When trading for prisoners fell to Butler

General Butler

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
Butler writes to john Cochran Atty Genl for NY and says he should be able.to get the release of a Major...but I sure cant read his name...Major Martin?
Maybe younger eyes can tell
What say you?

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John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
Looks more like Merton, possibly Morton.

Jany 22 1864​
My dear sir​
I think it possible​
I may be able to effect​
Major Mertons exchange.​
At any rate I will try.​
Yours truly​
Benjn F. Butler​
Major Genl​
Comg.​
[?] John Cochran​
Atty Genl N.Y.​

RE: Butler and the prisoner exchange, from Wikipedia ("Dix-Hill Cartel"):
Exchanges had been halted in the Fall of 1863, because of the Confederate refusal to recognize the paroles of prisoners taken at Vicksburg and Port Hudson:

"In November 1863, Union General Benjamin Butler requested permission from Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to negotiate for the resumption of the prisoner exchanges. After reviewing correspondence from the Confederates, Butler had an idea that the rebels would exchange captives without regard to their "color, caste, or condition." Since the Federals held twice as many prisoners as their opponents, Butler proposed that a renewal of the exchanges would deplete the number of prisoners held by the Confederates. If the "colored prisoners and their officers" were not handed over, then the Union's remaining surplus of rebel prisoners would serve as hostages for possible "retaliation and reprisal." On December 17, Maj. General Ethan Allen Hitchcock appointed Butler as a "special agent for exchange of prisoners." While conducting these new exchanges, "the protection of the Government" would remain for "colored soldiers of the United States and the officers commanding them." Butler was to avoid "the question of parole and excess now pending" between the two sides. Within days, Butler started exchanging prisoners with the Confederates, and continued the transfers into the early months of 1864. Despite his original mandate, Butler tried to resolve the outstanding cartel issues with the rebel authorities while facing General Hitchcock's growing opposition over the scope and conduct of his activities.​
Asked to review the situation in April 1864, Union General Ulysses S. Grant ordered the halt of all exchanges until the Confederates recognized "the validity of the paroles of the prisoners captured at Vicksburg and Port Hudson," and stopped discrimination against "colored soldiers."​
 
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General Butler

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
Looks more like Merton, possibly Morton.

Jany 22 1864​
My dear sir​
I think it possible​
I may be able to effect​
Major Mertons exchange.​
At any rate I will try.​
Yours truly​
Benjn F. Butler​
Major Genl​
Comg.​
[?] John Cochran​
Atty Genl N.Y.​

RE: Butler and the prisoner exchange, from Wikipedia ("Dix-Hill Cartel"):

"In November 1863, Union General Benjamin Butler requested permission from Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to negotiate for the resumption of the prisoner exchanges. After reviewing correspondence from the Confederates, Butler had an idea that the rebels would exchange captives without regard to their "color, caste, or condition." Since the Federals held twice as many prisoners as their opponents, Butler proposed that a renewal of the exchanges would deplete the number of prisoners held by the Confederates. If the "colored prisoners and their officers" were not handed over, then the Union's remaining surplus of rebel prisoners would serve as hostages for possible "retaliation and reprisal." On December 17, Maj. General Ethan Allen Hitchcock appointed Butler as a "special agent for exchange of prisoners." While conducting these new exchanges, "the protection of the Government" would remain for "colored soldiers of the United States and the officers commanding them." Butler was to avoid "the question of parole and excess now pending" between the two sides. Within days, Butler started exchanging prisoners with the Confederates, and continued the transfers into the early months of 1864. Despite his original mandate, Butler tried to resolve the outstanding cartel issues with the rebel authorities while facing General Hitchcock's growing opposition over the scope and conduct of his activities.​
Asked to review the situation in April 1864, Union General Ulysses S. Grant ordered the halt of all exchanges until the Confederates recognized "the validity of the paroles of the prisoners captured at Vicksburg and Port Hudson," and stopped discrimination against "colored soldiers."​
Hey great work...thanks. bet there is a way to go online and find a NY Major with a similar name that got captured.
Thanks
 

John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
Hey great work...thanks. bet there is a way to go online and find a NY Major with a similar name that got captured.
Thanks
Not easily. I'm sure there were scads of men by that (or similar) names in NY regiments. Without a first name you'd have to go through all of them to identify those who attained the rank of Major, and then search their service records (not online yet) to find which spent time as PoWs.
 

General Butler

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
Not easily. I'm sure there were scads of men by that (or similar) names in NY regiments. Without a first name you'd have to go through all of them to identify those who attained the rank of Major, and then search their service records (not online yet) to find which spent time as PoWs.
Lol...perfect for a retired gent or an insomniac . Thanks for the uplifting heads up. 😄
 

Lubliner

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Hey great work...thanks. bet there is a way to go online and find a NY Major with a similar name that got captured.
Thanks
In the Official Records in Series 2, Vol. 7, both sections 1 and 2, deal with Butler as the head of Prisoner Exchange along with Hoffman.
It only shows April onward in 1864. I have not located the earlier period.
Lubliner.
{Edit]: Series 2, Vol. 6 carries the dates you are looking for beginning about page 850.
 
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John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
Two possibilities: Maj. Alfred Morton (193rd N.Y.), and Maj. William D. Morton (14th N.Y. Cav.) There appear to have been no NY Majors named Merton.

There is quite a bit about Butler's prisoner exchange work in volume IV of Butler's Private and Military Correspondence, but no mention of the major in question.

Just as an aside, there is a letter in Vol. IV from one "F. Morton" of Norfolk, who is very worried that the colored soldiers "intend to make war with the helpless women and children ..., and that very early. They say there is not white soldiers enough to put them down (and such you know is the case). Do, Gen., attend to this matter, and send them away as fast as possible, to avoid farther trouble."
Butler's answer was typically brief: "IF you do not die until the negroes hurt you, if you behave yourself, you will live forever."
 
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GMSorrel

Private
Joined
May 31, 2011
William D. Morton is probably the one in question. Maj. Alfred Morton did not enlist until March 1865 and does not show captured. William D. Morton fits the requirements (timeline, POW, and state).

Morton.JPG
 
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