Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 13, 1861 (Monday): Butler Garrisons Baltimore

                                                            Washington, D.C., May 14, 1861.
Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler,
            Commanding, Department of Annapolis, Md:
SIR: Your hazardous occupation of Baltimore was made without my knowledge, and of course without my approbation.  It is a God-send that it was without conflict of arms.  It is also reported that you have sent a detachment to Frederick, but this is impossible.  Not a word have I received from you as to either movement.  Let me hear from you.
            Very respectfully, yours,
                                                            WINFIELD SCOTT

On May 13 General Butler, later to become “The Beast” to Southerners because of his treatment of the citizens of occupied New Orleans.  In garrisoning Baltimore, Butler violated the agreement between President Lincoln and the governor of Maryland and mayor to refrain from even sending troops through the town if possible in order to maintain the peace.  There was an early split in administration policy underlying Butler’s actions.  Secretary of War Cameron wanted Maryland dealt with sternly, Scott wished to avoid conflict, and Lincoln wanted to delay confrontation until more troops were at hand.

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