This Week in the Civil War - 698

Nov 11, 2013

The Union War Department on Wednesday, November 11, 1863 announced that Major General Benjamin F. Butler was being restored to active duty, replacing General John G. Foster as commander of the Union Department of Virginia and North Carolina. 

An early war, political ally of Abraham Lincoln, Butler had been removed eleven months earlier from his command in New Orleans after embarrassing the Lincoln administration with his infamous “woman order,” for illegal confiscation of foreign assets, and for his injudicious, administrative rulings. 

Given his Democratic Party background and strong relations with Radical Republicans in Congress, Butler potentially could oppose Lincoln’s re-election in 1864.  It was, therefore, politically wise to displace Butler from his civilian status and restore him to military duty, where he potentially could be less troublesome to Lincoln.