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William Orlando Butler

Butler, William Orlando, 1791–1880, American general and political leader, b. Carrollton, Ky. He served in the War of 1812 and distinguished himself in the battle of New Orleans. He was a Congressman from 1839 to 1843. In the Mexican War he was a major general of volunteers and was second in command to Zachary Taylor at Monterrey, where Butler was wounded. After the fighting ended he succeeded Winfield Scott as commander in chief and superintended the evacuation of the U.S. soldiers from Mexico. In 1848 he was vice presidential candidate on the unsuccessful Democratic ticket headed by Lewis Cass. Although a slaveholder, he opposed secession and supported the Union cause in the Civil War.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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