Sunday, September 4, 2016

Brigadier-General Benjamin F. Butler to Governor Thomas H. Hicks, April 23, 1861

Headquarters Third Brigade, U. States Militia, ANNAPOLIS, MD., April 23rd, 1861

To His Excellency THOMAS H. HICKS, Governor of Maryland

SIR: You were credibly informed that I have taken possession of the Annapolis and Elk-Ridge Railroad. It might have escaped your notice, but at the official meeting which was had between your Excellency and the Mayor of Annapolis and the Committee of the Government and myself, as to my landing my troops, it was expressly stated as the reason why I should not land, that my troops could not pass the Railroad because the Company had taken up the rails, and they were private property. It is difficult to see how it could be that if my troops could not pass over the Railroad one way the members of the Legislature could pass the other way. I have taken possession for the purpose of preventing the carrying out of the threats of the mob as officially represented to me by the Master of transportation of the Railroad of this City, “That if my troops passed over the Railroad the Railroad should be destroyed.”

If the Government of the State had taken possession of the Railroad in any emergency I should have long waited before I entered upon it. But, as I had the honor to inform your Excellency in regard to another insinuation against the laws of Maryland, I am here arrived to maintain those laws if your Excellency desires, and the peace of the United States against all disorderly persons whatever.

I am endeavoring to save and not to destroy, to obtain means of transportation so I can vacate the Capitol prior to the sitting of the Legislature, and not be under the painful necessity of encumbering your beautiful City while the Legislature is in session. I have the honor to be,

Your Obdt. Servt.,

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Brig. Genl. Comdg.

SOURCE: Jessie Ames Marshall, Editor, Private and Official Correspondence of Gen. Benjamin F. Butler During the Period of the Civil War, Volume 1: April 1860 – June 1862, p. 28-9

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