Major Archibald Butt
September 26, 1865 – April 15, 1912
Major Archibald Butt Background
Major Archibald Butt, whose bravery on the sinking vessel will not soon be forgotten, was military aide-de-camp to President Taft (27th President of the United States) and was known wherever the President traveled. His recent European mission was apparently to call on Pope St. Pius X on behalf of President Taft; for on March 21st he was received at the Vatican, and presented the Pope with a letter from Mr Taft thanking the Pontiff for the three new American Cardinals.
Major Butt had a reputation as a horseman, and it is said he was able to keep up with President Roosevelt, be the ride ever so far or fast. He was promoted to the rank of major in 1911.
Hero of the Titanic
He sailed for the Mediterranean on 2nd of March, 1911, with his friend Francis Davis Millet, the artist, who also perished on the Titanic. Butt was reportedly playing cards in the first-class smoking room when the Titanic struck the iceberg.
Reports from survivors claimed Major Butt took control of a section of the Titanic where he assisted in getting the women and children into the lifeboats and helped calmed the men who were panicking around him. He was last seen standing against the rails looking down into the water. Confusion still remains over the identity of Major Butt's body. On the 26th April 1912 a Central News message read "the body identified as W. Vear is believed to be that of W.T. Stead, and that reported as R. Butt is believed to be that of Major Butt." Presumably the issue was never resolved as the family held a memorial service at his home, which was attended by President Taft.
President Taft's eulogy in part read " I never really had any hope of seeing him again. Archie was a soldier, and he was always where he was wanted. When I heard that 1,200 people had gone down with the Titanic I knew Archie would be among them. He would be on deck doing his duty to the end."