Report of Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler,
MAY 13, 1861.--Baltimore, Md., garrisoned by United States troops.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 2 [S# 2] -- CHAPTER IX.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF ANNAPOLIS,
Federal Hill, Baltimore, May 15, 1861.
I received your telegram this morning, and hasten to reply in detail. In obedience to verbal directions, received from the War Department through Mr. Harriman at 1½ o'clock on Monday [12th instant], at the Relay Station, I caused a portion of the force there situated--that is to say, 500 men of the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, under Colonel Jones; 450 men of the Eighth New York Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Waterbury; and a section of Cook's battery, with Major Cook--to march for Baltimore at 6 o'clock.
We disembarked from the cars without difficulty, and took possession of Federal Hill amid the plaudits of many of the people and a violent thunder-storm. We were disturbed during the night by a report of a riot, in which the United States recruiting regiment was being attacked. This called us to arms about midnight, and the men so remained until morning in a drenching rain with the utmost patience. It turned out upon investigation that this was only a feint of the secessionists to cover a plundering of a quantity of arms between 1 and 2 o'clock from those stored by the city nearly opposite the custom-house.
Thus the carrying off of some four or five hundred stand of arms was accomplished by the police under the direction of the board of police. I found certain other arms being shipped, apparently for improper purposes, to a place called Snow Hill. I have sent out and brought in forty minie rifles. The remaining arms stored opposite the customhouse, amounting to twenty-seven hundred stand, I have caused to be seized and sent to Fort McHenry. I have caused Mr. Ross Winans to be arrested and sent to Annapolis; but for greater safety, as I have no place of confinement save a jail, I shall cause him to be removed to Fort McHenry, there to await the action of the civil authorities, unless otherwise ordered. I have found several manufactories of arms, supplies, and munitions of war for the rebels, who are being constantly supplied from the city.
A specimen of an explosive minie rifle-ball, the experiments with which, under Crosby, at Woolwich, were so satisfactory, I herewith inclose for your inspection. This manufactory (carried on, I am ashamed to say, by a Massachusetts man) I shall cause to be stopped. I propose this morning to seize a quantity of powder stored in Greenmount Cemetery, of which I will report to you. I had an interview with the mayor and some other gentlemen. He informed me that he did not consider it the duty of the city authorities actively to co-operate in preventing the forwarding of arms and munitions of war to the rebels.
I have issued a proclamation, a copy of which I inclose [No. 3], and which I trust you will approve. It became necessary, in my judgment, in order to set right the thousand conflicting stories and rumors of the intentions of the Government as to Baltimore, which were taken advantage of by the mob to incite insubordination and encourage a spirit of insurrection, and which showed itself upon our taking possession of the Government arms, but was instantly suppressed upon a show of force.
I have not assumed to order re-enforcements from General Patterson. I have no need of either them or him, and can get along very well without either, with accustomed deliberation. I have had no report of the arrival of his troops early this morning. I have received no letter from the Lieutenant-General for many days, and the first telegram this morning, to which I have replied with some degree of promptness. General Shriver, at Frederick, has telegraphed me frequently for aid to protect Monocacy Bridge. I sent his telegram to the Lieutenant-General, asking for instructions, and that is the telegram misunderstood. I have provided for the safety of my camp at the Relay. I have asked for and obtained the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment from General Mansfield, on the promise that he should receive in their stead the Eighth New York.
From some unexplained reason General Mansfield retained from the Eighth Massachusetts their camp equipage, which is the property of the State of Massachusetts, which retention has somewhat disordered my plans. But the Eighth Massachusetts are at the camp at the Relay House, and unless I have entirely mistaken my men, they, together with the balance of Jones' Sixth Regiment and that part of the New York Eighth (consisting of about five hundred men) which I have left there, together with two sections of Cook's battery, will be able to hold that point against all comers, if not in safety, with success. I should be deeply grieved if in any of my acts I should exceed propriety of action by going either too fast or too far. I shall await and obey instructions implicitly, and keep the General-in-Chief advised of every movement so far as possible, so that I may have the instructions and directions to which the country looks for control and safety in the peril of the hour.
I have the honor to announce further the completion of the railroad connection between Washington and tide-water at Annapolis. With the means of transportation now provided, we can move 5,000 troops daily between Washington and Annapolis. As soon as I receive further communication I will send a more detailed report. I have also the honor to communicate the capture of the steam gun, and the fact that I have found men in the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment who have been able to put it in operation, and it is now in full working order.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Source: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
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