Civil War General Benjamin Butler


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, June 1, 1861

This Harper's Weekly newspaper features General Butler on the cover. It also has a nice full page illustration of the entire Confederate Cabinet. It also has a nice story on the first Soldier to die in the Civil War, and various other news of the War.

(Scroll Down to See entire page, Newspaper Thumbnails will take you to the page of interest)


General Butler

General Butler

Civil War Editorial

Charleston Blockade

Luther Ladd

First Soldier to Die in Civil War

Fort Pulaski

Fort Pulaski


Civil War Artillery

Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Cabinet

Confederate Cabinet

Troops in the US Patent Office

Troops in the US Patent Office

Albany Armory

The Armory at Albany

St. Louis

Saint Louis Battle

Camp Defiance

Camp Defiance

Slaves in Montgomery

Slaves in Montgomery, Alabama







VOL. V.—No. 231.]




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1861, by Harper & Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.


MAJOR-GENERAL BENJAMIN F. BUTLER, whose likeness we offer our readers from the only known photograph in existence, has thus far been the most prominent volunteer officer since the President's proclamation of April 15. His energy, activity, and perseverance in opening a way of communication with Washington, at a time when the capital seemed cut off by events at Baltimore, have been well known to the public, and have won from the Administration the highest encomiums.

Mr. Butler was born at Deerfield, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, in 1818, and is consequently forty-three years old. One of his ancestors

was a Cilley—one of the truest Revolutionary stock in New England—and the subject of this biography was related to the lamented Jonathan Cilley, who was killed in the duel with Graves of Kentucky. Mr. Butler received his collegiate education at Waterville, Maine, where the Baptist denomination have a flourishing literary institution. He studied law, and took up his residence at Lowell, Massachusetts, where he soon distinguished himself as an advocate in the courts of Middlesex County. His reputation was soon extended to Boston, and he has long held a prominent position in the Massachusetts bar, whether in the courts of the State or of the General Government. As an advocate he is distinguished by the energy with which he devotes himself to his client, and by the strong, playful, and sometimes vehement language hurled against opposing counsel. Many anecdotes are told of him in Massachusetts illustrating what we have said. His forte is in the trial of cases. It is said that he has tried more jury cases for the last ten years than any other lawyer in the United States.

But aside from the law, he has on more than one occasion manifested coolness and intrepidity under trying circumstances. As an instance of this we may mention the memorable incident which took place in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1856. It was during the Presidential contest, and Hon. Rufus Choate had been invited to address the Conservative citizens. The largest hall of the city was crowded to excess. The audience was wild with enthusiasm, as the brilliant orator swayed them by his eloquence ; but, in the midst of the applause, a jar was felt, a crash was heard, and every face save one turned pale as the cry went forth, " The floor is sinking !” The man whose cheek knew no pallor was General Butler. He sprang up and calmed the fears of the multitude by telling them that he did not apprehend the least danger; that the architect was present ; but to allay any misgiving he would go with the architect and examine the building.—An immediate investigation showed that the

edifice was in the greatest possible danger, and a sudden movement, a rush on the part of the assembly, would result in the slaughter of thousands. Forgetful of himself, he bravely pushed through the dense crowd. He did not, shriek—he showed no marks of trepidation—but with a bland countenance whispered a few apparently pleasant and assuring words to Mr. Choate. Mr. Butler then turned to the audience, and, in a calm, clear voice, remarked : " My friends, there is no present danger; but as the house is overcrowded, it will be better to quietly adjourn to the open air; and I therefore invite you to the front of the Merrimack House." The whole thing was accomplished in a few moments. It was only by Mr. Butler's self- possession

that the catastrophe was avoided. On this occasion he showed more cool courage than any battle will ever call into requisition. In the life of Mr. Choate we find what the words were that blandly fell, sotto voce, from Mr. Butler, viz., " Mr. Choate, I must clear this house, or we shall all be in h—l in five minutes !"

He has always been a prominent politician of the extreme wing of the Democracy, and has been in a number of political positions in his adopted State. He was member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives for the first time in 1853, was a member of the Constitutional Convention the same year, and was Senator for Middlesex in 1859-'60. In May, 1860, he was senatorial

delegate to the Democratic Convention in Charleston, and afterward at Baltimore. He sided with the Breckinridge faction, and upon his return home was nominated by that portion the Democratic party candidate for Governor. He was one of the first, to respond to the proclamation of President Lincoln calling for volunteers, and his subsequent services have made him, as a patriotic and as an energetic officer, dear to the loyal people of the United States.

We have heard it stated that Mr. Butler was a single man ; but this is a mistake, for a number of years ago he married a daughter of Dr. Hildreth, of Lowell, and has a family of children.

The correspondent of the Herald, under date of May 15, thus described the performance

of General Butler in the war now begun :

" General Butler, with a single Massachusetts regiment, the Eighth, marched from his own State, through six other States, and into Mary-land, embarked on board a steamer, and landed in what was then considered the enemy's country, and took possession of Annapolis and held it.

"The War Department, appreciating this bold movement, immediately created the new Department of Annapolis, which extended to within seven miles of the Federal capital, and also on the east included Baltimore city, and made Gen. Butler commander of the same. He proceeded to reconstruct locomotives, build bridges, and make railroads. He pushes on toward Baltimore, fortifies himself at the Relay House with the Sixth Massachusetts and Eighth New York regiments and Cook's Boston Battery, control-ling the great channel of communication between the rebels at Harper's Ferry and those in Baltimore. He sends out his scouts, seizes the famous steam-gun and turns it upon the enemy ; and, with the same Massachusetts regiment that the rebels of Baltimore stoned three weeks previous, accompanied by Cook's Boston Battery and the New York Eighth, he marches into Baltimore, fortifies himself upon the highest point of land overlooking the whole city, issues his proclamation giving protection to all loyalists, and announcing his ultimatum to all traitors, seizes arms, arrests traitors, and marches through the streets escorted by the single company of the gallant Massachusetts Sixth, which received the severest treatment from the mob three weeks before. He does all this before the Pennsylvania troops that were at Cockeyville, within 15 miles of Baltimore three weeks ago, reach the city or afford him any support. This is history ; and truly Gen. Butler has made a brilliant campaign.

" The President, the Secretary of War, General Scott, all appreciate the man, and acknowledge the services which he and the officers and men under him have rendered, and this very day (Continued Next Page)


General Benjamin Butler

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