Sunday, October 2, 2016

Governor John A. Andrew to Brigadier-General Benjamin F. Butler, April 23rd, 1861

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department,
BosToN, April 23rd, 1861
Brig. Gen. B. F. BUTLER

GENERAL: Yesterday afternoon a despatch was received by me from Major Ames dated at Philadelphia on the previous day. The bearer, Wm. Steppe, returns with this communication. After examining the “memorandum of your plan and reasons for proceeding to Annapolis,” which was inclosed to me, I have to say that I entirely and cordially approve your action, and have every confidence that your discretion has dictated the wisest and safest course that could have been devised in the absence of suggestions from Washington. I have received most satisfactory information concerning the landing of our troops at Fort Monroe; and Captain Eldridge, the intelligent master of the Steamer “State of Maine,” has reported to me in person the incidents of his voyage. With regard to the Fifth Regiment, which I have despatched to Annapolis by steamer from New York City, I wish to call your careful and particular attention to an unfortunate division of sympathy and opinion between Col. Lawrence and Lieut. Col. Green, which seems to threaten a serious diminution of the efficiency of that regiment. From my own observation during the day and night of their departure I was led to believe that Lieut. Col. Green afforded much less assistance to Col. Lawrence than he should have done, in view of his duty as well as of his capacity. I was satisfied that the departure of the regiment from Boston was seriously delayed and obstructed by this stolidity of the Lieut. Colonel. I fear that if the same obstruction shall continue the health of Col. Lawrence will give way under the weight of his care and anxiety, for he appears to be of a remarkably sensitive and amiable disposition. In view of this condition of facts it may become necessary for you to adopt vigorous and peremptory measures in order to check this evil. Perhaps detailing Lt. Col. Green upon some special duty, or, if a division of his regiment between two points is necessary, giving the Lt. Col. the charge of one of the detachments away from the Head Qrs. of the Regt. would answer the purpose. I wish to express my appreciation of your attention in transmitting so regularly and accurately during the night of the 19th inst. information concerning the fight at Baltimore. Such portions of your despatches to me on that night as could with propriety be published were compiled, under my direction, by my private Secretary, and communicated to the newspapers of the next morning. Such an official promulgation of events, I am informed from various sources, caused great relief to many families who were distracted by the exaggerated and conflicting accounts of the correspondents of the press. At the urgent request of many persons I am inclined to continue such official bulletins on important occasions, and I request that you may make your despatches as full and minute as may be consistently with your time and duties, in order that such information may be supplied.

I desire you to cause observation to be made with care concerning Frederick W. Heath, Adjutant of the Light Artillery Battery. Grave intimations have reached me to the effect that he has very recently expressed earnest sympathy for the secessionists.

For our guidance and assistance in settling accounts I wish that a statement should be prepared, and sent forward promptly, of all items of indebtedness incurred under your direction in respect to the transportation of the troops, also copies of your letters of credit, and any memoranda that may assist our disbursing and auditing officers here to avoid imposition. I am faithfully, & with cordial sympathy for yourself, family, & command,

Comdg M.V.M.

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. 31-2

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