Ben Butler was many things, but an insightful military analyst was not one of them. He had a long record of military incompetence any time he came close to commanding troops in the field. This extract from his book seems to show a complete lack of understanding of the military situation in Virginia in 1864.Now lets take time and allow General Benjamin Butler speak by way of the wonderful book: BUTLER'S BOOK:
"From an interview with Sheridan (see Feb 25th), I (Butler) learned what Lee and Grant had done in the march from the Rapides. The position of Grant's army and its distance from Richmond, contradicted all the dispatches I had received from Washington, and I judged that it was impossible for him to do otherwise than to take the alternative in the plan agreed upon between us (the infamous suppressed meeting on 04/01/1864 at Fort Monroe), in case he failed to turn Lee's left and drive him back into Richmond (the infamous boxing of Bobby Lee), where I was to meet him (Grant) in TEN DAYS. Evidently Grant was not coming to Richmond (per the secreted talk with Sheridan) but had marched by his left flank to join me at City Point, intending to continue his operations on the south side (of James River). I had PERFORMED MY PART by being around Richmond, holding its outer defences (at Fort Durery) on the south side of the James River, and now --------- I concluded that I would not continue to hold my position more than a day or two longer, long enough to hold a road open for Kautz (only cavalry force available to Butler) to find his way back to join in if he had met with disaster (while attacking rebel railroads). The fortifications of our INTRENCHED CAMP at BERMUDA (HUNDREDS) were by no means in such condition as they needed to be, to be thoroughly impregnable to the attack of the WHOLE OF LEE'S ARMY, he having the interior or shorter line. He might attempt to carry them and thus force Grant, whom he had learned was to make this (BERMUDA HUNDRED'S) his NEW BASE, into the position in which McClellan was at Harrison's landing. Accordingly it was IMPERATIVE that I should NO LONGER PERIL THE SAFETY OF GRANT'S NEW BASE, AND ALSO PROBABLY THE SAFETY OF HIS ARMY."