Washington, D. C., January 24, 1862.
Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,
Ordered, That the general commanding report without delay his opinion whether the expedition proposed by General B. F. Butler shall be prosecuted, abandoned, or modified, and in what manner.
By order of the Secretary of War:
P. H. WATSON,
Washington, January 25, 1862.
To the Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR:
SIR: In compliance with your instructions of yesterday, I have the honor to report in reference to the expedition of Major General B. F. Butler, U. s. volunteers, as follows:
It appeals that on the 10th of September a general authority was given in the following terms:
WAR DEPARTMENT, September 10, 1861.
Major General B. F. Buthelr is hereby authorized to raise, organize, arm, uniform, and equip a volunteer force for the war, in the New States, not exceeding six regiments of the maximum standard, of such arms, and in such proportion, and in such manner as he may judge expedient; and for this purpose his orders and requisitions of the Quartermaster's, Ordnance, and other staff departments of the Army are to be obeyed and answered, provided the cost of such recruitment, armament, and equipment does not exceed in the aggregate that of like troops now or hereafter raised for the service of the United States.
Secretary of War.
This authority was extended, and an object for the expedition indicated by an order from the Secretary dated two days after, as follows:
WAR DEPARTMENT, September 12, 1861.
Major-General Butler is authorized to fit out an prepare such troops in New England as he may judge fit for purpose, to make an expedition along the Eastern Shore of Virginia, via the railroad, from Wilmington, Del., to Salisbury, and thence through a portion of Maryland, Accomac and Northampton Counties, of Virginia, to Cape Charles.
Transportation agents, quartermasters, and commissaries of subsistence will answer General Butler's requisition for this purpose.
Secretary of War.
The object of General Butler's expedition, as given in these last-quoted orders, seems to have been soon after abandoned, and the general seems to have contemplated an attack on Mobile.
Again, on the 2nd of December, he submitted a plan for invading the coast of Texas, and he appears to have in view an ultimate attempt to capture New Orleans.* On the 2nd December he reports that a part of his expedition sailed in the steamer Constitution from Portland for Ship Island on the 23rd of November, touching at Fort Monroe the 27th of November, to take on board Brigadier General J. W. Phelps, U. S. Volunteers, who at the request of General Buftler + was detached from Fort Monroe to command this detachment, consisting of nine companies Ninth Connecticut and the Twenty-sixth Massachusetts Infantry Regiment
* See Series III, Vol. I, p. 580
+ Of November 13 See Series III, Vol. I, p. 548.