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 but have now been put in a clear light, like so many other things, by the publication in Official War Records of the original letters and telegraphic despatches which preceded. The 6th Mass. was attacked in Baltimore, as has been said, on April 19. On that same day Messrs. John Edgar Thomson and Samuel M. Felton, presidents respectively of the Pennsylvania Central and the Philadelphia & Baltimore railroads, telegraphed to the Secretary of War from Philadelphia, saying that they were informed that it was impracticable to send more troops through Baltimore, and adding, ‘Shall we send them through Annapolis?’1 No reply was received that day; but that night a consultation was held in Philadelphia at the house of Major-General Patterson, commanding the department of Washington, and then second in command to General Scott only. Mr. Felton, Mr. Thomson, Governor Curtin and the mayor of Philadelphia were present. They agreed on the desirableness of the plan; and, as no answer had yet come from Washington, and General Butler had meantime arrived in Philadelphia with the 8th Mass., it was decided to call his attention to the matter. General Patterson sent a message by Mr. Felton to General Butler to the effect that ‘he most urgently advised that he should go to Annapolis,’ and Captain (afterwards admiral) Dupont called with Mr. Felton on General Butler, strongly advising him to take this action. After some opposition, he yielded; and Colonel Lefferts, who arrived with the 7th New York Regiment, after some similar opposition, finally yielded also, first telegraphing to the War Department for authority, as was proper.2 All the events of the period were confused by the inflated atmosphere that prevailed, and this extended to the author of Massachusetts in the Rebellion (P. C. Headley), who thus sums up the events: ‘At dead of night, with the rapidity of a strong mind, stimulated to its quickest thought by the rush of events, he [General Butler] made out in writing his plan of operations;’ this plan being one in reality thought out two months before by a modest railway president, foreseeing the impending troubles.3
1 Official War Records, II, 578.
2 Narrative of S. M. Felton, Schouler, I, 101. Official Records, II, 582. The phrases used in the despatch of Colonel Lefferts were: ‘Will you give orders to despatch troops via Annapolis to-day? . . . We think this decidedly best.’ This disposes of the charge made at the time, in Massachusetts at least, that Colonel Lefferts shrank from the enterprise and General Butler did not.
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