Butler, Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin), 1818-1893

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1818-11-05
Death 1893-01-11
English

Biographical notes:

Union Army general; Republican Congressman; governor of Massachusetts.

From the description of Letters of Benjamin Butler [manuscript], 1869-1890. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647975649

Union general in the Civil War; Congressman; Governor of Massachusetts (1883-84)

From the description of ALS : Bay View, to [President Grant], 1871 July 29. (Boston Public Library). WorldCat record id: 37939179

Benjamin Franklin Butler was a United States (U.S.) Army officer who was major general of the Department of the Gulf.

From the description of Benjamin Franklin Butler papers, undated. (US Army, Mil Hist Institute). WorldCat record id: 50149959

Butler attended Colby College (1838) and returned to Lowell, Massachusetts where he studied law. Admitted to the bar in 1840, he began a successful practice focusing on criminal cases. His practice gradually extended so that he maintained an office (Butler and Farr) in Boston. He later became successfully involved in politics and became prominent for his escapades during the Civil War.

From the description of Lawyer's notebooks, 1849-1853. (Harvard Law School Library). WorldCat record id: 81182478

American lawyer, army officer, and politician. During the Civil War, controversial commander of Union forces occupying New Orleans in 1862; member of U.S. Congress 1866-1875, governor of Massachusetts 1882-1883, and founder of a successful law practice in 1840 which continued until his death.

From the description of Benjamin Franklin Butler letters, 1855-1886. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 63936847

Benjamin F. Butler was a General in the United States Army during the Civil War.

From the description of Benjamin Franklin Butler letter, 1861 Sept. 16. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 122612881

American Army officer and politician.

From the description of Document signed : New Orleans, 1862 July 5. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270132560

Lawyer and territorial probate judge, Pomeroy, Washington.

From the description of Ledgers, 1869-1890. (Washington State University). WorldCat record id: 29853572

First volunteer major general appointed by Pres. Abraham Lincoln on 16 May 1861; in 1862 he commanded the force that occupied New Orleans after it was captured by the U.S. Navy; removed from command of the Department of the Gulf on 17 Dec. 1862.

From the description of General orders from Headquarters Department of the Gulf, 1862. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71058392

Army officer, Massachusetts governor, and U.S. representative; active in Greenback and Anti-Monopoly parties.

From the description of Autograph, 1892 Jan. 28. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70961661

Born in Deerfield, N.H.; members of Massachusetts House of Representatives (1853); Massachusetts Senate (1859); fought in Civil War; U.S. Congressman (1867-1875, and 1897); Governor of Massachusetts (1882).

From the description of Copybook, 1883 May 14 Sept. 9. (Boston Public Library). WorldCat record id: 41075584

Army officer, U.S. representative from and governor of Massachusetts, and military governor of New Orleans.

From the description of Papers of Benjamin F. Butler, 1831-1896. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79455607

Butler was an American politician and Union general in the Civil War.

From the description of Autograph, ca. 1870. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80879351

American Army Officer and Politician.

From the description of Letter signed : Boston, to O.D. Barrett, 1879 Sept. 10. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270132608

Born in Deerfield, N.H., Benjamin F. Butler attended Waterville College (now Colby College) in Maine, graduating in 1838. Prior to the Civil War he practiced law and served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts Senate as a Democrat. Early in the war he served as commander of the Massachusetts Militia and played a significant role in thwarting efforts of Confederate sympathisers in Maryland to bring that state into the Confederate fold. Commissioned a major general by President Lincoln, Butler was assigned command of the Department of Virginia, with headquarters at Fort Monroe. He later commanded the force that occupied New Orleans after it was captured by the Navy. Bitterly resented by the citizens of New Orleans for the severity and firmness of his rule, Butler was relieved of his command in late 1862 by General Nathaniel Banks. Following the war Butler was a Republican Member of the U.S. House of Representatives and served as governor of Massachusetts from 1883-1884. He ran for president as a member of the Greenback and Anti-Monopoly parties in 1884.

From the description of General orders no. 98, 1862 Nov. 20. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 221273415

Army officer, governor of Mass., congressman. Member of the Mass. House of Representatives, 1853; Mass. senate, 1859; Brigadier General of the Mass. militia at the start of the Civil War; occupied Baltimore in 1861, commander in capture of New Orleans, 1862, military governor of New Orleans, 1862; controversial politics and regulatory tactics led to charges of corruption and graft; in command eastern Va. and North Carolina districts, 1863; sent to N.Y. to preserve order during election 1864; member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Mass. 1867-75, 1877-79; governor of Mass., 1882; U.S. President nominee of anti-monoply party 1884.

From the description of Letter, 1889 April 6. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122364366

Attorney, Lowell and Boston, Massachusetts; Massachusetts state representative, 1853; state senator, 1859; major-general, Union Army, Civil War; Massachusetts congressman, 1867-1875, 1877-1879; Massachusetts governor, 1882.

From the description of Letter : Boston, [Massachusetts], to O.D. Barrett, Washington, D.C., 1886 April 25. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 27988923

From the description of Letter: Boston, [Massachusetts], to John Eliot Bowen, New York City, 1889 Aug. 9. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 27988936

American army officer and politician.

From the description of Letter signed : New York, to O.D. Barrett, 1889 June 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270132629

From the description of Letter signed : Boston, to J.W. Medley, 1881 July 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270132607

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Fort Monroe, Virginia, to Horace Greeley, 1863 Nov. 30. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270131552

From the description of Autograph letter signed : [New York], to O.D. Barrett, [18]89 July 11. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270131633

From the description of Letter signed : Boston, to William W. Belknap, 1874 Apr. 24. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270132610

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Washington, to Horace Greeley, 1870 Feb. 12. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270131821

From the description of Letter signed : New York, N.Y., to O.D. Barrett, 1885 Oct. 14. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270132620

From the description of Letter signed : Washington, to C.R. Edwards, 1868 Feb. 18. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270132647

From the description of Letter signed : Washington, to William W. Belknap, 1874 Mar. 28. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270132645

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Lowell, to O.D. Barrett, 1890 Jan. 4. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270131613

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Springfield, Massachusetts, to Mr. O.D. Barret[t], 1880 Oct. 23. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270131740

From the description of Letter signed : Virginia, to Brig. Gen'l Graham, [1863] Nov. 30. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270132644

Massachusetts legislator, Federal general, U.S. congressman, and governor of Massachusetts.

From the description of Papers, 1864-1893. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 41546391

Butler was a lawyer, army officer and politician. During the Civil War he served as the military governor of New Orleans (1862). He served as commander of the districts of eastern Virginia and North Carolina, was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1867-1875; 1877-1879), and served as governor of Massachusetts (1882-1884).

From the description of Letter to Benjamin Coolidge Carter, 1883. (Harvard Law School Library). WorldCat record id: 234337898

Benjamin Franklin Butler was born in 1818 and grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts. In the 1850s, he got involved in politics and quickly developed a reputation for ruthlessness, switching political parties whenever it suited his interest. After losing his bid for governor of Massachusetts in 1860, he received permission to form a state regiment. Despite having no military training or experience, Butler was made a brigadier-general in the tiny militia, which he then parlayed into the rank of U.S. Army general after the Civil War began. After military successes in Maryland and North Carolina, General Butler was given command of the occupation forces in New Orleans. But he then displayed the same ruthlessness and unconventional thinking that characterized his earlier political career, and was relieved of command by President Lincoln at the end of 1862. He was elected to Congress in 1868 and led the charge for President Andrew Johnson's impeachment and served as the lead prosecutor in Johnson's Senate trial. After numerous unsuccessful attempts, he was finally elected governor of Massachusetts in 1882. He served only a two-year term, then unsucessfully ran for president in 1884. He died in early 1893 at the age of 76.

From the description of Benjamin Franklin Butler Collection, 1861-1868, 1889. (University of California, Santa Barbara). WorldCat record id: 62875845

Benjamin F. Butler was a U.S. general during the Civil War who served as military administrator of New Orleans, La., between May and December 1862. On June 7, 1862, he had executed one William B. Mumford for tearing down a United States flag placed by Admiral David G. Farragut on the United States Mint in New Orleans.

From the description of Benjamin Franklin Butler letter, 1890 Mar. 1. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 79622978

Born in Deerfield, New Hampshire, Benjamin Franklin Butler (1818-1893) established a law practice in Lowell, Massachusetts, after being admitted to the bar in 1840. A Democrat politically, Butler served as a delegate to the Democratic national conventions in 1848 and 1860, while also being elected to the House of Representatives in 1853 and to the Senate in 1859. During the Civil War, he was appointed brigadier general of the Massachusetts militia and soon promoted to major general in the Union Army. Assuming command of Fort Monroe, he led engagements in North Carolina and New Orleans, and was known for his harsh treatment of southerners. Butler’s refusal to return fugitive slaves to their masters led to the coining of the term contrabands. Following the war, he returned to his political career, serving as a Republican representative in Congress from 1867 through 1879. Although winning the Democratic nomination for governor of Massachusetts in 1882, Butler was defeated a year later as well as during his bid in the presidential elections of 1884 on the Greenback ticket.

Sources:

Benjamin Franklin Butler. NNDB. Accessed August 19, 2011. http://www.nndb.com/people/171/000102862/ .

Butler, Benjamin Franklin, (1818-1893). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed August 19, 2011. http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=b001174 .

From the guide to the Butler, Benjamin Franklin, Collection 2011-206., 1861, 1863, (Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)

Biographical Note

  • 1818, Nov. 5: Born, Deerfield, N.H.
  • 1828: Family moved to Lowell, Mass.
  • 1838: Graduated from Colby College, Waterville, Maine
  • 1840: Admitted to the bar; practiced law in Lowell, Mass.
  • 1844: Married Sarah Hildreth
  • 1853: Elected to Massachusetts house of representatives
  • 1859: Elected to Massachusetts senate
  • 1861: Brigadier general of Massachusetts militia; commanded troops in Baltimore, Md. Promoted to major general in command of Fort Monroe, Va.
  • 1862: Appointed military governor of New Orleans, La.
  • 1863: Commanded districts of eastern Virginia and North Carolina
  • 1864: Commanded Army of the James
  • 1865: Relieved of military command Returned to Lowell, Mass.
  • 1866 - 1875 : Representative from Massachusetts, United States Congress
  • 1868: Selected by the House of Representatives to serve as a manager of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in the United States Senate
  • 1878: Unsuccessful candidate for governor of Massachusetts
  • 1879: Unsuccessful candidate for governor of Massachusetts
  • 1882: Elected governor of Massachusetts
  • 1884: Unsuccessful candidate for president
  • 1892: Published Autobiography and Personal Reminiscences of Major-General Benj. F. Butler; Butler's Book. Boston: A. M. Thayer
  • 1893, Jan. 11: Died, Washington, D.C.

From the guide to the Benjamin F. Butler Papers, 1778-1929, (bulk 1861-1893), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

Biography

Benjamin Franklin Butler was born in 1818, but his father died when he was an infant, leaving the family penniless. Butler grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts, where his mother ran a boarding house. After failing to get into West Point, Butler studied for the ministry at Waterville College, but after graduation he decided to become a lawyer instead. In the 1850s, Benjamin Butler got involved in politics, and quickly developed a reputation for ruthlessness, switching political parties whenever it suited his interest. His bid for governor of Massachusetts in 1860 garnered him a mere four percent of the vote. However, he quickly received permission to form a state regiment to help ensure order at President Abraham Lincoln's inauguration. Despite having no military training or experience, Butler was made a brigadier-general in the tiny militia, which he then parlayed into the rank of U.S. Army general after the Civil War began.

After military successes in Maryland and North Carolina, General Butler was given command of the occupation forces in New Orleans. His tenure in the city was highly controversial, as he displayed the same ruthlessness and unconventional thinking that characterized his earlier political career. Having earned the nickname "Beast" Butler, he was relieved of command by President Lincoln at the end of 1862. Butler returned to the Northeast, where he built a huge following for his political ambitions, becoming so popular that President Lincoln offered him the Vice Presidential spot on the 1864 ticket. Butler turned him down, believing the army provided better opportunities than the vice presidency could. However, a long string of military defeats led Butler to resign in frustration at the end of 1864, and after Lincoln's assassination, Butler became one of President Andrew Johnson's fiercest opponents. Elected to Congress in 1868, Butler led the charge for Johnson's impeachment and served as the lead prosecutor in Johnson's Senate trial.

Although Johnson was acquitted, Benjamin Butler remained in Congress, often championing civil rights causes. Then, after numerous unsuccessful attempts, he was finally elected governor of Massachusetts in 1882. He served a two-year term, and then ran for president in 1884 as the candidate for the Greenback-Labor and Anti-Monopoly parties, receiving about two percent of the vote. He died in early 1893 at the age of 76.

From the guide to the Benjamin Franklin Butler Collection, 1861-1868, 1889, (University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special Collections)

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Places:

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  • New Orleans (La.) (as recorded)
  • Louisiana--New Orleans (as recorded)
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  • Baton Rouge (La.) (as recorded)
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  • Louisiana (as recorded)
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  • Louisiana (as recorded)
  • North Carolina (as recorded)
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  • United States (as recorded)
  • Louisiana--New Orleans (as recorded)