December 17th, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Book, Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/17/2020

                       "You will proceed to Fort Monroe and assume the command of the post"

                                       "Boldness in execution is nearly always necessary"

This is an extremely important letter by the then commander of all armed forces Winfield Scott to the newly appointed Major General Benjamin F. Butler. Butler was one of the first major generals appointed in the civil war by Abraham, Lincoln. This is the very letter he received that gave him the marching orders to take control of Ft. Monroe and all the Volunteers that where being sent to the Fort. This is a pivotal time in the beginning of the civil war which was just getting started with just a month before the attack on Fort Sumpter. What makes this letter even more important is that not only does Scott spell out the orders to Butler, he even gives him directives on how to execute attacks on the enemy with boldness. This letter also plays a beginning part in the first Unions attempt to freeing slaves and later was considered a large step in setting in motion the freeing of slaves and the emancipation proclamation. Just 5 days after this letter was written and when Butler first arrived at fort Monroe on May 23rd, 1861, three runaway slaves showed up at Fort Monroe. Butler who realized the slaves where being used to build confederate fortifications said they would not be returned to their owner, a Colonel Malloy, and since Virginia seceded from the union, Butler was not required to return them to what he called a foreign country. This became known as Butler’s contraband policy at the time. This term became very popular in Union and was given to fleeing blacks from the South. It changed the dynamics of the civil war. Every slave that ran away from the Confederacy not only subtracted from the power of the Confederacy, but it also added to the power of the Union. Lincoln agreed with Butlers accretions at the time and later in August Congress enacted the Confiscation Act of 1861.

letter in full:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Headquarters of the Army Washington May 18, 1861


     You will proceed to Fort Monroe and assume the command of the post, when Colonel Dimick will limit his command to the regular troops composing a part of its Garrison, but will, by himself and his officers, give such aid in the instruction of the volunteers as you may direct.

     Besides the present garrison a Fort Monroe, consisting of seven companies of regular artillery, portions of to Massachusetts regiment of volunteers & A regiment of Vermont volunteers, nine additional regiments of volunteers from New York, may soon be expected there. Only a small portion if any of these can be conveniently quartered to encamped in the fort, the greater part, if not the whole area of which will be necessary for exercises on the ground. The nine additional regimens must, therefore, being camped in the best positions outside of, and is near the fort as may be. For this purpose it is hoped that a pine forest north of the fort and near the bay may be found to furnish the necessary ground and shade, for some of the 3000 men, tho’ Somewhat distant from drinking and cooking water. This as well as feed it may be necessary to bring to the camp on wheels. The quartermaster’s department has been instructed to furnish the necessary vehicles, casks in draft animals.

     The war Garrison of Fort Monroe, against a formidable army, provided with an adequate siege train, is about 2500 men. You will soon have these, inside and out, near three times that number. Assuming 1500 men as a garrison adequate to resist any probable attack in the next six months, four, at least, many days or weeks, you will consider the remainder of the force, under your command, disposable for aggressive purpose, and employed accordingly. In respect to more distant Operations you may expect specific instructions at a later date. In the meantime, I will direct your attention to the following objects; 1. Not let the enemy erect batteries to annoy Fort Monroe; 2. to capture any batteries the enemy may have within a half a day is march of You, & in which may be reached by land; 3. the same and respect to the enemies batteries at or about Crancy Island, the requiring watercraft; & 4. to menace and to re-capture the Navy Yard, at Gosport, in order to complete its destruction, with its contents, except that it may be practicable to bring away and safety. It is expected that you put yourself into free communication with the commander of the US naval forces, in Hampton roads, and invite his cordial co-cooperation with you in all operations in the hall, or in part by water, and no doubt he will have received corresponding instructions from the Navy department.

    Boldness in execution is nearly always necessary, but in planning and fitting out expeditions or detachment’s, great circumspection is a virtue. In important cases when time clearly permits, be sure to submit your plans and ask instructions from higher authority.

   Communicate with me often and fully on all matters important to the service.

                                                                                    I remain with great respect yours

                                                                                              Winfield Scott

Major General B. F. Butler U. S. Volunteers

With One Of A Kind Collectibles COA.

Historically Important Winfield Scott letterHistorically Important Winfield Scott letterHistorically Important Winfield Scott letterHistorically Important Winfield Scott letter
Historically Important Winfield Scott letterHistorically Important Winfield Scott letterHistorically Important Winfield Scott letter
Historically Important Winfield Scott letter
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $200.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $990.00
Number Bids: 12
Auction closed on Thursday, December 17, 2020.

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