A Guide to the Benjamin Franklin Butler Collection, 1861, 1863
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.
"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.
Composed of correspondence, the Benjamin Franklin Butler Collection, 1861, 1863, chronicles his experiences as major general in the Union Army during the Civil War. Addressed to the mother of Major Theodore Winthrop, the letters concern his death and the return of his belongings, including his watch and correspondence.
This collection is open for research use.
Benjamin Franklin Butler Collection, 1861, 1863, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Bethany Anderson, August 2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers