration of protection for the lives of the men and the 
safety of the very valuable vessels of the squadron. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 299 

Pardon me if I have overstepped any line of duty or courtesy 
in the latter suggestion. I have the honor to be, 

Very Respectfully, Your obedt. Servant, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Commanding 

From General Butler 

June Znd, 1864, 8.10 A.M. 

Gen. GILLMORE 

WHAT has been the nature of the demonstration of your line 
this morning? Have any prisoners been captured? If so 
send them on. BNJ R BuTLER? Ma < Qenl Comd > gt 

From General Butler 

June 2, 1864, 8.30 

Genl. GILLMORE 

WHAT force drove in your picket line and forced it in several 
places? Digging rifle pits for the enemy to occupy does not 
seem to be the most pleasant work. Send in any prisoners or 
refugees you have. R p BUTLER> Maj ^ Commanding 

From General Gillmore 

Gillmore s, June 2, 1864, 8.45 A.M. 

General BUTLER 

GENERAL TERRY reports a heavy force in his front, but does 
not give numbers. We have taken some prisoners and lost 
some of Seventh Connecticut. I yesterday ordered General 
Kautz to replace the pistols in his command by muskets. Are 
there any on hand near here? 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 516. 

From General Butler 

June 2, 1864, 9.10 A.M. 

Genl. GILLMOUE 

DESPATCH received. Mordecai reports 120 rifles which he 
will furnish Kautz. 

If the woods are occupied in heavy force by the enemy a 
vigorous shelling might do injury to them. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Commanding 



300 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs., June 2nd, 1864 

Maj. Genl. GILLMORE 

I HAVE examined a half dozen of these prisoners. There 
was no charge made by anybody but the picket line. One 
very intelligent Pole informs me that Col. Dantzler, who was 
killed, said, "Boys, they are evacuating we will go on and 
have some fun," and they charged to find out, in order to 
understand why we did not reply to the shelling last night. 

There are no troops massed in your front. There is the line 
only weakly defended. Four brigades (4) left here three (3) 
nights ago, and Evans Brigade, a portion of whom made this 
charge, were sent from the left to hold their place, they pro 
posing to hold their right by means of Fort Clifton. 

I have ordered over all of Duncan s Brigade from Spring 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Commanding 
From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. Hd. Qrs., June 2d, 1864 

Brig. Genl. HINKS, Comd g at CITY POINT, VA. 

You will allow the troops from Wild s Brigade to disembark 
at Spring Hill, refresh and rest themselves. The same boat 
may bring over a portion of one of the regiments of Col. Dun 
can s brigade so as to reunite his regiments. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

June 2nd, 9.50 

Officer in Command at SPRING HILL 

SEND the men of Wild s Brigade at once to go to commissary 
wharf near Point of Rocks, there to disembark & await orders. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

June 2, 1864, 10.30 A.M. 

Li. Col. FULLER 

HAVE six (6) coils of the telegraph wire at Bermuda Hundred 
sent to Col. Ames at Spring Hill at once. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Commanding 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 301 

From General Butler 
Lt. Col. FULLER June * nd 1864 7 P - M - 

How long will it take Capt. Ains worth and all the men you 
can spare to put sixty tons of ballast in each of the obstruction 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 
From Mrs. Julia Gardiner Tyler to General Butler 

CASTLETON HILL (North Shore) STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK, June 2nd, 1864 

SIR: I am this moment in the receipt of your letter of May 
29th, acquainting me of the enclosure to you of my letter to 
President Lincoln, and of your having issued directions to the 
commander of the district in which is my residence on the James 
River (Charles City Co.) to protect the young lady, Miss 
Tyler, whom, with her cousin Mr. J. C. Tyler, I left in the 
occupation and care of it. For your prompt action in this 
respect I owe you my thanks at the time of writing to Presi 
dent Lincoln I also addressed myself to you, enclosing it to the 
Provost Marshal for Va. and N. C. which letter it seems 
you did not receive. I regret it exceedingly, for I am sure the 
anxieties I expressed, and the requests I made of you would 
not have been disregarded. I will therefore take the liberty to 
repeat them. Sherwood Forest (in Charles City Co.) is en 
tirely owned by me and my infant children, and was being 
conducted for my benefit under the management of Mr. John 
C. Tyler, a gentleman who has been exempted throughout the 
war, and is most especially a peaceable citizen attending only 
to the direction of my affairs in the country where he was 
taken prisoner. By his absence my property has no protector 
probably. Also that I left him upon my place in the hope 
that he would be respected, which hope has been destroyed - 
and the young lady I have mentioned would be fearful without 
his presence to remain an inmate of the premises. My request 
simply is, that if in your power you will permit Mr. Tyler, who 
is at present in Chesapeake Prison, to be released and sent 
back to my home, and for entire inoffensiveness of conduct I 
know he will give his "parole d honneur" -and may I also 
ask that you will issue your orders if anything has been taken 
from my premises, which if known to you would not have 
received your countenance, shall be returned furniture, 
family pictures, and books were all left by me, besides a well 
stocked and well arranged plantation upon which also 



302 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

was a mill for grain I believe it is not inconsistent with your 
duty to protect the widow and the fatherless. 

Permit me to say one word in regard to my place in the vicin 
ity of Old Point, which was taken, fully furnished and in beauti 
ful order, at the commencement of the war, and been held in 
military occupation ever since. It was a piece of property 
belonging entirely to me, and a recent gift from my mother, 
over w T hich my husband (Ex. Pres. Tyler) had no control. 
Should not its value be restored to me according to its original 
condition? With its loss, and the breaking up of my place 
on the James by the IT. S. troops encamped in its vicinity, but 
for the shelter afforded by my mother I should be left literally 
without resources! I am very sure this would hardly occur 
were you aware of the circumstances of the case. I, therefore, 
write you frankly what were my hopes and expectations, and 
have the honor to be, Sir. 

Respectfully yours, JULIA GARDINER TYLER 

From General Butler 

Gen. GILLMORE Head Qrs " June 3rd > 9 A M " 

YOUR despatch enclosing Gen. Terry s received. 
You are in command of the line of defences and the entire 
forces I have here save the garrisons at City Point, Spring Hill, 
Fort Powhatan, & Wilson s Wharf, and a portion of a colored 
cavalry regt. armed with pistols are upon that line. You of 
course will make such disposition of the forces upon that line 
as you think best. You have but two small infantry regiments, 
and 62 Ohio one on the entire left of your line. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. in the Field, June 3rd, 1864, 1.30 P.M. 

Rear Admiral LEE, Commanding etc. 

SIR: I beg leave to assure you in writing, as I have hereto 
fore verbally, that the obstructions furnished you by me, will 
in no way be any charge or cost to the Navy Department, un 
less it chooses voluntarily to assume the expense. 

I have neither doubt nor hesitation upon the subject. If the 
expenditure of the few thousands for these vessels will save one 
monitor from torpedoes or fire-raft, or the lives of ten men I 
have sent to the Navy, I should make it at once. You will 
judge of the efficiency of the obstructions. The expense has 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 303 

already been assumed by the Army, although I cannot appre 
ciate the difference, one Treasury, one Nation, one Cause, all 

are served alike, if one is served. ,, 7/ 

nespectjuliy, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 
From General Butler 

Head Qrs. in the Field, June 3rd, 1864 

GARRET DAVIS, Esq., Member of the Senate of the United States 
SIR: I have read your resolution of inquiry. You can do me 
no greater favor than to have every act of my political life, 
which began on the first Tuesday of November, 1839, and ended 
on the 15th clay of April, 1861, most thoroughly scrutinized. 
I will thank you also to have every act of my official life, 
which began as the Brigadier General of the Massachusetts 
Militia April 16, 1861, and will end when this war does, if not 
sooner, subjected to the like examination. I have no favors 
to ask and but one act of justice, that the inquisition may not 

be ex parte, i.e. one sided. -r, ^ 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Grant to General Butler 

Head Quarters Armies of the United States, COLD HARBOR, VA., June th, 1864 

SPECIAL ORDERS No. 27 

To prevent confusion and delay in the forwarding of supplies 
to the Army of the Potomac, all troops posts and stations on 
the line over which such supplies at present or may hereafter 
pass, in consequence of any change in the position of the Army, 
are assigned to the command of Maj. Gen. Geo. G. Meade, 
commanding the Army of the Potomac, and will so report and 
receive orders without reference to the Territorial Department 
in which they may be or to which they may belong, until 
otherwise directed. . . . 

By command of LT. GEN. GRANT 

E. S. PARKER, Asst. Adjt. Genl. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORT MONROE, June 4, 1864, 7 A.M. 

MY DEAR SARAH : Not a gun has been fired since you left by 
either side, although there has been a most furious cannonading 
on the opposite side of the river, w r hich grows nearer and nearer. 



304 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Shaffer starts this morning for the Baltimore convention. 
Nothing else new. BENJ F 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs., June 4^, 1864 

Brig. Gen. SHEPLEY, FORT MONROE 

SEND me under guard Mr. Zantzinger and Mr. Daniels of 
Norfolk. p BuTLERj Ma j Gml Comd > g , 



From William P. Horton 

NEW YORK, June 1, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

Capt. A. F. PUFFER, A. B.C. 

DEAR SIR: Your favor of the 25th received, and is satis 
factory. Will now proceed to furnish you with the evidence 
in question. 

The whiskey seized by General Butler from Zantzinger and 
Daniels was purchased here from Jno. Scrymser and Co., No. 
124 Front St., in the name of C. H. Pierson, and the bill is 
dated Oct. 28th, 1863. Said whiskey was shipped on board the 
schr. "L. B. Cowperthwaite," Capt. Henry Rogers, then lying 
at the Pier foot of Franklin Street, N. River, on the 31 of Oct. 
The vessel was cleared from the Custom House on the 31st 
Oct., and sailed from here Nov. 4th, 1863. The following is a 
description of the liquor as per bill rendered by Scrymser & Co. 
A. G. 1 bbl. apple brandy, B. C. 5 bbl. apple brandy, A 3 bbls. 
whiskey, B 8 bbl. do., C 14 bbls. do., D 40 bbls. do. There was 
also 4 bbls. whiskey independent of the above lot, making in 
all 75 bbls. liquor. All the above bbls. were marked (by my 
self) across the heads with a stencil plate (cider vinegar). 
Mr. Zantzinger was here and superintended the purchase and 
shipments of the goods personally, the permit under which 
these goods were shipped called for 50 bbls. vinegar, only ten 
of which were shipped, the whiskey being substituted for the 
balance (I think Zantzinger has a bill for 40 bbls. vinegar from 
me furnished for the occasion). There was shipped also at the 
same time on board the same vessel 1000 sacks salt, when the 
permits only called for 550 sacks. One permit called for 50 
sacks and one for 500 sacks, the balance of the cargo was made 
up of coal, fish &c. This vessel arrived at Norfolk on the 7th 
Nov. 1863, and was discharged immediately after her arrival. 
I am aware that one official received $100 for not seeing any 
thing wrong when the vessel was discharging (shall omit 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 305 

names). This statement is positive and true. I am willing to 
affirm to everything herein stated, and accord to the Genl. if 
he desires the privilege of appending the oath hereto. 

Would state further that with the exception of some 30 bbls. 
whiskey, purchased from the Govt. this is the only large lot of 
liquor these parties ever had in their possession up to the date 
of seizure, all their accounts of the large lot of liquor mentioned 
in the evidence is of their own coinage and entirely untrue. 

The brigantine "June Hath way" landed some 30 or more 
bbl, whiskey, but who received it I cannot state. The Capt. 
told me he landed it, also told me of his difficulties with the 
Comdg. Genl. 

As regards Gov. Pierpont s knowledge of what is transpiring 
in and about Norfolk, Mr. Daniels himself told me that both 
he and Mr. Zantzinger were continually posting the Gov., 
and were using every endeavor to effect the removal of Gen. 
Butler, and hoped some day to be successful. 

I hope and believe that the Genl. will observe his word in 
this matter, and not allow my name to transpire under any 
circumstance, as it would inflict serious injury on me. I have 
been swindled by these parties to the tune of $500, which has 
been the reason of this action on my part. Shall expect to 
receive the amt. 10 % on the gross amt. seizure in the course of 
a few days, after which I may be able to furnish you with some 
information more important than this (if desired). 

Yours Respectfully, WM. P. HORTON 

P.S. This whiskey was carted from store to vessel by cartman 

named Geo. Pettinger, who may be found at No. 36 South St. 

Please direct your communication to my name, Station D. 

R W. P. H. 



Statement of Mr. Francis Zantzinger 

Hd. Qrs. Dept, of Va. & N. C., in the Field, June 7th, 1864 
[Not in chronological order] 

IN the month of October last there were seventy-five barrels 
of liquor bought in the city of New York from John Scrymser 
and Co., in the name of C. H. Pierson, and shipped on board 
the schooner "L. B. Cowperthwaite," then lying in the North 
River. That liquor came to my premises in Norfolk. The 
barrels were marked across the heads with a stencil plate 
"Cider vinegar." A portion of the whiskey, so marked "cider 

VOL. IV 2O 



306 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

vinegar," is that that was seized by the United States officers 
upon our premises. 

There was also shipped upon the same vessel 1000 sacks of 
salt. We had a permit for only 550 sacks. The rest of the 
cargo consisted of coal, fish, &c. 

Mr. Sewell, second officer of the revenue cutter, received 
seven hundred dollars for permitting the liquor to go up. I 
do not know who paid it, presume Mr. Daniels did I did not 
pay it. I think it was reckoned in our accounts. I so under 
stood from my partner. We never thought of bringing the 
liquor in until Mr. Sewell made the proposition to us. We 
were told that it would not be prudent to allow every one to sell 
liquor in Norfolk, but that if we could get it there there would 
be no difficulty about selling it, if we only sold it properly, and 
did not allow any of it to be sold to soldiers. My recollection 
of the salt transaction is that our permit called for a 1000 sacks 
and was so approved at Fort Monroe, but was curtailed to five 
hundred and fifty afterwards, but the 1000 sacks were pur 
chased and shipped as I learned afterwards. 

F. ZANTZINGER 

Ed. Qrs. Dept. Va. & N. C., in the Field, June 7th, 1864 

THEN personally appeared F. Zantzinger, and made oath 
that the foregoing statement by him subscribed was true 

CASSELL, Major & A.D.C., Provost Judge 
From General Butler 

Hd. Qts. Dept. of Va. & N. C., in the Field, June 6th, 1864 
[[Not in chronological order] 

MR. FRANK ZANTZINGER having been found guilty, by his 
own confession of facts and by incontrovertible testimony, of 
suborning his clerks to swear falsely in the trial of his case 
before the Provost Court in order to defraud the Government. 

Also having been found guilty of falsely invoicing goods to 
smuggle them into the department under the guise of goods of 
military necessity, which are of themselves high military 
offenses. 

And also having bribed an officer of the United States in 
the sum of $700 to conceal and connive at this transaction is 
ordered to be punished for his offenses by being confined at 
hard labor on bread & water in the exterior trenches at Bermuda 
Hundreds, and wherever the army may elsewhere be building 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 307 

fortifications and digging rifle pits, during the campaign and un- 
til further orders. BENJ R BUTLEE; Maj ^ Commdg 

Statement of William Knight 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. of Va. & N. C., in the Field, June Wth, 1864 

[Not in chronological order] 

GENERAL: You were clerk for Zantzinger and Co? Knight: 
Yes, sir. 

Gen. When did you commence as clerk for Zantzinger and 
Co? Knight: July, sir. 

Gen. Been clerk there ever since? Knight: Yes, sir. 

Gen. What is your business? Knight: Clerk. 

Gen. Are you book-keeper? Knight: No, sir. Mr. Whit 
ing is book-keeper. 

Gen. What is your department? Knight: Selling goods. 

Gen. That all? Knight: Yes, sir. 

Gen. You testified, sir, in the case of Zantzinger and Co., 
tried before my Provost Court, that "for a little more than six 
months past I have been a clerk for Zantzinger and Co. When 
I came there they had a large quantity of whiskey on hand. 
They have received no whiskey from any source since I have 
been living with them. If they had received any since I have 
been with them I should certainly have known it, as I am cogni 
zant of all their business matters. I have not been employed 
there except in the daytime ; my duties have not kept me there 
at night, but I know that all the liquor on their premises was 
there w r hen I came there to act as clerk. They built the shed to 
relieve the foundation of the store of too much weight, and put 
the whiskey in the shed with other goods, as soon as it was 
finished?" 

A. Yes, sir. I am sorry that I did it. It is the first time 
that I ever did anything of the kind, and I hope to God it will 
be the last. It has worried me ever since. I will tell you now 
the truth about the matter. 

Q. About the 7th of Nov. last did they receive liquors from 
New York on board the schooner "L. B. Cowperthwaite," 
Henry Rogers, Master? A. Yes, sir. 

Q. How many barrels? A. The last trip I think seventy 
odd barrels. 

Q. These barrels were marked "cider vinegar"? A. 
Yes, sir. 

Q. Where were they put? A. In a, shed. 



308 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Q. Did they go into the loft? A. Some of them went into 
the loft. 

Q. Did those that were in the shed ever go into the loft? 
A. No, sir. 

Q. Did they have any other whiskey than this on hand save 
what they procured from Gen. Viele? A. No, sir. They had 
some whiskey on hand before I went there. 

Q. The 53 barrels that were found in their shed were a part 
of the " Cowperthwaite s " cargo? A. I presume so, sir. 

Q. Had they any considerable amount of whiskey on hand 
besides w^hat came in the "Cowperthwaite"? A. No, sir. 

Q. Did you know how much they paid Lieut. Sewell for 
smuggling, or permitting to be smuggled in, that whiskey? 
A. No, sir. 

Q. Do you know that anything was paid him? A. No, sir. 

Q. Do you know about the 1000 sacks of salt that were 
brought in at the same time? A. No, sir. 

Q. You had no doubt at the time that that liquor was 
smuggled in? A. I had no doubt of it. 

Q. At whose instance and suggestion did you go into court 
and tell these untruths on the stand? Who wanted you to go 
there and tell these stories? A. The firm. They did not want 
me to go back on them. 

Q. Did you talk over with them or either of them what you 
should say there? A. I think I did, sir. 

Q. Don t you know whether you did or not? A. Yes, sir; 
I did. 

Q. Then what you said there was untrue, and they knew it 
and you know it the statement that they had not received 
any whiskey from any source since you had been with them? 
A. Yes, sir. 

Q. And it was also untrue that all the liquors that they had 
on hand they had when you first came to them to act as clerk? 
A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Do you know which one it was you talked this matter of 
what you should testify to, over with? A. Both, sir. 

Q. And then, they knowing the fact that that liquor was 
smuggled in and that your testimony was to be false, deliber 
ately put you on the stand to swear falsely, did they? A. Yes, 
sir. I erred then. It has worried me ever since. I have not 
had a quiet conscience since then. 

WM. KNIGHT 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 309 

Ed. Qrs. Dept. of Va. & N. C., in the Field, June Qth, 1864 

THEN personally appeared the said William Knight and made 
oath to the truth of the foregoing statement before me. 

Maj. & A.D.C., Provost Judge 

From F. Zantzinger & Co. 

NORFOLK, June IQth, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

Major Genl. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. Va. & N. Carolina 

SIR: \Ve have this day forwarded a communication to 
Governor Pierpont, enclosed of which is a copy. 

Very respectfully, Your obdt. Servant, 

F. ZANTZINGER & Co. 

Enclosure referred to in Foregoing Letter 

NORFOLK, VA., June Wth, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

Governor F. H. PIERPONT, ALEXANDRIA, VA. 

SIR: In a pamphlet recently published by you, we notice 
with much surprise and deep regret the proceedings and find 
ings in our case and your comments thereon. 

Acknowledging that the sentence passed on us in January last 
was just and proper under the circumstances, we deeply depre 
cate the course you thought proper to pursue in giving publicity 
to the trial without consulting our wishes or interest in your 
proceeding, thereby casting unjust aspersions on General 
Butler s decision. 

We deem it a duty to say that in your publication of the 
pamphlet in question injustice has been done him, certainly 
so far as our case is concerned, and beg that through the same 
channel or some other equally efficient you will use every effort 
in your power to counteract any unjust impressions which 
may have been caused by said publication. 

Very respectfully, Your obdt. Servant, 

F. ZANTZINGER, J. T. DANIELS 

From F. Zantzinger and J. T. Daniels 

BERMUDA HUNDREDS, VA., June 11, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

Major General B. F. BUTLER, Commanding Dept. Va. and 

N. Carolina 

GENERAL: We will cause our letter to Gov. Pierpont to be 
published immediately on our arrival at Norfolk in the New 
Regime, Baltimore, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and other 



310 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

papers that gave countenance to his pamphlet, with a suit 
able letter from us requesting as an act of justice to you that 
the editor will place the same in a conspicuous place. If this 
course on our part will be sufficient to vindicate your action 
in our case against the unjust aspersions in the said pamphlet, 
we trust you will not think it necessary to publish our confes 
sion, feeling sincerely and deeply grateful for your considerate 
kindness of which we were not aware until our recent exami 
nation. We are, Mogt respect f uUy> Y our obt. s v ts, 

F. ZANTZINGER, J. T. DANIELS 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 5th, 1864 

DEAREST: There is a rumour tonight that Hancock and 
Smith have engaged the rebels with great success to us and 
that we have pierced several of their lines and are close on to 
Richmond. This morning brings no further news. I suppose 
we shall know nothing more until tomorrow. I shall be so 
glad when this campaign is over. 

Webster goes up this morning. I have no word yet from 
the children. Blanche is pining to get home, or away from 
school. I do not much wonder at it. Mr. Webster will tell 
you all the news we have, and that seems to be nothing. 

I did not get the time to write last night; that will account 
for the shortness of this note. 

Yours most affectionately, SARAH 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the Field, June 5th, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH : Not a shot fired by either side for the last 
three days. No news been raining two days. Everything 
moist and limp. More bread & coffee. 



From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 5th, 1864 

DEAREST: I think this silence ominous, no firing, no news, 
when you or your troops are lulled into a feeling of security 
your whole line will be pounced upon, and then with your 
small force you will be in imminent danger. If Lee gets a 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 311 

decided advantage of Genl. Grant, he will be upon you before 
you can get news of it. He knows by this the plan of the 
campaign, and if you are driven from your hold it is absolute 
defeat. Grant will be no better situated than McClellan at 
Fair Oaks. I cannot but fear that we are still far from vic 
tory. If Grant is not greatly successful during this week, 
we have a long and tedious course to travel. Think, while 
you have the time, note everything great and small, trace 
back every step of this campaign, see if there has been a blun 
der made, and what is likely to be Grant s movement from 
this time out, and where you would be able to strike the best 
blow if they send you more troops. Talk freely with Weitzel 
about it as a whole, and in detail. Ideas grow clearer by 
exchanging with others. He is more able than anyone you 
have ever had about you. I have a deep misgiving about this 
whole business. Grant is obstinate and tenacious, he has the 
bull-dog quality to hold on, and will never give back while he 
has a force to lead on, and that, it seems to me, is the best 
hope we have. Your force was wanted and more still if we 
had them. It does not look so bright as when the campaign 
opened. But great determination may carry it through yet. 
I fancy your work is not yet completed. Do you know that 
your three lines look meagre. If that is the extent of your 
interest, mine must be a dreadful bore. I thought to reply 
with, "The bread and coffee will be sent tomorrow", yours, 
etc.," but you would think there was a shade of mischief, per 
haps of bitterness, if I sent you nothing more. I pity you too, 
a little, in that damp tent, with your present thoughts for com 
pany, though not hard pressed, you have none to send to me. 
I verily believe my letters would be more welcome to any man 
on your staff than they are to you, and that is saying but 
little. But no matter, I will write on, don t say "God forbid!" 
for you see the paper is almost full, and that will end it now. 
Fisher has gone. All are gone, and I go back to the days of 
my youth, when I walked alone on the earth, and the earth was 

ful1 of i v - Yours ever, SARAH 

I have sent the bread and coffee. Tell Stephen to look for 
them. No papers this morning, no news. 



312 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Colonel Paine 

Head Qrs. Dept. in Field, June 5, 1864 

Lieut. Col. BIGGS, Chf. Q. M. 

COL.: Gen. Butler directs me to inquire whether the saw 
mills at Sewall s Point, Tanner s Creek, Warrick s, Ports 
mouth, Newport News, & others if any, are running. Also 
whether you can supply lumber for the use of this army. If 
you cannot supply lumber, he desires to be informed of the 
reason. I am Col., 

Very Respectfully, Your obedient Servant, 
COL. PAINE, Col. & Act. Chf. of Staff 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs., June 5th, 1864 

General HINKS 

SEND out scouts and see if you can confirm your news of 
large trains running from Petersburg. Put a watch with a 
good glass at that point near Spring Hill, where I watched the 
other day, to watch as long as daylight lasts, and so into the 
night with reliefs, for a railroad train can be seen in the night. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs., June 5th, 1864 

General GILLMORE 

GENERAL HINKS reports railroad trains running since three 
o clock this morning from Richmond to Petersburg, and also 
movement of troops in that direction. Please have your 
signal officers look out for anything of that kind. 

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

From General Butler 

June 5th, 1864, 4.15 P.M. 

Lt. Col. PATTEN, Comd g. &c. 

I HAVE received report that Fort Clifton has been evacuated 
by the enemy. You will take your command across on the 
pontoon bridge near my Head Qrs., proceed to Fort at Spring 
Hill, inform Col. Ames, Commanding, of your purposes, then 
make a cautious but firm reconnoissance towards Petersburg 
to ascertain what may be the movements. 

B. F. BUTLER 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER SIS 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. June 5th, 4.20 P.M. 

Genl. GILLMORE 

I HAVE sent Lt. Col. Patten with two hundred of the New 
York Monitor Rifles to make a reconnoissance toward Peters 
burg. I have added fifty (50) of my own escort. 

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

From General Butler 

June 5th, 1864, 5 P.M. 

Admiral LEE, Commanding, &c. 

SIR: Your note in relation to the want of cooperation of 
Capt. Sands is received, and will be forwarded to Genl. Palmer, 
with the enclosures. I have no doubt that the attempt would 
have been a hazardous one, still I am unable to see why Capt. 
Sands should have gone away without leaving any orders 
after he had promised to aid Genl. Palmer. I believe Genl. 
Palmer makes no complaint, he only hates the lack of aid 
and the supposed cause. 

Respectfully, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Grant 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, COLD HARBOR, VA., June 5, 64 

Major-General HALLECK, Chief of Staff of the Army, 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

GENERAL: A full survey of all the ground satisfies me that 
it would not be practicable to hold a line northeast of Rich 
mond that would protect the Fredericksburg railroad, to enable 
us to use it for supplying the army. To do so would give us 
a long, vulnerable line of road to protect, exhausting much 
of our strength in guarding it, and would leave open to the 
enemy all of his lines of communication on the south side of 
the James. My idea from the start has been to beat Lee s 
army, if possible, north of Richmond; then, after destroying 
his lines of communication north of the James River, to trans 
fer the army to the south side and besiege Lee in Richmond, 
or follow him south if he should retreat. I now find, after 
more than thirty days of trial, that the enemy deems it of the 
first importance to run no risks with the armies they now have. 
They act purely on the defensive, behind breast-works, or 
feebly on the offensive immediately in front of them, and where 
in case of repulse they can instantly retire behind them. 



314 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Without a greater sacrifice of human life than I am willing to 
make, all cannot be accomplished that I had designed outside 
of the city. I have, therefore, resolved upon the following 
plan: I will continue to hold substantially the ground now 
occupied by the Army of the Potomac, taking advantage of 
any favorable circumstance that may present itself, until the 
cavalry can be sent west to destroy the Virginia Central Rail 
road from about Beaver Dam for some 25 or 30 miles west. 
When this is effected, I will move the army to the south side 
of James River, either by crossing the Chickahominy and 
marching near to City Point, or by going to the mouth of the 
Chickahominy on the north side and crossing there. To pro 
vide for this last and most probable contingency, six or more 
ferry-boats of the largest class ought to be immediately pro 
vided. Once on the south side of the James River, I can cut 
off all sources of supply to the enemy except what is furnished 
by the canal. If Hunter succeeds in reaching Lynchburg that 
will be lost to him also. Should Hunter not succeed, I will 
still make the effort to destroy the canal by sending cavalry 
up the south side of the river, with a pontoon train to cross 
wherever they can. The feeling of the two armies now seems 
to be that the rebels can protect themselves only by strong 
intrenchments, while our army is not only confident of pro 
tecting itself without intrenchments, but that it can beat and 
drive the enemy wherever and whenever he can be found with 
out this protection. 

Very respectfully, U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I. Vol. 36, Part III, p. 598. 

From Mrs. Butler to James Parton 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 5th, 1864 

DEAR SIR: I send you the enclosed pages, written hastily, 
and of course without the requisite experience to write a news 
paper article. I wrote it with the feeling that Mr. Butler 
has been unjustly and injuriously assailed. Not a paper 
took up the defence, that I have heard of, except the Spirit 
of the Times, which I have not had the pleasure of seeing. I 
remember you said he was the ablest writer on the war, and I 
quite believe it. I wrote this that you may know, for I think 
you have watched with interest all that relates to him, that 
Mr. Butler has made no failure as those papers report, but in 
every point has made decided success. If you can gather 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 315 

from what I have written anything that might be of use to 
him without it being necessary to show whence you had it, 
and your judgment approve it, on that I should rely, for you 
are cool, and I confess to being somewhat moved, then, you 
are at liberty to transpose, omit, or make any change you will 
to render it suitable for the public eye. 

Very truly yours, SARAH BUTLER 

Will you be kind enough when read to return the note and 
manuscript to my brother? 



Enclosure referred to in Foregoing Letter 

I HAVE read with surprise and a feeling of indignation, which 
all must feel who look closely to the bearing of things, a series 
of articles beginning with the Evening Post, that article com 
mented on by the Herald, and calling on Gen l. Butler for 
defence, while well aware that an officer is not allowed to 
make one, no matter how bitter the condemnation or to what 
humiliation he may be subjected. Next, the Tribune started a 
weak defence, more to be dreaded (as faint praise is ever more 
damning) than open hostility. Following that the Herald 
publishes a long article from a correspondent kindly written, 
mentioning many officers by name, showing personal good 
feeling toward them, but by no means a defence to the article 
in the Evening Post, purporting to be from authority. The 
Post having struck the keynote, remains silent; while the 
Herald and Times go on with their work. The last has ex 
hausted its power somewhat, by continued attack, commenced 
three years ago, while the object of it has steadily and power 
fully impressed the great body of people from year to year 
that he is one of the ablest, farseeing, and comprehensive men 
that this war has developed. The Herald, having presented 
the allegation made by the Post, and called for the defence 
where the party arraigned has no power to reply, proceeds 
without further deliberation to present him as the immediate 
and responsible cause of any adversity that has or may happen 
to Gen l. Grant, and to deny his capability in every point for 
his present position. And that the condemnation may be yet 
more sure and effectual, he also denies it to every volunteer 
officer in the army an assertion insulting and mischievous, 
but in showing how false it is in the one case the other may fall 
to the ground with it. Those who look even casually at this 



316 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

campaign can see that the work is not so easily accomplished 
as the sanguine expected. 

Gen l. Butler surprised and captured City Point and Ber 
muda Hundreds to the amazement and consternation of the 
rebels and the astonishment of our own people, by a strategic 
move not surpassed during the war. It was done by finesse 
and celerity. And that it was bloodless entitled it to yet 
greater credit. Our fearful battles, where blood flows like 
water and no result obtained, are appalling to nature and fill 
the country with gloom. Not a moment was lost in fortify 
ing, for it was well understood long before the movement was 
attempted that the most determined resistance would be made 
to our holding those points on the James River if we were 
able to capture them, that if Lee could gain breathing space 
from Gen l. Grant he would send a part of his force to retake 
it, to prevent being harassed by a force in the rear, and at 
one time but eight miles from Richmond. It is now admitted 
that what was foreseen as probable did actually occur, that 
the rebels well knew their danger is evident from the repeated 
and desperate charges they made to dislodge us. The respite 
that Lee gained after the great battle of the Wilderness, while 
our wounded were sent away and reinforcements forwarded, 
was used to push forward Longstreet s corps to Fort Darling, 
where, with a larger force, and under cover of a dense fog, 
they made an attack far more disastrous to them than to us. 
They lost more men (if we may rely on the Richmond papers). 
There was no boast of victory on their part, they were com 
pelled to retire, we held the ground, and withdrew to the en 
trenchments hours after the enemy had left the fight. It was 
never anticipated that Gen l. Butler could make a successful 
stand away from his entrenchments against a part of Lee s 
army united with Beauregard s, yet it was done, and we had 
the advantage. If Gen l. Gillmore had received the order 
repeatedly sent, and had moved up his troops with the celerity 
the time demanded, the rebels had suffered a defeat unparal 
leled in their experience. As it now stands, the enemy have 
lost more men in killed and wounded for the number engaged 
than in any contest of the war save that at Baton Rouge. 
Immediately after landing and fortifying, troops were thrown 
out toward Petersburg, severe contests ensued from day to 
day, we gained possession of the rail track and destroyed it 
for several miles, the lines were cut in various directions, and 
Beauregard unceasingly held in check for many days after 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 317 

the battle of the Wilderness; in short, until Lee was able to 
send Longstreet to his assistance. Gen l. Butler has done all 
that he was ordered or expected to accomplish up to the time 
of the removal of his troops, twenty thousand in number, 
more than one-half of his command. The order had been 
given to move on Petersburg the day before they were with 
drawn, and with every prospect of success. The two great 
armies are moving to another encounter, and Lee can no longer 
divide his force. If they are withdrawn because Gen l 
Grant finds a necessity for them greater than to hold Beaure- 
gard in check, then the Army of the Potomac has not been 
reinforced to the extent that is believed, or that the country 
can command. If they are withdrawn for political reasons, 
in fear that Gen l. Butler should meet with further success 
before the next President is selected for the people, it is a 
useless alarm, a most unworthy act, to peril a great cause for 
such a purpose, even in the smallest detail. And useless as 
was said before. Gen l. Butler has no political organization, 
not a paper that is not so thoroughly engaged by the various 
aspirants that will venture to defend him when it is well known 
he is unjustly attacked. Why do the papers devoted to the 
different interests unite in defaming him? Because from 
the beginning of this war, he, the earliest in it, has shown 
ability and power to produce great results with less means 
than any other man engaged in it. The hate of the rebels is 
measured by the injury he has done them. The dread of 
him, among the expectants at the forthcoming Conventions, is 
in proportion to the wide-spread belief that in inexhaustible 
resource, in capacity for governing, and in executive ability, 
he is the foremost man of the times. Gen l. Gillmore denies 
that he recommended fortifying and that Genl. Butler refused. 
From whence did the Post receive information of so reliable a 
character? Shortly after the battle at Fort Darling two offi 
cials from Washington went down to review the works, to 
ascertain if they were strong enough to be held by a part of 
the command, as Gen l. Grant, though reported to be fully 
reinforced, yet wants more men. This, then, is the point 
that bears directly upon Gen l Butler. Are those troops a 
necessity on the Potomac, or are they withdrawn by instiga 
tion from elsewhere, to prevent the possibility of a successful 
move at this most critical time in political manoeuvering? 
W r as it from such a channel that the Post had its reliable in 
formation? That we suffered severely at the Wilderness as 



318 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

well as the rebels, the price of gold and the long pause suffi 
ciently attest. That Gen l. Butler was able after that battle 
to keep his hold on the James River, and make successful war 
with Beauregard and a part of Lee s force combined, should 
be a theme for praise not a pretext for violent abuse. 

Gen l. Grant is making another mighty effort for victory, 
and one that will be successful all true-hearted men believe. 
While this is so, another, who has done his work perfectly as 
man is able, should not be a target for the arrows from every 
quiver aimed widely apart in all but this, nor a scapegoat for 
all mistakes, misadventures, or misfortunes, past, present, 
and prospective, that this great army may sustain during the 
campaign. Especially if, as it would seem to look now, he is 
deprived of further share in the glorious triumph if we are 
victorious. 1 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 6th, 1864 

MY DEAR LOVE: You have grown beautifully less until you 
have expired altogether. Three lines yesterday, today noth 
ing what has happened? You would not from mere idle 
ness neglect to send, I believe. There may be news from 
Grant that has set you all to work. There has been a rumour 
to-day that he has won a great victory. The man who drives 
told me there was heavy firing last night and very rapid, he 
and his companions heard it while sitting out, and thought 
it came from your lines. No doubt it was Grant s. George 
Webster says he was told there are not two hundred left of 
the regiment that went from the Fort under Smith and fought 
in the last few days. Tomorrow will bring the news. I 
have written a long letter to Harriet, and separate ones to 
Paul and Benny. I have had no word from them, but they 
went home last Tuesday morning. They went directly through, 
no stopping on the way. Tonight I rode out alone far away 
up the beach. I have been reading a tale of love and mischief, 
ending with suicide. I hate to get hold of these things, they 
worry me so. I do not live like other people, I am confident. 
I began life entirely different from those I knew. I am as far 
apart from them now as then. Not that I wish to be. I am busy 
now from morn till ten at night, very busy, so that the time 



1 Mr. Parton replied to Mrs. Butler s letter that "the time has passed for any 
vindication at present." 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 319 

may go easily. But in every fibre of me is woven a romance 
that will die when I am dead, and not till then. Blanche, 
though much like you, inherits that from me. It is not the 
school-girl fever, that must find an object, make a match, 
and then is commonplace forever. But a love of beauty, of 
art, even where it is not cultivated, an instinctive love for it 
in every form, in books, painting, poetry, and music. And 
this is not fanciful that I am writing you, though you may 
laugh at it. There is a deep and keen sensibility in my nature 
that time does not deaden, I think it only intensifies, and 
so it will be with her. She will see things more charming, 
rich, and clothed with a dreamy beauty, some times in her 
life, and she will be more worried, troubled, and shaken with 
grief at others. So the balance will be about even. But if I 
were to choose for her I would have her jolly and selfish. You 
wrote me sometime ago to write about myself. Now I think 
you will be glad to hear no more. I shall say goodnight, and 
leave a chance for a word in the morning, if there is anything 
to say. Goodnight. 

Ask Stephen to put that carpet in a box and direct here. 
If we stay at the fort we shall want it. No news. 

From General Grant 

Head Quarters Armies of the United States, COLD HARBOR, VA., June 6th, 1864 

Maj. Genl. B. F. BUTLER, Comd g. Dept. of Va. & N. C. 

GENERAL: An expedition under Maj. Gen. Hunter is now 
on its way up the Shenandoah Valley, and a large cavalry force 
will leave here tomorrow under Gen. Sheridan to join him for 
the purpose of utterly destroying the enemy s lines of com 
munication on the north side of the James River. When this 
is done, it is my intention to transfer all the force now with me 
to the south side. To do this I may be compelled to go to the 
mouth of the Chickahominy. I now send Col. Comstock of 
my staff to you to see what preparations are necessary to secure 
the rapid crossing of the river, and to learn if your position 
will be secure during the time the enemy would necessarily be 
able to spare a large force to operate with against you before 
reinforcements could reach you from me. 

Col. Comstock will explain to you fully the situation here. 
Very Respectfully, U. S. GRANT, Lt. Genl. 



320 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, June 7, 1864 

Col. AMES, Commanding, &c. 

WILL detail a good officer & (25) twenty-five good axemen 
provided with good axes, one day s rations & without arms, 
to report to Lieut. Commander Harris forthwith. 

By command of GENL. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs., June 7th, 1864 

JAMES A. HARDY, Col. & Asst. Adjt. Genl., 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

TELEGRAM relating to the boat on the "Ben D. Ford" 
received. Immediately on the receipt of the telegram of the 
Asst. Secretary of War I called on Col. Fuller about the boat, 
and found that it had gone to New York on board the " Arogo," 
and was not within my Department. I immediately com 
municated the facts by telegram to Asst. Secretary of war 
Dana. Lt. Col. Fuller promised to report the facts to the 
Quartermaster General. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. June 7th, 1864, 12.30 P.M. 

Lt. Gen. GRANT, WHITE HOUSE 

ALL quiet on my lines. Richmond paper of June 7th gives 
intelligence of a fight at Mount Crawford between Genl. 
Hunter & Genl. W. E. Jones, in which Hunter was victorious 
and Jones, rebel commander, was killed. Stan ton was after 
wards occupied by the Army forces. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From Admiral Lee 

CONFIDENTIAL. Flag-Ship N. Atlantic Block. Squadron, James River, June 7, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Department of Virginia 

and North Carolina 

GENERAL: I desire to keep the schooners ready for sinking 
when I am advised that a controlling military necessity re 
quires that it be done. Judging from the tenor of a despatch 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 321 

received from the Navy Department last evening, no such 
precautionary measure seems to be contemplated. 

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, yours, 
S. P. LEE, Actg. Rear-Admiral, 
Comdg. N. Atlantic Block. Squadron 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 692. 

From General Butler 

In the Field, June 7th, 1864, 2.45 P.M. 

Admiral LEE, Commanding, &c. 

YOUR note relating to the sinking of the obstructions is 
received by hand of Capt. Clark. The necessity of holding 
our positions here is an overwhelming military one. But how 
you are to hold yours on the river is of course wholly for you 
to determine. Respectfully Yours, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. in the field, near POINT OF ROCKS, VA., June 1th, 1864 

For the Court 

APPLICATION having been made to me by Surgeon Charles 
T. McCormick, medical director of the department of Va. & 
N. C., if it were possible for leave of absence to be granted to 
him to return to his home in Indiana to attend to some im 
portant litigation there, and a further request that if the exi 
gencies of the service forbid such absence that I would state 
the reasons of such denial in so far as they might be an excuse 
for his non-appearance at the trial, and such circumstances 
within my knowledge as would tend to show that Surgeon Mc 
Cormick could have no wish to avoid being in court at any time 
if possible for him to be present. I have the honor to state 
for the information of the Court: 

Surgeon McCormick being at present in the field, Medical 
Director of this department having charge in chief of hospitals 
now holding more than four thousand sick, and as well of the 
entire transportation from this army to Fortress Monroe, 
Point Lookout, and elsewhere of such sick and wounded as 
may be so unfortunate, it is utterly impossible to dispense 
with his services for such length of time as would meet the 
object intended by his absence. Specially as we are in daily 
expectation of attack or offensive movements on our part. 
Public duty and the dictates of humanity to the suffering 



VOL. IV 21 



322 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

soldiers of my command would alike prevent my granting any 
such leave of absence. Nor do I believe the application would 
be made by Surgeon McCormick except upon what he supposed 
a most urgent personal necessity, the burthen of dealing with 
which he chooses to leave upon me, well knowing the necessities 
of the service will cause the refusal of the application. 

I further desire to state that I can conceive of no reason 
personal to himself which should hinder Surgeon McCormick 
from being present at the trial of any contested cause with 
which he might be engaged. Surgeon McCormick, an officer 
of the army of 5 years standing, sustaining a most excellent 
reputation, came to me at New Orleans in the spring of 1862 
as Senior Medical Officer, and has served with me ever since 
when in the field, and I can bear most earnest testimony to 
his efficiency as an officer, his skill as a medical man, his up 
rightness as a man, and his courtesy and bearing as a gentleman. 

B. F. B., Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 7, 1864 

DEAREST: I am back at the fort. We have had tea, and 
I feel lonesome, but the chamber and bed look inviting. I 
shall sleep sound, for I feel weary as well as lonely. I wonder 
if there is no time in life when the days can flow on in joyous 
tranquility, content to be happy, undisturbed, by the restless 
desire for change. But apart from all that, I shall be glad 
when this campaign is over. So I think will you. You would 
be glad this damp and chilly night to be safely housed at home 
in a comfortable, pleasant room, with me to talk to, or rather 
I to talk, and you doubtful if it is worth while to answer. 

9 o clock. Sanborn has been in. He says the rumours are 
that Smith has been engaged fighting part of the last two days, 
and has been obliged to fall back. Also reported that we 
have taken five or six hundred prisoners, and that there is 
doubt at Washington if we are much successful. Tomor 
row I hope will bring news more certain and satisfactory. 
The morning news does not seem to be of much account. 
Mr. Webster is here. I do not know if he will go up to you 
today or not. The weather is still cold. I think you may have 
another opportunity yet, and if you do not, what you have 
done will be clearly understood in a short time, every day will 

make it clearer. T7 / ,. . -, 

Very affectionately yours, SARAH 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 323 
From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 7, 1864 

DEAREST: I am tired tonight, so tired that I am tempted 
to lie down on the bed without writing a word. I have been 
at work steadily from breakfast until four o clock. And then 
I called for Mrs. LTsher and went over to the hospital. I am 
afraid to go alone, and when I get there I shrink from going 
in, for fear they will think I go only from curiosity. Oh, 
they are a sad sight, crippled, maimed for life, and many 
with death standing beside them. I will not write in this w r ay 
to you, but I will go again and again and carry something to 
these poor suffering creatures. Major Usher says you must 
be patient, and that I must urge it upon you, that all will 
come right, etc. I hear he is very much your friend. I do 
not think that can be said of one whom you found here, when 
we first came. Oh, dearest, I feel just as Benny does, when he 
creeps into my lap at night and wants me to rock and sing to 
him! And there is nobody to rock or sing or care anything 
about me. Poor Buntie, she wants to creep to the shelter of 
home and be made something of, too. Divide Paul and 
Benny, and we are pretty well scattered. Do you lay down 
my letters after you read them with a doubtful, unpleasant 
feeling, or do you, hum ah km, or do you say, ah, well, 
a good many w r ords about nothing? Or have you other 
letters of greater interest? Are mine hastily scanned and 
thrown down? I can t say, can you? But I can say, good 
night! I especially wish tonight that somebody loved me, 
a little, I am so tired; but I hardly think there is any one 
can, it is so much work. And really it is folly to trouble 

Affectionately yours, SARAH 
From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia and Sorth Carolina, 

in the field, June 1th, 1864 

MY DEAREST SARAH: What shall I write, oh! ye, of little 
faith! When bread and coffee are all I want that I can get, 
and I am well, and there is no news? 

Is not our correspondence like our conversation? You 
tell me all that you can think of, and I answer all that is 
material. You know I never indulge in speculation upon 
future events. Now, it by no means follows because I don t 



324 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

write long letters that I do not like to read, and can t one think 
of another just as much, just as fondly, and as long when 
reading a long letter from, as when writing a long letter to, 
a little growler about short letters? Put that in your pipe 
and smoke it! 

(Webster?) is here and will stay today. There is literally 
no news. I have sent Maj. Ludlow to Grant and he has 
reached him, but reports no news. 

Yours as ever, B. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

June 8tk, 1864, 8.30 A.M. 

Li. Col. FULLER 

WILL report in person to my Head Qrs. and remain there 
till I return, to explain if possible why my order to have the 
"Johnson" at the commissary wharf was not obeyed. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. ComcTg. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the Field, June 8, 1864 

Col. DUNCAN: 

COLONEL: General Butler directs that you have your 
command in readiness to march this P.M. at dark, with one (1) 
day s rations & (60) sixty rounds of ammunition. 

Very Respectfully, C. J. PAINE, Col. Actg. Chf. Staff 

From General Butler 

June 8th, 1864 

Genl. GILLMORE 

I SEND you Mr. Champlin, who lives in Petersburg, as a 
guide. If he can be of service, he is perfectly reliable. He 
knows all about the fortifications. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

June 8th, 1864, 3 P.M. 

Gen. HINKS 

ENCLOSED you will find your map. I believe it to be cor 
rect. You will get all ready to move, so as to strike the enemy 
at daylight. Genl. Gillmore will be over with a brigade dur- 
ing the night. BENJ R BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 325 

From General Gillmore 

June 8, 1864 

General BUTLER 

I HAVE made the necessary preparations for placing a bat 
tery in advance of Spring Hill, and came down to see you about 
it. The force to cover battery until completed will have to 
be pretty strong, or we may lose it. I will await your orders 

at my headquarters. 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 705. 

From the Secretary of War 

War Department, June 8, 1864, 3.45 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, BERMUDA HUNDRED 

PLEASE accept my thanks for your telegram of this morn 
ing, containing the agreeable news of the battle at Mount 
Crawford. No Richmond papers have been received by the 
Department for the last ten days. It would be a favor if 
you will forward the dates from the 27th of May, if possible, 
or at least the latest dates. Major Mulford has entirely 
neglected his instructions on this point. I would be glad to 
have a daily report from you. Mr. Lincoln was renominated 
this morning, and Andrew Johnson, Vice-President. 

EDWIN M. ST ANTON, Secretary of War 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 704. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, June 8, 1864, 5 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

I TAKE three regiments from Terry and one from Turner, 
making 1,800 men in all. I had better take a battery, had I 
not? I have sent for General Kautz, to confer with him before 

I call again to see you. ir . n 7 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 705. 

From General Butler 

June 8th, 1864, 5.15 P.M. 

Gen. GILLMORE 

I SHOULD say take two sections of a battery. Hinks will 
take a section of his. This is not to be artillery work but a 
quick decisive push. 

Yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



326 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

June 8, 1864, 11 P.M. 

General HINKS 

GENERAL BUTLER directs me to say that General Gillmore, 
with his column, will be at the pontoon bridge between 11 
and 12 o clock tonight. He directs that you have a staff 
officer at the bridge to guide the troops to the Jordan s Point 
road, to a good place to rest within the pickets. Also that 
you meet General Gillmore for consultation at the bridge at 
midnight. Please acknowledge receipt. 

C. J. PAINE, Colonel and Acting Chief of Staff 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the Field, June 8th, 1864 

MY DEAREST SALLY: Don t you know that a man who has 
nothing to do never does anything? If a battle was going on, 
I should have found time to have written you, for my mind 
would have been keenly alive to every duty and sentiment, 
but having nothing on earth to do but sleep I did that with 
great energy, so that before I woke at 7:30 A.M. the mail was 
gone, and I was ashamed to stop the boat and send a special 
messenger. There you see how rich the failure of one letter 
has made the theme of another. 

Literally doing nothing, but not after today I am out of 
this, cost what cost will. All well have been much obliged 
for bread and coffee. It is better than pistols and coffee. 
How do you manage to spend your time? So you are going 
back to the time "when you were alone in the world and all 
was joy." Thank you hadn t you better apply for a di 
vorce? I assure you I am quite as much alone as I wish to be. 

You may think it very pretty to be alone. But I confess 
to your ear alone that I like to wake up at night and find a 
dear little wife by my side, even if the most tangible evidence 
of her presence is to snore. Ymn ag ^ fi R 



From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 8, 1864 

DEAREST: There have been callers all the evening, last of 
all Col. Roberts, he is somewhat lengthy in his calls. They 
have taken all the time. I prefer to write to you. I wish 
they would all go hang! Gen l. Shepley and daughter through 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 327 

the day, up the beach, over to the hospital looking at the 
wounded, until I can see nothing else. Poor wretches! my 
mind is all disturbed, and I am writing horribly. I am so 
sorry I let the children go, the weather is cool enough, and 
they are better with me; but how foolish it is to worry about 
it, I think they are happier at home. The truth is, I am rest 
less tonight, and can hardly keep my hand on the paper. 

What can you mean by being "out of this"? You have not 
force for anything, have you? Listen a good deal to what 
Weitzel says, though fettered a little maybe in some things, 
his judgment and courage are both sound. Major Usher says 
you must have patience. Tonight one of Grant s aids will 
be with you. I hope with something more satisfactory. 
Major Ludlow came this evening, he gave me an account 
of his journey to Grant, the situation of the army. We will 
want more troops, a hundred thousand at least to make this 
work sure. Oh, the miserable Government! Had Davis the 
resources of the north would this war at this hour be an uncer 
tainty? It is too late to pursue this. So you do not wish to 
be alone now. I have heard you bewail yourself that you 
never would find the chance again. And you would have a 
dear little wife even if she snores; unhappily neither of these 
attributes pertains to me, so I must conclude it is a wife not 
the wife that your fancy pictures, and she who writes can only 

subscribe, AJf ,. , 1 ^ * v 

Affectionately, Your WIFE 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, Broadway, June 9, 1864, 3.40 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

MY command has just crossed the river; some of it has been 
delayed by losing the road. I have no doubt that the enemy 
are fully apprised of our movement by the noise of the bridge. 
It is not muffled at all, and the crossing of the cavalry can be 

heard for miles. ^ T ^ n/r - n 

Yours, Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-Gen. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 718. 

From General Gillmore 

OSWEGO, June 9th, 1864, 5 A.M. 

Brig. Gent. HINKS 

IN the attack about to take place on the defences of Peters 
burg, you are to take the Jordan Point Road, following Gen. 
Kautz until you strike that road. Unless the attack is made 



328 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

promptly and vigorously there will be danger of failure, as 
the enemy will reinforce Petersburg from their lines in front of 
Gen. Terry. 

Should you penetrate the town before Gen. Kautz, who is 
to attack on the Jerusalem Road, the public buildings, public 
stores, bridges across the Appomattox, depots, and cars are 
all to be destroyed. Communicate with me on the City Point 

Your obdt. Servant, Q. A. GILLMORE 
From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

United States Military Telegraph, June 9th, 1864 

To MY WIFE 

You shall have a word although I have one foot in the stir 
rup. I have ordered an attack on Petersburg this morning. 
I had to put it under the command of Gillmore. I think it 
will fail from that cause. Grant s chief of staff is here, and 
Grant is coming here with his whole army as soon as he can. 
This must be a secret. 

All well except the dilatory movements of Gillmore. 

Yours as ever, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Grant 

Headquarters U. S. Armies, COLD HARBOR, VA., June 9, 1864, 7.30 A.M. 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

ALL re-enforcements sent hereafter please send to City 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 709. 

From General Rawlins 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, near COLD HARBOR, VA., June 9, 1864 

Brig. Gen. J. J. ABERCROMBIE, Commanding U. S. Forces, 

WHITE HOUSE, VA. 

GENERAL: Direct all organized troops arriving at the White 
House from and after to-day to proceed, without debarking 
from transports they may be in, to City Point or Bermuda 
Hundred, and there report to Major-General Butler, com 
manding. 

By command of LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT 
JNO. A. RAWLINS, Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 716. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 329 

From General Butler 

June 9th, 1864 

Genl. BENHAM 

COL. COMSTOCK of Gen. Grant s staff is here, and from the 
information he brings, although no orders to that effect, I 
believe you would do well to come up here at once. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. & N. C., in the Field, June 9th, 64 

Maj. Gen. SMITH, ComcTg. 18th Army Corps 

GEN. WEITZEL showed me your telegram in relation to 
forwarding your suggestions in regard to negro troops. 

My reasons for not forwarding them sooner are that I had 
a conversation upon the subject with the Lieut. General, in 
which your recommendations were substantially to be carried 
out, as a portion of them have already been. The Colored 
Batt y has been withdrawn from the front, and sent for drill 
to Portsmouth, in order that the experiment of using negroes 
for artillery may be tested fully. 

A very competent Brig. Gen. for those troops under your 
command has been appointed, and they will be at once re 
organized, and I doubt not the Lieut. Gen. will attach to our 
command the negro troops now in Gen. Burnside s Corps. 

The delay has also been rendered necessary by the expected 
arrival of other negro troops in this Department. I beg leave 
to assure you that it was from no disrespect to your sugges 
tions, as they are valuable, but from a belief that the interests 
of the service required a little delay, that they have not been 
forwarded. 

After receiving this you are at liberty to forward them 
directly, with a copy of this note. 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters, ELICK JORDAN S, June 9, 1864, 12.30 P.M. 

Major -General BUTLER 

I FOUND the enemy prepared for me, to all appearances. 
A prisoner says our movement was known at 1 this morning, 
and that re-enforcements arrived by railroad. General Hinks, 
on the Jordan s Point road, says he cannot carry the work in 
his front, and that since he arrived there at 7 A.M. two more 
regiments have been added to the intrenchments, coming 



330 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

from the city. In Hawley s front the works are as strong, I 
should think, as our own on Terry s front. In my opinion, 
they cannot be carried by the force I have. Distant firing 
on my extreme left has been heard for the last hour and a half. 
I, therefore, judge that Kautz finds himself opposed. I am 
about to withdraw from under fire in hopes of hearing from him. 
Very respectfully, &c., Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

From General Butler 

June 9th, 64 

Genl. GILLMORE 

YOUR despatch of 12.30 received. I grieve for the delay in 
getting off the expedition this morning. I hope Kautz has 
been more successful in getting in. You do not speak of any 
cost. I send you a note from Surgeon McCormick, which 
please preserve. Not on the ground I cannot advise. No 
troops have passed over railroad or turnpike since six o clock 
this morning. y^ BENJ R BuTLER 



From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs., in the Field, June 9th, 1864, 7 P.M. 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Sec y of War 

YOUR despatch received. Permit me to congratulate the 
President upon his renomination. I trust it will give quiet to 
the country and strength to the cause. I certainly will send 
telegraphic communications when I have anything to com 
municate that will be of the slightest interest. Everything has 
been quiet on my lines up to today. Last night I sent a force 
with Gen l Gillmore & Hinks to make a demonstration on 
Petersburg on the one side, while Gen. Kautz with his cavalry 
should attempt to get in on the other. The infantry was 
under the command of Gen. Gillmore, who has returned having 
failed to force the fortifications, but having met with no con 
siderable loss. Gen. Kautz is still out with orders to cut the 
Weldon and Petersburg Railroad once more. He has 1400 
well mounted men with him. 

I would be very glad to forward the Richmond papers, but 
only get mine through my pickets. Communication through 
flag-of-truce is cut off. First, because of a communication by 
myself to Commissioner Ould, making inquiry whether negro 
soldiers would be treated as prisoners of war if captured. 
Secondly, sending up for wounded prisoners which they refuse 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 331 

to deliver, I having refused to deliver well ones until that 
question is definitely settled. This was in obedience with my 
instructions from the Lieut. Gen. Major Mulford, you will see 
therefore, is not in fault. He and his boat are engaged in 
conveying wounded soldiers and prisoners to hospitals. 
Whenever there is anything of interest in the Richmond papers, 
I will see that it is communicated by telegraph. (Hunters?) 
fight was on Sunday. 

B. F. BUTLER, Major General Comd g. 

From General Gillmore 

Head Quarters, near BAYLOR S SAW MILL, June 9, 1864 

Major General BUTLER 

GENERAL HINKS, who was on the left, says the last firing 
from General Kautz was heard at 12 o clock, apparently just 
where it commenced. After waiting under the intrenchments 
until about 1 o clock to hear further from him, I gradually 
withdrew to Baylor s, and then waited until 3.30 o clock. 
Both General Hinks and myself think Kautz has gone to cut 
the railroad; that was understood to be his intention. As I 
was directed to return to-night, I do not feel justified in delay 
ing here any longer. Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 
Q. A. GILLMORE, Major General 

From Lieutenant-Colonel Comstock 

General Butler s Headquarters, June 9, 1864, 7.30 P.M. 

Lieutenant-General GRANT 

WILL start back early in the morning. General Gillmore 
with 2,000 men started to-day to demonstrate on Petersburg, 
while Kautz with 1,500 cavalry was to go around, enter Peters 
burg if practicable, and destroy railroad bridge, and to go 
south on the railroad. Gillmore reconnoitered the enemy s 
works and has returned, finding them strong. Kautz has not 
yet been heard from. 

C. B. COMSTOCK, Lieutenant-Colonel and Aide-de-Camp 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 709. 

From General Butler 

Genl. GILLMORE J "" e ** * 8 - H " 

JH^I HAVE ordered your escort back. Gen. Kautz is at my 
quarters, having come from the inner line of intrenchments 



332 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

of Petersburg, having carried the outer and only line of 

intrenchments. T>T^-D * /v i sv j 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comdg. 



From General Gillmore 

June 9, 1864, 9 P.M. 

Major General BUTLER 

IT seems very strange that General Kautz did not communi 
cate with me at all, knowing as he did that my command was 
in two parts, beyond supporting distance of each other, and that 
circumstances might render it necessary to draw them back 
and get them together, as was the case. It was not until 
after 3.15 that my command was more than twenty minutes 
march from the intrenchments, waiting there to hear from 

General Kautz. r\ A ^ u n i 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major General 



From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs., in the Field, June 10th, 1864 

Maj. Genl. GILLMORE 

BETWEEN now and five o clock you will forward to me a 
written report of the orders under which you acted in the move 
ment on Petersburg, stating specially the times at which you 
were ordered to act and move, the times in which you did move, 
the attack made, the nearness with which your column reached 
the enemy s works, how far in advance or rear you were of Gen. 
Hinks column, how far you were separated from him, and who 
was to make the feigned attack and who the real. Give the 
plan agreed upon by you, the number of men lost in killed or 
wounded in any attack made, a full description of the attack, 
and such report as shall give a clear and concise narration of 
what you did, and what was omitted to be done, the time 
you left your most advanced position, & also a duplicate 
of all orders either verbal or written given to Gen. Hinks, 
distinguishing between the two, and give the time they were 
sent. 

You will carefully note each particular of this order, and see 
that each is answered specifically. 

State also the regts. companies, and detachments you had 
with you independent of Genl s. Kautz and Hinks command. 
You need not give any report of the operations of either Gen. 
Kautz or Hinks. 

I have ordered a specific hour for this report because I have 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 333 

never yet received from you any report of your operations 
since you have been on this line. This order is peremptory. 

By command of MAJ. GEN. BUTLER 
CHAS. J. PAINE, Col. & Act. Chief of Staff 

From General Butler 

General Butler s Head Qrs., June 10th, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Sec. of War 

ALL quiet along our lines. Yesterday General Kautz 
charged the enemy s works at Petersburg, and carried them, 
penetrating the town, but not being supported by Gen. Gill- 
more, who had withdrawn his forces without a conflict, Gen. 
Kautz was obliged to withdraw without further effect. Gen. 
Kautz captured 40 prisoners and four pieces of artillery, which 
he brought away with him. It is a misfortune that Genl. 
Gillmore did not support him. Might I not have the 36th 
U. S. Colored Regiment from Point Lookout? Three regi 
ments ought to hold the prisoners there. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From John K. Hackett 

Law Department, Office of Counsel to the Corporation, June Wth, 1864 

W. P. WEBSTER, Esq. 

DEAR SIR: I have seen the Surrogate, and he is clearly of 
opinion that he has no power to dispense with the necessity of 
General Butler s personal appearance here to qualify as an 
Executor or to give the necessary bonds. 

The Surrogate fully appreciates the embarrassment of 
General Butler s leaving his post at this most critical time, and 
were it a discretionary power with him would not hesitate to 
exercise it. 

I suppose that ere this you have met and conferred with the 
General, and I trust that good fortune and to the fullest extent 
aiding him, he may be permitted to absent himself for a few 
days in considering the interests of the estate of his deceased 
brother, and without prejudice to the interests of the Govern 
ment. I beg of you to present my respectful regards to him. 

Very truly yours, JOHN K. HACKETT 



334 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs. DepL Va. & N. C., in the Field, June 10, 1864 

To the Officer in charge of Pontoons belonging to Army of Potomac 

at BERMUDA LANDING 

SIR : You will proceed at once with your command & pontoon 
trains to Fort Monroe, & there report to Genl. Benham. 

By order of GENL. BUTLER 

From General E. W. Hinks 

Head Quarters Hinks Division, CITY POINT, VA., June 10th, 1864 

Maj. R. S. DAVIS, Asst. Adjt. Genl, DepL Va. and N. C. 

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of 
operations under the order of Maj. Genl. Butler, dated June 
8th, 1864, 3 P.M. (Copy appended marked A ). 

Immediately after dark I moved two regiments, thirteen 
hundred (1300) men of my command, to the vicinity of 
Broadway, and repaired to the Pontoon Bridge at about 9 
o clock, where I received the despatch from Major Gen l. 
Butler, dated June 8th, 1864, 11 P.M. (Copy appended marked 

"B"). 

At about quarter before three o clock A.M. of June 9th, Gen l. 
Gillmore arrived at the Pontoon Bridge, and at 3? o clock A.M., 
his troops having all crossed, I returned to Cope s, where one 
of my regiments was bivouacked, and awaited the arrival of 
the rest of the column. 

At about five o clock I march from Cope s, closely following 
the advance of Genl. Kautz, and on arriving at Baylies received 
an order from Genl. Gillmore, dated June 9th, 5 A.M. (Copy 
appended marked "C"). 

I asked Genl. Gillmore if it was the intention to hold on to 
the enemy s works as long as possible at any rate, and he 
answered me, "No; unless we take them within an hour it will 
be useless to attempt it, and you must use your discretion in 
the attack." 

I immediately moved forward, understanding that Gen l. 
Gillmore was to move to the right of Baylies toward the Appo- 
mattox, and then we were to make co-operative attacks. A 
staff officer of Genl. Gillmore accompanied me to see my forces 
in position, and then report to the General. 

At about seven o clock A.M., the 9th inst., I crossed Baylies 
creek on the Jordan Point Road, and drove the enemy s pickets 
into his works in Jordan s and Friend s fields, deploying my 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 335 

forces at Ruffin s house and advancing to the crest of the 
height; where, finding that my line was in advance of the 
enemy s works upon the right, some six hundred yards distant, 
and would be exposed to a flank fire, I attempted to get a 
battery into position to engage the work either upon the right 
or left, and sent Gen l. Gillmore word that I was in position - 
that my right flank was advanced beyond the enemy s works, 
and exposed to an enfilading fire, and that I would advance as 
soon as I could get my battery to bear upon some point of the 
enemy s lines. 

Finding it impossible to bring the battery into action, unless 
I left it without a support and exposed to a cross fire, I sent it 
back to Ruffin s house, and advanced some fifty yards further 
with my infantry. 

Hearing no firing on my right, where I expected a co-opera 
tive attack, I now notified Gen l. Gillmore that the enemy was 
in considerable force in the works in my front, which were too 
strong to be carried by assault with the troops at my disposal 
for the purpose, as I was exposed to a fire from the works on my 
right, and should be obliged to protect my flank by sending 
back part of my force, and received from him a verbal 
despatch, that he should immediately drive the enemy into his 
works and hold him there. Whereupon I retained my position, 
hoping that the enemy s works would be engaged on my right, 
and an opportunity given me to go in. It was now about 
10 o clock A.M. 

Shortly afterward I was notified by Gen l. Gillmore that the 
enemy was advancing in a strong line against his left, which 
upon the explanation of his staff officer I found to be in the 
rear of my line in the swamp. 

At about twelve o clock I was notified that Gen l. Gillmore s 
forces were withdrawing, and thereupon moved my artillery 
and reserves across Baylies creek to Bryant s house. 

At one o clock P.M., on an order from Gen l. Gillmore, I, 
withdrew my line from front of the enemy s works to Bryant s, 
and at about two o clock was ordered to return to Baylies 
house, where I joined the column of Gen l. Gillmore. I am, 
Major, very respectfully, 

Your obdt. Servant, EDWARD W. HINKS, 
Brig. GenL U. S. Vols. Corndg. Division 



336 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Grant 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, COLD HARBOR, VA., June 11, 64 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. of Virginia and 
North Carolina 

GENERAL: The movement to transfer this army to the south 
side of James River will commence after dark to-morrow night. 
Colonel Comstock, of my staff, was sent specially to ascertain 
what was necessary to make your position secure in the inter 
val, during which the enemy might use most of his force 
against you, and also to ascertain what point on the river we 
should reach to effect a crossing, if it should not be practicable 
to reach this side of the river at Bermuda Hundred. Colonel 
Comstock has not yet returned, so that I cannot make instruc 
tions as definite as I would wish, but the time between this and 
Sunday night being so short in which to get word to you, I 
must do the best I can. 

Col. Dent goes to make arrangements for gun-boats and 
transportation to send up the Chickahominy to take to you the 
Eighteenth Corps. This corps will leave its position in the 
trenches as early in the evening to-morrow as possible, and 
make a forced march to Cole s Landing or Ferry, where it 
should reach by 10 A.M. the following morning. This corps 
numbers now 15,300 men. They take with them neither 
wagons nor artillery, these latter marching with the balance 
of the army to the James River. The remainder of the army 
will cross the Chickahominy at Long Bridge and at Jones , and 
strike the river at the most practicable crossing below City 
Point. I directed several days ago that all re-enforcements for 
the army should be sent to you. I am not advised of the num 
ber that may have gone, but suppose you have received from 
6,000 to 10,000. General Smith will also reach you as soon as 
the enemy could, going by the way of Richmond. The balance 
of the force will not be more than one day behind, unless de 
tained by the whole of Lee s army, in which case you will be 
strong enough. 

I wish you to direct the proper staff officers, your chief engi 
neer and chief quartermaster, to commence at once the collec 
tion of all the means in their reach for crossing the army on its 
arrival. If there is a point below City Point where a pontoon 
bridge can be thrown, have it laid. Expecting the arrival of 
the Eighteenth Corps by Monday night, if you deem it prac 
ticable from the force you now have to seize and hold Peters- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 337 

burg, you may prepare to start on arrival of troops to hold 
your present lines. I do not want Petersburg visited, however, 
unless it is held, nor an attempt to take it unless you feel a 
reasonable degree of confidence of success. If you should go 
there, I think troops should take nothing with them except 
what they carry, depending upon supplies being sent after the 
place is secured. If Colonel Dent should not succeed in secur 
ing the requisite amount of transportation for the Eighteenth 
Corps before reaching you, please have the balance supplied. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

P.S. On reflection, I will send the Eighteenth Corps by way of 
White House. The distance which they will have to march 
will be enough shorter to enable them to reach you about the 
same time, and the uncertainty of navigation of the Chicka- 
hominy will be avoided. U. S. G. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 754. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the field, June llth, 1864 

MY DEAREST WIFE: Webster and Fisher both going down 
yesterday I did not write. We were busy all the morning till 
the mail went, and they could tell you all the news. 

The Petersburg expedition was a most disgraceful failure 
owing to the incompetency of Gillmore. He thrust himself 
upon me, and then failed disgustingly. All well otherwise. 

Grant and his whole army will be at this point within a week. 
This is what I could not write you fully before, but of course 
nothing must be said. 

Hurrah for Lincoln and Johnson! That s the ticket! This 
country has more vitality than any other on earth if it can 
stand this sort of administration for another four years. 

Yours truly, as ever, BENJ. F. 

From Mrs. Butler to Mrs. Heard 

FORTRESS MONROE, June llth [1864] 

DEAR HARRIET: I have thought of a dozen articles to send 
for, and will try to enumerate some of them. The lace that was 
round my handkerchief, a lace, doubled-quilled ruffle for the 
neck, bathing dress, black lace hat, parasol with an exquisite 

VOL. IV 22 



338 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

cornelian ball to finish the handle, or an ivory ball. Well, they 
have gone from my mind again, some of the articles. It is no 
great matter if I should come home soon. But I can t seem to 
tell about that, things are so uncertain. I should like those 
things that are in the house, and the black alpaca. Its being 
fine is no objection to it. 

Fisher and Lauretta will soon be here again. I suppose it is 
likely that Blanche and I shall return with them. I could not 
help putting this house in order, new carpeting the entry and 
stairs, and taking up the others to have them cleaned. I have 
been to the Hospitals many times, three days in succession at 
one time. The bad scents from the wounds, and the deplor 
able sights I cannot bear every day. 

Mr. Butler is killed in his moves by Gillmore. He ordered an 
attack on Petersburg, which is left with very few troops. The 
cavalry under Kautz went in, Gillmore with the infantry went 
up to the entrenchments, and without firing a gun thought they 
looked too strong, and came back again. When he found, 
Kautz had been in, he said he ought to have let him know, 
when his orders were to make the attack. 

It is owing to him w r e had no success at Charleston. He was 
ordered to be at Petersburg by daylight and was there at noon. 
In every move he is hours behind the time. And this man 
must have precedence because of his position ! It is enough to 
make one mad. If that attack had been made by another 
officer we should now have Petersburg. I suppose it will not 
answer for me to criticise. 

The hundred and fifty I supposed you would be likely to 
spend for your wardrobe, if you have energy enough to plan 
what you want. Are not the children sorry they went home 

v Very affectionately yours, SARAH 

I do not know but the lace from the handkerchief was put on 
Blanche s dress. 

I want a yard and a quarter and an eighth of a yard of 
valancennes inserting, about the width of this line - , and a 
narrow edge for one side of it. It is for the neck of the waist 
I wear under the muslin body. And the same length and width 
of the insertion, a pink gauze or plain ribbon to put under it; 
if the lace should be a little longer, no matter, and enough of 
the ribbon for a bow in front. 

I keep at work all the time. When I have no more to do, 
I shall have to change my place of residence. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 339 

Linen dress Checked silk Perfume 

White muslin White petticoat Lace for neck of dress 

Purple spotted muslin Parasol Lace bertha 

From General Butler 
SPECIAL ORDER J~ lift, ISM 

IT having come to the knowledge of the Commanding General 
that many officers are spending their time in the towns of Nor 
folk and Portsmouth, when they should be in the field or with 
their commands, it is ordered that every officer after his arrival 
in either of said towns shall report his name, rank, and regiment 
or staff position to the Provost Marshal, and every officer not 
stationed therein by orders from these Head Qrs. coming to 
either of said cities who shall not so report himself, and shall 
not have an order either from these Head Qrs. or from the 
Head Qrs. of the Army or War Department to report in either of 
said cities, or who shall fail to report himself as directed by this 
order, shall be arrested and sent under guard to his commanding 
officer, and have his name published with the fact of his un 
authorized presence in Norfolk three times in the New Regime 
newspaper. This order to be operative whether the officer is in 
plain clothes or uniform. It is also made the duty of the Special 
Provost Marshals of the detective force to report to the Provost 
Marshal for publication and arrest every officer offending 
against this order. 

From General Butler 
GV.I.HINKS Junellth.lBM 

I SEND you the enclosed report of a conversation of Lt. 
Barnard with yourself, sent me by Genl. Gillmore. It is but 
just to yourself that you should see it and take such action as 

vou think proper. D ,- 77 

Respectfully, 

BEXJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl Commanding 
Enclosure referred to in Foregoing Letter 

Head Quarters 10th Army Corps, in the Field near HATCHE S, VA., 

June llth, 1864 [Not in chronological order] 

A statement of verbal communication held between Maj. Gen. Q. A. 

GILLMORE and Brig. Genl. E. W. HIXKS on June 9th, 1864 

WHEN Gen. Hinks left the main column with his command, 

I was ordered by Gen. Gillmore to attach myself to his Staff, 

and to return as soon as he established his line; and to report 



340 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the shortest line of communication. At about 8 A.M., Gen. 
Hinks took a position in front of the enemy s works, and moved 
to the attack; but finding a battery on his right which could 
enfilade his line, he halted and ordered up his artillery, direct 
ing me to return to Gen. Gillmore, and report that he could 
not advance until the battery on his right was taken. 

I returned by way of the road, but reported that possibly 
communication could be established across the country. 
(A) About 9.15 A.M. Gen. Gillmore directed me to return to 
Gen. Hinks and state that Col. Hawley was about to advance, 
and would drive the enemy within their fortifications, and hold 
them there, and that he, (Gen. Gillmore) wished Gen. Hinks 
to do the same, and that if he saw an opportunity to assault 
with success he would do so. In this last, Gen. Hinks 
was to use his discretion, and not to consider it an order to 
assault. 

This time I found a road leading almost direct to Gen. 
Hinks Hd. Qrs. 

(B) Gen. Hinks replied that the enemy was much too strong 
for him, and that he had withdrawn his right to the edge of the 
woods, from which position he could hold the enemy within 
their works. He also directed me to inform Gen. Gillmore 
(C) that there was a full field battery of brass pieces in each 
of the batteries on his front; that reinforcements of two regi 
ments had been seen to enter the fortifications (D) from 
Petersburg, and that (E) "it would be slaughter to attempt 
an assault," or words to that effect; also that he, Gen. Hinks, 
had seen the works in front of Col. Hawley, and considered 
them formidable. 

About 11 A.M. I was again sent to Genl. Hinks, to inform 
him that the enemy was advancing a strong skirmish line, and 
that disposition had been made to oppose them. In case of 
retreat, Gen. Hinks would be governed by the report of Col. 
Hawley s firing. At Gen. Hinks Hd. Qrs. I met one of his 
staff, who reported that Genl. H. considered his present posi 
tion unsafe, as his flanks were exposed, and that he was about 
to retreat to a stronger position half a mile in the rear; but 
should still hold his present skirmish line commanding the 
enemy s works. After an unsuccessful attempt to find Gen. 
H., I returned to Gen. Gillmore s Hd. Qrs. 

At 1 P.M. Gen. Gillmore directed me to request Gen. Hinks 
to fall back to the Clover Field, but not to enter the City Point 
road until Col. Hawley had passed down with his command. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 341 

This last was delivered at 1.30 P.M., and at 1.40 P.M. Gen. 
Hinks was retiring. 

JAS. W. BARNARD, JR., 1st Lieut, and A.A.D.C. 

From General Hinks 

Head Quarters Hinks Division, CITY POINT, VA., June llth, 1864 

[Not in chronological order] 

THE within report of Lieut. James M. Barnard is substan 
tially correct, except in the following particulars, to wit: (A) It 
was certainly as late as ten o clock, I think later, instead of 
9.15, when Lt. Barnard reported to me that Gen. Gillmore s 
forces would immediately advance and drive the enemy within 
their fortifications, and L 2nd. (E) I informed him that I had 
already driven the enemy within his works in my front, and 
could hold him there, that the enemy was too strong for me to 
assault him alone, etc., etc., and 3rd (C) That the enemy s 
works in my front were mounted with brass field guns, instead 
of "that there was a full field battery of brass pieces in each of 
the batteries in my front," and 4th (D) "that two regts. (or 
battalions) had been seen to move into the works," I did not 
say "from Petersburg", and oth (E) that I could assault the 
works in my front, but it would be at a great loss of men unless 
the redoubt on my right which I had seen and considered formi 
dable should be engaged. I did not say that the works in front 
of Col. Hawley were formidable, for I did not know where 
Col. Hawley s front was. 

With these modifications the memoranda of conversation is a 
faithful representation of what was said, and is in my judgment 
in accordance with the facts, so far as I was concerned. 

EDW. W. HINKS, Brig. Genl. U. S. Vols. 

Comdg. Division 

From Surgeon Barnes 

Head Quarters Hinks Division, CITY POINT, VA., June 10th, 1864 

[Not in chronological order] 

General 

I HAVE the honor to transmit a report of killed and wounded 
resulting from the action near Petersburg, Va. on June 9th, 1864. 
CHAS. Taylor, Co. "H" 1st U.S.C.T. Bullet, Head, Killed. 
CHAS. E. DUFF, Co. "G" 1st U. S.C.T. Bullet, Thorax, since 

died. 

RICHARD STEVENSON, Co. "F" 6th U.S.C.T. Shell, abdomen. 
MOSES PINKNEY, Co. "F" 6th U.S.C.T. Shell, Left forearm. 



342 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

PHILIP COLE, Co. "D" 6th U.S.C.T. Bullet, Left arm. 
I have the honor to be 

Very respectfully, Your obdt. Servant, 
NORMAN S. BARNES, Surgeon U.S.V. Surgeon-in-chief 

Head Qrs. Hinks 1 Division, CITY POINT, VA., June \Zth, 1864 

RESPECTFULLY forwarded for the information of the Major 
Genl. Commanding, 

EDW. W. HINKS, Brig. Gen. U.S.V. Comdg. Division 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June Ilth, 1864 

DEAREST: Do you know I am obliged to keep at work or I 
could not stay here. The carpets have been taken up and the 
rooms cleaned, a new entry and stair carpet put down. All 
this done, though I may leave at any time. I thought when 
you left there was little chance you would return here to stop. 
Yet you may; we cannot look forward a day. It seems to me 
impossible that we are to have this weak, imperfect set to 
govern another four years. I asked Col. Shaffer what he 
thought now. You told me, I said, that Lincoln had not a 
chance unless Seward was thrown over. Now, not only will 
Seward not be put aside, but he will rule more absolutely for 
the next four years than he has in the years gone by. He is all 
there ever has been or will be of government while Lincoln is 
President. The Col. s brother is a strong Lincoln man. 
Perhaps it is all right. Among this whole party Seward was 
the ablest man of them all, why should he not rule? Even yet 
it may all break down, one would think such an Administration 
or the country would go to the wall. I do not often praise you, 
but it is my firm belief that there is but one man now known to 
the people who can save this country in its present critical 
state from utter loss and confusion irremediable; and that is 
yourself. Not that in time of peace and plenty you would be 
the best or only man; but I have seen, nor heard, of no man 
but you with broad and comprehensive views, and also a 
determined will and grasp of power (when within your reach) to 
carry them into effect. I think the country is doomed if 
Lincoln is again elected. We shall never conquer. And the 
most abject compromises will be forced upon us. I send you a 
letter from Mrs. Parton. What do you think of the style for a 
lady? Take care that you return it to me. I send you one 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 343 

from Lotie. If we ever have any more sick animals I hope Dr. 
Wood will not be allowed to come near them. Every one has 
died that he has attended. I hear there are several vessels 
gone up the James with troops. I wonder if you will try 
Petersburg again, or is it too late? Do you think about me 
now and then? I suppose not much, for when you are not 
busy you sleep, or think of something else, and so, Good-night, 
it is past eleven. Last night a negro crept into a casemate and 
stole a lady s purse, and frightened her into convulsions. A 
pretty thing for thievery to be abroad in this guarded spot! 
Col. Roberts will be in danger of indictment. I should think 
he would lose his temper at the audacity of the thing, and the 
danger of disturbing Mrs. Roberts. Once more, Goodnight, I 
shall go to sleep when I get ready. 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, June 11, 64 

Maj. Gen. Q. A. GILLMORE, Comdg. Tenth Army Corps, etc., 
Line of Intrenchments 

GENERAL: I have received your official report sent to me in 
obedience as to time, but not in compliance with my orders of 
the 10th of June in regard to the movement upon Petersburg. 
Your note to Colonel Shaffer, chief of staff, has been shown me, 
acknowledging receipt of that officer s note containing the 
indorsement upon your report of June 10, and requesting a 
copy of the orders you have disobeyed. Of course you know 
the orders you have received, and I will with care and in detail 
set forth wherein I believe them to have been disobeyed. This 
is due to you as well as myself. 

In relation to your request for a court of inquiry, it shall be 
granted to you so far as the operations of the 8th, 9th, and 10th 
of June, of which alone I have any report thereof, are con 
cerned. Such I expected and hoped would be the legitimate 
result of the indorsement on your report. Your demand of a 
court of inquiry into all your official acts and conduct while 
serving in this department is entirely inadmissible, and as it 
seems to me from the very good reason that no report having 
been made by you of any of your other operations, I have no 
official knowledge by which I can either approve or condemn 
that conduct, and it would seem to be manifestly improper to 
grant a court of inquiry upon conduct never officially reported 
for approval or disapproval. It is possible that when your 



344 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

report of your other operations shall come in there may be no 
difference of opinion, and therefore nothing to be the subject 
of inquiry. 

I must call your attention to the mistake in your note of this 
day, which states that I ask for details which could only be 
obtained from subordinate reports. If you will turn to the 
order of the 10th, you will find that you w r ere expressly re 
quired only to state your own acts and omissions, and the orders 
you yourself gave to General Hinks. Instead of complying 
in this particular, you sent me on the llth the statement of 
conversations of Lieutenant Barnard, acting aide-de-camp, 
written by himself, which he claims to have had with General 
Hinks. I wished for the orders which you gave, not the conver 
sations of a subaltern officer. As I proceed I will mention the 
points wherein your report neither complied with the order nor 
represents correctly the facts, times, and occurrences, so far as 
they are known to myself or can be ascertained from others. 

The history of your connection with this most unfortunate 
and ill-conducted expedition is this : I had intended a movement 
upon Petersburg to be made, founded upon very careful inves 
tigation and correct information of the state of the defenses and 
of the number of the troops and general condition of the enemy, 
as well in Petersburg as in front of our lines. I had determined 
to intrust that expedition to the command of Brigadier-General 
Hinks and General Kautz, General Hinks to take about 3,500 
of his colored troops as infantry, and two sections of a battery 
and assault the enemy s works on two roads, the City Point 
road and Jordan s Point road, or rather as near those roads as 
possible, avoiding the strong redans and moving on the light 
rifle-pits, which were known to connect them. My informa 
tion was that the force of the enemy consisted of the Seventh 
North Carolina, a few pieces of field artillery, about 300 of the 
Seventh Confederate Cavalry, who were employed in picketing 
the various roads into Petersburg, extending over a circuit 
of some 20-odd miles, and the second-class militia of the 
neighborhood, consisting of exempts from physical disability 
from the army, boys under seventeen, and men between fifty 
and fifty-five, of which last number I had information there 
were 40, the whole militia forces amounting to between 1,000 
and 1,200. These were the troops manning 9 miles of intrench- 
ments, of which there was but a single line, about 2 and one 
half miles from the city proper. I had concluded to detach 
Duncan s brigade of colored troops from the line of intrench- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 345 

ments on this side of the Appomattox to General Hinks, thus 
weakening the line in order to make by a very much larger 
force the attack doubly sure. 

I was informed and believed, and do still believe, and have 
subsequent information to confirm it, that the enemy s infantry 
parapets were such as might be ridden over by a mounted 
cavalryman. The plan of attack was that General Kautz 
should take 1,200 or 1,400 cavalry, and, making a detour which 
would take a considerable time, go out under cover of a column 
of infantry, striking out to the left and coming in upon the 
south side, would move upon the Jerusalem plank road, which 
is on the left of the town; that movements on the enemy s 
works in two columns should be made on the right of their 
intrenchments by the Jordan s Point road and City Point 
road, avoiding the redans which cover those roads, and assault 
ing the infantry lines which connect them and which run 
through open fields, or not very thick woods, one to be a real 
and the other a feigned attack, to be converted into a real one, 
if the first, or Kautz s movement was successful. While this 
plan of attack was being matured at Spring Hill with General 
Hinks, by a fortuitous circumstance you joined the party. 
The intended movement, the causes which led to it, the in 
formation upon which it was based, and the plan of attack was 
there unfolded to you between General Hinks, yourself, General 
Weitzel, and myself. After the attack had been determined 
upon, and we had separated,! was informed by General Weitzel 
that you very much desired to take command of the expedition, 
alleging as a reason the great importance of the expedition to the 
Union cause, the necessity of having tried troops to cover the 
retreat in case of disaster, or who would be more to be depended 
upon in making an assault upon the enemy s lines, and you 
offered to take one of the white brigades from your line instead 
of Duncan s colored brigade, which was to be left on the line 
in its place, and with it to make the real infantry attack. 

Against my better judgment, feeling unwilling to decline 
an offer to have the expedition led by an officer of your rank 
and presumed experience, and feeling still more unwilling to 
trust so important an enterprise to untried troops, as yet very 
little under fire, and colored troops whom you seemed to think 
were not to be so much depended upon as your own, I accepted 
the offer, and placed the whole detail of preparing the expedi 
tion, so far as your part was concerned, in your hands. This 
was about 12 M. on the 8th. I took upon myself to see to it 



346 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

that General Hinks should have his brigade of colored troops 
ready at the time appointed, and this was promptly done by 
him. You were directed to march the brigade from your lines 
at 12 o clock at night across the pontoon bridge, which has 
been laid now three weeks on the left of the line of intrench- 
ments, of which you have been many days in command, and 
which forms a part of the defensive works of that line, because 
it is the means of marching troops to re-enforce the extreme left 
work on the southern side of the Appomattox, if attacked, or to 
withdraw troops from that work on to your line, if there at 
tacked. After crossing that pontoon bridge you were to put 
your brigade in some convenient spot until near daylight, and 
then, in conjunction with General Hinks, you were to march 
3 miles, which would bring you upon the enemy s pickets by a 
good, tried, and high road, which had been many times re- 
connoitered by General Hinks cavalry, and which could not 
be mistaken. You were then to march rapidly at daybreak, 
drive in the enemy s pickets, follow them closely, and pursue 
them into their works. As soon as your column of infantry 
uncovered a road which led to the left in the direction of the 
Jerusalem plank road, General Kautz, whose column was to be 
in the rear of yours, was to go to the left, make the detour of the 
defenses of the town at such distance from them as to be un 
observed, if possible, and made his attack on the left at the Jeru 
salem plank road. All these positions and roads were explained 
to you by the aid of the very correct map copied from the one 
found on the person of the rebel General Walker, who was for a 
time in command of the defenses of Petersburg. 

It was understood between General Kautz and yourself and 
myself, that the distance he would have to travel would be 
between 15 and 20 miles. Further, there was explained to you 
the great benefits which would result from the expedition, in 
the entire shutting off of supplies for an indefinite time from 
Lee s army, by the cutting of the bridges across the Appomat 
tox, especially the one known as the Government bridge, which 
has been built by the rebel authorities, and solely used for their 
own purposes since the war; and as that railroad bridge formed 
the only link of railroad of the proper gauge on which the trans 
portation of Lee s army could be sent south, and as immediately 
upon an attack upon Petersburg from the south side, all the 
rolling-stock at Petersburg would be sent to Richmond, and 
there be effectually cut off, it seemed to me that to obtain the 
object would justify the risk of a pretty large expenditure of life, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 347 

if necessary, and therefore I gave you as my deliberate opinion 
that the advantage would be cheaply purchased at 500, and 
not too dearly with the sacrifice of 1,000 men in killed and 
wounded. All these details, the importance of moving in time 
to make an early attack in the morning, in order that you 
might be able to return to your intrenchments at daybreak 
on the following morning, where, if the enemy were in any force 
we might expect an attack upon our lines in return for the 
attack upon Petersburg, if at all, were fully explained to you, 
and upon your suggestion that the march of your troops 
(which, however, by no accident could exceed 20 miles) would 
be too fatiguing, I stated to you that if successful in your 
attack on Petersburg, you might content yourself by sending 
back 1,000 of the negro troops, with which I would endeavor to 
hold the intrenchments; and that, knowing their marching 
capabilities, I had no doubt of their being able to come in. 

It was further explained to you that if you got into Peters 
burg and destroyed the bridges so as to put the Appomattox 
without means of being crossed between General Kautz and 
the enemy s forces in front of our line of intrenchments, he was 
then to proceed down the railroad with his cavalry, destroying 
it as far as he could, until he was opposed by a sufficient force 
of the enemy guarding the railroad to cause him to turn back. 

At 5.10 in the afternoon of the 8th instant, in answer to your 
suggestion as to taking two batteries of artillery, I replied to 
you, I thought "two sections of a battery would be sufficient, 
because this is not to be artillery work, but a quick, decisive 
push." You informed me that you intended to take four regi 
ments, and that you hardly knew how you could take any single 
brigade, because many of the men of each brigade were on 
picket, and to withdraw the pickets and change them before 
the usual time would give the enemy notice that a movement 
was contemplated. I therefore authorized you to form a 
composite brigade of four regiments, from the regiments not 
on picket, to obviate that difficulty, and stated that I supposed 
those four regiments would be at least equal in numbers to the 
two negro regiments with which I had intended to make one 
of the attacks. In violation of that understanding, knowing 
how much you weakened our line here, and without my knowl 
edge, you took five regiments, to wit: Seventh Connecticut, 
Third New Hampshire, Seventh New Hampshire, Sixth Con 
necticut, and Sixty-second Ohio, and although directed, by my 
order of the 10th, to "state all the regiments, companies, and 



348 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

detachments which you took with you," you have, either care 
lessly or purposely, concealed the fact that you took the fifth 
regiment, and have made no mention of the cavalry or artillery 
which you took with you. How such an omission could care 
lessly have happened under my order to you to "carefully 
note each particular of this order and see that each is answered 
specifically," and to "state also the regiments, companies, and 
detachments you had with you independent of Generals 
Kautz s and Hinks commands," will require explanation. 

Further, in contravention of your own deliberative opinion 
given to me, you took the fifth regiment from the line of pickets, 
not giving it time hardly to get ready before it was required to 
be in order to march. Instead, then, of marching at a proper 
hour to reach the other side at 12 o clock, where you yourself 
desired me to send a staff officer to order General Hinks to 
report to you at 12 o clock, you did not personally reach that 
point until 2.30 in the morning, keeping General Hinks waiting 
for you in the saddle from 12 to 2.30, and the excuse in your 
report that some of your regiments got lost is hardly an answer 
for your own remissness in not keeping an appointment with a 
general officer of nearly an equal rank with yourself, and of 
quite as meritorious services. You also say that some of your 
"regiments got lost in getting to the pontoon bridge." Now, 
as the pontoon bridge is on the left of your line of intrenchments, 
it would seem that your regiments got lost within their own 
lines. But is it not true that you sent no officer of your staff to 
direct the march of that column as is customary and usual 
among generals of volunteers? Nay, more. Is it not also true 
that your chief of staff woke me up at 2 o clock in the morning 
to inquire the road, at my headquarters, to the pontoon bridge, 
which road should have been as familiar to him and to you as 
the path to your bed? The consequence was that your troops, 
instead of marching by a good dry road from the intrenchments 
across to the pontoon bridge, were dragged through the swamps 
a mile in the rear of your lines, in the mud reaching nearly to 
their knees, and fatigued with being kept up all night wandering 
about like sheep without a shepherd, and instead of having the 
hours from 12 to 3 to rest in, they had, as stated in your des 
patch to me, at 3.40 A.M., just crossed the river, thus spending 
from 10.30 P.M. on the 8th, the time at which they actually 
moved, to 3.40 A.M. on the 9th (five hours and ten minutes) in 
moving over a space which does not exceed by measurement 
4 miles, besides remaining, from 9 P.M., when they were by your 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 349 

order to be ready an hour and a half under arms before they 
did move at all. 

The question might be here asked : If it took five hours and 
ten minutes to get out of your lines, how long would it take 
you to get into the enemy s? 

In your report you further say that on the evening of the 8th 
you were instructed to take command of the expedition. 
Now, you know that, at your own special request, at 12 M. it 
was arranged that you should take command of the expedition, 
and you will further remember that I sent you, at your request, 
at about 2 o clock in the afternoon of the 8th, a guide who 
should be able to explain to you the nature of the enemy s 
works. You further say in your report that Generals Kautz 
and Hinks had received all their instructions preparatorily 
from myself. That is true; but those instructions to General 
Hinks and Kautz were given in your presence and upon con 
sultation with you. You further say in your report that some 
of the regiments lost the road to the pontoon bridge so that 
General Kautz and Colonel Hawley (in command of your 
brigade) did not get their commands across until 3.40 A.M. 
That report throws unmerited censure upon General Kautz, 
because his command w r as ordered to "follow the infantry 
across the bridge," and, of course, if he obeyed his orders, until 
you got across he could not go over. 

You stated to me in your despatch of 3.40 A.M. that you had 
"no doubt the enemy are fully apprised of our movement by 
the noise of the bridge. It is not muffled, and the crossing 
of the cavalry can be heard for miles." The bridge was muffled 
by the engineer corps, some 10 bales of hay having been put 
upon it to prevent the sound of the cavalry being heard upon it, 
and if it was gone, it was because your troops used it up in 
attempting to dry the mud and water (which they should not 
have had upon them if properly directed) from their feet as 
they passed it. The fact that it was not heard many miles is 
now ascertained, because you surprised and captured in the 
morning the enemy s pickets, hours after the cavalry crossed, 
within 3 miles in a straight line of this very bridge, and they 
say, upon examination, that they did not hear then of the 
movement. You did not move until 5.30 A.M., an hour after 
sunrise. You did not reach the enemy s outer pickets until 
after 8 o clock, and you made no such demonstration as caused 
any alarm in Petersburg until 9 o clock, as is evidenced by the 
fact that General Kautz s command captured a schoolmaster, 



350 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

whom I have examined, who was in his school in Petersburg 
after 9 o clock, when the first alarm was given. 

You further say in your report that It was understood as 
essential that the attack should be a quick, decisive push to 
prevent re-enforcements to the enemy from their forces on our 
front north of the Appomattox, only about two hours march 
distant. 

They had 7 miles to march to Petersburg, and 3 to the in- 
trenchments, while you had but 4 to march. If they used the 
same rate of progress that you did it would be a matter of easy 
calculation at what time the enemy s re-enforcements would 
arrive. But you forget to state that it was agreed upon on my 
part that my artillery should open all along my line in an active 
demonstration upon their forces, to keep them before us while 
you made your movement, and that that opening by me was 
to be upon the first gun being heard from you, and I waited at 
the signal station with my glass on where your column should 
have been until nearly 9 o clock, and then opened immediately, 
as was agreed upon, on hearing your first gun, and with such 
effect that no forces left the front and passed to Petersburg 
until after you returned within your own intrenchments. This 
was made certain by the observations of the signal officers who 
commanded both the turnpike and the railroad, being the only 
communication between the enemy in our front and Petersburg. 
You have endeavored to state in your report what my orders to 
Generals Kautz and Hinks were. That was no part of your 
report required by my order. I knew what my orders to them 
were without any information from that source. 

You further say, in your report, "Hawley drove in the 
enemy s pickets on the City Point road shortly after 6 A.M., and 
about 7 was before the enemy s works." There must certainly 
be a very grave mistake here. You say in your despatch to me 
that you moved at 5.30 A.M. You were then 4 miles from the 
enemy s works, and unless they advanced their pickets 
much farther than usual, and your rate of progress was much 
faster than when in your own lines, you could not have reached 
his pickets at 6 o clock, nor could you have been before his 
works at 7, nor were you there at that time, because when 
before his works, when within cannon range, he opened fire 
upon you, and that first gun was much nearer 9 than 7. And 
Colonel Hawley will tell you, if you will ask him, as he has told 
me, that he never did drive in the enemy s pickets at any time 
during the day, much less at 6 o clock in the morning. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 351 

You say further, in your report, that General Kautz was 
expected to reach the enemy s works at 9 o clock. As it was 
understood that his march was at least 15 miles to your 4, and 
as he expressly said that he should only march upon a walk, 
how could you suppose that he could accomplish the 15 miles 
in nearly the same time that it took you to accomplish the 4? 
You nowhere in your report say, nor is it true, that you or your 
brigade commander of the force under your immediate com 
mand, with which you were to make the real attack, saw any 
20 rebel soldiers in any one body during this day. You saw no 
line of battle, nor did your soldiers approach near enough their 
enemy s works to ascertain whether or not there was an abattis 
in front of them, and the strength of them was only demon 
strated upon another part of the line, where they were ridden 
over by General Kautz with his cavalry. 

You further report to me that General Hinks "drove the 
enemy into their intrenchments," and that you ordered him to 
hold his position and keep the enemy within his intrenchments, 
and that he replied that he thought he could do it. His exact 
reply was that he "could do so until doomsday," if that was all 
you desired. You further say, in your report, that "on Colonel 
Hawley s front the enemy were never entirely within their 
works, but fought outside." As you never saw anything but a 
skirmish line fighting, why do you say that "Colonel Hawley 
drove in the pickets," if they always fought outside? You 
further say, "As soon as the nature of the works in our front 
was ascertained, I was convinced that an assault upon them 
would, in all probability, fail." It is respectfully submitted 
that that was none of your business. You were ordered to 
make that assault, and upon the commanding general was the 
responsibility. You further say in your report that "I ordered 
the two positions to be maintained, expecting every moment 
to hear from General Kautz, who was expected to reach the 
enemy s works at 9 o clock." Is there anything in your report 
or in the facts which is descriptive of a "quick, decisive push," 
or anything which seems like that, or any reported attempt to 
obey my order? You further say that "at about 1 o clock, 
in order to get General Hinks and Colonel Hawley together, I 
directed them to withdraw to the junction of the road in front 
of Baylor s, where I waited until after 3 o clock to hear from 
General Kautz," or, in other words, General Hinks and Colonel 
Hawley "being a mile apart in front of the enemy s works," 
as you say in a former part of your report, you withdrew them 



352 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

2 miles from those works in order to get them together. It 
might be supposed that a junction of a mile might have been 
made without a withdrawal of 2 miles from in front of the 
intrenchments, which you admit that, if you could not take, 
you were to remain and hold the enemy in them until you heard 
from General Kautz. It is suggested that advancing toward 
him 2 miles would have been a much more certain way to have 
heard from him. 

Again you say, "Receiving no information from that quarter, 
I concluded that he had taken his command on a raid, as 
directed or authorized by you." This last sentence is an entire 
misstatement of the fact, so gross that one would suppose it 
must have been known to you. General Kautz was not 
authorized or directed by me to go on any raid until after 
Petersburg was taken, the bridges and public buildings and 
public property destroyed, which would put the lines of the 
Appomattox between him and the enemy. Nothing could be 
better understood; nothing more distinct. If you supposed he 
had taken Petersburg and then gone on the raid authorized, 
why did you not go in? If you supposed he had not taken 
Petersburg, why did you not go to his support? It seems to me 
that an infantry support of 3,500 men deserting 1,400 cavalry 
and leaving them to their fate in immediate contact with the 
forces of the enemy, too large for that infantry to attack, 
according to the theory upon which you were acting, was the 
most unsoldierly act ever done by a commanding officer. 

You further say, in your report, that you "then withdrew to 
the saw-mill, where I remained about an hour, and then 
marched back to our intrenchments;" or, in other words, you 
withdrew another half mile from the enemy, and waited another 
hour. Now it turns out that at 1.30, thirty minutes after you 
withdrew your forces from the enemy, General Kautz made his 
attack at the point designated, carried the works, penetrated 
the town of Petersburg, and did very gallantly all that he was 
required to do, but was obliged to withdraw, receiving no sup 
port from you, who was at that time industriously getting 
General Hinks and Colonel Hawley together by withdrawing 
from before the enemy s militia. 

You say further in your report that "it was no part of the 
plan to assault the enemy s works on the right as they were 
known to have interior lines of redoubts." At a single point 
only is there an interior line, and that is at Jordan s, on the 
City Point road, and it was fully explained to you that the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 353 

interior line was a failure, being commanded by the outer 
line, which was higher, and you yourself agreed with me that 
you would make the real attack on the right while General Hinks 
made the feigned attack; and in my order of this morning for 
you to report, you were ordered to say which was to make the 
ieigned and which the real attack, which you have wholly 
omitted to do. You were also ordered to "give all verbal 
orders which you sent to General Hinks," which you have failed 
to do. You were also ordered to "state the regiments, com 
panies, and detachments which you took with you," which 
you have failed to do. You were also ordered to "state 
specially the times at which you were ordered to act and move," 
which you have failed to do. You were also directed to "state 
the nearness which your column reached the enemy s works," 
which you have failed to do. You were also directed to "state 
how far in advance or rear you were of General Hinks column," 
which you have failed to do. You were also ordered to "give 
the plan agreed upon between you, if any," which you have 
failed to do; and to "give the number of men lost in killed and 
wounded in an attack made, with a description of the attack," 
which you have failed to do; and you were told that "you need 
not give any report of the operations of Generals Kautz or 
Hinks," which you have attempted to do. 

For these reasons your report is wholly defective, unsatis 
factory, and unapproved of, and your entire action such as 
requires me to report it to the general commanding the Army 
of the United States and to the War Department for such action 
as they may think proper. 

Certain it is, made so from the examination of prisoners 
captured since, as well as before, that 4,500 of my best troops 
under your command were kept at bay without an attempt at 
attack, so far as you were concerned, by some 1,500 men, 600 
only of which were Confederate troops, and the rest old men 
and boys, the grave and the cradle being robbed of about equal 
proportions to compose the force opposed to you. Without, 
at this moment, giving words of characterization of the dis 
obedience of orders and your conduct on the field, I submit this 
statement of facts in review of your report, as you have re 
quested me to do, most of them known to myself, my chief 
engineer, my signal officers, and an officer of General Grant s 
staff, who was here present, hearing the instructions and know 
ing what was done from your verbal report made in his presence 
upon your return, to your careful consideration; and in con- 

VOL. IV 23 



354 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

nection I will call your attention to the fact that after your 
return to my headquarters at 6 o clock in the evening, and upon 
being informed of what had happened to General Kautz, you 
were very anxious to go out to find him with an escort of 50 
cavalry, and that you sent your body guard to my headquarters 
at 8.30 in the evening for that purpose, when I informed you 
that General Kautz had returned, having been inside the in- 
trenchments of Petersburg. It would seem that if when you 
were within 5 miles of him with 3,500 men you were not able to 
open communication with him, it was hardly worth while to 
try with a body guard of 50, because such an operation would 
have added weakness to him and not strength. 

To have been obliged to review your report, point out some 
of its errors and inconsistencies, and to bring out the disobedi 
ence of orders, as well in point of time as in want of action, to 
be obliged to dwell upon the details of this humiliating failure, 
to probe anew the acute wounds of hopes blasted when so 
much was expected, to be obliged to comment even with 
deserved severity upon the actions of an officer whose personal 
relations have been as pleasant as mine with you, has been a 
most painful task, to which nothing but a conviction of the stern 
necessity of a duty to the country to be done could have com 
pelled me. I have the honor to be, 

Your obedient servant, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 274. 

From General Butler 

United States Military Telegraph, June 12, 1864 

To Col. PAINE, Commanding 132d Ohio, BERMUDA, VA. 

IF the vessel you are on draws too much water to go up to 
Point Rocks, you will disembark and march your regt. early in 
morning to front, and report to Genl. Gillmore, stopping your 
self at these Head Quar. as you pass. 

By order GEN. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs. Dept. of Va. & N.C., in the Field, June 12, 1864 

GEN. GILLMORE will forward to me by Wednesday morning a 
full report of all his operations since he was ordered to join with 
his command, accompanied with all the reports of the opera- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 355 

tions of the subordinate officers made to him or his Division 
Commanders. 

State specifically at what time each report was received from 
each subordinate, and what officer has failed to make a proper 
one. 

This report is rendered necessary so that by General Orders I 
may be able to give full credit to the officers and soldiers who 
have behaved gallantly in the several battles. 

Having now waited more than twenty days since the last 
considerable engagement for this report, I feel obliged to state a 
specific time for its reception. 

Respectfully, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Grant 

COLD HARBOR, VA., June 12, 1864 

Colonel BIGGS, Chief Quartermaster, Eighteenth Corps 

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL DENT, of my staff, has gone to Fort 
Monroe and Bermuda Hundred to make, or rather communi 
cate, the necessary orders for securing the crossing of the army 
over James River at Fort Powhatan. Special instructions were 
not given, however, to send ferry-boats, pontoons, etc., that 
may yet be at Fort Monroe. This will be understood, no 
doubt, by General Butler from the instructions that have gone 
to him; but to expedite, I now direct that you forward up the 
James River all things within your charge, and request the 
engineer officer at Fort Monroe, for me, to send all the pontoon 
bridge material he may have on hand. Send also all the lumber 
you can, particularly the 2-inch plank. This will not be con 
strued to interfere with sending the amount of transportation 
to the White House heretofore called for. 

IT. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 769. 

From General Wise 

Hdqrs. First Military District, Dcpt. of N.C. and S. Virginia, June 12, 1864 

Congratulatory orders from Brig. Gen. HENRY A. WISE, C. S. 

Army, commanding First Military District, Department of 

North Carolina and Southern Virginia 
SPECIAL ORDERS No. 11 

VII. To the troops of my command for the defense of 
Petersburg, on the south side of the Appomattox, on the 9th 
instant, I have, with the approval and under the instructions of 



356 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the commanding general, to offer my grateful acknowledgment 
of their gallant conduct, and my congratulations upon their 
successful repulse of the enemy. Approaching with nine regi 
ments of infantry and cavalry, and at least four pieces of 
artillery, they searched our lines from Battery No. 1 to Battery 
29, a distance of nearly 6 miles. Hood s and Batte s battal 
ions, the Forty-Sixth Regiment Virginia Volunteers, and one 
company, Captain Woods , Company F, of the Twenty-third 
South Carolina, with Sturdivant s battery and a few guns in 
position, and Taliaferro s cavalry, kept them at bay and pun 
ished them severely until they reached the Jerusalem plank 
road in front of Battery 29, defended by Major Archer s corps 
of reserves and second-class militia, and by one piece of Sturdi 
vant s battery, a howitzer, under the temporary command of 
Brigadier-General Colston. Thus, with overwhelming num 
bers, they were twice repulsed, and succeeded only at last in 
penetrating a gap in the lines and in flanking a mere handful 
of citizen soldiers, who stood firmly and fought bravely as vet 
erans, until ordered to fall back. Alas, some of the noblest of 
them fell with their backs to the ground and their front to the 
foe, consecrating with their blood the soil of the homes they 
defended. Their immediate commanders have reported the 
heroism of them all, the living and the dead, and now 
with pride and gratitude I announce that Beauregard himself 
has thanked Archer and his comrades on the very spot of their 
devotion. If they lost killed, wounded, and missing 65 out of 
less than 150 men, they spent their blood dearly to the enemy. 
If Sturdivant s battery lost one gun, a better was captured and 
another disabled; and if they lost a half mile of ground they 
gained an half hour of time, and save their beloved city by 
holding on long enough for Sturdivant s and Graham s and 
Young s batteries, Bearing s cavalry, and the Forty-sixth 
Virginia Infantry, with Woods (South Carolina) company, a 
company of convalescents and a company of penitents, to 
drive back the insolent foe from approaches which their foot 
steps for the first time polluted. With the help of God, it shall 
be the last time. With such troops as all have proven them 
selves, commanders may well give assurance with confidence 
to the people of Petersburg. A people who can thus fight 
for their altars must be aided, supported, guarded by every arm 
which can be out-stretched for their defense. Comrades, their 
wives and daughters, are daily and hourly nursing our sick 
and wounded; they wipe the hot brow, cool the fevered lips, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 357 

and tenderly nourish and comfort the suffering soldiers in their 
hospitals. The angel nurses and the stricken patients of this 
patriotic place shall not fall into the hands of ruffian invaders. 
Its very militia has set an example which inspires the con 
fidence that Petersburg is indomitable, and which consoles and 
compensates for every drop of blood which has been spilt at 
Nottoway, at Walthall Junction, and at Drury s Bluff, and 
Hewlett s Neck for the defense of the old Cockade City. Let 
the reserves and second-class militia of the surrounding coun 
ties now come in promptly, one and all, and emulate this bright 
and successful example; let it hotly hiss to the blood-red shame 
the laggards and skulkers from the streets and alleys of the city 
to the lines, and let it proclaim aloud that Petersburg is to be 
and shall be defended on her outer walls, on her inner lines, at her 
corporation bounds, on every street, and around every temple of 
God and altar of man, in her every heart, until the blood of that 
heart is spilt. Roused by this spirit to the pitch of resolution, 
w r e will fight the enemy at every step, and Petersburg is safe. 

HENRY A. WISE, Brigadier-General 

Advance Print, Cb. 48, Part II, p. 316. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the field, June 12, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH: I am much obliged for your kind letter. 
But why say, do you think of me? You are thought of enough. 
Please leave out those doubts in your letters. I am much 
dispirited and worn out with continual failures for which I see 
no remedy. True, I shall punish Gillmore, but that won t take 
Petersburg. I went on a tour of inspection yesterday to 
Po what an, Wilson s Wharf, and City Point, and came back 
very tired. 

Blanche will be with you soon by the expiration of the term. 
Mrs. Hildreth will be down soon. I am glad Phil got his 
appointment. He can and must prove himself worthy of it. 

When are you coming up again? Shall be glad to see you in 

the travelling dress any time. T ^ -D 

I ours as ever, BENJ. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTKESS MONROE, June (12) 1864 

DEAREST: Well, the die is cast once more, and the stake lost. 
Well, I suppose it was appointed to be, that Genl. Gillmore is a 



358 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

valuable officer for the rebels. If he could manage in the next 
moves to inflict on the enemy a little of the mischief he has 
done our cause it might be a reason why he should not be court- 
martialed. Well, there is no help for it, so once more "have 
patience, good people." You must be dull tonight, but never 
heed, it is the pastime of war. I am so wearied of the talk of 
the incapacity of volunteers. Why, if the regular army were 
looked to carefully, there are very few to be found beyond 
mediocrity, and the best of them often make the grossest 
mistakes. But let it pass, we must take things as they are. 
I only wish you could be rid of this incubus. Of one thing you 
may be sure, this campaign is but just begun. Shaffer called 
this morning and told me of the convention, what he would have 
done but for being sick, what he did do, and so forth. I have 
my own opinion about some things. The name is very well 
represented as well as Kinsman s. Be a little careful about 
my letters, and return them in yours. I write somewhat reck 
lessly, certainly not for third parties. Would you not be glad 
to be at home tonight? I should like very much to see you. 
It will be well, very well, when all this is over. Camp life is 
not the best that can be had. I think you even must be a little 
weary of it by this time. It has grown very cold. Again I 
regret that the children are gone. I will not ask if you think 
of me, for asking will not alter it. I have not heard directly 

from the children yet. Goodnight. 7 a 

truly yours, SARAH 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 12th, 1864 

DEAREST: Mr. Webster and I started at three and rode out 
to Hampton over the Fox Hill road, out by Buckeon on to the 
Beach. A long drive, and I feel rather tired and melancholy. 
The air is chilly; I might have worn a winter cloak with com 
fort. Genl. Shepley went up to see you today. I suppose 
with him and the arrival of troops you will hardly notice what 
I write. You will be delighted, of course, when it is bustle, 
bustle, and "the busy hum of preparation" again salutes your 
ears. I should be, were I you. Camp life without action is a 
sorry thing. No better than the negroes life at Hampton. 
What is there to give us joy and daily delight? We must not 
look for it. But self-control, and a degree of comfort will 
come, with work, work, work. Sometimes children s voices 
and the breath of love may bring a thrill of joy, but we cannot 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 359 

often have it. I think you will become quite barbarous up 
there, without a barber, and be like Esau, covered with hair. 
It will take some time to restore to your bronzed features the 
"pale cast of thought." Altered somewhat, from the keen, 
incisive, Neroish looking person, in black dress-coat and white 
choker, described two years ago at Washington. I was in 
doubt for a while, but again my mind returns to it with renewed 
conviction, those troops were removed from you for political 
reasons. I doubt if Grant hardly knew of it. That speech of 
Raymond s (the Times is Seward s paper) sent by Mrs. Parton 
shows their fear of you. I think they will give you soldiers 
now. But yet they are afraid of you, and will not dare to let 
you have much chance. Fate was against you, too, to throw 
in your path a stumbling block like Gillmore. Or perhaps they 
knew well enough, and left him on purpose that nothing should 
be done, and Fate has no part in it. I will not write a word of 
doubt, or anything to annoy, if I can always think what is 
most pleasant, you may be sure I will send it. This clean 

couch and quiet room, if possible. ^ r 7 c 

Most truly yours, SARAH 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, June 13, 64 

Lieutenant-General GRANT, Commanding Armies of the 
United States 

GENERAL: Major Babcock has reported to me with your 
despatch. Owing to the burning of the wharves it may take 
a little time to be ready to transfer troops from Wilcox s Wharf 
to Wind-Mill Point, which is directly opposite; but I have 
ordered barges, landing material, and water transportation 
down there. You will then land about fourteen miles from 
Petersburg. There were this morning but about 2,000 men in 
Petersburg, partly militia. I can, by 3 o clock tomorrow, have 
3,000 well-mounted cavalry ready to co-operate with you 
against Petersburg. General W eitzel is at Fort Powhatan, and 
will have a bridge ready there, I think, by 10 A.M. to-morrow. 
General Benham s pontoon train will also be at Fort Powhatan 
to-night. I should be very happy to meet you at my head 
quarters. 

I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 12. 



360 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs. June 13th, 1864 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War 

The following is from the Richmond Sentinel of Saturday: 

Telegraphic Hd. Qrs. MOUNTAIN TOP, June Sth, 11.30 P.M. 

Crook and Averhill joined Hunter today at Stanton. A portion of their forces 
are on the Greenville and Middlebrook road. Five hundred (500) cavalry made a 
demonstration at three (3) P.M. at Waynesboro on the Greenville and Stanton road, 
repulsed by General Imboden. The enemy retreated to Stanton burning the Fisher- 
ville Depot. 

MOUNTAIN TOP, June 9th, one P.M. 

The enemy advanced again today with cavalry, and were driven back on Imboden s 
infantry. The column on each side of the railroad advanced to Fisherville, burning 
the railroad track. All quiet now. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Com d g. 
From General Ingalls 

Headquarters Army of the Potomac, Office of Chief Quartermaster. 

Camp near COLD HARBOR, VA., June 13th, 1864 

Maj. Genl. B. F. BUTLER, Commdg. Dept. Va. & N. C. 

GENERAL: I have the honor of forwarding herewith by Capt. 
Howell a communication from the Lt. Genl. Commdg. U.S.A. 
and Maj. Genl. Meade Commdg. this Army. I most respect 
fully request that all steamers and other crafts, which may be 
spared from Bermuda Hundred, be sent at once to the landing 
on this side the James River opposite Port Powhatan. 

If there are no boats available at this moment, there will 
probably be some there by tomorrow, with the troops of Maj. 
Genl. Smith s command. These boats should be sent as soon 
as possible to the point designated. 

It is expected that there will be a sufficient number of boats 
arriving from other sources during Wednesday. I am, 
Very respectfully, Your most obt. servt. 

RUFUS INGALLS, Brig. Genl. & Chf. 

From Mrs. Butler to Fisher A. Hildreth 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 13th, 1864 

DEAR FISHER: I am more convinced than ever that the 
removal of those troops was a political action wholly. 

Weitzel remarked to Webster that Comstock, chief aid to 
Grant, said that Halleck had done splendidly in sending for 
ward reinforcements. Grant had not been much pleased with 
him before in some things, but in this he was satisfied Halleck 
had gathered troops from every corner. So you see that matter 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 361 

was left entirely with Halleck. And those men came down 
from Washington solely for the reasons we supposed. I had a 
note from Mrs. Parton on the day you left. In it she wrote 
that some one remarked to Raymond, that he hoped Butler 
would take Richmond. "Butler, Butler!" he ejaculated, 
"God forbid, he is already too popular." Our first idea was 
right. 

There is nothing new here, three or four thousand troops 
have passed here up to the James river. Hundred day men we 
think; they may give him some meagre chance, not much. I 
wish that article had been published at the very first. 

Yours truly, SARAH 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORT MONROE, June 13//i, 1864 

Brig. Genl. HINKS 

I FORWARD a Richmond paper containing an account of the 
movement upon Petersburg. Although the account is a very 
detailed one, the rebels had no idea that either you or Genl. 
Gillrnore were there at all. I hope the next town we attack 
we shall get near enough for the enemy to know we are there. 
Please preserve and return the paper at once. 

By Command, &c. 
H. C. CLARKE, Capt. & A.D.C. 

From General Hinks to General Butler 

Head Quarters of Division, CITY POINT, VA., June 13th, 1864 

GENERAL: If you will return to me the detached brigade of 
my division, and Cole s Cavalry, and give me the co-operation 
of Kautz Cavalry, I will place Petersburg or my position at 
your disposal. I am, General, Very respectfully, 

Your obdt. Servant, 
EDW. W. HINKS, Brig. General 

From General Grant 

Hdqrs. Armies of the United States, CLARKE S HOUSE, two wiles west 

of Charles City Court-House, June 13, 1864, 4.20 P.M. 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, BERMUDA HUNDRED, VA. 

HEAD of column has just reached this place. Will be at Fort 
Powhatan to commence crossing by 10 A.M. to-morrow. Com 
municate with me if infantry can be transferred rapidly from 



362 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Wilcox s Wharf. If so, please direct quartermaster to make 
all necessary preparations immediately. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 12. 

From Colonel Shaffer 

General Butler s Headquarters, June 13, 1864, 9 P.M. 

General GILLMORE 

WE have just received word that the enemy s gun-boats have 
made their appearance on James River. Grant s left has 
reached the river at Wilcox s Wharf. Lee has undoubtedly 
anticipated Grant s move. The gun-boats coming down looks 
like a combined attack. General Butler thinks that we may 
be attacked to-night or in the morning. Make the best dis 
position of forces you can. 

J. W. SHAFFER, Colonel and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 15. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

United States Military Telegraph, June 13, 1864 

MY DEAR SALLY : All well. Reinforcements coming. Grant 
will be here in three days. I shall relieve Gillmore. Would 
like to see you. Shall try Petersburg again. Mail closing. 

Yours as ever, B. F. BUTLER 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June (Utfi) 1864 

DEAREST: There lies the eighteenth army corps, on the 
transports bound for the James river. Can you not use them 
to take Petersburg before the whole army changes place? 
You will have to think very fast now. I cannot believe you will 
be allowed a great chance unless it comes by accident. Remem 
ber well that though you fight for the salvation of the country, 
now in extreme peril, you have to fight both sides to be allowed 
to help save it. I would rather fight the rebels, an open foe, 
than encounter the home enemy, who strike, assassin-like, 
under cover, and at the moment success awaits you. But you 
have many times wrung triumph from the very clutch of 
despair, and will do it again, and again, in despite of them all. 
Never yield an inch, or droop an hour, disheartened. It is the 
great game of life you are playing. And it goeth faster than a 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 363 

weaver s shuttle. Your brain spins swifter than other men, 
and you must weave while you spin. If the foe in front or rear 
show a single opening, be ready to spring into it, all armed. 
I should Hive to go up. Kinsman is asking to go with me. 
Webster thinks I ought not to go, with all these troops, that 
something will be doing and I shall be in the way. Write me 
w^hat you think. Mr. Webster went with me to the hospital 
today. He wonders I have been so many times. The scent 
is sickening, and gangrene prevalent. Yet they probably have 
all the care that can be given to so many. If fresh wounded 
are to be brought there, the hospitals ought to be thoroughly 
renovated and cleaned. Ask Dr. McCormick about it, consult 
with him, but do not say I said a word, or he and Dr. McClellan 
would think me impertinently meddlesome. Now, dear love, 
for yourself, one word. I should be glad to do or say something 
to lessen your annoyances, to inspire you with hope, the 
last you will soon feel. If I were there I could only put my 
arms round you, kiss you, and coax you to sleep. 

Yours, SARAH 

From General Gillmore 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, June 14, 1864, 10.35 A.M. 

Colonel SHAFFER, Chief of Staff 

AN officer from Admiral Lee is here, and reports that a cav 
alry force with some artillery was seen between Deep Bottom 
and Malvern Hill yesterday afternoon. They had a number 
of wagons with them. Do you know whether this force be 
longs to us or the enemy? The gun-boats shelled them yester 
day. Sharp musketry firing was heard near Deep Bottom or 
in a northeasterly direction from there. 

Your obedient servant, Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 39. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June l^th, 1864 

DEAREST: Genl. Smith has been here this morning. He is 
thoroughly disgusted. He will now I fully believe cooperate 
with you. Make him your firm friend if possible. It will be 
for the advantage of both. Pray do not neglect this; if you 
work together nothing can withstand you. He will tell you 
everything. Remember, men high in rank as he is must have 
attention according to their ideas of courtesy. Do not fail in 



364 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

this. I have high hopes for you yet. God bless, and make you 
successful. 

I could not forbear writing this note though the mail is 

closin S- SARAH 

From Mrs. Butler to Fisher A. Hildreth 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 14, 1864 

DEAR FISHER: What I thought is surely true. Genl. Smith 
came to see me this morning. He is on his way to Mr. Butler 
with his corps. He is thoroughly disgusted with what they 
have made him do, and the conduct of the war generally in the 
details, which he puts upon Meade. He is inclined to shield 
Grant somewhat, but he evidently looks upon it from the 
beginning as a desperate butchery for us with comparatively 
little loss for the rebels. He says on the line of the Potomac 
alone we have lost seventy thousand men, and that this cam 
paign will end it, if we are not successful now, we can never 
raise another army. Then, I said, we must be successful, for 
we must not, cannot yield. He hopes that Wilson will institute 
an inquiry of those battles where he was engaged on the Poto 
mac. He says it was absolute butchery, his Massachusetts 
men were piled in heaps without any result, and he is rejoiced 
to go back to Mr. Butler. I asked him if the order for his 
removal came from Grant or Washington. He did not reply 
to the point, but said Grant might have thought it well to have 
a force when he swung round his left. But, I said, "were you 
or could you be of half the use to him there that you could have 
been with Mr. Butler to take Petersburg, or harass the rebels 
south of Richmond?" "No, no," he replied, "if we now had 
Petersburg, the rebels would be cornered. I ought to have 
stayed with Genl. Butler." He says he was of no use on the 
Potomac. They had men enough already for slaughter. Now, 
what say you? Every word I wrote was true. I would like 
Mr. Parton to know these things, if nothing else comes of them. 
I could not report what Gen. Smith says, of course, but he is 
in that mind he will say it anywhere. I write this for your 

satisfaction and Mr. Parton s. v c 

Yours, SARAH 

I believe that Gen l. Butler and Gen l. Smith will act with 
one will. On the Potomac he says Meade complains no two 
of his Corps Commanders act by consultation or concert. I 
would rather be a toad, and feed upon the vapors of a dungeon, 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 365 

than in Meade s place now. If success attends, the glory is 
Grant s; if defeat follows, the peevishness, jealousy, and in- 
competency of Meade is commented upon. But I hope there 
is a better chance for Mr. Butler even by Gen l. Smith s dis 
satisfaction with what he has gone through. If Gillmore can 
be changed, and one spirit infused through the command, they 
will deal mighty blows yet. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, FORT MOXROE, June 14, 1 864 

MY DEAR SARAH: Grant s column is now crossing the river. 
He will be here today. Smith s corps is landing at the place 
where they embarked. All is busy and moving. My plan 
has triumphed after all. We could have landed here without 
all this loss, and fought the enemy at the gates of Richmond. 

All will be done here yet. I shall relieve Gen l. Gillmore and 
send him to Fortress Monroe, I think, as soon as Smith arrives. 
Have me some nice codfish and pickled oysters sent, please. 

I had hoped to see you up here but I am afraid I shall not 
stay at "HeadQrs." long. Thanks for your letters praise 
from you is praise indeed. Webster better live with you. and 
hold his court at Norfolk and Fortress when needed. 

Yours, B. F. B. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. DepL Va. & N.C., in the Field, June 14/64 

Gen. HINKS 

You will report with your force in such position that you will 
be ready to move with Gen. Smith just before daybreak. You 
will report personally to him at Broadway at two o clock A.M. 
precisely. I think he will not keep you waiting, & Gen. Smith 
will march on the City Point Road. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

June 14, 1864 

Major-General GILLMORE 

SEND by signal to Admiral Lee immediately that our troops 
are at Malvern Hill, and they are the ones he is shelling. 
By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 
R. S. DAVIS, Major and Assistant Adjutant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 39. 



366 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Grant 

BERMUDA HUNDRED, VA., June 14, 1864, 1.30 P.M. 

Maj. Gen. W. H. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

OUR forces will commence crossing the James to-day. The 
enemy show no signs yet of having brought troops to the south 
side of Richmond. I will have Petersburg secured, if possible, 
before they get there in much force. Our movement from 
Cold Harbor to the James River has been made with great 
celerity, and so far without loss or accident. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 18. 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs. Deft. Va., & N.C., in the Field, June 14, 64 

Capt. NORTON, Chief Signal Officer 

You will signal Gen. Graham the first thing in the morning 
to order his gunboats to open on Fort Clifton whenever Fort 
Clifton opens on any one or anything, and not until then. 
Ask Gen. Graham to ask the Navy boats to do the same. 

Also signal the Comd g. Officer at Spring Hill to do the same 
thing at the same time, and not until then. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Grant 

Head Quarters Armies of the United States, CHARLES CITY C. H., VA., 

June Uth, 1864, 8 P.M. 

Maj. Genl. B. F. BUTLER, Comd g Department of Va. & N. C. 

GENERAL: The Cavalry Commander, Genl. Wilson, reports 
that Swell s and Hill s Corps have taken up the line from Mal- 
vern Hill to White Oak Swamp. I enclose you the evidence he 
has of this, in addition to our cavalry having encountered 
infantry on this line. This looks favorable for the success of 
your attack on Petersburg tonight. 

Gen. Hancock s Corps, numbering about 28,000 men, will be 
all over to the south side of the James River, at Windmill 
Point, before daylight, and will march in the morning directly 
for Petersburg, with directions, however, to halt at the point 
on that road nearest City Point, unless he receives further 
orders. 

If the forces going into Petersburg find reinforcements neces 
sary, by sending back to General Hancock he will push forward. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 367 

The rations of the 2nd Corps, Hancock s, will be out to 
morrow evening. It will be impossible to supply him from 
here earlier than that. To have this Corps ready for service 
you will please direct your Commissary to send down by 
boat to Windmill Point, tonight, sixty thousand rations to 
issue to them. Without this precaution the service of this 
Corps cannot be had for an emergency tomorrow. 

Please direct one of the Army gunboats to move down to 
Fort Powhatan at once, to remain there until the crossing of 
the Army is complete. If you can communicate with Admiral 
Lee, I would be pleased if you would request him also to send a 
gunboat to remain in same way. 

Very Respectfully, U. S. GRANT, Li. Gen. 

From Colonel Shaffer 

General Butler s Headquarters, June 14, 1864, 8.50 P.M. 

Gen. TERRY 

IT will be necessary to take General Kautz and 3,000 cavalry 
on expedition under Smith to-night. We will arrange to leave 
part of Smith s infantry as a reserve. I will detain your aide 
until everything is settled, so that he can report fully to you. 
The artillery ordered can march to road leading to pontoon 
bridge, and there await troops. There will be a fire on the 
road. Troops march at 2 o clock. 

J. W. SHAFFER, Colonel and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 40. 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, June 14, 1864 

Lieut. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Commanding Armies of United States 
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose the report of General 
Gillmore of his operations on Petersburg, with my indorsement 
thereon; also a copy of a note to my chief of staff received in 
reply, also the reply furnished him (Gillmore) by me at his 
request, and a copy of my special order of this date being the 
action taken upon the whole subject. I need not say to you 
how unpleasant and painful this whole matter has been, and 
the necessity of taking the action I have, which seemed to me 
imperative. The whole matter will be investigated by a com 
petent court of inquiry. 

Not taking into account the loss of valuable lives in other 
engagements in the war, a more disastrous defeat has not been 



368 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

sustained by the American arms than this has been to the suc 
cess of the operations on the south side of the James. Had the 
movement been a success, as it easily might have been, 
Petersburg would have been in our possession, as all subsequent 
and prior information shows it might and ought to have been, 
the whole railroad destroyed effectually, the line of the Appo- 
mattox secured, and the enemy s defensive works in our front 
rendered useless. I also inclose a copy of the Richmond Sen 
tinel with the account of the Petersburg Express of the affair. 
It will be seen by that account that the enemy never discovered 
that Generals Gillmore and Hinks, with the real attacking 
column, came against them at all. They describe the move 
ments of the real column of attack simply "as feints to deceive 
our forces," while the real movement for the surprise and cap 
ture of the city was on the Jerusalem plank road coming to 
Petersburg from a southerly direction. On the two first 
roads (i.e., the City Point road and the Prince George Court- 
House road, upon which was General Gillmore s column) the 
enemy appeared in considerable numbers as early as 7 o clock, 
and this skirmishing was kept up for some time. 

I also inclose a copy of the map furnished General Gillmore, 
with a sketch of the line of fortifications, and an indication of 
his and General Hinks position and General Kautz s attack. 

I inclose official copies of General Hinks and General Kautz s 

reports of the same movement without indorsement, as they 

have been sufficiently commented upon in my reply to General 

Gillmore, furnished at his request. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 282. 

From Colonel Shaffer 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, near POINT OF ROCKS, VA., June 14, 1864 

Major-General GILLMORE, U. S. Army 

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
your note of the 14th of June, dated Headquarters Tenth Army 
Corps, in the field near Hatcher s, June 14, 1864. I take leave 
to call your attention to the heading. After having been re 
lieved from the command of the Tenth Army Corps, or of any 
troops in the field, such heading must have been an inadvert 
ence. General Gillmore is laboring under a much more grave 
misapprehension than he imports to the commanding general 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 369 

if he supposes that it became the painful duty of the command 
ing general to relieve him from his command because of his 
request for the court of inquiry. The special order so relieving 
him was made because of the opinions expressed and the allega 
tions made in the review by the major-general commanding of 
General Gillmore s action near Petersburg. If those are in any 
degree correct, and General Gillmore will understand that by 
the major-general commanding they must be assumed to be so, 
then General Gillmore s services in the field would not be valu 
able to the service or the country; but, on the contrary, great 
mischief might arise, because of his rank, from the necessity of 
putting him in command of troops which, if the facts in that 
report are substantially correct, could not be safely intrusted 
to General Gillmore s charge with hopes of success. In kind 
consideration, therefore, to General Gillmore, the major- 
general commanding coupled the order relieving him from 
command, which from the 9th day of June has been, in the 
judgment of the major-general commanding, a necessity, with 
another paragraph in the order which gratified his request for a 
court of inquiry; and leave is taken to assure General Gillmore 
that he would have been relieved from command without any 
such request, and the time was only delayed until the hourly 
expected arrival of an officer of experience and ability to take 
his place. It is a source of regret that General Gillmore should 
have misconstrued what was intended as a kindness. General 
Gillmore will, therefore, at once proceed to Fortress Monroe, 
and there await further orders. The major-general command 
ing has the honor to state his understanding of General Gill 
more s request for a court of inquiry, and the regulations and 
the purport of the article of war as governing the action which 
ought to be taken upon such request. First, then, the Ninety- 
second Article of War provides, among other things, that : 

"As courts of inquiry may be perverted to dishonorable 
purposes, and may be considered as engines of destruction to 
military merit in the hands of weak and envious commanders, 
they are hereby prohibited unless directed by the President of 
the United States, or demanded by the accused." 

Now, then, to prevent subordinates from being oppressed 
by their superiors, the superior is not allowed to order a court 
against a subordinate s wishes, but must ask the President 
leave so to do; but it by no means follows that therefore the 
subordinate has a right to have a court directed by the President 
at his request, or that the President, if he directs the court, will 

VOL. IV 24 



370 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

not direct it to be ordered by the superior. Therefore, under 
standing from your note that you desired a court of inquiry, 
that request was promptly granted you. The phrase in your 
note of the 12th is: 

"It only remains for me to deny respectfully, but emphatic 
ally, the charges therein set against me, to request a copy of the 
orders I have destroyed or failed to obey, and then to demand 
of the President a court of inquiry to investigate all my official 
acts while serving in this department. I court a full investi 
gation into the part I have taken in the campaign here." 

It is submitted that no man reading that sentence, especially 
with the context, would fail to find a request for a court as soon 
as you are furnished a copy of the orders. To that the com 
manding general replied, "You knew what your orders were," 
and I pointed out to you wherein it was thought they were not 
obeyed. This was done with sufficient minuteness at least to 
give you notice of the particulars in which your conduct was 
deemed censurable. Then, again, a request to have all your 
conduct inquired into includes, of course, a request to have a 
part thereof inquired into ; and it may be very proper to grant a 
part of that request, while one is obliged to refuse another 
part of it. It, therefore, cannot be said that a request to have 
all inquired into is not a request to have any given part inquired 
into. 

Whether you behaved well or ill on the 16th of May near 
Chesterfield, for instance, can in no way illustrate or determine 
the fact whether you behaved well or ill near Petersburg on the 
9th of June following, in another distinct and diverse operation. 
The commanding general already explained to you that not 
having received any official report of your action, he could 
(not), nor ought the President, nor, in his belief, would the 
President, order any court of inquiry upon all the official 
conduct of General Gillmore not yet officially reported, except 
to inquire, possibly, why General Gillmore had not made his 
official report earlier. 

If you request a court of inquiry it will be granted. If you 
do not request a court of inquiry you will say so, and the 
commanding general will give it his most attentive considera 
tion whether or not you should be holden to your former 
request; and, therefore, a categorical answer is desired to this 
question: Do you, or do you not, wish a court of inquiry upon 
your report of the operations of the 8th, 9th, and 10th of 
June, and the commanding general s indorsement? 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 371 

If you do not, such action will be taken as the commanding 
general may be advised the good of the public service demands. 
If you do, as is already stated, it will be granted you; but you 
are earnestly desired to disabuse yourself of the idea that the 
question whether you shall or shall not have a court of inquiry 
into your conduct has anything to do w r ith your being relieved 
from command. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
J. W. SHAFFER, Colonel and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 284. 

Indorsement. WASHINGTON, D.C., June 22, 1864 

RESPECTFULLY forwarded to the War Department for file. 

The reasons assigned in General Butler s order for relieving 
me from my command, viz, to await a court of inquiry at 
Fortress Monroe, for which it was alleged I had applied, is dis 
tinctly disavowed in the within letter, and another and entirely 
different reason given; to wit, that in General Butler s opinion 
the command of troops cannot be safely intrusted to me with 
hopes of success. I respectfully submit that this can only be 
regarded as the opinion of one officer; and although that 
officer was at the time of expressing it my commanding general, 
it is well known that he was unfriendly to me, and had at various 
times treated me with marked discourtesy. Attention is 
called to w r hat purports to be an extract from my note of the 
12th instant, as follows: 

"It only remains for me to deny respectfully, but emphatic 
ally, the charges therein set against me, to request a copy of the 
orders I have destroyed or failed to obey, and then to apply, 
etc." 

This is not a correct extract from my note, which was written 
in a manifold writer. The original is now before me. Where 
the word "destroyed" occurs in the above alleged extract, the 
word "disobeyed" was used in the original. This is an impor 
tant alteration of my language, and is calculated to convey the 
erroneous idea that I had destroyed some of the orders given 
me; while in fact I neither disobeyed, neglected to obey, nor 
destroyed any orders; and my repeated demand for copies of 
such orders, or any evidence that they had ever been given, has 

remained unanswered. ^ M - n i 

Q. A. GILLMORE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 286. 



372 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hdgrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, near POINT OF ROCKS, VA., June 14, 1864 

Maj. Gen. Q. A. GILLMORE, U. S. Army 

GENERAL: I have the honor respectfully to inform you that 
an official copy of your report has been forwarded to Washing 
ton, with the indorsement thereon suggested in the note from 
the chief of staff. Also that the paper headed "Statement of 
conversation between Lieutenant Barnard, aide-de-camp, and 
General Hinks " was not received until the day after your report 
was received and acted upon, and as it is a paper not called 
for by my order directing your report, and is not such a paper 
as should, in my judgment, be the foundation of official action, 
it has not been forwarded to Washington. Your attention is 
called again to the fact that it does not state the orders which 
you gave, but is what it purports to be, a statement of conversa 
tion passed between General Hinks and that officer. I have 
also the honor to inform you that a steamer will be ready at 
once to take you to Fortress Monroe. I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully, your obedient servt. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 283. 

From General Butler 

Gen I. Butler s Hd. Qrs., June 15th, 2 A.M. 

Rear Admiral LEE, Comd g, &c. 

CAN you temporarily spare a gunboat, to aid in covering 
the crossing of Genl. Grant s army near Fort Powhatan; if so, 
please send one. I will send tomorrow, and with your aid will 
put down the obstructions in such spot as you may designate. 
By command of MAJ. GENL. BUTLER 
FRED MARTIN, Capt. & C. M. 

From General Butler 

Genl. Butler s Head Quarters, June 15th, 2 A.M. 

Brig. Genl. GRAHAM, Comd g Army Gunboats 

SEND the "Jessup" to Fort Powhatan, to cover the crossing 
of the Army at that bridge. 

By command of MAJ. GENL. BUTLER 
FRED MARTIN, Capt. & C. M. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 373 

From General Butler 

Gen l. Butlers Hd. Qrs., June loth, 21 A.M. 

Lt. Col. MORGAN 

You will send 60,000 rations to Gen l. Hancock s Corps at 
Wind-Mill Point. 

Col. Fuller will furnish transportation; if any rations are 
afloat they may at once be towed down. Great promptness 

By command of MAJ. GENL. BUTLER 
FRED MARTIN, Capt. & C. M. 

From President Lincoln 

WASHINGTON, June 15, 1864, 7 A.M. 

Lieutenant-General GRANT 

HAVE just read your despatch of 1 (1.30) P.M. yesterday. I 
begin to see it. You will succeed. God bless you all. 

A. LINCOLN 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. XL, Part II, p. 47. 

From General Beauregard 

SWIFT CREEK, VA., June 15, 18C4, 7 A.M. 

General BRAXTON BRAGG, RICHMOND, VA. 

RETURN of Butler s force sent to Grant, and arrival of latter 
at Harrison s Landing, renders my position more critical than 
ever; if not re-enforced immediately enemy could force my 
line at Bermuda Hundred Neck, capture Battery Dantzler, 
now nearly ready, or take Petersburg, before any troops from 
Lee s army or Drury s Bluff could arrive in time. Can any 
thing be done in the matter? ^ ^ T> 7 

G. T. BEAUREGARD, General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 676. 

From General Butler 

In the Field, June 15, 1864 

Brig. Gen. WEITZEL 

GEN. GRANT directs that the obstructions be sunk at such 
a point as will be under cover of our guns, by us. I enclose 
his note on that subject. I have directed two tugs with twenty- 
five men for that purpose, to be opposite the ironclads in the 
James at twelve o clock today. 

I also enclose a note to Admiral Lee on that subject which 
you will deliver to him, but consult with him as to the best 
place to sink the obstructions. If he fails to point out a place, 



374 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

use your own judgment; but you will observe that they are to 
be protected by our guns. If it is necessary to communicate 
with me on this subject, I shall be near the Signal Station on 
the left of the line, and you can signal me there from the right. 
Respectfully, B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

June 15th, 1864 

Rear Admiral S. P. LEE, Commanding, &c. 

I AM directed by Genl. Grant to sink the obstructing vessels 
in such place as I can protect them by my guns. I should 
be glad if you would aid in so doing, upon conference with my 
Chief Engineer, Gen. Weitzel, designating the spot which 
will afford the best aid to your fleet. Gen. Grant will this 
evening have his head Qrs. at City Point. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

June 15, 1864 

MY DEAREST SARAH: I am quite vindicated. Grant is 
here with his whole army. Butler s campaign plan is to be 
tried at last, all others failing. 

I have relieved Gillmore and ordered him to Fortress Monroe 
- to await a court of inquiry. A more disgraceful failure 
never was made. Grant approves of the action on my part. 
Come up if I am away you can have the whole tent and 
iron bedstead. I am attacking Petersburg 7 P.M. under Smith 
with twelve thousand men. The guns (7 A.M.) are now sound 
ing in my ears. We must succeed this time. 

You need have no fears. Smith is glad enough to get back 
and take his place again. We shall be fast friends. 

You will not expect a longer letter from 

Yours, BENJ. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June (15), 64 

DEAREST: I thought of going up tomorrow, but shall defer 
it a little as you seem uncertain. Kinsman, I believe, will go. 
One thing in your note troubles me. I do not think well of 
sending Gillmore here, with any authority, or any way. If 
they ill-treat you as they have done in your command up there, 
you may find when you would return that this man has got 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 375 

your place. I think he would prefer it, to staying up there. 
I do not like it you will be undermined by your own act 
in part. Let him go to Washington, or let Grant put him in 
some other Corps or change his Corps somewhere else. Or 
get on with him yourself, if you cannot do any better. But 
do not put him in your rear; that is not the place for an enemy, 
and that he is by this time. Remember still that your most 
dangerous enemies are not among the rebels. You must not 
have further trouble with the army officers, if the provoca 
tion is ever so bitter if it is possible to avoid it. They can 
strike the heaviest, for they strike in a body. I hope Grant 
will be well inclined. You do not write of Petersburg in your 
last note, you will not have time to make any move of your 
own. I did not expect to write tonight as I was to go to 
morrow. I will send for the oysters soon as possible. Now 
I think of it, tell Stephen to clean your tents more thoroughly. 
He throws everything down and treads in it where you eat. 
He needs scolding. I do not know when I shall see you now. 

Yours, SARAH 

From General Butler 

Lt. Col. FULLER 

AT 12 M. today you will have in the river opposite the iron 
clads two strong tugs, with Mr. Ainsworth and a gang of 
twenty-five of the men best adapted to handling vessels, to 
report there to the engineer officer whom you will find on the 
bank near the ravine. 

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

From General Butler 
Gen. GRANT </,. is. ISM) 

MY signal officer reports that a column of about 2500 cav 
alry was seen at 9.30 A.M. on turnpike opposite R. R. Junction, 
going toward Petersburg. fi R BUTLER> J/(y - 



From General Butler 

To General SMITH Head Quarters - Jme mJ> 1864 

HANCOCK has been ordered up by General Grant s and my 
orders. Another army corps will reach you tomorrow. It is 
crossing. They have not got 10,000 men down yet. Push 
on to the Appomattox. 



376 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Smith 

Headquarters, Eighteenth Army Corps, June 15, 1864, 1.30 P.M. 

Gen. BUTLER 

THE fight at Baylor s house broke up my arrangements, so 
that I have not been able to straighten my line; but this, 
however, will be done at once. Have the cars I have heard 
all day been bringing re-enforcements? There are some 
Georgia troops in my front. w R SMITH; Major . Geneml 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 83. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., June 15, 1864, 3.30 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding, etc., 

or Major-General SMITH 

THE Second Corps, 28,000 strong, was directed to march 
this morning on the direct road from Wild-Mill Point to Peters 
burg stopping at Harrison s Creek, in the absence of further 
orders. I have not yet heard a word of the result of the expe 
dition against Petersburg, but still hearing firing in that 
direction, and seeing indications of the enemy moving from 
the north to the south side of James River, I have sent back 
orders to hurry up this corps. If you require it, send back 
to General Hancock, under cover to General Gibbon, with 
directions for him to read, and the corps will push forward 
with all speed. ^ g GRANT> Lieutenant . General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 73. 

From General Grant 

BERMUDA, June 15, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER 

HAVE just arrived. Will make headquarters at City Point. 
Have you any news from Petersburg? No rations arrived yet 
for Hancock. I started him, however, this morning on the road 
to Petersburg, with directions to stop at Harrison s Creek, 
unless he should receive other orders. Rations must now be 
sent for him by wagons as soon as possible to Harrison s Creek. 
Thirty thousand will do, but double that will be better. I 

await answer. TT ^ T . 

U. b. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Endorsed: I answered (at 12 M.) General Butler at Look 
out. Will forward despatch to him. Rations were sent 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 377 

down the river to Hancock. Will forward more to him at 
once by land. Nothing heard here from Smith. 

J. W. SHAFFER, Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 72. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters in the Field, June 15th, 1864 

Lieut. Gen. GRANT 

A CIVILIAN is just in from Gen. Smith s line, and reports 
that the 22nd U. S. Colored Troops carried the rifle pits near 
Beazley s House at about 12 M., and that the troops were 
advancing. He left at 3 1-2 o clock, but brought no despatch 
from Gen. Smith. From my signal-tower on the left, fighting 
is seen going on in the direction of due south, which would 
bring it at the point where Gen. Kautz should be making his 
demonstration on the Norfolk road, both artillery and infantry 
firing. The rebel line of battle can be seen from the signal 
station. A battery is also reported as opening upon our 
troops in the interior of the town. From the right signal 
station, a six-horse team is seen taking a siege gun across 

Chapins Bluff. 

B. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, June loth, 1864 

Lieut. Genl. GRANT, Commanding Annies U. S. 

I HAVE been watching the progress upon Petersburg at the 
Lookout. There has been pretty sharp fighting, and I could 
see the enemy withdrawing on one part of the line and our 
forces advancing, but further I could not see. Smith must 
have at least 15,000 men with him besides cavalry and 4 bat 
teries of artillery. I cannot conceive of any more force being 
needed, but if Hancock advances to Harrison s Creek, if I 
understand the place, being the creek that enters the Appo- 
mattox above Port Wai thai, he will be within one mile of 
Smith s point of attack, and can afford aid. Nothing has 
passed down the railroad since morning, nor nothing last 
night that my lookout could determine, and so up to this there 
are no reinforcements save those that have gone from my 
front, if any, but they have not been seen to go down the turn 
pike which our lookout commands. 

The signal officer on the right of our line reports that a 
cloud of dust has been along the road during an hour and a 



378 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

half between Chapins farm and Richmond, indicating the march 
of a body of troops there; they apparently taking the course 
to the river. The signal officer further reports that there is 
a long line of smoke at the North East, indicating, as he says, 
" the burning of much powder," or it may be brush. Later 
he reports that a part of the troops and trains have crossed 
the river, and are coming in this direction. I have the honor 
to be, General, 

Very respectfully, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. in the Field, June 15th, 1864, Five o clock and twenty mins. P.M. 

Lieut. Gen. GRANT 

THE lookout at the signal station on the right, just reports 
that clouds of dust are seen on the north side of the James, 
seeming to be caused by two brigades of infantry and about 
two hundred wagons and ambulances crossing Chapins Farm. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. near POINT OF ROCKS, VA., June I5th, 1864, 6 P.M. 

Brig. Gen. BENHAM, Chief Engineer Army Potomac, 
FORT POWHATAN 

CAN you spare us pontoons for 250 feet of bridge without 
detriment to the service? 

If so, please send them up at once by first boat. We can 
get along without them, but it would be very much more 
convenient with them. BENJ R BUTLER> 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N. C., in the Field, June 15th, 1864 

Lieut. Gen. GRANT 

LIEUT. DAVENPORT, acting as my Secretary, has just re 
turned from Gen. Smith s front. He holds a line of from two 
miles to the left of the Jordan Point Road to the Appomattox, 
five miles in all. I have sent him back word again to push on 
to the Appomattox. 

Gen. Hancock s corps has probably joined him in this. 
They were about five miles from him at half past nine, and 
were advancing. Gen. Smith has captured thirteen guns 
and two hundred and sixty prisoners. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 379 

We have reason to believe that the enemy in this front has 
been reinforced, and we have made every disposition to hold 
our own here. R BuTLER> 



From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N. C., in the Field, June 15th, 1864, Seven P.M. 

Maj. Gen. HANCOCK, Comd g 2nd Army Corps 

GEN. SMITH is before Petersburg near the City Point Road, 
attacking the enemy s works, of which he has carried one line. 
I fear reinforcements from Richmond at about this time, as 
they have had the day in which to do it, and are beginning to 
pass them over, one train having already gone by. 

Will you send three divisions of your corps to the aid of 
Gen. Smith, or as many as you may deem necessary, and hold 
the balance so as to support him? He is five or six miles in 

advance of you. -c^ T> ** n n / 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Hancock 

Headquarters Second Army Corps, June 15, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Commanding, etc. 

GENERAL: My leading division connected with General 
Smith about 5 P.M. I now have two divisions in line. They 
are now formed on his left. I have another division to place 
in reserve as soon as it arrives, it having found difficulty in 
finding its way on account of the darkness. The night is of 
that nature, and my having arrived at this point after dark, 
I can determine little about the features of the country, and 
I cannot tell what the morning will bring forth; but I think 
we cover all of the commanding points in front of Petersburg. 
I am now at the Bryant house, but am going to move to the 
vicinity of General Smith s headquarters in a short time. I 
will be glad if the provisions arrive early in the morning. I 
am much obliged for your offer of artillery, and if my reserve 
artillery does not come up I may apply to you for some; but 
at present I think I have enough to place in position, as I 
know the country. I received a communication from General 
Grant this afternoon, but have not had time to reply to it. 
You will oblige me by sending a copy of this communication 
to him. General Smith and myself have examined the coun 
try, but cannot determine the exact position of the enemy. 
Your obedient servant , WINF D S. HANCOCK, 

Major-General Commanding 



380 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Endorsed: Forwarded to General Grant, by request of Gen, 
Hancock, by telegraph. BENJ R ^^ ^^ ^^ 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 60. 

From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters, June 15, 1864, 7.15 P.M. 

Lieutenant-General GRANT, CITY POINT 

IN your despatch you informed me that Hancock had been 
ordered to Harrison s Creek. If you will look upon the map 
compiled in the Bureau of the Topographical Engineers, 
Washington, 1861, with additions and corrections by Capt. 
H. L. Abbot, you will see that Harrison s Creek runs into the 
Appomattox across the City Point railroad, about four miles 
from Petersburg. This is the only Harrison s Creek I know. 
My messenger, returning from General Smith, says that Gen 
eral Hancock s corps is at Bailey s Creek, about five or six 
miles in the rear of the position on Harrison s Creek. I have 
ordered the wagon train with the rations out there under an 
escort of two squadrons of cavalry, and with your leave I 
will order Hancock s corps to advance to Smith, whom I 
have just heard has not been able yet to carry the interior 
line of the enemy s works. I would desire Hancock to move 
up in view of the possible re-enforcement of the enemy during 
the night. The boat that brings this to City Point will 

wait answer. T? T? T n* - n i 

BENJ. I 1 . BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 75. 

From General Butler 

June 15th, 1864, 7.20 P.M. 

General SMITH 

I GRIEVE for the delays. Time is the essence of this move 
ment. I doubt not the delays were necessary, but now push 
and get the Appomattox between you and me. Nothing has 
passed down the railroad to harm you yet. 

BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, Major-General Commanding 

"Butler s Book," Appendix, p. 39. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 381 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., June 15, 1864, 8.15 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding Department 

of Virginia and North Carolina 

YOUR despatch received. Order Hancock up as you sug 
gest. I have ordered General Meade to cross another army 
corps, and to direct them to march all night toward Peters 
burg. This order was sent about 3 P.M. I think they will be 
up with General Smith by 10 A.M. to-morrow. 

IT. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part 2, Page 75. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters near POINT OF ROCKS, June loth, 1864, 8.30 P.M. 

Major Genl. HANCOCK 

GENERAL SMITH has carried the outer line of works, and the 
only defensive line of Petersburg. They are crowding down 
troops from Richmond. General Grant supposes that you will 
move out and aid General Smith. Please move up at once to 
the aid of Smith, and put the Appomattox between you and 
Lee s army. This is important. I have already forwarded you 
the same suggestion by Major Ludlow. Provisions are on the 
way to you. More will be started during the night. I will see 
you supplied. I can send you if needed a couple batteries of 
artillery. General Grant directs me to order you up. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, June 15th, 1864, 8.45 P.M. 

Lieut. Gen. GRANT, Comd g Armies of U. S. 

GEN. SMITH S aid reports to me that at 7.25 Gen l. Smith 
carried the line of defences near Jordan s, before which Genl. 
Gillmore paused, and is pushing forward for the river. These 
are believed to be the only lines of defences to Petersburg, at 
least they were so ten days ago. I have sent a note to Genl. 
Hancock in the following words. (Butler to Hancock, June 
15, 8.30 P.M.). 

While writing the above have received your despatch, 1 and 
have added to Gen l. Hancock s despatch the following words: 
"General Grant directs me to order you up." 

1 Grant to Butler, June 15, 8.15 P.M. 



382 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From B. C. Ludlow 

In the Field, (June 15th, 1864) 10.40 

No action unaccountable inactivity a prominent point 
gained and no advantage taken of it. If there is no addition 
to the advance they will be driven from it. For one hour 
nothing has been done. Hd. Quarters must have concluded 
to release the prize when it is already in their grasp. 

My opinion is that nothing more will be done. 

Yours truly and respectfully, B. C. LUDLOW 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 15th, 1864 

DEAREST: I shall write you but little tonight. There is 
no news from you, and I have fallen off a little from the ner 
vous action that has kept me flying from one thing to another. 
I wait now for further development, and feel weary and list 
less as possible. Mr. Webster has this moment come in, 
and says there is a rumour that you with Gen l. Smith, have 
taken Petersburg. I will not have faith in it until I hear 
further. I am confident there is something being done but 
you may not have a hand in it. I shall retire now and look 
for news in the morning. Goodnight ! 

No news this morning, except it seems to be confirmed that 
by a telegram received yesterday, from Assistant Sec. of War, 
that Gen l. Smith has attacked Petersburg. Of course we 
shall know today. I have difficulty in obtaining the oysters. 
They promised yesterday, but tomorrow morning I think we 
shall not fail to send them. Blanche is very desirous to come 
down before the Distribution, as she has no part in it. The 
lessons are all over. I may send Mr. Webster for her, only 
that I promised Florence I should be there for her day. But 
as her father and mother will be present, and usually not room 
enough for friends, it may be as well if I do not go. If you 
object to her coming away, say so in your note. 

Most truly yours, SARAH 

From Lieutenant-Colonel J. I. Plimpton 

Head Quarters, 3rd N. H. Vols., near BATTERY No. 6, June I5th, 1864 

Capt. ADRIAN TERRY, Asst. Adjt. General 

SIR: Capt. Maxwell, who came in from the picket line only 
a short time since, reports a number of (apparently) promi- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 383 

nent officers have been examining our lines from the rebel 
works, and seemed to spend considerable time looking, point 
ing, etc. at the Redoubt front of No. 6. This occurred this 
afternoon. This evening rebel troops have been moving at 
double quick towards our left; they passed just in rear of 
their works, and could be heard distinctly, and in considerable 
numbers. It looks some like massing troops on our left, and 
I thought you might desire to be informed of these facts. I am, 

Very respectfully, your obdt. Servt. 
J. I. PLIMPTON, Li. Col. 3rd N. H. Vols. 

From General Smith 

General BUTLER "" 15 18M - 9 P M 

I MUST have the Army of the Potomac re-enforcements 
immediately. SMITH; Gmerd 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 83. 

From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters (June 15, 18C4), 9.40 

Major-General SMITH 

DID you make the attack contemplated? What was the 
result? Please answer by telegram. 

BEXJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part, II, p. 83. 

From General Smith 

COBB S HILL SIGNAL STATION, 12 P.M., June 15th, 1864 

General BUTLER 

IT is impossible for me to go further to-night, but unless I 
misapprehend the topography, I hold the key to Petersburg. 

General Hancock not yet up; General Ames not here; 
General Brooks has three batteries, General Martindale one, 
and General Hinks ten light guns. 

W. F. SMITH, Major-General 

"Butler s Book," p. 690. 

From General Beauregard 

PETERSBURG, VA., June 15, 1864, 11.15 P.M. 

General R. E. LEE, Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia 

I HAVE abandoned my lines on Bermuda Neck to concentrate 
all my forces here; skirmishers and pickets will leave there at 
daylight. Cannot these lines be occupied by your troops? 



384 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

The safety of our communication requires it. Five thousand 
or 6,000 men may do. Q T BEAUREGARD> Gmeml 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 677. 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, June 16, 64 

General TERRY 

THE commanding general named 4,000 troops, expecting 
that would be enough to make the demonstration on railroad 
and cover flanks. Start a column of 4,000, or as many as 
you can, to push at once to railroad. If this movement is 
made quickly the enemy will not be in position to interfere 
with it, at least until considerable damage is done road. 

By direction of GENERAL BUTLER 
Respectfully, J. W. SHAFFER, Colonel and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Volume 40, Part II, p. 106. 

From General Terry 

Terry s Headquarters, June 16, 1864, 5 A.M. 

Col. J. W. SHAFFER, Chief of Staff 

THEV pickets report the evacuation of the front line of the 
rebel works on the right, and are now being pushed forward to 
occupy them and ascertain what has become of the enemy. 
Respectfully, A. H. TERRY, Brigadier-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 105. 

From Colonel Shaffer 

General Butler s Headquarters, June 16, 1864, 5.30 A.M. 

General TERRY 

DESPATCH arrived. If there is any truth in the report of 
pickets, would it not be well to make a bold push for the entire 

J. W. SHAFFER, Colonel and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Volume 40, Part II, p. 105. 

From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters, June 16, 1864, 7.20 A.M. 

General TERRY 

KEEP pushing them. T> T- T> 

B. F. BUTLER 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 105 . 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 385 

From General Butler 

Headquarters near POINT OF ROCKS, [June 16?] 7.45 A.M. 

Lieut. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Commanding Armies U. S., 

CITY POINT, VA. 

THE enemy have evacuated our front. I have ordered out 
Foster s Division to make a reconnoissance. The enemy have 
all gone to Petersburg. Hoke s Division has come from the 
Army of Northern Va. and gone to Petersburg. Will try to 

reach the railroad. -r> T? T> n/r n n j 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Comdg. 

From General Butler 
Lt. Gen. GRANT 

THE news from Smith continues to improve. Hancock 
joined him at 1 o clock A.M. and formed on Smith s left. The 
conflict was renewed at 4.30 this morning. Smith has taken 
17 guns, 9 by white and 8 by colored troops, who assaulted 
and carried their advanced works. Smith says they behaved 
admirably, and he is not a partial witness. This is the con 
current testimony of all. As the enemy have evacuated our 
front, I would respectfully suggest whether the steamers at 
Wilcox Wharf might not take the troops of one of the Corps 
to Bermuda. There in conjunction with the troops of this 
line we could I think advance on the railroad and isolate Peters 
burg, and as only a part of Lee s army has passed down, cut 
it in two and hold it cut. Our line would be a short one, and 
we could protect our flanks. At least we should hold an open 
ing from which to envelope Richmond on the south side, and 
save marching. The suggestion is a crude one, and is most 
respectfully submitted. BNJ p BUTLER> Maj Gml 

From General Butler 

June 16th, 8.30 A.M. 

Two regiments of the Ohio Volunteers will be at once or 
dered to Wilson s Wharf under command of Col. - , to 
hold that point and relieve Gen. Wild, who will report with 
his command at City Point on the same steamers which con 
vey the Ohio troops. Another regiment of Ohio troops will 
be sent to Fort Powhatan, to garrison that place and relieve 
the regiment now here. Col. Stafford will march with his 
colored troops, and report to Gen. Hinks before Petersburg or 
wherever he may be. B 

VOL. IV 25 



386 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

June IQth, 9.30 A.M. 

Gen. SMITH 

THE enemy has evacuated our front at daylight this morn 
ing. I am sending out a division to demonstrate on the rail 
road, to cut off the track if possible. I have ordered the 
gun-boats to open on Fort Clifton, which is the firing you 
hear. Burnside is within five miles. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. 

From General Grant 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, PETERSBURG, June 16, 1864, 10.30 A.M. 

Major-General HANCOCK, Commanding Second Army Corps 

GENERAL: Push the reconnaissance in your front carefully, 
to ascertain if an advance can be made, and at what points 
best. At about 6 P.M. to-day make all preparation for such 
an advance, but do not make it without further orders. This 
is not to be understood, however, as an order preventing you 
from taking advantage of any weakness shown by the enemy. 
General Burnside has been directed to mass his troops on your 
left, in position to be designated by General Barnard. He 
will be ready either for an attack at the hour designated, or to 
aid if the enemy should come out and attack. In the absence 
of General Meade and myself, you will take general control 
of all the troops now in position about Petersburg. Orders 
have gone to General Meade to come up in person, and I think 
he may be looked for about 5 P.M. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Endorsed: This communication was turned over to me 
about 2 P.M. June 16, on my arrival on the field in front of 
Petersburg and assuming command. 

GEO. G. MEADE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 90. 

From General Grant 

Near PETERSBURG, VA., June 16, 1864, 10.30 A.M. 

Maj. Gen. W. F. SMITH, Commanding Eighteenth Army 

Corps 

PUSH the reconnaissance in your front with the view of 
ascertaining the best point and manner of advancing this 
evening at 6 P.M., if such an advance should be ordered. Make 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 387 

all preliminary preparations for such an advance, and at the 
same time hold all your forces not necessary for holding your 
present line ready to re-enforce the left in case of an attack 
from that direction. In the absence of myself and General 
Meade, General Hancock, by virtue of seniority, will have the 
general command of all the troops now in position about 
Petersburg. ^ ^ GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 112. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

United States Military Telegraph, June I6th, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH: I wish I could say come, but I cannot. 
We are now in the midst of a fight. Smith fought all day 
yesterday before Petersburg, and at night carried the outer 
line of works and holds them. I ordered up Hancock s Corp 
to his relief, and it came after 12 o clock. The battle has 
commenced again this morning. I am going out myself. 
We took 17 guns and 260 prisoners. The negroes took 8 and 
three lines of works. 

You are mistaken about Gen. Gillmore. I have ordered 
him to Fortress Monroe, relieved of all command, and to await 
the action of a court of inquiry. He is come to his end. No 
army officers can uphold him. Our fighting and loss yester 
day was due solely to his imbecility and folly. \Ve shall get 
Petersburg, however, and the new line of the Appomattox as 
a base. Send me some tea, coffee, corned beef and your 

good bread. T* T 

Yours as ever, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Grant 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, CITY POINT, VIRGINIA, June 16, 1864 

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 35 

3. THE 6th Army Corps will proceed to Point of Rocks 
Landing on the Appomattox, when it will disembark and report 
to Maj. Gen. B. F. Butler, Comd g., &c., for orders. 

Steamers of too great draught to go up the Appomattox 
will debark troops at Bermuda Hundreds. . . . 

By command of LIEUT. GEN. GRANT 
T. S. BOWERS, Asst. Adjt. General 



388 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

TELEGRAM. Head Qrs., June 16, 64 

Lieut. Col. C. E. FULLER, Chief Qr. Master, 

BERMUDA HUNDREDS 

GET the heaviest and most worthless schooner you can find. 
Give it a tug and send it up to Admiral Lee s fleet as soon as 
possible for the purpose of being sunk. Get the cheapest one 
you can find, but get one. Load it with stone before you 
send it. BENJ F BuTLER> Ma j Genl 



From Colonel Shaffer 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, June 16, 64 

General TERRY 

TURNER is now on railroad at junction, tearing it up with 
about 500 men. General Butler suggests that you look well 
to your right, and send part of your men to support of Turner, 
as the road well destroyed at one place is better than to poorly 
destroy it in several places. By this course you can cover 
your right, and effectually destroy the road near where Tur 
ner now is. Make complete work of it. So far you have done 
splendidly. The general has just notified General Grant that 
your forces are on the road. 

Respectfully, J. W. SHAFFER, Colonel and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Volume 40, Part II, p. 106. 

From General Butler 

June 16, 1864, 12.50 P.M. 

Lt. General GRANT 

GEN. TURNER is now at Port Walthal Junction with 530 
men, all the tried soldiers he has, tearing up the Petersburg 
R. Road. Gen. Terry has moved out on the Turnpike, and 
is endeavoring to strike the railroad there. I have ordered 
Kautz Cavalry in, as I am very much in need of them to 
feel the enemy on the right. R R BUTLEB Maj ^^ 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, June 16, 1864, 1.15 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

WHILST the body of the troops are engaged at Petersburg, 
I do not think it advisable to make an attack in the center of 
the enemy s lines. Their troops are now moving from Rich- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 389 

mond to Petersburg, and at any time enough could be stopped 
opposite you to hold their strong works. It would detain a 
force from going to Petersburg, but would attract attention 
to a point where we may want to make a real attack some 
day hence. I have been up to-day and examined the work 
done by our troops. The advantages gained are important. 
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 98. 

From General Lee 

DRURY S BLUFF, June 16th, 1864, 1.15 P.M. 

Genl. BEAUREGARD 

DESPATCH of 11.30 just received. I fear the withdrawal of 
your pickets has lost your lines in front of Bermuda Hundreds. 
General Anderson thinks they are occupied. He was pushing 
back enemy s skirmishers at 12.30 P.M. I have directed they 
be repossessed, if practicable to all advantage. What line 
have you on your front? Have you heard of Grant s crossing 

the James River? 

R. E. LEE 

" Beauregard s Book," Appendix, p. 571. 

From General Terry 

June 16, 1864, 2 P.M. 

Col. J. W. SHAFFER, Chief of Staff 

COLONEL: Ames and Foster both reached the turnpike, 
Foster near the junction of the Chester road, Ames at a point 
some distance to the south. Foster immediately became 
engaged with the enemy, and a sharp skirmish ensued. It 
soon became apparent to him that the enemy were in force. 
I therefore halted Ames at the turnpike, but after a while 
directed him to send forward a picked party of men to tear 
up the railroad. Shortly after this order was given, General 
Foster became so warmly engaged that I deemed it necessary 
to countermand it, and withdraw General Ames force to a 
position to cover Foster in case of need, and to withdraw his 
own troops for a short distance. Prisoners taken say that the 
force in our front is Pickett s division; that it, with other 
troops, crossed the river this morning. They say they saw 
Lee in person at the crossing. They also report that other 
troops, Lee s whole army, are following Pickett. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

ALF. H. TERRY, Brigadier-General 

Official Records, Series I, Volume 40, Part II, p. 106. 



390 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

June I6th, 1864, 3.10 P.M. 

Gen. TURNER 

GEN. TERRY will be obliged to withdraw on your right, as 
he is attacked in force. You had therefore better withdraw 
at once. BENJ p BUTLER> Ma j Gml Co md g. 

From General Butler 
Gen. TEKRT *m. i, s.u p.. 

DESPATCH received. You must withdraw as quickly and 
speedily as possible. I have sent word to Turner to withdraw 
also. You had better send an aid to him so to do, also see 
that your working parties are drawn in with their tools. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

June 16th, 1864, 3.15 P.M. 

Lt. Genl. GRANT 

I HAVE just received the enclosed despatch 1 from Gen l. 
Terry. It would seem that if this is true that the evacuation 
of our front was a mistake or blunder of the enemy. I have 
very reliable information that Gen l. Pickett is upon our 
right. Our forces are now engaged. I have ordered Terry back 
to our lines as quickly as possible, holding the enemy in check. 
Respectfully, B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Rear Admiral LEE June mh > 3 25 P M ^ 

THE enemy are coming down in force, and Gen. Terry is 
withdrawing within his lines. The railroad being destroyed 
he will have to come down the turnpike. Can you not reach 
him with your guns? At least shell his troops as he attempts 
to re-occupy his lines. There are no guns at Hewlett s House. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. 

From General Butler 

Lt.Gen. GRANT Jme mh 3 50 P M 

I HAVE the honor to report that five vessels, prepared for 
obstructions, have been sunk under the direction of Gen. 
Weitzel at places pointed out by the senior officer of the Navy. 

1 See Terry to Shaffer, June 16, 2 P.M. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 391 

A requisition has been made by the Navy for another, which 
has been ordered to be filled with stones for the purpose. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. 

From General Smith 

Headquarters Eighteenth Corps, June 16, 1864, 4 P.M. 

Major-General MEADE 

I DID not understand from the wording of your note that it 
needed an answer. I have in the neighborhood of 8,000 men 
for an attack, in good fighting trim and good spirits, and will 
be ready to make an attack in my front at any hour which 
may be indicated by your order. The works in my immediate 
front I carried last night, but abandoned them because I 
deemed them untenable, and of no great importance with 
reference to an attack on Petersburg. I think I can retake 
them at any time when it should be judged they are of 
importance. 

Very respectfully, Wm. F. SMITH, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 113. 

From General Lee 

DRURY S BLUFF, June 16th, 1864, 4 P.M. 

Genl. BEAUREGARD 

THE transports you mention have probably returned But 
ler s troops. Has Grant been seen crossing James River? 

R. E. LEE 

" Beauregard s Book," Appendix, p. 571. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, June 16, 1864, 4.10 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

GENERAL: Your despatches received and I have notified 
General Meade of contents. Whilst at Petersburg this morn 
ing I directed troops to be in readiness to make an assault to 
carry the remainder of the enemy s works south of the Appo- 
mattox at 6 P.M. this evening. General Meade is on the field 
in person, and has been directed to make the assault if there is 
any chance of success. Two divisions of Wright s corps were 
directed to get aboard vessels and come directly to City Point. 
They will probably arrive about 6 this evening. If you still 
hold your present advantage when they reach here I will send 
them to you. If it is possible, we should hold a position in 



392 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

advance of your present line. Can you not turn the enemy s 
works to face the other way and occupy their line? Let me 
know if you are compelled to return to your old line. Very 
respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 99. 

From General Butler 

June 16th, 5.30 P.M. 

Lt. Gen. GRANT 

DESPATCH received. I have examined an intelligent de 
serter & prisoners. The evacuation was an enormous blunder. 
Beauregard ordered out his troops, and Longstreet s Corps 
were to occupy their places but Longstreet did not get up. 
I have improved the opportunity to destroy some three miles 
of the railroad. I will order my picket line to hold if possible 
the line of the enemy s works, but as the line is so much longer 
than my old line, I cannot hold it with my present force. If 
we can hold on till Wright s two Divisions come up we may 
then hold it. Heavy skirmishing is now going on. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. 

From General Butler 

June 16th, 5.45 P.M. 

Genl. TERRY 

HOLD your picket line on the line of the enemy s works from 
Hewlett s round to your front where our line was at first. 
Hold Ware Bottom Church with a strong reserve, and do not 
yield it without a struggle. I hope to get up two divisions of 
Wright s Corps to occupy it during the night or early in the 

mornin g- BENJ. F. BUTLER 

By General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, June 16, 64 

Brigadier-General KAUTZ 

You will, immediately upon receipt of this order, move with 
your command to the old lines, leaving one regiment with 
General Smith. Your cavalry are of the utmost importance 

By command of GENERAL BUTLER 
J. W. SHAFFER, Colonel and Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I. Vol. 40, Part II, p. 114. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 393 

Indorsement. Headquarters Army of the Potomac, June 16, 1864, 5.45 P.M. 

I HAVE read the within order, and under the instructions of 
Lieutenant-General Grant have suspended the order till after 
dark, or the arrival of the Fifth Corps, as General Kautz s 
cavalry is required in the position assigned him by General 
Grant to protect the left flank of this army until more infantry 

GEO. G. MEADE, Major-General, 
Commanding Army of the Potomac 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 115. 

From General Butler 
Gen. TERRY Jim* I6to, 7.15 P.M. 

What is the state of affairs upon your front? Please answer 
by telegraph. BENJ R 



From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters, June 16, 1864, 7.35 P.M. 

Lieutenant-General GRANT, CITY POINT 

I HAVE the honor to forward the following for the informa 
tion of the lieutenant-general commanding: 

General Terry s Headquarters, June 16, 1864, 7.10 P.M. 
General Butler 

LARGE bodies of troops, estimated by the gun-boats at from 40,000 to 50,000, seen 
passing Deep Bottom from Malvern Hill toward Richmond this afternoon. 

S. P. LEE, Acting Rear-Admiral 

Respectfully, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

First indorsement. June 16, 1864 

General MEADE, Commanding Army of the Potomac 

FORWARDED to General Meade for information. This would 
show the enemy not yet on south side of James River in great 

force 

IT. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-Gen. 

Second indorsement 

FORWARDED to Major-General Hancock. This makes it of 
great importance to force the enemy s lines before the troops 
here referred to can join those now in our front. Show this 
to Burnside, and push his attack and that of Birney s. I have 
no direct news. The main part of Lee s army is yet to come. 

Send me the latest news. 

MEADE 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 100. 



394 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters, June 16, 1864, 8.25 P.M. 

Captain TERRY 

DIRECT the 30-pounder to open at once and fire every five 
minutes. General Terry is here. 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Volume 40, Part II, p. 109. 

From General Meade 

Headquarters Army of the Potomac, June 16, 1864, 9.30 P.M. 

Brigadier-General KAUTZ 

As General Warren has arrived, I no longer desire to sus 
pend the order you received from General Butler, and you can 
obey it if you think proper. I have reported my action to 
Lieutenant-General Grant. 

GEO. G. MEADE, Major -General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 115. 

From General Terry 

Headquarters Tenth Army Corps, June 16, 1864, 9.40 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

COLONEL ABBOT, chief of artillery of the intrenchments, 
reports that the 30-pounder is an old gun, and that he thinks 
that it will be a severe strain to the piece to fire it more rapidly 

than once in ten minutes. A TT rr -n j- n i 

A. H. TERRY, Brigadier-General 

Official Records, Series I, Volume 40, Part II, p. 109. 

From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters, June 16, 1864 

General TERRY 

FIRE at once on the turnpike every five minutes, as has been 
ordered. If the gun bursts, let it burst. 

BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Volume 40, Part II, p. 109. 

From General Butler 

June IQth, 1864, 10.45 P.M. 

Lt. Gen. GRANT, Commanding, &c. 

THE exact state of affairs in my front is this : At daybreak 
this morning the enemy s line was evacuated by the troops 
defending it to go to Petersburg, from orders from Beaure- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 395 

gard, but to leave a picket line which should amuse us till 
Early s division should take their place. By a blunder, the 
pickets were withdrawn on a part of the line. This was en 
deavored to be corrected about 8 o clock, but our pickets 
discovered the fact early in the morning, and I ordered an ad 
vance along the whole line; this flanked the remaining pickets 
and all were driven in or captured. The railroad being thus 
open, we moved upon it at once, and after throwing out a 
brigade toward our right to observe the enemy in the direc 
tion of Richmond, we commenced upon the railroad, and have 
torn up the track for nearly three miles, piling up the ties 
burning them with the rails laid over them and in some places 
digging down the embankments. About two o clock the 
enemy appeared in force on our right and drove in our pickets, 
forcing us back to their line of intrenchments and near the 
James, back to Ware Bottom Church. If we hold what we 
have now, we can turn their line at any time after Wright s 
Corps, which I have not yet heard of, comes up. 

I shall have three regiments on picket after I withdraw five 
regiments, the whole eight being left out on that line to be 
sure and hold it, but as it leaves too large a force, being nearly 
one-half of my best men, to fight on a picket line, and endangers 
the safety of my principal line, I withdraw the five regiments, 
especially as they have been working and fighting all day. 
My right is within two miles of the turnpike over which Lee 
must march as the railroad is gone, and within one mile of the 
gunboats. We are dropping shells upon it in intervals of 
once in three minutes, which is the firing you hear. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. 



From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 16th, 1864 

DEAREST: I did not get your note of yesterday, June 15th, 
until this afternoon. Kinsman went up this morning. He 
urged me to go, but I thought you would not want me now. 
By your note I see I might have gone, but it is too late to 
regret it. We look for news tonight, and hope for the capture 
of Petersburg. I do not allow myself to feel sure. Mrs. Gra 
ham and Mr. Green have passed the day here. Now the band 
are gathering in front to honor me with a serenade. Very 
charming if the drum were not quite so heavy. Past nine 
o clock, and no mail from James River. I hear from the 



396 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

telegraph office that despatches are gone to the Sec. of War 
that Petersburg is strongly defended, but we have taken the 
outer works. If the rebels have time to get down there, I 
fear we have not taken it yet. I will believe we have it till 
I hear to the contrary. Friday morning. No news yet. I 
cannot believe in this case that no news is good news. I 
think there is so much to do. The campaign is but just begun, 
and now the hot weather is really here. I hope we shall have 
some word in the course of an hour or two. I cannot very well 
write about anything else, I am so eager to know of this. Now 
that Kinsman has gone, there is no one to go up with me. 
And perhaps by this time again you could not very well 

V| Q TTi TY1P 1 

Very affectionately yours, SARAH 
From A. Bean & Co. 

NORFOLK, June 16th, 1864 

To Brig. Gen. G. F. SHEPLEY 

DEAR SIR: We have had our lighter waiting and under 
pay of dunnage for several days, owing to the fact that the 
permits were mislaid or lost; we ask for a duplicate to enable 
us to send the lighter forward at once, as already by the delay 
it has subjected us to" a severe loss. 

Most truli/ and respectfully, A. BEAN AND Co. 

Ed. Qts. District of Eastern Va., NORFOLK, VA., June 16, 1864 

RESPECTFULLY returned. Any persons who obtained a 
pass or permit from these H d Qrs. must account for its de 
struction, and that it is not in the hands of other parties, be 
fore a new one will be issued. 

Permits or passes will never be duplicated without the most 
positive evidence that the original has been destroyed in such 
a way as not to be used by other persons. 

By command of BRIG. GEN. SHEPLEY 
Ensign H. JOHNSTON, Capt. and A. A. Gen. 

From General Grant 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, June 17, 1864 

Major-General MEADE, Commanding Army of the Potomac 

GENERAL: Relieve the Eighteenth Corps from the trenches 
as soon as possible, and direct it when relieved to return to 
Bermuda Hundred. The two divisions of General Wright s 
corps, now with General Butler, will be directed to return to 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 397 

you as soon as relieved, unless the reports of General Weitzel 
and Colonel Babcock, now out on a reconnaissance on General 
Butler s front, should demonstrate the practicability of an 
advance there, and the necessity of a greater force than would 
be left after Wright s withdrawal. It will be determined 
to-night, probably, whether it will be necessary to retain Wright 
or not, and orders given him directly from my headquarters, 
notifying you of what they may be. General Smith should 
be got back to Bermuda Hundred during the night. 

Respectfully, U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-Gen. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 118. 

From General Lee 

Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia, June 17, 1864 

General WADE HAMPTON, AENON CHURCH (via 

HANOVER JUNCTION) 

GRANT S army is chiefly on south side of James River. 
Chambliss has been ordered to co-operate with you. Com 
municate with him. 

R. E. LEE 

Advance Print, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 901. 

From General Wright 

Headquarters Sixth Army Corps, June 17, 1864, 5.40 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

I TURNED out the few troops, perhaps 2,000 in all, I have 
up, thinking that the firing might be the prelude to an attack. 
So far it has been only a slight picket skirmish, and I have 
gone to General Terry s headquarters, where I will remain 
for a short sleep till the rest of my troops come up, and where 
any orders will reach me. 

H. G. WRIGHT, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 129. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. in the Field, June 17, 1864, 6.30 A.M. 

Lieut. Gen. GRANT 

THERE has been no change during the night. I have rein 
forced my picket line, between which and the enemy there 
has been some slight skirmishing. I have received one negro 
regiment, and am now awaiting the coming up of Gen. Wright s 
Corps, about 2000 only of which have arrived. 



398 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

The enemy are reported in considerable numbers on our 
right. If you desire when Gen. Wright s troops get up and 
are refreshed by a little rest I will endeavor to drive the enemy 
back on the railroad or turnpike. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. 

From General Grant 

BERMUDA, June 17, 1864, 9.15 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

I HAVE sent a staff officer to communicate with you and to 
go out on the line and report what you think can be done with 
re-enforcements, and how many will be needed. It seems to 
me important that we should hold our advantage gained 
yesterday, and maintain a position commanding the road 
between Petersburg and Richmond. With such advantage, 
it seems to me, we can always force a heavy column between 
the two cities, and force the enemy to abandon one or the other. 
I remain here for an answer. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 140. 

From General Butler 
Z*. GW GRANT J* IT*. 10.10 A.M. 

LT. COL. BABCOCK and General Weitzel have just gone to 
get the materials for the information called for in your des 
patch. Against the force at present designed for this point 
by Lee, i.e. Longstreet s (Early s) Corps, either Wright s or 
Smith s Corps will be sufficient, preferably Smith as he and 
his officers know the ground. Lee has sent Dole s & Kershaw s 
brigades & Gordon s division to Lynchburg, they started 
Monday and Tuesday. There is nothing new in Petersburg 
save Hoke s division, Clingman s Brigade and Johnson s 
Division. I learn that Johnson s wagon train was ordered by 
Lee to Chester in event of accidents to Petersburg, thus indi 
cating an intention of swaying round on the upper James. 
I am trying the railroad this morning again near Port Walthal 
Junction. Will telegraph immediately on the return of 

Babcock & Weitzel. T -^ -D nf n ? 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 399 

From General Grant 

BERMUDA, June 17, 1864, 10.20 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

I WILL get Smith s corps to you as rapidly as possible. In 
the meantime, Wright will remain, only withdrawing as Smith 
takes his place. In the Ninth Corps there is one division of 
colored troops, which I think I will transfer to your command, 
and transfer the old Ninth Corps division (Getty s) back. 
Burnside was led to expect the return of this division to him 
long ago, but to this time I have declined sending it on the 
ground that the exigencies of the service would not admit of 
the change. I think Brooks had better be assigned to the 
command of the Tenth Corps at once. The telegraph will 
be working to my headquarters in a short time. Send next 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 141. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., June 17, 1864, 11 A.M. 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

THE Ninth Corps this morning carried two more redoubts, 
forming part of the defenses of Petersburg, capturing 450 
prisoners and 4 guns. Our successes are being followed up. 
Our forces drew out from within fifty yards of the enemy s 
intrenchments at Cold Harbor, made a flank movement of 
an average of about fifty miles march, crossing the Chick- 
ahominy and James Rivers, the latter 2,000 feet wide and 84 
feet deep at point of crossing, and surprised the enemy s rear 
at Petersburg. This was done without the loss of a wagon or 
piece of artillery and with the loss of only about 150 stragglers, 
picked up by the enemy. In covering this move Warren s 
corps and Wilson s cavalry had frequent skirmishes with the 
enemy, each losing from fifty to sixty killed and wounded, 
but inflicting an equal, if not greater, loss upon the enemy. 
The Eighteenth Corps (Smith s) was transported from White 
House to Bermuda Hundred by water, moved out near to 
Petersburg the night of its arrival, and surprised or rather 
captured the very strong works northeast of Petersburg 
before sufficient force could be got in there by the enemy to 
hold them. He was joined the night following this capture 
by the Second Corps, which in turn captured more of the 



400 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

enemy s redoubts farther south, and this corps was followed by 
the Ninth, with the result above stated. All the troops are 
now up except two divisions covering the wagon trains, and 
they will be up to-night. The enemy, in their endeavor to 
re-enforce Petersburg, abandoned their intrenchments in front 
of Bermuda Hundred. They no doubt expected troops from 
the north of the James River to take their place before we 
discovered it. General Butler took advantage of this and 
moved a force at once upon the railroad and plank road be 
tween Richmond and Petersburg, which I hope to retain pos 
session of. Too much credit cannot be given the troops and 
their commanders for the energy and fortitude displayed dur 
ing the last five days. Day and night have been all the same, 
no delays being allowed on any account. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 115. 

From Lieutenant Colonel Babcock 

General Butler s Headquarters, June 17, 1864, 12 M. 

Brigadier-General RAWLINS, Chief of Staff 

I HAVE examined the ground in front of General Butler. I 
agree with General Weitzel that an advance should be made 
to drive them back and build some works in our advance. 
I will bring you full information. 

O. E. BABCOCK, Lieutenant-Colonel and Aide-de-Camp 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 142. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, June 17, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER 

IF you have no objection to withdrawing your order reliev 
ing General Gillmore, I will relieve him at his own request. 
The way the matter now stands it is a severe punishment to 
General Gillmore, even if a court of inquiry should hereafter 
acquit him. I think the course here suggested advisable, 
and would be pleased if you agree to it, though I do not order 
or insist upon it. ^ g GRANT Lieutenant . General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 142. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 401 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, June 17, 1864 

Lieutenant-General GRANT, Commanding Armies of the 

United States 

GENERAL: I send you the withdrawal of so much of my 
special order as relieves Major-General Gillmore, according 
to your request, to take date as of the day of its issue, upon 
the supposition that it is to be operative and simultaneous 
with yours, relieving him at his request. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part II, p. 286. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs. June 17, 1864, 2.35 P.M. 

Lt. Gen I. GRANT 

I CAN have no objection to the course you suggest in relation 
to relieving General Gillmore, as I have no personal feeling in 
the matter. Perhaps it would be better that the order should 
be dated on the date of my order, in consequence of other 
arrangement of command, depending upon Gen l. Gillmore 
being relieved. I have in accordance with your suggestion 
and the necessities of the service assigned Gen l. Brooks to 
the command of the troops of the 16th Army Corps serving 
in this Department. It would have been done before but I 
was unwilling to take him away where he was winning laurels 
from before Petersburg. As the 18th Corps is coming back, 
that objection is now removed. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 
Lt. Gen. GRANT /i7ft,i8M 

I SHOULD be quite willing to make the exchange your note 
suggests, getting the colored troops and giving up the division 
to Gen l. Burnside, but there is one difficulty. There is no 
such division now as Getty s division, the troops composing 
it having been differently assigned, some I believe to be in 
North Carolina, but of that I am not sure. And my Adjutant 
General office in the field gives me no information. Smith 
sends word that he desires to get back with the 18th Corps, 
and will relieve Wright. I will send him word that as soon as 
he will send up Martindale s division I will send down one of 

VOL. IV 26 



402 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Wright, but this may interfere with the moving out if to be 
done tonight. fi R BUTLER; Maj 



From General Butler 

Li. Gen. GRANT Jme mk 1864 

I HAVE ordered a regiment of 100 days men, 155th Ohio, 
to garrison City Point and relieve the colored troops there, 
also another to Spring Hill, to relieve the colored troops there. 
I design to concentrate the colored troops. I have also garri 
soned Wilson s Wharf & Fort Powhatan with the Ohio troops. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. 

From General Butler 

Li. Gen. GRANT Jme mh 5 15 ^ ^ 

THE enemy have formed in line of battle and driven in our 
picket line in front of our centre, and advanced up to their 
former line. Shall we attack them in force? Our artillery 
will open at once upon their line. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Genl. WRIGHT Jme "* 5 30 P M 

THE enemy have driven in our picket line near our centre. 
Brig. Gen. Foster is about to try and reestablish it. Please 
support him with such force as may be necessary. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Wright 

Headquarters Sixth Army Corps, June 17, 1864, 5.45 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

YOUR despatch of 5.30 P.M. received, and I have instructed 
General Ricketts, with his division, to support General Foster 
as far as may be necessary. 

H. G. WRIGHT, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 130. 

From General Terry 

June 17, 1864, 6.35 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

THE attack in the orchard seems to have been made by a 
heavy force. Captain Woodbury, at Battery No. 4, reports 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 403 

that he saw seven battle-flags. Foster opened a heavy fire 
of artillery, but his line, consisting of two regiments, has not 
been able to get back its ground. Our right still rests at Ware 
Bottom Church; the center has been thrown back to connect 
at our old rifle-pits in the orchard. The field officer of the 
day reports very heavy columns in front of the center. Foster 
has now seven regiments on the line. I think it will require 
a very heavy force to recover the ground lost. There is now 
very heavy skirmishing in front of the center. 

ALF. H. TERRY, Brigadier-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 151. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, June 17, 1864, 6.45 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

YOUR despatch was received some miles out on the Peters 
burg road, hence the delay in answering. Smith has been 
ordered to join you to-night. You need not send Wright back 
till I direct. If possible, the enemy should be driven back, 
and the elevated point occupied by you this morning fortified 
and held. If Wright is no longer required you can relieve 

him to-morrow. TT c ^ T , , n -, 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 143. 

From General Butler 

June 17, 1864, 7 P.M. 

Gen. TERRY 

I DESIRE the most strenuous efforts to retake the line which 
we held this morning. It is most important. 

BEXJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

June 17th, 1864, 7.10 P.M. 

General WRIGHT 

I HAVE sent Gen. Terry orders to make the most strenuous 
efforts to retake the picket line of this morning. It is impor 
tant. Please aid him \vith your whole force. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 



404 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Wright 

Headquarters Sixth Army Corps, June 17, 1864, 7.30 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

YOUR despatch of 7.10 received. I had one division under 
orders to support General Terry s movement, and the other 
will be ready to follow if needed. 

H. G. WRIGHT, Major -General, Commanding 

Endorsed: Operator will deliver copy to General Terry. 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 131. 

From General Grant 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, June 17, 1864, 9.45 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

HAS anything been done this evening toward reoccupying 
the ground held this morning? I was in hopes after gaining 
the railroad you would be able to fortify a position that would 
command and render it useless to the enemy. If this is yet 
within your power I want it done. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Endorsed: Forwarded for the information of General Wright. 
B. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 143. 

From General Wright 

Headquarters Sixth Army Corps, June 17, 1864, 10.20 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

AFTER conferring with General Terry and Colonel Abbot, 
and after examining the best surveys of the locality, I am of 
opinion that while we may carry the line in front of Battery 
No. 4, now occupied by the enemy, it is doubtful whether we 
can hold it. The advanced positions of the enemy take this 
line in flank, and those positions we can hardly hope to get 
to-night. A successful assault will therefore probably be 
finally repulsed. Whether or not this risk should be under 
taken depends much on whether the movement is offensive or 
defensive. If the latter, my judgment is against it; if the 
former, and it can be instantly followed up by an adequate 
force, I should advise that the risk be undertaken. My 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 405 

troops are still held in readiness to move. My own opinion 
is that this advanced position should be taken and held only 
when we are prepared to take and hold the whole line on the 
right and left to the two rivers. Please instruct me as to 
what you decide in this matter. 

H. G. WRIGHT, Major-General, Commanding 

Endorsed: It is impossible to get on if orders are not obeyed. 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 131. 

From General Butler 

June 17, 10.30 [P.M.] 

Lt. General GRANT 

I AM sorry to say nothing has been done, or even a vigorous 
attempt made. I gave the following orders at the times 
indicated, and after waiting a long time I sent out my aids 
to learn why they were not executed, and received the follow 
ing reply, which is sent for the information of the Lt. General. 
To that I answered as follows: "It is impossible to get on if 
orders are not obeyed." 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

June [17]Z/z, 1864, 10.35 [P.M.] 

Gen. WRIGHT 

AT 7.10 this evening I sent an order to you and Gen. Terry 
to do some fighting. At 10.30 I get no fighting but an argu 
ment. My order went out by the direction of the Lt. General. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Wright 

Headquarters Sixth Corps, June 17, 1864, 10.55 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

YOUR despatch of 10.35 is just received, and every man I 
have will at once be put in to do some fighting. Your reproach 
is entirely unmerited. 

H. G. WRIGHT, Major-General Commanding 

Endorsed: Received at 12 midnight. Operator at Terry s 
headquarters reports it received at five minutes previously at 
office. B. F. B. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 132. 



406 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Grant 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, CITY POINT, June 17, 1864, 10.45 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, Comdg. Department of Virginia 

and North Carolina 

GENERAL: The following despatch just received from Gen 
eral Meade, and in consequence the order relieving Smith has 
been suspended. He may probably be sent to you to-morrow. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 144. 

From General Butler 

June 17th, [1864] 10.55 [P.M.] 

General TERRY 

AFTER learning that your picket line had been driven in 
from the enemy s line of works in the front, I telegraphed the 
fact to the Lt. Gen. in the following words at 5.15 P.M.: "The 
enemy have formed in line of battle and driven in our picket 
line in front of our centre and advanced up to their former 
line. Shall we attack them in force?" The General, having 
sent Col. Babcock to survey the ground, answered at 6.45, 
"If possible, the enemy should be driven back, and the ele 
vated point occupied by you this morning fortified and held." 

At 7 P.M. I telegraphed you I desired the most strenuous 
effort to retake the line we held this morning. It is most 
important. Ten minutes later I sent an order to Gen. Wright 
to support you with all his force. At 10.30 I get an argument 
upon consultation between Gen ls. Terry, Wright & Col. 
Abbott upon the propriety of obeying the order. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 17th, 1864 

DEAREST: Your note of yesterday reached me this after 
noon. It is well there is nothing decisive as it is Friday, the 
unlucky day, or I might have heard we could not take Peters 
burg. Tomorrow I shall look to hear it is ours. Do men who 
command think deeply enough on this matter of fighting? 
War is an art, and it seems to me requires the closest scrutiny, 
the great point being to get your enemy at a disadvantage. 
Now, it seems to me they have us that way all the time. Why 
did not Gen l. Grant, looking over the whole campaign, see 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 407 

that Petersburg was essential to his success? And while he 
held Lee at Chickahoniiny, detach a force sufficient to take it 
before he moved himself? If Lee is as quick and capable as 
heretofore, he can hurry a force to Petersburg that will trouble 
you to take it. We seem to lack strategic skill, the electric 
fire of genius, that launches the thunderbolt of war where the 
enemy look not for it. The only movement worthy of abso 
lute praise during the campaign is yours, at the beginning up 
the James river. After your troops were removed, had they 
been stealthily returned to you with half of Grant s army, 
why could you not have entered Richmond? I suppose I am 
writing nonsense. But it does seem as though Grant should 
have kept Lee until advantages were gained where you are, 
before the two great armies entrenched opposite each other 
again. Now it would be better to cut their communication 
and starve them out. To look out on this glorious moonlight 
and the dark waving branches and listen to the continued 
breaking of the waves on the sands, it is so rich, and full of 
peaceful beauty, that I do not like to think what horrors you 
may be engaged in tonight. Youn> 



Saturday morning 

No note from you as yet. But it is said Petersburg is not 
taken, and that Lee s army is before it. If this is so, I fear 
we shall hear of great disaster. How could Smith get away if 
Lee came down upon him without notice? However, it may 
be it is over before now, and we must think of something else. 
I know you will show to Gen l. Grant every possible courtesy. 
I hope he will have confidence in you, for I think you can aid 
him, and never was aid needed more. Concentrate every 
thought to this present position of the army, as if you had the 
conduct of it. Think, think, think, and talk it with Weitzel. 
Aid Grant if man can do it, for never were we in greater need. 
If you give orders, look that they are executed. It is in the 
details we sometimes fail. Pardon me for troubling you to 
read so much, when I know you have thought it all and more. 

I send oysters, bread, coffee, and tea. See that Stephen 
finds them tonight if he can. Tell him to keep the oysters 
by the ice and send back the can when it is empty for more. 



408 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Weitzel 

General Butler s Headquarters, June 17, 1864, 11.05 P.M. 

Col. H. L. ABBOT 

GENERAL GRANT S orders for to-night are to retake and hold 
the enemy s line of works; the new work is to be (built), 
and when it is done, if it is done, there will be an ample oppor 
tunity to counteract all the objections you make. 

G. WEITZEL, Brigadier-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 147. 

From General Butler 

General WRIGHT *~ lsth - & 12 05 A M 

YOUR despatch just received. As you are senior officer, 
taking command of the operations, & if you get the line, in 
trench and hold it, perhaps your attack could be as well made 
just before day. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

P.S. No reproach is given, a fact is stated. I was not at 
liberty to disobey the order given me. B. F. B. 

From General Butler 

Li. General GRANT *~ * 1864 12 15 A M 

I HAVE directed the attack to be made between this and 
daybreak, and if the line is got, to intrench and hold it. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., June 18, 1864, 1 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding, etc. 

YOUR despatch just received. As you were unable to make 
the attack at the time first ordered, you will suspend the attack 
you have ordered to be made between this and daylight, but 
hold all your troops in readiness to take advantage of any weak 
ening of the enemy in your front that may be caused by their 
withdrawal of troops to re-enforce Petersburg, against an 
attack that will be made by Meade in the morning. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 197. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 409 

From General Wright 

Headquarters Sixth Army Corps, June 18, 1864, 1.30 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

YOUR despatches of 11.25 P.M. and 12.05 A.M. just received, 
and the instructions in the latter will be obeyed. The troops 
are now forming and will soon be ready, when the assault will 
be made at once. 

H. G. WRIGHT, Major-General Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 189. 

From General Butler 
Gen. WRIGHT J^ iM, [1864] i.4o ,.. 

As you were unable to make the attack at the time first 
ordered, you will suspend the attack ordered, but hold all your 
troops in readiness to take advantage of any unmasking [weak 
ening] of the enemy in your front, caused by their withdrawal 
of troops to reinforce Petersburg against an attack that will be 
headed by General Meade in the morning. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Wright 

Headquarters Sixth Army Corps, Battery No. 3, June 18, 1864, 2.20 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

YOUR despatch of 1.40 A.M. just received, and at the same 
moment one of my staff, who supervised the formation of the 
troops, reported the attacking column ready to move forward. 
General Ames, with 1,000 men, formed the first line, and Gen 
eral Ricketts, with his division, formed those in rear. The 
first line, under cover of the darkness, had been able to form 
along the skirmish line, and the others at short distances in 
rear. So far everything had progressed favorably. A bri 
gade from Russell s division had been posted some little dis 
tance to the right of the main column, under cover of the 
woods, for a flanking attack. In obedience to your order I 
have suspended the attack, and the troops are returning to 
within the intrenchments, where they will be ready to take 
advantage of any withdrawal on the part of the enemy. 

H. G. Wright, Major-General Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 189. 



410 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., June 18, 1864, 8.15 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding, etc. 

SEND two of the army gun-boats, if they can be spared, 
and one if two cannot go, up the Pamunkey to White House, 
to remain and guard the river from West Point up until the 
garrison is removed. A small garrison was left at White 
House to cover the return of Sheridan and Hunter, and to 
hold the railroad bridge for them to cross over. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 777. 

From General Butler 

June 18, 1864, 9.40 A.M. 

Lieutenant-General GRANT 

DESPATCH concerning the sending of army gun-boats to the 
Pamunkey received. I had sent Graham, with the "Jessup" 
and "Chamberlain," down the river to protect transports from 
the light guns at Wilcox s Wharf. Will send down the river 
and order that the two best boats go at once up the Pamunkey. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 777. 

From General Butler 

June 18th, 1864, 9.50 A.M. 

General TERRY 

HAVE you any means of determining whether the enemy 
still continue in force in your front? Have any deserters or 
prisoners come in. Answer by telegraph. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N.C., in the Field, June 1864, Wh, 1864, 

10 o clock &five minutes A.M. 

Gen. GRAHAM, Commanding Army Gunboats 

GEN. GRANT has left a small garrison at White House to 
guard the railroad bridge until Sheridan can return. Will you 
send two army gunboats best calculated for that purpose to 
guard the Pamunkey from the White House to West Point 
until the garrison is relieved? This is important. Send 
"Vigilant" and reliable officers. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 411 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N.C., in the Field, June ISth, 1864, 10.10 P.M. 

Rear Admiral S. P. LEE 

WE will not sink any more vessels unless you request it. 
B. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

United States Military Telegraph, June ISth, 18(34 

MY DEAREST WIFE: You did not get a letter yesterday, 
which is all wrong, as you were so anxious about news. It 
happened in this way. I was up till two o clock about the 
attack on Petersburg and did not get up till I found the mail 
was gone. 

We have not taken Petersburg unless it was taken in the 
attack this morning. I have been out of health yesterday 
and today, but shall get up. There is absolutely no news that 
I can write. I wish you could come up, but matters are so 
unsettled it is impossible. Write me every day whether I 

fail or not. T^ T> 

1 ours as ever, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June ISth, 1804 

DEAREST: I have your note. I am not disappointed that 
we have not Petersburg. I felt sure if Lee had time to move 
down that we could not take it without hard fighting. Per 
haps not at all. Bennett has been in this last half hour. I 
sent for him to hear details. But he cannot tell me where 
Grant s or Lee s army lie at present. You are to have Smith s 
Corps, Gillmore s, and a part of the sixth reports to you as he 
understands it, and Smith s Corps are to be recalled from 
Petersburg. I do not see why, maybe he is mistaken. It 
seems there is some unpleasant feeling shown to those who do 
not belong to the Army of the Potomac. I should not wish 
to encourage it farther than to show sympathy \vith Smith. 

Avoid hostility as much as possible; keep it for the rebels. 
Dissensions weaken us, and aid the enemy. And all the 
strength and ability of every officer combined and exerted 
to the utmost, will no more than suffice to take Richmond. 
Call on Grant whenever courtesy or good feeling make it 
proper. I have a fancy you may like each other well if nothing 



412 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

untoward occurs. You will not I know be very ready to give 
or take offence with anyone, that reminds me of Bennett s 
funny account of Stephen s tale of woe. He declares he did not 
need the shaking, for "you know how I love the General, and 
do everything for him that I can." Poor Steve! Tell him every 
day to sweep the tent where you eat, and put a clean newspaper 
on the table, and keep the oysters cool, and be as lively as 
possible. I shall send for S - in the morning and hear his 
report. Farquhar is with you again, I hear. How did it 
happen? I thought he was going North, and have not seen 
him but once since he first came down. You tell me to write 
every day. I wonder if you find the least pleasure in reading 
my letters. I sometimes think it is not possible you can, but 

yet I write on. v a 

i ours, SARAH 

From Mrs. Butler to James Parton 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 18, 64 

DEAR SIR: Your note came this morning. You are quite 
right. The time has passed for any vindication at present. 
Perhaps none will ever be needed. For that campaign may be 
a glorious success, and the leaders be crowned with laurel, or 
such an unhappy failure that none will wish to hear of it again. 
If the defence had immediately followed the attack it might 
have answered a purpose. Such things are usually as well left 
alone. I have not received the copy of "Franklin s Life," 
and fear it is delayed on the way. I will send directly to the 
various officers and endeavor to find it. In the meantime 
accept my thanks for your kindness in sending it. I hope it is 
not lost, for I know I shall find it delightful reading. 

I had the pleasure of a very agreeable note from Mrs. Parton 
the other day. As it was generally kind, or rather I might 
say, kind for the General, and did not require an immediate 
answer, I have, as usual, delayed to send one. I forwarded the 
note directly to Mr. Butler, and am quite sure he found time 
even in the midst of a movement to read the flattering remarks 
it contained. I have now written so much, will Mrs. Parton 
permit me to acknowledge her note through yours, and say I 
am very sorry your engagements prevented a visit to Fortress 
Monroe. I am very much obliged and should be happy to 
accept yours and Mrs. Parton s kind invitation to visit your 
pleasant home. When there will be a time one can hardly 
foretell. I am uncertain if I shall be here a week longer, every 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 413 

week that passes. Blanche will leave school the last of this 
month, and whether to bring her here or to take her home I am 
still undecided. 

I have expected for the last four days to hear that we had 
taken Petersburg. Gen l. Smith has taken the outside works 
and two hundred and fifty prisoners. That was news sent to 
me yesterday. This morning there is a rumour that Lee s 
army is between us and Petersburg. I am waiting anxiously 
for a letter. I fear we have lost. I cannot help thinking the 
attack had been better while Grant still held Lee on the 
Chickahominy. Why was Mr. Butler so crippled for lack of 
troops? Give my kind regards to Mrs. Parton. 

Very truly yours, [SARAH BUTLER] 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N. C., in the Field, June 18, 1864, 11.30 A.M. 

Major General MEADE, Commanding Army of the Potomac 

I HAVE directed Gen. Wright to send one of his divisions to 
you. Immediately upon their arrival will you relieve the 
troops of the 18th Corps, and as they arrive I will forward the 
2nd division of Gen. Wright. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., June 18, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding, etc. 

IF you can dispense with Wright direct him to join General 
Meade, with his command, so that the balance of the Eight 
eenth Corps can be returned to you. Before starting in this 
campaign I directed a siege train to be put afloat subject to 
my orders. I understood that it came to Fort Monroe some 
time since, and was under the impression that it came up here. 
Do you know anything about it? Colonel Abbott was in 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 198. 

From General Meade 

Headquarters Army of the Potomac, June 18, 1864, 1.30 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

COLONEL PAINE has reported to me your wishes for the return 
of General Hinks. This officer s command forms a part of that 



414 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

portion of the Eighteenth Corps which I retained here under 
the written authority of Lieutenant-General Grant, to assist in 
the attacks I am now making. So soon as these active opera 
tions are over, and I can spare General Hinks, I will send him 
and General Martindale to you, and trust you will be able to 
send me back Wright and the two divisions of the Sixth Corps. 

Respectfully, yours, GEO. G. MEADE, 
Major-General, Commanding Army of the Potomac 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 163. 

From General Graham 

CHAMBERLAIN, June 18, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER 

GENERAL: The "Parke" sailed at noon from Wilcox s 
Wharf for West Point, and the " Jesup" sails at 2 P.M. As it is 
apparent that General Grant is going to call upon us to do the 
work of the navy, would if not be advisable for you to obtain an 
order from him to the Quartermaster-General to provide the 
vessels you made application for ten days (ago), to which ap 
plication no notice has yet been returned? If you think the 
suggestion a good one, please carry it into effect. Captain Blea- 
denhiser, with three launches and ninety men, remains on the 
Appomattox to do the picket duty at night in the river above 
the pontoon bridge, and to keep a lookout for torpedoes, rafts, 
etc. If you approve I would like to run down to Norfolk at 
5 P.M. today, to return tomorrow, for the purpose of hurrying 
the work on the "Burnside, " obtaining ammunition, etc 
The Sawyer gun, with 100 rounds of canister, is at Bermuda 
Hundred. Please telegraph reply to Captain Dodge, Bermuda. 
Hundred. Respectfully and sincerely, 

CHARLES K. GRAHAM, Brigadier-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 206. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Va. and N.C., in the Field, June 18th, 1864, 6.10 P.M. 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Sec y of War 

COL. ROBERT M. WEST was commissioned in the Pennsyl 
vania Artillery and duly mustered into the service of the 
United States. Regiments of artillery are now of no use under 
the organization. He is a very valuable cavalry officer who 
would make a good Brigade Commander. The Gov. of Penn. 
has commissioned him as Col. of the 5th Penn. Cavalry. I see 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 415 

no objection to transferring him from the Artillery to the 
Cavalry service, he having his commission, leaving him with 
his rank under the Artillery Commission, otherwise after having 
been in the service nearly three years having been some twenty 
years in the service of the United States, he will find himself 
ranked by a Colonel of yesterday. Either do that or make 
him a Brig. Gen. By so doing I think the best interests of the 
service will be promoted. 

As I want to start him out upon a raid please telegraph me 

that it is done. ^ ^ T> ^r n n i 

BEXJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N.C., in the Field, June 18th, 1864, 6.40 P.M. 

Brig. Gen. BROOKS, Commdg. 10th Army Corps 

FROM a prisoner just taken I learn that we have now in 
front of us Pickett s and S. B. Backner s (late Hood s) divisions 
of Longstreet s Corps, Pickett s numbering some five thousand 
men and Hood s between five and six thousand. This is all 
the force in our front. BENJ p BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N.C., in the Field, June 18th, 1864, 11.25 P.M. 

Maj. General WRIGHT, Commanding 6th Army Corps 

You will send one division of your corps to report to Maj. 
General Meade, letting them march at four o clock to-morrow 

BEXJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

Copy sent Gen. Brooks for his information. 

From General Butler 

June 19th, [1864] 12.10 A.M. 

Lt. General GRAXT 

I HAVE ordered one division of Wright s Corps to march to 
Gen. Meade at daylight tomorrow morning. The other to 
march as soon as the troops of the 18th Corps come in. Col. 
Abbot s siege train was afloat at Washington the last I heard 
of it. I have sent for him to get information, & will forward it 
as soon as received. fi R BUTLER 



416 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler, 

June Wth, 1864 

Gen. MEADE, Commanding, &c. 

WILL you please send me one prisoner from each regiment 
that you have captured. I wish them for examination and 
information. The troops of my division as they return can 
take them over. BENJ R BuTLER> Maj . Geneml 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., June 19, 1864, 6.15 P.M. 

Major-General MEADE, Commanding Army of the Potomac 

I HAVE directed General Butler to throw a small force, one 
brigade, across the river from Jones Neck to Deep Bottom, and 
to fortify and hold that point, connecting the two shores by a 
pontoon bridge. This will be done to-morrow night. I wish 
you would direct General Benham to turn over as many pon 
toons and such other bridge material as General Weitzel may 
call for, to accomplish this. 

IT. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 209. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, June 19, 1864, 6.20 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

I HAVE directed General Meade to require General Benham 
to turn over to General Weitzel such bridge material as he may 
call for. The call may be made direct on General Benham. 
Unless otherwise directed, send a brigade of not less than 2,000 
men to-morrow night to seize, hold, and fortify the most com 
manding and defensible ground that can be found north of 
James River, and so near the river that, with the protection of 
the gun-boats and their own strength, they can always get 
back to Bermuda Hundred if attacked by superior numbers. 
Connect the two banks of the river by a pontoon bridge running 
from Jones Neck to Deep Bottom. Of course the point held 
must be near Deep Bottom. Habitually a passage-way for 
vessels will be left in the bridge, but have at hand the means to 
close the gap whenever it is necessary to use it. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 222. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 417 

From General Butler 

Li. Gen. GRANT June mh > 8 10 P - M - 

DESPATCH relating to the movement of a brigade near Deep 
Bottom received. Dispositions are being made to that end, 
and the order executed. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORT MONROE June 19th, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH : You are continually saying cultivate good 
feeling with the officers. So I do all I can. Now I will give 
you a chance to aid me, and you must do it. 

Gen l. Grant this morning asked me if there was a house at 
the fortress in which Mrs. Grant and her two boys could live 
while he was up here. I of course told him that you were there 
in my house all alone, and that you would be very glad to have 
his wife and her children come and stop with you while he was 
up here. He said his boys would be with him in camp most 
of the time. I said, "Well, Gen l., Mrs. Grant and Mrs. 
Butler can come up every now and then and see us while we 
are here." He says, "Yes they will be glad to. * Now, you 
see how nicely I have fixed it so as to see you often, because if 
Mrs. Grant comes up that will take the chill off. Now, don t 
say again I do not think of you. Besides, if you do all that your 
knowledge of the world, tact, and genius will enable you to do, 
then you will do a thousand times more in captivating the 
woman than I could possibly do with the husband. Mrs. G. 
is coming down in a few days, and you must do the most 

a 9 reeable - Truly yours, B. F. BUTLER 

We haven t got Petersburg yet, and we shan t just yet. I 
think you may come up tomorrow and see us. Bring a small 
pillow and some clean sheets with you. y BENJ 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June (Wth), 1864 

DEAREST: I do not know how I shall write to you tonight. 
This has been a long Sunday, unbroken in its tediousness. Yes, 
Capt. Clarke called to see me, and brought with him the most 

VOL. IV 27 



418 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

accomplished mocking-bird to be found in Norfolk. A present 
for Blanche. Mr. Webster has gone for her. She will be here 
in the morning. But I am very dull tonight. What is all 
this struggling and fighting for? This ruin and death to 
thousands of families? What is to come out of it? Wliat 
advancement to mankind to compensate for the present horri 
ble calamities? Who feels any real, inspired enthusiasm for 
love of country or race? Until there is something better we 
shall have no great success. Men rush into the army from love 
of excitement, love of strife, and to avoid the charge and 
monotony of home life, which requires self-discipline and cul 
tivation, careful observation, and kindly affections, to give 
charm and beauty to its sweet daily course. How many that 
we know, who run hither and thither, intent on their own selfish 
aims and pleasures, are now fit, or ever will be, to rear children, 
or to love and be beloved by a sweet, fair and honorable woman? 
Alas! The hope is poor for those who are now to marry! I 
have no regret that I have no more daughters. 

No word or rumour from the James river today. The 
Herald says we have taken Petersburg, but I know it is not so. 
Kinsman does not return. I think there is a clear though 
unexpressed feeling that the campaign is a failure so far, or 
nearly so. Every possible encomagement has been given to 
Grant by the papers and the Government, but he must win 
now to save himself, and the country. I hope success has 
begun, and that tomorrow we may hear that Petersburg is 
ours. You I hope are well, happy, and successful. 

Your SARAH 

From General Butler 

June 20th, 1864, 8.25 A.M. 

Lt. Gen. GRANT 

Two thirty-pounder Parrotts can be spared from our line, 
and can be sent at once to Gen. Hunt. There is another in the 
works at City Point which is at present useless. There is a four 
and a half inch Rodman gun at Fort Powhatan, a point not to 
be attacked at present. We shall need some of these long 
range guns for our work at Deep Bottom. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 419 

From Lieutenant-Colonel Comstock 

Major-General BUTLER ClTY POIXT Jtme 20 1864 9 * 5 A - M - 

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT wishes you to send the three 
30-pounder Parrotts spoken of in your telegram, if you can 
spare them. They will only be needed for a few days. 

C. B. COMSTOCK, Lieutenant-Colonel, etc. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 256. 

From General Butler 

. June 20th, 1864 

Col. ABBOTT, Commanding Artillery of the Defences 

PLEASE get in readiness for immediate movement two thirty- 
pounder Parrotts which can best be spared on our line. They 
are to go to General Meade, if he is not otherwise provided in 

course of an hour. -017-0 i T - n 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Butler 
General FOSTER m Qrs Jme i0 " 1864 

You will hold your command in readiness to move at a 
moment s notice, with two days rations and 100 rounds of 
ammunition, to occupy a point on the north side of the James 
River near Deep Bottom. You will entrench yourself immedi 
ately on a line which will be indicated to you by the Chief 
Engineer or his assistant. After you get well entrenched on 
this line, working parties will be furnished to complete and 
strengthen your works, and prepare it for the reception of 
Artillery. Your men will be ferried across the river in pontoon 
boats under the direction of the Engineers at the time indicated, 
and the bridge at once commenced by the Engineers as soon 
as you are across. 

You are to understand that you are to hold your position as 
long as possible and at all hazard till the bridge is completed. 

The object of this movement is to gain a permanent foothold 
on the north bank of James River, and to cover the bridge 
which will be laid across the river in the rear of your position. 
Tools will be furnished by the Engineers on the spot. Direc 
tions when and where to move will be given you by General 
Weitzel. 

Pending this, you had better move your command to the 
field, now General Gillmore s Hd. Qrs. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commdg. 



420 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, June 20, 1864, 2.45 P.M. 

Lieut. Gen. U. S. GRANT, CITY POINT 

GENERAL WEITZEL has just returned from a careful recon 
naissance of the position at Deep Bottom. He reports the 
problem as of the most difficult solution, and not capable of a 
thoroughly satisfactory one. The best position would bring 
the bridge under close artillery fire from commanding positions, 
and the work itself would be under this fire. He does not feel 
justified to decide what to recommend, and suggests that 
Colonel Comstock be sent over and look at the position with 
him, or for such other instructions as we may be favored with. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 257. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, June 20, 1864, 3.08 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

I SHALL start a cavalry expedition to-morrow night or the 
following morning to cut the enemy s lines of communication 
south, and want all of Kautz s force that you do not require, to 
accompany it. General Wilson will take with him all of the 
cavalry under General Meade s command present, except a 
few hundred for provost duty. Please direct General Kautz 
to report to General Wilson to-morrow for this service. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 237. 

From General Butler 
General KAUTZ Junewh.w. 

IN compliance with the instructions of the Lt. General, you 
will report with the llth Penn. 1st Col. Cavalry, 3rd N. Y. & 
5th Pennsylvania Cavalry, all you have serviceable, and two 
pieces of artillery, to Gen. Wilson near Petersburg, prepared 
to go on an expedition south, to cut the lines of the enemy s 
communications . 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 421 

From General Grant 

Major-General BUTLEE ClTT POINT Jme *- 1864 - 3 * s * 

NEITHER Colonel Comstock nor General Barnard are here 
to accompany General Weitzel on a reconnaissance over the 
river. I think General Weitzel had better give the problem 
the best solution he can, and after occupying the north bank 
of the river we can occupy also the ground commanding the 
fortifications and bridge, or can make any change that may be 

^ U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 257. 

From General Butler 

June 20//?, 1864, 3.30 P.M. 

Lt. General GRANT, Commanding, &c. 

ORDERS have been issued to Gen. Kautz to report to Gen. 
Wilson near Petersburg with four regiments of cavalry and 
two pieces of artillery, prepared to start on an expedition to 
cut the lines of communication south. My signal officer 
reports a regiment of rebel cavalry passing the turnpike north 

toward Richmond. ^ ^ T> ** n n i 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, JMaj. Gen. Commdg. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., June 20, 1864, 5.40 P.M. 

Major-General MEADE, Commanding, etc. 

To give you another army corps foot-loose, I will order 
General Butler to extend his lines so as to cover the ground now 
occupied by the Sixth Corps. I will direct this to be done 
between this and 12 M. tomorrow. With the use of guns that 
will probably reach here tomorrow with the siege train, I think 
Butler s left will be able to destroy the railroad bridge, and 
possibly silence the enemy s guns on the north side of the Appo- 
mattox. As you extend to the left, I think it will be advisable 
to do it by rapid movement, and with as heavy force as possible. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 233. 

From General Grant 

nr - n ? T> CITY POINT, June 20, 1864, 5.50 P.M. 

May or -General BUTLER 

I HAVE directed White House to be broken up as a military 
post. You may direct the abandonment of Yorktown by the 



422 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

military. Let the garrison leave there as soon as practicable 
after the troops from White House pass. The troops brought 
from Yorktown you may dispose of as you deem best. As soon 
as all the troops are out of York River, direct the army gun 
boats to return here. TT c ^ T . . n 7 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 258. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, June 20, 1864, 6.45 P.M. 

General BUTLER 

I HAVE determined to try to envelop Petersburg so as to have 
the left of the Army of the Potomac rest on the Appomattox 
above the city. This will make offensive operations from 
between the two rivers impracticable until we are fortified in 
the new position taken up. To release as many of General 
Meade s command as possible, you may extend your left so as 
to relieve the Sixth Corps, the right of the Army of the Potomac. 
Reduce the force kept between the two rivers to the lowest 
number necessary to hold it and put all the balance, except the 
force sent north of the James, south of the Appomattox, and 
between the pontoon bridge and the present left of the Sixth 
Corps. Make this change as soon as practicable, and so as to 
relieve the Sixth Corps by 12 M. to-morrow. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 258. 

From General Butler 

General MEADE June mh > 1864 > 7 10 P M 

I SEND Col. Paine of my staff with a copy of orders just 
received, to take position on the right of the Army of the Poto 
mac and relieve the 6th Corps. Will you indicate the exact 
place held by the 6th Corps, and the position my troops are 
expected to take up? If you could do so on a tracing or map it 
would aid the celerity of the movement. 

Respectfully, B. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

General Butler s Headquarters, June 20, 1864 

General BROOKS 

You will relieve all the troops of Eighteenth Corps now on 
the line, as that corps is under orders to march to Petersburg 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 423 

to-night. You will have to occupy the entire line with Tenth 

By order of GENERAL BUTLER 
J. W. SHAFFER, Colonel, etc. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 261. 

From Henry Wilson to General Butler 

SENATE CHAMBER, June 2(M, 1864 

MY DEAR SIR: Miss Barton, of Worcester, Massachusetts, 
goes to your Department with articles for the benefit of the 
soldiers, sick and wounded. Gen. Rucker gives her all the aid 
he can, and I ask you to allow her any means you can to 
accomplish her work of charity. Miss Barton has been engaged 
during the war in labor for the sick and wounded. Most of 
this time has been spent with the armies on many bloody fields. 
She understands all about the work, has large quantities of 
supplies, and will go wherever danger and suffering can be found. 

Yours truly, H. WILSON 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 20//J, 1864 

DEAREST: I cannot come to see you quite yet. Blanche 
came this morning, and I am not quite well. I shall wait now 
until Fisher comes, indeed, there is no one to go with me that I 
know of. I see by your note, and what I have heard confirms 
it, that there is a bitter rivalry between some of the Corps. 
If it were a noble emulation to achieve the bravest deeds by 
honorable effort it might be well - - There I will not try to 
finish that sentence for I have been interrupted and will not 
go back to it. My mind has changed to other things. The 
band came for a serenade. Major and Mrs. Usher, Kinsman, 
and Major De Night have been here for the evening. We 
talked of what you are doing. It is evident that you are all at 
a loss what to do next, as it is not yet understood where Lee s 
army is. It would be a funny affair if he should leave just 
enough to amuse you and turn directly toward Washington, or, 
better still for him, if he could move suddenly on Hunter and 
Sherman, cut them to pieces, and then be ready for a move 
further south, or wait for Grant to come up. You say if allowed 
you will make a move and lead in person. I am disappointed 
that I cannot feel a little better, or that there is no one to go with 
me. I think I shall be there before you will move unless it is very 



424 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

sudden. I wish you would send a line or two if you can find a 
moment. I sent you today bread and cake. Bennett has gone 
to Baltimore for what you want, and other things. Blanche 
sends her dearest love, mine you always have, but who regards 
the sunshine, or the sweet daily breath until we fear to lose it ? 

Yours truly, SARAH 

I have your note this moment, and tore off the envelope from 
this to say so. Say to Gen l. Grant I shall be delighted to see 
Mrs. Grant, and will make the house pleasant to her if possible. 
You may expect to see us often. Tell me when she w r ill arrive. 
I know you cannot write your plans. But I understand the 
slightest intimation. Make Grant your friend if possible. I 
know he will be inclined to regard your counsel. Pray keep 
Weitzel on your staff, even if he desires a command. He is 
worth all combined. Listen patiently to my long stories, for 

Very affectionately your SARAH 

From General Butler 

Li. Genl. GRANT June * lst > 1864 6 45 A M 

MY Brigade under Brig Genl. R. S. Foster made a successful 
lodgement on the north bank of the James at Deep Bottom 
without opposition, and are entrenching, making good progress. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Grant 

Major-General BUTLER ClTT POINT June tl - 1864 10 50 A " 

THE President is here. To-morrow he will go up the river to 
see Admiral Lee, and requests you to join him. I will go 
along, starting from here at 8 A.M. on the boat brought by 
the President, and will touch at Bermuda Hundred for you. 
Would go to the wharf on Appomattox but the pilot probably 
does not know the river. ^ g GRANT> Lieutenmt _ General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 287. 

From General Butler 

Admiral LEE, Commanding, &c. June 2l5 * 10 50 A M 

THE President will visit you at your fleet in the morning, 
leaving City Point at 8 A.M. Please have the pontoon bridge 
notified to be up. BENJ p 

Gen. Brooks will forward this. B. F. B*. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 425 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, June 21, 1864, 11.30 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

PLEASE furnish me a statement, approximate one at least, 
of the number of troops sent south of the Appomattox under 
instructions of yesterday, and the number left for the defense 
of intrenchments in front of Bermuda Hundred. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 288. . 

From General Butler 

June 21s/, 1864, 3 P.M. 

Li. Gen. GRANT 

I HAVE sent with Genl. Smith south of Appomattox 15,000 
infantry, 8 batteries of artillery. 

Gen. Kautz has also gone with two thousand five hundred 
effective cavalry, one battery of horse artillery. I have on 
line 7000 old troops, 2000 on the north back of the James. I 
have 2600 Ohio men (100 days), 1800 of which are a working 
party on the north side. Remainder on fatigue & detail 
duty. This is approximate only, as the troops were reor 
ganized yesterday and returns are not all in. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl 

From Lieutenant-Colonel M. P. Buffum 

POINT LOOKOUT, June 21, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER 

GENERAL GILLMORE is here to see prisoners from Peters 
burg. I refused permission. He has telegraphed to Washing 
ton for leave to see them. 

M. P. BUFFUM, Lieutenant-Colonel, 

Commanding District of Saint Mary 

/N 7 (~i, Indorsement 

General GRANT 

WHAT action shall I take in this matter, if any? General 
Gillmore refuses to demand a court of inquiry, and yet is 
preparing his case. BXJ R BUTLER? Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 302. 



426 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

June 9,1st, 1864, 8.20 P.M. 

Lt. Genl. GRANT 

I HAVE reliable information that the railroad between Peters 
burg & Richmond is not yet repaired. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Smith 

Headquarters Eighteenth Army Corps, in the Field, Va., June 21, 1864 

Brigadier-General RAWLINS, Chief of Staff 

of Lieutenant-General GRANT 

GENERAL: I have the honor to forward to you copies of 
correspondence with General Butler. I have no comments to 
make, but would respectfully request that I may be relieved 
from duty in the Department of Virginia and North Carolina. 

Very respectfully, v , -, 

i our obedient servant, 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 301. 

Enclosures referred to in Foregoing Letter 

June 9,\st, 1864, 9 A.M. 

Maj. Genl. SMITH 

To so meritorious and able officer as yourself, and to one 
toward whom the sincerest personal friendship and the highest 
respect concur in my mind, I am and shall ever be unwilling 
to utter a word of complaint. Yet I think duty requires that 
I should call your attention to the fact that your column, 
which was ordered to move at daylight in the cool of the morn 
ing, is now just passing my head Qrs. in the heat of the day for 
a ten mile march. The great fault of all our movements is 
dilatoriness, and if this is the fault of your division commanders, 
let them be very severely reproved therefor. I have found it 
necessary to relieve one general for this among other causes, 
where it took place in a movement of vital importance, and in 
justice to him you will hardly expect me to pass in silence a 
like fault where of less moment. The delay of Grouchy, for 
three hours, lost to Napoleon Waterloo and an empire, and we 
all remember the bitterness with which the Emperor exclaimed 
as he waited for his tardy general, "II s amuse a Gembloux." 
Respectfully, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 427 

Hd. Qrs. 18th Army Corps, 3.40 P.M., June 2lst, 1864 

General B. F. BUTLER 

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
your extraordinary note of 9 A.M. In giving to your rank and 
position all the respect which is their due, I must call your 
attention to the fact that a reprimand can only come from the 
sentence of a court martial, & I shall accept nothing else as 
such. You will also pardon me for observing that I have some 
years been engaged in marching troops, and I think in experi 
ence of that kind, at least, I am your superior. 

Your accusation of dilatoriness on my part this morning, or 
at any other time since I have been under your orders, is not 
founded on fact & your threat of relieving me does not frighten 
me in the least. 

Your obedient servant, WM. F. SMITH, Maj. General 

General SMITH UNOFFICIAL. June W, 1864, 5.45 P.M. 

WHEN a friend writes you a note, is it not best to read it 
twice before you answer it unkindly? If you will look again 
you will find that it contains neither an accusation or a threat, 
the last it could certainly not contain, as I would not allow 
anybody but yourself to say you could be "frightened," and 
you will observe some w r ords interlined lest it might possibly 
be thought to bear that meaning. No accusation is made, 
but the fact stated and a suggestion that if the fault was 
where I supposed it might be, as I saw only a part of the column, 
it should be corrected. I even stated that I did not desire to 
complain, and then stated the reason why your attention 
should be called to it. Indeed, last night I understood your 
orders as to time to be the same as were mine. 

Read the note again and see if you cannot wish the reply were 
not sent. Pardon me if I enclose it, and subscribe myself, 

Truly Your friend, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

June 21st, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH: I suppose it is not of much use to write 
this note, as you will be coming up today, but I will improve 
the opportunity to send down a few of your letters which have 
been accumulating some days. 

We are again ordered to take part in the siege of Petersburg, 
and my largest column is now marching to that end. We have 



428 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

also taken a position on the north bank of the James. But I 
shall see you at once. Kiss Blanche for me. 

Your HUSBAND 

If you do not come at once Mrs. Grant will be down upon you. 
B. F. B. 

From General Butler . 

Hd. Qrs. POINT OF ROCKS, June 21st, 1864 

Lieut. Genl. GRANT, Comd g. Armies United States 

GENERAL: I am informed by Brig. Genl. Weitzel that there 
are now at Baton Rouge some 30 regiments of negro infantry, 
probably averaging 500, that they have been there for a year 
simply garrisoning that place. I know Baton Rouge very well; 
with its fortifications, 3000 determined men can hold it against 
15. Certain it is that 1500 men under the lamented William 
held it against 8000 men under Breckenridge. I am informed 
from various sources, and believe that for some cause, and I 
think so far as my experience has gone, want of attention to 
hygenic principles, the negro soldiers there are dying at a very 
great rate of mortality. The negro soldiers in this department 
are by far the healthiest troops I have. With the exception of 
casualties in battle, the sick are not one & a half per cent. Not 
in the limits of this note but more at length I am convinced I 
could explain the causes of this mortality in Louisiana, which 
has been made the subject of parade in rebel newspapers, and 
of alarm to the friends of the black man. In view of this, the 
need of troops, and specially those as well adapted for siege 
operations as are the negroes, I suggest that as many as could 
be spared from the Department of the Gulf, and that would 
be just as many as are ordered away, be sent for to come into 
this department. I think that 10 or 15000 of effective men 
could be got in this manner, and the change of the sea air upon 
their health in the saving of the men would actually pay for the 
transportation . 

Pardon these suggestions if out of place, but my familiarity 
with the Department of the Gulf has given me means of knowl 
edge upon this subject which I supposed might not be readily 
within the reach of the Lieut. Genl. Comd g, and therefore 
have taken leave to make these suggestions. If it should be 
thought best to adopt them, I have a staff officer who com 
manded a regiment at Port Hudson and served two years in the 
Department of the Gulf, whom I could recommend as a very 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 429 

competent and efficient person to take charge of the transporta 
tion of these negro troops to Fortress Monroe. 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., June list, 18W 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comd g Dept. of N. C. & Va. 

GENERAL: Your communication of this date in reference to 
the transfer of colored troops from the Dept. of the Gulf to 
this Dept. is received. I have not got with me in the field 
returns to show how the troops in the Dept. of the Gulf are 
distributed; but I will forward your communications to Wash 
ington with instructions to send as many of the colored troops 
here as can be spared. 

I am aware that the command of the colored troops in the 
Dept. of the Gulf has been in bad hands, and will so state in 
my indorsement of your paper, suggesting a change. 

Since the advent of Gen. Canby, it is probable a very quiet 
change will be made in the location of troops on the Miss. I 
will ascertain, however, as soon as possible. I am very 

respectfully, v 7 . TT c ~ 

Your obt. svt., U. S. GRANT, Lt. Gen. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 21, 1804 

DEAREST: I have heard tonight that Gen l. Grant would 
take up his quarters at Bermuda Hundred. I suppose it is 
only a rumour. I am so disappointed because there is no 
letter from you tonight. I am confident there is one, but I 
shall not get it before tomorrow morning. Fisher and Lauretta 
have gone up to Washington tonight. He will return here. I 
have ever so much to say about business, and I shall never 
express just w^hat I wish. I know Carney has written you a 
note about some things I wish to write about. Gen l. Shepley 
is doing a number of things, which either you do, or do not, 
know anything of. No man that I brought into the Depart 
ment, were I you, should be allowed to do things that I did not 
fully understand. Whatever is obnoxious, or open to severe 
criticism, in a Department, is visited on the Commanding 
General. Many who are allowed advantages are unscrupulous 
in their use, because they have all the gain, and the ignominy 
of their misdeeds falls on the person who has given them the 



430 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

opportunity to commit them. Gen l. Shepley, I think, while 
all about him suffered not a little at N. O., escaped calumny. 
His position and advantages were better than almost any other 
man s. That is well, and his good name is a recommendation 
for further service. But no man should take a large share of 
my confidence and power a second time, and it freely given, 
unless I had his in return in every possible form that I desired it. 
Fisher talked with him today, and did not find him open or 
communicative. Shaffer is not in his confidence either, and is 
displeased. If you are not, and let me here remark what I 
think you also believe, that there is but one man in whom you 
can have absolute confidence, that time or change cannot alter. 
And he alone is the one I would trust, simply his word of honor. 
He has time and opportunity to look after and observe things 
which you have not. For if your whole mind is not given 
without distraction to the immense labour before you, it will 
never be accomplished. Strange to say, I cannot get away 
from the thought that if Richmond is taken it will, in some 
way, be your work to do it. I have gone away from my sub 
ject. If you are not in his confidence who then is? Fisher 
will see him here next Sunday, and will talk very freely if you 
wish it. I know he does not wish to interfere in the least degree 
unless you wish him to, and does not do or say what I think 
he might, lest he disturb something you do not want meddled 
with. You know I thought Col. Shaffer made a mistake in 
sending for his brothers. I think so still. Too many of a 
name take up too much room to the hurt of each other. But 
the Colonel himself is tolerably keen, and will not long endure 
to be left in doubt. The brother is afraid to say much for he 

does not know how Shepley stands toward you. Dudley B 

is very well a good way off, and Richardson, Gallager, and that 
kind I should rather not have about me. I would not have 
men holding places or trading in my Department to any great 
extent whom I could not trust at home. They will bring dis 
credit that will worry you hereafter. Forgive me for troubling 
you with this long letter of such matters, but I hope you will 
pay some little heed, and not be angry with it. Return this 
in your next. I do not like to send it very well, but I have 
written and it shall go. When read put it back in your pocket. 
I am tired to death writing it. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 431 
From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 21, 1864 

DEAREST: I was very glad to get your note and you came 
so near not writing it ! Were you disappointed when the time 
came and I was not there? Or are you too busy to notice? 
Mrs. Grant will not give me much trouble. She is a kind- 
hearted, unpretending woman. I can make her very happy 
with very little trouble, unless she is worried about her husband. 
I have thought still more about Weitzel. I pray you to show 
him great kindness and attention. He has given up a position 
superior to the one he now holds simply from preference for 
you, because he likes you. That in the future, if you win, he 
will not regret it, I know. But show him by consulting and 
associating him with whatever you do with Grant, that you 
appreciate his services. He is the only man you have ever had 
whose knowledge and judgment are both to be relied on. Keep 
nothing secret from him, for that is his reward for his perfect 
fidelity to you. I would sooner have him to lead one Division 
than anyone I have heard of, but I would still rather have him 
where he is. A better could not be found. There! have I 
said enough? You must not say, too much! for I say it wholly 
from interest for you, which at this time absorbs every other. 
I look at men with that view and weigh them in that balance, 
can they serve you? If they are found wanting I pay but little 
heed to them. Today I am busy with Blanche s clothes that 
want improving, and in truth I work all the time. Would you 
have anything pleasant to say to me if I were there tonight? 
Poor Paul and Benny, what a foolish thing I was to let them 
go. Goodnight, dear love! 

From General Butler 

CONFIDENTIAL. June 21rf, 1864 

MY DEAR SHEPLEY: I send you the copies of the Zantzinger 
papers. I have waited a reasonable time for their exculpatory 
publication promised in their letter but have heard nothing of it, 
and I think it due to the cause of justice and right that the 
whole matter should be published. 

It might be prefaced with something like this: "Governor 
Pierponfs Pamphlet. We have refrained from making com 
ment on this effort of His-would-be-Excellency of Virginia, 
wherein he set himself up as the Patron Saint of Whiskey- 



432 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Smugglers, because we knew investigations were in progress 
which would reveal at once the justice and propriety of General 
Butler s action, the guilt of the parties and the complicity of 
Pierpont with the Whiskey-Smugglers of Norfolk." 

It may be asked what motive could Pierpont have to make 
this attack on General Butler, in behalf of the Whiskey and 
Salt Smugglers, and in the language of Daniels, his co-conspira 
tor effect his removal if possible, I hope some day to be suc 
cessful. This may be well asked, for Judas even did not act 
without a motive. The secret is this; the so called Restored 
Government of Virginia has no servitors over which to attempt 
jurisdiction save the cities of Alexandria, Norfolk, and Ports 
mouth, all garrisoned by Union troops and under martial law, 
and its staple revenues are its impositions upon the trade in the 
shape of licenses, and as bar rooms and corner groceries are 
peculiarly Southern institutions, if not restrained they would 
be very prevalent. If the sale of whiskey is stopped by military 
orders in these cities, the Treasury of the Commonwealth of 
Virginia would lose its principal support, become bankrupt, and 
His Excellency get no salary. Besides, if General Butler could 
be removed, then Zantzinger and Daniels would have a claim 
for the confiscated whiskey (say $14,000), and could divide 
with the Governor as they have with Rogers and Sewell as will 
be seen hereafter. Therefore Pierpont has complained to the 
War Department of General dough at Alexandria and of Gen 
eral Butler at Norfolk, because they stopped the indiscriminate 
sale of whiskey in their commands; and failing to get the bar 
rooms opened by an order from the War Department, the 
Governor publishes a pamphlet. 

"Pierpont makes Zantzinger and Daniels prefer case of 
grievance under what he is pleased to call the abuse of military 
power in the command of General Butler. It is the first case 
which he puts forward as a specimen, and introducing it with a 
flourish of trumpets, It is incredible. The firm was one of the 
largest in Norfolk. Now he asks the impartial judgment of 
any man living, what was there in this case to inflict this 
punishment? Was it (the liquor) smuggled? * Zantzinger is 
the brother-in-law of Commodore Farragut, a member of the 
Loyal Legislature of Virginia. * Daniels is a loyal business 
man. The animus of General Butler can only be seen by 
connecting this case with Hodgkins case. 

"General Butler cannot of course re-examine all the cases 
decided in his provost court and acted upon by his Provost 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 433 

Marshal, nor does he deem it necessary, but as Pierpont had 
made Zantzinger and Daniels a test case, General Butler de 
termined as soon as his duties would permit to investigate this 
case in person, and exhibit both the Governor and co-ad juters 
to the citizens of his department, that they may see of what 
kind of people the restored Government of Virginia is made. 

"The General therefore procured the evidence, which is in 
the first paper printed below, and then confronted the several 
guilty parties with it, took their confessions under oath, which 
established beyond a doubt the following propositions: 

"1st That Zantzinger and Daniels smuggled into Norfolk 
75 barrels of liquor, 53 of which Pierpont complains Gen l. 
Butler confiscated, under the name of Cider Vinegar in viola 
tion of a military permit. 

"2nd. That Zantzinger and Daniels bailed Henry C. Tyler, 
master of the schooner *L. B. Cowperthwait, paying $1750.00 
to defraud the Government by shipping this liquor and 450 
sacks of salt into Norfolk under a forged and false manifest. 

"3rd That Zantzinger and Daniels corrupted the revenue 
officer, Lt. Sewell, by the payment of $750, to pass in this 
liquor and salt in dereliction of his duty and in fraud of the 
revenue. 

" 4th Being put upon their trial before the Provost Court, 
Zantzinger and Daniels suborned their clerk, Wm. Knight, to 
commit artful and corrupt perjury to sustain their fraud, well 
knowing when they called Knight as a witness that he would 
commit perjury in their behalf. 

"5th That Zantzinger and Daniels also suborned Lt. Sewell 
to cover up his and their crime by deliberate and wilful perjury 
before the Provost Court, by swearing that Zantzinger and 
Daniels had no contraband goods on board of vessel consigned 
to them, w r hen they and Sewell both knew that he was hired to 
pass in such goods. 

"6th That Would-be Governor Pierpont, in his anxiety to 
make a case against General Butler and to get him removed 
from his command, so that His Pseudo Excellency s salary 
might be drawn from the licenses for the sale of whiskey, 
against the earnest entreaty of Zantzinger and Daniels, who 
knew justice had been done them and hardly enough of that, 
designedly persisted in publishing this case as abuse of military 
power, thus rendering himself an accomplice w r ith smuggler 
aiders of the enemy, disloyal men, corrupters of officers, bribers 
and suborners of perjury. 

VOL. IV 28 



434 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

"Of such are the restored Government of Virginia: 

"It will further appear from Pierpont s letter to Zantzinger 
that he now knows the wrong he has done General Butler, and 
is too base to do justice and recant, although his associates in 
crime desire now to do so. 

"Pierpont has seen how Gov. Meade treats a libeler who 
endeavored to weaken the confidence of his soldiers and the 
Government in their commander, and those who know Gen l. 
Butler would advise His Whiskey Smuggling, defending Excel 
lency not to come into Gen l. Butler s department. 

"As to Zantzinger and Daniels, we do not suppose that 
General Butler will punish them farther. He knew from the 
beginning their crime against the United States, and punished 
it. He has vindicated the action of the Government and its 
officers against the accusations of Pierpont and his associate 
felons, and if they have any farther accusations to bring would 
be happy to deal with them in like fashion. 

He has furnished the Restored Government of Virginia with 
the fullest evidence that these men and their associates have been 
guilty of perjury and subornation of perjury, and will now calmly 
wait to see if that Restored Government has vitality enough to 
punish such offenders in its principal city, or only strength suffi 
cient to receive license money for selling rotgut whiskey. 

"Hodgkins case carries its own refutation with it, in Pier 
pont s statement. Hodgkins was a soldier in the Rebel army, 
occupying another rebel s store in Norfolk to sell the goods of 
another firm who had run away. General Butler advised the 
Treasury agent, Maj. Moss, to turn Hodgkins out and lease 
the premises in behalf of the United States to a loyal man, 
which was done. 

We can assure Pierpont that any other of his friends and 
supporters in like condition with Hodgkins will be served the 
same way as soon as their cases come to the knowledge of 
General Butler, so that if Pierpont will only disclose the true 
condition as to loyalty and honesty of his friends in Norfolk, 
he can get another book of grievances ready in advance. 

"Read the Document." 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the Field, June Wd, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH : I was not a little disappointed at not see 
ing you last night, as I had real hope you would come. Sup- 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 435 

pose the "sweet air we breathe and fair sunshine ordained us" 
don t come, do we not miss it? 

I am glad you are not displeased with the idea of Mrs. Grant 
coming to the house. I think it w r ill take away from the loneli 
ness. Blanche there, you will have a lively house. I am the 
lonely one, disappointed, discouraged, seeing men perish by 
thousands uselessly through the inertness of their leaders, and 
the country suffering, and I powerless to aid, is a heart loneli 
ness which is terrible. I came here to do my whole duty, and 
I think with patriotic motives solely. I have aided everyone 
who has strove to do his best, but, alas, I see but little hope. 

Hecatombs of men are slaughtered, and still no good result 
accomplished. Nor is it the fault of General Grant. It is the 
cursed system under which we are carrying on this war. In 
a word, it s the West Pointism of the Army, or the McClellan- 
ism, for he is but the representative of the system. Earnest, 
honest, and intelligent convictions, and more than three years 
experience, has proved to me that while West Point is a good 
thing enough in its place, yet it is killing both sides, and that is 
the only comfort I have. 

The President is here, and I am going out to meet him today 
with Gen. Grant, and going up to see Admiral Lee. Please 
mend my coat that has the shoulder strips upon it have it 
thoroughly cleaned and sent to me. Kisses for Blanche - 

" Little Buntie." v ^ 

I ours, BENJ. F. 

P.S. Gen. Grant said two days ago that he should write for 
Mrs. G. at once. B. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June %%nd, 1864 

DEAREST: You sent me a long note by Martin. I am very 
much obliged for it, and sorry I was not there if you felt the 
least disappointed that you did not see me. I really have not 
been very well, and I did not know as you would like me to go 
up with Kinsman. You must not grow dull, or indifferent, for 
it may yet chance that you make the strongest move in the 
game. I hope for it, have you not already done it? What 
has been accomplished thus far by this immense army except 
w 7 hat you have done? You may still have work to do, but it 
must be of your own planning, and then the likelihood, if suc 
cessful, that you will have but small share in the credit. But 



436 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

that should alter nothing. You work for a great cause, almost 
a desperate one, whatever shallow-pates may say that the coun 
try can take care of itself, etc. The boats run through to 
Washington, and do not wait here long enough in the morning 
to take the mail. I sent to Col. Biggs about it, and he sent 
another boat. There should be an order that the boat from 
Washington should wait for the mail, as Gen l. Grant has 
taken your boats. I wish you could hear the new mocking 
bird. It is now ten o clock, and he is singing so loud with the 
doors shut I can hear every note. I am afraid you will think it 
worse than the band. I am glad you miss me a little. I miss 
you so much. Think of me as often as you have time and as 
pleasantly as you can. I will send the coat, but the President 

will be gone before it reaches you. v 7 c 

Yours very truly, SARAH 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs., near POINT OF ROCKS, June 22nd, 1864 

Brig. Genl. RUFUS INGALLS, Chief Quartermaster, 

armies operating agt. Richmond 

THE mail between these Hd. Qrs. and Fortress Monroe 
fails of connection. I understand that some gentleman who 
claims to be postmaster of the Army of the Potomac claims to 
take it under his charge. May I ask that you will allow the 
mail of these Hd. Qrs. to be left at Fortress Monroe in the 
separate mail bags we furnish, and taken from there as hereto- 

Respectfully, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. 
From General Butler 

June Wnd, 1864, 6.50 P.M. 

Lt. General GRANT 

GEN. SMITH asks of me two batteries of rifled guns and two 
thirty -pounder Parrotts or 4 1-2 in. guns with ammunition. I 
have sent him a battery of rifled 10s. Three of my thirty- 
pounders are with Meade out of six, which are all I have. 
Smith has four 20 out of 9 already. As Meade s siege train 
has got up with you, direct that he turn over to Smith the 
three 30 P. P. and ammunition. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 437 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., June 23, 1864, 9 A.M. 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

YESTERDAY and this morning have been consumed in extend 
ing our lines to the left to envelop Petersburg. The Second 
and Sixth Corps are now T west of the Jerusalem plank road. 
Yesterday, in moving to this position, the two corps became 
separated. The enemy pushed out between them and caused 
some confusion in the left of the Second Corps, and captured 
four pieces of artillery. Order was soon restored, and the 
enemy pushed back. This morning no enemy is found on the 
left. This will be pushed forward until the enemy is found. 
The Petersburg papers of yesterday state that Hunter has been 
routed and already 3,000 of his men have been captured. 

LT. S. GRANT, Lientenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 330. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., June 23, 1864, 3.30 P.M. 

Major-General MEADE, Commanding etc. 

GENERAL: Butler can spare several thousand more troops 
for Smith as soon as fortifications north of James River are a 
little stronger, which will enable Smith to extend over a greater 
front, and give you troops to move to the left. I will direct 
Butler to send what he can at once, and to order Smith to 
relieve Burnside s right division. I would not think of moving 
the whole of your command with less than ten days rations, and 
then it would be to turn the enemy s right, cross the Appomat- 
tox, and force a connection with Butler between Richmond and 
Petersburg. I have directed the Nineteenth Corps to be sent 
here, but it will take twenty days to bring them. By keeping 
the little cavalry you have well on the watch on the left, I 
think you can have timely notice to save it, if attacked. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 333. 

From General Butler 

A PARTY of N. Carolina troops have cut the telegraph line 
we are endeavoring to establish to Jamestown Island. I have 
sent down a small cavalry squad, who report all that part of 



438 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the country near Branden & Surry Court House filled with 
deserters & stragglers from the Army of Potomac. Might 
not General Patrick send a company or two of cavalry to 
gather them up? I have sent fifty cavalry to clean out the 
garrison at Surry C. H., and to warn the inhabitants there that 
if not respected their houses will be burnt and some of them 
get hanged. BENJ p BuTLER> Maj Gml 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, June 23, 1864, 4 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

GIVE General Smith as many re-enforcements as you can, and 
instruct him to relieve as much of Burnside s corps as he can, 
at least one division front, so as to enable Meade to extend and 
protect his left. Meade is now to the Weldon railroad. If 
possible I would like Burnside relieved by to-morrow morning. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 362. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. & N.C., in the Field, June 23, 64, 4.30 P.M. 

Maj. Gen. W. F. SMITH, Comd g. 18th Army Corps 

I AM ordered by the Lieut. Gen. Comd g. to reinforce you so 
as to relieve as much of Burnside as possible, at least one divi 
sion front. I therefore send you Turner s Division of four 
thousand men, being one of the best divisions I have got. 

The Lieut. Gen. desires also that Burnside be relieved be 
tween this and morning, and I have telegraphed him that it 
shall be done. The troops will reach you as soon as they can 
possibly be forwarded, and as they are forwarded, push them 
in and let Burnside out. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Quarters, June 23rd, 1864, 4.35 P.M. 

Lieut. Genl. U. S. GRANT, Comd g Army U. *S., CITY POINT, VA. 
DESPATCH in regard to reinforcing Smith received. It shall 
be done. Orders will go out immediately. The troops will 
be moved at once. I will send Turner s Division, which will 
leave me four thousand (4000) troops on this line. 

B. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 439 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs., June 23rd, 1864, 4.45 P.M. 

Brig. Genl. WM. H. BROOKS, Comd g 10th A. C. 

& Line of Defences 

I AM ordered by the Lieut. Genl. to reinforce Smith as much 
as possible. You will therefore send Turner s Division at once. 
I will see him about retaining his pickets at the old mill, where 
it may be dangerous to disturb them. All else of the movement 
is left to you. The Lieut. Genl. desires this relief to reach 
Smith so early as to enable Burnside to be relieved and join 
Meade s left before morning. I need not say to you that I 
desire the utmost exertion to make despatch. We are accused 
of moving slowly. Let us in this instance show the injustice 
of that accusation. We can forward the necessary supplies 
and extra ammunition tomorrow. The men are wanted to 
night. Let the troops march at once. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Lt. General GRAXT Jme tZrd 1SW 6 20 P M 

I TAKE leave to send you my memo, of the present organiza 
tion of the armies on this line with their positions. I believe it 
nearly accurate. It is from an examination of the prisoners, 
deserters, and refugees from almost every brigade. I have a 
few cigars which I think pretty good, will you try them? 

Respectfully, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 
Lt. Gen. GRANT June ttrd, i*. s.x> 

Two brigades of Turner s division have passed the Pontoon 
bridge at 8 o clock. I think I can promise you an advance by 
Smith taking the hill in his front in the morning. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 23rc?, 1864 

DEAREST: I pity you today; the heat must be intolerable. 
Even here we can hardly endure it. Tonight, after five, 
Blanche and I rode up to the light-house. Seven miles, we 
went entirely up, saw the house where the man who keeps the 
light lives. It is a bare, sandy spot. About a quarter of a 



440 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

mile back there is a very fine dense forest. We had scarcely a 
breeze going or coming. The evening is very warm. I am 
writing in my night-dress. If Richmond is to be taken by siege, 
I am afraid you will be there half the summer. How will you 
be able to endure it? I hope the campaign will not be pro 
longed in that way. The truth is, I should be glad if we could 
go home for a time, but that I suppose is not to be talked of 
now. Farrington and his wife have both been sick, and will 
return to Lowell next Monday. 

Thursday morning. Twenty-one guns were fired this morning. 
I thought for the President, and have looked for a call ever 
since. Maybe he did not stop. The guns were a passing salute. 
It is hotter today than yesterday. Martin is not ready to 
return before tomorrow. Not positive then. There are quanti 
ties of ripe currants in the garden. If I thought you would 
return here I should make them into jelly. The Democratic 
convention is postponed to the last of August. A very wise 
move, I should think. The campaign will last till then. I 
do not know what you will do when the midsummer heat 
pours down upon you. I think we may go up tomorrow, but it 

is not quite certain. T7 . 1 c 

Very truly yours, SARAH 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the Field, June 24, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH : I should think that in about twenty years 
more, when we have our golden wedding, you would come to the 
conclusion that you have a fair share of my thoughts, affection, 
regard, sympathy, care, and love. Confidence with you seems 
almost a century plant, blossoming only in a quarter of a cen 
tury. This is all bad enough here, and I have but little hope, 
but upon the whole think we shall worry through. 

Your kindness, I assure you, in sending coat, cakes, oysters, 
etc. is appreciated, and now you can add to it by sending some 
bay rum and a pocket knife, and you can lay me under lasting 
obligations by coming up yourself. Mrs. Grant will want to 
come up as soon as she gets here. Blanche will want also to 
come, I suppose, and we will try and accommodate you all. 
Blanche will bring her riding dress, so looped up she can walk 
in it, and her side-saddle if she comes. Blanche ought to see 
camp life. 

I send you an article from the Independent, Ward Beecher s 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 441 

papers. I shall be vindicated as time rolls on. Steve says 

breakfast is ready. v 7 ^ -^ _, 

Yours most truly, B. F. B. 



General Butler at Bermuda Hundred 

Editorial from "The Independent" (New York); June 16, 1864 

General Butler s Campaign 

THE time has come when the truth may be told about Gen, 
Butler s campaign without endangering future operations. 
Most of what is necessary to his vindication against an im 
patient and foolish popular clamor has hitherto been left 
unwritten from considerations of military prudence; now, 
without undertaking to present a complete history of his move 
ments, w r hich is unnecessary, we shall meet and dispose of the 
criticisms on his conduct of the campaign. 

First, as to the object of Gen. Butler s expedition. It was 
not Richmond. The popular expectation of an effective move 
ment against the rebel capital was the offspring of popular 
eagerness, not at all of Gen. Grant s plan. Gen. Butler s 
orders w r ere: first, to secure a foothold south of the James as 
far as possible above Fort Powhatan for a new base of supplies; 
second, to cut the Petersburg R. R., if possible, but on no account 
to do or attempt anything which should endanger the position once 
gained on the river bank. Other operations were left to Gen. 
Butler s discretion. Inasmuch, therefore, as he has taken and 
held the Bermuda Hundred peninsula, and has cut the Peters 
burg R. R., over which for 21 days no train has passed, - 
he has done all that his orders required or expected. 

Second, as to the conduct of the campaign, it is to be ob 
served that Gen. Butler s force was much less than it was 
generally believed to be. Accepting that limitation, it will not 
be difficult to see that he has done all that circumstances per 
mitted as well as all that his orders imperatively required. 

Third, it is agreed on all hands that, up to the repulse near 
Fort Darling, on the morning of Monday May 16, the campaign 
was well-managed and successful. The burden of the criticism 
on Gen. Butler is derived from the retrograde movement which 
carried him back from Kingsland Creek to Bermuda Hundred. 
The whole of that criticism has been based on a letter published 
in the Evening Post of May 24th, which letter was supposed to 
give Gen. Gillmore s views of the campaign. Admitting that 
the movement against Fort Darling was well-conceived and 



442 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

executed, the writer of this letter made two points against 
Gen. Butler s management, of which the first was that, after 
he had turned and carried the rebel right, he omitted, notwith 
standing the urgent representations from Gen. Gillmore, to 
entrench the position so gained, and that because of the omis 
sion occurred the rebel surprise and successful attack. It is 
sufficient to say that Gen. Gillmore has denied this part of the 
story over his own signature; denying that he urged entrench 
ment, and declaring that there was neither time nor opportu 
nity for such work. The other point in the letter of the Evening 
Post was this : That, after the success of the rebel attack in the 
fog, by which the right under Smith was turned, Gen. Butler 
unnecessarily ordered the withdrawal of the left under Gen l. 
Gillmore and ordered it against his (Gillmore s) protest; so 
abandoning the attack on Fort Darling. To answer this, it is 
necessary to recur to the beginning of the movement which 
resulted in the operations on Kingsland Creek. It had but one 
object, to wit: to mask the departure of the cavalry force 
under Gen. Kautz, to destroy the Danville R. R. Take a good 
map of southeastern Virginia, and draw a line from Fort 
Walthall on the Appomattox to a point opposite Farrar s 
Island in the James river; that is Gen. Butler s line of entrench 
ments, and Kautz was within it, wanting to get out without 
observation by the forces of the enemy, occupying the exterior 
works of Fort Darling on the north and Petersburg on the south. 
Gen. Butler sent out two columns of infantry; one division 
under Ames taking position between the Fort Walthall R. R. 
and Petersburg, the remainder of his forces seizing and holding 
a longer line south of Proctor s Creek. Between the two, as 
between two walls, Gen. Kautz with his cavalry marched 
safely out, and Gen. Butler might then have withdrawn his 
troops once more within the Bermuda Hundred line. But his 
left south of Proctor s Creek had been attacked, and judging 
that the troops were Beauregard s forces marching to Lee, 
as in fact they were, Gen. Butler resolved to detain them 
and ordered an advance. Thus began the operations against 
Fort Darling. 

The turning of Gen. Butler s right in the fog on the following 
Monday was mainly in consequence of his inability to extend 
his lines so as to reach the river. The rebels availed them 
selves of the gap which he Gen. Butler had not men 
enough to fill. But after it was turned, Gen. Gillmore says 
the left could still have been held. Undoubtedly it could have 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 443 

been for a time. But the position was such, as a look at the 
map will show, that to have held it would have risked and 
probably would have insured the cutting off of the forces hold 
ing it from the other wing of the army, and from the line of 
entrenchments across the Bermuda Hundred peninsula, this 
latter, it is always to be kept in mind, being the main object of 
the campaign, for which all else was to be sacrificed. Under his 
orders Gen. Butler had no right to risk losing it; rightly, there 
fore, he gave orders for Gillmore to retire. But there is still 
another reason. When the right was turned, Smith found 
himself obliged to abandon a portion of his line to the left in 
order to double up on the right and hold his new front. The 
withdrawal of troops for this purpose left a gap between him 
and Gillmore. The order which Gillmore interpreted first as 
an order of retreat was, in fact, an order to close up this gap 
and reconnect with Smith. He was ordered also to advance 
in front of Smith s entrenchment, so as to fall on the enemy s 
rear; but he misunderstood, disobeyed, and sent word he could 
hold his ground. The result was that the flanks of both corps 
were exposed. And Gen. Butler finally sent a peremptory 
order to both to retire within the Bermuda Hundred peninsula 
- the only course remaining to him in conformity with his 
general instructions. The responsibility for the failure, there 
fore, rests wholly on Gen. Gillmore and not at all on Gen. 
Butler. 

It is necessary to add a word on the relations between Gen. 
Butler and his corps commanders. Gen. Smith and Gen. 
Gillmore are soldiers by profession and education; Gen. Butler 
is not. Yet, on the three main questions of the campaign he 
has been right and they wrong. Neither believed it possible 
to take and hold Bermuda Hundred. It has been done against 
their advice. On the first landing, Gen. Butler wished to ad 
vance at once against Petersburg, having information that it 
was weakly garrisoned, and that Beauregard had not then come 
up. He was right, but desisted from his purpose on the mis 
taken remonstrance of his Corps Commanders. Subsequently, 
after Beauregard s arrival, Smith wished to move against the 
place against Butler s judgment, and was stopped by the 
enemy in force on the banks of Swift Creek. But a distinction 
is to be made between the two commanders. Gen. Smith, 
while not always agreeing with Gen. Butler, has co-operated 
with him zealously; Gen. Gillmore reluctantly. The insub 
ordination of the latter near Fort Darling found a parallel in 



444 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

his delay at the outset of the expedition, and in his remissness at 
the first landing on Bermuda Hundred, when for more than a 
day he neglected to begin entrenching, and left all along his line 
the bundles of shovels with the ropes that tied them uncut. It 
has been very lately signalized by his failure to support Gen. 
Kautz in the attack on Petersburg last Friday a failure 
which drew down on him the public censure of the Secretary- 
of-War. 

Finally, from the beginning of his campaign down to the 
present time, Gen. Butler has conformed to and has fully 
carried out the instructions of Gen. Grant, and by him is 
retained in command. The withdrawal of Gen. Smith s 
Corps was in consequence of the unexpected necessity that 
arose for the reinforcement of the army of the Potomac, and 
from no other reason. The only justification which Gen. 
Butler requires before the people is a knowledge of the facts. 
They are here stated for the first time. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., June 25, 1864, 1 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER, Commanding, etc. 

CAN you send 1,000 or 1,500 infantry to Douthat s Wharf 
before daylight? Sheridan has been attacked this evening, 
and with great difficulty and with heavy loss of men has saved 
his train so far. He expects another attack at daylight, and 
would be much assisted if some infantry could reach him in 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 792. 

From General Butler 

Gen. BROOKS Jme "* 1864 iM AM 

MARCH at once two regiments which will number a thousand 
men to the hospital wharf in the utmost haste. They will be 
there met with orders for further movement. Take the nearest 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Lieutenant-General GRANT June 25 1864 2 55 

HAVE ordered two regiments from my line to march to wharf 
at Point of Rocks. Have ordered up transportation to take 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 445 

them to Douthat s Wharf. Will you send down and get 
ready a boat or boats at City Point in case mine have not 
steamed up or are unready? Cannot Sheridan fall back to 
Wilson s Wharf, about 4 miles? He will there have the cover 
of our work and 1,500 men to assist him. There are also two 
gun-boats there to aid him. A boat from City Point can reach 
Wilson s Wharf in an hour and fifteen minutes. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 36, Part III, p. 792. 

From General Butler 

June 25, 3.15 A.M. 

WILL Gen. Grant please tell me exactly where Sheridan is, 
that I may be able to give directions to the officer in charge 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Grant 

General BUTLER ClTT PolNT Jme K 1864 

CHARLES City Court-House is the place where our troops are, 
and where the enemy is confronting them. The wagons and 
one division of cavalry have come through to Wilcox s Wharf, 
but have been moving during the night to Charles City Court- 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 419. 

From General Butler 

Lt. Col. FULLER 

SEND any steamboats you have that will take a thousand 
men to the Hospital Wharf at Point of Rocks. This needs the 

utmost haste. ^ ^ n/r n i n ^ 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Coma g. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORT MONTIOE, June 25, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH: It is hardly worth while writing you this 
morning, as I suppose you will be up if Mrs. Grant has come. 

Everything gets on slowly enough here. The heat is severe, 
and we need rain very much indeed. 

All my troops are around Petersburg. I have hardly a 
corporal s guard here. I am afraid Sheridan has come to 



446 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

grief in trying to get across the river below us. Was awakened 
last night to send reinforcements to get him out of the scrape. 
You will be nearly killed with the heat when you do come. 
How do you get on anyway down there? Is it as slow as it is 
here? You may make the currants. We shall eat them before 
this campaign is over. Yours> 



From General Butler 

Hd. Qre., June 25th, 1864 

To ALSON CRANE, Postmaster, FORT MONROE 

SIR: I hear very grave complaints of the delay of the morn 
ing mail. It usually arrives about seven (7) o clock, and the 
boat is detained until (11) eleven before it can be forwarded. 
You must put on more force. Two hours and a half is all the 
time that can be possibly spared to it, as it deranges the mail 
service very much. I am aware of the immense amount of 
labor thrown upon your office by so large an army, but I am 
also aware that increased compensation attends increased 
labor, and therefore more clerks must be employed. I feel 
certain that I have only to call your attention to this matter 
to have it rectified at once. I have the honor to be 

Very Respectfully, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs., June 25th, 1864, 9.10 

Major USHER, Paymaster Fort Monroe 

I AM informed by Captain Martin that you have referred to 
the Paymaster General the question whether the extra men who 
were omitted by accident, of the 1st New York Mounted 
Rifles, from the pay rolls must wait until another payment. I 
am sorry you found it necessary to make the reference. If you 
will forward me the money loaned by me to the Pay Depart 
ment at once, I will see that these men are paid. It seemed 
simply a question of paymasters doing so much work. If you 
had called upon me I would have found the money. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, June 25, 1864, 9 P.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

IT was General Smith s intention to carry an advanced point 
in front of his left last night, but finding that he had fewer men 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 447 

than he thought, it was postponed. If he can secure this 
advance to-morrow night I would like it to be done. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 421. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs., June 25, 9.40 

Maj. Gen I. SMITH 

DID you make the attack contemplated? What was the 
result? Please answer by telegram. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs., June 25th, 9.45 

Lt. Gen. GRANT 

MY three regiments sent to Sheridan have returned. He 
thinks he can hold without them. Two substitutes from the 
7th N. Hampshire deserted to the enemy today from Picket. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l. Comd g. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, June 26. 1864 

General BUTLER 

I THINK it will be advisable to put up two or four guns of 
heavy caliber on your shore battery to command Hewlett s 
battery and the reach above the obstructions. This w r ill 
enable the monitors to drop down out of range of the land bat 
teries. It is desirable that they should not lay habitually 
under fire, but should be where, in a few minutes, they can run 
up to engage the enemy s iron-clads or land batteries, if neces- 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 450. 

From General Butler 

June 26tfz, 4.45 A.M. 

Lt. Genl. GRANT 

REPORTED from lookout that the column of the enemy re 
ported this morning occupied 4| hours in passing (four 

hours and a half.) -c^ -D n/r - n >? 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. 



448 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Head Qrs., June 26, 7.45 

Lt. General GRANT 

GEN. SMITH had informed me that he intended to attack that 
advanced position last night. I heard sharp firing and sup 
posed he might have done so. Upon receipt of your telegram 
I inquired as to the result of his attack, and received the follow 
ing telegram which I give verbatim, although I suppose it must 
contain a blunder of the operator: 

Gen. BUTLER 

I THOUGHT it best to defer the attack indefinitely. On a second reconnoissance 
of the enemy s position and view of the small forces at Gen. Turner s disposal last 
night (June 24), and reconnoissances today have developed the enemy s lines so strong 
that the loss of Qife] could not be worth the hill (sic}. 

WILLIAM F. SMITH 

In view of this opinion of General Smith do you think it ad 
visable to make the attempt? If so I will go over in the course 
of the day and arrange the attack for tonight as suggested. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Genl. Comd g. 

From General Grant 

CITY POIXT, June 26, 1864, 8.15 A.M. 

Major-General BUTLER 

IT was on General Smith s report that I ordered the advance 
I did last night. I would not now insist on it against his judg 
ment without knowing more about the ground and the feasi 
bility of carrying it than I do. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 449. 

From General Butler 

June mh, 1864, 10.40 A.M. 

Lt. Gen. Grant, 

IN addition to the shore battery which you saw, 4 20-pounder 
and one 30-pounder Parrot works are already in progress for 
mounting two one-hundred pounders, one six-inch Sawyer and 
two 10-inch Mortons, which will see not only the Howlett 
house battery and the obstructions but the reach above Farrar s 
Island, and the reach above Dutch Gap, where the rebel iron- 
clads take shelter. BENJ p BUTLER; 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 449 

From General Butler 

. BROOKS June mh > 4 30 RM 

ASK lookout at crow s nest if the rebels have a pontoon 
bridge at Cox Ferry, and if he saw the column cross the river. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen 9 1. Comd g. 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, June 26, 1864, 4.30 P.M. 

General BUTLER 

THE force crossing James River is probably the enemy s 
cavalry which was after Sheridan. The latter is now all safe, 
and no doubt the enemy have abandoned all idea of further 
molesting him. If re-enforcements should become absolutely 
essential to hold your lines, the troops north of the river may 
be brought in, not, however, until the necessity arises. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 451. 

From General Butler 
Gen l. BROOKS June wh, 5.u P.*. 

WHICH way was that column moving? State from what 
point to what point, the hour the last of their column passed 

the nearest point to us. ^ ^ 

BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs., June ZGth, 1864 

Brig. Gen l. GRAHAM, Comd g. Army Gunboats 

I HAVE information from Mr. Mills of Mount Eyrie, just this 
side of Arlington, that he hears cutting on the island between 
Fort Clifton and the mainland. That cutting of timber is of 
course for one of two purposes. Either to get a range on some 
battery, or for the purpose of getting a road through for a 
pontoon bridge for a movement upon General Smith s flank 
and rear. In either case it needs watching. Will you send up 
there a reconnoitring party tonight, and find out what the 
cutting means, and report to me, watching carefully that no 
body crosses the river. T^ T> nr - n >i 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen I. 



VOL. IV 29 



450 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

UNOFFICIAL. June 26th, 7.15 P.M. 

Col. BOWERS, A. A. GenL, City Point 

PARDON me, it is probably my stupidity. You say in 
your despatch your effective force operating from the James 
River. Do you mean the forces on my line from the Appomattox 
to the James, or those on the Richmond side of the James at 
Deep Bottom, or both? I shall be obliged for the explanation. 

Respectfully, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From Colonel Bowers 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER ClTY POINT June 26 1864 

I INTENDED to ask for the effective strength of the army in 
the field with you, which includes the troops on both sides of 
the river belonging to the Tenth and Eighteenth Corps, and all 
others located on the line of present operations this side of 
Fortress Monroe. Please excuse my failure to make the des 
patch intelligible. 

T. S. BOWERS, Assistant Adjutant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 451. 

From General Butler 

Maj. Gen l. SMITH June 26 n 

I HAVE the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram 
(a copy of which you have forwarded directly to the Lt. 
General as I am informed) in regard to Colored Troops. From 
several of its propositions I dissent. Your field return of the 
23rd instant gives 7852 Col. Troops for duty, in this despatch 
you say you have now nearly 5000. What has become of 
nearly three thousand of these troops in three days? As to 
Choate s Colored Battery, it has been well-drilled, highly 
spoken of. I know its commander is a good officer, and he has 
expressed confidence in his men. In your despatch of the 
23rd, upon the authority of your Chief of Artillery, you reported 
the Col. Battery inefficient. But as that officer is of that class 
who do not trust any Colored troops, and has since proved his 
own inefficiency by deliberately riding into the enemy s lines 
in a fit of drunken or other delirium, as I am informed, and been 
captured by them, I am not inclined to base much official 
action on his judgment. 

It can be hardly true in fact that the three regiments of Col 
ored Cavalry are yet undrilled in loading their muskets, as one 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 451 

of these regiments was in the charge for which you have pub 
licly so highly complimented the Colored Troops, and took the 
works they were ordered to do. If these are not to be depended 
upon, you have few Colored Troops that can be. 

Much as I value Gen. Hinks services, and I yield to no man 
more kindly appreciation of them, I should hardly advise the 
disorganization of his division because of his loss. If, however, 
the Lt. General choose to carry out a suggestion made by him 
several days since, and giving to Gen. Burnside the troops of 
the 9th Army Corps which are now in this department in the 
Eighteenth Corps, and giving us General Ferrero s Division 
instead, as you seem to desire this change for the purpose of 
consolidating the Colored Troops, I will not object. Supposing, 
however, until now this was against your wish, I have objected, 
but will now withdraw it and allow the change to be made so 
far as it rests with me. 

As you are entrenching before Petersburg, as you suggest, you 
will find these good troops to hold entrenchments. 

I will forward a copy of this note to the Chief of Staff of the 
Commanding General, so that he may have our views before 
him at the same time, although as a rule I would not send for 
ward such communications without an interchange of views. 
Respectfully, BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen 1. Comd g. 

From General Butler 

Brig. Gen. CABR, Commanding, &c. Jme 27 7 40 [1864:i 

You will take from Yorktown all ordnance, Quartermaster s,. 
Hospital stores, and other public property. You will remove 
the sick to McClellan Hospital, Fortress Monroe. 

You will turn over the public property to the proper officers 
at Fortress Monroe, turn over the prisoners to the military 
prison at Fortress Monroe. 

Leave at Williamsburgh such cavalry force not exceeding 
100 men as may be in your command, to hold the telegraph 
line and assist in the defence of the post station there, about 
600 men including cavalry for the defence of the Post. 

See that serviceable guns taken from the defence of York- 
town and Gloucester Point be placed at Williamsburgh 
instead of the present ordnance. 

Send the one hundred-pounder rifle with its ammunition 
to Bermuda Hundreds. Order all the staff officers not personal 
to the comd g officer of Williamsburgh & the other stations 
there to report to their Chiefs for duty. 



452 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

Order the troops not needed for Williamsburgh to report 
here for duty, including the light battery at W. All this to be 
done as speedily as possible without injury to the public service. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gerfl. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June Wlh, 1864 

DEAREST: I am so settled to the habit of writing that the 
moment I come into my own room I sit down at once by the 
little table and begin scribbling to you, though I said good bye 
only this morning. It was fearfully hot coming down the river, 
and the boat loaded with soldiers, oh, they did look a little 
dirty, and a scent, not of roses, as the hot air swept over them, 
was wafted to our senses. But we finally mounted to the wheel- 
house above them all, and were rewarded by a cool, renewing 
breeze. When we were half way down, a splendid shower 
came up in our rear, that I am sure you had the benefit of 
before it overtook us, and that gave me great pleasure, for I 
left you feeling myself quite disconsolate that you must remain 
in that hot, dusty field, and no help for it, perhaps for weeks. 
Now, if you had the shower, it is tolerably cool and inviting. 
When you write do not forget to tell me if it rained on the day 
I left. The rain is pouring here now. I am obliged to get up 
from writing and close the blinds that are dashing forward and 
back. I found Lauretta here when I came. Fisher had gone 
up to see you. Mrs. Grant is not here yet. I thought to 
write you something why I did not go to sleep that night, but I 
have not time or room tonight. And it is no matter that I 
should. I know very well that you love me dearly, and cannot 
help it. You would if you could, but you cannot help it. So 

be content and do not try. , T , . ,. , 7 c 

Most affectionately, SARAH 

I send bread this morning, tomorrow blackberries if I can get 
them. 

From General Smith 

Headquarters Eighteenth Army Corps, June 28, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER 

WILL you please give me 800 men belonging to General 
Turner s division for four regiments of colored troops? I have 
been most unreasonably alarmed by them. 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 488. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 453 

From General Butler 

Maj. Gen l. SMITH June mh > 7 15 A M " 

I WILL send the remainder of Turner s men and your own. 
Send me the negro regiment. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l. Comdg. 

From General Butler 

-o June 28, 7.20 A.M. 

Gen. BROOKS 

PLEASE order the remaining troops convalescent and others 
to report to him in the lines near Petersburg. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l. Comdg. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the Field, June 28, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH : There is not one word different from what 
you sa\v. I had a very warm ride to Petersburg yesterday, 
which tired me much. 

Trusting your ride was pleasant, and that you got safe home, 

Ia y ur HUSBAND 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, June 98th. 1864 

DEAREST: Is it not a shame that I should take those hot 
days to visit you, and now the weather is so delightfully cool 
that heavy wrappers are worn with comfort? By the time I 
am ready to go again the heat and dirt will be ready for me. 
This has been a great day for company: Gen l. Shepley, two 
daughters, Miss Wood, Fisher, Lauretta, Capt. De Kay made 
quite a dinner party. The Shepley party are desirous to go 
up the James and visit you. Some time in the course of a fort 
night you may chance to see us. In that event, the Hospital 
tent would be nice to have for the young ladies sleeping-room. 
There is no end of company today. Col. Biggs, Edson, and 
De Kay have taken up the evening. And now the mocking 
bird has begun, and there is no intonation of sound that he is 
not master of. My chance for sleep is not very great. We 
rode up the beach, and I was so chilled that I know I have taken 
a violent cold. Can you imagine it after the heat of Sunday 
and the previous days? Tomorrow I think of going to see 
Gen l. Devens. Miss Dix, I heard from Blanche, was desirous I 



454 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

should. Gen l. Carl looked at my carriage on the wharf, and 
says the one at Yorktown is much handsomer, and that he should 
send it down very soon. I was disappointed last night. Gen l. 
Weitzel came over from Norfolk a little past nine o clock, and 
came up with Mr. Webster to call on us, but we had already 
retired. I was sorry, for though I had met him quite lately, 
Blanche has not seen him, and she wished we had not been so 
sleepy. I did not see your two letters until this morning. So 
you think we are to worry things through? I do not believe 
a word of it. Our days will glide on so peacefully they will 
seem like one long summer s day. If breezy sorrow comes to 
ruffle it, it will be because you like the tempest, and evoke the 
thunder and the flashing lightning. What a goose I am to sit 
here at this time of night writing such nonsense! I think you 
will have a charming night s rest, it is so cool. You can get 
under the blankets and strap down the tent, and nobody to 
fidget and keep you awake. Goodnight! I could not get the 

blackberries until tomorrow. v c 

Yours ever SARAH 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the Field, June 29, 1864 

MY DEAR SALLY: Rain not a drop of it. I went to Peters 
burg the morning you left, and never got a drop till in the even 
ing, when only a few drops not enough to mark the dust. 
It was intensely hot. Cool last evening while reading your 
note I was toasting my toes with immense satisfaction before 
a good fire. This morning I am going to Petersburg again. 
It will be hot again to-day, and oh, so dusty. 

I am glad your good habits stick to you keep on writing. 
You improve, specially with the last sentence. 

True, I love you dearly, and, you goose, you pretend you 
have just found it out ! Of course, I can t help it, and I haven t 
tried to help it, simpleton! Why should I? If one has a 
pleasant sensation does he try to help it? Give love to Blanche. 
Mrs. Grant as soon as she comes will want to come up. Let 
me know if she does, and I will send down the "Greyhound." 
I have that hospital tent all pitched. 

Yours as ever, BENJ. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 455 
From Mrs. McManney 

June 29/64 

Maj. General BUTLER 

NECECITY compels me to truble you. Sheridens cavalry has 
destroied 6 weeks scince evry thing we had in the way of provi 
sions. The gun boats furnished us when they was here but 
since they went farther up we are in a sufring condishion. 
Pleas do somthing for us. We are in tily unprotected myself 
and 3 children another lady has 3 I would like a guard also 
if you pleas. Your soilgers from the other side of the river 

come over vry often. ^ ?/ T\T TV/T i\/r 

/ ours respectfully, MRS. MCMANNEY, 

Curies Neck Farm on the north side of the river. 
From General Meade 

Headquarters Army of the Potomac, June 30, 1864, 9.20 A.M. 

Lieut. Gen. U. S. GRANT 

GENERAL KAUTZ has sent his command back to Bermuda 
Hundred to refit and get supplies. I beg to suggest orders be 
sent to General Butler requiring General Kautz to return at 
the earliest practicable moment, to report to General Sheridan. 
The enemy have the whole of their cavalry south of the Appo- 
mattox, and, with the loss of Wilson and his own losses, Sheri 
dan will be weak, and will require all the cavalry we can get 
together, else I fear we shall have trouble with the enemy s 

cavalry in our rear. ^ /^ T\T IT n i 

GEO. G. MEADE, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part, II, p. 518. 

From General Grant 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, CITY POINT, 

June 30, 1864, 10.20 A.M. 

Major -General BUTLER 

PLEASE send Kautz back to our left to report to Sheridan as 
soon as possible. It will take all our cavalry to extricate 
Wilson from his present perilous position. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 531. 



456 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 

June 30th, 10.45 A.M. 

Li. General GRANT 

GEN. KAUTZ has not yet reported to me. I suppose him to 
be with Wilson. If Kautz does report to me I will send him at 
once. I have not heard from him since he left. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the Field, June 30, 1864, 11 A.M. 

Major-General SMITH 

IF General Kautz is anywhere near you, please send out an 
aide and stop his return here. The lieutenant-general desires 
me to send him to report to Sheridan at once, to go to the aid of 
Wilson. Major Ludlow goes with a written order to that effect. 
I leave immediately for the fort (Monroe). 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General* Commanding 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 537. 

From General Butler 

Ed. Qrs., June 30th, 1864 

To Rear Admiral S. P. LEE, Comdg. N.A.B.S. 

Admiral: It was agreed, as I understood, between the Navy 
Department, yourself, and the Major General Commanding, 
that upon the turning over of Fort Norfolk to you for a Naval 
Magazine the building occupied as a Naval Storehouse on the 
wharf at Fortress Monroe should be vacated for the use of the 
army, and to prevent the danger from the ordnance remaining 
therein. 

Three months have now elapsed since Fort Norfolk was put in 
the possession of the Navy for that purpose, and I am informed 
that the ordnance storehouse is not vacated. May I request 
that an order be issued that it may be done at once? If the 
Navy is not supplied with transportation for that purpose, 
upon intimation to me I will see that the storehouse is immedi 
ately cleared, I have the honor to be, 

Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant, 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen l. Comd g. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 457 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. & N.C., in the Field, June 30th, 64 

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secy of War 

THIS case of difficulty has arisen in this command. Regi 
ments which by hard fighting have been reduced below the 
minimum, and who have, in one case for example, 760 men and 
only 12 officers, and now by orders from the War Dept. Nos. 
86 and 182 of the series of 1863 deprived of having officers duly 
commissioned, mustered in, where there is the most urgent 
necessity for them, I wish some relaxation of that order. As it 
may be difficult to make a General Order covering the case, 
would it not be well to submit it to the discretion of Depart 
ment and Corps Commanders when serving independently, 
to muster in officers duly commissioned in regiments below the 
minimum organization, when by death or otherwise so many 
vacancies exist that the services of the officers are needed? 

(BENJ. F. BUTLER) 

From General Grant 

Headquarters Armies of the United States, CITY POINT, VA., July 1, 1864 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff of the Army 

GENERAL: Mr. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, has just 
returned. He informs me that he called attention to the neces 
sity of sending General Butler to another field of duty. Whilst 
I have no difficulty w r ith General Butler, finding him always 
clear in his conception of orders and prompt to obey, yet there 
is a want of knowledge how to execute, and particularly a prej 
udice against him as a commander that operates against his 
usefulness. I have feared that it might become necessary to 
separate him and General Smith. The latter is really one of 
the most efficient officers in the service, readiest in expedients 
and most skilful in the management of troops in action. I 
would dislike removing him from his present command unless 
it was to increase it, but, as I say, may have it to do yet if 
General Butler remains. As an administrative officer General 
Butler has no superior. In taking charge of a Department 
where there are no great battles to be fought, but a dissatisfied 
element to control, no one could manage it better than he. 

If a command could be cut out such as Mr. Dana proposed, 
namely Kentucky, Illinois, and Iowa, or if the Departments of 
the Missouri, Kansas, and the States of Illinois and Iowa could 
be merged together and General Butler put over it, I believe 



458 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the good of the service would be subserved. I regret the 
necessity of asking for a change in commander here, but General 
Butler not being a soldier by education or experience, is in the 
hands of his subordinates in the execution of all operations 
military. I would feel strengthened with Smith, Franklin, or 
J. J. Reynolds commanding the right wing of this army. At the 
same time, as I have here stated, General Butler has always 
been prompt in his obedience to orders with me and clear in his 
understanding of them. I would not therefore be willing to 
recommend his retirement. I send this by mail for considera 
tion, but will telegraph if I think it absolutely necessary to 
make a change. I am, General, very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

From General Halleck 

Headquarters of the Army, WASHINGTON, July 3rd, 1864 
[Not in chronological order]] 

Lieut. Gen. U. S. GRANT, CITY POINT, VA. 

GENERAL: Your note of the 1st instant, in regard to General 
Butler, is just received. I will, as you propose, await further 
advices from you before I submit the matter officially to the 
Secretary of War and the President. It was foreseen from the 
first that you would eventually find it necessary to relieve 
General B. on account of his total unfitness to command in the 
field, and his general quarrelsome character. What shall be 
done with him, has therefore already been, as I am informed, a 
matter of consultation. To send him to Kentucky would 
probably cause an insurrection in that State, and an immediate 
call for large re-inforcements. Moreover, he would probably 
greatly embarrass Sherman, if he did not attempt to supersede 
him, by using against him all his talent at political intrigue 
and his facilities for newspaper abuse. If you send him to 
Missouri, nearly the same thing will occur there. Although it 
might not be objectionable to have a free fight between him 
and Rosecrans, the Government would be seriously embarrassed 
by the local difficulties and calls for re-enforcements likely to 
follow. Inveterate as is Rosecrans habit of continually calling 
for more troops, Butler differs only in demanding instead of call 
ing. As things now stand in the West, I think we can keep 
the peace; but if Butler be thrown in as a disturbing element, 
I anticipate very serious results. Why not leave General 
Butler in the local command of his department, including 
North Carolina, Norfolk, Fort Monroe, Yorktown, &c., and 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 459 

make a new army corps of the part of the Eighteenth under 
Smith? This would leave [Butler] under your immediate 
control, and at the same time would relieve you of his presence 
in the field. Moreover, it would save the necessity of organi 
zing a new department. If he must be relieved entirely, I 
think it would be best to make a new department for him in 
New England. I make these remarks merely as suggestions. 
Whatever you may finally determine on, I will try to have 
done. As General B[utler] claims to rank me, I shall give 
him no orders whereon he may go, without the special direction 
of yourself or the Secretary of War. 

Yours truly, H. W. HALLECK 

From General Grant 

Headquarters, CITY POINT, July 2, 1864 

Maj. Gen. W. F. SMITH 

YOUR application for leave of absence has just come to me. 
L nless it is absolutely necessary that you should leave at this 
time I would much prefer not having you go. It will not be 
necessary for you to expose yourself in the hot sun, and if it 
should become necessary I can temporarily attach General 
Humphreys to your command. jy q ^ 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 594. 

From General Smith 

Saturday Morning, July 2, 1864 

Lieut. Gen. U. S. GRANT, Commanding Armies of the United 

States 

GENERAL: In acknowledging your despatch with reference 
to my leave, I consider it due to you, who have been so kind 
to me, and to myself who has never had anything but the 
warmest wish for your success and for the prosperous termina 
tion of this war, to render some explanation. One of my 
troubles, that of my head, has three times driven me from a 
southern climate, and I really feel quite helpless here, unable 
to go out at all during the heat of the day even to visit my lines, 
and therefore I do not do the duty of a corps commander as I 
think it should be done. I have during this war held my health 
and my life at the service of the country when I thought I 
was doing any good, and as I stand now, unfortunately, and 
as I think I can say with the clearest conscience from no fault 
of my own, I have deemed that some other with more ambition 



460 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

and no hostilities could better serve the country here in my 
place; therefore, I was in nowise called upon to risk a per 
manent disability by remaining here. I wish to say to you, 
unofficially, that from the time I joined the Department of 
Virginia until the campaign terminated disgracefully, I gave 
to the work the utmost energies of mind and body. Then I 
wanted to be where I could be useful, and, thinking the more 
troops there were in this department the more blunders and 
murders would be committed, I went gladly to the Army of the 
Potomac with the most hearty good will and intentions. In 
looking back over the sneers and false charges and the snubbings 
I received there I only wonder, general, at my own moderation. 
I then came back, thinking that your presence here would 
prevent blunders, and that I could once more be useful. Two 
letters have been written to me which I think any gentleman 
would be ashamed to acknowledge as emanating from him, and 
for which there was not even the shadow of an excuse. This 
has induced me to believe that some one else would be of far 
more service here than I am. And as my only ambition is to 
be of service, I determined to present the just plea of my 
health to remove one of the obstacles to harmony in this army, 
and that, general, if you will look closely into the campaign, 
you will find to be one of the causes of want of success when 
you needed and expected it. In conclusion, general, I am 
willing to do anything and endure anything which will be of 
service to the country or yourself. Now I am through with the 
personal, and I want simply to call your attention to the fact 
that no man since the Revolution has had a tithe of the respon 
sibility which now rests on your shoulders, and to ask you how 
you can place a man in command of two army corps who is as 
helpless as a child on the field of battle, and as visionary as an 
opium eater in council, and that, too, when you have such men 
as Franklin and Wright available to help you, to make you 
famous for all time, and our country great and free beyond all 
other nations of the world? Think of it, my dear general, and 
let your good sense and not your heart decide questions of this 

kind WM. F. SMITH 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 595. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 461 

From General Smith 

Headquarters Eighteenth Army Corps, July 2, 1864 

Brigadier-General RAWLINS, Chief of Staff, City Point 

THERE is a good deal or reorganization to be done in this 
command, and therefore I dare not take advantage of the 
general s kindness, and must stick it out as long as possible. 
I hope for a change of weather. Please mention this to General 
Grant. As soon as the order is out I shall come down and have 
a talk with you on what I consider a question of vital moment 
to the country, and in these questions personal hostility I don t 
think ever interferes with my judgment. ^\r -p q 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 595. 

From General Weitzel 

Captain FARQUHAR, Smith s Headquarters 

I WILL under no present circumstances consent that Michie 
shall be absent from here even a day. I have need for him all 
the time, and on important service too. Colonel Bowen is an 
engineer officer. I rank him in the army and in the corps. I 
am doing duty besides that of chief engineer. It is more proper 
that he should perform engineer duty during your absence than 
that I should. General Smith s line is four miles long, the 
one here as it is now is seven miles long. I wish you would 
tell General Smith this. General Butler has returned. 

G. WEITZEL, Brigadier -General and Chief Engineer 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 596. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

July 3d, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH: Back again. I cannot say home. All 
well. I am in much trouble. Smith will go home on sick 
leave. Changes are to be made in Commanders. All is 
going on here as before. 

I hope you are well and occupied pleasantly. 

Yours truly, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Butler 
General SMITH July 3rd. i^ 

HAVE you a 10-inch mortar in position to reach Petersburg. 
I shall have tomorrow 60 shells filled with an incendiary com 
position, that you can try. I have tried the experiment and 



462 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

think it a success. I have mounted a 13-inch mortar on a 
rail-car fitted for the purpose, which will reach City Point 
to-morrow morning. It works beautifully, recoils on the 
carriage 3 inches on the rail-track (free) twelve feet. 

Have mounted a thirty pounder Parrot on another car pro- 
tected by cover. BENJ 



From General Butler 

CO/.COMSTOCK ./% 3rd, 1864, 5P.M. 

WHEN at Fortress Monroe I prepared a platform car to 
carry a 13-in. mortar, and also another to mount a 30 Pd. 
Parrot. The mortar car worked admirably. It can be used 
with a horizontal arc of fire of 70 degrees and any elevation. 

It will be necessary to have the City Point R road repaired 
to Smith s Lines, to use when it is repaired. The guns will be 
here to-morrow. BENJ p BUTLER 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, July 4, 1864, 9.45 A.M. 

M ajor-General SMITH, Commanding Eighteenth Corps 

SEND James (Rhode Island) battery to report to the Tenth 
Corps, where it belongs. Battery H, Third New York, and 
section of Battery M, Third New York, from Powhatan, have 
been ordered to report to you. 

By command of MAJOR-GENERAL BUTLER 
G. WEITZEL, Brigadier-General, etc. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 637. 

From General Smith 

Headquarters Eighteenth Army Corps, July 4, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER 

YOUR telegram of this date ordering James (Rhode Island) 
battery to report to the Tenth Army Corps is received. The 
battery cannot be sent away without prejudice to the service. 
We need it, and all the artillery we can get. 

W. F. SMITH, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 638. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 463 

From General Butler 

General W. F. SMITH July 4 1864 9 30 P M 

THE general commanding directs me to say that he will send 
one of his two reserve batteries to you to-morrow, and then 
wishes you to send James battery back. His desire is to give 
you all the artillery he can, and at the same time retain organi 
zation of his command. 

G. WEITZEL, Brigadier-General and Acting Chief of Staff 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part II, p. 638. 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. Va. and N.C., in the Field, July 4th, 1864, 10.40 P.M. 

Lieut. General GRANT 

GEN. SMITH telegraphed me this afternoon that six regts. of 
infantry, 22 army wagons, and 26 ambulances passed over the 
turnpike toward Richmond, and also a train of cars loaded 
with troops and a battery. A deserter from Foster s front at 
Deep Bottom reports that Cook and Kirkland s Brigades of 
Hettis Division of Hill s Corps have left there, and that there is 
now in front of Foster Davis Brigade of Hettis Division and 
Lane s and Conner s Brigades of Wilcox Division of Hill s 
Corps with one regt. from Gracie s Brigade. These troops have 
gone there within two days. Another deserter, just in, reports 
that Pickett s Division is being withdrawn from our front, 
their place to be supplied by batteries of reserve militia, who 
are to hold our lines while Pickett s Division is to cross the 
Appomattox. He also reports Gen. Early present in person 
but does not know of his Division. He states that his officers 
say that there is to be a flank movement. This may possibly 
be a movement against Meade s left. The troops that Smith 
reports going up may be the reserves to take the place of 
Pickett s veteran troops, that are to cross the Appomattox. 
I have thought the man s story of sufficient consequence to send 
him to you for examination in addition to this synopsis of his 
information. He reports, also, felling the trees by the enemy 
in our front, which would show that they do not mean a move 
ment upon us. By careful question you may be able to make 
something more out of him. 

It is quite possible that an attack, which will probably be a 
feint, will be made on Foster, w r hile a real attack will be made 
on Meade s left, and this may be the flank movement spoken of. 
BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, Major-General 



464 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORT MONROE, July 4tth, 1864 

DEAR SARAH: All remains the same here. Hardly a gun 
fired for two days. I received Blanche s note. I am sorry to 
hear you are unwell. I hoped you would have recovered both 
health and spirits ere this. You have made a very sad mistake, 
and one which you will learn some day. 

Mrs. Grant, I have not heard from nor have I seen the 
General. Will inquire. Does Fisher come up before he goes 

Yours truly, BENJ. 
From J. K. Herbert to General Butler 

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 4, 1864 

DEAR GEN. : I have just had a long talk with Senator Wade 
again. He will go with this letter probably to your Hd. Qrs. 
He said during our conversation that he believed you could be 
triumphantly elected Pres. if you were nominated and 
thinks there would be scarcely any trouble with that. 

He will talk the matter all over with you he told me he 
would and I write to suggest, for what it is worth, that you 
show him that platform you showed me & give him its history. 
He has expressed an anxiety to have me go to N. O. alone. 
You will attend to that of course. He might in relation to that 
matter talk differently to you. 

He has asked me to see him as soon as he returns. I told 
him I would do my feeble utmost for his Presidential project, 
and he said he might need me. 

I don t know what it means to see in the papers that you & 
staff are at Fortress Monroe. Hope it s nothing wrong. I 
am sir, your j R HERBERT 



From Lieutenant-Colonel Comstock 

TELEGRAM. CITY POINT, July 4, 1864 

Genl. WEITZEL 

WHEN the President relieves Gillmore from command of 
10th Corps, or confirms the relief, his staff revert to their 
original positions. By order from here Gillmore is entitled 
to take Michie with him as one of his personal staff: that 
order so far as relates to Michie might be rescinded on Butler s 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 465 

application, but such a step might cause Gillmore to recom 
mend that Michie be mustered out as Capt., a thing that would 
probably not be done for some time judging from other cases 
if Gillmore had Michie with him in another Com d. 

C. B. COMSTOCK, Lt. Col. & A.D. C. 

From General Butler 

Major General SMITH * 5tk 1861 10 A u 

WILL General Smith have the kindness to forward to me the 
surgeon s certificate upon which Capt. Farquhar of the Engi 
neers was granted leave of absence, if one was permitted, or 
state what application and for what purpose leave of absence 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 
From General Weitzel 

July 5, 1864 

General J. G. BARNARD, CITY POINT 

GENERAL BUTLER has just received the following despatch: 

Captain Farquhar went to Fort Monroe to settle his engineer accounts upon an 

order from me, and not upon a sick leave. 

Wm. F. Smith, Major-General 

General Butler requests me to inform you that since the 
20th of May Captain Farquhar has had two leaves before for 
that purpose and that if he had such pressing need for an 
engineer officer he should not have permitted Farquhar to go. 
He directs me further not to visit Smith s lines today, as he has 
recently seen them in person, and does not consider Lieutenant 
Michie of as much use there as here. Personally I beg of you 
to withhold an opinion in this matter until I can see and explain 

Respectfully, G. WEITZEL, Brigadier-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 19. 

From General Weitzel 

July 5, 1864 (Sent 11 A.M.) 

General J. G. BARNARD, CITY POINT 

LIEUTENANT MICHIE, whatever the necessities of General 
Smith are, is absolutely necessary here. I know what General 
Smith s needs are as well as if I visited his lines, but as you 
order it I will visit them as soon as I can today. I am now and 
have been for a week performing the duties of, and really am 
in Colonel Shaffer s absence (who is sick at Fort Monroe), chief 
of staff at these headquarters, and Lieutenant Michie is really 

VOL. IV 30 



466 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

performing the duties of chief engineer. I have been serving 
in this department constantly on active service since the 3d of 
May, when today or any day since that date I can get a sur 
geon s certificate excusing me from all duty. These head 
quarters, although Captain Farquhar is under my orders, 
were not at all consulted in granting him a leave. If General 
Smith persists in having an engineer officer, why not give him 
one temporarily from the Army of the Potomac? 

Respectfully r , G. WEITZEL, Brigadier-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 20. 

From General Weitzel 

July 5, 1864 (Sent 12.35 P.M.) 

General BARNARD, CITY POINT 

I DESIRE to add the following to my last despatch: When 
General Smith left here to re-enforce General Meade at Cold 
Harbor, he applied for a regular engineer officer. Although 
with the great deal of work on hand here I had only two, I 
gave him Captain Farquhar, the older of the two. On his 
return he permitted Captain Farquhar to delay several days 
at Fortress Monroe, and when he was ordered to Petersburg 
applied for Lieutenant Michie, who could not be spared. Now, 
again without consulting General Butler or myself, he again 
permits Farquhar to go and again applies for Lieutenant Michie, 
who can be spared less now than ever. I respectfully protest 
against any officer holding a position junior to these head 
quarters applying for one of the officers in my department by 
name. He has the right to apply for an officer to perform 
certain duties if required, and then it becomes my duty to 
procure one if I have none on hand to send. If General Smith 
can by any means get my only reliable assistant detailed from 
me, it presumes either that he knows more about my depart 
ment than I do, or that I am not capable to preside over the 
department. It is certainly not right for him to apply direct 
to you, and is in direct disobedience of a general order from 
Lieutenant-General Grant promulgated about the beginning 
of this campaign. 

Respectfully, G. WEITZEL, Brigadier-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 20. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 467 

From General Barnard 

Headquarters, CITY POINT, July 5, 1864 

Brig. Gen. G. WEITZEL, Chief Engineer, Dept. of Virginia and 

North Carolina 

I WISH to be distinctly understood as not assuming to give 
any orders whatever in the matter. General Smith has re 
peatedly asked me for Michie. It would have been better to 
have referred him at once to you, but I made myself the 
medium of making known his wants and wishes. 

J. G. BARNARD, Brevet Major-Gen, etc. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 21. 

From General Weitzel 
General BARNARD J^5,i8G4 

I UNDERSTAND perfectly. I was solicitous that you should 
not form a wrong opinion in the matter. 

G. WEITZEL, Brigadier-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 21. 

From General Butler 

July 5th, 1804, 11.20 A.M. 

Lt. General GRANT, Commanding 

BRIG. GEN. E. W. HINKS was ordered by me to report for 
duty in command at Point Lookout because his wounds un 
fitted him for service in the field. 

General Hinks was taken from that Post to come into the 
field, hoping to be able to go through. He is admirably fitted 
for that position. This order was made while that Post was 
in my command, and Gen. Hinks started for his post. But 
since, I am informed that Post has been annexed to the Dept. 
of Washington. 

I desire therefore an order from the Lt. General assigning 
General Hinks to that duty, relieving Col. Draper of the 36th 
U. S. Colored, who is now detained from his regiment in that 
command and is a valuable officer. I believe it to be in con 
templation to assign Brig. Gen. James Barnes to Point Look 
out, but Gen. Barnes is an educated, able-bodied officer whose 
services are much needed in the field. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General Commanding 



468 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Smith 

General WEITZEL Headquarters Eighteenth Army Corps, July 5, 1864 

I DEEM it essential to the interests of the service that some 
action should be had by the lieutenant-general upon the condi 
tion of the negro troops. I have, therefore, respectfully to ask 
that the major-general commanding the department may 
forward to the lieutenant-general commanding the papers 
sent by me last week to Brigadier-General Rawlins through 
department headquarters with reference thereto 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 27. 

From General Butler 

July 5th, [1864] 

MR. BENNETT, Clerk at Head Quarters, Fortress Monroe 

SEND me ten thousand yards of strong kite string at once. 
Also all the President s proclamations there are in the offices. 
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

From General Butler to Blanche Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, July 6th, 1864 

[Not in chronological order] 

MY DEAR BUNTIE i Thanks for your kind little note. How can 
you talk of little Buntie and flirtation in the same breath? 
You had better not go home I think just yet. If your ward 
robe is not full, what cares little Buntie for that? 

Nothing of news here not one word. We are lying here 
one day like another. I am now engaged in making paper 
kites to carry on the war with. I shall not tell you how, but 
leave you to guess. 

Write every day it will at least relieve the tediousness of 
the hour for you. FATHER 

From General Butler 
Maj. Gen. SMITH M,M* 

WHEN I had the pleasure of seeing you at your Headqrs. 
you said to me that you would send over to Bermuda Lines 
four Colored regiments, 10th U. S., 37th, 5th, 22nd Col. 
Cavalry, using the 1st Col. Cavalry as your ambulance bearers. 
Again you said when I saw you with Gen. Grant that you 
would send me the regiments as soon as you could get them out. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 469 

I was to send Turner s remnants, which was done. I have 
since sent you the 4th Rhode Island, 400 muskets, but have 
not received the 10th IT. S. C. or the 2nd Col. Cavalry. If some 
exigency which you can explain does not prevent, please send 
those regiments so that they may be perfected in drill and 
discipline. Beapeetfunyt 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

From General Smith 

fi 7 "R T TELEGRAM. Headquarters, 18th A. C., July 5th, 1864 

THE large sick list together with the daily casualties have so 
reduced my force as to barely leave me enough to properly 
relieve my troops in the trenches, and compelled me to use 
the regts. spoken of to do the picket duty on the river from my 
right to the gunboats. I will make such other dispositions, 
however, as to allow me to keep my agreement & return you 
the regts. to-morrow. WM R ^^ Major _ General 



From General Butler 

Li. General GRANT, Commanding July 5th 1864 

FROM the best information I can get from deserters and 
prisoners, Early s Corps, with Imboden, Mosby, and Breckin- 
ridge, are making a raid up the valley near Harper s Ferry or 
Martinsburg. I think this may be reasonably relied on. 

BEXJ. F. BUTLER, Major General Commanding 

From General Butler 

Brig. General RAWLINS, Chief of Staff 

WILL you be kind enough to order a 13-inch mortar, and car 
on which it is to be fired, now at City Point, to be placed on the 
rail-track and runout to Gen. Smith. Also a car with thirty 
pounder Parrott. I suppose both have arrived. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General Commanding 

From General Grant 

TELEGRAM. CITY POINT, 9.35 A.M., July 5th, 1864 

Major General BUTLER 

IT will be necessary to keep up the patrol between Powhatan 
& Jamestown Island, for the protection of our telegraph. 

I learn this morning that two half miles of wire is gone. 

U. S. GRANT, Lt. General 



470 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORT MONROE, July 5th, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH: I was disappointed in not hearing from 
you last night. You or Blanche I hope will write regularly, 
although everything there is as monotonous as here. 

Yesterday again not a gun fired save as a salute. Dull and 
hot, not a drop of rain. Col. Shaffer has gone down to the 
fort, sick. I am suffering myself. I have not yet seen General 
Grant, but Mrs. Grant may be with you as soon as this is. 

Are Shepley and his daughters coming up? 

Affectionately yours, BENJ. F. BUTLER 

From General Smith 

Major-General BUTLER Smith s H ^ uarter ^ W 6 > 1864 

I HAVE relieved the Tenth U. S. Colored Infantry and ordered 
them to report to you. I find it impossible to relieve the 
Second Cavalry (dismounted) at this time, and have been 
compelled to fill the position occupied by the Tenth by my 
detachments of cavalry. I have a partial promise that my 
line will be somewhat shortened. As soon as that is done I 
will send you the Second Cavalry (dismounted). Will this be 
satisfactory? WM R SMITH> Major . Geneml 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 57. 

From General Banks to General Butler 

FORT McHENRY, 6th of July, 1864 

MY DEAR GENERAL: Richard H. McCurdy, Esq., of New 
York, is a prominent member of the Union Defence Committee. 
He visits Fortress Monroe with Dr. Harris of the National 
Sanitary Committee, who are charged by the President with 
supervision of that department. I commend both gentlemen 
to your courtesy, as in all respects entitled to your confidence. 

Truly yours, N. P. BANKS 

From General Grant 

Headquarters, CITY POINT, VA., July 6th, 1864, 10 A.M. 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief ^ of Staff 

PLEASE obtain an order assigning the troops of the Depart 
ment of North Carolina and Virginia, serving in the field, to the 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 471 

command of Maj. General Win. F. Smith, and order General 
Butler to his Headquarters, Fort Monroe. One division of 
troops, besides the dismounted cavalry, will sail from here for 
Baltimore during the day. They are directed to report their 
arrival in Baltimore to you by telegraph. 

U. S. GRANT, Li. General 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the Field, July 6, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH: Thanks for the bread and supplies. You 
best know what shall be sent me. If you choose so it shall be. 

Yours truly, BENJ. 

From Mrs. Butler to General Butler 

FORTRESS MONROE, July 6th, 1864 

DEAREST: An hour ago we came back from Norfolk. 
Blanche s dresses seem a difficult thing to complete. It has 
been insufferably hot through the day. Now there is a thunder 
storm that I hope will bring some relief. It was the most 
unpleasant sail from Norfolk that I have had not a breath of 
air, and the Baltimore boat is nauseously dirty. We pulled 
off everything soon as we reached home (it did seem like home, 
after the heat and annoyance of the day), and the clean, fresh 
wrappers were delightfully cool and refreshing. Blanche s 
dress to be finished next Wednesday. The tea was delicious. 
Nobody has nice tea but us. When one is tired there is no 
restorative like it. That is evident, for I came weary and silent 
from the boat, now I am flippant in writing, and could walk 
round the ramparts if it were not raining. No, it is not rain 
ing this moment, but the leaves are trembling and swaying, 
and the clouds darkening. Hundreds of martin birds are 
twittering and hovering close down to my windows. They 
will have to fly for shelter or the storm will catch them. There 
they rush back and forth close down to me, oh what a cloud 
of them ! The silly things, they don t care for the thunder or 
rain. Oh me, what a tremendous crash! The lightning flew 
a dozen ways, and the birds have shot out of sight. 

Ah, dear love, they have brought your letter. It is very - 
no matter what. I will not make a comment. I only wish 
you stood here at the window with me. The storm has swept 
past, leaving a few rolling clouds. The air is alive again 



472 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

with the birds. The dear, delightful joyous twittering, I 
want to catch the little imps and steal their sweet, provoking 
merriment. They remind me of the myriads of swallows that 
congregate on the bank of the river, in front of Mrs. Readers 
house. I wish we were there tonight if you feel kindly to me. 
And you do by this time. You would I know if we were at 
home with the boys and birds. Dear Paul, and Bennie, how 
they would jump to see us! Florence writes that Mr. Owen 
teaches them every thing, manners included, and that they are 
perfectly obedient. What say you, dearest, would you not 
like to be there, or here? Now I have written so much of these 
"feathered things of the air," I must add that one sweet picture 
from Macbeth, the only one in the whole play. No, no, I ll 
not do it, you may remember what it is, and will only laugh at 
me for writing it out. 

I have made this letter too long over these trifles, but if they 
give you a pleasant thought it will be something. Good night,. 

dear love, good night. , f 7 c 

Most truly your SARAH 

From the Secretary of War 

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, July 7th, 1864 

General HALLECK 

PLEASE bring your order as to Eighteenth Corps, with the 
telegram and Grant s letter. 1 The President wishes to see them. 

Yours truly, EDWIN M. STANTON 

General Order No. 225 

I. THE troops of the Department of North Carolina and Vir 
ginia, serving with the Army of the Potomac in the Field under 
Major-General Smith, will constitute the Eighteenth Army 
Corps, and Maj. Gen. William F. Smith is assigned by the 
President to the command of the corps. Maj. Gen. B. F. 
Butler will command the remainder of the troops in that 
department, having his headquarters at Fort Monroe. 

From General Grant 
Maj. Gen. BuTLER TELECOM. CITY POINT. M, 8, 1864 

Is it not practicable for you to send a brigade of troops from 
the peninsula between the Appomattox & James to Gen. 

1 See Grant to Halleck, July 1st, p. 457, and Grant to Halleck, July 6th, p. 470, 
and draft of order herewith. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 473 

Smith, his line is so long & exposed that it is necessary to 

relieve the men in the trenches. TT c n T . n 

U. S. GRANT, Li. Gen. 

From General Grant 

Maj. Gen. GEORGE G. MEADE ClTT PoraT JuLY 8> 1864 U 30 A M 

COLONEL COMSTOCK is going out this morning, and will 
explain to you my idea. If the approaches are made it will be 
with the vie\v of ultimately making an assault on the enemy s 
lines, but I have always hoped to go through in General Butler s 
front so as to carry the north bank of Swift Creek. This, how 
ever, cannot be done until the Nineteenth Corps arrives, with 
out giving up too much ground that we have already fought for. 
This would make no difference, except in case of failure to get 
through to Swift Creek. The advantage of commencing our 
regular approaches on your front now would simply be that 
w r e would be that far advanced if we were compelled at last to 
advance in that way, and it would tend to divert the enemy 
from the proposed advance in General Butler s front. We 
ought by all means to cut the Weldon road so as to make it use 
less to enemy. I think Wright s two divisions should take the 
place of Hancock s corps, and the latter should support the 
cavalry whilst it destroys the road down as far as Hicksford. 
Preparations for this, I think, should be made at once so as to 
start from your left by the night of the 10th. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 72. 

From Agent D. Heaton to General Butler 

TREASURY DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, July 8th, 1864 

DEAR SIR: I take this liberty of enclosing you a copy of a 
recent communication addressed by me to the Secretary of the 
Treasury. 

If you have the time to give it a perusal you will see the result 
of our labors for the past year in North Carolina. 

While on this trip to the Capitol I did hope to meet and 
confer freely with you in relation to various matters of vital 
public interest. 

I know, however, that you are necessarily absent from For 
tress Monroe, and I will have to await your return at some future 
period. I sincerely hope that your labors in the field may be 
crowned with the most complete success. I am, General, 
Very truly Yours, D. HEATON, Agt. Treas. Dept. 



474 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Colonel Shaffer to General Butler 

FORT MONROE, (July] Sth, 1864 

DEAR GENERAL: I went over yesterday to Norfolk and spent 
as much time as I had strength in looking over matters. I find 
that Sherman s Co., Bean and Busley & Co., and several others, 
have a sort of a ring formed for outside trade. And that they 
had done all so far that has been done in way of shipping into 
North Carolina, while William S. and others who I would have 
liked to see favored has not been able to do enough to pay 
expenses. 

I will break this thing up and arrange for Hildreth and Bill 
to at least have a chance in all that is proper to do. I told 
Shepley very plainly that trade in those countries east of 
Chowan River should not be extended beyond the amount 
agreed upon last winter with the Committee that came to 
arrange with you for supplies. I have no doubt the parties I 
have mentioned have sent more of some articles than they 
should. 

I also find that the permit granted Todd & Co. for Gardner 
has been badly managed. Neither of them put a dollar of 
capital into the business, and in order to do business have been 
compelled to give most of the profit to Daniels and cattle like 
him, so that what was supposed to be a favor to friends has 
actually been used to make money for men who are not entitled 
to any consideration whatever from the authorities. 

I think their permits to sell liquor in Norfolk and to send 
goods up river had better be revoked, and the permits given 
such person as Bill and Hildreth may want. I don t care 
much, only I think at least a giving of the favors should go to 
our friends. 

I have been so extremely cautious about favoring any one 
that would appear to be connected with me that it has resulted 
in enriching enemies. I would rather you would sign and send 
the order to me as you have managed the whole affair with 
Daniels, besides it is entirely proper to close them out. 

I wish you could find a man of brains and dignity for Provost 
Marshal. There is no use disguising the fact, Weldon is not 
fit in any sense of the word, he has not one qualification. You 
could transfer him to Bermuda, to deal with deserters, prisons, 
etc. Your man Hutchins had better be transferred to another 
field. He is injuring you in many ways, is a bad man. 

Webster is not the man for his place. He is very slow, and 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 475 

has no sort of an idea of proper punishment to inflict on culprits. 
I don t believe you can find any man who has not had experi 
ences in the army, to do any better, but if you could find some 
officer that was a lawyer, it would be much better. 

I have faith that Colonel Sanders would be infinitely better 
for the criminal business, as he is quick and severe. Stackpole 
says he is the best man on court martial he has ever seen. 
Could not the business of the court be divided into criminal and 
civil? Let Webster run the civil. As soon as the other courts 
are all divided up in Portsmouth and Norfolk, the business will 
be heavy, besides there should be a court here that you could 
send cases from the front to be tried. I think Sanders would 
convict on whatever evidence was sent him. 

I am very little better than when I came down. I felt better 
yesterday morning, but when I returned from Norfolk I was 
used up. However, should anything turn up, telegraph me 
and I can under the circumstances run ten days. 

I see Paine is appointed Brig. I am very anxious that the 
negroes should be organized into a solid and compact organiza 
tion, say Duncan and Draper for Brigade Commanders and 
Paine Div. I w r ould make Weitzel turn his attention a little to 
putting the cavalry in shape. Ludlow should get orders from 
Grant for horses, and go to Washington after them. I learn 
that Grant has sent Barnard off, don t let him have Weitzel 
at any price. 

I am waiting until Mrs. Butler returns to learn what that del 
egation was after. If you can manage any way to command the 
18th Corps, or get a commander for it, I would let Smith have 
his sick leave, he only asked it of Grant to force Grant into 
giving him an independent command; there is nothing honest 
about him. I would have Weitzel spend as much time as possi 
ble in having the troops all got in perfect shape, so that you can 
tell any day just how many there are and under whose command. 
We have too many detachments disconnected from both Corps. 

Now, General, I have written plainly, and I know you will 
take it as it is meant, for God knows that but for your sake I 
would not remain here ten minutes longer, for I believe that 
every day I remain here in service tells on my constitution 
more than three months away from the army would, but as I 
have said before, I will see you through as far as (The remainder 
of this letter is missing) 



476 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

From Horatio Woodman 

BOSTON, July 8th, 1864 

MY DEAR MR. CLARK: Dr. Brown Sequard, the very eminent 
Paris physician for many years now here has carefully 
seen and examined Maj. Bell. Dr. Upham tells me that the 
opinion of Dr. S. is the best in the world of such diseases, that 
he says the later symptoms of Maj. Bell, of which I wrote you, 
are not alarming, nor necessarily bad, that the Major has con 
gestion without "effusion" - that the congestion continues 
that it may be a year before it can be determined whether he 
will recover or not and that he, Dr. S. has known recovery, 
full as I understood Dr. Upham, in as bad cases. My inference 
from what the Dr. told me was that the Major may have some 
thing like an even chance of recovery, in his, Dr. Upham s, 
judgment. Of that chance I imagine Dr. Sequard did not 
speak so strongly. 

I think Ed. E. Hale in the Advertizer and I in the Transcript 
have set Gen l. Butler pretty nearly right here. When the 
right opportunity offers I will say more, I mean of the mean 
attacks upon his military career at Bermuda Hundred. / 
know enough of Gillmore to stamp him as a "poor cuss." 

I know that if disaster comes or (what I don t apprehend) 
revolution within revolution, that Gen l. Butler is the only 
man for the head of this People. 

Always truly yours, HORATIO WOODMAN 

Col. Greene sent me a characteristically clear and able de 
fence of Gen l. Butler s military prescience and faculty, from 
which I shall draw at the right time, I am glad you know 
Col. Greene. He is cool and clear in real emergencies, and 
absolutely noble and un-ambitious. His superficial excen- 
tricities make him all the more interesting without interfering 
with his real practical gifts of decision and direction. 

From General Grant 

Head Quarters Armies of the United States, CITY POINT, July Sth, 1864 

Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comd g Dept. of Va. & N. C. 

GENERAL: The Lieut. Genl. Comd g sends herewith a 
letter addressed to Gen. R. E. Lee, &c., and desires that you 
will send the same by Flag-of-Truce as early as possible. 

By Command of LIEUT. GEN. GRANT 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 477 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. & N.C., in the Field, July 9th, 64 

Maj. Gen. SMITH, Comd g 18th Army Corps 

I HAVE received a despatch from Gen. Grant asking me if it is 
possible to add to your force from the forces in my front. I 
have two thousand four hundred and thirty-five old troops to 
hold my lines with. I have the negro troops which you have 
returned as worthless for your purposes, and the hundred days 
men. 

I could send you a brigade of hundred days men, but their 
want of discipline would probably render them liable to the 
same objection which you urge, and unjustly, against the 
negroes want of training and experience. I have sent for Gen. 
Brooks to consult with him to see where if possible we can spare 
troops for you. 

As you had made no application to me for any additional 
force, while I knew such force would be desirable, yet I felt the 
necessity for them here was great, and therefore had not 
ordered them forwarded. Do me the favor to make the appli 
cation to me for anything which you may think I am able to 
furnish, before sending to the Lieut. Gen. 

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

From General Smith 

Headquarters Eighteenth Army Corps, July 9, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER 

WHEN I sent my despatch for more troops direct to the head 
quarters of the Armies of the L T nited States, I was under the 
impression that it would be impossible for you to send me any 
troops from any portion of your line, and did not know but 
that by a concentration of some portion of the line of the Army 
of the Potomac I would be able to get some relief from there. 
This \vas my only reason for sending my despatch direct. 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 118. 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, July 9, 64 

Major-General SMITH, Commanding Eighteenth Army Corps 

GENERAL WEITZEL showed me your telegram in relation to 
forwarding your suggestions in regard to negro troops. My 



478 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

reasons for not forwarding them sooner are that I had a con 
versation upon the subject with the lieutenant-general, in 
which your recommendations were substantially to be carried 
out, as a portion of them have already been. The colored 
battery has been withdrawn from the front and sent for drill 
to Portsmouth, in order that the experiment of using negroes 
for artillery may be tested fully. A very competent brigadier- 
general for those troops under your command has been ap 
pointed, and they will be at once reorganized, and I doubt not 
the lieutenant-general will attach to our command the negro 
troops now in General Burnside s corps. The delay has also 
been rendered necessary by the expected arrival of other negro 
troops in this department. I beg leave to assure you that it was 
from no disrespect to your suggestions, as they are valuable, 
but from a belief that the interests of the service required a 
little delay, that they have not been forwarded. After receiv 
ing this, if you prefer, you are at liberty to forward them di 
rectly with a copy of this note. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Comdg. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 119. 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

FORT MONROE, July 9th, 1864 

MY DEAR SARAH : I have only time to say I am well and that 
you may see me sooner than you think. The mail is closing 
and I am just up. Yours, 



From General Butler 

July 9, 1864 

Senior Staff Officer at Headquarters, CITY POINT 
HAS General Grant gone to the front? 

B. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 114. 

From Lieutenant-Colonel Comstock 

TELEGRAM. CITY POINT (9.45 A.M.) July 9, 1864 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER 

LT. GEN. GRANT desires me to say that he will be at City 
Pt. during the day. c _ R _ CoMSTQCK; L 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 479 

From General Butler 

Hdqrs. Deft, of Virginia and North Carolina, in the Field, July 9, 1864 

Lieutenant-Colonel FULLER, Chief Quartermaster, 

BERMUDA HUNDRED 
SEND a steamer at once to Point of Rocks to take me to City 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-Gen., Comg. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 114. 

From General Smith 

Headquarters Eighteenth Army Corps, July 9, 1864 

Major-General BUTLER 

I PROPOSE to avail myself tonight of ten days leave of 
absence granted me by lieutenant-general commanding Armies 
of the United States. I have turned over this command to 
Brig. Gen. J. H. Martindale. 

WM. F. SMITH, Major-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 119. 

From Edward Everett Hale 

PRIVATE. MILTON, MASS., July 9, 1864 

MY DEAR GENERAL BUTLER: You see I have given up, very 
unwillingly, the idea of returning to you at present. I came 
home to find my wife sick and confined to her room, which she 
only left to-day; my brother off for Egypt, unexpectedly soon; 
my assistant taking care of Grant s wounded at Port Royal, 
my country home here going to the dogs for somebody to look 
after it. I have done what I could to straighten out this 
imbroglio; but I cannot cut my cable. 

Meanwhile I have a thousand things to say to you, for there is 
not an hour when I am not talking of you and my "campaign." 

1st. I have tried to send you before this the precise weight of 
a cord half a mile long, which will hold a balloon of 450 Ibs. 
lifting power. But I have not yet got the proper estimate. 

2d. I came down James River with the paroled surgeons of 
Averill s command, fresh from the Libby. They implored me, 
by all that was holy, to see that the proper parties sent private 
boxes of provision to our officers in the Libby, 66 in number 
then; and Dr. Ferguson told me that the rebel Dr. Semple, in 
charge of Hospital No. 21 (where our wounded are), promised 
sacredly that any chloroform & brandy sent to him should be 
used for our wounded. I have attended to both their requests. 



480 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

I am afraid I have driven Major Mulford crazy by the number 
of packages and boxes which have been sent him for officers, 
"by their friend," under my direction. He notifies us that 
he is not able to go up now. I suppose you all mean to go into 
Richmond so soon as to give him no chance, but this is to beg 
you to send him up as soon as the military exigency will permit, 
it s only for these supplies sake & those who need them. 

3d. The little Hickory; a "very young hickory" got to 
Lowell within 48 hours after it left your marquee. But Mr. 
Pierson has never notified me of its arrival. I hope he has 
you; and that we may yet sit under its umbrage with patent 
nut-crackers bruising the fruit, and telling the stories of victory. 

4th and in especial. I called on Major Bell Sunday night. 
But he does not see company now, having, I fancy, over 
exerted himself by seeing too many people. I saw Mrs. Bell, 
who was in very good spirits about him. She says he is improv 
ing, and that Dr. Brown Sequard, the celebrated French student 
of those diseases, promises them a complete recovery. She was 
enthusiastic about the cordiality and hospitality of the Depart 
ment of Virginia, and begged to be remembered to you & Mrs. 
Butler most heartily. 

5th. (I hope you appreciate these numerical divisions, and see 
that I have not been "in the field " for nothing.) Since I under 
took this note, which you will call so formidable, my neighbor 
John M. Forbes has been in to tell me his son Will is a prisoner. 
I am very sorry for this. You remember the lad, for you went 
to his trial when the College Corporation fought him; and I 
believe that you do not worship the Corporation more heartily 
than I do. Will you ask Major Mulford to find out what he 
can about him, and if there should be any chance to relieve him 
- why there are lots of us who would be glad. Forbes, the 
father, tells me he has written to you enclosing a letter to his 
son. He is about the most efficient man in Massachusetts; 
enough more to do, with what is of real use than the Governor, 
one of the few men of the conservative training who now takes 
the really democratic instead of the Girondist or precedent 
view of this war of ours. 

Pray try to think of some service I can render you here, and 
do not be surprised if you see me some evening in the close of 
the summer. Only I shall never come as a visitor, unless I can 
go to work. I should feel as if honest men had a right to spit 
at me. There is good chance that I may be drafted, in which 
case some day, as a tall, round-shouldered sentinel presents 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 481 

arms to the staff, Shaffer will say "that man looks like the 
Doctor," and you will see that the fellow-citizen holding his 
musket two inches from the end of his nose is 

Yours most truly, EDWARD E. HALE 

Remember me particularly to Mrs. Butler. 
One of our finest young ministers, a real muscular Christian, 
Galvin o/Brookfield, writes me in a real Cromwellian strain that 
he must serve the Lord in the army. He is well up in his drill, 
& tactics & would make a first-rate officer of colored troops. 
Do not you want him? 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

Headquarters Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 

in the Field, July 10, 1864 

MY DEAREST WIFE: I wrote you a very mysterious epistle 
yesterday because I was in doubt myself. 

I had just received an order from Washington (which may 
the Rebels take), appointing Smith to the command of the 
troops serving under him, and the remainder of the troops in the 
department to be under the Command of Maj. Gen l. Butler, 
headqrs. Fortress Monroe. Immediately after breakfast I 
went to Gen. Grant, as I had seen him the night before and was 
treated by him with the utmost cordiality, and had a confiden 
tial conference. I could not tell why this order should come 
out and he not have mentioned it then. He received me with 
cordial greeting. As soon as possible after the usual compli 
ments, and the staff had retired, I showed him the order, and 
told him I did not understand it. He says, "Oh, I did not 
mean you should have seen that order. It is a mistake. I 
suppressed all the copies that were transmitted through me. 
How did you get this ? " " Some friend in the War Department, 
fearing perhaps I should not see it, forwarded me one direct," 
said I. "Well," said he, "I don t want this at all. I want 
Smith to report to you you to have the full command. I 
was going to add the 19th corps to your department, and I 
shall when it comes here from Washington. I will telegraph 
now." He then telegraphed that he had suspended the order, 
and that he desired that Gen. Franklin be ordered to report to 
me for active duty in the field as soon as he was able to take 
the saddle, and so the order has gone up. This was the work 
of Halleck upon the application of Smith, but it has failed, 
and I have gained by it. From Grant s suspension of the 

VOL. IV 31 



482 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

order, and saying that he proposed to have the 19th corps 
added to my command, he has vindicated me and my military 
operations in a way it would not have been done but for these 
people whom God and his humble instrument will take 
care of before we get through. 

So you see I shall not come to Fortress Monroe as soon as 
you thought and I hoped. But the mail closes. Read this to 

Yours truly and dearly, BENJ. F. BUTLER 
From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., July 10, 1864, 12.30 P.M. 

Major-General HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

I HAVE sent no troops to Baltimore except Ricketts division 
and the dismounted cavalry. Two divisions, the balance of 
the Sixth Corps, are now on their way to Washington, the 
advance having sailed at 10 A.M. The remainder are embark 
ing and starting as fast as the steamers are loaded. I have sent 
General Ord to Washington. I would give more for him as a 
commander in the field than most of the generals now in Mary 
land. Probably it would be well to send him to Baltimore to 
command and hold the place, forcing into service for the pur 
pose, if necessary, all citizens capable of bearing arms. He 
should also have discretion to move out against the enemy. 
All other force, it looks to me, should be collected in rear of the 
enemy about Edward s Ferry, and follow him up and cut off 
retreat if possible. All losses sustained by loyal citizens can 
be paid back to them by contributions collected from rebel 
sympathizers after the enemy is got rid of. 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 122. 

From President Lincoln 

WASHINGTON, July 10, 1864, 2.30 P.M. 

Lieutenant-General GRANT 

Your despatch to General Halleck, referring to what I may 
think in the present emergency, is shown me. General Hal 
leck says we have absolutely no force here fit to go to the field. 
He thinks that with the 100-days men and invalids we have 
here we can defend Washington, and scarcely Baltimore. Be 
sides these there are about 8,000, not very reliable, under Howe 
at Harper s Ferry, with Hunter approaching that point very 
slowly, with what number I suppose you know better than I. 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 483 

Wallace, with some odds and ends and part of what came up 
with Ricketts was so badly beaten yesterday at Monocacy that 
what is left can attempt no more than to defend Baltimore. 
What we shall get in from Pennsylvania and New York will 
scarcely be worth counting, I fear. Now, what I think is that 
you should provide to retain your hold where you are, certainly, 
and bring the rest with you personally, and make a vigorous 
effort to destroy the enemy s force in this vicinity. I think 
there is really a fair chance to do this if the movement is 
prompt. This is what I think, upon your suggestion, and is 
not an order. A LlNCQLN? p res ident of the United States 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 121. 

From Colonel Shaffer to General Butler 

Head Quarters, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, 
Office Commissioner for Exchange, FORT MONROE, July 10th, 1864 

DEAR GENERAL: I have just heard through Whitely that 
there has been an order issued in Washington consolidating 
18th and 10th Corps under Smith, and ordering you to Fort 
Monroe. I have just rec d a despatch from Halleck ordering 
all troops of 19th Corps that may arrive to Washington. None 

have yet arrived. T 7 T ^ 7 ~ 

In haste, J. W. SHAFFER - 

From General Butler 
Colonel SHAFFER M, 9 [io ? l 1864, 6 P.. 

LETTER received. Do not trouble yourself about the order. 
It is all right now, and better than if it had not been disturbed. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen., 
Comdg. all the Troops of the Dept. of Va. and N. C. 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 114. 

From Admiral Dahlgren 

U. S. Flagship, STONO RIVER, S.C., July 10th, 1864 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. of Va. and N . C. 

MY DEAR GENERAL: Accept many thanks for your kind 
note of 18th received by last mail. It renews no grief, for that 
can never leave me; the memory of my son is ever present as 
well as the remembrance of the last sad offices to his remains. 

One of the parties who w r as privy to the removal came to me 
just before my return here, narrated what had occurred, and 
handed me a paper with some relics of hair. 



484 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

It was some satisfaction to think that the precious body was 
no longer in the power of the atrocious ruffians, who had so 
basely desecrated it. You see how consistent they are in the 
barbarous exposure of Union officers at Charleston to the 
cannon of their own friends. 

If a prayer will help the Army, it is mine most earnestly that 
the banners of the Republic may speedily wave over what 
may be left of Richmond, and may the traitors have no more 
mercy meted out to them than they have accorded to others. 
With my best wishes for your success I am 

Most truly yours, J. DAHLGREN 

From General Butler to Mrs. Butler 

United States Military Telegraph, July llth, 1864 

MY DEAREST SARAH: Thanks for your kind letter of con 
dolence, but "I ain t dead yet." The Washington people 
better look out for themselves or Early will get them. I can 
not come down at present, as we are watching our opportunity 
here if Lee leaves himself too weak. Besides, Grant may go 
down any day, and then I must be here. Weitzel is quite 
unwell, but I hope is improving. You are, I hope, having 
cooler weather than we are. It is very hot. 

I was on board the boat with General Graham, and dined 
with Mrs. Graham on our way down to see Gen. Grant. She 
says there is an excellent mantua maker in Norfolk for Blanche. 
She has employed her. Will give you her address when she 
comes down, which will be in a day or so. 

Love to Blanche. Keep up Shaffer s spirits. All is not 
going to wreck. It is not Stanton. It is Meade, Smith, and 
Halleck. Meade fears for his place I do not want it, but I 
will have him out. Respectfully, 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. General, "commanding all the 
troops he ever commanded, and more too" 

From H. A. Risley to General Butler 

Commercial Intercourse with and in States declared in Insurrection, Second Agency, 

Treasury Department, WASHINGTON, D.C., July llth, 1864 

DEAR GENERAL: I send you enclosed a copy of the new law 
in relation to commercial intercourse, captured and abandoned 
property, etc, etc., in states declared in insurrection. You will 
observe some radical changes, and a conference between us at 
an early day is desirable. If you will advise me when you are 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 485 

to be at Fortress Monroe I will go down and meet you. I 
would like on many accounts to see you. With great respect, 

Yours truly, H. A. RISLEY 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N.C., in the Field, July llth, 1864, 12.15 P.M. 

Lieut. General GRANT, Commanding 

WILCOX S Division of Hill s Corps consists of Scales , Lane s, 
McGowan s (now Conner s), and Thomas Brigades. We have 
deserters this morning from Thomas Brigade, which is on their 
right and rear, from the junction to Swift Creek. 

They report Scales Brigade holding the line from Swift Creek 
to the Appomattox. McGowan s (Conner s) and Lane s 
Brigades are in our front opposite Deep Bottom. We had 
deserters from them yesterday. Allowing 300 men to a regt., 
the division has 5,700 men. Thomas Brigade is very small, 
about eight hundred men. McGowan s (Conner s) is reported 
not over a thousand men. Lane not over twelve hundred, 
probably not over a thousand. Of Scales Brigade we have no 
accurate information; calling it twelve hundred strong and the 
division has forty two hundred men. We have no accurate 
information as to Lee s whereabouts, some say he is at Peters 
burg, and some at Richmond. I am inclined to think he is not 

at either place. ^ ^ ^> if n i 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs. Dept. Va. and N.C., in the Field, July llth, 18G4, 12.30 P.M. 

Brig. General FOSTER, Commdg. at DEEP BOTTOM 

PLEASE call for fifty Volunteers for an arduous and difficult, 
but serviceable, expedition with two commissioned officers of 
the rank of the 2nd Lieut., to report to Lieut. Chambers, 
3rd. Penn. Heavy Artillery, at four o clock at your pontoon 
bridge. Telegraph me when you have the men. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. General Commanding 

From General Grant 

CITY POINT, VA., July 11, 1864, 3 P.M. 

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff 

GENERAL W. T. H. BROOKS has tendered his resignation, 
which I approve. If General Ord is not already assigned to 
duty, or if on temporary duty, I wish to have him assigned to 



486 LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 

the command of the Tenth Corps, and ordered to it as soon 

as he can be spared. TT c T . . n 1 

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General 

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 40, Part III, p. 144. 

From General Grant 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER TELEGRAM. CITY POINT, July 11, 1864 

HILL S CORPS was moved from its position at 5 P.M. yester 
day, citizens say to go North. Have your scouts or man from 
the observatory discovered any movement of troops between 
Petersburg & Richmond? Please make an effort to ascertain 
about this. 

I am not willing to let Mr. Gillmore and Col. Jaquess go 
through our lines until I know the object of their going. 

U. S. GRANT, Lt. Gen. 

From General Butler 

Headquarters, Dept. Va. and N.C., in the Field, July llth, 1864, 4.20 P.M. 

Lt. General GRANT, Commanding Armies of the U. S. 

I HAVE caused the matter in relation to the moving of Hill s 
Corps to be investigated. I cannot hear of any movement of 
any troops, either over the turnpike or rail road or over Chaffin s 
Farm. It is certain that none have been moved at night 
over the railroad, because we can hear them. They might 
go over the turnpike at night without our hearing them. 

Five deserters are just in from our front, from Pickett s 
Division, but they have heard nothing of any movement of any 
troops. 

I will take every pains to keep you informed upon this and 
kindred subjects. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 

From General Butler 

Hd. Qrs., Dept. Va. and N.C., July llth, 1864 

Lieut. General GRANT, Commanding Armies of the U. S. 

COL. JAQUESS and Mr. Gillmore are here, and are of course 
desirous to go forward on their mission. If you desire them to 
go and will trust to me to get them through the lines, I think I 
can accomplish it. The means I should adopt would be to send 
to ask Ould to meet Maj. Mulford at Port Walthall. 

They will explain to you, if you desire it, or will inform me, 
before they go, the subject of their mission. 

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen. Commanding 



LETTERS OF GEN. BENJAMIN F. BUTLER 487 

From General Grant 

To Gen BUTLER TELEGRAM. CITY POINT, .Dated /Mfy 1 1<A, 1864 

I HAVE seen and heard Mr. Gillmore and Col. Jaquess. You 
may effect an interview between them and Commissioner Ould, 
& permit them to pass through our lines if they will be rec d 

by the other party. TT c n T , n 7 

U. S. GRANT, Lt. General 

From General Grant 

Maj. Gen. BUTLER TELEGRAM. CITY POINT, July 11, 1864 

HAVE you had any recent information from Wilcox s Divi 
sion? It did cross the James River only this month, & was 
said to have gone to Chaffins Bluff. I would like to know if 

it is still there. TT c ^ T . n 

IT. S. GRANT, Lt. Gen. 

From General Halleck 

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 1864 

Lieutenant-General GRANT, CITY POINT 

... I think the matter of a permanent commander of the 
Tenth Corps should be delayed till present difficulties are over. 
The order respecting General Butler and the Eighteenth Corps 
was made precisely to carry out your views as expressed in 
your letter and telegram. If not satisfactory, please make for 
the Adjutant-General a draft of one that will embrace exactly 
w r hat you desire. Only about half of the Sixth Corps has 
landed, and only one transport of the Nine