Loyal, says Taft of Butt

New York Post

Aide Was Like a Member of His Family, President Declares.

WASHINGTON, April 19 – With all hope for the rescue of Major Butt abandoned, President tat issued to-day a statement showing the high regard in which he held him. The President said:

“Major Archie Butt was my military aide. He was like a member of my family, and I feel his loss as if he had been a younger brother. The chief trait of his character was loyalty to his ideals, his cloth and his friends. His character was a simple one in the sense that he was incapable of intrigue or insincerity.

“He was gentle and considerate to everyone high and low. He never lost, under and conditions, his sense of proper regard to what he considered the respect due to constituted authority. He was an earnest member of the Episcopal Church and loved that communion. He was a soldier, every inch of him; a most competent and successful quartermaster, and a devotee of his profession.

“After I heard that part of the ship’s company had gone down, I gave up hope for the rescue of Major Butt, unless by accident. I knew that he would certainly remain on the ship’s deck until every duty had been performed and every sacrifice made that properly fell on one charged, as he would feel himself charged, with responsibility for the rescue of others.

“He leaves the widest circle of friends whose memory of him is sweet in every particular.”

Tributes to Major Butt continued to pour into the White House. Senator Bacon of Georgia said:

“I doubt if there was a man in the United States who had more friends than he, friends who will most sincerely mourn his loss. He was a very rare, and you might say, a unique character, and we shall not see his like again.”

Senator Tillman of South Carolina said: “he was one of God Almighty’s gentlemen.”

[Dispatch to The Associated Press.]

President Taft’s belief that Major Butt deliberately went to his death with the Titanic rather than take a place in a lifeboat that might be occupied by a woman or child, apparently was confirmed late last night. A private telephone message quoted Mrs. Churchill Candee of Washington, one of the rescued, as saying that Major Butt placed her in a boat and remained on the Titanic’s deck himself. The report that Mrs. Candee had both of her legs broken was denied.

The President waited until after midnight, hoping that some of the Titanic’s survivors might tell of Major Butt. Col. Gracie’s story, which made no mention of Major Butt, blasted the last hope. Secretary Hilles remained at the White House and took the bulletins to the President as they came fresh off the wires.

When the last hope seemed to be gone the President repeated what he had said earlier in the day:

“I know Archie died like a soldier."

 

Related Biographies:

Archibald Willingham Butt

Acknowledgements

Michael Poirier, Gordon Steadwood

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