General William O. Butler

Historical Marker #823 in Jessamine County commemorates the birthplace of General William O. Butler, a War of 1812 veteran.

Born in Jessamine County in 1791, Butler was raised near present-day Carrollton. Military service was in William's blood. His father, Percival P. Butler, was a Revolutionary War veteran and was Kentucky's first adjutant general.

William graduated from Transylvania University and studied law. During the War of 1812, he joined the 5th Regiment, Kentucky Volunteers, but was quickly named ensign to the 17th Regiment, United States Infantry. Butler fought at the Battle of River Raisin, where he was wounded and captured. Imprisoned at Fort Niagara, he was eventually released.

By 1814, Butler's military service sent him south to New Orleans. He distinguished himself leading a night attack against enemy forces, fought at the Battle of New Orleans, and then became an aide to General Andrew Jackson. After the war, he served in the state legislature, was elected to Congress, and unsuccessfully ran for governor. During the Mexican War he was appointed major general, was wounded at Monterrey, and ultimately commanded all American troops in Mexico.

A soldier and politician, Butler had a varied and distinguished career.


General William O. Butler

General William O. Butler

Photograph of General William O. Butler. ca. 1871 Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Kentucky War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission Logo

Kentucky War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission Logo

The Kentucky Historical Society is the administrative agency for the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, an 18-member body established by the Kentucky legislature in 2010. Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Sanders, “General William O. Butler,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed June 24, 2017,


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