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 was not clearly understood at the time was that these successive steps were not made public, and that General Butler wrote at the time a letter to Governor Andrew1 in which he omitted all reference either to Mr. Felton as the originator of the plan or to the express orders finally received. Leaving Philadelphia about 3 P. M. on April 20, the 8th Mass. reached Perryville about 6 P. M., and found a steamer quietly awaiting it, as arranged by Mr. Felton. The same glamour and melodramatic character were thrown in the newspapers of the time about the supposed ‘seizure’ of this ferry boat. General Butler in his letter to Governor Andrew describes himself as detailing officers to ‘take possession of the boat at Havre-de-Grace’ (meaning Perryville);2 and Capt. F. T. Newhall says ‘the steamer was instantly taken without firing a shot.’3 But Greeley, in his American Conflict, goes far beyond this. After describing the burnt bridges and the lack of cars, he proceeds: ‘But General Butler was not a man to be stopped by such impediments. Seizing the spacious and commodious ferry steamer Maryland, he embarked his men thereon.’4 Nobody took the pains to point out that the steamer had on the preceding day (April 19) been retained for that precise purpose by the president of the road, Mr. Felton, who had also provided it with coal and a pilot for Annapolis;5 so that it was simply awaiting the arrival of the Massachusetts troops to get up steam and proceed. It is very probable that this fact was not generally known among the soldiers, though it must have been known to General Butler. It is true also that the whole region was in confusion, and that the Salem Zouaves (Captain Devereux), attached temporarily to the 8th Mass., were quite right in advancing upon the boat as guardedly and skilfully as if they were in an enemy's country and the boat were in alien hands; but there is now no doubt in regard to the previous intention and premeditation by which the vessel had been placed there, or the peacefulness of its final occupation.
1 This letter will be found in Schouler, I, 99, and in Headley's Massachusetts in the Civil War, p. 25. Schouler (I, 101, 133) fully recognizes that it was Felton who planned the expedition. The Comte de Paris makes no mention of Felton, but attributes the whole plan to General Wool, whom he assumes to have been without instructions from Washington.
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