War of the Rebellion: Serial 122 Page 0852 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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Nothing whatever has occurred to change my determination not to commission officers over these irregular troops since the time when that determination was first made known to Major-General Butler and to the Department of War. Therefore, I respectfully decline to comply with the request of the Secretary; and in examining the list of names for which commissions are requested I recognize several as of persons who have been nominated to me for commissions in regular Massachusetts volunteer regiments, and whom I have found it not expedient to appoint.

I regret deeply that the neglect of the Department of War to take action upon facts and requests presented by me in writing in behalf of this Commonwealth at various times since the commencement of Major-General Butler's insubordinate action should have rendered this refusal inevitable, and should not have spared this State the confusion, division, and distress to which it has been subjected by these irregular enlistments.

It affords me equal regret to be compelled to refuse to comply with any request whatever which the War Department may make upon me in the present condition of national affairs, but I find consolation in the consciousness, which is confirmed by repeated assurances from the Secretary, that there has never yet been any service which could properly be required of Massachusetts which has not cheerfully been rendered.

Inasmuch as the whole proceedings with reference to this irregular force collected by Major-General Butler have been conducted hitherto independently of the authority of Massachusetts, I presume that it is to be expected that they will be terminated in the same manner.

I have the honor to be, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,


Governor of Massachusetts.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Boston, December 28, 1861.


Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

MY DEAR SIR: I have written to the Adjutant-General such a letter as it became my duty to write in relation to giving commissions to the persons by him requested to command certain troops amassed in this Commonwealth by Major General Benjamin F. Butler. But I desire in all sincerity and simplicity to assure you that, in spite of all the unaccountable and injurious conduct of that gentleman, against which I have remonstrated in vain, I am still anxious that the public service, in the interested of which I have all along acted, should be promoted even by the organization of that force, if such is the wish of the Government, and if it can be done in some manner consistent with propriety and the welfare of the corps itself. If the Government wishes me to organize those men into companies and a regiment, and to appoint and commission officers, and shall so request, difficult and thankless as will be the task I will nevertheless undertake it. I shall of course receive and pay the respect to any recommendations of Major-General Butler due to his rank and position. But I must frankly say that there are men whose names I perceive are likely to be proposed to me, and on which I presume General Butler is likely to insist, whom I could not in conscience appoint, and whom to commission would offend both my sense of honor and of duty.