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Chapter 7: recruiting in New England.

My return home under the circumstances related in the preceding chapter gave opportunity for occurrences at once very novel and diverting. When I got to Lowell, my friends and neighbors insisted upon showing me every honor and attention, which were accepted as tokens of personal friendship and regard. But there was another thing which I never heard of or read of before, and which showed me a curious phase of human nature. As I have said before, I had lived in Lowell from boyhood. I knew perhaps of its citizens, men and women, as many as anybody else, and I think more of them knew me by sight than any other citizen. But now persons whom I had known would halt on the sidewalk to see me pass; would get in my way to examine me and look me over (and this refers to both sexes); would surround me in depots and other public places and hem me in without a word, as if determined to see what change had been made in me,--whether I was the same man who went away a few months before. Particular friends, men that I had known, would do the same thing with doubtingness. It afforded a curious spectacle, and sometimes the sensation was not altogether pleasant.

For the first day I supposed it might be my uniform, and so I went back and got into my lawyer's coat, trousers, and slouch hat, thinking that would set them all right. But it didn't; and it has hardly ceased to be the case yet. I think I at last came to know what hero worship meant.

I have mentioned that just before being relieved from Fortress Monroe I had sent a little reconnoissance into Eastern Virginia on the peninsula to see if that section could easily be separated from [295] the rebel State. I had communicated with General Scott, and I found soon after I got home that General Dix was permitted to gather a force with which to make my expedition. I say “my,” because the dates will show who originated it. Again, I found that General McClellan had awakened to the necessity and usefulness of an expedition to North Carolina via Hatteras and the Sounds, and that he had detailed General Burnside to come up here and raise troops for that purpose.

There were things enough to be done, but there began to be great difficulty in getting troops enough to do those things. This was because recruiting had come to an absolute standstill. Senator Henry Wilson, who was the chairman of the Committee of Military Affairs of the Senate, had openly said in the Senate that no more troops were needed; that recruiting ought to stop. He was also on General McClellan's staff. But Wilson did not echo the wishes of his chief, for even then McClellan was demanding more troops for the Army of the Potomac.

My attention being called to this matter of recruiting, I examined it with some care. I found that the war was dwindling into a partisan one. The governors of States insisted upon having all the troops under their own administration and control. They thus obtained the appointment of all the officers of regiments, including the colonels. The governors of substantially all the States were Republicans, and the army was being recruited almost entirely by the friends and proteges of the Republican governors. These men enlisted their Republican neighbors and associates, and then, to eke out their companies so that they could be put at the head of them, they recruited all the scallawags there were in their neighborhood, and not unfrequently robbed the houses of correction and the State prisons, the governor pardoning the prisoners on the condition that they should enlist.

It struck me very forcibly that if this thing went on, it would very soon become a party war, and if that took place it would be very disastrous because it might bring about a division of the North.

Perhaps I can better explain all I mean about this by stating exactly what I did about it. I think I had spent about seven days in Massachusetts when I was invited to speak in Faneuil Hall, at a meeting to promote the prosecution of the war. I wrote to that [296] meeting that I could not attend because I went in for vigorous prosecution of the war, and as evidence of it I had gone.

When I reached Washington I called upon the President. He received me very kindly and conversed with me about several matters which interested him. One of them was upon the question of punishing desertion by death. I had observed how much the army was losing by desertion and that there was no punishing for that crime. I advised him very strongly to punish deserters ruthlessly by death, until, in the Army of the Potomac at least, desertion should be stopped. At this time men were deserting and going home, and then selling themselves for substitutes or enlisting to fill the quota of some other town, getting large sums of money to go back again. Some of them even would desert from the troops of one State and get appointed officers of the troops of another State.

The President was a good deal disturbed by the arguments I put before him, but at last he came round and said, with a face that showed a very sorrowful determination:--

“How can I have a butcher's day every Friday in the Army of the Potomac?”

“Better have that,” said I, “than have the Army of the Potomac so depleted by desertion that good men will be butchered on other days than Friday.”

But we never convinced each other on that subject; it was the one subject on which we agreed to disagree. That I was right and he was wrong I may have occasion to show hereafter.

Mr. President,” said I, after we had finished discussing the matter of desertions, “when I accepted the commission with which you were kind enough to honor me, I told you that we had disagreed in politics, but that so long as I held the commission I should fully and faithfully sustain all the acts of your administration, and when I felt that I could not do that, I would return the commission. But you asked me to promise to lay before you any matter upon which I disagreed with you, before I took that step. Accordingly I have come here to lay before you your method of carrying on this war as it strikes me, and to put before you what I think must be the result if some change is not made. 1 can speak freely, because the thing to which I wish to call your attention is not your fault but your misfortune, [297] and were it not for that fact it would be deadly to your administration and your cause.”

“To what do you refer?” “ To the method in which your armies are being raised. I, as you know, had nothing to do with recruiting a single soldier, but I have lately been at home looking into the matter. I find all the good men of your army are Republicans as a rule, or are all scallawags, State prison birds, and other vagabonds, picked up to fill out enlistments. As I told you, I am a Democrat. Now there are no Democrats as privates or subordinate officers going into the war. There are none going in as officers except they are West Point men, who are made colonels of regiments at once, although in the course of their profession they would have had to work twenty years before they would have obtained that rank. The subordinate officers have gathered up what men they could from their Republican neighbors. The Democrats in their localities, not having any confidence in their politics and looking substantially upon the war as a Republican war, are taking no part in it.

This seems to me to be bad statesmanship. The President of the United States can raise, as he has the right to raise, volunteer troops of the United States. When he employs the militia of the United States as such, he must employ the militia of the States; but he has full right to enlist volunteers to carry out special objects of the war.

Think of it a moment, Mr. President. Suppose the governors of the States should refuse to raise any volunteers; would not the President of the United States have a right to draft men for the service of the United States, and when he drafts such men could he not appoint officers to organize and draft them without the leave of the governors of the States? Furthermore, if the present methods of recruiting go on until the election, which is next year, and then you have a million of men or so in the field, you will be short that number of Republican votes because your voters will be in the field.

You may perhaps get the States to pass laws, by constitutional amendment or otherwise, that your soldiers may vote outside of the State, yet that would be attended in ordinary election with a great deal of mischievous trouble and quite probable delay. Your aim [298] should rather be to get every Democrat possible in the war. Get leading Democrats and they will bring in their rank and file, their clientele, who believe in them and would rally about them.

He said: “There is meat in that,” which, by the by, was a favorite expression of his; “but what would you advise me to do?”

“Well, I will begin with myself; I am out of a job. I have a movement in mind that I hope you will put in my hands. But it cannot be done, and you cannot even put it in anybody's hands, until you get some men; and it ought to be begun at least early in the spring, the preparation being made for it during the coming fall or winter. Give me the authority and the money to organize and pay the troops with, and I will go to New England and enlist six to ten thousand men. I will have every officer a Democrat,--that is, if I can have the appointment of the officers, subject to your approval. I won't reject any Republicans that want to be enlisted, but I will have four fifths of every regiment good, true Democrats, who believe in sustaining the country and in loyalty to the flag of the Union, and who will fight for their country under command of officers I shall choose. And if I succeed, you had better try it in a good many other States.”

“Well, but what will you do with the governors?”

“I won't have any difficulty with the governors of any of the States in New England but one. I will try not to have any difficulty with him, but I do not believe I shall succeed, but I shall enlist as many men as I want notwithstanding him.”

“I suppose you refer to Governor Andrew?”

“I do; and if he knows the project in which I am enlisting he will not only try to stop it in our State, but he will try to interfere with it everywhere. He is covering your table now with complaints of your administration and of your manner of carrying on the war. I shall be glad if you will assist me in this by asking the governors to aid me and appoint such officers as I desire to have appointed.”

Said he: “I think you had better do it; draw such an order as you want.”

And thereupon I drew one and had it signed by the Secretary of War, and approved by the President. The order was as follows:-- [299]

Maj-Gen. B. F. Butler is hereby authorized to raise, organize, arm, uniform, and equip a volunteer force for the war, in the New England States, not exceeding six (6) regiments of the maximum standard, of such arms, and in such proportions, and in such manner as he may judge expedient; and for this purpose his orders and requisitions on the quartermaster, ordnance, and other staff departments of the army, are to be obeyed and answered. Provided the cost of such recruitment does not exceed in the aggregate that of like troops now or hereafter raised for the service of the United States.

I came home, and the first New England State I struck was Connecticut. Her chief magistrate was Governor Buckingham, than whom a nobler, truer, or more loyal man did not exist. I told him I wanted to enlist a regiment under that order.

“Well, General,” said he, “whom do you want for colonel of your regiment?”

“I want Mr. Henry Deming, late mayor of Hartford.”

Be it known that Mr. Deming was with me at the Charleston convention. He was a thorough Democrat, and even a little more pronounced on the slavery question than I was. As mayor of Hartford he had called the city council together to consult if my troops should be allowed to go through Hartford on the way to the war. He was a true, loyal man, who did not believe in having a war, but who was a patriot to the core. He died the first Republican representative to Congress that was ever elected in the Hartford district.

“Why,” said the governor, “Deming will never go to the war in the world.”

“Well, Governor, if you offer him the appointment and he doesn't go, it will be his fault and not yours, won't it?”

“Oh, well, I will appoint him if you desire, but I don't think it will do any good; you will have to select somebody else, I guess.”

“It may be so,” I said; “I guess I will go and see Deming.”

So I walked over to Mr. Deming's office, called upon him, and after the usual chat between old friends, I said: “Deming, I am going to raise a regiment in Connecticut for a special service, and I want a good man for colonel,--I want you.”

“Well, if you do, you cannot have me, because Governor Buckingham would never appoint me.” [300]

“Then I suppose if he would, you would serve with me. I cannot tell you now what the service will be, but it will be a highly honorable one, and I hope a fortunate one. You had better not let this great war go by without taking a hand in it in behalf of the country, for the sake of your posterity.”

“But do you think Governor Buckingham will appoint me?”

“If he won't, you will have done your duty. But I think he will; I think he will not only appoint you but will let you nominate to him every officer of your regiment, and will expect you to raise the men,--and I expect you to raise them Democrats, every one of them, like you and me.”

“General, you are wild.”

“Very well,” I said; “put on your hat and let us go over and see the governor, and see whether I am wild or not.”

So we walked over together, and I said:--

“Governor, I spoke to you this morning about raising a regiment in Connecticut for special service. Now I want to recommend to you as colonel of that regiment to raise the men, my old Democratic friend, Mr. Deming, whom you know very well, and I want you to give him full sway in raising his men and nominating the officers, because I want a Democratic regiment out of Hartford.”

“I hope you will get it and another one too,” said the governor; and then to Deming: “If you will serve, I will have your commission made out at once.”

It was done, and Colonel Deming took his oath of office. I walked down with him to his house and congratulated him upon his appointment, with which he was as pleased as a child with a rattle.

I went thence to Vermont and met Governor Fairbanks. I talked to him pretty much as I had to Governor Buckingham. I told him that I wanted two gentlemen who had been my associates in the Charleston convention appointed colonel and lieutenant-colonel of a regiment which I desired to raise in Vermont.

“You shall have them,” said he.

“And I want from Vermont a battery in addition,--you have good horses here,--and I will have my men select their own horses; I have a right to pay for them.” [301]

The cause of the War.

[302] [303]

To this he agreed. Col. Stephen Thomas was appointed colonel of that regiment.

I then came down through New Hampshire, and met Governor Roby; and he agreed that I might have my selection of colonel of the New Hampshire regiment. I had in that State a very long-time Democratic friend, Capt. Paul R. George, who had been a quartermaster under General Cushing in the Mexican War, and was afterwards appointed chief quartermaster of General Scott's division, in which he served through that war. We were the warmest personal friends, and I had in mind for the colonelcy his brother, Lieut.-Col. John H. George, a staff-officer of the governor. Lieutenant-Colonel George was a very close friend of Ex-President Pierce, then alive, and was one of the best advocates in New Hampshire, and one of the most reliable Democrats. I saw him, explained what I wished to have done and have him do, and said to him:--

“You have a family growing up around you. Don't you let it be said to them that their father took no part in the war for his country.”

John consented to go. When his brother Paul heard of it he was overjoyed. We had it all arranged; but when Colonel George informed Pierce of it, the ex-president stood out bitterly against it, and said everything he could say to dissuade the colonel from accepting the position which the governor was ready to give him.

Notwithstanding Colonel George's high respect for Pierce, he felt it was the turning-point of his life, and he remained firm in his intention of raising a regiment. But Pierce looked upon the going to war of his law partner at the head of a New Hampshire regiment as having a significance of great weight to the Southerners as to the unity of sentiment of the North. He determined to prevent it, and as a means he “plowed with the heifer.”

Mrs. George, the wife of the colonel, and the mother of several young children, would have been left in somewhat straitened circumstances, as then appeared, if the colonel went to the war. Therefore Pierce represented to her that life in camp was very dangerous to the morals, and destructive to the requirements and business of a lawyer, and that the war was likely to be a long one, and that her husband's business would be entirely broken up, and that his connection [304] with the army would be distasteful to his clients, and would entirely destroy his influence as a rising politician in the State. Also, that as Colonel George was a very brave, daring man, he would be very likely to get killed in action, if he did not die by disease.

All this matter was reported to me by his brother, the captain, who said that he was afraid that his brother's wife would keep him at home. “But,” said he, “I will try one thing to prevent it. He knows that I have been married so many years that I am not likely to have any children. My wife is a woman of good fortune of her own, and I will go to Mrs. George and tell her that if she will let her husband go to the war, I will make my will in favor of himself and of herself and children, not to be revoked in case of his death, so that his family, in case of disaster to him, shall at least have substantially all that I have got for their future support.”

He did go and make that offer, which of course was duly reported by the wife to General Pierce. The ex-president met it by saying that there could be no will that might not be revoked, and that the captain might revoke it in case of her husband's death, and that in fact it was no provision at all. So that Pierce beat us, and I lost my colonel and my regiment from New Hampshire, for I knew no other man who I believed would have raised a regiment of Hunker Democrats for the war in New Hampshire at that time.

Don't let me be misunderstood. A great many Hunker Democrats enlisted for the war and fought nobly and bravely. But those who were men in position were deterred, from the fact that they could hold no place in the war as officers, and the cry went out from the “copperhead” press that this was to be a Republican abolition war, and not a national one. Meanwhile a regiment was raised by Governor Roby in the usual way, and a young West Point lieutenant was appointed colonel. But McClellan took the regiment away from me to Washington, and soon gave the colonel a very considerable promotion. This young man was afterwards captured, together with sixteen horses,--an event which gave rise to Lincoln's famous bon mot of that time. When the capture was reported to him, he said drily: “Well, I can get brigadiers enough, but where am I to get sixteen horses?” [305]

While negotiations were going on for the New Hampshire regiments I came to Massachusetts and called upon Governor Andrew. I had called soon after my first arrival home to pay my respects, but now I disclosed to him my business. He said that he had promised the first two regiments that he should raise to Captain Sherman, who wanted to make an expedition to Port Royal, and he desired me to wait until those regiments could be got ready, before I commenced to recruit. I said to him that I wanted two regiments from Massachusetts because I was quite sure I could not get any from Rhode Island, and that I would wait until I had visited Maine before I commenced recruiting in Massachusetts. We parted amicably enough. I did not say anything to him about my idea of recruiting a regiment of Hunker Democrats, because I was almost certain that he would not agree to appoint Democratic officers. He had detailed one at the very first of the war, and had been sorry for that detail ever since.

I then went to Maine and saw Governor Washburn. I told him I wanted a regiment and a battery, and that I wished that he would appoint as the colonel, George F. Shepley, Esq., who had been United States Attorney for Maine. He was a Democratic leader and had been with me in the Charleston convention.

“Certainly,” said the governor; “what a good thing it would be if Shepley would only go.”

“I have seen him,” I replied, “and I can assure you that he will.”

For the command of the battery I recommended Captain Thompson, one of the best artillery officers that I ever knew, as well as one of the most pronounced Hunker Democrats. But I may say here that when he got to New Orleans and saw the iniquities of the system, he turned out the most virulent opponent of slavery in my command, save Phelps.

I then went to Rhode Island, and was treated with great courtesy and consideration by the governor. He told me that he much regretted he could not aid me in recruiting a regiment in Rhode Island, because General Burnside, a citizen and afterwards senator of that State, was getting ready an expedition to make an attack upon North Carolina through Hatteras Inlet, and the governor promised that he should have every Rhode Island man who could be raked or scraped together in the State. I told the governor that I [306] appreciated fully his situation so far as to agree that I had no claim upon him compared with that of his own general.

I returned to Massachusetts and saw Governor Andrew once more. He said that he had appointed Colonel Jones, who had led the Sixth Regiment through Baltimore, to raise a regiment to be denominated the Twenty-Sixth Massachusetts, and that Colonel Jones already had the regiment partly raised, and that he would assign that regiment to me, and I could encamp it where I chose. He further said that I could then go on with my recruiting, and that he would turn over a skeleton regiment for me to recruit.

A skeleton regiment meant one there was nobody in but the principal officers. I knew some of the men who proposed to be officers of that regiment, and in any view of the matter I should just as lief not have them. However, all I said was:--

“I will accept Colonel Jones' regiment, and we will go to work. I will confer further with you, with your leave, as to the second regiment. I suppose you will take my nomination of its officers.”

To this he made no reply, and we again parted amicably.

I procured the Agricultural Fair Grounds, within a couple of miles of my house at Lowell, as a place of encampment, and named it Camp Chase, and in a few days I got a large number of recruits. I was fully content with Colonel Jones, of whom I had a very high appreciation. He was well known as a leading Democrat, and still remains in that position as lieutenant-governor of the State of New York. Meanwhile, except for those recruits who came to me because of their respect for my position, and because of their confidence in me and my officers, recruiting had substantially ceased in the State. It was difficult to get many soldiers.

Massachusetts was very far behind in her quota, and she always remained so until she imported Germans in large numbers to fill up her ranks, and, in the latter part of the war, sent down to Virginia and paid money to have negroes whom I had enlisted in the service of the United States and duly mustered, credited to the quota of the several towns of Massachusetts. When this last performance came to my knowledge, some of the agents who were doing it went into the guard-house, and those who were not put there ran away home, and that fraud was stopped. And with all that under the performances of her administrative officers, Massachusetts had the disgrace [307] of a draft, intensified by a draft riot, which had to be put down by force of arms.1

All of my recruits were credited to the State, and I suppose I may modestly and loyally suggest that it would have been better to allow me to recruit some few Democrats,--and an event happened which would have brought thousands of Irishmen into my ranks,--than to have had these disgraces of Massachusetts, which otherwise might have been the foremost State in the Union in everything to sustain the government, as she was the first under the lead of a Democrat to go to the defence of the capital.

As soon as I got my camp properly established I called upon Governor Andrew again and informed him that upon reflection I preferred not to have the second regiment made up of recruits as they would be recruited by the State officials; that I preferred to have them, if I could get them, a regiment of Democrats, every officer to be a Democrat, and especially the colonel, and I explained to him my reasons. I told him that I had the permission of the President to have the recruiting of a New England division of Democrats, and I wanted them of the most pronounced and well-known type ; that I should want in addition a battery of artillery and a squadron of cavalry similarly officered; and that I desired to recommend the officers to him for his appointment, subject, however, to the withdrawal of anyone whom he did not choose to appoint for reasons affecting his character and standing.

“Whom do you want for colonel?” said he.

“I think Col. Jonas H. French will make as good an officer as anyone I know.”

“Why,” said the governor, “French helped break up a John Brown meeting.”

“Yes,” said I, “that is why I want him. He showed a disposition to fight somebody if necessary, and I guess he can get most of his friends who went to that meeting to go with him.” [308]

“You cannot have him,” answered the governor.

“Do you know anything against him?”

“That is enough; I do not want anybody to enter the war for the Union who holds such sentiments.”

“But I do want exactly that kind of men to compose my command.”

I then named over the colonels and officers — for their names had not yet been made public,--whose appointments I had secured from the governors of the other States, and told him that the other governors had made no objection. Governor Andrew was very much astonished.

“And Governor,” I added, “I want you to recommend the Hon. Caleb Cushing, who was president of the Charleston convention, as a brigadier-general to go with me into war.”

“He is a friend of Jeff Davis,” was the reply.

“Yes,” I said, “and immediately after the firing upon Sumter he put himself in his speech at Newburyport wholly on the side of the Union.”

“Well,” said the governor, “I certainly shall not do that.”

“Oh, well,” I said, “I know he some time ago called you a one-idea'd abolitionist, and that was true, although it was not a pleasant thing to say. But certainly his ability and his position in the country would seem to entitle him to the place if he would take it, and I think he will.”

“But I will not appoint French, and I will not appoint any other officer of his way of thinking in a Massachusetts regiment.”

“Very well, Governor, I shall appoint him, on the authority given me by the President, and he will recruit a regiment.”

“He won't if I can help it.”

“He will, Governor, if he can with my help.”

Thereupon I left him, and although I called upon him once afterwards, I never saw him again to confer with him until the campaign was over.

He immediately came out with various orders in the newspapers, abusing me and my enterprise of recruitment. I went to Washington and saw the President and General Scott, and in order that I might not be overruled by any military order of Governor Andrew as commander-in-chief of the Massachusetts militia, I asked for the [309] creation of the military department of New England, and that the department be placed under my command. An order to this effect was given me on the 1st of October, in the following words:--

The six New England States will temporarily constitute a separate military department, to be called the Department of New England; headquarters, Boston. Maj.-Gen. B. F. Butler, United States Volunteer Service, while engaged in recruiting his division, will command.

Soon after this an order was issued by the governor or some member of his staff, that the family of no soldier who enlisted under my command should have State aid.

Recruitment was drooping very much. But, feeling certain that Massachusetts would in any event pay State aid to all the soldiers who fought the battles of their country in her ranks, independent of any personal spite of her governor, who had the good quality of cultivating malignity as a parlor plant, I started a recruiting camp at Pittsfield in the western part of the State. It was under Lieutenant-Colonel Whelden, a good Democrat, and in a remarkably short time he put the camp into the finest possible order. I went up to review the regiment, and found it a very considerable one. Then, in order that my soldiers should not be discouraged on account of their wives and children, I published a letter, in which I guaranteed State aid to the families of every one of my recruits. This letter was in the following words:--

camp Seward, Pittsfield, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 1862.
Lieut.-Col. Whelden, Commanding Western Bay Regiment:
Colonel:--I have been much gratified with the appearance, discipline, and proficiency of your regiment, as evidenced by the inspection of to-day. Of the order, quiet, and soldierly conduct of the camp, the commanding general cannot speak in too much praise.

Notwithstanding the difficulties of season, opposition, and misrepresentation, the progress made would be creditable if no such obstacles had existed.

In the matter of the so-called State aid to the families of the volunteers under your command, I wish to repeat here, most distinctly, the declaration heretofore made to you. I will personally, and from my private means, guarantee to the family of each soldier the aid which ought to be [310] furnished to him by his town, to the same extent and amount that the State would be bound to afford to other enlisted men, from and after this date, if the same is not paid by the Commonwealth to them as to other Massachusetts soldiers; and all soldiers enlisting in your regiment may do so upon the strength of this guarantee.

I have no doubt upon this subject whatever. The Commonwealth will not permit her soldiers to suffer or be unjustly dealt with, under whosoever banner they may enlist.

The only question that will be asked will be, Are these men in the service of their country, shedding their blood in defence of its Constitution and laws? If so, they stand upon an equality with every other man who is fighting for his country, and will be treated by the State with the same equal justice, whatever may be the wounded pride or over-weening vanity of any man or set of men.

I love and revere the justice, the character, the equity, the fame, and name of our glorious old Commonwealth too much to doubt of this for a moment, and will at any time peril whatever I may have of private fortune, upon the faith engendered by that love and reverence.

Accept for yourself, personally, and for your officers, my most earnest thanks for the energetic services which you have rendered in the recruitment of your excellent regiment.

Most truly your friend,

Benj. F. Butler, Major-General Commanding.

That was thought by some newspapers to be a very risky and hazardous undertaking on my part. But again they were mistaken; there was no risk in it. The towns paid the State aid, and as every town wanted every soldier enlisted in it to be credited to its quota, I knew they would, as they did, pay the State aid, and there was neither risk nor hazard about it. Besides I knew a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush, and therefore I got an order from the War Department that all troops enlisted under my command should have a month's pay in advance, and the governor could not get any such inducement. My enlistments were for special service, and he had declined to enlist anybody for that special service.

My enlistments went on. Besides Colonel Jones' regiment I raised two other regiments in Massachusetts, and named them the Eastern and Western Bay State Regiments. I appointed the [311] officers, and they reported to me and were duly recognized and received their pay, and sailed with me for Ship Island.

I also got another regiment very curiously; and I give the story, because it will show what discipline can do.

Passing through Connecticut I called upon Governor Buckingham, who said to me: “You can do me a great favor, General.”

“What is that, Governor? I will do it if it is possible.”

“I have almost a regiment, something more than eight hundred men, all Irishmen, enlisted and encamped here near Hartford. I cannot get the regiment up to a thousand men so as to have it mustered in and have officers appointed. They are naturally good men, but they have been idle here for months, and they are wholly without discipline and without control. They are an actual nuisance. I wish you would take them in your division, and then there will be one more regiment for you; and you can take them to your camp where you can control them; I cannot control them here any longer.”

“Governor,” said I, “I will send an order for them by my quartermaster and his assistant, with directions to have them brought in the cars to Lowell, if you give an order that they shall march.”

“I will, and with pleasure.”

So the Ninth Connecticut was sent for. Their fame preceded them, and their conduct on the route to Lowell fully justified their fame. They managed to tear the roof off of all the cars of the train which they were in. They so delayed the train that when they got to Groton Junction, twenty miles from Lowell, it failed to connect, and they had to stay there all night. Groton Junction was a little village, and they proceeded to ransack it for liquor, and they found some barrels of it, which they brought away with them. When they arrived in Lowell the next morning, under charge of a detachment which had been sent for them, they were lying packed in the cars like herring in a box. They were tumbled into army wagons and carried up to the camp. I happened to be there when they came in. I had their officers called to me, and I looked them over. They seemed to be good enough men, and only one or two were any the worse for liquor. Their colonel was a very superior man.

As I rode down town, I got a note from the mayor informing me that a special meeting of the city council had been called, and an appropriation voted for the expense of employing five hundred [312] special constables to keep the peace against the Connecticut regiment. I told the mayor and aldermen to keep their constables out of the way or they might get hurt, and that I would take care that the peace was kept.

There was around our camp a board fence, some nine feet high. I put the usual number of sentries on the inside, but I doubled the number outside the fence. I directed the officer of the guard to instruct his sentries on the inside not to have any quarrel or trouble with the men unless they were attacked. But the picket guard on the outside were to be instructed, whenever they saw a man swinging his body over the fence, to poke him back with their bayonets, using the bayonet on that part of him where they would have the most room, and to do it effectually.

The next morning, as usual, I went up to the camp. It was reported to me that the men behaved well enough until about midnight, when they woke up pretty hungry and very dry. The night was not very dark, there being a small moon. They looked around and saw the fence. After a while a body of them got together, and raising the cry “Connicticut over the fince,” they rushed against the fence and climbed up. But the first man that swung over was put back on the point of a bayonet, and so on until it was found not to be a pleasant entertainment. In fact, they had to stay where they were, and to put up with coffee the next morning.

I caused them to be paraded in a hollow square, and walked into the square and told them that I would have no more such conduct as that of the previous night; my orders would be enforced to the letter, and they had been treated more leniently than they ever would be again. I then called the officer of the guard to bring to me the man who first put one of the jumpers back over the fence with his bayonet. He came up blushing and looking as if he did not quite know what would be cone with him. I said to him:--

“My man, can you read and write?”

“Yes, General.”

“You have done your duty well. Mr. Officer of the Guard, report this soldier to the colonel and tell him to appoint him sergeant.”

Then, addressing the men, I said:--

“Now, my men, I am going to put the guard to-night around the outside of this fence with their muskets loaded with ball cartridges, [313] and if any of you attempt to get over the fence that way again I will make the man who first shoots one of you a lieutenant.”

I never had any serious trouble with the Ninth Connecticut. They would get a little liquor, but that was done very ingeniously. Generally my officers of the guard found them out. One of their tricks, I remember, was very curious: A great, portly woman used to come in to see them — and she seemed to have a good many friends among them,--and they would gather about her chatting and evidently in perfect accord. But the officer of the guard observed that one or two who stood behind her seemed to have their heads bowed down. An investigation showed him that our visitor had a very considerable sized rubber tube wound all around her person under her dress. This tube had been filled with liquor, and was provided with a faucet which was concealed under her cape, and for a consideration anybody could take a pull at it long enough to get a good drink. She was cautioned not to visit the camp, and dismissed.

Their ranks were filled up, and I took considerable personal pains to see that they were well cared for and well taught.

The effect of that discipline exhibited itself in this. When I occupied New Orleans I wanted to encamp a regiment in Lafayette Square, a small park in the centre of the city. The streets around it were inhabited by the best families. I chose the Ninth Connecticut. They remained in camp about three months, and so well did they conduct themselves that when I was about to move them elsewhere and put another regiment in their stead, because they had had a soft place long enough, I had a very large petition presented to me of all the neighbors of their camp to have them remain. Their conduct was so exemplary, their care of the children who went to play in the park so tender and kind, that the inhabitants hoped that I would allow them to stay, as they did not think I could send them another regiment that would please them so well.

When the Ninth Regiment was on Ship Island, a party of them was sent out to the upper part of the Island to relieve a detail from the Twenty-Sixth Regiment, who were cutting wood. It was foggy when they came to the place of meeting, and as the two bodies of men came near each other of course the first thought was they must be Confederates, each seeming so to the other. Both began to get ready for a fight, when an Irishman of the Ninth said: “Be me sowl, [314] I believe, Captain, that these are the Twenty-Sixth's boys. Let me find out; I will give them the countersign.”

“Mike, you fool, what countersign have you?”

“Oh, aisy, Captain;” and he stepped forth and cried out: “Connicticut over the fince.”

The men on both sides broke out into roars of laughter, and all danger of a collision was averted.

Meanwhile Governor Andrew, aided by the two Massachusetts senators, Sumner and Wilson, was doing everything he could to move the President and Secretary Cameron to interfere with my authority to make enlistments. The governor wrote most personal and abusive letters regarding me to the senators, and then published them. I do not think it affected Wilson much, because he had been a Whig, a Know-Nothing, and a Free-Soiler, according to the changes of parties, and did not take Abolitionism much to heart; but Mr. Sumner did everything he could do to disturb me and to serve Andrew.

Sumner had plenty of leisure for this sort of thing. Although he was in the Senate for more than a quarter of a century, ten lines of laws upon the statute books of the United States drawn by him are yet to be found.

There was one thing that affected my recruiting favorably, more than all Governor Andrew's performances did unfavorably.

On the 7th of November, 1861, Commodore Wilkes, with the San Jacinto, captured the Trent, having on board Mason and Slidell, the rebel emissaries to England and France. The Trent was an English passenger boat,--and of course a mail steamer,--and England was in name neutral. That is to say, her people were with the North, her government held itself apparently impartial, and her aristocracy and monied class were entirely with the South. Captain Wilkes treated the Confederate commissioners very fairly and properly; and through his courteous kindness to the passengers of the Trent and the owners of the vessels he committed a mistake in point of law which it was claimed rendered his capture illegal. This mistake consisted in not bringing in the vessel, so that he might submit his capture to the courts. He did not apparently know that this was necessary, and, in order not to discommode the considerable number of English passengers by bringing them to the [315]

Andrew Jackson Butler.

[316] [317] United States instead of letting them go on to England,--probably thinking that the owners of the Trent might also be considered,--he did not bring the vessel in as a prize.

These proceedings of Wilkes created the most intense excitement. There was great glee on the part of the true Americans of this country when it was learned that the rebel emissaries had been captured. There was great sorrow on the part of the South, except that they believed that England would undertake to resent the seizure, as she did, and then their sorrow turned to joy. After England did undertake to interfere, there was regret for the seizure on the part of the timid and nervous good people of the North.

The manner and course of action of the government of England was wholly unprovoked, unjustifiable, and in violation of the courtesies due between friendly nations, and in disregard of her own conduct in like cases. The usages of diplomatic propriety demanded of her that she should, without offensive expression, or action, or implication of any sort, call upon this country to explain the capture of the rebels, or to indicate what claim would be made by the United States upon the men thus captured, and what reparation or apology, if any, we would make to England for a wholly unintentional violation of her dignity. On the contrary, the British Cabinet flew into a passion. They ordered a considerable force of troops to be sent to Canada, and ordered a large number of vessels sent to Halifax, and they sent over to Canada a little general who was not then (or ever) a general. And this they did before our government could know officially or properly what had been done.

To appreciate the utterly useless folly of this movement of troops and vessels on the part of Great Britain, we have only to reflect that the capture was made on the 7th of November. She could not possibly have got her troops started until the first of December, and then her ships and troops could never have got farther than Halifax, as the ice of winter would have sealed up the St. Lawrence and all the other rivers of Canada.

England ought also to have remembered that at one time in the case of one of her rebellious provinces, Quebec, she found herself in this same difficulty in sending her troops over to put down the rebellion, and had to ask the consent of our government to let the troops pass over our territory. Now if they were forced to go [318] to war about the Trent matter they would have to ask the same courtesy of our government to get their troops into Canada, unless they forced their way over our territory, and that was a game at which two could play.

It is almost a ludicrous event that, in fact, England was forced to ask our consent in this case, that her troops might pass over our territory, landing them at Portland, to fight us upon their arrival on her own ground, and that our government consented, which was a poignant sarcasm upon the use the troops would be to her in Canada.

Gen. Caleb Cushing was the ablest international lawyer of this country, and he had the reputation in Europe of being the ablest in any country. He was with me at that time, and I could have had his services as brigadier-general in the expedition to New Orleans, had not his appointment by the President been rejected by the Senate. This was done because Wilson, who was chairman of the Military Committee of the Senate, was afraid of Andrew, and Andrew had demanded the rejection of Cushing because he was not a “one-idea'd Abolitionist” as Andrew was.

General Cushing examined with me the questions of law and precedents involved in the Trent affair; and we came to the conclusion, as did the Secretary of State after reading that paper (I do not say because of), that against England there could be no doubt what the law of nations in such cases was, if she would take her own interpretation.

I need not pause to give more than a single English precedent:--

Henry Laurens, of South Carolina, a delegate to the first Congress and a prominent patriot, accepted the mission from our Revolutionary Government in 1778, of minister to the Hague, got on board a [French neutral vessel, and proceeded on his mission. He was captured by an English frigate and carried to England. His papers were taken from him, and he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for three years, not being allowed to communicate with his family or his country. He was exposed to every indignity, and regained his liberty only when the War of the Revolution ceased after the signing of the treaty of peace between England and her former rebels. More than that, England declared war on Holland on the ground of the papers her officers took from Laurens. [319]

From the first England would look at the Trent affair only as a cause of war. The whole country desired that our government should hold Mason and Slidell, and for a time we did hold them. But after much consideration Mr. Seward, always fearful that England would do something against us, consented to return Mason and Slidell, upon the ground that the Trent, although captured, was not brought in. That was a subterfuge on our side, and a sneak on England's side. If the capture of these men was such an offence against the dignity of England, simply letting them go did not seem much of a reparation of that wounded pride, being on a technical point only. It seemed to me to be a good deal like this: A man is arrested for being a thief and counterfeiter. He and his friends bluster loudly against that charge and demand his release. The captor says: “Well, I will let him go, as there is a technical defect in the warrant;” and the rescuers are satisfied.

For myself, I am obliged now to declare, as I did then, that it was the most fatal mistake on our part that could have been made, not to have a war with England if she chose. Oh! says one, we would have had the whole English army upon us. To that I answer: England of her own soldiers has never had more than twenty-five thousand men on any one battle-field. The time has gone past for buying Germans to fight her battles. We had more soldiers starve at Andersonville than England had men at Waterloo — and a larger part of those at Waterloo were commanded by an Irishman. We were raising armies by hundreds of thousands. If England had attacked us, the vast advantage would have been that it would have made our war a foreign war, in which everybody must have taken part, North and South, who was not a traitor to his country. No Democrat or Copperhead party could have resolved against the war in that case. It would have been a war in which everybody must of necessity have engaged, in one form or another, to save the life of the country. Whoever fought for England and against us at the South would have been a traitor to his own portion of the country. Canada would not have been in our way at all. Ninety days would have enlisted Irishmen enough to take Canada. That could have been taken by contract. It was the beginning of winter; the frost had made a bridge over every stream, and a road for march could be built many miles a day to any place. The [320] Canadian barns were all full and would have been depositories of forage. There would have been no difficulty about our soldiers eating the pork and bacon there stored up for winter use, and the cattle there would not have been running loose.

I said when I began this topic, that it was a source of aid to my recruitment. So it was, for when patriotic Irishmen began to learn that there was a chance for war with England, they came to me in squads. And if I had said to them: “Yes, I want you to march to Canada and take that first, and then for the western coast of Ireland, or against any Englishmen we can find against us down South,” I could have filled up not only one or two regiments in Massachusetts, but eight or ten. No Copperhead would have hesitated to go into my ranks in such a war. We could have had no hesitation in setting free the whole negro population of the South to enlist and fight our battles against England.

But, says another, England with her fleets would have bombarded our cities and blockaded our ports. As to the bombardment of our cities, that is a bug-a-boo which might have been more potent then than it would be now. We have since demonstrated that bombardment does not do a great deal of harm to a city. We bombarded the little city of Charleston for eighteen months steadily, and we did not do $50,000 worth of actual damage; we did not kill as many men in Charleston as we burned tons of powder. There will be no more bombardments of forts even, since the fiasco of Porter at Forts Jackson and St. Philip. Bombardments as matters of importance in war will take their place with bayonet wounds and sword cuts.

I was casting my eye the other day over a page of the consolidated report of the wounds received at the battles of North Anna, from May 21 to May 26, 1864. In these engagements the total strength of the army was 51,659, and the whole number of wounded was 1,046. There was just one bayonet wound and no sword cut. Yet we all remember we were told how reckless the enemy was in charging upon our men “sword in hand and with bayonets fixed.”

As to the expenses of the bombardment of our cities: If England had declared war, by the rules and laws of war that act would have confiscated all the debts our people owed to the subjects of the crown of England, and also all property of English citizens in this country. I think that would have quite offset the loss of plate glass in Broadway by a bombardment. [321]

As to the question of soldiers: A Russian fleet lay in our harbor month after month, waiting and ready to take part with us whenever we should say that Great Britain was our declared as well as our actual enemy. England would have wanted all her soldiers, and all that she could have got or paid for, to take care of the Indies against Russia. And the Russian fleet would have made a very respectable defence, and would now, for New York harbor.

It may not be out of place here to say that the certain confiscation of many millions of debts the South owed to the North was a great inducement to the commercial classes of the South to go into the Rebellion.

If the administration had had the courage to make such war with England what it would and ought to have been under the circumstances that I have above set forth, our Rebellion would not have lasted two years, and would not have cost one quarter what it did in men and money.

But, says another, England would have raised the blockade of the South, and would have imported into the rebel States everything that their people wanted. Assuming that could have been done, there are several answers. When England had raised the blockade of the Southern States she would have blockaded the Northern ports. That would have prevented the balance of trade between our country and Europe — which was against us all the time, impoverishing us many millions of dollars It would have stopped the great number of old and young men with their families going to Europe to live, their large expenditures, another source of depletion of our resources, all being in gold.

We had within the United States every material to make munitions of war, and the war had not progressed far before we did make them all. In fact, we were absolutely obliged to throw away the Austrian and Enfield rifles we at first purchased abroad for use here. We should have then discovered exactly the capabilities which each section of our country had as to its resources for carrying on the war. Our blockade made the South entirely economical. Our open ports made us exceedingly extravagant. If England had opened to the world the trade for cotton and tobacco with the South, it would have excited the desire for those luxuries claimed to be necessities, and paved the way to the indulgence in them. [322]

When we shut up the ports of the South, during the four years of the war, we raised for them ten crops of cotton. That is to say, our blockade raised cotton from ten cents, its price at the beginning, to one dollar a pound at its close. The price of tobacco, too, was increased six fold. A great storage of cotton and tobacco in the South was the foundation of their European loans. Cotton and tobacco were all the property they had to use for that purpose, and their government held it and did so use it. The last loan was the “Cotton loan,” which could not have been taken for a dollar if this article had not been kept in the South, and its price raised by our blockade.

Indeed, in all the markets of the world for the production of cotton goods, cotton so increased in price during the war that it was a serious temptation to England to acknowledge Southern independence in order to get cotton to supply the industries of Manchester. The South did not suffer for arms, neither heavy ordnance nor infantry, weapons nor munitions, during the latter years of the war. The greatly enhanced price of cotton made blockade running immensely profitable; and as the Confederate government had half of all the cotton which ran the blockade with which to buy arms and munitions of war, that supplied the South very fully.

It will be remembered that at the opening of the war the wise men who governed the country through the newspapers, taught us to believe that war would so disorganize the labor of the South and diminish its agricultural productions that the South would be quickly impoverished, not being able to raise crops with which to obtain any supplies from abroad. And this stated fact was to be greatly relied upon to cripple the South. The results were exactly to the contrary.

The first conscription act of the rebel congress enrolled into some sort of military service every man between the ages of sixteen and sixty. But the owners of twenty slaves were exempted, so that, in the first year of fighting, cotton and tobacco production were not materially interfered with, and in addition, as we have seen, our blockade raised the price of every pound of cotton and tobacco ten and six fold respectively. This was to our great disaster. Mr. Lincoln saw this, and once said to me, at a later period in the war, that if he could have his way he would let everything be imported into the South save munitions of war and provisions. I am fully of the belief that one cause of the extravagant bitterness shown toward [323] the North by the Southern women of the higher classes, was that our blockade compelled them to wear home-made, and therefore unbecoming, dresses.

Any intelligent reader, looking upon these facts, will agree with me that a war with England would not have changed the result in this country except to have brought it about much sooner. Of men England had no supply worth notice, and besides, Russia was watching for her opportunity to wrest from England her Indies.

Let me also add in passing, that there need never be any fear of war by England with this country in the future. She and her citizens are pouring money into American investments by the millions of dollars annually, thereby giving bonds in billions of money to keep the peace with us and be of good behavior to all the world.

England had statesmen fully capable of appreciating all the propositions above set forth, and was guided by them in the determination of questions of war between England and this country.

In view of this, I am, and ever have been, firmly of the opinion that war with England over the Trent affair was utterly impossible. Following her whole course of diplomacy, she relied upon her bullying a weak-kneed Secretary of State into complying with an unjust demand, and accepted a subterfuge for an apology.

The Trent discussion, which lasted from the 15th of November to the 23d of December, 1861, caused a delay in my embarkation for the South because I had not my troops ready early enough to take General Dix's place in the expedition to the eastern peninsula.

The attention of the government had also been called toward Mobile, but an expedition thither did not seem to be a matter which would make a diversion of the enemy's plans. General McClellan suggested Texas, and asked me to get up a paper on Texas, showing its condition, capabilities of being attacked, and what would probably be the result of its occupation. Myself and staff went to work, each on a special kindred topic, to examine fully and with great care the relations of Texas to the war. The general was pleased to compliment our report.

Meanwhile Captain David D. Porter had been for some time preparing a quantity of mortar vessels to bombard southern forts. Indeed he had reported that they were all ready, but he did not actually get them ready for months. [324]

The navy desired an expedition made against New Orleans for the capture of the Mississippi River, and Mr. Lincoln was anxious that a fleet should go up the river and open that great avenue of transportation. This would relieve the western men along its banks by bringing the trade back to New Orleans.

I caught at the idea at once when it was made known to me. But it was necessary to conceal the movement, and accordingly after I was assigned to it, I talked Mobile louder than ever, and gave out that my expedition was to go to Ship Island, near Mobile. But Ship Island was equally as effective against New Orleans. Ship Island was selected by Pakenham for a rendezvous for the British fleet in his attack on New Orleans when defended by Jackson, and by carefully examining his reports to his government, it was easy to get the knowledge necessary for a movement in that direction.

I had my transportation all engaged and was ready to make sail whenever the matter was decided, when a telegram came:--

Don't sail; disembark the troops.

It had never occurred to me to put my troops on board vessels until the day when they should actually start, for it ought not to be ten hours work to break camp and embark. I could not tell what this telegram meant, and I went immediately to Washington. There I found that the Mason and Slidell matter was in such a condition that it might (as it should have done) result in war with England if she so desired. And if it did, I should have to send down and bring back the part of my troops that had been sent to Ship Island instead of carrying any more there.

We waited some twenty or twenty-five days after the 23d of December, when Seward had given his official answer upon the Trent matter, before it was finally decided, and the decision officially communicated to our government by England.

During that time, preparations were all completed, camps were broken up, men were got on board ships, horses were forwarded, and two thousand troops remaining at Boston, belonging to my expedition, were shipped, and the Constitution sailed for Fortress Monroe. When I reached Washington General McClellan consented to have appointed such staff as I asked for, and after consultation with [325] me, made out my orders. But for some reason then unexplained they were not issued, and the expedition did not start.

Whenever a thing that I do not understand happens, I always investigate. Anxious to know why the orders had not been issued, I looked the matter up. I found that General McClellan was very much averse to having the number of men I needed taken away from the army around Washington. He very much wanted two hundred thousand men there, and he had but one hundred and ninety thousand. He did not care with that force to move against the rebels, who had more than two hundred thousand men as he believed. In fact, he had been peremptorily ordered to move against the enemy on the 22d of February, and disobeyed the order. For all this, I could not understand why such an important movement as that assigned to me should remain unattended to for so many days. I guessed what was the matter, and remained on the ground at Washington, leaving my troops with the Constitution at Fortress Monroe. But I took care to have them disembark from the vessel and put them on land.

There was but one ear in Washington that was always open to me, the President's. He was then embarrassed, as I happened to know, from the fact that he could not get McClellan to move. Even the President himself was doubtful about the number of troops on the other side of the river. It so happened that I was a warm friend of Senator Wade, who was chairman of the Committee on the Conduct of the War. He was very anxious to have a movement, and was chafing under the inactivity very much. He asked me my opinion about the rebel force opposite Washington. He summoned me before the War Committee, and I had to give it under oath. Not only that, but I was made to give my reasons for the opinion, and I happened to have some to give. They were dated the 12th day of February, 1862, and appear in the report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War.

Following is my estimate, taken from the report:--

Ewell's Brigade, consisting of--Estimated Strength. Reported.
 5th regiment Alabama volunteers600  
 4 guns, Walton's battery, 12 howitzers60  
 3 companies Virginia cavalry180  
Holmes' Brigade (reinforcements added on 20th of July, as reported)--   
 Infantry1,265 1,265
 6 guns90 90
 1 company of cavalry90 90
 2d regiment Tennessee volunteers600  
 1st Arkansas volunteers600  
D. R. Jones' Brigade--   
 5th regiment South Carolina volunteers600  
 2 guns, Walton's battery, 6 pounders30  
 1 company cavalry60  
Early's Brigade--   
 7th regiment Virginia volunteers600  
 7th regiment Louisiana volunteers600  
 3 guns, rifled, Walton's battery45  
Longstreet's Brigade--   
 1st regiment Virginia volunteers600  
 2 guns, Walton's battery30 
Jackson's Brigade (reinforcements added on 20th of July)--   
 4th regiment Virginia volunteers600  
 13th regiment Mississippi volunteers600  
Part of Bee's and Bartow's Brigades, all that had arrived; new regiments, estimated fuller than the others--   
 2 companies 11th Mississippi volunteers150  
 1st regiment Alabama volunteers700  
Bonham's Brigade--   
 2d regiment South Carolina volunteers600  
 6 guns, Shields' battery90  
 6 guns, Delkemper's battery90  
 6 companies Virginia cavalry360  
Cocke's Brigade--   
 18th regiment Virginia volunteers600  
 6 guns, Latham's battery90  
 1 company cavalry60  
 Reinforcements added on 20th July:   
 7 companies 8th Virginia volunteers420  
 4 guns, Rogers' battery60  
Evans' Demi-Brigade:--   
 4th regiment South Carolina volunteers600  
 1 battalion Louisiana volunteers600  
 4 guns, 6-pounders60  
 2 companies cavalry120  
 Added on 20th:   
 Stuart's cavalry (Army of Shenandoah)300  
 2 companies Bradford cavalry120  
 8 guns (Pendleton's) reserve120  
 5 guns (Walton's) reserve75  
 6 companies Hampton's legion (arrived from Richmond600  
Add, also, Army of Shenandoah, not in position on the morning of the 21st, but came up during the day as reinforcements, 2,334 

Recapitulation of brigades.
Ewell's Brigade2,040
Holmes' Brigade2,645
D. R. Jones' Brigade1,890
Early's Brigade1,845
Longstreet's Brigade1,830
Jackson's Brigade3,600
Bee's and Bartow's Brigade2,950
Bonham's Brigade2,940
Cocke's Brigade2,730
Evans' Demi-Brigade2,595


This is as the army was posted in the morning, including the Army of the Shenandoah, then in the field.

To this is to be added the garrison of Camp Pickens, Manassas, say  2,000
Also the remainder of the Army of the Shenandoah, which came up during the day2,334  
And Hill's regiment550  
another view.
Regiments and companies, by States, mentioned in Beauregard's report.
  Estimated. Effective Strength.
Virginia, 1st, 2d, 4th, 5th, 7th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 24th, 27th, 28th, and 33d, being 14 regiments, estimated at6008,400 
 6 companies of 8th regiment, 3 companies 49th regiment, and 6 companies Hampton's legion60900 
 23 companies cavalry601,380 
Tennessee, 1st regiment (1) 600 
North Carolina, 5th, 6th, and 11th regiments (3)6001,800 
South Carolina, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th regiments (6)6003,600 
Georgia, 7th and 8th regiments (2)6001,200 
Alabama, 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th regiments (4)6002,400 
Mississippi, 2d, 15th, and 18th regiments (3)6001,800 
 2 companies of the 11th regiment60120
Louisiana, 6th and 7th regiments (2)6001,200 
 Wheat's battalion, 4 companies, and 6 companies of 8th regiment60600 
Arkansas, 1st regiment (1)600600 
Maryland, 1st regiment (1)600600 

Add 50 guns, manned by 15 men each-- 
Walton's battery16 guns. 
Pendleton's do.8 guns. 
Imboden's do.6 guns. 
Shields' do.4 guns. 
Latham's do.4 guns. 
Alburtis' do.4 guns. 
Kemper's do.4 guns. 
Rogers' do.4 guns. 
 50 guns.15



It will be seen that, whether the estimate be taken by brigades or by regiments and corps from States, we come to nearly the same result, and we are warranted in believing the assertion of Beauregard in his official report that the whole number of the army at Manassas was less than 30,000 after the junction of Johnston.

Suppose the whole number of regiments to be filled up, taking the highest number from each State, then the whole army raised by the Confederate States, wherever situated, would be, on that day, as follows:--

South Carolina, 8 regiments, at 6004,800
North Carolina,11do.6006,600
Add Virginia, 49 regiments, but we know that these are “militia numbers,” and it is impossible for her to have had more than all the other Confederate States; so we will say 20 regiments of infantry, at 60012,000
Total infantry48,600
Add 20 batteries artillery, at 901,800
Add 6 regiments cavalry, at 6003,600
Grand total54,000

This must have been the entire force of the Confederate Army, as we know that the Mississippi numbers are militia numbers, and that the North Carolina numbers are also militia, because I captured the 7th North Carolina Volunteers at Hatteras, on the 28th of the following August, and they had been organized but a week.

But it may be asked, How do we know that these were not the earlier regiments, and others of much higher numbers had been raised and in service elsewhere; or that large reserves were not left at Manassas, and not brought up?

Beauregard says the whole Army of the Potomac was, on the morning of the 21st July21,833and 29 guns.
The Army of the Shenandoah was8,334and 20 guns.

Beauregard also says, in his report of the battle of Blackburn's Ford, July 18, Rebellion Record, Part X., page 339:--

On the morning of the 18th, finding that the enemy was assuming a threatening attitude, in addition to the regiments whose positions have already been stated, I ordered up from Camp Pickens (Manassas), as a reserve, in rear of Bonham's brigade, the effective men of six companies of Kelly's Eighth Regiment [330] Louisiana Volunteers, and Kirkland's Eleventh Regiment North Carolina Volunteers, which, having arrived the night before en route for Winchester, I had halted in view of the existing necessities of the service.

With any considerable force at “Camp Pickens” (Manassas), would this regiment either have been stopped en route, or the effective men of six companies only ordered up as a reserve?

In his report of Bull Run, July 21, Beauregard also speaks of the “intrenched batteries at Manassas” being under the command of Colonel Terret.

Is it possible that the rebels have been able to more than quadruple their forces in the last six months, with the whole world shut out from them, over what they did in the first six months?

All which is respectfully submitted.

Benj. F. Butler. February 11, 1862.

There was understood to be some feeling between General McClellan and the President because McClellan did not move, his excuse being all the while the small number of his troops and the great excess of those of the enemy. McClellan, however, held everything with a high, strong hand, and what he wanted he had. The Committee on the Conduct of the War were known to be very much opposed to him, as he certainly was to them. This fact is now known, but at that time it was only conjectured. A short time after it became known that I had given my testimony before the committee, General McClellan asked me if I had any objection to telling him what the substance of my testimony was. I told him that I had not the slightest objection. I did not know at that time what his testimony had been, and certainly not what his estimate was, for while in Washington I had been very busy about my own affairs. He appeared very much surprised at my testimony. He questioned me as to the source of my knowledge. I told him that of personal knowledge I knew nothing of course, but I sketched to him how I made up my calculations. He said that I must be wrong, that he knew that there were a great many more troops than that. I answered squarely: “Well, your knowledge of course ought to be vastly superior to the best verified calculations upon which I have come to my opinion.”

I handed him my analysis of the number of troops which had been in the battle of Bull Run, which number had been substantially verified by actual reports, and then added my further calculations upon the same basis, and made in two different ways, to show that [331]

Abraham Lincoln. From Portrait.

[332] [333] those rebel troops could not have been much more than doubled within the succeeding six months. My conclusion was that there were not more than sixty-five thousand effective troops opposite Washington.

The rebel general, Joe Johnston, moved off his troops in March, just before McClellan made his movement from Washington against them, and Johnston's report as published in the “War correspondence” now shows that I was not five thousand out of the way, not reckoning the small force that was below Alexandria. But I did not include the “Quaker” guns, i. e. the wooden ones, that were mounted in the rebel intrenchments near Centralville, and McClellan's bureau of information had evidently included in their estimate the number of men required to man these.

I thought as we parted that General McClellan did not seem quite as cordial as when we met.

When I saw Mr. Lincoln, as I did within less than two days, he put to me the same question as to the number of troops. I told him that if he would take it without asking my reasons for it I would be glad to tell him, but if he required me to go over the reasons, I must get the paper containing my calculations, or a copy of it. He said that was not worth while. I briefly sketched the reasons, and in answer to his questions I replied, in a very emphatic manner, that I felt as certain of my estimate within a few thousand as I could of anything in the world.

“Assuming that you had one hundred thousand effective men in Washington,” he said, “and were permitted to move over the river to attack, would you do it?”

“Certainly I would, Mr. President, and if it was of any use I would ask for the privilege. But you have abler commanders than I, Mr. President, and what I want is to go off with my command to New Orleans.”

“I won't say, General, whether I will let you go or not.”

I then began to plead a little and said: “Why not let me go? You have got enough troops here, and I am only to have some regiments from Baltimore.”

“I agree with you,” he answered, “as to the number of troops we have got here; that is not the reason for your detention.”

I at once pressed for the reason why I was not permitted to go, and thereupon I found that an order had been issued by General [334] McClellan to disembark my troops at Fortress Monroe, and to return them to Baltimore.

I immediately began to look the matter up. I telegraphed to Fortress Monroe, and was told that no such order had come there. Adjutant-General Thomas told me that such an order certainly had been issued and forwarded by General Dix to General Wool, at Fortress Monroe. I applied to General Dix, and he said that he had sent such an order forward. Looking farther, I found that one of General Dix's staff officers had put it in his coat pocket and forgotten it,--a most inconceivable thing.

I determined to bring the matter to a focus at once. I went to General McClellan and told him about the order and asked him to revoke it.

“Why are you so anxious about this expedition?” he said to me.

“Because I think I can do a great deal of good for the country. Besides, I want to get away from Washington; I am sick of the intrigues and cross purposes that I find here. Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stanton seem to me to be about the only persons who are in dead earnest for a vigorous prosecution of the war.”

“Ah,” said he, “and what evidence have you of that?”

“What both say and how they say it,--although I do not put too much confidence in what any man says. The President asked me how many troops I believed there were on the other side of the river, and I gave him the number as I gave it to you.”

“What did he say to that?”

“He asked me how certain I felt, and I told him I felt very certain. He asked me whether I felt so certain that I would be willing to lead an army of one hundred thousand troops from Washington to make an attack on the rebels in Virginia.”

“What did you say to that?”

“I said I did not desire to have anything to do with the Army of the Potomac; that I wanted to get away from here, and I then renewed my application to him to give me my order to go to New Orleans.”

“He did not give you the order?”

“No; he told me he did not know yet whether he would or not. I said to him in substance that I hoped he didn't detain me because it was a necessity to have around Washington the few troops that I [335] should take away from Baltimore. He said that was not the reason; that regarding the number of troops opposed to us across the river he believed nearly as I did. He told me that I might call any day after to-morrow, being the 22d of February and a holiday. Therefore I said: ‘I suppose there will be no movement made to-morrow.’ He said: ‘Well, General Butler, I think you had better call on me the day after to-morrow, and we will see what will come out of this.’ ”

I looked General McClellan in the eye and said: “General, shall I call on you before or after I call on the President?”

“Better come before,” said he.

I went to my hotel, and after listening to an address in the House, I spent the next day in packing up my effects, not many, because I had come to the conclusion that I was going somewhere. I also notified two of the gentlemen of my staff who came with me, and two more who were in Washington, that I wanted them ready to go with me at a day's notice.

On the morrow I took a carriage and drove to the headquarters of the army shortly before ten o'clock. I was admitted to the general's presence, and he met me very cordially, and handed me a sealed envelope.

“Therein,” said he, “you will find your instructions about your expedition to New Orleans, and you may go as soon as you can get ready to so do.”

“I thank you very much, General,” said I, “for the relief you have given me in letting me go away from here. I will endeavor by my actions to do you and the army all the credit I can.”

I called on the Secretary of War, and found the President with him. I stated to them the facts. Mr. Stanton was overjoyed. The President did not appear at all elated, but shook hands with me with a far-off, pensive look.

“I shall need some funds undoubtedly,” I said to Mr. Stanton. “Please ascertain how much and send to me by the quartermaster and commissary, who will follow me and bring whatever it is supposed I will need.”

“Why not take your requisition yourself?”

“In the first place, I do not want any charge of the money. In the second place, Mr. Stanton, to be honest with you, my orders [336] cannot be countermanded after I get to sea, for I am going to take New Orleans or you will never see me again.”

“Well,” said he in the presence of Mr. Lincoln, “you take New Orleans and you shall be lieutenant-general.”

I bowed and left.

I stayed in Washington long enough to have a little bird sing to me that General McClellan's father-in-law and chief of staff, R. B. Marcy, had said: “I guess we have found a hole to bury this Yankee elephant in.”

The night of the 24th of February I left for Baltimore to go to Fortress Monroe, and at nine o'clock on the evening of the 25th I stood on the deck of the good steamer Mississippi with my wife and some of my staff officers beside me, and gave orders to “up anchor for Ship Island.” I had sixteen hundred men on board with me, and the enormous sum of seventy-five dollars in gold in my pocket with which to pay the expenses of the expedition.

Decorative Motif: birds.

1 A draft, under the law of Congress, was carried into effect in Massachusetts in the months of June and July, 1863, and was entirely an abortive affair as far as men were concerned. There were enrolled, between the ages of twenty and forty-five, 164,178. Then there were names of persons drawn from the box, numbering 32,079. Of these 6,690 were held to service, and of this number only 743 joined the service; 2,325 procured substitutes. Twenty-two thousand three hundred and forty-three were exempted, and 3,044 failed to report, that is, they left for Canada or elsewhere, and 3,623 paid commutation. So that the whole number of drafted men and substitutes of drafted men sent to camp was 3,068; and of these, 2,720 were assigned and sent to the regiments in the front,--that is, the draft produced three regiments of men.

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