I've enjoyed reading some of Butler's correspondence, especially on exchange issues. But I thought this one was pretty good, too:
From General Butler
Headquarters Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, FORT MONROE,
January 13th, 1864
J. L. DOZIER, E. H. BEAZELEY, and others, the representatives
of a sect calling themselves "Christians," in Norfolk and
Portsmouth, who petition to be excused from taking the oath
of allegiance and doing military duty
GENTLEMEN : I have read your petition to General Barnes,
setting forth your objections to swearing allegiance to any
earthly government, in which you therein establish, to your
own satisfaction, three points.
First. That government, although an evil, is a necessary
Second. That for a time it is permitted to exist by the
wisdom of Jehovah.
Third. That the time of its existence at which a period is
to be put to its existence is not yet come.
Therefore (you) ought to swear allegiance to the Govern
ment of the United States.
First. Because, although an evil, you admit it to be
Second. Although an evil, you admit that it is permitted
by the wisdom of Jehovah, and it is not for His creatures to
question the wisdom of His acts.
Third. You only claim to be excused when Jehovah's
government is substituted, which period has not yet arrived.
I have the honor to be
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding
(Official Records, War of Rebellion, Series 3, Vol. IV, page 29)
M. A. Schaffner
Midstream Regressive Complainer