Benjamin Butler

Facts, information and articles about Benjamin Butler, a Civil War General during the American Civil War

Benjamin Butler Facts


November 5, 1818 Deerfield, New Hampshire


January 11, 1893 Washington, D.C.


Major General


Battle of Big Bethel
Battle of Hatteras Inlet
Battle of New Orleans
Bermuda Hundred Campaign
Battle of Port Walthall
Battle of Proctor’s Creek
Battle of Ware Bottom Church
First Battle of Petersburg
Battle of Chaffin’s Farm
First Battle of Fort Fisher

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Benjamin Butler summary: Benjamin Butler was the sixth child of John Butler who served in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812 under Andrew Jackson. Though he was a sympathizer of the south, he served in the Union with one of his main quotes being “I was always a friend of Southern rights but an enemy of Southern wrongs.” He started as a third lieutenant and by 1855 he was a brigadier general.

Benjamin Butler In The Civil War

When it was unclear if Maryland would remain a part of the Union, Butler was sent with some troops from Massachusetts to reopen the lines of communication between Washington DC and the Union states. Butler was known for his eagerness and willingness to take on the role of authority when official instructions were absent. Butler received the assignment as commander in Hampton, Virginia at Fort Monroe. Just before the Battle of First Bull Run, Butler suffered a minor defeat at Big Bethel when a plan was drawn for an operation in both Big Bethel and Little Bethel but Butler did not lead the force himself and that led to criticism after the loss. One of the things which prevented Butler’s removal from military service was that Butler was a political ally of President Lincoln. A reason for his eventual dismissal was what happened at Fort Fisher when he called off the attack even when there were orders by General Grant to do otherwise.

Benjamin Butler After The War

After the war, Benjamin Butler became a member of the House of Representatives from 1867 to 1875 and 1877 to 1879. Butler passed away when attending court in the city of Washington DC. He is buried in Lowell, Massachusetts in the family cemetery of his wife.



Articles Featuring Benjamin Butler From History Net Magazines

Benjamin Butler Articles

1862: May and JuneLincoln urges farmers to go west, McClellan stalls and a new Rebel commander takes over May 3 – Confederate General Joseph Johnston orders troops to evacuate Norfolk, Va. Evacuation is completed May 10, and on May 11, the crew of the CSS Virginia burn the ship because it is too heavy to flee up the …
The Beast turned loose in New OrleansMaj. Gen. Benjamin Butler cleans up and clamps down on the rebellious Crescent City
The Ultimate Political Action CommitteeA congressional war panel proves too many cooks can poison the pot By any standard, Ball’s Bluff was a fiasco. What began as a raid in October 1861 escalated into an unintended battle for Leesburg, Va. The Yankees so badly mismanaged the assault that the Union commander, Colonel Edward D. Baker, would almost certainly have …
Andrew Johnson ImpeachedBehind the scenes in the case of a president on trial.
Belva Lockwood: ‘I cannot vote, but can be voted for’Belva Lockwood was the first woman to become a candidate for the American presidency. Her 1884 campaign stimulated media attention and social controversy.
Load the Hopper and Turn the Crank: Rapid-Fire Guns of the Civil WarRapid-fire weapons like the Gatling gun and the Coffee Mill gun were Civil War novelties, technology that was ahead of its time.
CSS Albemarle: Confederate Ironclad in the American Civil WarAn unstoppable confederate war machine -- Albemarle -- finally meets its match against Union raiders.
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad: The Union’s Most Important Supply LineThe Baltimore & Ohio Railroad survived numerous hardships of the Civil War in its service to the Union.
Battle of New Market Heights: USCT Soldiers Proved Their HeroismOn a gunfire-swept slope near Richmond on September 29, 1864, USCT soldiers stood to the test and proved black men made good professional troops. Fourteen of them received the Medal of Honor for their bravery.
Union Captain Judson KilpatrickAn unknown farm boy, he attended West Point. Homely, he had an endless string of mistresses. An inept commander, he became a major general. What was Judson Kilpatrick's secret?
Eyewitness Account: A Tar Heel at GettysburgAfter capture, Lawrence D. Davis had to undergo being reviewed by 'big & fat' Ben Butler.
Harry Macarthy: The Bob Hope of the ConfederacyHe could make tired soldiers laugh, and his 'Bonnie Blue Flag' churned southern audiences into a frenzy. That was why Harry Macarthy was loved from one end of the confederacy to the other.
Madame Loreta Janeta Velazquez: Heroine or HoaxerMadame Loreta Janeta Velazquez wrote a controversial memoir disclosing her activities as a double agent and brave soldier during the Civil War.
Battle of Boydton Plank Road: Major General Winfield Scott Hancock Strikes the Southside RailroadWith Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia stubbornlyclinging to Petersburg, Ulysses S. Grant decided to cut its vital rail lines. To perform the surgery, he selected one of the North's proven heroes -- Major General Winfield Scott Hancock.
American History: 1864 Attack on New YorkManhattan proved an irresistible target for Confederate saboteurs who wanted to set the city ablaze and settle some scores with the Union.
Ulysses S. Grant: America’s Second Three-Star GeneralNot since 1798 had congress trusted a soldier with the full power of the lieutenant generalcy. Clearly, great things were expected from the Union's new three-star general, Ulysses S. Grant.
Battle of Port RoyalAs Union warships steamed past the Confederate defenses near Port Royal, Flag Officer Samuel Du Pont proudly noted that army officers aboard his ship looked on 'with wonder and admiration.' A revolution in naval tactics had begun.
America’s Civil War: November 2000 From the EditorFrom the Editor America's Civil War The Committee on the Conduct of the War was as much a foe of wayward Union generals as it was of Confederates. The Committee on the Conduct of the War, which moved quickly and eagerly to investigate reports of Confederate forces deliberately slaughtering black and white soldiers at Fort …
Heroine or Hoaxer? – August 1999 Civil War Times FeatureHeroine or Hoaxer? Madame Loreta Janeta Velazquez wrote a controversial memoir disclosing her activities as a double agent and brave soldier during the Civil War. BY SYLVIA D. HOFFERT In 1876 the American public was introduced to an astonishing and controversial figure by the name of Madame Loreta Janeta Velazquez. Like so many others, she …
America’s Civil War: March 1998 From the EditorContrary to widespread belief, even ‘Beast’ Butler had a better side. He just kept it well hidden. If the Confederate States of America had ever offered a prize for the most hated Union general, New Hampshire-born Benjamin Butler would have won the laurels hands down. Short, stoop-shouldered and cross-eyed, Butler looked the part of the …
David and Goliath – December 1997 Civil War Times FeatureDavid and Goliath An Unstoppable Confederate War Machine Meets Its Match BY MICHAEL MORGAN It was the Union’s turn to suffer. For three years its forces had steadily grown stronger along the North Carolina coast. Federal soldiers occupied most of the eastern part of the state. Few ports remained open, and even those were increasingly …

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