Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Governor John A. Andrew to Brigadier-General Benjamin F. Butler, April 25, 1861

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Department, Council Chamber,
BosToN, Apr. 25, '61

GENERAL: I have received through Major Ames a despatch transmitted from Perryville, detailing the proceedings at Annapolis from the time of your arrival off that port until the hour when Major Ames left you to return to Philadelphia. I wish to repeat the assurance of my entire satisfaction with the action you have taken with a single exception. If I rightly understood the telegraphic despatch, I think that your action in tendering to Governor Hicks the assistance of our Massachusetts troops to suppress a threatened servile insurrection among the hostile people of Maryland was unnecessary. I hope that the fuller despatches, which are on their way from you, may show the reasons why I should modify my opinion concerning that particular instance; but in general I think that the matter of servile insurrection among the community in arms against the Federal Union is no longer to be regarded by our troops in a political, but solely in a military point of view, and is to be contemplated as one of the inherent weaknesses of the enemy, from the disastrous operations of which we are under no obligation of a military character to guard them, in order that they may be enabled to improve the security which our arms would afford, so as to prosecute with more energy their traitorous attacks upon a federal government and capitol. The mode in which such outbreaks are to be considered should depend entirely upon the loyalty or disloyalty of the community in which they occur; and, in the vicinity of Annapolis, I can on this occasion perceive no reason of military policy why a force summoned to the defence of the federal government, at this moment of all others, should be offered to be diverted from its immediate duty to help rebels who stand with arms in their hands, obstructing its progress toward the city of Washington. I entertain no doubt that whenever we shall have an opportunity to interchange our views personally on this subject we shall arrive at entire concordance of opinion.

Yours faithfully,
John A. ANDREw

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. 37-8

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