General Benjamin Butler CDV Photograph, Business Card, and Autograph - Inventory Number: IDE 050
CDV photograph, business card and autograph of General Benjamin Butler.
Butler, Benjamin F., major-general, was born in Deerfield, N. H., Nov. 5, 1818, was graduated from Watertown college, in 1838, was admitted to the bar in 1840, and soon gained a reputation as an astute criminal lawyer. He was elected to the Massachusetts house of representatives in 1853, and to the state senate in 1859, and was a delegate to the Democratic national convention which met at Charleston in 1860, withdrawing, however, before the close of the convention, with the other delegates who later met at Baltimore and nominated Breckinridge and Lane. As brigadier-general of militia in Massachusetts he was assigned, in the spring of 1861, to command of the district of Annapolis, and on May 13, 1861, occupied Baltimore with 900 men without opposition, and was appointed major-general May 16. He captured Forts Hatteras and Clark in North Carolina in August, then returned to Massachusetts to recruit an expedition for the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi, and on May 1, Admiral Farragut's fleet having virtually captured the city, he took possession of New Orleans. He at once put in effect a stringent military government, armed the free negroes, compelled rich secessionists to contribute to the support of the poor of the city, and instituted strict sanitary regulations. For his course in hanging William Mulford, who had pulled down the Stars and Stripes from the mint, and for the issue of an obnoxious order intended to prevent soldiers being insulted by women, he aroused much strong opposition sentiment, not only in the South, but in the North and abroad, and Jefferson Davis declared him an outlaw and put a price upon his head. On May 1, 1862, Gen. Butler seized $800,000, which he claimed had been entrusted to the Dutch consul to be used in purchasing supplies of war, and by this act aroused the protest of every European country, so that the government at Washington, after investigation, ordered the return of the money. He was recalled Dec. 16, 1862, and near the close of 1863 was placed in command of the department of Virginia and North Carolina, afterwards known as the James. He was recalled to New York city in Oct., 1864, because election riots were feared there, and in December conducted an expedition against Fort Fisher, near Wilmington, N. C., which failed, as had a previous attempt on his part to operate in conjunction with Gen. Grant against Lee, and soon afterwards he was removed from his command by order of Gen. Grant.
Returning to Massachusetts, he was elected by the Republicans, to Congress, where he remained, with the exception of one term, until 1879, being most active in the impeachment of President Johnson. He was an unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1871 failed again as a candidate of the Greenback party and one wing of the Democrats in 1878 and 1879, but in 1882 the Democrats having united upon him as their candidate, he was elected. During his administration he made charges which were not sustained against the administration of the Tewksbury almshouse. He was re-nominated governor in 1883 but was defeated, and in 1884 was the candidate of the Greenback and Anti-Monopolist parties for president. He died in Washington, D. C., Jan. 11, 1893.
Inventory Number: IDE 050