Thursday, April 3, 2014

Beast Butler

General Benjamin Butler

  General Benjamin Butler was controversial from the beginning of his career as an army officer. He was a politically appointed general from Massachusetts and a Democrat. In the early part of the war while commanding at Fort Monroe Virginia he coined a new term for confiscated slaves. "Contraband's of war". He reasoned that if slaves were chattel property and their owners used them to support the Confederate Army, like digging fortifications then they could be confiscated and not returned to their Southern owners. When the Union Army captured New Orleans Butler was given command of the city. Southern women were very hostile to the Union soldiers. They spat on them. Left streetcars, theaters, and churches whenever they entered. The women walked in the middle of the street in order to avoid passing them on the sidewalk, or turned their backs on them. A common practice was to empty their chamber pots on to the heads of Union soldiers as they walked under their balconies. Admiral David Glasgow Farragut who was the Union Naval commander and a native of Tennessee had a chamber pot dumped on his head. After this outrage General Butler issued his infamous Order # 28 or "Woman Order". 


New Orleans, May 15, 1862

As the officers and soldiers of the United States have been subject to repeated insults from the women (calling themselves ladies) of New Orleans in return for the most scrupulous non-interference and courtesy on our part, it is ordered that hereafter when any female shall by word, gesture, or movement insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States she shall be regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation.

By command of Major-General Butler:


Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff

  In other words they would be treated as prostitutes.This order enraged the South. Butler claimed that his order changed these women's behavior for the better but no Union soldier was brave enough to walk under a balcony anymore after that. Chamber pots began showing up with Butler's picture in the bottom of them. Some of them still exist. In a way the South got it's revenge when Butler's army, due to his incompetence as a General, was trapped by a Confederate Army commanded by P.G.T. Beauregard in May 1864 at Bermuda Hundred.
Admiral David Glasgow Farragut

Chamber Pot  with Butlers picture

Entrenchments at Bermuda Hundred

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