Tuesday July 30 1861
BLACKS BAFFLE BEN BUTLER
He had asked once before and gotten no answer, so today Gen.
Benjamin Butler wrote to Secretary of War Stanton again: what was he
to do with the black refugees who had come into his camp at Ft.
Monroe, Hampton Roads, Va? Under the provisions of the Fugitive
Slave Laws they were property, and he was legally obligated to
return them to slavery in the South. His solution was to declare
them “contraband of war” and put them to work building
fortifications. This followed the law while still denying the
slaves' services to the Rebellion, but a stamp of government
approval would still be nice.
Wednesday July 30 1862
BOSTON BUYERS BAG BUTLER’S BELLS
The citizens of New Orleans, in a last act of desperation as the
Union forces closed in on the city, had donated every bit of brass
they had to be melted down and made into cannons. Even the bells of
local churches were taken down. Before they could be recast, the
city fell, and military governor Benjamin Butler again confiscated
the material as contraband of war. Today the bells were sold at
auction in Boston, where he had shipped them.
Thursday July 30 1863
PRISONER PARITY POLICY PROPOSED
Ever since the Union army had started allowing the enlistment of
Negro soldiers, there had been confusion as to their exact status.
Paid less than white troops, the rumor was common that if they were
captured they would be returned to slavery even if they were
freemen. Abraham Lincoln ruled today that the Union would stand by
all her troops, and if any were sold or enslaved due to their color
there would be retaliatory punishment of Confederate POW’s.
Saturday July 30 1864
PENNSYLVANIANS PROVIDE PETERSBURG POWDER PUNCH
The 48th Pennsylvania regiment was made up primarily of men who had
been coal miners in civilian life. As the siege of Petersburg
dragged on, the idea arose to dig a tunnel under the Confederate
lines. It was dug, and filled with gunpowder, and today the fuse was
lit. The result was disaster...for the Union. The initial explosion
killed some 280 Confederates, but the subsequent Battle of the
Crater was mishandled and poorly led. Casualty totals were 1500
Confederates to 4000 Union killed. This does not include wounded or
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