1861-Dated Civil War Period, Sheet Music for the “Contraband” Schottische (Slow Polka), published by Lee & Walker of Philadelphia, Fine.This Civil War era Sheet Music consists of six pages measuring 13” x 9.5” with great cover graphics. The front cover shows young Black men running from an angry White man who holds a whip in his right hand and gestures menacingly with his left hand in a fist. The Black youth are tumbling and running from the White man but their smiles belie a prank of some sort. The song "Contraband" was composed by Septimus Winner and dedicated to Major General Benjamin Butler. A “Schottische” was a slow polka musical piece. Produced around the time of Union General Butler's declaration of such freedom seekers as “Contraband of War,” also known as the "Fort Monroe Doctrine.” The cover is a great display piece, with some light toning around the edges but otherwise clean. Page 6 is a list of “Books and Exercises” published by Lee & Walker of Philadelphia. Page 7 is blank and Page 8 (the outer cover) is a bonus musical piece entitled “River Waltz”.
Benjamin Franklin Butler (November 5, 1818 - January 11, 1893) was a major general of the Union Army, politician, lawyer and businessman from Massachusetts. Born in New Hampshire and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, Butler is best known as a political major general of the Union Army during the American Civil War, and for his leadership role in the impeachment of U.S. President Andrew Johnson. He was a colorful and often controversial figure on the national stage and in the Massachusetts political scene and ran several campaigns for Governor before his election to that office in 1882.
Butler, a successful trial lawyer, served in the Massachusetts legislature as an antiwar Democrat and as an officer in the state militia. Early in the Civil War he joined the Union Army, where he was noted for his lack of military skill, and his controversial command of New Orleans, which brought him wide dislike in the South and the "Beast" epithet. He helped create the legal idea of effectively freeing fugitive slaves by designating them as contraband of war in service of military objectives, which led to a political groundswell in the North which included general emancipation and the end of slavery as official war goals. His commands were marred by financial and logistical dealings across enemy lines, some of which probably took place with his knowledge and to his financial benefit.
Butler was dismissed from the Union Army after his failures in the First Battle of Fort Fisher, but soon won election to the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts. As a Radical Republican he opposed President Johnson's Reconstruction agenda, and was the House's lead manager in the Johnson impeachment proceedings. As Chairman of the House Committee on Reconstruction, Butler authored the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 and coauthored the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1875.