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Benjamnin F. Butler, Butler's Book: Autobiography and Personal Reminiscences of Major-General Benjamin Butler, Chapter 13: occupations in 1863; exchange of prisoners. (search)
the sick and wounded, and for the exchange of naval prisoners, black and white, and also arranged that our government should be allowed to provide for the soldiers in the hands of the rebels. The condition of these exchanges and negotiations fully appear in the letter of instructions under which Lieutenant-Colonel Mulford sailed for Savannah carrying down the rebel sick, to bring back ours. This exchange covered about twelve hundred of our men. In an attack on Fort Gilmer on the 29th of September about one hundred and fifty of the negro soldiers of the Army of the James were captured. On the 12th of October I was credibly informed that these prisoners of war had been set at work in the trenches under fire in front of our lines. I immediately notified Mr. Ould, the agent of exchange, of this outrage, and failing to get an answer at 12 o'clock on the 13th of October, I determined to try the virtue of retaliation for wrong, and issued an order which will explain itself:-- h
Benjamnin F. Butler, Butler's Book: Autobiography and Personal Reminiscences of Major-General Benjamin Butler, Chapter 16: capture of fortifications around Richmond, Newmarket Heights, Dutch Gap Canal, elections in New York and gold conspiracy. (search)
ng the city to each officer and man six (6) months' extra pay. While making this offer so general to officers and men the commanding general desires to say that he has not included the major-generals commanding corps, because he knows of no incentive which could cause them to do their duty with more promptness and efficiency than they will do it. Very respectfully, Benj. F. Butler, Major-General Commanding. Unfortunately at the date fixed for the execution of that order, the 29th of September, General Birney was sick. The command of his corps was about to devolve upon Gen. A. H. Terry, who would have very well executed his part, but General Birney returned. Just before sunset on the 28th of September I rode along the James River on the south side from a point opposite Aikens' Landing down to Deep Bottom. There was no more appearance of the proposed movement than if there had not been a soldier within fifty miles of the place — not the slightest appearance of any prepar
tee on Conduct of War Early in September it was proposed to me by General Grant that I should send down General Weitzel, with Brigadier-General Graham of the naval brigade, to reconnoitre the position of Fort Fisher, and that I should act in conjunction with a fleet which was being prepared by the navy. General Weitzel was accordingly sent down to make that reconnoissance. About the 20th of September, as I remember, he returned and reported the condition of things there. On the 29th of September, the Army of the James made a march across the river, which resulted in the capture of Battery Harrison and the line that we subsequently occupied on the north bank of the James until the surrender of Richmond in April, 1865. It was from this line that the negro troops under Weitzel marched and took possession of the rebel capital. This movement across the James required all the force I had. General Grant said to me that we could not go on the Wilmington expedition at that time for t
Benjamnin F. Butler, Butler's Book: Autobiography and Personal Reminiscences of Major-General Benjamin Butler, Chapter 18: why I was relieved from command. (search)
ry, attacked Petersburg, crossing the Appomattox by the pontoon bridge. July 17, Birney's Corps crossed the pontoon bridge over the James to meet Hancock, and attacked the enemy's works on the north bank, and returned. August 19, part of the Second and Tenth Corps crossed the pontoon bridge to attack the defences on the north side of the river around Richmond. In August my Eighteenth Corps held Grant's lines around Petersburg while his army attacked the enemy through the mine. September 29, the whole Army of the James, save the garrison, attacked Richmond directly, carrying Fort Harrison and the outer line of works around Richmond, which were ever afterwards held. October 3, my Nineteenth Corps sent to defend Washington under the orders of Grant. This does not include several minor expeditions of small bodies of troops which were from time to time sent from my intrenched camp. And added to all this is the fact that from the 15th of June, 1863, until the surrender of
thousand men, with their artillery supplies and munitions of war, by water seventy-five miles through the enemy's country in a single day without the loss of a man, and without any knowledge on the part of the rebels of my presence until I was in camp. From that intrenched camp at Bermuda Hundred, on the 15th of July, I captured Petersburg, but lost it through the sloth or incompetency of a corps commander who had a technical military education. With the Army of the James on the 29th of September, I captured Fort Harrison and a line of intrenched works, a strong part of the defences of Richmond, which were held by my colored troops until Richmond was evacuated. I planned, carried out, and constructed the great strategic work, Dutch Gap Canal, which was prevented from being made entirely efficient only by a naval officer, who was afterward convicted for cowardice in that matter, and which remains to this day a most valuable public work, worth more as a commercial avenue in ti