Talk:Benjamin Butler (politician)

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First MG?[edit]

"Lincoln appointed him the first major general of U.S. Volunteers, ranking from May 16, 1861."

John A. Dix was also appointed major general U.S.V. on May 16, 1861.

I'll have to check my sources, but this isn't necessarily a contradiction. Multiple men can be promoted on the same day, but the order of the names on the list establishes seniority. Hal Jespersen 15:24, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Able Politician[edit]

Although Butler was an indifferent to bad general, his political skills were first rate. I believe the article lessens the impact of the term "contraband" and how it crippled the Confederate war effort by providing a legal justification for keeping slaves out of their owners' hands. GABaker 17:14, 21 April 2006 [UTC]

Curious about this..[edit]

I once read a biography that was generally exculpatory of Bulter, called Lincoln's Scapegoat General. As best I recall, it claimed that Butler was set up to be knocked down by Lincoln in both New Orleans and at Petersburg. Is this still a legitimate view of Butler?

That is certainly not the mainstream view. Butler's results in N.O. are directly related to his own conduct; what did Lincoln do to affect it? As for Petersburg, by which I suppose you mean Bermuda Hundred, Grant didn't want Butler in command and Lincoln forced him to take him. Doesn't seem likely that Lincon wanted a failure at that point in his reelection campaign. Hal Jespersen 17:55, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Contraband[edit]

This article says that Butler refused to return fugative slaves, arguing that they were "contraband", and thus able to be seized. Given his role as a Radical-Republican congressman, and his support for the Civil Rights Act of 1871 and especially for the Civil Rights Act of 1875, it seems reasonable to assume that this anti-slavery figure was simply trying (1) to get around the Fugative Slave Act and (2) to use all available labor in order to beat the slave-holding South, (after all, white notherners were drafted en masse. Is this assumption correct? If you're a Butler specialist, please address this. If no one steps forward, I'll add something to the article to this effect. --Zantastik talk 04:45, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Actually, it seems that I've answered my own question -- see Contraband (American Civil War). --Zantastik talk 04:53, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Party switch?[edit]

In Butler's political biography, he was a Democrat before the war, a Republican in Congress during the 60s and 70s, and then, by 1878, a Democrat again. The second party switch is not explained in the article -- anyone have any background? --Jfruh (talk) 21:56, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Inconsistencies[edit]

According to all evidence including: "...his administration of occupied New Orleans...his ineffectual leadership in the Bermuda Hundred Campaign, and the fiasco of Fort Fisher...one of the most controversial "political generals" of the war..." he was certainly not kept around because he was "...an able but erratic administrator and soldier." None of his war record shows any measure of even closely resembling an "able soldier." Possibly a semi-able administrator but I think that may even be stretching it. But by no accounts may he be considered in any way an "able soldier." Possibly one of the union's most inept generals of the war. I am therefore removing the title of "able soldier" if no one has any objections. Historiocality 03:35, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Butler as VP in 1864[edit]

I reverted an edit that indicated Butler had been offered, and turned down, the opportunity to run as Lincoln's VP in 1864. While Butler and/or Cameron may have later claimed that this happened, I am unaware of any major biographer of Lincoln that accepts this as likely. In any event, a solid source other than a website should be used if there is an attempt to add this information back. There is room in the article for more sourced info on Butler in relation to the 1864 election. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 03:57, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

The information in question was mentioned in Butler's memoirs, pages 631 to 634 (the book can be read here), where he mentions being visited by both Secretary Chase and former Secretary Cameron. The passage in question where he refuses to be Lincoln's VP:

"Please say to Mr. Lincoln," I replied, "that while I appreciate with the fullest sensibilities his act of friendship and the high compliment he pays me, yet I must decline. Tell him that I said laughingly that with the prospects of a campaign before me I would not quit the field to be Vice-President even with himself as President, unless he would give me bond in sureties in the full sum of his four years' salary that within three months after his inauguration he will die unresigned."

He goes on to decry the Vice Presidency as a useless office and says he will support Lincoln's election, believing that until the war is over there should be no change in administration. While the memoirs of a Civil War general may not be considered accurate (seeing as, in most cases - i.e. James Longstreet - it's a load of ass-covering and "setting the record straight" when you're particularly maligned by your peers), the Encyclopedia of the American Civil War also mentions that both Lincoln and Salmon P. Chase sought to have him as their running mate in 1864, both of whom he refused (his responses to both men known, recorded as they are in his own memoirs). The link to the encyclopedia entry is here. --Joshmaul (talk) 07:32, 5 November 2009 (UTC)


Butler's Orders in New Orleans?[edit]

This section does not seem well cited and includes a baseless, or at least sourceless, analysis. Particularly, the paragraph which reads: "Many of his acts, however, gave great offense. Most notorious was Butler's General Order No. 28 of May 15, 1862, that if any woman should insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States, she shall be regarded and shall be held liable to be treated as a "woman of the town plying her avocation", i.e., a prostitute. This was in response to women in the town who were pouring buckets of their own urine on Northern Soldiers, and who at the time could get away with anything as respectable women. Butler's order stopped all of their behavior, without arresting anyone or firing a bullet which upset many Southerners because he completely outsmarted them." While there is citation before and after this section, this analysis seems a little on the outside. At the very least, it should be referencing something for its conclusion.

Further, on looking a the revision history, these few sentences appear to be vandalism.

Moved photos[edit]

Moved photos to talk page. Replaced by updated photos. Cmguy777 (talk) 19:22, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Benjamin Franklin Butler
Major General Benjamin Butler