previous next


It is a curious fact, but characteristic of the crude enthusiasm of those early days of preparation, that the railway president was not more completely ignored by the Massachusetts soldiers than by their comrades from New York, although the transfer of the honor was in a different direction. All the glory of the enterprise heaped by Massachusetts on General Butler was with equal unanimity and with quite as much reason attributed to Colonel Lefferts. In the spirited narrative of the 7th Regiment's march, written by Fitz James O'Brien for the New York Times, he says: ‘The secret of this forced march, as well as an unexpected descent on Annapolis, was the result of Colonel Lefferts' judgment, which has since been sustained by events. . . . The fact that since then all the Northern troops have passed through the line that we thus opened is a sufficient comment on the admirable judgment that decided the movement.’1 O'Brien was not correct in attributing the action to the ‘judgment of Colonel Lefferts;’ for it had been virtually decided upon by General Patterson, General Cadwallader, Admiral Dupont, the mayor of Philadelphia and the two railroad presidents; but the prompt and soldierly action of Colonel Lefferts in telegraphing a recommendation of the plan to the War Department—a thing which General Butler should have done, but omitted—doubtless had its part in determining the action of that department.

Be this as it may, the next morning (April 20) brought a positive order from Major-General Scott, in the name of the President, to send all troops by way of Annapolis,2 and brought also a despatch from Adjutant-General Thomas to General Patterson to the same effect, this being in answer to the request of Colonel Lefferts for orders.3 General Patterson at once communicated the instructions to General Butler, and ‘gave directions,’ as he expressly says, ‘for the 8th Mass. and 7th New York infantries to go via Annapolis to Washington.’4 After this there was, of course, no alternative, and either Butler or Lefferts would have been liable to court martial had he gone in any other way. The only reason why this

1 Rebellion Record, I, (Doc.) 153.

2 Official War Records, II, 584. General Scott said on that same day to President Lincoln, ‘March them around Baltimore and not through it.’ (Lincoln's letter to Governor Hicks, in Brown's Baltimore and the 19th of April, p. 62.) He suggested the Annapolis route to Governor Hicks personally on April 21. (Brown, p. 72.)

3 Official War Records, II, 583.

4 Official War Records, II, 585. Elsewhere General Patterson says with equal distinctness, ‘I had ordered General Butler to proceed to Annapolis’ (Patterson's Shenandoah Campaign, p. 27).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Lefferts (6)
Patterson (5)
B. F. Butler (5)
Frank N. Scott (2)
Fitz James O'Brien (2)
W. S. Lincoln (2)
Hicks (2)
George William Brown (2)
Frank Thomas (1)
Dupont (1)
Doc (1)
Cadwallader (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April 21st (1)
April 20th (1)
April 19th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: