August 7, 1861: Butler, Magruder and Contrabands

Major General Benjamin Butler was probably the most militarily incompetent of the “political generals” appointed by Lincoln during the War.  Like the other “political generals” Butler was appointed for political reasons and not due to his military acumen.  In the case of Butler, he was a powerful  Massachusetts Democrat, and his appointment aided Lincoln in rallying Massachusetts Democrats to support the War.

While he was militarily inept, Butler had a shrewd enough brain in other areas.  Appointed to command Fortress Monroe in Virginia, Butler quickly developed the policy of not returning slaves to their rebel masters, arguing, as the able attorney he was, that such slaves were contrabands of war, and could be used by the Union Army as hired laborers, thus depriving the Confederacy of their labor, and giving it to the Union. (more…)

Published in: on August 7, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on August 7, 1861: Butler, Magruder and Contrabands  
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