William P. Fessenden, Secretary of the Treasury and a Maine native, wrote to Gen. Benjamin Butler, commander of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina for the Union army, asking Butler to give Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley, also a Maine native, leave for a few weeks to return to Maine.
Republican political forces wanted Shepley in Maine to speak on behalf of Lincoln and other candidates before the 1864 election. Shepley was a Democrat who became a Republican after the war. He was commander of the 12th Maine Regiment, then became commander of the 3rd Brigade, military commandant of New Orleans, and military governor of Louisiana.
When Louisiana elected a civil government loyal to the Union, Shepley became commander of the Department of Norfolk and Portsmouth.
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