Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler

When the three slaves escaped from the Confederate forces at Sewell's Point to the Union-held Fortress Monroe on the opposite shore of Hampton Roads harbor, Major General Benjamin F. Butler was in command of the fort. He had arrived there just the day before.

Butler, from Lowell, Massachusetts, was a highly skilled lawyer and state legislator in civilian life. When the three fugitive slaves straggled ashore at Fortress Monroe, Butler had been a professional military man for only four weeks, by order of President Abraham Lincoln.


Image: Library of Congress

© Susan VanHecke 2022