Beauty in the Beast

I feel like Ben Butler is a general whose star has dimmed a lot in recent thinking of the war, so it’s nice to see this newspaper article singing his praises. He may not have been the best military general on any given field, but he was one of the wiliest lawyers in uniform. Here’s one of several examples of his sneaky forward-thinking, applied liberally wherever he was stationed!

Butler took his troops to Annapolis by sea and commandeered the Naval Aca­demy as his base. When the governor called a special session of the legislature to consider secession, Butler declared that if they voted to secede, he would arrest ev­ery member. He then seized the great seal of the state, without which no legislation could become law.

He marched 1,000 troops to Baltimore, seized the city and declared martial law. He was able to open the rail line to Washington.

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