War of the Rebellion: Serial 122 Page 0840 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

Boston, November 27, 1861.

Brigadier-General THOMAS,

Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

GENERAL: For the sake of nearly a thousand misled men, who now occupy a position most unfortunate for themselves and their families, I beg to request your attention to the following considerations concerning the troops which Major-General Butler has raised contrary to my orders, and without authority from any source entitled to confer it.

Referring to my letters addressed to that officer under date of October 5 and October 26 last, copies of which have been filed in the War Department, I would recall to your recollection that by General Orders, Numbers 78, issued by you on September 16, General Butler was placed under my orders in respect to recruiting in Massachusetts any portion of the force which by authority from the War Department, dated September 10, he was empowered to raise in New England, and also that under date of September 27 I was assured by the Secretary of War as follows:

It was the intention of this Department to leave to Your Excellency all questions concerning the organization of troops in your State, and the orders to which you refer (i. e., those concerning General Butler), were designed to be subject to the approval and control of the Executive of Massachusetts.

Also that under date of October 5 the Secretary telegraphed as follow, in reply to an inquiry from me, as to General Butler's power and position here:

General Butler has authority to concentrate a brigade for special service, all of lows, in reply to an inquiry from me, as to General Butler's power and position here:

General Butler has authority to concentrate a brigade for service, all of which is to be organized under the several Governors of the Eastern States.

By reference to my letters of October 5 and October 26, before mentioned, and to facts well known to you from other sources, you are aware that in disobedience to my orders General Butler proceeded to recruit an irregular force in Massachusetts, which now amounts to nearly a thousand men, and it is of those I wish to speak.

The fair proportion of Massachusetts in the six regiments General Butler was expected to obtain from New England was two regiments. Accordingly I assigned to him our Twenty-sixth and Twenty-eighth, the first in an advanced state of preparation, and the latter in a condition most favorable to speedy recruitment and organization. Desiring to perfect his force in every arm of the service, so far as was consistently in my power, I also commenced to recruit for him the Fourth Massachusetts Light Artillery Battery.

At that time there were recruiting in the State eight regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, and four artillery batteries. Notwithstanding the fact that I might thereby create too great a strain on our capacity to raise men, in my desire to aid him, I, on October 5, offered to commence, after a short interval, the recruitment for his expedition of a third regiment (being much more than the Massachusetts proportion of his six), but this offer he declined, and against my orders and conflicting with the regular recruiting system of the State and retarding the completion of all the regiments then in progress for Generals Sherman and Burnside, he proceeded to assemble the irregular force I have described, which is scattered throughout the Commonwealth in various camps from Lowell to Pittsfield.

You are aware that I have declined to commission the officers over the force thus irregularly raised, or to organize it into regiments, and you have approved of my determination in that respect. But the services