An inept political general, Benjamin Butler is best remembered for his tenure as commander of
Union troops in occupied New Orleans and for the colorful nicknames bestowed upon him
by the citizens of that city. The best known of these were "Beast" Butler, in honor of
his proclamation that any Southern lady who did not treat Federal soldiers with respect
could in turn be treated as a "lady of the night," and "Spoons" Butler, since many Southerners
believed that the general enriched himself by appropriating the silverware
and other precious possessions of the citizenry as spoils of war.
The ladies of New Orleans retaliated (albeit behind closed doors) by having portraits of Butler
painted on the bottoms of their chamber pots.
Poems like Ambrose Bierce's indicate that many in the North were no more impressed with Butler than Southerners like Samuel Berryhill were.
"General B.F. Butler" || "To Major General B.F. Butler, U.S.A."