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Letter From Benjamin Butler to Gen. Scott About Police Taking Weapons.

Federal Hill, Baltimore, May 15, 1861.

Lieutenant-General SCOTT:

* * * Thus the carrying off of some 400 or 500 stand of arms was accomplished by the police under the direction of the board of police. I found certain other arms being shipped apparently for improper purposes to a place called Snow Hill. I have sent out and brought in forty minie rifles. The remaining arms stored opposite the custom-house amounting to 2,700 stand I have caused to be seized and sent to Fort McHenry. I have caused Mr. Ross Winans to be arrested and sent to Annapolis; but for greater safety as I have no place of confinement save a jail I shall cause him to be removed to Fort McHenry, there to await the action of the civil authorities unless otherwise ordered. I have found several manufactories of arms, supplies and munitions of war for the rebels who are being constantly supplied from the city.

* * * * * * *

I have issued a proclamation a copy of which I inclose* and which I trust you will approve. It became necessary in my judgment in order to set right the thousand conflicting stories and rumors of the intentions of the Government as to Baltimore which were taken advantage of by time mob to incite insubordination and encourage a spirit of insurrection, and which showed itself upon our taking possession of the Government arms but was instantly suppressed upon a show of force.

* * * * * *

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

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 1, Page 571.

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