Department of Virginia and North Carolina, Army of the James
The Department of Virginia was created in May, 1861, and the troops therein were organized into the Seventh Army Corps on July 22, 1862. This corps was divided between Fort Monroe, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Yorktown, and other places. The Eighteenth Army Corps, created December 24, 1862, from troops in the Department of North Carolina was transferred to the Department of Virginia and North Carolina July 15, 1863, when the two departments were united, and the troops therein were all merged in the Eighteenth Corps. This was reorganized in April, 1864, and the Tenth Corps being transferred from the Department of the South, the whole force was called the Army of the James. Its principal commander was Major-General Benjamin F. Butler, although Major-Generals E. O. C. Ord and D. B. Birney held command for short periods. On December 3, 1864, the two corps were discontinued, the white troops being formed into the Twenty-fourth Army Corps and the colored into the Twenty-fifth. On January 31, 1865, the two departments were again separated.
Major-General Benjamin Franklin Butler was born in Deerfield, New Hampshire, November 5, 1818, and was graduated from Waterville College in 1838. He practiced law and entered political life. As a brigadier-general of the Massachusetts State Militia, he answered President Lincoln's call and was placed in command of the Department of Annapolis. In May, 1861, he was made major-general of volunteers and given the Department of Virginia, and in August led the troops that assisted in the capture of Forts Hatteras and dark. On March 20, 1862, he was put in command of the Department of the Gulf and his troops occupied New Orleans on May 1st. His army gained possession of most of the lower Mississippi, and in December he was relieved by Major-General Banks. On November 1st, he assumed command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina and personally led the Eighteenth Corps (Army of the James) until May 2, 1864. He was sent to New York city in October to cope with the anticipated disturbance during the presidential election. Following an unsuccessful expedition (December 1864) against Fort Fisher, he was removed by Lieutenant-General Grant. He was elected to Congress as a Republican, in 1866. In 1883, he was Democratic governor of Massachusetts, and in the following year was the unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Greenback-Labor and Anti-Monopolist parties. He died in Washington, January 11, 1893.
Source: "Photographic History of the Civil War"
This Page last updated 03/21/04