As New Orleans saw him...

General Butler

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
You will be seeing several New Orleans Butler photos, few being Reb versions and thus not to flattering
But this is how the Crescent City saw him.
This was taken I'm the Jacob's studios.
The dude means business!

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Joined
Aug 4, 2019
I still have my old copy of OCCUPIED CITY by GERALD M. CAPERS published 1965. It discloses that most working families of New Orleans and upper level Unionists loved Ben Butler. This book documents the large crowd that turned out to see the Butler couple depart from New Orleans for his new assignment elsewhere. There were showing their approval not their happiness in his leaving. It was the Confederate portion of the City (mostly those elites connected to the cotton/slavery business) that opposed him and that was not the majority. Unfortunately, most historians seemingly accept the Confederate propaganda as a historical truth that the Beast of New Orleans existed in the eyes of all of New Orleans. This is an insult to the greater part of the people of New Orleans at that time. Butler had his flaws but his general goodness is well documented. The book has a scene where just before their departure they attend a theater show. The show stopped to allow the audience to loudly show their approval of the Butlers knowing of their departure in a few days.
 

General Butler

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
I still have my old copy of OCCUPIED CITY by GERALD M. CAPERS published 1965. It discloses that most working families of New Orleans and upper level Unionists loved Ben Butler. This book documents the large crowd that turned out to see the Butler couple depart from New Orleans for his new assignment elsewhere. There were showing their approval not their happiness in his leaving. It was the Confederate portion of the City (mostly those elites connected to the cotton/slavery business) that opposed him and that was not the majority. Unfortunately, most historians seemingly accept the Confederate propaganda as a historical truth that the Beast of New Orleans existed in the eyes of all of New Orleans. This is an insult to the greater part of the people of New Orleans at that time. Butler had his flaws but his general goodness is well documented. The book has a scene where just before their departure they attend a theater show. The show stopped to allow the audience to loudly show their approval of the Butlers knowing of their departure in a few days.
It is a great book. My copy is pretty best up sadly. Also years ago, 1950s? The Universoty of LA put put at least a 3 booklet series on heavy cardboard that supports what you just stated.
All the good he did is simply overshadowed by The Lost Cause and the selfishness of the slave owners.
But, Butlers corrupt brother Andrew, who was killed in NO, was a crook and his ill gotten fortune was left to brother Ben. Plus I have letters describing Ben trading with the Rebs,,,though I dont have any specific letters of Ben robbing from homes.
Ben and the Butler clan had its faults but not like what The Lost Cause would like for you.to believe. That train of thought is at best LAZY history.
 
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Aug 4, 2019
I know little of the details of his brother's killing in New Orleans, what are the details and who is believed to have killed him??? The business of "trading with the enemy" was very wide spread and highly profitable but it worked both ways. I am convinced it was a major factor in undermining the Confederates war efforts. I am further convinced that there were high level authorities who secretly promoted it on both sides. Do you know much about the Federal General George Foster Shepley of Maine whose corruption deeds in New Orleans were supposedly wrongly contributed to Ben Butler? Those letters you possess are wonderful but it documents the activities common in that time. It likely a planter in Confederate territory in need of secret help from Butler to sell his goods to the Federal Northern market.
 

General Butler

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
I know little of the details of his brother's killing in New Orleans, what are the details and who is believed to have killed him??? The business of "trading with the enemy" was very wide spread and highly profitable but it worked both ways. I am convinced it was a major factor in undermining the Confederates war efforts. I am further convinced that there were high level authorities who secretly promoted it on both sides. Do you know much about the Federal General George Foster Shepley of Maine whose corruption deeds in New Orleans were supposedly wrongly contributed to Ben Butler? Those letters you possess are wonderful but it documents the activities common in that time. It likely a planter in Confederate territory in need of secret help from Butler to sell his goods to the Federal Northern market.
Shelley was very anti slavery to the point where he was too hot to handle yet je had the support of Hamlin of Maine. Seph and his black troops had to be disbanded by Butler yet they continued to raid plantations.
The Rebs sent Major Ogden into NO to meet with Butler and though I dont know exactly what was said I suspect it was trade.
No too be fair, Butlers troops did seize cotton and did ship it north and Butlers son in law did buy it and sell it back to DC at a profit. Butler did end his reign with a cash to DC surplus so Lincoln liked that.
The blockade runner America was seized by Butler in NO and sold to him via an auction won by his son in law and remained Butler private yacht for the rest of his life and the Americas cup is named for that vessel.
So when Butler is no rose, he was no different then anyone e else doing horse trading.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
What about the killing details??? It is interesting about your statement that General Shepley had a command of a black soldier unit and they were freelancing armed robbing area plantations without consent of authorities. Where have you found such information or is that what you are saying? Is that what constitutes Shepley only acts of corruptions in New Orleans? There were a number of abandoned plantations/slaves belonging to loyal Confederates who fled with the Confederate Army which were sites of confiscations and seizures from failure to pay local taxes. Are you calling this acts of armed robbery? That a great tale about the vessel AMERICA. What was the name of the son in law involved? Thanks!
 

General Butler

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
What about the killing details??? It is interesting about your statement that General Shepley had a command of a black soldier unit and they were freelancing armed robbing area plantations without consent of authorities. Where have you found such information or is that what you are saying? Is that what constitutes Shepley only acts of corruptions in New Orleans? There were a number of abandoned plantations/slaves belonging to loyal Confederates who fled with the Confederate Army which were sites of confiscations and seizures from failure to pay local taxes. Are you calling this acts of armed robbery? That a great tale about the vessel AMERICA. What was the name of the son in law involved? Thanks!
His brothers death went unsolved but his waterfront friends were accused but not arrested.
Butler had standing orders for jailed slaves fo be either released or have their fines paid, jailed fees paid but they were usually slaves from plantations that had out of the area owners. I have his order here.
I will dig out Butlers command to disband the black troops while Butler had NO. Butler like the idea and had the legal background to allow them to form since the city had already done so prior to Butler.
But Lincoln wanted it stopped for now.
Pretty sure Shepley kept the troops and did visit local plantations.
Fisher Hildreth was his son in law and through a weird set up...his wife's maiden name was Hildreth and Butlef is buried in the Hildreth cemetery
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
The GERALD M. CAPERS book does not cite anything about Andrew Butler's death in New Orleans. It had a short mention that Andrew Butler "left" the City. Do you document the alleged killed of Andrew Butler in New Orleans? Also I have never found any solid evidence of General Shepley engage in criminal corruption but as a Lincoln approved military governor of New Orleans he most certainly was involved in controversy and questionable behavior as most were. About the negro troops you refer to, I assume you are talking about the Louisiana Native Guards (may have title wrong) compose of New Orleans free (non slave) negroes who formed first under the Confederates (who refuse their service). Butler and Lincoln initially refused/disband them but later allow their enrollment with Federals. About the "jailed slaves" I assume and understand that they are the abandoned slaves of the Confederate plantation owners who left the plantation and enter the City seeking freedom only to be jailed for loitering/not working/homeless/etc. Butler/Shipley went to those abandoned plantations to transform them into growing food for starving New Orleans and for growing sugar/cotton for Northern markets. The negroes there were to by pay a wage which all agreed to that stayed or agreed to return for work.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
It appears to me from my studies thereof, that the Yankee establishment were constantly in a struggle to wrestle control of the valuable trade with planters in and out of Confederate control. It seems wide spread but rarely made visible across the South. Chase's Treasury Department and his agents was always pushing to take over assets with some success. They took most of the plantation leasing program up and down the Mississippi Valley under Federal control. The Banks people who replaced the Butler people at New Orleans were claiming such shock at Butler/Shipley operations but it was later ascertained that Banks people operated the same way. In fact, the entire Red River campaign in 1864 seemed to have degenerated or had been secretly planned to a little more than a Great Cotton Raid. Banks people and the Navy people got into quite a bit of conflict and bad mouthing each other over the issue of confiscation of cotton and the buying of cotton from local planters. Some planters rushed to the Federal to sell for those Federal dollars. Some planters had theirs confiscated.
 

General Butler

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
It appears to me from my studies thereof, that the Yankee establishment were constantly in a struggle to wrestle control of the valuable trade with planters in and out of Confederate control. It seems wide spread but rarely made visible across the South. Chase's Treasury Department and his agents was always pushing to take over assets with some success. They took most of the plantation leasing program up and down the Mississippi Valley under Federal control. The Banks people who replaced the Butler people at New Orleans were claiming such shock at Butler/Shipley operations but it was later ascertained that Banks people operated the same way. In fact, the entire Red River campaign in 1864 seemed to have degenerated or had been secretly planned to a little more than a Great Cotton Raid. Banks people and the Navy people got into quite a bit of conflict and bad mouthing each other over the issue of confiscation of cotton and the buying of cotton from local planters. Some planters rushed to the Federal to sell for those Federal dollars. Some planters had theirs confiscated.
This is where brother Andrew comes in. Due to his background in business, his small wealth and big credit he came with brother Ben as a volunteer with the rank of Col that he flaunted.
I have attach a pix of an handwritten Andrew order.
But Andrew and to some extent Ben paid 60k for their first purchase of sugar which was more then the plantation could have gotten on their own. Andrew not being in the service officially, took his cut off the top and this began a lucrative trading system. At one time some cattle where ship from Mexico to NO for Andrew for resale to the Army (Ben was the Army) and so it went.
Some say Andrew made 200k, other said Andrew made 2 million. Whichever was right, probably somewhere in the middle.
Anyway Andrew gets killed, probably for either a deal gone bad or a deal he didnt pay his share to others. Andrew did end up in Court, and lost, for not paying off his partners and his obligation was 12k.
Ben was the sole beneficiary of Andrew's estate. Though Ben was shrewd and Ben was a great lawyer, his law firm stayed open during the war. Ben also owned the only US bunting company and thus made a fortune. And Ben owned the US Crtridge company that supplied most of the ammo through WWl if I recall.
When Ben dies in 1892 his estate had a value of at least 8 million dollars...us a mansion on Capital Hill, his mansion in Lowell (Belvedere, and the area is still called that though developers tore down the mansion years ago) and a mansion off Cape Ann, Mass. BEN owned the Granite quarry in Cape Ann and happened to get federal contracts to supply granite to build DC.
Kind of shrewd
Gotta live him
 
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Aug 4, 2019
Do you believe Ben Butler seriously consider running for President in 1864. I think he sent his representatives to the Convention for that purpose is likely. I believe Grant and his group were very worried about this and kept Ben Butler under close observation. After Lincoln got re-elected he no longer was in need of Butler's political power and thus we have Butler's removal later. However the War was practically over anyway by time of Fort Fisher. Grant started the myth of the Corked Bottle designed to politically cripple Butler and to distract from Grant's failure to handle Lee in a timely manner. Do you have any position on these speculations?
 

General Butler

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
Do you believe Ben Butler seriously consider running for President in 1864. I think he sent his representatives to the Convention for that purpose is likely. I believe Grant and his group were very worried about this and kept Ben Butler under close observation. After Lincoln got re-elected he no longer was in need of Butler's political power and thus we have Butler's removal later. However the War was practically over anyway by time of Fort Fisher. Grant started the myth of the Corked Bottle designed to politically cripple Butler and to distract from Grant's failure to handle Lee in a timely manner. Do you have any position on these speculations?
There is no doubt that representatives were sent.to Ben to see if he would be Veep. Ben wanted the full White House not partial as Veep...turned out to be a bad idea.
Grant stuck Ben with cast off officers that wouldn't fight together and surely would not fight under Ben. Grant had nearly promised Gilmore full command of the James but thought he and Butler would be ok, he could use Butler political skill and let Gilmore, Ames and Kautz fight it out on the field. Alas it did not work out. Had they take. Petersburg and held it until Grant arrived the Butler would have been pres.
Now once in Congress after the war, Butler became the King of patronage. When Sherman's old bets would come seeking help he would send them to Butler. When Grant wanted political muscle he would turn to Ben.
Now with Ben as the President of the Soldiers Home he would wield considerable power and cash
But Ben wanted to be Prez but politicians didnt want Ben. They painted him as a frog jumping from party to.party. the gold block hated his silver for currency efforts and they all feared his greenback plans and his civil rights efforts, his anti Klan legiation so he had to.settle for being a power broker.
Regarding ft Fisher. The idea of the ship was.sound but the navy got scared and the ship was too far from the fort. Grant feared Butler getting the fort so did not give him enough men nor brought skilled field.commanders. when fisher fell, Terry had top guys and way more.troops.
So while Butlers men in the sand may have taken the fort, I doubt it, he knew that many many of his voters would be dead. So they fled.back to.the boats.
Grant would use Ben and do.so.pretty well
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
I have also believed the Fort Fisher event was a setup for Old Ben to dismiss him. However, this was not the first time they had attempted to politically cripple Old Ben. It had always seemed to me that Gilmore had a design to wreck the First Battle at Petersburg. Gilmore's behavior in that assault is very suspect and its collapse is strictly due to him. It was again seemingly designed to harm Butler's political status. Next we have the same strange behavior repeated by Baldy Smith in the next assault on Petersburg which again ended in very weird behavior by Smith. At this point, I believe Grant was planning to sack Butler and remove him due to two failures at Petersburg but a strange turn of event lead instead to Smith's removal. Smith had a complete mental combat stress outburst in that he had begun to brutally verbally abuse Meade over Meade's causing the death and wounding of some many of Smith's troops at Cold Harbor. It was too dangerous to have Smith continuing to damage Meade because to damage Meade one is damaging Grant politically. Now Grant has to drop the idea of sacking Butler for now because Grant must sack Smith in an emergency situation. Note Smith had also believed to have started to bad mouth Grant over the drinking alcohol and having to be help to mount a horse at a conference between Grant, Smith, and Butler recently. This would explain why they had to wait until Fort Fisher to bag Butler with the War nearly over and one would think why bother with it. It made no matter as the objective was to bag Butler to harm him politically before the next election 1868. Does any of this seem plausible to you as it does me?
 

General Butler

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
I have also believed the Fort Fisher event was a setup for Old Ben to dismiss him. However, this was not the first time they had attempted to politically cripple Old Ben. It had always seemed to me that Gilmore had a design to wreck the First Battle at Petersburg. Gilmore's behavior in that assault is very suspect and its collapse is strictly due to him. It was again seemingly designed to harm Butler's political status. Next we have the same strange behavior repeated by Baldy Smith in the next assault on Petersburg which again ended in very weird behavior by Smith. At this point, I believe Grant was planning to sack Butler and remove him due to two failures at Petersburg but a strange turn of event lead instead to Smith's removal. Smith had a complete mental combat stress outburst in that he had begun to brutally verbally abuse Meade over Meade's causing the death and wounding of some many of Smith's troops at Cold Harbor. It was too dangerous to have Smith continuing to damage Meade because to damage Meade one is damaging Grant politically. Now Grant has to drop the idea of sacking Butler for now because Grant must sack Smith in an emergency situation. Note Smith had also believed to have started to bad mouth Grant over the drinking alcohol and having to be help to mount a horse at a conference between Grant, Smith, and Butler recently. This would explain why they had to wait until Fort Fisher to bag Butler with the War nearly over and one would think why bother with it. It made no matter as the objective was to bag Butler to harm him politically before the next election 1868. Does any of this seem plausible to you as it does me?
There was no chance that Smtih Glimore and Butler would ever ever work together. All Lincoln had to do is win 4 more years then Butler would not be needed...not sure he was ever wanted past 1863 and never wanted in the field. Interesting side note is that during the army of the james, butler had all his preprinted orders changed and handwritten to say...in the field. His mail bag that I own says in the field. Butler knew that being seen as a fortress monroe commander or a NO administrator would not get him elected
Smith had a penchant for bad mouthing people and frankly Grant hosed Gilmore when he took him from SC. But both of those west pointers firmly believed that ONLY west pointers could command.
Butler DID serve a very valuable service but his skills only went so far...like Grant's did not extend past the field. Sadly the 2 of them would not have served as a 1 2 punch.
 

General Butler

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
There was no chance that Smtih Glimore and Butler would ever ever work together. All Lincoln had to do is win 4 more years then Butler would not be needed...not sure he was ever wanted past 1863 and never wanted in the field. Interesting side note is that during the army of the james, butler had all his preprinted orders changed and handwritten to say...in the field. His mail bag that I own says in the field. Butler knew that being seen as a fortress monroe commander or a NO administrator would not get him elected
Smith had a penchant for bad mouthing people and frankly Grant hosed Gilmore when he took him from SC. But both of those west pointers firmly believed that ONLY west pointers could command.
Butler DID serve a very valuable service but his skills only went so far...like Grant's did not extend past the field. Sadly the 2 of them would not have served as a 1 2 punch.
I have always hated that Grant under manned the ft fisher expedition and purposely lost union men
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
That is very amusing that Butler would have changed all his orders belatedly to appear as written from the field. Most of the time in the Petersburg operations he worked out of his famous fortress of Bermuda Hundred. I suppose you are fully aware that as far as tactical military matters Butler was dependent upon his competent Staff mostly the brilliant Godfrey Weitzel (a West Pointer) who was his most favorite. I have the excellent book A YOUNG GENERAL AND THE FALL OF RICHMOND: THE LIFE AND CAREER OF GODFREY WEITZE. by G. WILLIAM QUATMAN pub. 2015. I strongly recommend it. I am dismayed that my two favorite Federal Generals were such Spiders to one another but unfortunately that's the way political warfare worked among the Federals against each other not that the Confederates were any different.
 

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