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American Commontoealtf) 






New York: 11 East Seventeenth Street 


Copyright, 1884, 

All rights reserved. 

The Riverside Press, Cambridge : 
Electrotyped and Printed by H. 0. Houston & Co. 


THE following account of the Commonwealth of 
Kentucky is designed to give the general reader a short 
story of the development of that State. The reader 
will kindly observe that it is not entitled a history; 
the writer desires to disclaim the intention of writing 
anything that could be fairly termed a history of his 
native State. Such a work would, when properly done, 
require the space of several such volumes and a large 
amount of special research, which it has not been in 
the power of the present writer to give to his task ; 
it is the main aim of this little book to set forth the 
history of the motives that have led the people in the 
shaping of their Commonwealth, using only so much of 
the incidents of their life as seemed necessary to make 
these motives clear. 

Fortunately for this work, previous writers have 
made extensive and generally careful compilations, 
which give fuller annals of the Commonwealth than 
have been secured for any other State, except, per- 
haps, for Massachusetts. Chief among these is Col- 
lins's Historical Sketches of Kentucky, entitled " His- 


tory of Kentucky, by the late Lewis Collins. Revised, 
enlarged fourfold, and brought down to the year 1874, 
by his son Richard H. Collins, A. M., LL. B.," two 
volumes, large 8vo, pp. 683 and 804. Covington, Ky., 
1874. This remarkable work embodies as much pa- 
tient labor as has ever been given to the history of 
any American State, but the multitude and variety of 
the facts brought together make it rather a store-house 
of information than a feast that invites the reader. 

The present writer has made very extensive use of 
the material gathered by Collins. Credit is generally 
given in the foot-notes for the points presented by this 
history ; but it is due to the writers of that work to 
say that this account of Kentucky could not have 
been written but for their admirable labors. 

Besides this extensive series of annals there are at 
least a dozen other works that have a varied value to 
the student of Kentucky history. Of these the follow- 
ing may be noted for the guidance of students who 
desire to go further into the subject : 

1. John Filson : " Discovery, Settlement, and Pres- 
ent State of Kentucke." Wilmington, Del., 1784. Re- 
printed in England in 1792, 1793, and 1797. Trans- 
lated into French and published at Paris in 1785. 
Filson was killed by the Indians near the mouth of the 
Miami River in 1788. The book is principally inter- 
esting on account of its map and for the personal re- 
miniscences of Daniel Boone. It laid the foundations 
of Boone's enduring reputation as a hero of western 


2. William Littell : "Political Transactions in and 
concerning Kentucky." 12mo, p. 147. Frankfort, Ky., 
1806. Is only known to the present writer by title. 
It is an excessively rare book. 1 

3. Humphrey Marshall : " The History of Kentucky, 
including an Account of the Discovery, Settlement, Pro- 
gressive Improvement, Political and Military Events, 
and Present State of the Country." 2 vols. 8vo, pp. 
522 and 524. Frankfort, Ky. First volume in 1812 ; 
second volume in 1824. This is an excellent history 
in many respects, but is extremely Federalistic in tone, 
and exceedingly unjust to those who differed from the 
author in politics. 

4. Mann Butler : " History of Kentucky from its Ex- 
ploration and Settlement by the Whites to the close of 
the Southwestern Campaign of 1813." 12mo, pp. 396. 
Louisville, 1834. Second edition, Cincinnati, 1836. 

The reader may advantageously consult the following 
works : " History of the First Kentucky Brigade (Con- 
federate), by Ed. Porter Thompson." Cincinnati, 1868 ; 
"History of Morgan's Cavalry, by Basil W. Duke." 
Cincinnati, 1867. 

There are several other works of less importance, an 
account of which may be found in Collins'^ " History," 
vol. i. p. 639, where also will be found a fuller account 
of the aforementioned works, with sketches of the lives 
of their authors. 

The writer has to acknowledge his great obligation 
1 See Collins, vol. i. p. 640. 


to many Kentucky friends for their aid and counsel in 
the preparation of this work. He is especially indebted 
to General William Preston, Colonel J. Stoddard John- 
ston, Colonel W. C. P. Breckinridge, Colonel John 
Mason Brown, and Hon. W. C. Goodloe, formerly offi- 
cers of the Confederate and Federal armies ; to Captain 
L. R. Hawthorne, formerly of the Eighteenth Kentucky 
Infantry; to R. T. Durrett, Esq., and Thomas Speed, 
Esq., Louisville; to S. I. M. Major, Esq., of Frankfort; 
to Grant Green, Esq., and to the Hon. Fayette Hewitt, 
auditor of the Commonwealth. It should be said, how- 
ever, that none of these gentlemen are in any way re- 
sponsible for the opinions set forth in this book. 

It is fit that the reader should know that the writer, 
a native of Kentucky, was a Unionist during the war. 
But while his opinions have the color given by his 
political position, he believes that he has in most cases 
done substantial justice to his friends, the enemy of 
that unhappy yet glorious time. If injustice has been 
done, he can only plead in extenuation that he sin- 
cerely feels that the honor won by the Confederate 
heroes is as dear to him as the fame of those who were 
on his own side. No one can write a thoroughly un- 
biased account of a civil war in which he took any 
part whatever. The trials of such days stamp them- 
selves indelibly on the mind. We shall have to wait 
until the generation which fought the war has entirely 
passed away before even-handed justice can be done 
to the men who were engaged in it. , 


















THE WAR OF 1812 ... . . . . . 158 






OF FORT DONELSON '.'-" . . . . . . 257 









INDEX . 429 




THE States of this Federal Union are, by the con- 
ditions of their origin, divided into three groups : first, 
those that were directly colonized from the Old World ; 
next, those that were immediate outgrowths from par- 
ticular colonies, deriving their blood and institutions ex- 
clusively from one of the original colonies ; and, lastly, 
the States that are the product of a miscellaneous im- 
migration, and do not owe their existence to any one 
of the original sources of population. The second class 
of Commonwealths is the least numerous among our 
States. Circumstances rarely favored the settlement of 
a new territory, great enough to become a separate 
State, from the surplus population of one district alone. 
In a fashion, Maine and New Hampshire are the chil- 
dren of Massachusetts, but each of these States has had 
its independent colonization from abroad, and a large 
mixture of blood from other regions. Kentucky alone 
is fairly to be called the child of another Common- 
wealth. She owes to Virginia the most of the people she 
received during the half century when her society was 
taking shape ; her institutions, be they good or evil, her 


ideals of life, her place in the nation's history, are all 
as immediately derived from her great mother Virginia 
as are an individual man's from the mother who bore 

The population that came to Kentucky from other 
States, and the institutions of other States in the way 
of laws, customs, etc., had an introduction after the 
formative period of the Commonwealth, so that they 
have remained as foreign elements compared with the 
deep-rooted qualities derived from the Virginian an- 

This singleness of origin of the Kentucky population 
makes it easier and more profitable to trace its history 
than that of any other Commonwealth, except those 
originally planted on the sea-board. Its history goes 
back to that of the parent State even more directly than 
that of America to Britain. It will therefore be neces- 
sary, in order to find the foundations of Kentucky's 
life, for us to trace in outline the history of the Vir- 
ginia people, so far, at least, as it may serve to show us 
the source of the nature and motives of the folk that 
founded the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 

It is not an easy matter to see in the history of any 
people the forces that have made them what they are. 
The natural operations of a wholesome society imper- 
fectly reveal themselves to the observer ; like the func- 
tions of the well-conditioned individual body, they lie 
hidden beneath the surface. It is rather the diseased 
states of the body politic, the perturbations of function 
marked in the maladies of a Commonwealth, that be- 
come matters of history. 

In the one hundred and fifty years that elapsed be- 
tween the first settlement of Virginia and the settlement 


of Kentucky, the English folk of the Elizabethan colony 
underwent many important changes, most of which are 
known to us only by their results. The organic history 
of this body of people during that time is most imper- 
fectly known to us. What we know of their formative 
processes is trifling compared with our knowledge of 
those actions in the New England States. In New 
England the historic sense was from the first much 
stronger, and the methods of life were far more favor- 
able to the preservation of historic materials. These 
States were founded with intellectual purposes and by 
educated men, who brought a definite theory of life 
with them, and from the first set up a strong social sys- 
tem that differed widely from that of the mother coun- 
try. These founders represented the extremest notions 
of the Protestant reformation, and they sacrificed all of 
their inheritance that it was possible for men to sacri- 
fice, in order to give their new plan of life control of 
all their actions. Never have colonies so deliberately 
tried to separate themselves from the past of their race. 
Starting with a most definite theory of their church 
state, they proceeded to bend all their energies to the 
preservation of their ideals. For a century immigra- 
tion was limited as far as possible to their own sort of 
people. In this rigid world there was little chance of 
free development of the spontaneous growth of the race 
qualities. The result was a truly wonderful society, 
but one that shows a wide divergence from the parent 
stem. We shall do well to compare these conditions of 
the typical New England colony with those of Virginia 
and North Carolina. 

First let us notice the broad distinction between the 
initial motives that led to these two diverse kinds of 


settlements. While New England was, in a way, the off- 
spring of the Protestant revolution, the greatest and 
most beneficent intellectual movement that Europe has 
ever known, the Virginia settlement and that of the 
colonies were, at the outset, purely commercial enter- 
prises. What there was of faith in the inception of 
their history was accidental and of a transitory nature. 
The commercial element of the Elizabethan period is 
overshadowed in history by the more attractive features 
of its intellectual and moral development. It is easy 
to see, however, that commercialism was then as intense 
an element in the national life of England as it has 
ever been in any other time or place. Gold hunger 
and land hunger seem to have been at the root of all 
the national achievements. Glory was more an inci- 
dent to gain than it is now. From the plays of Shake- 
speare to the buccaneer exploits of Raleigh, money gain 
was the leading motive of the national life. 

The dawning splendors of success won by the East 
India Company awoke the quick imaginations of that 
time. All the new-found shadowy world of the west 
seemed full of such possible gains as the Indian Com- 
pany was securing. Merchants and nobles made haste 
to organize companies to win a like gain out of these 
vast unexplored lands. A large share of the scanty 
capital of that time was embarked in adventurous 
schemes of colonization and conquest, and to one of 
these fell the region which took its name from Eng- 
land's manly queen. 

As the conditions of the Virginia settlement and its 
subsequent history were profoundly affected by the 
scheme of its colonization, it will be necessary for us 
to glance at these initial stages of its growth. We shall 


then see, in brief, the history of its subsequent develop- 
ment up to the time when the Kentucky people left 
this region to begin their new life. It will not be nec- 
essary to burden ourselves with any details of the 
Virginia life that have not served to give to its chil- 
dren their peculiar qualities ; nor can we hope to see 
these formative influences except in merest outline. 
As before remarked, it is at best difficult to trace the 
organic history of a people ; nowhere in America is 
the task so difficult as in Virginia, a region of scanty 
and neglected records, where men were more given to 
action than to recording their deeds, and where tho 
historic sense has never been developed as it has been 
in Massachusetts, where it is and long has been pecu- 
liarly actire. 



THE first Virginia company was organized in 1606, 
seven years after and upon the same model as the or- 
ganization of the trading association that grew to be 
the East India Company. This Virginia company, 
though its strength lay in its merchant element, had 
its share of heroes of the large, bold, adventurous sort 
of the Elizabethan type. Sir George Somers, one of 
the commanders in the capture of San Jago de Leon, 
and Hakluyt, the historian of northern adventure and 
a man full of the heroism of his time, were among its 
influential men. The patent of this company gave all 
needed commercial powers with a free hand. If 
parchments could make a State, Virginia would have 
sprung at once into a vigorous life under the control 
of these enthusiastic adventurers. But while giving 
much, the crafty King James withheld from the cor- 
poration the sovereign power which came by circum- 
stances to the East Indian Company, and which was 
most necessary to the maintenance of any distant col- 
ony in those times. 

This purely business venture of the first Virginia 
company was a chronic failure from the beginning, 
though it had a precarious life of eighteen years. Mis- 
government in the colony, dissensions in the company, 
the generally worthless character of the settlers, and 


the effort to create something like a feudal land ten- 
ure brought this experiment to an end. For our pur- 
pose we have only to note that its results on the Vir- 
ginia character were essentially negative, but for all 
that valuable ; they made it clear that a good class of 
settlers was necessary to found a prosperous colony, 
but such could be obtained only by a fee simple land 
tenure, and that such a settlement could not be governed 
by a corporation resident in London, but must have a 
share of self-government. These were lessons fruitful 
of good results for the future of the colony. 

With the final dissolution of the company in 1624, 
Virginia entered on the truly formative period of its 
growth. This change from the control of a corporation 
to the government of the crown took place before any 
considerable part of the Virginia blood was yet upon 
the soil. After the expulsion of the company, settle- 
ment went on more rapidly. The early expectations of 
wealth from gold mines and from commerce with the 
Indians had been dispelled. Never an ounce of gold 
was found (at least until after the colonial period), and 
the district was too far south for the more valuable furs. 
It was soon seen that the only resources were from 
agriculture and the shipment of timber, for which Eng- 
land then, as now, offered a large market. It is princi- 
pally to the introduction of tobacco into the markets 
of Europe that Virginia owes its place in history. This 
plant began to be tilled during the government by the 
company, but during the period when Virginia was a 
crown colony its importance increased by leaps and 
bounds so that it soon became the foundation of her 
prosperity. The rapid development of the habit of 
using tobacco, America's most welcomed gift to the 


Old World, the large profits that it offered to the 
tillers of the soil, led, in the first place, to a large im- 
migration from England ; and, in the second place, to 
the wide scattering of the population along the tide- 
water district of the colony, and inland as far as the 
eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge. 

The character of these new-comers has long been a 
matter of discussion. With a natural pride, some Vir- 
ginia enthusiasts have claimed that the population con- 
sisted very largely of gentlemen, while some calumnia- 
tors of this people have striven to prove that it was 
mainly composed of the more worthless folk of the 
mother country. There is, unfortunately, no such clear 
evidence concerning the nature of the people that 
founded this State as we have concerning the people 
of the New England colonies. Putting together the 
stores of information that are at hand, we find good 
proof that the strength of the immigration consisted of 
the yeoman and squire class ; next in numbers were 
the destitute and semi-criminal class, who were sold into 
temporary service to pay their fines and the costs of 
their transportation to the colony ; and for a while, 
least in numbers, the Africans, who were sold into per- 
manent slavery : of this class we shall learn more when 
we come to consider their share in the development and 
in the retardation of development in Virginia and of 
Kentucky. At this moment we may only note that the 
presence of persons held to service should not be re- 
garded as characteristic of Virginia, implying a pecu- 
liar tone of social life in this colony. The institution 
of African slavery was common at this time to all the 
colonies, and did not differ essentially from the con- 
ditions of enforced service in Europe. African slavery 


was in no essential way different from the other slavery 
so common in the earlier days. Even down to 1830 
England tamely submitted to the enslavement of her 
own citizens by the Barbary powers. 

The geographical conditions of Virginia were sin- 
gularly favorable for the rapid extension of population 
over a large area. A glance at any sufficient map of 
this region will show the reader that the colonial part 
consists in the main of a very broad shore plain, with 
a nearly flat surface, extending from the coast of the 
Chesapeake to the higher land at the eastern slope of 
the Blue Ridge. This plain averages about one hun- 
dred miles in width, and includes an area of several 
thousand square miles, equal to at least one fourth 
of the surface of England. This region is singularly 
intersected by deep tide-water inlets, which afford navi- 
gable waters with many thousand miles of shore line. 
The lands near these tide waters are fairly fertile, 
though somewhat malarious. They were easily cleared 
with the axe and fire, and were then ready for the 
plough. There was no coating of boulders which served 
to retard, and still retards, the development of New 
England agriculture. These water-ways dispensed with 
the cost of an extensive road system, one of the cardinal 
difficulties in every new State. The Piedmont district, 
on the table-land at the eastern face of the Blue Ridge, 
was everywhere within convenient reach of these fiord- 
like inlets, so that even there there was less trouble 
with road-making than has been encountered in any 
other American State. 

In the century from 1625 to 1725 there was a steady 
but not great immigration from England and southern 
Scotland ; little other blood was introduced into the col- 


ony. Then came a few Huguenot French, after the 
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes ; but the numbers of 
this people who settled in Virginia were less than came 
to Massachusetts, to New York, or to South Carolina. 
After 1725 the stream of new-comers grew less ; the 
best lands were possessed, and the chances for colonists 
was less good than before. There was only one notable 
immigration from abroad after the last-named date. This 
came with the remarkable exodus of Scotch after the 
rebellion of 1745. A large part of this folk went to 
South Carolina, but Virginia received an immigration 
of several thousand of these wanderers, who took up 
land in and beyond the Blue Ridge, principally in Am- 
herst, Augusta, and Rockbridge counties. 

This was, in all respects, the most important contri- 
bution ever made to the Virginia population. Exiles 
for opinion's sake, principally of Calvinist belief, they 
brought to the Old Dominion something of the spirit 
that glorified, even while it darkened, the early history 
of New England. We may find the spirit of this peo- 
ple in every signal event in the history of the Virginia 
populations. They were a strength to Virginia in the 
Revolution, and their children gave character to the 
army of Jackson in the Civil War. They have fur- 
nished many of the prominent business men of the State. 

From the palatinate German settlements in Pennsyl- 
vania there was, in the last part of the eighteenth cen- 
tury and the first years of this, a certain amount of 
immigration into Virginia. These people were mainly 
settled in the lower part of the Shenandoah Valley, 
and were never numerous enough to constitute any im- 
portant element in the Virginia population. 1 

1 A small portion of the settlers in the Shenandoah Valley vjere 


This glance at the sources of population in Virginia 
is sufficient to show that, with the exception of tho 
slaves, they came almost entirely from the truly British 
people. This character it essentially retains to the pres- 
ent day. At the time of the Kentucky settlement it 
retained it almost altogether. 

We shall have to consider one point concerning the 
character of this Virginia blood. Although coming from 
the British mother country, its origin was in many ways 
different from that of the people who settled the Massa- 
chusetts colonies. The settlers of Massachusetts were, 
in the main, from the towns of Britain : they were much 
more generally trained to the arts, and less to agricul- 
ture, than the Virginia settlers ; a larger portion of them 
were educated men. They were by habit a more social 
or perhaps a more gregarious people. This is shown 
in their settlements, which took the shape of villages, 
and did not lead to the settling of the folk in isolated 
farm-houses, as was already the custom of the rural 
English. In Virginia the colonists were principally 
from the country districts of England. Their absorbing 
passion was not for religious discussions ; it was for the 
possession of land, for the occupations and diversions 
of rural life. When their interests were involved they 
tended not to religious disputations, but to politics. This 
appetite for land seems never to have been a part of 
the New England desires; in Virginia and Kentucky 
it was the ruling passion. We find the early laws of 

the descendants of the Hessian soldiers who were left in this country 
at the end of the Revolution. It is reported that Washington, who 
had large holdings of lands in this valley, induced a number of these 
forlorn folk to settle there, furnishing them means for their start in 
life and to bring their families to this country. I have this impor- 
tant statement from Major Hotchkiss, of Staunton, Virginia. 


Virginia formed to keep the people in close communi- 
ties, for the purpose of better defense against the In- 
dians; but the danger from the savages, though always 
imminent, was not enough to deter the scattering of the 
immigrants in their search for large landed possessions. 
There is no element in the social differences of these 
two populations so prominent or so instructive as this. 

There can be no question that these Virginia colo- 
nists were a fair representation of the people of the 
mother country. Though perhaps less intellectual, less 
thrifty, less active-minded, than the settlers of New 
England, they were from the strength of the English 
soil, a folk bred in the open fields from all time, rich 
in the noblest instincts of their strong race ; perhaps 
too much without the culture of towns, too little leav- 
ened with scholars, too little stimulated by religious dis- 
putations for their best intellectual life, but none the 
less good seed for the State. 

In the next chapter we shall consider some of the 
circumstances of the development of this people during 
the century and a half preceding that migration to the 
west which founded Kentucky and several other States 
in the Mississippi Valley. We are limited to the merest 
outlines, but though the development of a people is 
always a difficult matter to set forth, it is simpler 
here than usual. 



COLONIAL Virginia may be divided into two areas. 
We have first the vast obscurely-bounded domain em- 
braced in the original grant, and continued by the royal 
charters. This included not only the whole of Virginia 
as it is now shown on the map, but all of West Vir- 
ginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and in the terms of the charter 
everything westward to the Mississippi, and as much 
further as the colony had a mind to claim. Those were 
the plenteous days when empires were to be had for the 
asking. The Virginia that became the mother of States 
was a little part of this vast domain between the Alle- 
ghany Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay. Taking it 
for all in all, it was probably the most fortunate posi- 
tion for a colony that the continent afforded : a soil easily 
subdued ; of fair productiveness, well suited to a wide 
range of crops ; a good milk and grain country ; a cli- 
mate that invites to rural and to an open-air life. The 
seat of no climatic diseases, it was the most favorable 
cradle for a vigorous race that existed near the Atlantic 
sea-board. It has been remarkably free from famines 
and pestilences. It had the mingled good and ill for- 
tune to develop the peculiar agriculture of the tobacco 
crop, which secured a means of gaining a degree of 
wealth that was obtainable in no other way, though in 
return it gave a permanence to the institution of slavery 


that was not found in the region to the northward. The 
relations of the settlers with the Indian tribes were, on 
the whole, rather better than in the more northern re- 
gions of the Atlantic coast, although there were several 
massacres and the usual border warfare with the indige- 
nous people. These were not so desperate or so long 
continued as in the settlements north of the Delaware. 
The Indians in this district were probably even fewer in 
number than in New England, and less warlike. 

The mountain range of the Alleghanies on the west 
protected colonial Virginia from the fiercer tribes of the 
Ohio Valley, and the danger from the savages was never 
great enough to prevent the development of the rural 
spirit, the scattering of the population in the separated 
plantations, which is the characteristic of Virginia coun- 
try life. The introduction and swift development of 
slavery quickly brought about an important distinction 
in the elements of the whole population. The caste of 
slave-owners became strongly separated from that of 
the poor whites. The wealth and power of the popu- 
lation rapidly accumulated in the hands of those who 
amassed or inherited capital, while the poor whites sank 
into an inferior position, became in a way dependent on 
the slave-holding caste, or were pushed on to the lands 
that were not adapted to the plantation system. This 
process was, in a way, gradual, and has left no marks 
of its operation; but before the Revolution of 1776 it is 
evident that it was extensively accomplished. 

A society organized on this basis has some elements 
of strength and many of weakness. Combined with the 
principle of primogeniture, which gives the real estate 
to the eldest son, it tended quickly to create on this soil 
the system of strong families controlling the life about 


them, and thus gave a more truly British shape to the 
life of Virginia than was given to the society of any 
other English colony that has been founded in America. 
This system of strong families, where power goes by 
inheritance, makes a rigid society, but it is very favor- 
able to the rapid development of those qualities which 
secure the dominance of a State. No time is lost in 
trying to sort out in each generation the men of ca- 
pacity from those without power ; inheritance deter- 
mines where the power shall lie. Imperfect as is this 
method of selecting those who are to rule, it works 
well in a new society. 

Under this system there grew up in Virginia a ter- 
ritorial aristocracy, which, in a small way, closely imi- 
tated its English archetype in all but title. From a 
few hundred homes came, generation after generation, 
the people whcr shaped the State. These controlling 
families were not necessarily rich ; they were, in most 
cases, wealthy only in a relative sense, but they were 
by birth persons of a certain distinction. They natu- 
rally looked upon the whites who belonged to the lower 
caste as of another race. In this they in no wise dif- 
fered from their English ancestry, or from all other 
Europeans of their time. The New England system 
tended towards a pure, an ideal democracy ; town gov- 
ernment, church government, all the forces of their 
semi-religious commonwealths, were essentially demo- 
cratic in their tendencies. In Virginia all conspired to 
maintain the social habits of t'he England, or the Europe, 
of the seventeenth century. 

The wealth acquired by these families was spent in 
the ordinary luxuries of the time. A certain manner of 
fast living was hre, as in the' mother country, thought 


to be the mark of gentlemen, yet politics and literature 
were cultivated ; in general, society had a polish that it 
wanted in the thriftier and better schooled colonies of 
the North. 

The clergy of this day had little control over the 
public mind. Religion was, to a great degree, imported 
with their wines and silk stuffs. Although there were 
doubtless worthy clergymen to be found, the colony was 
looked upon as a place of deposit for unsatisfactory 
priests from the mother country. Without perhaps sink- 
ing any lower than the church of the mother country 
in the time of its decay, the church in Virginia still fell 
far below the level of an ideal Christianity. We look 
in vain to colonial Virginia for any distinct religious 
movements until the period of the Wesley an revival. 
The influence of this second reformation of the English 
church, in itself far higher and purer than that of Henry 
VIII. 's time, was very great, and profoundly affected 
the Virginia people. It is doubtful if any American 
community was ever so changed in spirit by a religious 
movement as was Virginia by this quickening of the re- 
ligious spirit. A very large part of the population, and 
these the leaders of its society, were swept away from 
their old listless creed by this revival. The dullness in 
the religious life of the colon} 7 was doubtless due to the 
fact that the control of their church system was in for- 
eign hands. It disappeared with the change in this re- 
lation ; still it remains one of the striking differences 
between the life of Virginia and that of the more north- 
ern colonies. 

The educational system in colonial Virginia was de- 
fective ; no general method of public education was 
provided. The sons of the planters were educated by 


British tutors, or were sent to the schools of the north- 
ern colonies or to Europe ; the children of the poorer 
whites remained, as their ancestors before them had 
always been, generally unlettered. The culture of the 
better scholars was probably broader than that of the 
same class in Massachusetts in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries ; but this culture came to but few 
of the citizens. The college of William and Mary, 
though a worthy school and of much profit to the col- 
ony, never played the large part in the life of Virginia 
which Harvard and Yale did in their commonwealths. 1 
The education of the yeoman class was what it always 
had been, a training in the active duties of life. To 
this, hedgerow schools in some cases added a little train- 
ing in reading and writing, and perhaps the elements of 
arithmetic. These are but imperfect data for a study 
of the education problem among these people, but the 
fact that a large part of the legal papers of that day are 
signed by the cross is proof enough of the extreme illit- 
eracy of the lower part of the white population. 

The political life of the colonial period is not a mat- 
ter that gives much satisfaction to any one who shares 
the pride of this people. Until we come down to the 
period of disturbances that ushered in the Revolution 
of 1776, there is little sign of political skill or of a 
high sense of political liberty. Little resistance was 
made to the general misgovern ment that came from 
the crown. Once or twice there were little flashes of 
rage, such as the ignoble revolt of Nathaniel Bacon ; 

1 Harvard College was so influential in the State of Massachusetts 
that, it was thought well to have a provision in the state constitution 
forbidding any officer of the school to have any other official position 
in the State. 


but the colony showed in the first one hundred and fifty 
years of its life little or no promise of the statesman- 
ship, the valor, the intellectual and moral power, that 
were to bloom so richly in the last quarter of the eigh- 
teenth century. There is probably no transition so un- 
expected, so unforetold by previous history, as the awak- 
ening of Virginia after 1760. If we had been able to 
look over the world of that day, Virginia was perhaps 
the last place where we would have expected to find the 
power that the Revolution showed to be waiting there 
for the call to life. 

The fact seems to have been that the original set- 
tlement brought to this soil a well-chosen representa- 
tion of the English people. A life of few incidents, 
of simple activities, left them as if fallow for over a 
century. There was nothing to awaken their powers 
to full life. At last the accumulated dissatisfactions of 
the colonists over the stupidities rather than the op- 
pressions of the mother country supplied the needed 
stimulus to action. 

The system of society fostered by slavery did not 
favor the critical spirit in politics which marked the 
New England colonies, but it made action even more 
intense when the time for it came. Virginia in 1776, 
as in 1861, was led into rebellion by the action of its 
leading families rather than by the spontaneous out- 
burst which characterized the outbreak in Massachu- 
setts. Its yeoman class followed where their natural 
leaders showed the way in the former as in the later 
revolt. This subordination to leaders has always been 
a distinguishing feature of all southern societies, ex- 
cept, as we shall hereafter see, in Kentucky. While 
there is a very large element of individuality among 


the chosen few, the mass remained in the silent con- 
dition that belonged to it in the mother country. 

At the time of the Revolution Virginia was the most 
populous, and in many ways the richest, of all the col- 
onies. Her population was less dependent on the other 
world than any other of the American settlements. She 
never was a maritime State, despite the fact that she 
had a longer shore line than any of the colonies except 
Massachusetts, and had been an exporter of ship sup- 
plies for a century and a half. Her population was 
nearly all agricultural, and the institution of slavery 
made her able to send a large part of her white men 
into the field when they were called to arms. This 
population was in excellent condition for military duty. 
Her considerable service in the French wars, together 
with various combats with the Indians in her own do- 
minion and in North Carolina, had kept her people ac- 
customed to arms ; moreover, their habits of field sports 
contributed to their training. Not reckoning the negro 
population, Virginia furnished a larger share of soldiers 
than any other of the colonies except Massachusetts 
during the Revolution. Nearly aH of her loyal, able- 
bodied folk saw some service during this war, both in 
the field and in the more difficult paths of legislation. 
She sprang at once into a marvelous activity. Men 
who had not exhibited any ability in the petty and 
hampered politics of the colony showed at once an 
amazing capacity for broad-minded statesmanship and 
the higher work of the soldier. After a political and 
intellectual night of a century came this brilliant dawn 
of power. The seven years of the war sufficed to 
awaken the long-dormant energies of the people. Every 
hour of the struggle was fertile in intellectual growth. 


At its end the sleepy and luxurious people had given 
a larger share of able and vigorous men than had 
perhaps ever before sprung from any equal population 
of the race. This remarkable development of character 
makes us regret that we cannot see more clearly the 
condition of nurture that had made it possible. It 
seems likely that it can be in part accounted for by 
the inheritance of culture, the united life of a homo- 
geneous people, arid the strong control that natural 
leaders had upon the society in which they dwelt. Still 
it remains a very inexplicable phenomenon, one that 
has never received the attention that its singularity de- 

At the close of the Revolutionary War, Virginia found 
herself with a large population that had been long 
separated from the ordinary pursuits of life. Their 
places had closed behind them ; life in the Old Do- 
minion was stagnant. The only chance open to her 
was in the broad fields of her great western domain. 
The conditions of a community at the close of a long 
and successful war are peculiarly favorable for the mak- 
ing of new colonies ? and it is natural that at this time 
Virginia, no longer herself a colony but a State, where 
the best lands were much worn by a shiftless agricul- 
ture, should have been strongly affected by the col- 
onizing spirit. These circumstances led to a very large 
exodus of her population to the westward. The re- 
cently founded settlements in Kentucky, begun ten 
years or so before, had gone far enough to prove that 
land in abundance and of excellent quality could be 
had for the trouble of possessing it. Every ambitious 
spirit, every man who had within him the sense of 
power necessary for the arduous work of facing tlje 


dangers of a wilderness where he would have to bat- 
tle for everything, with nature and the savage, sought 
these new fields. It is to these conditions that the 
new settlements beyond the Alleghanies owed the most 
of the population that came to them in the years im- 
mediately following the Revolution. A small portion 
of the Kentucky settlers came from southern Mary- 
land and from central North Carolina, societies essen- 
tially like that of Virginia in their general aspect. 

By far the most important element of the Kentucky 
colonists came from the soldiers who were disbanded 
at the close of the war with Great Britain. The num- 
ber of Revolutionary soldiers who emigrated to Ken- 
tucky may be judged by the fact that in 1840, nearly 
sixty years after the termination of that struggle, the 
pension returns showed that there were about nine hun- 
dred of these veterans still living in the State ; their 
ages, according to the record, varying from seventy to 
one hundred and nine years. 

This, of course, was but a small part of the host who 
had found a dwelling-place within the State. Probably 
at least ten times this number had gone to their graves. 
Such men were, by their native strength and their 
deeds, the natural leaders in the new settlements, both 
in peace and war. Thus the Kentucky spirit was the 
offspring of the Revolution. The combative spirit left 
by the Revolutionary war was elsewhere overwhelmed 
by the tide of commercial life ; here it lived on, fed 
by tradition and by a nearly continuous combat down 
to the time of the Rebellion. 

We have now traced, in brief outline, the conditions 
of the people who made the Commonwealth of Ken- 
tucky from the time of their settlement in this country 


to the exodus into Kentucky. We have seen that in 
the beginning they were mainly rural Englishmen, 
who came voluntarily to America, not generally under 
the influence of political or religious persecution, but 
with a view to bettering their condition as tillers of 
the soil. 1 It was doubtless, on the whole, a selection 
of the best of the country blood of the mother laud. 
None but the vigorous, the enterprising, the hopeful- 
minded, undertook such changes of life in those days. 
The people sold to service were relatively a small part 
of this population, and these were in their very prime, 
for none others would bring a price. From this picked 
people, after a century or more of development in Vir- 
ginia, a second selection was made to found the new 
Virginia of the west. 

As noted on the first page of this work, such a bud- 
ding of a new State from an old colony has hardly 
a precedent in the history of America. All the Western 
States, as well as those of the South, have been settled 
by immigrants from several older States, generally with 
more or less admixture of people drawn directly from 
foreign sources. Their composite blood has made them 
perplexing subjects of study, from the diversity of mo- 
tives that has come from the differences in their origin. 
Ohio, for instance, has in its people a mingling of New 
Englanders, New Yorkers, English and German Penn- 
sylvanians, Virginians, Kentuckians, Germans, and Irish. 

1 Although this statement that the Virginia colonists were not fugi- 
tives for opinions' sake is true in a general way, it must be remem- 
bered that a certain small but important part of the Virginia people 
came to the colony when the success of the Cromwellian party made 
their old homes untenable ; and that another and more important 
part came after the Restoration had made the position of the Puritans 
extremely uncomfortable. * 


It is not possible to determine how far its qualities are 
due to this, that, or the other part of its population. In 
Kentucky, on the other hand, we shall find nearly pure 
English blood, mainly derived through the Old Do- 
minion, and altogether from districts that shared the 
Virginian conditions. It is, moreover, the largest body 
of pure English folk that has, speaking generally, been 
separated from the mother country for two hundred 
years. We see, therefore, how interesting is the problem 
of this Kentucky population. It has been seriously 
maintained that the European blood tends to enfeeble- 
ment in American conditions ; that it requires the ad- 
mixture of new blood from the Old World in order to 
keep its quality unimpaired. There is an experiment 
provided that will give a full disproval to this hypoth- 
esis. The reader will do well to bear it in mind while 
he follows the history of the Kentucky people in the 
century of their life as it is sketched in the following 



BEFORE beginning the historic account of Kentucky 
it will be necessary to examine the physical constitution 
of the State. This we shall be compelled to do in a 
somewhat extended way, for here even more than in 
Virginia has this physical character been effective in 
determining the history of its people. 

The area of Kentucky is about forty thousand square 
miles. Of this surface all but about five thousand 
square miles lie entirely to the westward of the Alle- 
ghany Mountain system, and consists of a set of table- 
lands, deeply indented by the southern tributaries of the 
Ohio River. Except along the main streams and their 
longer branches, where there are narrow strips of allu- 
vial land which lie from three hundred to five hundred 
feet above the sea, the surface of Kentucky east of the 
Alleghanies ranges from five hundred to fifteen hundred 
feet above tide-water. The elevation of the surface in- 
creases from the district near the Mississippi on the 
west, in a gradual way, up to the foot of the Alleghany 
chain of mountains on the east. The principal area of 
Kentucky is thus a great much-furrowed plain, sloping 
very gently to the west, and declining also toward the 
Ohio River. On its northern and northwestern face it is 
bordered by this river for a length, measured along the 
windings of that stream, of about seven hundred miles ;, 


on the west it is bordered by the Mississippi for about 
fifty miles ; on the south it is separated from Tennes- 
see by a conventional line ; on the east, where its bor- 
ders march with those of Virginia, the line is the crest 
of the Cumberland and Pine mountains ; and from 
West Virginia it is parted by the eastern branch of the 
Chatterawa, or Big Sandy River. It will thus be seen 
that about three quarters of the periphery of the State 
consists of natural boundaries. 

As is shown by the map, the area of Kentucky is 
much extended on an east and west line. It lies across 
nearly the whole of the eastern versant of the Missis- 
sippi Valley. While its eastern and western axis is 
over five hundred miles in length, its northern and 
southern is not over one hundred and eighty miles in 
extent. This great east and west extension of Kentucky 
is better understood when we notice that the southern 
borders of the three States, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, 
march with its northern border. As we shall see when 
we come to the period of the civil war, this peculiarity 
of its form caused Kentucky to have an especial polit- 
ical importance during that struggle. 

Much as Virginia is favored by the wide-reaching 
tidal streams, so Kentucky is blessed by its river system. 
The Ohio, the most navigable branch of the Mississippi 
waters, gives convenient access to its six hundred miles 
of northern front. The Chatterawa, or Big Sandy, the 
Nepepernine, or Licking, the Kentucky, the Salt, the 
Green, the Tradewater, the Cumberland, and the Ten- 
nessee give a greater frontage on wholly or partly navi- 
gable rivers than is found in any other State of the 
Union. The total length of streams that have been 
more or less used for navigation exceeds two thousand 


five hundred miles. These streams are rarely inter- 
rupted by falls or impassable rapids. 

The surface of the table-land district, which includes 
about thirty-five thousand square miles, is very favora- 
ble for the construction of wheelways. The general 
surface is not very rough, the streams abound in good 
fords, the forests are generally so devoid of underbrush 
that wagons can often be drawn through them for 
miles. The limited area of the lowlands and alluvial 
plains has so far prevented the formation of swamps 
that not over two hundred square miles of this area is 
morass, and this confined to the extreme western part 
of the State. The districts subject to overflow by river 
floods do not exceed one thousand square miles, or one 
fortieth the surface of the State. So the region is sin- 
gularly free from the evils that attend low-lying coun- 

The part of Kentucky that lies within the small 
mountainous region of the State contains a surface of 
about three thousand miles. It is altogether contained 
between the ridges of Pine Mountain, a sharp, wall- 
like ridge on the west, and Cumberland Mountain on 
the east. It is thus a single mountain valley, lying 
between the two westernmost ridges of the Alleghany 
system. This trough which forms the valley through 
which flows the upper Cumberland, is one of the most 
beautiful of the many lovely vales of that chain. The 
strong outlines of the bordering mountains have given 
it a singular isolation. This mountain system of the 
Cumberland, with its nearly inaccessible hills, in good 
part walled out Kentucky from the eastward. These 
ridges were, fortunately for the needs of immigrants, 
broken by two deep gaps, one, Cumberland Gap, (in 


the mountain of that name; the other, Pine Gap, in 
Pine Mountain, through which the Cumberland 
River finds its way out into the table-land region to the 
westward. No other part of Kentucky save this single 
mountain trough has a truly mountainous character. 
All the rest is, strictly speaking, table-land, more or 
less deeply cut down into valleys by the streams, but 
the loftiest ridges do not exceed one thousand feet above 
the neighboring river-beds. 

Let us now consider the nature of the surface when 
the whites first came to it. In the beginning of the 
white occupation the surface of Kentucky, except about 
six thousand square miles in the central and western 
part of its area, was a primeval forest. As there had 
been no Indian settlements in that part of Kentucky 
east of the Tennessee for many years, this forest terri- 
tory was singularly unbroken, having a continuity of 
woods unknown in the other States, for the reason that 
no other part of the United States not a desert was 
ever found uninhabited by the savages and uninter- 
rupted with their villages and clearings. This forest 
was principally of the broad-leaved trees ; no great ex- 
tent of coniferous woods existing then in the eastern 
part of the district. Fortunately for these settlers, the 
broad-leaved woods were of old growth and singularly 
open beneath, so that the early track- ways and wagon - 
roads were easily made through them. 

The attraction which Kentucky presented to its first 
settlers lay in the abundance of the good lands that 
were to be had in its area. Its mineral wealth was 
never taken into account ; the charms of gold, which 
had lured the first settlers to Virginia, had no place in 
the motives that led to the second migration of its 


people. It was soon found that these lands were very 
varied in quality. West of the Pine Mountain range 
there was a region, about fifty miles in width, where 
the soil was lean and of little worth for the uses of the 
pioneers. In the middle section of the State, stretch- 
ing from the Ohio River to the escarpment of Mul- 
drough Hill, lay the rich clay lands since known as the 
" Blue Grass " district ; yet west of them the un wooded 
district, known as the Barrens, which were at first sup- 
posed, from their treeless condition, to be worthless 
lands; and still further west a tract of sandy country 
like that of the easternmost district, good lands, it 
is true, but not rich enough to attract the first settlers. 
It was this Blue Grass l land that was the incentive to 
immigration. The soil has a degree of fertility un- 
known in any equal area of Virginia, and unapproached 
there save in the Shenandoah Valley, which was already 
pretty well possessed by settlers before the Kentucky 
migration began. After the Blue Grass district was 
occupied, the population began to move on to the less 
attractive lands. 

In the northern part of the State, lying adjacent to 
the present line of the Louisville and Nashville Rail- 
way, there was a considerable territory afterwards called 
the " Barrens," where the forest growth had been de- 
stroyed, except along the borders of the streams. This 
destruction of the timber was brought about by the 

1 The so-called blue gras consists of two species of plants, the Poa 
compressa and Poa pratense. These grasses are not peculiar to Ken- 
tucky ; they are among the most widely distributed grasses; but on 
the best limestone lands of Kentucky they attain a singularly luxu- 
riant growth. The "blue " of the name is given it on account of the 
peculiar hue of its seed vessels, a conspicuous feature during its time 
of fruiting. 


custom, common to the Western Indians, of burning the 
grass of open grounds and the undergrowth of the 
woods, in order to give a more vigorous pasturage to 
the buffalo and other large game. To this custom we 
may fairly attribute the deforesting of the prairie lands 
in Indiana and Illinois, and perhaps of more westerly 
regions. The annual firing of the low-growth plants led 
to the killing of all the young trees. The Indians ap- 
parently began their burning of the woods on the line 
of the great trail from the Ohio Falls to Nashville, 
Tennessee. When the whites came to this country this 
savage custom had deforested an area of at least five 
thousand square miles. In another two hundred years 
the Indians would probably have reduced the larger 
part of the surface of Kentucky to the condition of 

At first the white immigrants conceived a strong 
prejudice to this untimbered ground, deeming the ab- 
sence of trees an evidence of poverty of soil. But as 
soon as the incursions of the Indians were stopped 
they saw that the forests speedily repossessed the sur- 
face. Although they then made haste to occupy it, 
the swift return of the forests after the Indian fires 
were stopped caused a large part of this prairie coun- 
try to be rewooded before it could be subjected to the 
plough. The late Senator Underwood, a very ob- 
servant person, told the writer that when he came to 
this region, in the first years of this century, the whole 
surface was covered by a dense growth of young for- 
est trees, which had sprung into life in the preceding 
twenty years, or since the Indians had ceased to hunt 
within the State. 

In woods of beech and ash it takes some centuries 


of repeated firing of the undergrowth to reduce the 
area to treelessness, but in the barren district this pro- 
cess had gone on long enough to bring five or six thou- 
sand square miles to an essentially treeless condition, 
while around the border of the long-fired region there 
was a broad fringe of forest, where the fire-scarred 
trunks of old yet living trees stood as an open forest 
that would have been added to the open land when 
the time came for the old trees to die. This was a 
process of forest-killing that had doubtless been car- 
ried on over the territory of the southwest, only there 
the extermination of the woods was more complete 
and the history of its process less traceable than in 

As already noted, when the regular hunting expedi- 
tions of the Indians into Kentucky were arrested, as 
they were in about 1790, this region, relieved from 
further firing, began to spring up in forest again. The 
germs of the small-seeded trees, maples, etc., were rap- 
idly transported by the wind from the nearest remaining 
trees which clung about the entrances to the canons 
that abound in this district and other clamp places, and 
quickly repossessed the ground in forest ; so that before 
settlements had made any great headway the region 
had been covered by a new but very dense and vigorous 
forest, which was harder to clear away than the older 
primeval woods. 

The area of very fertile soil in the State that 
which may be called of the first order is about ten, 
thousand square miles. This is equal in fertility to the 
best English, Belgian, or Lombardian lands, and sur- 
passes any other region in this country or in Europe 
for its fitness for pasturage land It lies on a lime- 


stone rock, which by its rapid decay constantly restores 
to the soil the elements removed by cultivation, so that 
there are fields in Kentucky which have been steadily 
cropped, with no attention to fallow or fertilizing, for 
about one hundred years without apparent damage to 
the soil. No other land of the world is so fitted to with- 
stand the evils of the utterly unscientific agriculture to 
which it has been submitted in former days. The area 
of second-class soils, those less fertile than the preced- 
ing, easily worn by careless tillage, still affording a good 
basis for agriculture, may safely be estimated at about 
twenty-two thousand square miles ; the distinctly inferior 
soils, those not well suited for any grains without fertil- 
izing, or for other agricultural use save as low-grade 
pasture lands, and for timber, include about seven thou- 
sand square miles. There are not over two hundred 
square miles of irreclaimable swamps and arid rocky 
fields ; and not more than eight hundred square miles 
unfit for pasturage. Nearly the whole of the latter 
is forest clad, and with a little care could be made to 
produce good timber. It is doubtful if an equally good 
showing can be made for any other State in the Missis- 
sippi Valley, and there are few regions in the world 
where so large an area with so little waste land can be 

The position of Kentucky brings it between the par- 
allels of 36.30 and 39 north latitude. The height of 
the surface, being an average of about seven hundred 
and fifty feet above the sea, gives it an average temper- 
ature about three degrees colder than belongs to its po- 
sition with reference to the tropics. The climate shares 
in the peculiarities of the Mississippi Valley ; it is of 
the continental nature. The seasonal range of tempera- 


ture is large, but less than that of any other of the Ohio 
group of States. The extremes of summer heat are not 
greater than about 100 Fahr., and of winter cold 
about 10 Fahr., the winter cold being somewhat less 
than in the States that border it on the north. The 
rainfall is rather larger than the average for the Mis- 
sissippi Valley, the amount being about forty-eight 
inches. It is less liable to droughts than the States to 
the north of the Ohio. This is due to its larger share 
of the rainfall derived from the Mexican Gulf and to 
its more generally forested surface. 

This region, owing perhaps to its excellent natural 
drainage and its forest covering has been singularly free 
from the malarious and other fevers that have proved a 
great scourge in many of the Western and Southern 
States. Yellow fever has attacked but one part of the 
State, namely, the town and neighborhood of Hickman, 
on the Mississippi River. The ordinary miasmatic fever 
does not occur except along the principal rivers, and 
there is exceptional. The climate and soil permits a 
considerable range of products. All the elements of 
our ordinary American agriculture, the principal grains, 
roots, fruits, etc., find favorable conditions here. Cot- 
ton is cultivated in the region adjacent to the Missis- 
sippi, and the vine has been successful in many parts of 
the State. The original settlers brought the industry 
of tobacco culture with them, and this has always been 
one of the staple crops ; at the present time nearly one 
third of the American production of this plant being 
from Kentucky. The varied capacities of its agricul- 
ture may be judged from the fact that in each of the 
several censuses of the government the State has been 
first in some one agricultural product, and in each dert 


ade has changed the element in which it has held the 
first place. 1 

Although this presentation necessarily omits many im- 
portant facts concerning the surface conditions, it gives 
some idea of the goodness of the inheritance which fell 
to the adventurous spirits from Virginia, North Caro- 
lina, and Maryland, who came to it in the latter days 
of the last century. It is only necessary to add that 
the soil was very easily brought to the uses of man. 
Lying almost altogether south of the region in which 
the glaciers acted, these lauds were not covered with the 
accumulation of bowlders which have been so serious an 
obstacle to the subjugation of the lands in more north- 
ern regions. They are, on the other hand, as a whole, 
more open to the process of impoverishment by careless 
agriculture than the soils in glaciated countries, which, 
though stubborn and of limited original fertility, have 
the advantage that they are less quickly exhausted by 
careless tillage. The result is that Kentucky now con- 
tains considerable areas of exhausted land, though little 
that is irretrievably ruined. 

Although, as a whole, the natural scenery of Ken- 
tucky is not very picturesque, it makes an agreeable 
impression on the mind. The surface is never perfectly 
level, but is cast in the broad, gentle curves that give 
an ever-varying grace to a country. In the richer por- 
tions the exceedingly fertile soil and the consequent lux- 
uriance of vegetation confer a singular brilliancy on the 
landscape. The entire absence of grinding poverty, the 
vigorous growth and physical beauty of men and women, 
the sleek herds in the fat pastures, all together serve 

1 The tables in the Appendix will show this fact with greater 




to give the traveler through this land a sense of abiding 
prosperity such as comes to him in no other country. 
He feels that here, for once at least, the man, the soil, 
and the climate have fitted so well to each other that dis- 
ease and poverty have but little place in life. 

Statistical inquiries will serve to support this impres- 
sion of the eye. The death-rate is lower than in any 
other State from which goes forth each year a great tide 
of the younger people, and pauperism is almost un- 



THIS sketch of those resources of Kentucky which 
have had or may have an influence on its history re- 
quires some discussion of the geological structure of the 
area of the State. The following account aims only at 
the presentation of those facts which are required for an 
understanding of the mere outlines of this structure. 
Little is given that has not some bearing on the ques- 
tion of common resources. 

All the important geological features of Kentucky it 
has in common with the adjacent districts of the Mis- 
sissippi Valley. The bed rocks shown to the eye within 
its borders belong to the lowest formation commonly 
known in this country as the Trenton series of rocks, 
from the fact that beds of this age were first described 
from that part of New York. These rocks, which are 
but scantily exposed in Kentucky, though they appear 
in East Tennessee and Virginia, were mainly deposited 
in a deep, open sea. They consist of limestone and 
clay shales, and furnish fairly fertile soils, over which 
lie several other formations, known successively up- 
wards as the Hudson River, Medina, Clinton, Niagara, 
mingled limestones, shales, and sandstones, deposited, 
as the others, in the old seas. Above these lie a great 
thickness of very black shales, known as the Ohio 
shales ; still above them a great thickness of limestones, 


shales, sandstones, which are commonly called the sub- 
carboniferous rocks, because they immediately underlie 
the coal. While all these vast deposits were forming, 
this region remained beneath the surface of the ocean, 
as is shown by the numerous marine fossils that they 
all contain ; but with the last of the sub-carboniferous 
beds we find all at once evidence that this part of the 
world had been suddenly lifted above the sea, and had 
become overspread by forests. This proof is given by 
certain other seams of coal containing land plants. 

It is tolerably certain that from the time of this first 
elevation above the sea to the present day the whole of 
this region has never been, for any length of time, if at 
all, beneath the ocean. Occasionally during the long 
ages of the coal period portions of it were deeply buried, 
as is shown by the marine animals found in the lime- 
stones that were then formed, and at many times the 
surface was buried beneath far-extending areas of fresh 
or brackish shallow waters ; but never since the begin- 
ning of the coal measures has it been given over to the 
deep. The beds of rock beneath the surface of Ken- 
tucky, that are mainly marine limestones and shales, 
have probably a total thickness of nearly ten thousand 
feet, of which about two thousand feet are exposed to 
view in the central part of the State along their some- 
what upturned edges. This great section is mainly com- 
posed of the remains of animals and plants that have 
died in the sea and been cemented together on its floor. 
This life-born series of rocks rests upon the old gra- 
nitic and other crystalline rocks that are seen to consti- 
tute the deeper part of the earth's crust, wherever we 
find our way to it. Above these marine rocks we find 
the great series of coal measures, where only the coal 


beds and a few thin limestones owe their origin to or- 
ganic life ; all the rest of the rocks being made up al- 
together of the waste of old lands in the shape of mud, 
sand, and gravel. This coal-measure series is about 
thirty-five hundred feet deep at its thickest point, which 
is near Cumberland Gap, in the southeast corner of the 

This account of the rocks found in Kentucky must be 
supplemented by some statement of their distribution. 
Through the middle of the State, extending in a north 
and south line from near Nashville, Tennessee, to 
Cincinnati, Ohio, and beyond, rises a very broad, low 
geological ridge ; not that the surface is higher, but the 
beds are bent upwards, as we may observe the annual 
layers of wood curved over a knot on the surface of a 
planed board. It is here that the lowest beds of rock 
are exposed by the Chazy arid Trenton limestone. This 
ridge is not of equal height in all its parts ; it sags down 
like a broken ridgepole in the region between Lexing- 
ton and the line that separates Kentucky from Tennes- 
see, so that newer rocks, the Devonian and carbonifer- 
ous strata, lie on its middle part than we find near Lex- 
ington or the Tennessee line. It is this wide geolog- 
ical ridge that brings to the surface the rocks which by 
their decay form the Blue Grass soil in the middle of 
the State. But for its ample uplifted back Kentucky 
would have had no soil to tempt the early settlers to 
their new home. 

On either side of this principal central field of lime- 
stone and other marine rocks we have the great coal- 
measure districts of Eastern and Western Kentucky. 
That on the west is but a fragment of the great western 
coal field of the Ohio Valley, which extends into In- 


diana and Illinois. That on the east is likewise a part 
of the great Appalachian coal field which occupies a 
large part of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, 
Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. These two coal fields 
were once united over Central Kentucky, but have been 
worn away, leaving their waste upon the hill -tops: 
they have together an area of about twelve thousand 
square miles, of which the eastern is by far the larger 
and better of the two. This coal district is somewhat 
less valuable than that of Pennsylvania, but is ex- 
ceeded in value by that of no other State. All the 
Kentucky coals are of the bituminous species, varying 
a good deal in their quality, which is generally ex- 
tremely good. They are easily mined, and the total 
supply of this buried solar force is about equal to that 
of Great Britain. 

Next after the coal beds the iron-ore deposits are 
the principal sources of underground wealth in this re- 
gion. They are much less extensive and varied than 
those of Virginia, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Michigan, or 
North Carolina, but are probably exceeded by those of 
no other States. Owing to their close proximity to the 
coal beds, where the smelting fuel may be found, they 
are better disposed for working than any other ores, 
except, perhaps, those of Alabama and Virginia. The 
first iron smelting done in the Mississippi Valley was 
begun in Bath County, Kentucky, in 1790, at a time 
when it was deemed necessary to guard against Indian 
incursions against the furnace. The industry has had a 
considerable importance ever since this early day. 

The other mineral resources of Kentucky are very 
limited, there being no strata exposed within the area 
that belong to the group of metamorphic rocks ; no gran- 


ite, gneiss, or mica schists; no very metamorphosed 
limestones, with a single exception, no specimen of dike 
stones. There are none of the precious metals to be 
found within its borders. There are some veins of lead 
in the limestone districts, but they are not worth the 
working, for they are generally narrow and belong to 
the type of gash veins, which have no certainty of ex- 
tension in any direction. The very circumstances that 
have given so much good land and such an easily ac- 
cessible surface have not favored the formation of the 
vein deposits of any kind. There are some deposits of 
petroleum, but they have never been worked to much 
profit, for they do not give flowing or free-pumping 
wells, and cannot compete with the richer deposits of 
the Pennsylvania or West Virginia districts. 

Kentucky is richly provided with easily quarried and 
excellent building stones. The several limestone series 
all yield good coarse marbles, and several of the sand- 
stones are among the best for their uses. Cement 
rocks are abundant and widely distributed, and fine 
clays abound in the coal measures. The oolitic beds 
from the sub-carboniferous limestone afford the best 
architectural material of this country : a massive but 
easily quarried rock that may be readily carved when, 
taken from the quarry, but which hardens after expos- 
ure, and is proof against fire, retaining a warm cream 
color under the difficult conditions of our smoky towns. 

As a whole, Kentucky is not so favored in the under- 
ground resources as it is in its soil and climate, yet in 
those more important resources of power derived from 
coal beds and iron ores it is one of the most favored 
areas in the country. It is naturally fitted for agri- 
culture, in itself the best of resources, and it has a lib- 


eral proportion of the most important of the earth's 
products, cheap fuel, cheap iron, and good construct- 
ive stones. 

Although the geological structure of Kentucky is of 
a very simple nature, it gives rise to some interesting 
local features that have had their effect on the history 
of the State. Among these we may mention the salt 
licks and the caverns, to which latter class belongs the 
Mammoth and other great caves of the State. The 
principal salt licks, in number a hundred or more, are 
scattered over the central or Blue Grass district of the 
State. They consist generally of saline springs, that 
bubble up from the strata of Trenton age, which have 
impregnated the soil about their basins with common 
salt. To these springs the large herbivora of the coun- 
try once resorted to obtain the annual supply of saline 
matter that was necessary for their life. When the 
whites first came to this country, the buffalo, the elk, 
and the deer frequented these salt springs in great 
numbers^ For many years these species of large game 
shot at the licks afforded the pioneers an important 
source of supply of food and hides. The licks were also 
valuable to them, as by boiling down the waters they 
were able to secure an abundant provision of salt, which, 
next after gunpowder, was the most necessary article of 
common use and the one most difficult to procure. To the 
geologist these salt licks have a very peculiar interest. 
In the first place, they have a remarkable origin. When 
the rocks whence they flow were formed on the Silurian 
sea-floors, a good deal of the sea-water was imprisoned 
in the strata, between the grains of sand or mud and in 
the cavities of the shells that make up a large part of 
these rocks. This confined sea-water is gradually being 


displaced by the downward sinking of the rain-water 
through the rifts of the strata, and thus finds its way to 
the surface : so that these springs offer to us a share 
of the ancient seas, in which perhaps a hundred million 
of years ago the rocks of Kentucky were laid down. 1 

About these springs there is generally a bit of 
swamp ground, due to the slow down-sinking of the 
underlying rocks as they are deprived of a part of 
their solid matter by the ascending springs. These 
swamps contain a wonderful collection of the bones of 
the large herbivora, which for ages resorted to these 
springs. Not only do we find the bones of the animals 
which occupied the country when the whites first came 
to it, the buffalo, the elk, the deer, etc., but, also, 
deeper in the mire, or in portions that indicate a greater 
antiquity, great quantities of the bones of the fossil ele- 
phant, his lesser kinsman the mastodon, the musk-ox, 
an extinct long-legged buffalo, the caribou, or Ameri- 
can reindeer, and various other creatures which dwelt 
here in the time when the last glacial period covered 
the more northern regions with a mantle of ice. The 
largest, and to the geologist the most interesting, of 
these swamp-bordered springs is known as Big Bone 
Lick. This is situated in Boone County, about twenty 
miles southwest of Cincinnati, Ohio. At this point 
there is a swampy lowland around the salt springs that 
contains a wonderful mass of elephant, mastodon, bison, 
and other bones. Of the mammoth alone there are 
probably hundreds of skeletons, which were engulfed 
in the soft mud about the spring mouth, when, in the 
olden days, these great creatures resorted to this place 

1 For a detailed account of these licks see vol. L, part ii., p. 232, 
Memoirs of the Kentucky Geological Survey, by N. S. Shaler, 1876. 


for their annual salting. When the whites first came 
to the district the ground was thickly strewn with 
skeletons. The early settlers used them for supporting 
their camp kettles and for seats by the fireside. 

The caverns of Kentucky, especially the Mammoth 
Cave, have obtained a deserved celebrity. These cav- 
erns lie in the limestone rocks, which are found just 
under the coal - bearing series. As these limestones 
are better developed in Kentucky than in any other 
States, they afford a more extensive series of under- 
ground galleries than are found elsewhere. A region 
of at least five thousand square miles of area has the 
limestone rocks within two hundred feet of the surface 
penetrated by these channels, after the fashion of a piece 
of worm-eaten wood. These galleries are of very varied 
sizes : from a crevice scarcely bigger than a mole hole 
to those as great as the aisle of the noblest cathedral. 
In this area there are doubtless a hundred thousand 
miles of ways large enough to permit the easy passage 
of man. These channels are excavated by the streams 
that, gathering on the surface, quickly pour through 
" sink holes " into their subterranean ways. They are 
from time to time abandoned by the free-running wa- 
ters, and are then slowly filled in by stalactitic incrus- 
tations, deposited by the water that trickles drop by 
drop through the roof. 

This underground world of Kentucky is full of in- 
terest to the intelligent observer. In the vast, deep- 
buried chambers of these caverns he finds a still air, of 
perfect purity and of unchanging temperature. The 
scenery is often singularly majestic ; again of a weird 
and marvelous beauty. A strange life, consisting in the 
main of species that never emerge from the caverns, 


adds to the strangeness of this world. These species 
are generally blind, often quite without eyes, affording 
a striking illustration of the relation of the animal or- 
ganism to its environment. 

On the floor of the drier parts of these caverns lies 
a deep coating of dust, in which can often be seen the 
prints of the moccasins of Indians, made a century or 
more ago by savages who sought refuge in these caves 
from their enemies. In some caves this dust was used 
by the aborigines as a burial-place, and in these caves 
the bodies are preserved by the dry, pure air in a mum- 
mified condition. 1 In this dust the early settlers found 
a source of supply of nitre, which is the most essential 
ingredient of gunpowder. The earth was leached with 
water, which dissolved the nitre ; the solution was then 
boiled down, and the residuum was the u villainous salt- 
petre," which was so necessary to the pioneers' life. 
This use of the common earth " petre-dirt," in the na- 
tive parlance was introduced by Dr. Samuel Brown, 
who was the first professor of medicine in the West. 
He was chosen to be professor of that art in the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania in 1799. To him the State 
owes much help in its early industry. Among other 
things he introduced there the newly-discovered art of 
lithography. 2 

Last among the interesting geological features of 
Kentucky we may notice the singular convulsion known 

1 See, for a more complete account of these caverns, Memoirs of 
the Kentucky Geological Survey, by N. S. Shaler, vol. }., part i. 

2 The art of gunpowder-making was early carried on in Kentucky, 
and a large part of the powder used in the campaigns of 1812 was 
made in the State. It is said tha.t the negroes were the principal 
adepts in the art 


as the New Madrid earthquake of 1811-13. In Novem- 
ber of that year the whole valley of the Mississippi was 
rudely shaken by a strong movement of the earth. This 
disturbance was most severe in the region near the junc- 
tion of the Ohio and the Mississippi, and in its energy 
is to be compared with the greatest shocks that the 
world has undergone. A large area of the Mississippi 
shores sank down, and a tract of several hundred square 
miles of good soil was permanently depressed beneath 
the water. 

After the first few appalling shocks the convulsions 
became less violent, but at more frequent intervals, 
until at the end of two years there was a nearly constant 
slight oscillation of the earth, which only perturbed a 
small region. Gradually the movements ceased, and 
since that day there has been no notable shock in the 
Mississippi Valley. It was fortunate that this great dis- 
turbance came at a time when the country was scantily 
peopled, for in the present condition of the country it 
would cause a fearful loss of life and property. 



IT has already been noticed that when Kentucky was 
first settled by the whites there were no aborigines 
resident within its bounds except some of the Chicka- 
saw Indians, who held a narrow strip along the borders 
of the Mississippi River, and a small settlement on the 
Ohio, opposite where Portsmouth, Ohio, now stands. 
The absence of resident Indians in this very fertile coun- 
try, abounding in game, constitutes one of the most 
interesting problems of the country. It is evident that 
it was a recent condition, for there is abundant proof 
of the extensive occupation of this district by an agri- 
cultural people at a period not many centuries anterior 
to the time when it first became known to Europeans. 
The whole surface of the State, except the easternmost 
part, abounds in mounds, ditched and walled fortifica- 
tions, and other evidences of extensive and permanent 
occupancy by a considerable population. 

A good deal of unnecessary mystery has been woven 
around the history of this ancient folk termed the 
mound-builders. It has been supposed that they were 
a much more civilized people than any of our Indians ; 
that they mark the presence of another and peculiar 
race on this continent. Further researches have shown 
that this is not the case; that these mound-builders 
were in fact of the same race, of the same tribes, as 


our ordinary aborigines, who have by various chances 
become somewhat changed in their habits. 1 

In brief, the history of the earliest settlers of Ken- 
tucky seems to be this. There is no evidence yet found 
to show that there were any human beings in this dis- 
trict more than one or two thousand years ago. None 
of the remains in Kentucky can by any reasonable sort 
of inference be carried further into the past than this. 
The first settlers known to us were, as far as all the 
evidence goes, essentially like our ordinary Indians, ex- 
cept that they were perhaps more given to agriculture 
and trusted less for their support to the chase. That 
they were largely agricultural is shown by the fact that 
their remains are most plentiful in regions of good soil, 
and least so in the more sterile country, though there 
was no great difference in the amount of game which 
the regions afforded. They were, it is true, mound-build^ 
ers, but so were the Indians of our Southern States to 
within the historic period. Their only peculiarity lay in 
the circumstance that the buffalo was as yet unknown 
in this country ; so that this great incentive to a wild 
life, this abundant resource of the chase, was not af- 
forded them. They were, therefore, necessarily soil- 
tillers, looking to regular labor for their subsistence. 
About a thousand years or so ago, perhaps less, the buf- 
falo, a creature of the plain lands, began to appear in 
this part of the country. It is the present writer's be- 
lief that the way of the creature to the eastward had 
been favored by the deforesting of the level lands of Il- 
linois and Indiana in the same way as the " Barrens " 

1 See the Memoir on the Mound-Builders, by Mr. L. Carr, in vol. 
ii., Mvmdrofthe Kentucky Geological Survey, N. S. Shaler, director, 
Frankfort, 1883, for a full discussion of this subject. , 


of Kentucky had been made treeless. At any rate, the 
coming of this creature coincided with the change of 
these peoples to a more barbarous condition ; agricul- 
ture became less necessary, for the chase would supply 
immediate needs at all seasons. This plentitude of 
meat appears to have had a debasing effect on all the 
peoples of the Ohio Valley. They no longer tilled as 
much ; their settlements, with their mounds and forts, 
were abandoned as far as this epoch-making beast ex- 
tended his march. 

The Indians of the South, where the dense forests 
and the swamp-margined streams presented a barrier 
to the migration of the buffalo, remained principally 
soil-tillers, as did the Indians of New York, while other 
western tribes became nomadic. Extensive warfares 
were waged between these diversified peoples, and Ken- 
tucky became one of the principal seats of their com- 
bats, a sort of border-land such as separated the Scots 
and English in their days of combat. 

In Kentucky the Chickasaws alone held their ground, 
being the most northern of the sedentary Southern In- 
dians. Their strongholds on the bluffs of the Missis- 
sippi and the inaccessibility of this country on account 
of its deep, sluggish, mud-bordered streams, seem to 
have given them a sufficient measure of protection 
against their enemies, but elsewhere in the State the In- 
dians were rooted out by their wars. 

The last tenants of the State, east of the Tennessee 
River, were the Shawnees, that combative folk who 
ravaged this country with their ceaseless wars from the 
head-waters of the Tennessee to the Mississippi, and 
from the Lakes to Alabama. 

It was no small advantage to the early settlers of 


Kentucky that they found this region without a resi- 
dent Indian population, for, bitter as was the struggle 
with the claimants of the soil, it never had the danger 
that would have come from a contest with the natives 
in closer proximity to their homes. As it was, they 
had not to wage a perpetual warfare with a fierce 
enemy, near its base of supplies, but only to deal with 
raiding parties, who soon exhausted their stock of pro- 
visions, which could not be supplied from the game, 
diminished as it was by the effective hunting of the 
whites. When they came to carry the war north of 
the Ohio, the whites found that even great military ex- 
peditions, such as that of St. Clair, might receive crush- 
ing defeats from their enemy. Any such army of In- 
dians as were met in several of the campaigns north 
of the Ohio, would, for half a century after the settle- 
ment of Kentucky began, easily have made an end of 
this feeble colony. 

It was very fortunate for this first English settlement 
north of the Alleghanies that it found this open ground, 
made difficult of access on the north by a great river, 
and remote from the centres of the native population. 
In their relatively safe place the infant colony grew 
strong, and from its vantage ground, which constituted 
a great salient into the Mississippi Valley, they were 
able in time to make overwhelming assaults upon the 
flank of the Indians north of the Ohio. 

It is interesting to note that the French colonists 
never made the least effort to explore, much less to 
possess, Kentucky. They occupied, and in a way con- 
trolled, much of Indiana, Illinois, and a part of Ohio, 
but it is doubtful if they ever sent an explorer into 
the interior of Kentucky. This was due to the fact 


that the French theory of occupation in America was 
utterly different from the English. The French en- 
deavored to bend the Indians to their purpose, and 
made no distinct effort to colonize the Ohio Valley 
either from the Canadas or from Louisiana. As Ken- 
tucky was unoccupied by the Indians, it was neglected 
by the French. There is a little but rather untrust- 
worthy evidence that they made a feeble effort to de- 
velop some of the lead mines near the Ohio, but noth- 
ing came of it. 

Thus the first settlers found themselves, in the main, 
free from these dangers due to the savages and their 
Gallic allies. The land lay more open to 'their occu- 
pancy than any other part of this country ever did to 
its first European comers. The Southern Indians had 
no interest in it ; in fact, the coming of the white man 
must have been, on the whole, advantageous to them, as 
it served to make an end to the raids of the Northern 
Indians. None of the tribes north of the Ohio had a 
very good title to the ground, or were willing deter- 
minedly to fight for it, as they did for the land about 
their villages. What resistance they made was soon 
overcome by the valor of the first of Virginia colonists 
that came to this region. 

There is yet another circumstance concerning the 
condition affecting the early settlement of Kentucky 
that deserves mention : this is the peculiar law concern- 
ing the allotment of the public domain, which has been 
in use both in this State and in Virginia since their 
foundations were laid. 

When Virginia was settled it was under a charter, 
or patent, that gave the control of the unoccupied 
country into the hands of its authorities. Although 


during the British period there was a semblance of con- 
trol by the home government over these allotments, 
they were practically managed by the colonial govern- 
ment alone. Grants were, after the first days of the 
colony, made on the payment of various fees, for sur- 
veying, etc., and a small tax per acre for the land 
" taken up." This is substantially the same method 
as that followed by the Federal government, with the 
irnportant difference that Virginia, arid several other 
Southern colonies, never made any preliminary survey 
of the land before it was sold to settlers. Each claim- 
ant was required to have his own survey made, desig- 
nating thereon the bounds of the land occupied. This 
was then recorded in the land-office of the State, and 
gave the basis for the issue of the land warrants. This 
system had advantages and disadvantages of great mo- 
ment. It allowed the rapid settlement of the country 
and the establishment of titles long in advance of any 
possible map - making. With a compass and a chain 
a surveyor, with a few hours' work, would give the 
bounds of a tract of a thousand acres, so that they 
could be held or sold with safety. While the settle- 
ments of the Northwest have had to follow in the wake 
of the government surveyors, the settler in Kentucky 
became his own surveyor. 

The disadvantages of this method were, however, 
very great. There being little or no limitation of size 
to these surveys, they were of all areas and shapes. 
The poor man was content with his patch of one hun- 
dred acres ; the speculative capitalist of the day would, 
perhaps, " run out " a hundred thousand acres or more. 
In time half a dozen patents would be laid over the 
same land. Areas of un patented land, of all shapes and 


sizes, lay between the patents. As land grew dearer 
the would-be " blanket " patents were put over exten- 
sive districts, in the hope of capturing these unappropri- 
ated lots. Of all these conflicts the Virginia, and, fol- 
lowing it, the Kentucky land-office took no note. To 
this day one can, if he please to pay the costs, " pa- 
tent" any land that lies in Kentucky, and repeat the 
process on the same area each year. The State only 
guarantees the entry if the land is unpossessed under 
previous title of valid kind. In time a vast amount of 
litigation and no end of trouble came out of this scheme. 
At this moment, owing to the absence of records, there 
are hundreds of thousands of acres in Kentucky over 
which no sort of ownership has ever been exercised. 
No taxes are collected on them. If they have ever 
been surveyed, no one knows under what patents they 
are claimed. While this primitive and imperfect sys- 
tem of distributing the public lands was the best possible 
for this early day, was, indeed, a condition precedent 
to any settlement at all, it left a train of doubtful 
titles that has to this day proved harmful to the best 
interests of the State. This evil is, however, rapidly 
passing away, for possessive titles have, in almost all 
cases, remedied any flaw in the original claim. This 
system of allotting land is a good specimen of the 
American capacity for simplicity in matters which else- 
where would have been arranged in a more complicated 
but less adequate fashion. It should be said that this 
description of the method of titles does not apply to the 
district west of the Tennessee River; that was pur- 
chased from the Indians long after the settlement of 
Kentucky. This small part of the State was divided 
into rectangular areas, as in the Northwestern States. 


The imperfection of the early land system of Ken- 
tucky may serve to show the difficulties that came to 
this lone Commonwealth from the absence of all gov- 
ernmental care in its founding. All the other new 
States of this Union have had their early stages of de- 
velopment guarded by the Federal government. They 
were provided with an effective land system, a system 
of laws suited to their needs, and the protection of 
government troops. The Kentucky settlements had to 
do without these important aids. 



WE have now noticed the principal features in the 
history of the folk that furnished the greater part of the , 
early colonists of Kentucky, as well as the physical 
conditions of the land itself. We may next proceed 
to consider the history of the earliest explorations and 
the first steps toward the settlement of the State. 

Although Virginia had a just claim to all the re- 
gion of the Ohio Valley north of the parallel of 36 30',* 
that is, if there were any justice in the colonial grants at 
all, this empire of the unknown was little esteemed in 
the early days of that colony. They knew only that it 
lay far beyond rugged mountains, peopled by their new- 
found enemies the red men, and claimed by their hered- 
itary enemies the French. Some knowledge of it they 
had from their expeditions against the French, and the 
chance reports of the few travelers who ventured near 
it, but it was not until there began to be a need of find- 
ing place for the growing population of the colony 
that they turned their minds toward this country. At 
this time the settlements were well up to the borders 
of the Alleghany Mountains, indeed, all the richer 
valleys of the eastern part of that chain were pretty 
thoroughly taken up by settlers. The greater part of 
this region was of a nature to be extremely repellent 
to the Virginia farmer. The price of grain and cattle 


was exceedingly low ; he was accustomed to feel that 
he must either have ground well fitted to tobacco, or 
else soil that would give a large return for his labor in 
the less exportable crops. Therefore the fairly good 
lands of the Alleghanies seemed, and indeed were, to 
him worthless. It is a simple application of the theory 
of rent taught by political economy. 

The Alleghanies were, however, an extremely diffi- 
cult indeed, at first a nearly impassable barrier to 
western movement. They consisted of a number of long 
ridges, set in rank behind rank ; their slopes were steep, 
their forests dense, and where they were cut by streams 
these flowed in canon-like gorges generally unfitted for 
roadways. No other than a forest-bred people would 
have dared this wilderness in search of cheap and good 
"land. It is difficult to picture to ourselves the hazard- 
ous nature of this movement. We must believe that 
the first adventurers had slow imaginations or a rare 
valor, else the evident risks of their project would 
surely have sufficed to deter even the bravest men, 
spurred by no sense of duty to this enterprise of con- 
quering a far-away and mythical land. 

The colonial charters of Virginia gave to that col- 
ony a claim upon all the lands of the Mississippi Valley 
that lay to the west of the boundaries of Pennsylvania 
and New York, as well as of the colony itself. At the 
time when these grants were made, and for generations 
afterward, this western domain was to Virginia a very 
intangible property, if indeed it deserved the name of a 
possession. The little that was known about it came 
mostly through the French authorities, or from a few ad- 
venturous traders who had visited that country. To the 
Virginians of the seventeenth and the first decades <jf 


the eighteenth century, charter rights in a country from 
which came recurrent dangers in the shape of French 
or Indian wars seemed of no value whatever. When, 
however, the fall of Louisburg and Quebec and other 
events in the warfare with the French in Canada began 
to show that the English were likely to win control of 
the continent, when the fear of the savages was some- 
what diminished by a long arid generally successful 
struggle with them, the minds of the Virginia people 
began to dwell upon the possibilities of that broad and 
fertile country which lay beyond the barren ridges of 
the Alleghanies. 

The history of Virginia shows us that there were sev- 
eral reasons which led its people to desire western pos- 
sessions long before the more northern colonies began 
to look to the Mississippi Valley for new homes. In 
the first place, the Virginia people came from the more 
rural population of England and Scotlan^l, and from 
the beginning were ever in their mode of living a less 
urban people than the more northern colonists of Amer- 
ica. Within the tobacco belt agriculture was a much 
more profitable occupation than it ever became within 
the northern colonies during the colonial times. This 
and the other crops produced by slave labor were won 
by a careless tillage, that rapidly reduced the fertility 
of the land, and made it desirable to seek fresh fields 
for the devastating ploughs. 1 

1 It would not be possible to contrive a more perfect means of rap- 
idly exhausting the soil than the method of tillage commonly in use 
in the old days in this Virginian country. The " tilth," or depth of 
the ploughing, rarely exceeded six inches, and oftener was less ; 
ploughs were run year after year at the same depth, until there was 
a hard pan formed by the action of the plough heel, which shut the 
roots of the crops out of the sub-soil. Manuring was never under. 


The use of slave labor in agriculture demands exceed- 
ingly rich soils ; even with so exportable an article as 
tobacco, tillage cannot profitably be carried on by means 
of slaves on lands ' that are not excellent in quality. 
This is plainly shown by the fact that the hill regions 
of the South did not become occupied by slaveholders. 
In all the vast expanse of the Alleghanies, where the 
soils are relatively poor, there is scarcely more negro 
blood than there is in New York or New England, and 
those negroes who are now found there are mostly waifs 
recently brought by the railways and other modern en- 
terprises. Here and there, where the Alleghanies in- 
close small areas of limestone rock, which by its clay 
produces soils of the first order, the slaveholder planted 
himself and for a time tilled his crops ; but as a whole 
the institution did not fit mountain regions, however 
fertile the valleys might be, for the tracts of arable 
land were not large enough to permit the plantation 
system to be applied to their tillage, so that they fell 
to the non-slaveholding class. The student of general 
history will find interest in the fact that this unfitness 
of the Appalachian system of mountains for tillage by 
slaves became a very important element in the civil 
war. The people of this district during the conflict 
were either armed Union men or lukewarm adherents 
of the Confederacy. The Appalachian district formed 
a great salient of anti-slavery people that cut the South 
nearly in twain. 

taken ; not uncommonly the stables were allowed to fill with unre- 
moved dung until the beasts could no longer enter them. When the 
exhaustion of the abused soil was so complete that it could no longer 
be profitably cultivated, the place was "turned out," the healing for- 
ests again possessed it, while the proprietor went "over the divide " 
and set about his devastating work on another farm. 


In the middle of the last century the lands fitted for 
the use of slaves in Virginia, at least in that part of the 
State east of the Blue Ridge, were fully occupied. The 
Shenandoah Valley was in good part set-tied, and the 
whole of its fertile parts was possessed either by active 
tillers or by large owners like Lord Fairfax, who re- 
tained them for speculation. The farming class found 
themselves faced by the long parallel ridges of the Al- 
leghanies, which stretch in an almost continuous wall 
from the border of New York State to the country of 
the Gulf slope, a region unfit for tillage. 

The compulsion to westward migration then acting 
upon the Virginia people was something like that which 
in the olden days drove their remote ancestry from Cen- 
tral Asia over the lands of Europe to the Atlantic. Ill 
neither case were the people crowded in the sense that 
the Belgium or the Massachusetts people are now 
crowded together, but they were in each case aggre- 
gated beyond the limits of their conditions. With herds- 
men there can only be a very few people to the square 
mile; with slave agriculture the number may be 
greater, but still far below the number that may advan- 
tageously inhabit the same district under conditions of 

Even before 1750 adventurers seeking trade with the 
Indians had been exploring the Alleghanies for ways 
into the West. It had already been found that the 
most practicable route was by following to the south- 
ward the great mountain trough that separates the Blue 
Ridge from the Alleghany range of mountains. The 
course of this valley is nearly to the southwest, and its 
high-lying fertile limestone plains are drained in turn 
by the Shenandoah and the Roanoke, that send their 


waters to the Atlantic, and the Kanawaha, or New 
River, and the Tennessee, tributaries of the Ohio. In 
this trough, that separates the eastern and western 
ranges of the Appalachian Mountains, the traveler can 
journey through a length of many hundred miles with- 
out having to pass over any difficult ways. 

From this valley there are two natural ways to the 
Ohio : at the crossing of the New River, or from the 
mouth of the Greenbrier River, it is possible to turn 
sharply to the north down that stream, and then along 
its banks to follow a tolerably direct line to the Ohio, 
the stream itself being unnavigable for much of its 
length ; or, better still, the mountain valley may be fol- 
lowed about a hundred miles further to the southwest 
to a point where for a considerable distance the Cum- 
berland River and the Powell branch of the great Ten- 
nessee run for some distance parallel to each other, sep- 
arated only by the narrow wall of the Cumberland 
Mountain. At this point the Cumberland Mountain is a 
single ridge, generally too steep even for horse-paths, 
but at several points it breaks down into traversable 
passes. Crossing this mountain over any of these 
passes, the westward farer had only to follow the Cum- 
berland, as it cuts its way through the Pine Mountain 
and the irregular hills still farther to the west, to find a 
difficult but practicable way into Eastern Kentucky, one 
possible to pack animals, which could find foothold on 
the Indian paths or buffalo trails, and easily made pos- 
sible to that ship of the wilderness, the admirable 
American wagon. 1 

1 At the time when Kentucky was settled the European pack-sad- 
dle was still in general use in this country. It was almost the only 
means of conveying burdens employed down to the end of the six- 


From the time of the settlement of the Shenandoah 
Valley this southward extension of its fertile lauds was 
well known to the Virginians. As early as the seven- 
teenth century one of the frontier forts was placed in 
the southern part of the valley. These ways to the 
West were traversed even in the seventeenth century 
by many of those hardy spirits who skirmish beyond 
the advancing lines of civilization. 1 

The first authentic report of a deliberate journey be- 
yond the line of the Alleghanies is that of Doctor 
Thomas Walker, who in 1750 traveled to the central 
parts of the region afterwards called Kentucky, and re- 
turned with a good report of the country. This journal 
still exists in manuscript. He seems to have been a re- 
markably intelligent explorer, for he noticed the east- 
ernmost outcrop of the Appalachian coal-field, which so 
far is probably the first mention of any fact of a geo- 

teenth century. It held on in Virginia for more than a century after 
it had generally passed out of service in the Old World. Remnants 
of its use may still be found in some of the sequestered corners of the 
Southern Appalachians. But for this simple instrument the settle- 
ment of Kentucky would hardly have been possible, for it was many 
years before a wagon road was constructed. 

1 Even as early as 1654 a certain Colonel Wood was in Kentucky 
as an explorer, but of his route we know little or nothing. Raffi- 
nesque, in his most untrustworthy annals of Kentucky, says that a 
Captain Bolt came from Virginia to Kentucky in 1660. In 1730 John 
Sailing, a Virginian, was taken prisoner by the Cherokee Indians and 
carried to Tennessee, thence to the salt licks of Kentucky ; a second 
capture by Illinois Indians led to his traveling as far as Kaskaskia ; 
escaping from his second captivity by ransom, he finally reached Vir- 
ginia again. He was probably the first Virginian to tread the way 
leading to Kentucky by Cumberland Gap. which so many of his fel- 
lows were to follow, but as his journey was not voluntary he cannot 
claim real credit as an explorer. There is also a tradition that in 
1742 a man named John Howard crossed the mountains and went 
down the Ohio, but the fact is doubtful. (See Collins, i., p. 15.) 


logical nature concerning any part of the Virginia 
mountains. Walker named the principal features of 
the country he traversed : the Waseoto mountains, 
which he called Cumberland; the Shawnee River, to 
^which he gave the same name ; the Chatterawah, which, 
with the Virginian dislike of Indian names, he called 
the Big Sandy. There is some excuse for his calling 
the finest of the Alleghany Mountains and the most 
beautiful of its rivers after the very unsavory George, 
Duke of Cumberland, and the beautiful Chatterawah 
the Big Sandy ; for the fact is Kentucky had been re- 
cently in good part abandoned by the Shawnee Indians 
as a place of residence, and had become a border fight- 
ing-ground between the Indians north of the Ohio and 
the Cherokees and other tribes of the Tennessee Val- 
ley and the country to the south and east of it, so that 
the traveler had no chance to get the aboriginal names 
of its geographical features from natives. 

In 1751 Christopher Gist, an agent of the Ohio Com- 
pany, a corporation having from Virginia an unplaced 
grant of 500,000 acres of land, visited Shawnee town, 
at the mouth of the Scioto River, where Portsmouth, 
Ohio, now stands. Here he found a settlement con- 
taining about three hundred Indians : one part of their 
lodges on the southern, or Kentucky side of the Ohio, 
but the most on the northern, or Ohio, border of the 
stream. So entirely was Kentucky at this time aban- 
doned by the Indians that this was probably the only 
settlement within the limits of the State, except some 
Indian towns along the Mississippi River. There were 
many Indian traders residing at this settlement, show- 
ing that the country had already been extensively pen* 
etrated by those adventurous men. Gist's explorations 


were extended as far as Big Bone Lick, whence he 
obtained jome of the fossil elephant remains. 1 Thence 
he followed an Indian trail up the Kentucky and across 
the mountains to the Kanawha. 2 

In 1752 Lewis Evans Lsued the first map of the re- 
gion, including Kentucky. 3 It is probable that few 
copies of this map remain in existence. In 1756 a white 
woman, a Mrs. Mary Inglis, was taken prisoner in 
Southwestern Virginia and conveyed to Central Ken- 
tucky, where she escaped and made her way home afoot 
after a journey of appalling difficulty. 

The narrative of her adventures is thus given in Col- 
lins's " History of Kentucky : " 

" The first white woman in Kentucky was Mrs. Mary 
Inglis, nee Draper, who in 1756, with her two little 
boys, her sister-in-law, Mrs. Draper, and others, was 
taken prisoner by the Shawanee Indians from her home 
on the top of the great Alleghany ridge, in now Mont- 
gomery County, West Virginia. The captives were 
taken down the Kanawha to the salt region, and, after 
a few days spent in making salt, to the Indian village 
at the mouth of the Scioto River, where Portsmouth, 

1 Big Bone Lick was early looked upon as the principal curiosity of 
the country. Many of the expeditions encamped there. When first 
visited by the whites the bones of the mammoth and the mastodon 
were plentifully scattered over the ground about the salt springs. 
The camping parties used the ribs of the fossil elephants for tent poles 
and the vertebrae for seats and as rests for their camp kettles. At a 
later time Jefferson had a valu&ble collection of these remains brought 
to Washington and deposited in the government buildings, along with 
other geological material that this many -minded man brought to- 
gether. These specimens remained in the patent-office until at length, 
it is on tradition reported, they were sent to the bone mill by one of 
the ignorant servants of that office. 

2 See Collinp, i. 15. 3 See Collins, i. 15. 


Ohio, now is. Here, although spared the pain and dan- 
ger of running the gauntlet, to which Mrs. Draper was 
subjected, she was, in the division of the prisoners, sep- 
arated from her little sons. Some French traders from 
Detroit visiting the village with their goods, Mrs. In- 
glis made some shirts out of the checked fabrics. As 
fast as one was finished, a Frenchman would take it 
and run through the village, swinging it on a staff, 
praising it as an ornament and Mrs. Inglis as a very 
fine squaw ; and then make the Indians pay her from 
their store at least twice its value. This profitable 
employment continued about three weeks, and Mrs. 
Inglis was more than ever admired and kindly treated 
by her captors. 

" A party setting off for Big Bone Licks, on the 
south side of the Ohio River, about one hundred and 
forty miles below, to make salt, took her along, together 
with an elderly Dutch woman, who had been a long 
time prisoner. The separation from her children de- 
termined her to escape, and she prevailed upon the old 
woman to accompany her. They obtained leave to 
gather grapes. Securing a blanket, tomahawk, and 
knife, they left the Licks in the afternoon, and to pre- 
vent suspicion took neither additional clothing nor pro- 
visions. When about to depart, Mrs. Inglis exchanged 
her tomahawk with one of the three Frenchmen in the 
company, as he was sitting on one of the big bones 
cracking walnuts. They hastened to the Ohio River, 
and proceeded unmolested up the stream, in about 
five days coming opposite the village their captors and 
they had lived at, at thn mouth of the Scioto. There 
they found an empty cabin, and remained for the night. 
In the morning they loaded a horse, browsing near by, 


with corn, and proceeded up the river, escaping obser- 
vation, although in sight of the Indian village and In- 
dians for several hours. 

" Although the season was dry and the rivers low, 
the Big Sandy was too deep to cross at its mouth ; so 
they followed up its banks until they found a crossing 
on the driftwood. The horse fell among the logs, arid 
could not be extricated. The women carried what 
corn they could, but it was exhausted long before they 
reached the Kanawha, and they lived upon grapes, 
black walnuts, pawpaws, and sometimes roots. These 
did not long satisfy the old Dutch woman, and, frantic 
with hunger and exposure, she threatened, and several 
days after at twilight actually attempted, the life of her 
companion. Mrs. Inglis escaped from the grasp of the 
desperate woman, outran her, and concealed herself 
awhile under the river-bank. Proceeding along by the 
light of the moon, she found a canoe the identical 
one in which the Indians had taken her across the river 
five months before half filled with dirt and leaves, 
without a paddle or a pole near. Using a broad splin- 
ter of a fallen tree, she cleared the canoe, and con- 
trived to paddle it to the other side. In the morning 
the old woman discovered her, and with strong prom- 
ises of good behavior begged her to cross over and keep 
her compa-ny ; but she thought they were more likely 
to remain friends with the river between them. Though 
approaching her former home, her condition was grow- 
ing hopeless : her strength almost wasted away, and 
her limbs had begun- to swell from 1 wading cold streams, 
frost, and fatigue. The weather was- growing cold, and 
a light snow fell. At length, after forty days and a 
half of remarkable endurance, during, which she trav- 


eled not less than twenty miles a day, she reached a 
clearing and the residence of a friendly family, by 
whose kind and judicious treatment she was strong 
enough in a few days to proceed to a fort near by, and 
the next day she was restored to her husband. Help 
was sent to the Dutch woman, and she, too, recovered. 
One of the little boys died in captivity, not long after 
the forced separation; the other remained thirteen years 
with the Indians before his father could trace him up 
and secure his ransom. Mrs. Inglis died in 1813, aged 
eighty-four. Her family was one of the best, and her 
daughters married men who became distinguished." * 

In 1765 Colonel George Croghan, who had pre- 
viously visited the Ohio with Gist, made a surveying 
journey down that stream from Pittsburg 16 the Mis- 
sissippi. The survey was of the rudest sort ; he made 
an error of ninety-seven miles in his estimate of the 
distance from Pittsburg to the junction of the Ohio 
and Mississippi, and similar errors in all his determina- 
tions, but his work deserves to be remembered as the 
first effort to do surveying in this basin. In 1766 a 
party of five persons, including a mulatto slave, under 
the command of Captain James Smith, explored a large 
part of what is now Tennessee, and probably extended 
their journey through Southern Kentucky. 

Journeys to Kentucky now became frequent. Every 
year sent one or more parties of pioneers to one part 
or another of the country. In 1769 Daniel Boone 
and five companions, all from the Yadkin settlements 
in North Carolina, came to Eastern Kentucky. One 
of the party was killed, but Boone remained, while 
his companions returned to their homes. Thus it will 
1 Collins, ii. p. 53. 


be seen that Boone's first visit was relatively late in 
the history of Kentucky explorations. Almost every 
part of its surface had been traversed by other ex- 
plorers before this man, who passes in history as the 
typical pioneer, set foot upon its ground. In the time 
between 1770 and 1772 George Washington, then a 
land-surveyor, majje two surveys in the region which 
is now the northeast corner of Kentucky, included in 
the present counties of Greenup, Boyd, and Lawrence. 

The reader should bear in mind the fact that these 
movements were made in the face of grave dangers 
from the Southern Indians. The Shawnees, the most 
warlike of the Western tribes, had, it is true, been driven 
from their settlements in Kentucky, but the land was 
claimed by the Cherokees, a numerous and combative 
association of tribes. In 1756 the Earl of Loudon, 
then commander of the British troops in America and 
Governor of Virginia, built a fort on the Tennessee 
River, about thirty miles from where Knoxville now 
stands. In 1758 the celebrated Colonel Bird erected 
another fort. These forts held garrisons of several hun- 
dred men, and were mounted with cannon. Despite 
the strength of these outposts they were overwhelmed 
by the Indians, and their garrisons destroyed or forced 
into disgraceful retreat. The influence of the French 
made it impossible to effect any permanent agreement 
with the savages. Thus the early settlers who moved 
into Kentucky were compelled to face the dangers of 
combat with warlike tribes, emboldened by success in 
their combats with the whites. 

The singular feature about all these early wander- 
ings in Kentucky is, that although they had been going 
on for thirty years or more, many of the explorers 


returning two or three times to the ground, they wero 
moved more by the spirit of adventure than by any dis- 
tinct love of gain or idea of permanent settlement. To 
make a perilous journey into the dark and bloody bat- 
tle-ground of the Indians, and then to return with many 
stories of hair -breadth escapes and a scalp or two, 
seems to have been the motive an(^ the end of these 
numerous expeditions. It is noteworthy that there is 
no trace of a search for precious metals in all these ex- 
peditions. That greed of gold, which was so prominent 
a feature in the early explorations of Virginia, was 
wanting in the colonization of Kentucky. This desire, 
never so strong in the English as in the Spanish set- 
tlers of America, appears to have been quite dead in 
the latter part of the seventeenth century in the colo- 
nies of the former people. About 1770 the favorable 
reports of these explorers began to move the minds of 
a more agricultural class, and from that time onward 
the idea of colonization and possession became more 
common. The system of the Virginia land-office, which 
permitted people to " locate " on any unoccupied land, 
making their own surveys and marking their own boun- 
daries, favored this first stage of settlement. 



THE first distinct effort to found a colony was made 
by James Harrod and about forty companions, who 
found their way down the Ohio near to where Louis- 
ville now stands, and thence by land to what is now 
Mercer County, in Central Kentucky, where they estab- 
lished, on June 16, 1774, a village which they called, in 
honor of their leader, Harrodsburg. Earlier attempts 
at settlement were made at Louisville, but the fear of 
Indians caused the speedy abandonment of this post. 
At other points the explorers occasionally made tempo- 
rary habitations, tilled a crop of maize for subsistence, 
and then continued their wanderings. But Harrodsburg 
was the first deliberate settlement of importance, and 
the first that was intended to be permanent. 1 In 1775 
other and stronger footholds were gained. Boone built 
a fort in what is now Madison County, and Logan an- 
other at St. Asaphs, in Lincoln County. 

The settlement of Kentucky was greatly favored by 
the decisive victory gained by Lord Dunmore's troops 
over the Indians from the north of the Ohio, at the 
mouth of the Kanawha. This battle, known as Point 
Pleasant, was the first pitched battle between the Ohio 
Indians and the whites, in which the savages had no 
aid from the French. Although the Indians fought 
1 See Collins, ii. p. 517. 


with great bravery, prolonging the combat for a whole 
day, they were in the end completely routed, with great 
loss, and signed a treaty abandoning the whole country 
south of the Ohio to the whites. The signal nature of 
their defeat, even more than their treaty, caused the 
principal Ohio tribes for several years to be wary of 
venturing into Kentucky, where they knew they would 
encounter men of the same quality. This victory, though 
bought with a loss of about one hundred of the colonial 
troops, was of priceless value to the Kentucky settle- 
ments. It not only diminished the fear of the Ohio 
Indians in this colony, but for a time, at least, it opened 
the road to Kentucky by way of the Ohio. Moreover, 
as many of the heroes of Point Pleasant afterward 
settled in Kentucky, it gave confidence to its settlers in 
their subsequent combats with the aborigines. 

That the process of possessing the land was going 
on with speed may be seen from the fact that Hender- 
son and Company, land-agents at Boon esboro ugh, issued 
from their office in the new-built fort entry certificates 
of surveys for five hundred and sixty thousand acres of 
land. The process of survey was of the rudest kind, 
but it served the purpose of momentary definition of the 
areas made it possible to deal with the land as a com- 
modity, and left the tribulations concerning boundaries 
to the next generation. These land deeds were given 
as of the " colony of Transylvania," which was in fact 
the first appellation of Kentucky, a name by which it 
was known for several years before it received its pres- 
ent appellation. 

At this time, the last year that the work of settling 
Kentucky was done under the authority of his majesty 
King George the Third, there were probably about one 


hundred and fifty men who had placed themselves in 
settlements that were intended to be permanent within 
the bounds of what is now the Commonwealth of Ken- 
tucky. There may have been as many more doing the 
endless exploring work which preceded the choice of a 
site for their future homes. The men at Boorie's Sta- 
tion claimed, and seem to have been awarded, a sort of 
hegemony among the settlements. On the 23d of May, 
at the call of Colonel Henderson, the land-agent of the 
proprietors, delegates from these settlements met at 
Boonesborough, and drew up a brief code of nine laws 
for the government of the young Commonwealth. This, 
the first legislative body ever assembled in the region 
west of the Alleghanies, met with all the important 
forms of a colonial government. The speech of the act- 
ing governor, Colonel Henderson, reads like the address 
of a British sovereign from the throne, with a slight 
addition of frontier flourishes. The chairman of the 
convention answered him in equally formal phrase, 
and, after a day or two of preamble, the unhoused par- 
liament proceeded to business, passing the following 
laws 1 : 

1. An act to establish courts of judicature and regu- 
lating the practice therein. 

2. An act for regulating the militia. 

3. An act for the punishment of criminals. 

4. An act to prevent profane swearing and Sabbath- 

5. An act for writs of attachment. 

6. An act for ascertaining clerks' and sheriffs' fees. 

7. An act to preserve the range (that is, the right 
of public pasture). 

1 See Collins's Kentucky, vol. ii. p. 508. 


8. An act for preserving the breed of horses. 

9. An act for preserving game. 

The foregoing laws have not come down to us in 
detail ; we have only their titles, two of which merit 
notice. The Puritanic quality of the fourth of these 
commandments is balanced by the livelier quality ol 
the eighth. 1 

The Boonesborough parliament adjourned to meet 
in September, but it never reassembled. The venture 
which led to its institution fell altogether to ruin, and 
the name of Transylvania has been almost entirely for- 
gotten. We cannot afford the space to give more than 
an outline of this curious fragment of Western history. 

The colony of Transylvania rested on a purchase of 
about beventeen million acres, or about one half the 
present area of Kentucky, which was made by some 
people of North Carolina from the Overhill Cherokee 
Indians, a part of the great tribe that dwelt on the 
Holston River. For this land the unfortunate adven- 
turers paid the sum of 10,000 of English money. 
This was a form of land-grabbing by purchase from the 
Indians peculiar to the eighteenth century ; it not hav, 
ing been at that time well affirmed that while States 
could cheat Indians out of their possessions the privi- 
lege was denied the private citizen. The Cherokees 
knew full well that in fact they had no title in this 
land to sell ; the land had probably never been in their 
possession ; it was more of the nature of unowned land 
than any other fertile district in the Mississippi Val- 

1 The first race track in Kentucky was laid out about 1775, at 
Shallow Ford Station. A man engaged in trying the paces of his 
horse upon this track was shot by an Indian secreted in a neighbor- 
ing cane-brake. See Collins, ii. p. 521. , 



ley ; it was, in fact, a lot of common ground where 
there was no lord of the manor. 

Immediately after the Boonesborough parliament the 
position of the Transylvania company became very in- 
secure ; its own people began to doubt the validity of 
the titles they had obtained from the company, because, 
after a time, they learned from various sources that 
the lands of this region of Kentucky had been pre- 
viously ceded to the English government by the Six 
Nations, and were included in the Virginia charter. In 
the latter part of 1775 eighty men of the Transylvania 
settlement signed a memorial asking to be taken under 
the protection of Virginia ; or, if that colony thought it 
best, that their petition might be referred to the Gen- 
eral Congress. This protest is a remarkably sober and 
well- written document, which gives us a high opinion 
of the character of the men who prepared it. 1 

The proprietors of the colony made their answer to 
this rebellion by sending a delegate to the Federal 
Congress at Philadelphia, who was to request that the 
colony of Transylvania be added to the number of the 
American colonies. Their petition set forth that " the 
memorialists, having made this purchase from the abo- 
rigines and immemorial possessors, the sole and uncon- 
tested owners of the country, in a free and open treaty, 
and without the violation of any British or American 
law whatever, are determined to give it up only with 
their lives." 2 Nothing came of this protest. Congress 
refused to seat their delegate, Patrick Henry and Jef- 
ferson, then representing Virginia, opposing the efforts 
of the proprietors. The Governor of North Carolina 

J See Hall's Sketches of History in the West, vol. ii. pp. 236-239. 
2 Collins, ii. p. 512. ' 


issued a proclamation declaring their purchase illegal. 
The colony gradually fell to pieces, though the State 
of Virginia took no decided action with reference to it 
until in 1778 that Commonwealth declared the acts of 
the company void, but, in a generous spirit, offered com- 
pensation to Colonel Henderson and the other adven- 
turers. The Transylvania company received two hun- 
dred thousand acres of valuable lands, and their sales to 
actual settlers were confirmed by an act of the Virginia 

Thus the strongest, though not the first, colony of 
Kentucky, was a misadventure and quickly fell to 
pieces, but during its short life it did more to affirm the 
position of the whites on this ground than all the other 
settlements put together. That at Harrodsburg and 
other ventures beyond the Transylvania company's con- 
trol were made without any moral support from beyond 
the mountains. Although the men who founded them 
were doubtless personally brave, they had not the cour- 
age to face at once the toils of the wilderness and the 
assaults of the savage foe. The Boonesborough settle- 
ments were planted by men of peculiar vigor, and were 
supported by a set of very resolute people, acting as a 
corporation, who had means and courage to meet emer- 
gencies. Moreover, they were in a position to exercise 
some choice in the character of their colonists ; they saw 
to it that only men of character and courage were per- 
mitted in the district. 

As the Indians did not occupy Kentucky, but only 
used it as an occasional hunting-ground, it was not diffi- 
cult for the wary explorer to journey all over the land 
without encountering their parties ; nor were the sav- 
ages likely to become excited by the temporary pres- 


ence in this country of small bands of the whites, 
who sought to exercise no possession. When, how- 
ever, these wandering parties began to establish them- 
selves on the ground the matter seemed more serious to 
them. No sooner had the Harrodsburg settlement 
been founded than the Indians assaulted its people. Al- 
though the loss from this assault amounted to but one 
man killed, his companions were so frightened that for 
a time they deserted their home ; some of the panic- 
stricken folk escaping through the woods to the Mis- 
sissippi, and thence to New Orleans, while the others 
returned to Virginia by the way they came. A portion 
of these people returned the next year after the vigor- 
ous colony of Boonesborough was founded, and re- 
founded their village under the shadow of its protection. 
It will not do to impute cowardice to these lonely pio- 
neers. We can conceive their position in this vast and 
unexplored forest land, without even a road to bind 
them to their far-off mother country ; where at any 
moment an overwhelming force of fierce enemies might 
spring from the dark woods. The greatest difficulty 
was to bring these little bands to a sense that they 
could by determination meet and make an end of these 
dangers ; that all alone in the wilderness they could 
deal with this savage foe who had so recently beaten 
the armies of Braddock and of Washington. This les- 
son of patient, enduring courage was taught by the 
Transylvania company ; it could not well have been 
gained except through such strength as this vigorous 
and determined company gave to its settlements. 

The history of the assaults on the Boonesborough 
station is much like a host of other histories of West- 
ern settlements, but it has for us a special interest foi 


the reason that the attacks took place in the very be- 
ginning of the struggle of outlying settlements with the 
Indians of the Mississippi Valley, and that they were 
met by small parties of isolated men, who could hope 
for no aid of state or national government, and who 
had no resource except what they found in themselves, 
or might obtain from the proprietors of the colony. 

The first task of the Transylvania company was to 
cut a " trail " or horse-way from the Holston Valley to 
Central Kentucky ; this work was done under the com- 
mand of Daniel Boone, then a servant of the company. 
It was an undertaking of no great difficulty, as the only 
aim was to make a way passable to pack-horses, but it 
was a work which required some time. The party con- 
structing this road was observed by the hunting parties 
of the Indians, and their undertaking was seen to be a 
more serious matter than the previous desultory inva- 
sions of their land. 1 The first engagement between the 
whites and Indians on Kentucky soil came at the end of 
this task of road-making. Boone and his men were 
sleeping without guards, when just before day the In- 
dians rushed into the camp. A portion of the company 
was put to flight, which did not end until they were safe 
in Virginia, but the remainder rallied and held their 
ground. A negro servant was killed ; Captain Twetty, 
one of the leaders of the party, was killed ; and a young 
man, Felix Walker, wounded. The success of the 
whites in beating off the Indians, their courage in wait- 
ing under arms by the side of their wounded man for 
twelve days until they could carry him to the site of the 
fort which they intended to build, were fortunate for 
the future Commonwealth, for they thereby gained a 
1 See Collins, ii. p. 497. 


confidence which enabled the little band to meet yet 
more serious perils. Two days later the same party 
of Indians assailed another camp and killed two men. 
Boone's letter to Colonel Henderson gives us the first 
clear view of that cool, intrepid man, who was to do so 
much for the early settlement of Kentucky. 1 Collins, 
in his History of Kentucky, gives extracts from the 
very interesting diary of Colonel Henderson. This man 
was one of the heroes of his time. Born in Eastern 
Virginia, of poor parents, ignorant of the alphabet until 
he came to man's estate, he forced himself by sheer 
strength to a high position as a leader of men. After 
the dissolution of his colony he settled in the great do- 
main which Virginia granted to himself and his asso- 
ciates in compensation for their efforts in founding the 
Transylvania colony. His diary shows that he was one 
of the few frontiersmen who could admire the beauties 
of the world about him even amid the cares that beset 
the colonist. 2 

Bringing their wounded man with them, Boone has- 
tened to the point on the Kentucky River which he had 
chosen for his stronghold. The position was well 
taken. It was on the south side of the principal river 
of the State, sufficiently advanced to protect a large 
tract of country by receiving the blow of invasions, and 
not too remote to hope to maintain its connections with 
the base of supplies in Virginia and North Carolina. 
The settlements in East Tennessee defended this part 
of Kentucky from the Southern Indians. 

The Virginia experience with Indian warfare had al- 
ready shown the best method of making a simple fortifi- 
cation that would serve well both for shelter and for de- 
1 Collins, ii. p. 498. 2 Collins, ii. p. 500. 


fense against savage warfare. The Boonesborough fort 
is a type of all these early fortifications, and as the first 
Kentucky stronghold merits a brief description. The 
fort was laid out as a parallelogram, about two hundred 
and fifty feet long and one hundred and twenty-five feet 
wide ; at the four corners log-houses, each two stories 
high, were built ; the part of the walls of those block- 
houses that lay beyond the fort were without windows, 
but pierced with loopholes, from which a clearing fire 
could be delivered along the curtains of the fort. The 
sides were formed in part by the outer walls of cabins, 
and in part by lines of stockade, made by placing 
squared timbers vertically in the ground and binding 
them together by a horizontal stringer or stay-piece on 
the inside near the top. The steep roofs of the houses 
were covered with thick slabs or riven beams, held in 
their places by means of horizontal bars of wood laid 
upon them and tied by withes to the rafters. Iron was 
little used in these early constructions of the wilderness, 
and to this day houses are built in the mountain dis- 
tricts of Kentucky which do not contain a pound of the 
metal. Two gates of stout framed wood in the middle 
of the longer side, commanded on the inside by the 
small windows on the inside faces of the houses, and on 
the outside by the loopholes of the block-houses, com- 
pleted the outlines of this primitive castle. As long as 
artillery was not used and in the early fights it usu- 
ally had no place such defenses were all that could be 
desired. The central square gave a large space for herd- 
ing cattle. Each cabin was separately defensible, and 
the tolerably complete separation of the several houses 
made them safe from conflagrations ; one cabin could be 
burned without involving the destruction of the others. 


This system of a defensive village differs in certain 
ways from anything known in other countries. I have 
been unable to find that it had been used at an earlier 
period in other parts of America outside of the Southern 
colonies : it probably never was used in Europe. It is 
likely that it is a modification of the Indian stockade, al- 
ready known to the early settlers. It is an admirable 
adaptation of the defensive quality of the log-house to 
the modern rifle ; when defended by a score or two of 
deliberate and determined men, such a fort cannot be 
taken by escalade, for each block-house is a keep that 
has to be taken by a special assault. The only risk is 
from an enemy being able to fire the houses, but with a 
sufficient supply of water a fire can readily be extin- 
guished from the inside. Although there was no care 
in providing these structures with a moat or ditch, they 
proved remarkably successful forts, and were never car- 
ried against a reasonably good resistance. This pattern 
of stronghold became the type of all stations constructed 
in Kentucky and elsewhere. 

The weapon of these pioneers, the small-bored, long, 
heavy-barreled rifle, was the best gun that has ever 
been used by the frontiersman in the forest. Its small 
charge made the supply of lead and powder less diffi- 
cult than it would otherwise have been, and up to one 
hundred and fifty yards (the ordinary limit of forest 
ranges) it was an exceedingly accurate weapon. With 
one hundred sturdy men for a garrison it would be very 
difficult to take such a fortification, even with well-dis- 
ciplined troops ; against Indian attacks it never failed 
to prove a sufficient defense. 

The contest with the Indians went on in a desultory 
way while the Boonesborough fort was building ; but it 


was not until two years after its construction, when the 
Revolutionary War had begun and Point Pleasant had 
been forgotten, that the Indians assailed it in force. 
On the 15th of April, 1777, a fierce assault was made 
upon it by a small party of savages ; but the Indians 
were beaten off with considerable loss, while that of the 
whites was trifling. On the 4th of July of the same 
year another attack was made, in which the Indians 
again lost so heavily that they hurriedly left the coun- 

On the 8th of August, 1778, they returned in much 
larger force. The attack which they now made was 
not like the others, a mere raid of wandering parties ; 
the Revolutionary War was now so far advanced that 
the savages were under the lead of British officers, and 
uuder their direction acted with far more skill than 
they could do alone. In this last great attack the fort 
was summoned by a British officer acting under his own 
flag, so that this capital little event deserves a place 
among the actions of the Revolutionary War. When 
summoned to surrender, Boone obtained two days for 
deliberation, which appears to have been granted under 
singular conditions, for it is stated that he used the 
time in getting the cattle into the fort, and in other 
preparations for resistance. He then, with the unani- 
mous approval of his garrison, resolved to withstand a 
siege. After this well-contrived beginning, Boone, who 
seems to have had a rather unsuspicious nature, ac- 
cepted an invitation to go with eight of his men be- 
yond the walls of the fort for further treaty. After 
some parleying the enemy attempted to capture the 
party, but they escaped to the fort under a fire that 
wounded onlv one man. The active sieo-e of several 




days proved fatal to a large number of the assailants. 
The British commander then endeavored to drive a tun- 
nel from the river bank into the fort ; but this was dis- 
covered in time, and effectually countermined by the 
defenders. On the next day the siege was raised, the 
Indians having sustained a loss, it is said, of thirty- 
seven killed, while the loss of the garrison was only 
two killed and four wounded. 

After this, the last siege of Boonesborough, the forti- 
fied posts of Kentucky were rapidly pushed into the 
fertile and attractive Blue Grass region of Central Ken- 
tucky, and soon became so numerous that Boone's Sta- 
tion was no longer of importance, and other posts re- 
ceived the blows which the Indians delivered against 
the increasing settlements. 

In December, 1776, Kentucky County was divided 
from the County of Fincastle in Virginia, Harrodsburg 
being designated as a county seat. This was the first 
legislative recognition on the part of the mother colony 
of the individuality of the western settlements. Hith- 
erto Kentucky had been legally only the western fringe 
of the outermost Virginia county. 

The pressure of the Revolutionary War upon the re- 
sources of Virginia was so serious that we find no rec- 
ognition of the Kentucky settlements during the year 
1777. But in 1778, the raids of the Indians in Ken- 
tucky having evidently been instigated by the British, 
Colonel George Rogers Clark, who was afterward to 
play a large part in Western affairs, was sent with an 
expedition against the posts in Illinois. With one hun- 
dred and thirty-five men, mostly persons who had been 
trained in Indian warfare, he made a very remarkable 
forced march through the wilderness from the Ohio 


River to Kaskaskia, and captured the place by surprise. 
In swift succession he took Cahokia and Vincennes. 
Coming in the same summer with the great failure of 
the British and Indians in the third siege of Boories- 
borough, these important events did much to affirm the 
position of the Kentucky settlements. The pioneers 
were yet to endure severe tests, but their achievements 
gave them a measure of their strength and a gauge of 
valorous actions, so that henceforth they felt strong 
enough to maintain their place. Their victories made 
the ground seem their own. 

At the end of his campaign Clark built a fort at the 
falls of the Ohio, the first stronghold on this stream. 
By one of his swift movements he repossessed himself 
in February, 1779, of Viucennes, which the British 
from Detroit, under Governor Hamilton, had recaptured 
in December. In the next year, inspired by the suc- 
cess of his campaigns, another movement was carried 
north from the Ohio against the Indians at Chillicothe. 
This expedition was beaten back to Kentucky, but the 
Indian town was burned and two chiefs killed. 

By the end of this year that part of Kentucky which 
lies north of the Kentucky River had been occupied 
by several small stations. Notwithstanding the Revo- 
lutionary War, perhaps in part on account of the dis- 
turbances which it brought about in Eastern Virginia, a 
heavy immigration into Kentucky began in 1780. The 
annual tide of immigration in this and the following 
years must have amounted to at least five thousand 
souls per annum. Three hundred boats, containing at 
least three thousand people, descended the Ohio to 
Louisville this year. Monette estimates that the popu- 
lation in 1783 amounted to about 12,000. In 1784 it is 


estimated that it amounted to 30,000. In this and 
many following years the work of war and settlement 
went on together. A column of British and Indians 
about six hundred strong, with two pieces of artillery, 
penetrated Eastern Kentucky and captured two stations 
near where Paris now stands. They did not remain to 
try conclusions with the settlers, who swiftly gathered 
to meet them, but escaped in safety to Detroit, whence 
they came. The blow was revenged by a counter 
stroke from the ever ready Clark, who first built a 
block-house fort at Cincinnati, where the British had 
crossed the stream, to guard against future raids up the 
Licking Valley, and then went northwards to ravage 
the towns of Piqua and Chillicothe. 

Settlements now began to spring up all over the area 
of good lauds. The Virginia government erected a fort 
on the Mississippi, a few miles below the junction of the 
Ohio, thus marking the westernmost limits of the col- 
ony. The original county of Kentucky was divided 
into three : Jefferson, Lincoln, and Fayette, each with a 
military commander having the rank of colonel, who 
had under him a surveyor-general of lands. 

The year 1781 was an uneventful one, the only seri- 
ous action being an assault on the garrison of the Mis- 
sissippi fort by the Chickasaws and Cherokees, which, 
though repulsed, was ominous of trouble to come, for it 
brought those tribes, which had previously given little 
trouble to the whites, into the list of their numerous 

The establishment of this fort was the work of Gov- 
ernor Jefferson. It was an unnecessary demonstration 
of energy, such as is apt to happen when an effort is 
made to manage the difficult business of governing a 


colony with a long arm. Against this blunder we may 
set the general sagacity and liberality of Virginia's man- 
agement of Kentucky affairs. Even in the distress 
of the Revolution, she had always something to spare 
for her more sorely tried children of the western hills, 
and no Virginian ever had a warmer heart towards 
Kentucky than Jefferson. He had a keen imagination, 
and a singular power of projecting his sympathies afar. 
In the preceding year he had secured a large gift of 
lands for the work of education in Kentucky. Virginia 
had nothing else to give, and the gift was an easy one 
to make ; but it deserves to be remembered that in the 
time of severest trial the mother colony bethought her- 
self of the intellectual interests of these far-away chil- 

In 1782, the struggle with the British and Indians 
was even more fierce and sanguinary than in the pre- 
ceding years. In March, a party of about seventy-five 
Wyandot Indians crossed the Kentucky River above 
Boonesborough ; their presence in the country was made 
known by the fact that a raft which they had used 
in crossing the river, and then turned adrift, floated by 
the fort. The commander of the fort, who with the 
sagacity of the frontiersman correctly interpreted this 
sign, sent runners to warn the neighboring stations. 
The men of Estill's Station went in search of the enemy, 
but in the chances of the forest did not come upon the 
savages until they had been to the station and killed a 
young woman within sight of the fort. Near Mount 
Sterling the pursuing whites caught up with the enemy 
and at once assailed them. At first the Indians were 
driven back, but their chief being sorely wounded they 
rallied about him. The whites followed their usual 


tactics, and detached six of their twenty-five men to 
turn the Indian flank and deprive them of the protec- 
tion that the timber afforded them. These men of the 
flanking party were seized with a panic and fled ; the 
remaining Indians rushed upon the diminished force of 
the whites, and after a fierce hand-to-hand struggle 
drove them from the ground. Estill, the commander, 
was killed, and six of his men met their death from the 
tomahawk. Measured by the forces engaged or the loss 
in killed, the affair was a trifling one ; but it showed in 
the Indians a quality of determination which indicated 
that they were becoming better skilled and steadier in 
warfare, and that they were, numbers for numbers, quite 
the equal of the whites. 

In August of this year, a party of whites, under Cap- 
tain Holder, attacked a party of Indians at the upper 
Blue Licks, arid was worsted, with a loss of four men. 
In the same month a force of six hundred Indians be- 
longing to various tribes, and commanded by the famous 
Simon Girty, moved unseen across the northern part 
of the State and surprised Bryan's Station, situated at 
a point about five miles north of Lexington. Fortu- 
nately, the fifty men of the station were engaged in night 
preparations for an expedition to avenge Holder's de- 
feat. This deterred Girty from his purpose of carrying 
the neglected and weak fortification by storm, for the 
notes of preparation within it satisfied him that his 
movement was discovered. But it was not until the 
gate was thrown open to permit the marching forth 
of the command on their way to the Blue Licks that 
a volley from the savages showed the whites that they 
had a foe at their doors. They were in no condition 
for effective defense ; their palisades needed repair, and 


the fort was destitute of water, the spring being at a 
considerable distance from the gates. This want of 
water was a common difficulty in these stations, and in 
several sieges led to great suffering. At first sight it 
seems a very stupid neglect of the most ordinary pre- 
cautions, yet, like the other stupidities of a clear-headed 
and generally prudent people, it admits of explanation. 
The first necessity of a station was that it should have 
a salubrious site, and this is never obtainable at points 
where a spring breaks forth. The fact that at almost 
any point in Kentucky a well will procure water was 
as yet unknown, and was against the prevailing opinion 
of the time, which was that the water all ran in special 
underground streams. Some notice of invasions was 
always hoped for, giving time for water enough to be 
stored in the fort to meet the needs of a siege. 

The garrison of the station acted quickly and effect- 
ually. Two mounted messengers at once broke through 
the Indian lines to carry warning to other stations. 
Everything depended on these runners getting away, 
and many of the most valorous acts of this border war- 
fare centre around these sallies. Then the women were 
told that the safety of the fort demanded that they un- 
dertake to bring a supply of water from the spring, the 
leaders judging that the Indians would not fire on them, 
as thereby they would unmask their place of assault. 
The event showed that they estimated their foe rightly. 
These brave creatures went in a body to the spring, and 
returned with a supply large enough to meet all needs. 
It is probable that the reader will not altogether like 
this episode. It seems an ungallant thing for men be- 
hind barricades to send women into the open before the 
guns of an enemy. Yet as we cannot question th 


valor of these men, we are forced to believe that it cost 
them more to send the women on such au errand than 
to have charged upon the hidden foe ; we must, how- 
ever unwillingly, admire the clear-sighted craft that 
remedied their otherwise fatal deficiency. 

As soon as the fort was supplied with water, the 
leader, Captain Craig, made another shrewd move. A 
detachment of thirteen of the younger men was sent 
out to attack the savages, who had made a feint against 
the side of the fort away from the spring. They were 
to fire as fast as possible and make a great din, in order 
that the force presumably in ambush on the spring side, 
supposing that the whole garrison was engaged in the 
sally, might make their contemplated assault on the 
point which they expected to find undefended. The plan 
succeeded as it deserved. The principal body of the 
enemy believed that the whole garrison had been in- 
veigled into a battle beyond the walls. The party of 
Indians making the feint rapidly fell back, as they were 
instructed to do, and as soon as the sound of firing 
showed that their pursuers were far from the fort, the 
main body of Indians, several hundred in number, 
sprang from their hiding-places and rushed upon the 
seemingly unmanned wall. They met the steady fire 
of forty well-aimed rifles, and, after a courageous as- 
sault, were beaten back with great loss. While the foe 
was endeavoring to carry this wall, the party that had 
made the sally, informed by the firing that their work 
was done, returned through the opposite gateway, before 
the foe, baffled in their assault, had closed around the 
fort for a regular siege. 

The mounted men who broke through the Indian 
lines at dawn found the Lexington garrison on its way 


to Blue Licks. By hard marching, these men, a part 
on horseback and a part on foot, hastened to the fort. 
Girty, knowing that messengers had broken out, laid an 
ambush for the returning forces near the station, where 
the narrow road was bordered on one side by high corn 
and on the other by a dense wood. The eager rescuers 
fell into the trap, but the horsemen knew that to turn 
about would be fatal, since it would give the foe time 
for aiming ; so they spurred through the fire and won 
the fort, their speed and the cloud of dust making the 
aim of the excited savages so poor that none of them 
were killed. Scurrying horsemen are bad targets, and 
the western rifle, on account of its length and weight, is 
the worst possible arm for use on moving objects ; more- 
over the Indian appears always to have been less steady 
under the strain of excitement than the white man. 
The footmen who were creeping to the fort through the 
maize came to the rescue of the horsemen, to be scat- 
tered before the tenfold force of their enemy ; but most 
of them, owing to the shelter of the high-growing In- 
dian corn, escaped ; only six were killed. When night 
came Girty was discouraged. His force had lost heav- 
ily, the beleaguered garrison had received a daring re- 
enforcement, and he knew that overwhelming forces 
would soon be upon him from neighboring stations. 
Whatever was to be done must be done at once. There- 
fore, sheltering himself in the darkness, he crept to a 
place behind a stump, whence he hailed the garrison 
and demanded their surrender. The colloquy is so pic- 
turesque that we give it as Collins tells it : l 

" He highly commended their courage, but assured 
tliem that further resistance would be madness, as he 
l See Collins, ii. p. 190. 


bad six hundred warriors with him, and was in hourly 
expectation of reinforcements with artillery, which 
would instantly blow their cabins into the air ; that if 
the fort was taken by storm, as it certainly would be 
when their cannon arrived, it would be impossible for 
him to save their lives ; but if they surrendered at once, 
he gave them his word that not a hair of their heads 
should be injured. He told them his name, inquired 
whether they knew him, and assured them that they 
might safely trust to his honor. 

" The garrison listened in silence to his speech, and 
many of them looked very blank at the mention of the 
artillery, as the Indians had, on one occasion, brought 
cannon with them and destroyed two stations. But a 
young man by the name of Reynolds, highly distin- 
guished for courage, energy, and a frolicsome gayety 
of temper, perceiving the effect of Girty's speech, took 
upon himself to reply to it. 

" To Girty's inquiry, ' whether the garrison knew 
him,' Reynolds replied, * that he was very well known ; 
that he himself had a worthless dog, to which he had 
given the name of " Simon Girty," in consequence of 
his striking resemblance to the man of that name ; that 
if he had either artillery or reinforcements, he might 
bring them and be d d ; that if either himself or any 
of the naked rascals with him found their way into the 
fort, they would disdain to use their guns against them, 
but would drive them out again with switches, of which 
they had collected a great number for that purpose 
alone ; and finally, he declared that they also expected 
reinforcements ; that the whole country was marching 
to their assistance, and that if Girty and his gang of 
murderers remained twenty -fonr hours longer before 


the fort, their scalps would be found drying in the sun 
upon the roofs of their cabiiis.' 

" Girty took great offense at the tone and language 
of the young Kentuckian, and retired with an expres- 
sion of sorrow for the inevitable destruction which 
awaited them on the following morning. He quickly 
rejoined the chiefs, and instant preparations were made 
for raising the siege. The night passed away in un- 
interrupted tranquillity, and at daylight in the morning 
the Indian camp was found deserted. Fires were still 
burning brightly, and several pieces of meat were left 
upon their roasting-sticks, from which it was inferred 
that they had retreated a short time before daylight." 

Not long after the Indians decamped, forces from 
other stations began to arrive ; by noon there was a 
party of one hundred and sixty men together. As the 
Indian force was estimated at six hundred, and as ex- 
perience had proved that this race was as formidable 
after defeat as after victory, prudent advisers counseled 
waiting until a larger force was gathered. Such a delay 
was likely, however, to give the Indians a chance to 
escape altogether ; so, although Boone, Todd, Trigg, and 
forty-five other commissioned officers were in the coun- 
cil of war, immediate pursuit was undertaken. It will 
be observed that even in this early day the proportion 
of titled men to the untitled was about one in three, 
but they deserved their brevets. Late on the morning 
of the 19th of August the speedy march brought the 
pioneers upon Girty's force. It was evident to Boone 
and the other more deliberate soldiers that the Indians 
were loitering with the expectation of pursuit ; and to 
any men disposed to take counsel of their fears the sit- 
uation of the whites was at least a very grave ope. 


They were in face of thrice their number, from whom 
even to receive an attack would have been extremely 
perilous. To give such an overwhelming foe the im- 
mense advantage which in forest contests belongs to the 
defender is madness to any but these wild spirits thirst- 
ing for vengeance. The true military policy would 
have been to fall back towards the oncoming force of 
three hundred men under Logan of Lincoln. After 
that the best thing would have been to fortify them- 
selves where they were, and await the attack which the 
Indians would probably deliver. Boone was the natural 
leader of the force, and though a cool-headed man was 
too diffident to assert his opinions. 

Todd was actually in command, if any one could 
have been deemed in command of such an undisciplined 
body. Boone advised either that they await the coming 
of Logan, or that if an immediate attack were resolved 
upon their party be divided and a portion used for a 
flank attack, so as to deprive the savages of the full 
measure of protection which the timber would afford 
against an assault in front. He knew the country well, 
and while a thoroughly brave man, he was disposed to 
fight with foresight and an eye to the shifts of the wary 
race he had been combating for the previous ten years. 
While the deliberation was going on, a certain Major 
McGary swung his hat in the air and cried, " Let all 
who are not cowards follow me." This was a challenge 
that made an end of deliberation. Among the men of 
that day a banter to any act of daring was a thing not 
to be considered, but to be accepted without debate. 

The whole party, horse and foot commingled, rushed 
into the Licking River and struggled to the opposite 
shore. Before them was a slope, worn bare by the 


trampling of the buffalo on the way to the salt springs 
which lay a little beyond. Pursuing this path of the 
wild cattle, they went pell-mell for the distance of a 
mile before they encountered the enemy. Wearied and 
disordered by their long charge they came at last to a 
point where the ridge they were traversing was cut by 
bush-clad ravines on either side. Then at once from 
the dense, brushy wood there came upon them a with- 
ering fire from the Indian rifles, which quickly brought 
them to a stand. When the advance of the whites was 
arrested, the Indians skillfully began to extend their 
lines so as to enfold the thinned ranks of the whites as 
in a net. As soon as this object became plain, a panic 
as wild as their late confidence seized on these men, 
and they rushed back towards the river with the In- 
dians in furious pursuit. There was a fierce struggle 
at the ford, where the tide of flight and chase plunged 
together into the stream. A score or so of the horse- 
men succeeded in crossing the stream before the mass 
of the fugitives were overwhelmed by their pursuers. 
One of their number, by the name of Netherland, who 
had previously been regarded as cowardly, succeeded 
in rallying some of his comrades, so that he brought a 
well-directed fire upon the advancing enemy, arresting 
for a moment the pursuit. But for this action few of 
the footmen would have escaped. As it was, the respite 
was brief. The Indians crossed the river above and 
below the ford, and sought to surround the fugitives. 
The beaten Kentuckians dispersed through the forest, 
finding their way by circuitous routes to their homes. 

In this action the loss of the whites was about sixty- 
seven killed and seven made prisoners, or near one half 
the men engaged. It amounted to about one tenth, of 


the fighting men in Central Kentucky, and unhappily 
included a very large number of the natural leaders of 
the settlements. Colonels Todd and Trigg, Majors 
Harlan and Bulger, and Captains Gordon, Bulger, Mc- 
Bride, and Lindsey, were among the slain. Boone's 
son Israel was mortally wounded in the fight ; his fa- 
ther succeeded in bearing him from the field and into 
the forest, beyond the line of the struggle, where, alone, 
he watched him until he died. 

This terrible defeat seemed for a moment to cow 
the spirit of the settlers. Even Boone, in a letter to 
the Governor of Virginia, said that unless five hundred 
troops were sent to aid in the defense, the country could 
hardly be held. This feeling was, however, but mo- 
mentary. When Colonel Clarke called for troops to 
avenge this raid of the Indians by a foray into Ohio, 
nearly a thousand men answered his summons, and ren- 
dezvoused at the mouth of the Licking River, where 
Covington now stands. This force ravaged a number 
of large Indian settlements on the upper waters of the 
Great Miami, destroying a large area of corn-fields and 
burning the dwellings. 

The principle that appears to have underlaid the 
white warfare in these years was to abstain from inva- 
sions north of the Ohio, except in retaliation for Indian 
raids, and then to make them much more destructive 
than the blows they avenged. Thus, in time, the prin- 
ciple of profit and loss led the red men to be less will- 
ing to rouse a hornet's nest about their ears by their 
forays. In fact, the vengeance taken for Girty's raid 
was so severe that no other large concerted invasions 
of Kentucky were undertaken, though for many years 
small bands of Indians in search of plunder often crossed 


the Ohio. The treaty of peace between Great Britain 
and the United States, the news of which came to this 
district in the spring of 1783, also did much to end the 
large and deliberate contests between the Indians and 



THE years 1783 and 1784 were years of consolida- 
tion and growth. The population was still so scattered 
that there was no commerce. It is on record that the 
second store of the colony was opened in 1783, and the 
third in the following year. As the white population, 
within the bounds of the present State, was now some- 
where about thirty thousand souls, the primitive condi- 
tion of supply is indicated by these facts. In these 
years the first distilleries were started. From all we 
can learn, it appears that the first decade of Kentucky 
life must have been lived without any considerable 
amount of alcoholic stimulus. The art of brewing, 
which the colonists brought from England, was lost in 
Virginia, where beer was never a common drink, and 
the still was a contrivance too costly to find a place in 
the life of a people who had returned to very primitive 
ways of living, and had nothing to spare for luxuries. 

The rapid gain in confidence which came from the 
natural growth of these years and the diminution of In- 
dian raids shows itself in the political movements which 
now began to stir among the people. The pioneers 
having secured the beginnings of the State, desired to 
have their future life in their own hands. On every 
side arose a demand for a parting from Virginia and 
for separate life. There was no clamor or ill-will in the 


movement, and no suggestion of enmity toward the 
beloved mother colony, who had never sought to make 
any profit from her western dependency. Virginia was 
held in deserved affection ; she had never failed to give 
help when it was called for, even in the most trying 
years of the Revolution, and had never sought any rec- 
ompense for her gifts. 

This request for independence was received in tho 
best possible spirit by Virginia. In 1786 the General 
Assembly of that State passed the first act for the sep- 
aration of Kentucky, setting certain conditions on which 
the colony might go free. The conditions were as fol- 
lows : The free white male inhabitants were to choose 
five representatives from each county. These were to 
determine whether the people demanded independence. 
If so, they were to fix a date later than September 1, 
1787, for the separation, the parting to take effect only 
on condition that, prior to June 1, 1787, Congress 
should assent to the admission of Kentucky into the 
Federal Union. 

The processes that led to this act of partition have 
for us a special interest, inasmuch as they throw some 
light on the conditions of society at that time. Tho 
difficulties arising from the remote position of Kentucky 
and the slowness of communication with Virginia be- 
came evident during the struggle with the Indians. The 
colony had in effect little more than the sympathy of 
Virginia, for the aid in troops, though willingly given, 
always came too late for defensive action. The danger 
arising from savage invasion was sudden, and had to be 
dealt with quite independent of the Virginia govern- 
ment. It is likely that the demand for independence 
would have originated even earlier than it did, but tfor 


the doubts and fears that the Revolutionary War brought 
upon the country. Whatever may have been the desire 
for a more effective government, which could only be 
secured by independence, it could not take shape until 
that momentous question was settled. The first conven- 
tion intended to consider the matter of independence 
was held in Danville on December 27, 1784. It was 
called by General Logan and some other citizens, who 
met in their private capacity in the preceding February. 
They advised that each militia company in Kentucky 
should elect one delegate to the convention. Thus, the 
first general convention rested naturally and fitly on a 
military basis. The question of parting from Virginia 
was gravely debated. Despite the diversity of opinion, 
there was an overwhelming majority in favor of asking 
the mother government for an act of separation ; yet, 
with a conservative instinct, the convention did not deem 
it well to act on its own responsibility, but limited itself 
to advising the citizens to choose at their annual elec- 
tion a convention of twenty-five delegates, who should 
determine the matter in a final way. There was every 
sign of an extreme care in the way in which this ques- 
tion was approached. 

The patience with which the problem of separation 
from Virginia was treated, both by the mother State and 
by the people of the Kentucky settlements, was prob- 
ably in part to be attributed to the unhappy results of 
a similar experiment that was then going on in the val- 
ley of the Tennessee. In 1784 North Carolina, grow- 
ing impatient of the burden that her western settle- 
ments imposed upon her treasury, and irritated by the 
complaints of the people in those districts, passed an 
act conveying to the Federal government all the lands 


that now constitute the State of Tennessee. The peo- 
ple of the country that is now Eastern Tennessee feel- 
ing themselves left without a government, made haste 
to organize themselves into an independent common- 
wealth, which they called, as a tribute of respect to the 
illustrious philosopher, the State of Franklin. These 
people applied for admission into the Union, but the 
Federal government being slow and unwilling to act, 
and North Carolina having repealed the act of cession 
of her western provinces to the Union, the State of 
Franklin came into very troubled waters for some years. 
There was a conflict of authority in this region which 
led to a premature decadence of the Tennessee settle- 
ments, and in time to violent misrule of the country. 
Some efforts were made to persuade the Kentuckians 
to join themselves to the State of Franklin, a provision 
having been made for such cooperation in the constitu- 
tion of the experiment, but they came to nothing. The 
new State gradually fell to pieces, and in 1787 its bril- 
liant and able Governor, John Sevier, was put on trial 
for high treason. He was released by a daring rescue, 
and subsequently pardoned and restored in name to the 
leadership, which he never lost in the affections of his 
people. These very picturesque incidents were exceed- 
ingly unprofitable to the Tenriessearis. They served, 
however, to deter a part of the Kentucky people from 
any rash experiments with their government. 1 

The second convention assembled in May, 1785, and 
after deliberation decided that a separation was desira- 
ble ; but, continuing their cautious course, they asked 
the people to review the circumstances, which the con- 

1 For a further history of the State of Franklin, see the excellent 
account given by Ramsey, in his Annals of Tennessee, pp. 282 et se$. 


vention presented in the form of an address, and finally 
determine the question of their political future. By the 
time the third convention assembled, in the following 
August, the threat of a new Indian outbreak and the 
evident inefficiency of the Virginia government had in- 
creased the desire to make good the independence of 
the settlements, so that a rather vigorous petition for 
separation was drawn up and forwarded by a committee 
to the Virginia Assembly. 

The Virginia Assembly promptly agreed to the 
proposition, annexing thereto certain reasonable condi- 
tions, the most important of which was that a fourth 
convention should affirm it to be the will of the people 
that they should separate, and that the Federal Con- 
gress should, in advance, consent to the admission of 
Kentucky into the Federal Union. 

Now began a political conflict of a very curious 
kind. The Federal Union was a new, and as yet un- 
proven, experiment in government; the two years of 
its trial had not served to show its usefulness ; on the 
contrary, it seemed to be utterly without power to en- 
force its authority in the West. The peace between 
the United States and the British had enfeebled but 
not ended the desultory war between the savages and 
British on the one hand, and the Kentuckians on the 
other. The British still held their fortified posts within 
the American territory : the new-made peace seemed at 
most a half-regarded armistice. The provisions of the 
treaty which were of most importance to the Ken- 
tuckians, namely, the surrender of the British posts in 
the Northwest, were not carried into effect for several 
years. There was a general fear that a great Indian 
invasion was imminent ; small conflicts were of fre- 



quent occurrence. The fault, it must be confessed, was 
in good part with the whites. Wandering bands of 
whites, rough fellows, who had come to look upon the 
Indians as natural enemies, were constantly committing 
outrages on the Indians both north and south of Ken- 
tucky. It was natural that the savages should avenge 
the assaults by raids on the white settlements. The set- 
tlers, knowing little of the circumstances that led to 
these acts of war, were convinced that nothing but the 
extermination of all the neighboring Indian tribes would 
bring a permanent peace. 

The United States made treaty after treaty with the 
Indians, but the Federal government was as a military 
power weaker than many of the separate States, and 
did nothing to chastise the savages when they broke 
their treaties of peace. Therefore it was natural that 
the Kentucky people, who knew little about the great 
difficulties in the way of the Federal government, and 
who as men accustomed to vigorous action were disposed 
to despise its inefficiency, should have chafed at the 
limitation placed by Virginia on the consent to their 
independence, which required them to sue for and gain 
the consent of the Federal government before they 
could have the freedom of action which seemed to them 
so vitally necessary. At this point, General Wilkinson, 
of Fayette County, a man well fitted for leadership, but 
a conspirer by nature, as was shown by his subsequent 
behavior in the Spanish intrigues, undertook to form a 
party for the immediate and unconditional separation of 
the settlements from Virginia. Wilkinson, for a time a 
soldier in the Revolutionary Army, was a trader who 
did a good deal to develop the early commerce of the 
country. It appears likely that the cultivation of to- 


bacco, which furnished the first agricultural export of 
the State, the first export of any kind except a few pel- 
tries, was due to him. We shall have in the sequel to 
trace in some detail the career of this singular man. 

This scheme of secession found much approval among 
the military class of the community. The natural course 
of events had led to the creation of a military caste in 
the settlements. The only strong organizations were 
the military companies, and their commanders held a 
position of peculiar honor, and naturally felt their im- 
portance. In a separate state that would be sure of a 
rapid development, they could expect to retain and 
magnify their offices ; while under the United States 
government, which had already forbidden their little 
wars with the Indians beyond the Ohio, they would of 
course sink into insignificance. Thus out of a milita- 
rism came the first political danger of this young State. 

Wilkinson succeeded by despicable tricks in securing 
his election as a member of the convention that it was 
hoped would finally determine the political position of 
the Commonwealth. By the time the election was over, 
a new political notion began to take shape in his schem- 
ing brain. The treaty of peace with Great Britain 
had left the question of the navigation of the Missis- 
sippi in a peculiar position. The Spaniards were now 
in possession of all the country on both sides of the 
river below the parallel of thirty-one degrees. Holding 
the banks of the Mississippi, that power had undoubted 
right to control the navigation of the river below that 
point to the sea. The Kentuckians, foreseeing that the 
right to navigate this stream to its mouth would soon 
be of the utmost importance to their development, im- 
mediately began to discuss the matter of this right. It 


was hard for them to believe that the water which flowed 
by their door could not freely bear their boats on to the 
Gulf of Mexico. From the propriety and commercial 
necessity of their being able to pass by it to the high 
seas, they quickly proceeded to the assumption that the 
right was theirs, and that only the feeble action of the 
Federal government deprived them of it. This grudge 
against the new central government was intensified by 
the fact that, soon after the Virginia Assembly had me- 
morialized Congress to the effect that the free naviga- 
tion of {he Mississippi should be insisted on, John Jay, 
then Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and also commis- 
sioner to treat with the Spanish envoy, offered to sus- 
pend the claim to this free navigation for a period of 
twenty-five years, in consideration of certain other con- 
cessions to American commerce that in no way inter- 
ested the people of the Ohio Valley. At this time Con- 
gress sat in New York ; it was a far cry to Kentucky ; 
news came slowly and mostly by rumor. Wilkinson's 
party we must believe with fraudulent intent spread 
the report that it was Congress that was making this 
arrangement with the Spaniards ; when in fact it was 
only a matter of discussion between Mr. Jay and the 
Spanish envoy, and never was presented to Congress. 

Since it was evident from the turn taken in the local 
debates that the people could not easily be led into a 
resolution to try separation from the Federal govern- 
ment, Wilkinson's party bethought themselves of an- 
other device, which was that the people of the settle- 
ments should see what terms could be made directly with 
the Spaniards, to insure the future of the State on this 
important matter of an outlet to the sea. It is evident 
that there was a clear and momentous object in their 


minds ; for although Wilkinson had been elected at the 
cost of many diverse expedients to the exceedingly im- 
portant convention in which his- presence was neces- 
sary for all the plans of his cabal, he started on a jour- 
ney to New Orleans, where he remained several months. 
On his return to Kentucky, he brought a curious private 
trading treaty, which permitted him to import "free of 
duty all the productions of Kentucky." It allowed him 
to furnish tobacco to the Spanish government at about 
ten cents per pound, or five times the price then paid 
for it in Kentucky. 

Wilkinson's return was made in great state. It is 
said that he came back in a chariot drawn by four 
horses, with a retinue of slaves ; but this must apply to 
the last part of his journey, as there was at that time 
no wagon road to the south. His friends received him 
as an ambassador who had won great concessions from a 
foreign sovereign, claiming that he had secured by his 
personal negotiation that which the Federal government 
had offered to barter away. The results of his work 
were used as evidence that the Kentucky community 
could do very well with its interests if the impotent Fed- 
eral government no longer had a hold upon them. 
John Brown, an educated gentleman who had repre- 
sented Kentucky in the Virginia Assembly, and had 
been appointed by that government as one of the dele- 
gates to Congress, became convinced that the opposition 
on the part of the Northern States to the admission of 
Kentucky was very strong; and it is asserted that by 
private letters he advised the abandonment of the proj- 
ect of union, arid that the Kentucky people set up as an 
independent State. He gave it as the result of his con- 
ferences with the Spanish minister that the State of 


Kentucky would, if independent, be able to make terms 
with that government which would not be granted to 
the United States. It seems most likely that Brown 
did not really intend to oppose the entrance of Ken- 
tucky into the Union, but only desired to coerce the 
Federal government into the admission of Kentucky by 
the threat of independent action. 

All these circumstances tended to give great strength 
to the separatist party. To make matters worse, the 
convention, called to meet at Danville, hung fire on ac- 
count of the absence of many of its members on the 
fruitless expedition of General Clark against the No- 
bosh Indians ; and when, after months of waiting, it got 
a quorum together, the question of the time of parting 
from Virginia and of admission into the Union seemed 
so difficult that no advance was made toward the de- 
sired end. One convention followed another, each put- 
ting forth the call of its successor, or being summoned 
to meet by the Virginia Assembly; but it was not until 
the third act for separation had been passed by Vir- 
ginia, and the seventh convention had met in Kentucky, 
that the parting was effected. Six years elapsed during 
this period of disordered relations. It would be very 
interesting to trace in detail the progress of the nego- 
tiations with Virginia and the United States govern- 
ment ; but though it forms one of the most important 
chapters in the history of the State, it cannot be told 
without taking too much of the limited space of this 
volume. The matter may be briefly summed up as 

Virginia was from the first willing that Kentucky 
should go on the independent path which she had so 
valiantly opened while a dependency, but was unwilling 


that the event should take place until the Federal Con- 
gress was ready to accept Kentucky as a new State. 
At tliis time Congress was wrestling with the problem 
of the new constitution. The success in forming and 
affirming this constitution seemed a very doubtful and 
certainly was a very difficult problem. The admission 
of a new State containing people known to be disaf- 
fected toward the Union appeared likely further to com- 
plicate the sufficiently estranged relations of the jarring 
units of the government. It was perfectly natural that 
the old Congress should feel it important for the admis- 
sion of Kentucky to follow rather than to precede the 
ratification of the new constitution. 

Despite the unhapp} r results of the Franklin experi- 
ment, which were now becoming evident, these delays 
greatly favored the development of the disunion party ; 
so that when the citizens of Virginia voted on the ques- 
tion of the new constitution, although Virginia as a 
whole ratified that instrument by a vote of eighty-eight 
to seventy- eight, the Kentucky representatives cast but 
three votes for it to eleven against it. This gives a fair 
measure of the state of mind of a large part, but proba- 
bly not the majority, of the people at that time. The 
greater part of the political leaders of Kentucky were 
incensed at the refusal of the Federal government to 
receive them. They desired that the constitution should 
not be adopted, so that they might, by the breaking up 
of the confederation, be left free to deal with their 
problems in their own way, without any obligation to 
the inefficient Federal authority that controlled them 
without proper representation. It was a renewal of the 
motives of the Revolution of 1776, with the Federal 
government in place of the British power. There can 


be no doubt that au extensive correspondence with the 
Spanish authorities was going on in these years, and that 
many leading men of the State were concerned in it, 
among them Mr. Henry Innis, then attorney-general for 
the district of Kentucky. But it seems probable, from 
facts that will appear hereafter, that the mass of the 
population was far from being in sympathy with them. 

In the convention which met on the 3d of November, 
1788, Wilkinson and his followers, then Itnown as the 
Court party, on account of the official position of its 
principal followers, developed their plans and urged im- 
mediate separation from Virginia by an act of revolu- 
tion and the setting up of a separate government. 
They kept the relations that were to be established 
with Spain for subsequent consideration, but left it to 
be inferred that these were to be by treaty alone. 
There is no clear evidence that any of the members of 
the party seeking independence desired to effect a union 
with Spain on any terms whatever. Marshall and other 
writers are of the contrary opinion, but it is likely 
that their opinions were colored by prejudices. When 
it came to a decisive vote on the scheme of Wilkin- 
son's party, it was clear that they had not a majority in 
the convention in favor of a violent separation from 
Virginia, though it is possible that a majority favored 
an independent government after the State had been 
separated in a legal way. An address was voted to 
the Federal Congress, which renewed the prayer of the 
people for sympathy and protection. It is a curious 
document, the more curious when we remember that it 
was drawn up by Wilkinson himself. 1 His enemies 
assert that he expected that the Federal Congress 
1 Marshall, ii. 331. 


would be quite unable to grant the requests of the 
petition, and that their failure to do so would enable 
him to further his original plan. 

With this action, the shadowy history of the Spanish 
intrigues comes practically to an end. The convention 
memorialized the Virginians once again concerning sep- 
aration. The convention which considered this measure 
found it unsatisfactory, because Virginia named certain 
rights concerning lands which seemed to limit the sov- 
ereignty of Kentucky. Two years went by in further 
debate with the mother State concerning the details of 
land administration, division of debt, and other neces- 
sary preparations for admission into the Union. Dur- 
ing this time the Wilkinson party seems gradually to 
have abandoned their scheme for relations with Spain. 
While Wilkinson went on with his trading ventures, the 
others appear to have lost all interest in the matter. 

There is an element of mystery in these Spanish ne- 
gotiations which will probably never be cleared away. 
In reviewing the evidence, it seems likely that there 
were two distinct classes of men in the conspiracy. 
Wilkinson and his party probably at one time desired 
entire separation, and treaty relations with Spain. 
There is evidence enough to make this position clear. 
We cannot say the same of Brown and many other 
more deliberate men. On their part it was probably a 
piece of political manoeuvring that had for its object, 
not a union with Spain, but the forcing of action on 
the part of Virginia and the Federal government. 

There is no doubt that Brown saw a real indisposi- 
tion on the part of the more northern States to admit 
the partition of Virginia, and also, perhaps, a certain 
risk, that as Kentucky grew to be a more valuable pos- 


session, Virginia might be more unwilling to relinquish 
her hold upon its territory. By this feint, which, 
under the circumstances, was justifiable, Brown and 
his associates managed to urge the act of separation to 
completion, and so ended a ten-years' struggle for in- 
dependence. In no other way can we reconcile the 
sudden subsidence of the intrigue with Spain so soon 
as it became clear that the separation from Virginia 
could be accomplished, that the Federal government was 
willing to admit them without further delay, and that 
this government was likely to have strength to aid in 
their development. The action of their party is not 
reconcilable with the supposition that Brown and the 
other men of character intended to use the separatist 
movement for anything more than a threat. 

Granting, however, that the object had been separa- 
tion from Virginia and actual independence, there is no 
real basis for accusing the Court party of anything like 
treasonable intents. We must remember that the Fed- 
eral Union hardly existed when the intrigues began. 
The confederation of the colonists proved itself too 
weak for its purposes. Virginia had given her quali- 
fied assent to a separation that was universally desired 
by the Kentucky people. There was as yet no place 
for a true allegiance to the shadowy Federal Union in 
the history of this people. 

The spirit of local independence in governmental 
affairs had just secured its approval in the separation of 
the mother colonies from Great Britain. These colo- 
nies had fought their battles with the motive of local 
and not national interest. The sense of national inter- 
est was a thing yet to be created. If these men desired 
to stand in name, as they had stood in fact, amid the 


greatest trials that can befall a community, alone and 
self-reliant, there was no shadow of a moral objection 
to their so doing. They as yet owed absolutely nothing 
to the nascent Federal government. 

History has shown that they would have made a great 
mistake if they had succeeded in accomplishing their 
apparent aim. For that verdict of time they are not 

There is a remarkable likeness between the incidents 
of the separatists' struggle of 1784-90, and those of the 
secession movement in 1860-61. In both cases the 
greater part of the leaders were for violent action, and 
in both cases they made the fatal error of supposing 
that the people were with them. The obstinate unwill- 
ingness of the masses to be hurried in their political 
action saved this people from the blunder of secession 
in the critical moment of both centuries. Twice they 
escaped from danger through the exercise of this sin- 
gular political caution that has ever characterized their 
action. The acumen of their decision in their first trial 
deserves more credit than the second; in the former, 
the proposition was for a separation from a government 
that hardly existed, and against which many valid ob- 
jections could be urged. Such a separation would have 
violated no pledges whatever. 

In February, 1791, Congress passed an act admitting 
Kentucky, to date from the 1st of June, 1792, and on 
April of the following year a convention assembled at 
Danville to form a State* constitution. In these first 
steps towards a union with the Federal government there 
is no trace of hesitation or repining. There was no 
party opposing the union ; at the time it was effected, 
Wilkinson's cabal was silent, if not forgotten. The 


just inference is, that the only strength that this abor- 
tive project had among the people was due to the fact 
that they believed themselves denied admission to the 

During this time, while Kentucky was pleasantly oc- 
cupied with the matter of national politics, an occupation 
in which they always have found the keenest interest, 
there was a busy local life and a steady inflow of immi- 
gration. A rough census showed that in 1790 there 
were 61,133 whites, 12,430 slaves, and 114 free blacks, 
or a total of 73,677. At the time of separation from 
Virginia, the population had probably increased to about 
100,000, for with each year there was an increase of 
the tide of immigration from Virginia and Central North 

At this time, when the settlements along the Ohio 
had taken firm root, there came into Kentucky a con- 
siderable immigration from the northern States of the 
Union. A large number of settlers from Pennsylvania, 
New Jersey, and New England found homes here. Es- 
pecially was this the case with immigrants from Con- 
necticut. Many families from that thrifty State settled 
in Mason and the adjoining counties. The effect of 
their presence was seen in the rapid development of 
education in this section. Mason County became the 
best schooled county in the State, and from it came a 
remarkably large number of teachers, editors, and other 
scholarly men. The distinguished family of Johnston, 
from whom descended General Albert Sidney John- 
ston and many other talented men of the name ; the 
family of Wadsworth, and others are of this blood. 
The total immigration of New England people proba- 
bly did not amount to over fifty families, but it was an 
important contribution to the life of the colony. 


Although there were no longer large invasions of the 
savages from beyond the Ohio, there was still a constant 
succession of small Indian raids, to the last degree har- 
assing to the settlers. The greater part of the State 
was still densely wooded, and through these coverts the 
savages crept, searching for unprotected farm-houses 
and wayfarers. Every stroke was an act of butchery. 
In the early days the Indian warfare was singularly 
humane ; they never outraged their women prisoners, 
and rarely butchered their captives. They had now 
learned a more brutal warfare from the whites. There 
can be no question that the Indian customs of war were 
debased by the example of their enemies. 

For many years the Ohio River had been a favorite 
means of transit from Virginia, for it was now the 
northern part of Kentucky that was receiving the most 
settlers, and the route by the Ohio was the best way to 
it. The voyagers were frequently waylaid by piratical 
bands of Indians, who assailed them in their canoes. 
Volumes could be written about the combats and butch- 
eries that took place on the river. The effective way 
of remedying this evil would have been to have placed 
these boats under some convoy system, but to the Ken- 
tuckians the proper means seemed to be to crush the 
savage in his lair. 

In November, 1791, the Federal government sent a 
force of regulars under St. Clair against the Indians on 
the Miami. The Kentucky militia refused to volun- 
teer under a commander whom they deemed with good 
reason an imbecile, but clamored to be allowed to wage 
the war in their own way. A thousand men were, how- 
ever, drafted into the service, and ordered to march with 
St. Clair. The most of these deserted ; so that when 


on the gray morning of November 4th the Indians as- 
saulted St. Clair, he had only about one thousand men 
with him, the greater part of whom were regulars. St. 
Clair was tied to his tent by a fit of the gout. The In- 
dians entirely surprised this force. At first it seemed as 
if, despite the confusion arising from the fierce rush of 
the enemy, they might hold their ground ; but there was 
no reasonable effort made to follow up the temporary 
success that came from the valor of certain parts of the 
command, so, after some hours of brave fighting, a re- 
treat was ordered that soon became a wild rout. Eight 
hundred and ninety enlisted men and sixteen officers 
were killed and wounded. General Richard Butler, one 
of the most valuable officers of the army, was among 
the slain. Only two years earlier in the history of these 
settlements this catastrophe, much the most serious that 
ever befell any expedition in which the Kentucky peo- 
ple had been engaged, would have carried consternation 
into' the hearts of the Kentuckians, but the State was 
now too populous to feel the loss of men as a disas- 
trous blow. Despite St. Glair's defeat, the Indian raids 
were henceforth reduced to small parties creeping under 
the cover of the forests. The defense of the State 
was henceforth mainly intrusted to the Federal author- 
ities, and the heroic time of Kentucky was ended. 

It will be profitable to consider, in a general way, 
the progress of events in Kentucky from the beginning 
of its settlement to this time of admission into the 
Union, which practically ends the pioneer epoch of its 
life. The period of wild though noble development is 
now to give place to a more orderly life, and to a de- 
pendence on a strong Federal authority. 

From the settlement of Harrodsburg in June, 1774, 


to the admission of Kentucky into the Union in June, 
1792, was eighteen years. In these crowded years, full 
of an incessant battle with the wilderness and its ten- 
ants, a struggle in which thousands of brave men fell, a 
State had been created. For nearly one half the time 
during which this great work was a-doing, the parent 
colony of Virginia was engaged in a war that drained 
her energies to utter exhaustion. 

There is no similar spectacle in history that is so 
curious as this swarming of men into the wilderness 
during a time when their mother country was engaged 
in a life-and-death struggle. We can only explain it 
through the intense land hunger that marks the Saxon 
people. The thirst for land, which we find so strongly 
developed in the Elizabethan English, seems to have 
been transmitted to Virginia in an intenser form. 
Knowing that free lands were to be won by giving 
life for it, the Virginia and North Carolina people were 
driven to desert their comfortable dwelling-places in 
the colonies for the battle in the West. There is no 
other case where this land-winning motive is so clearly 
seen as here. All our other western immigration has 
been fostered by the protection of the government. 
These people could look to no protection but what they 
gave themselves. 

Twenty years of such life developed a particular sort 
of man, a kind that was never known before or since 
in such numbers in any one country. It is the writ- 
er's fortune to have spent his early years in a society 
that still contained some few of the men who took their 
shape from the life that was lived in the first three de- 
cades of Kentucky civilization. They had a very pe- 
culiar quality of mind. Its most characteristic feature 


was a certain dauntlessness, a habit of asserting the in- 
dependence of all control except that of the written 
law. Their speech was rude and often exaggerated. 
As a class, they were much like the men of to-day in 
the Rocky Mountains, except that they had not the eager 
desire for gain that takes away from the charm of that 
people. This advantage made the frontiersman of Ken- 
tucky a much more agreeable fellow than his money- 
seeking modern kinsman of the far West. He was far 
more sympathetic, more externalized, than the miner of 
Colorado to-day. We may infer some of the peculiar 
qualities of this people from certain features in their 
history. First we may notice their curious respect for 
the written law. Courts of justice were at the outset 
established in Kentucky, and the life was at once ad- 
justed to the usages of the civil law. There^was far 
less government by the mob than in the settlements of 
to-day in the far West. The patience of the people 
with the obstacles which legislation put to their will is 
admirably shown in the long quest of independence of 
the Virginia government. Year after year, though suf- 
fering from serious and galling evils connected with this 
system of control, they patiently petitioned for redress, 
keeping not only within the limits of the Virginia law, 
but retaining always a courteous, though firm attitude 
in their demands. This attitude was even more char- 
acteristic of the mass of the people than of the leaders. 
Even when the Court party, containing the larger part 
of the natural leaders of society, endeavored to lead 
the State to illegal, though not altogether unjustifiable, 
activities, the sense of obedience to the law led the mass 
of men to stick to the true way of government. 

The fact is, there was a great solidity to this people. 


None but people of character could withstand the strain 
in which they lived. They were not burdened by the 
weak, incompetent men who led other societies into 
political debasement. The criminals, the weaklings, 
and the other rejecta of society had no place in this 
embattled colony. There was a large proportion of 
the population composed of what may be fairly called 
educated, as distinguished from instructed men. They 
had far less learning than fell to the share of the orig- 
inal colonies at the time of colonization, but as a rule 
they were much more perfect material for citizens in a 
pioneer State than fell to the lot of any of the original 
settlements. They were bred in a frontier life to hab- 
its of independence and self-control. 

The early records of Kentucky life are too imper- 
fect to afford any clear insight into the condition of 
education or the intellectual motives of the pioneers. 
Recently, however, Thomas Speed, Esq., of Louisville, 
has disinterred a quantity of papers giving the record 
of a political club that existed at Danville from 1786 
to 1790. This association was composed of about thirty 
of the brightest spirits of the time, who were resident 
in and about this little town. On its roll we find the 
names of many of those who had already or were after- 
wards to lead the State in the paths of peace or war. 1 
The larger part of the members belong to families that 

1 The following are the names of the members : Henry Innes, 
Christopher Greenup, John Brown, Robert Craddock, Thomas Todd, 
John Belli, G. J. Johnson, George Muter, Peyton Short, Stephen 
Ormsby, William McDowell, Thomas Allen, Thomas Speed, James 
Speed, Abe Buford, Samuel McDowell, Benjamin Sebastian, Baker 
Ewing, P. Tardeveau, William Kennedy, Willis Green, Matthew Wal- 
ton, William McClung, James Brown, John Overton, Robert Dougher- 
ty, Joshua Barbee. 



are still among the leaders of the State, showing, as 
many other facts do, that this colony, like the other 
strongly individualized States of America, owe their 
quality to the influence of strong continuous house- 
holds. The notes of this club give a very fair idea of 
the intellectual quality of its meetings. 1 For several 
years, or until the changes of the shifting population 
removed its leaders far from their original abodes, this 
club industriously debated the questions of polity that 
concerned the settlements. The record of the debates 
is given in a simple and excellent English, that would 
hardly find a parallel in a debating club in any western 
settlement of this day. 

Among the many questions discussed by the club 
were the following : First, we have the great question 
as to the propriety of separating from Virginia. This 
was decided in the affirmative, after a long and careful 
debate. Next in importance was the question " whether 
the emission of a paper currency would be an advan- 
tage to the inhabitants of this district." Some of the 
remarks of this debate are very interesting, showing 
that these men had a firm grip on the problem. Chris- 
topher Greenup well summed up the main considera- 
tions by saying, " Money is the sign of wealth, and 
paper the sign of that sign." Mr. Muter claimed that 
" to make paper currency a legal tender is fatal to it ; 
specie has an intrinsic value." The culture of tobacco 
was debated, and it was voted that it was not desirable 
that the district should enter on this industry. Another 

1 I am indebted to Mr. Speed for an opportunity to examine the 
original records. They are mostly on small slips of paper, showing 
the value of that article in the early -western days. They give a very 
clear idea of all its debates. i. 


question was, " Is the exclusive right of the Indian 
tribes to the territory claimed by them provided in the 
laws of nature and of nations, and can they consis- 
tently with such laws be divested of such rights with- 
out their assent ? " After a debate the first part of this 
proposition was affirmed and the second part negatived, 
a remarkable decision under the circumstances. 

The most considerable task of the club was their 
debate on the proposed Constitution of the United 
States. Among the recorda is what appears to be a 
proclamation of this constitution, in a preliminary form, 
bearing date 1787; appended thereto is a letter of 
Washington, noting the fact that it is submitted to the 
people of the United States. This constitution was 
carefully debated by the club. The changes that they 
voted are very interesting. They proposed that the 
speaker of the Senate should be chosen by that body ; 
that the members of that body should be ineligible for 
reelection for seven years, and the President ineligible 
for four years after the close of his term. After bills 
had been passed by the two houses, they were to be 
submitted to the Supreme Court, and approved by it, 
before receiving the signature of the President. The 
clausevwhich provides for the support of the militia in 
the execution of the laws was amended so as to read 
" to enforce obedience to the laws of the Union." Their 
discussion shows a clear perception of the important 
difference between executing the laws in the ordinary 
sense, and the enforcement of obedience thereto in case 
of resistance. 

The draft of the constitution provided that Congress 
should not prevent the importation of slaves until 1808. 
The club voted to strike out this limitation. It will be 


seen by this action that the same motive of opposition 
to the slave-trade, which is embodied in the first con- 
stitution of the State, existed in this political club. It 
is worth while to dwell to this extent upon the work of 
this interesting society, for the reason that it is the only 
source of such history that has come down to us. 1 

Up to the time of their separation from Virginia, the 
life of Kentucky's pioneers was in a certain way ex- 
ceedingly rude ; the greater part of the population was 
packed into the rustic castles, termed stations, of which 
there were two or three hundred within the State. 
Each of these places contained one or more dwelling- 
houses and a " corral," so arranged with stockades and 
loopholes as to make a stronghold good against Indian 
assaults. There were usually from ten to fifty men at 
each station, enough to make good a defense until 
succor could arrive. This rendered a certain crowding 
of the population necessary, which endured until it be- 
came safe to trust to the separate farm-house, so dear to 
the English heart. It is surprising that the fortified sta- 
tion did not lead to some desire for village life such as 
we find in Europe ; but as soon as the Indian depreda- 
tions became even a little slackened, the people isolated 
themselves, as it had been their wont in Virginia. A 
lonely house in the middle of a great farm was their 
ideal, and they attained it even before it could be had 
with safety. 

In these early settlements there was an immense 
amount of physical labor that fell upon men and women 
alike. In the first twenty years there were very few 

1 I have availed myself, in preparing the foregoing statement, of 
the excellent account of the Political Club, given by Mr. Speed in 
the Louisville Commercial of September 29, 1878. I 


slaves. They did not begin to be a considerable ele- 
ment in the population until about tho time of the sep- 
aration from Virginia, when, the Revolutionary War 
having ended, there was a richer class among the im- 
migrants. Even in that year there was only one sixth 
of the population held in bondage. The lot of men 
and women was ceaseless labor, only interrupted by com- 
bat with the savages. To create a civilization in the 
unbroken forests that occupied all the region which 
was settled in the first two decades, called for some- 
thing like twice the amount of labor that is necessary to 
accomplish the making of a home in a prairie country. 
One lightening of the ordinary pioneer's lot these peo- 
ple had. The climate was admirable, and there were 
no indigenous maladies. They were generally exempt 
from the malarial fevers that have cursed the early days 
of the other Western States. Their life was almost al- 
together in the open air. The unglazed windows of the 
houses and their creviced walls made them almost as 
free from house-poisoning as the open air. 

The people were for some years almost without do- 
mesticated animals ; even horses were, at first, but little 
used. In consequence of this, the men developed a re- 
markable capacity for swift and long marches. They 
readily outmarched the Indians, or rather outran them, 
for the regular pace when on an Indian trail seems to 
have been a jog trot. They were accustomed to make 
great distances on scant provision of food. A little 
parched corn, munched as they ran, would maintain 
their strength. In a few years, however, the settlers 
were able to own horses, and very soon tho foot-march- 
ing became less common, and the people entered on 
the stage of their development in which they used tho 


horse in all their journeys. Afterwards, in hunting In- 
dians or in pursuing lesser game, they generally were 

We have little concerning education in these early- 
days. There were no organized schools, and the mass 
of the people received only a little household teaching. 
Still it is doubtful if the percentage of illiterates among 
the children at this time was as numerous as it is at 
present in the mountain counties of the State. It must 
be remembered that the excess of adult males in these 
early days was very great. Though women and chil- 
dren were with the first settlers, they were relatively 
much less numerous than in a normal society. This di- 
minished the need of the school-master. 

The religious condition of the people was, from the 
first, tolerably satisfactory. The first ministers of the 
gospel were the Baptists, who, with their usual valor, 
entered the State with the earliest settlers. The Rev. 
John Hickman seems to have been the first to begin 
the work in 1776. In 1780 a vigorous immigration of 
people of this faith took place. One church that 
headed by the Rev. Lewis Craig moved en masse 
from Spottsylvania County, in Virginia. When the 
Revolution was over, and the tide of immigration was 
at its flood, it brought a host of Baptist preachers with 
it. The Methodists at first made but little headway in 
Kentucky. In 1787 they claimed but ninety members 
in the State. The first Presbyterian clergyman began 
his work in 1783. The Baptists were tho religious 
pioneers of Kentucky, and to this day they hold the 
first place in its churches. 

The Roman Catholics were represented among the 
very first settlers in Kentucky. Dr. Hart and WiJ- 


liam Coomes, who settled at Harrod's Station in 1775, 
the one a physician and the wife of the other a 
school-teacher, were both Maryland Catholics ; so, 
as Collins remarks, " the first practicing physician and 
the first teacher in Kentucky were Roman Catholics." 
They were both valiant and valuable men. They were 
followed by many other families, who founded the large 
Catholic community that still exists near Bardstown, in 
Nelson County. Their first church was founded in 
1787. These people were all of the Maryland stock, 
and were a most important contribution to the blood of 
Kentucky, though they have maintained a peculiar iso- 
lation, having had but a small share in the political life 
of the State. 

The first twenty years of the history of Kentucky 
brought about a more considerable gain of the English 
population in the interior of the continent than had 
been accomplished in all the preceding century. The 
barrier of the Alleghanies was crossed, and a great bas- 
tion of Anglo-Saxon people built out into the wilder- 
ness of the Mississippi Valley, separating the Indians 
of the north from those of the southern country. It 
is easily seen that the possibility of doing thus much 
depended on the temporary withdrawal of the Indian 
tribes from residence in Kentucky. If they had been 
in force on the ground, it is to be questioned whether 
the pioneers could have made their occupation good 
until the Virginian or the national government had 
broken the Indian power. As it was, they found a gap 
in the enemies' lines, of which they took swift advan- 
tage, pouring through it like a flood and intrenching 
themselves in their new position. 

Account for it as we may, this spontaneous, unaided 


movement of people into Kentucky, and their swift or- 
ganization of a State under such appalling difficulties, 
must always remain as one of the most surprising 
achievements of the English race. We know of no 
other series of events that so well exhibits the singular 
prepotency of that people as their swift mastering of 
this part of the earth. 



THE next chapter in the account of the development 
of Kentucky very fairly begins with the adoption of the 
first Constitution of the Commonwealth. 

In 1792, after more than ten years of patient, lawful 
endeavor, this people found themselves free to express 
their ideas of government in their own way. Danville, 
a town that was from the first the centre of the State 
life, was the seat of the convention for adopting the 
constitution. The people entered into this work of 
framing an organic law with great satisfaction, for it 
was a work they had long desired to be about. The 
constitution which they framed affords a capital index 
of the state of public feeling at the time as to many 
important matters. It was adopted by the convention 
and promulgated without the test of approval by popu- 
lar vote, but the Evidence goes to show that the people 
ratified this instrument with a very general approval. 

In its general form this constitution is clearly mod- 
eled on that of the United States. This has been 
properly attributed to the commanding influence of Colo- 
nel George Nicholas, who, as delegate from Virginia, 
had taken an important part in the formation of that 
instrument. Next, we notice that this document shows 
throughout an effort rather to adapt the framework of 


the law to the existing needs of the community than to 
seek any ideal perfections. The conservative historian, 
Humphrey Marshall, notes the absence of sufficient 
checks on the popular will ; in a word, that the scheme 
was that of a democracy rather than that of a republic. 
It was certainly open to this objection, if indeed it be 
an objection. The people were democratic in their po- 
litical spirit. Their society was a pure democracy. It 
was to be expected that their law should conform to 
their motives and conditions. 

The following points in this constitution deserve es- 
pecial attention : 

First. The suffrage was given to all male citizens of 
proper age who had not been disfranchised by convic- 
tion of crime. This is probably the first experiment of 
manhood suffrage in any modern State. Second. The 
whole body of the judiciary was constituted by appoint- 
ment without specified term of office. This follows the 
universal custom of the time. Third. Ministers of the 
gospel were excluded from office as legislators. It is a 
curious survival of an English prejudice. It is espe- 
cially remarkable from the fact that it is almost the 
only trace of the limitation of the citizens' rights that 
is not connected with the local needs of the people. 
Their Baptist parsons were clearly no element of dan- 
ger to the State. Fourth. The article concerning slav- 
ery is also important, as it distinctly shows a decided 
prejudice against the commerce in slaves. They are 
not to be brought into the State as merchandise, and 
none are to be brought that were imported into Amer- 
ica since 1789. 1 It also recommended the legislature to 
pass laws permitting the emancipation of slaves under 
1 See, also, the debates of the Political Club. ' 


the limitation that they shall not become a charge on 
the county in which they reside. This article shows 
that the difficulties of the slavery problem were already 
before the minds of this people, busy as they were with 
their immediate needs. 

The most important omission of this constitution is 
the absence of any reference to a public school system. 
In this it differs noticeably from most of the constitu- 
tions of the Northern States. The neglect of this need 
has been from the first, as it now is, a weak feature 
in the Kentucky system of society. 

There is yet another feature that deserves notice. 
The Supreme Court of the State is made the court of 
first instance in the determination of all questions con- 
cerning the ownership of lands under the Virginia pa- 
tent system. This provision was introduced by Colonel 
Nicholas. On proposing it, as it had not been an ele- 
ment in his canvass, he took the good way of resigning 
his seat in the convention and asking for a reelection, 
which was immediately given him without contest. This 
uncontested return of the proposer was taken as evi- 
dence that the people desired the arrangement. The 
object of this provision was to prevent the action of 
local prejudice in the settlement of legislation concern- 
ing land titles. This prejudice is always sure to be 
strong in the case of such land titles as were growing 
up under the rough system of " location " that the laws 
permitted. Boundaries being unfixed, there was already 
a disposition to disregard the rights of original patentees 
and to use the unoccupied land as common property. 
Any jury drawn from the neighborhood in which the 
disputed land lay was likely to contain men who had 
a sinister interest against the establishment of patent 


claims. Thus the State at the outset found itself in 
danger, through defective titles, of losing a part of the 
value of the soil which had inspired the people to its 
conquest. The remedy was unusual, but fully warranted 
by the needs cf the case, though in experience it was 
found impracticable. 

Immediately after the adoption of this constitution, 
General Isaac Shelby was elected governor. In him 
the State secured an admirable chief magistrate. They 
could not have chosen better. He was a Marylander, 
who became, in his early manhood, a citizen of what is 
now North Carolina. He did brilliant service in the 
battle of Point Pleasant, in October, 1774, an action 
that by its conspicuous success did much to relieve Ken- 
tucky from the danger of overwhelming pressure from 
the Indian tribes. Afterwards in North Carolina he 
played a most gallant part in many small expeditions, 
but especially in remedying the ruin that the defeat of 
Gates at Camden brought upon the Continental cause. 
When others were appalled by the magnitude of this 
disaster, Shelby seemed to have awakened to a full 
sense of his really great military power. He saved a 
little army he then commanded, and secured a large 
number of prisoners in his hands by a swift march to 
the west into the recesses of the Blue Ridge Moun- 
tains. Then, when he had disposed of his captives, he 
turned upon the famous Ferguson, and by the well 
conceived and admirably executed move on King's 
Mountain, destroyed the force of that able commander 
at a single blow. Although Shelby was not in name 
the chief in this action, there is no reason to doubt that 
the conception of the campaign and the vigor of its 
execution were his alone. His also was the scheme of. 


attack which led to the battle of Cowpens. After va- 
rious other admirable feats of partisan warfare, he ob- 
tained leave to absent himself from the field in order 
to take his seat in the General Assembly of North Car- 
olina. Thence he went to Kentucky in 1783, where 
he married, and afterwards remained, taking a part in 
the early struggles for emancipation from Virginias con- 
trol. As brave in action as he was wise in council, his 
choice as the first governor was an honor and a blessing 
to the young Commonwealth. 

The people of Kentucky were now again in face of 
the two problems which had troubled them from the 
beginning. The Indian outrages were still flagrant, for 
though no large parties dared make regular expeditions 
into the State, small forays made through the byways 
of the forests were of constant occurrence. On April 
1, 1793, Morgan's Station, on Slate Creek, seven miles 
east of Mount Sterling, was captured, and nineteen 
women and children taken into captivity. The boats 
of immigrants on the Ohio were subjected to constant 
assaults. The Federal government refused to authorize 
any independent action of Kentucky troops, but in- 
sisted that they should act with the regulars and under 
regular officers. This concession the Kentucky militia 
were unwilling to make after their unhappy experience 
with Clark's last expedition and St. Clair's imbecile 
effort.' Finally, a draft of men was sent to General 
Wayne, but the season being late his expedition was 
abandoned. So once more the people had reason to 
be disappointed with the Federal system of Indian war- 

At the same time, while the people were irritated by 
the neglect of the Federal government, the question 


of the navigation of the Mississippi came again into the 
public mind. On this occasion it was a French and not 
a Spanish party that led to the excitement. The Span- 
ish intrigue was a sufficiently curious bit of politics, 
but the French scheme was even more singular in its 
motives. The beginning of this trouble is first distinctly 
seen in the organization of several so-called Democratic 
clubs in Central Kentucky. These clubs were fashioned 
on, and in affiliation with, the famous Philadelphia club 
which was moulded on the Jacobin clubs of Europe. 
There can be no doubt that these Democratic clubs 
were designed to resist the increasing encroachments of 
the Federal authority on the province of the local gov- 
ernments. It is equally clear that they drew their in- 
spiration from the great Americo-European movement 
we misname the French Revolution. There was little 
reason to fear that these affiliated societies which were 
springing up all over the country would be more than 
a wholesome check upon the Federal power, properly 
regarded at the outset as involving an element of dan- 
ger to the individual States. But these societies called 
Democratic were destined to receive their overthrow 
from the source that gave them birth. As is well 
known, the colonies, when treating with France for as- 
sistance in the extremity of their need during the war 
with the mother country, consented to make war on 
England whenever the French government did. When 
after twenty years we were called on to act in accord- 
ance with this dangerous stipulation, the Federal govern- 
ment very properly refused to keep the contract which 
its predecessor had made. This refusal was clearly an 
act of bad faith, but any other action would have been 
even more iniquitous. The fathers of the American 


State had bargained to give more than they had a right 
to promise. 

That extremely active bit of the French Revolution 
known as Citizen Genet, the French ambassador to the 
United States, was not disposed to regard the proc-* 
lamation of neutrality issued by the Federal authori- 
ties, but immediately on his landing at Charleston set 
about the process of commissioning cruisers against Eng- 
lish ships even before he presented himself at Wash- 
ington. At this distance of time there is something 
very interesting in the performance of this " infuriated 
foreigner," as Marshall well calls him. He seemed to 
feel as his countrymen felt in that age, that he owned 
the earth, and that there were no rights of other coun- 
tries to be respected. In his journey to the seat of 
government he was constantly engaged in arraying the 
malcontents of the country against the Federal admin- 
istration, and in preparing to leyy war on Britain from 
the soil of the United States. The Jacobin clubs were, 
doubtless, to a certain extent, in sympathy with his mad 
course. The French outbreak in 1793 was still in its 
nascent state, and had not yet set all decent men against 
it by the brutal excesses of its later time. 

The Democrats, fearing with what at the time seemed 
good reason that the Federal government was working 
towards an aristocracy, naturally felt a lively sympathy 
with a people in combat with the British, who seemed 
to have attained to a livelier sense of the equality of 
men than the ruling party in the United States. More- 
over, there was a tie of blood, blood shed on the bat- 
tle-fields of the Revolution by French and Americans 
together, that made the appeal of France very strong 
to many hearts. At this time Louisiana was still under 


the control of Spain, which government was the ally 
of Great Britain. 

Foiled by the vigor of Washington's government, in 
his effort to levy war from the eastern States, Genet 
tind his followers conceived the plan of using the long- 
ing of Kentucky for the free navigation of the Mis- 
sissippi for the furtherance of his plans. In October, 
1793, the Lexington Club resolved, " That the right of 
the people on the waters of the Mississippi to the nav- 
igation was undeniable, and that it ought to be peremp- 
torily demanded of Spain by the government of the 
United States." J Genet employed several Frenchmen 
the principal of whom, a certain Charles Depau, is 
said to have been at this time a resident in Kentucky 
to organize an expedition against Louisiana. Gen- 
eral George Rogers Clarke, now in his decay, accepted 
the commission of "major-general in the armies of 
France and commander-in-chief of the revolutionary le- 
gions on the Mississippi." 

The ultra- Federalists of Kentucky believed that Gov- 
ernor Shelby was conniving with the French party, but 
it appears to the present writer, after a careful reading 
of the evidence, that his action was only the proper 
caution of a man who had very limited power to act 
under the circumstances of the situation. The matter 
was really one that concerned the Federal government 
alone. The laws that appeared likely to be violated 
were Federal and not State laws ; it would not have 
been fit that the Governor of Kentucky should have 
strained his limited powers to meddle with the business. 
As an individual he doubtless sympathized with the 
project of opening the Mississippi to free navigation ; 
i Marshall, ii. p. 92. 


yet he held himself ready not only to enforce the laws 
of Kentucky, but " to perform whatever may be consti- 
tutionally required of me as Governor by the President 
of the United States." His letter to Washington is 
admirable in its tone, and exhibits more submission to 
the Federal authority than would now be shown by 
most governors. 

The silencing of Genet and the prompt action of the 
Federal government arrested this expedition against 
a friendly power. The Genet incident was now ex- 
hausted, but it showed that the mind of the people was 
still very excited on this question of the Mississippi 
navigation. The violent language of the Jacobin clubs 
of Kentucky, and the disgrace that came upon all the 
sympathizers with France from the excesses into which 
that revolution fell, had in time a good effect on the 
politics of Kentucky. It was to these incidents that we 
owe the first -considerable strengthening of the pro- 
nounced Federal party in the State. It is a singular 
fact that matters as remote as the revolution in France 
should have greatly affected the political motives of this 
young Commonwealth. 

An important incident in the Indian wars served to 
divide the public interest with the French scheme, and 
in time to turn their attention away from that fiasco. 
General Wayne had projected an invasion into the In- 
dian country in the autumn of 1793. A thousand Ken- 
tuckians had been drafted for the expedition, and joined 
it most unwillingly. They were returned, because the 
expedition was abandoned. Their experience with 
" Mad Anthony," though brief and only in the camp 
and march, for there was no fighting, was such as to 
give them confidence in his qualities as a commander. 


Therefore, in the following spring there was no diffi- 
culty in securing sixteen hundred volunteers for the de- 
layed expedition. The battle which he won on August 
20, 1794, at Fallen Timbers, on the Miami, was bril- 
liantly successful. 

The fight was almost under the walls of one of the 
forts which the British continued to occupy in this re- 
gion, and the flushed troops could hardly be kept from 
assaulting this stronghold of men whom they still be- 
lieved to be their enemies. An attack on the fort would 
have been morally justified, for these posts, retained by 
the British in contravention of the treaty of peace, were 
in fact points of supply for the Indians. The presence 
of these foreign stations on their border was in part the 
cause of the continued irritation against the Federal 
government, which was still felt by the Kerituckians. 
This victory, in which the Kentuckians were in com- 
mand of a Federal general, and in which they fought 
side by side with the regular companies of the United 
States army, did more than anything else to quiet this 
opposition to the General government. The heretofore 
despised regulars opened the battle by a brilliant charge 
with the bayonet on the Indian line, a charge that 
scattered the foe. It is quite natural that this should 
have entirely changed the feeling of men who rested all 
other judgments of their fellows on their behavior in 

This battle practically made an end of the Indian 
troubles in Kentucky. 



IN August of this year came the news of the condi- 
tional treaty with Great Britain, that finally ended the 
hopes of those who looked for a union with France m 
the war with the ancient enemy. Although this treaty 
made for the time an end of the Indian hostilities, it 
was received with great indignation by the partisans of 
France, who now numbered far more than a majority 
of the Kentucky people. It is difficult to analyze the 
motives that caused this outbreak of discontent. The 
people were, however, intensely disgusted with the ac- 
tion of the authorities in Washington, and turned with 
the bitterest hatred against their worthy senator, Hum- 
phrey Marshall, who had voted for the treaty. We 
cannot determine how numerous was this party, but it 
clearly included a majority of the leaders. It should 
be noticed, however, that this action in no way involved 
a revolt against the government, but only a verbal re- 
sistance to the party that was in power. 

It was practically nothing more than an intense dis- 
gust at the action of the Federal government, such as 
people may entertain against a control which they have 
no idea of throwing off. The failure of the Federal gov- 
ernment to keep a contract to make war in a given 
contingency was naturally exasperating to a people 
with whom war had long been the principal business, 
as well as the only luxury, of life. 


In the year 1795 the Federal government effected a 
treaty with Spain, by which the right of navigation was 
accorded to the American settlements on all the waters 
of the Mississippi. Just before this treaty was con- 
cluded Spain made a last effort to detach Kentucky from 
her allegiance. This effort was entirely unavailing. It 
was conducted with such secrecy that even the imper- 
fect account of it did not become public until ten years 
afterwards. Politically it was entirely abortive, but it 
serves to throw a clear light on the way in which the 
Kentucky people now stood affected to the Federal Gov- 
ernment. It is especially important for the light it 
throws on the motives of the resolutions of 1798, which 
we shall soon have to examine. In July, 1795, a com- 
missioner named Thomas Power was sent by the Gov- 
ernor of New Orleans to reopen communications with 
the leaders of the negotiations of former years. One 
of these, Benjamin Sebastian, was now a judge of the 
Supreme Court of Kentucky. From Sebastian the com- 
missioner went to Innis, Nicholas, and Murray, who 
had been in the old intrigue, and then to General Wil- 
kinson, once again, after his interlude of trading and 
conspiring, a federal officer stationed at Detroit. The 
proposal was in effect that his Catholic majesty, the 
King of Spain, would give to these gentlemen $100,000 
for their services in inciting the people of Kentucky 
to revolt against the United States. That when the 
revolt was proposed he would furnish abundant muni- 
tions of war for their use, and give their rebellion the 
military support of the Spanish government ; further- 
more, that when independence had been secured, Spain 
would give Kentucky and the other western communi- 
ties the benefit of her alliance. , 


We cannot determine how far these men felt these 
propositions to be attractive, but it is clear that one and 
all they deemed them entirely impracticable, and that 
they not only absolutely refused the offer, but kept the 
proposition from the knowledge of the people. Their 
statements make it clear that they did not think that at 
this time it would be possible to form any party in Ken- 
tucky to advocate secession. There can be no doubt 
that the Spanish governor chose his confederates with 
discretion, and that his offer of immediate money, 
amounting in value to about the equivalent of half a 
million dollars in our day, and of place and power be- 
yond, was tempting to these men, who were poor and 
of an adventurous type of mind. Its unhesitating re- 
jection shows clearly that it was not a thing that they 
deemed in any way possible. The essentially loose na- 
ture of Sebastian is proven by the fact that he had re- 
ceived a pension of two thousand dollars per annum 
from Spain during the years from 1795 to 1806. This 
is perhaps the darkest incident in the history of Ken- 
tucky. Sebastian's relation to the Spanish government, 
and the whole matter of this last intrigue, was kept so 
secret, that nothing was known of it until it was by 
chance disclosed in 1806. 

Sebastian was then, and had for many years been, 
one of the judges of the Court of Appeals of Kentucky. 
A committee of the legislature found Sebastian guilty 
of receiving a pension from Spain. There was no pro- 
vision in the law for his punishment, so he was allowed 
to resign and take himself away. 1 The conspiracy, if 

1 Sebastian's history is very curious. British by birth, it is said 
that he began life as an Episcopalian clergyman. Drifting to this 
country, he became a lawyer, and finally a jurist of excellent ability. 


it may receive this name, was then ten years gone. 
The other gentlemen who had been concerned in it, 
Messrs. Innis, Nicholas, and Murray, appear to have 
known nothing of Sebastian's position as a hireling of 
the Spanish government. They can only be blamed 
for their failure to make this act of hostility to the 
United States known to the Federal authorities. This 
omission was more serious from the fact that one of 
these gentlemen, Judge Innis, was then the circuit 
judge of the United States for Kentucky, and bound by 
the sacred obligations of his office to guard the govern- 
ment from such machinations of a foreign power. To 
this criticism of his conduct Judge Innis made a very 
lame answer. He says, in the evidence before the com- 
mittee of the legislature, " the reasons why himself and 
Colonel Nicholas did not communicate the subject to 
the executive of the United States were these : 1st. It 
was known that neither of us approved of Mr. Adams's 
administration, and that we believed that he kept a 
watchful eye over our actions ; that the communication 
must depend upon his opinion of our veracity, and that 
it would have the appearance of courting his favor. 2d. 
We both had reason and did believe, that the then ad- 
ministration were disposed upon the slightest pretext 
to send an army into this State, which we considered 
would be a grievance upon the people, and therefore 
declined making any communication on the subject, as 
we apprehended no trouble from the Spanish govern- 

Despite his great talents, he seems to have been a man always in 
straits for money. This led to his fall. It j^hould be remembered, 
however, that the position of a foreign pensioner was not regarded 
with the same abhorrence in the last century that it is in this, and 
that the beginning of his relations with the Spanish governnierit dates 
from a time when he was a private citizen. 


It is impossible, within the limits of this volume, to 
give a careful analysis of these Spanish intrigues, but 
a careful study of the circumstances will convince the 
student that in the singular character of Wilkinson he 
may find a clue to this remarkable chapter of American 
history. It will be necessary to trace this character by 
a sketch of the life of this remarkable man. Wilkin- 
son was born in Eastern Maryland, and was, for the 
times, very well educated. He became a physician ; at 
the outbreak of the Revolutionary War he entered the 
army, and soon developed very considerable capacities 
as a soldier. He was in the siege of Boston, having 
arrived soon after the battle of Bunker Hill. His ac- 
count of the incidents of that siege is very interest- 
ing. He was with Arnold as aid-de-camp in Canada ; 
was with the army through the campaign that ended 
at Saratoga. The incidents of his campaign in the 
Revolution are told in the first volume of his Memoirs, 
a tediously voluminous work of three volumes, contain- 
ing nearly three thousand pages of matter, principally 
his defenses before the two courts-martial to which he 
was subjected. 1 

Wilkinson was obscurely involved in the curious diffi- 
culty between Generals Washington and Gates. Gates 
made him deputy adjutant of his army a few days be- 
fore he was removed from his command. In time he 
received the rank of brevet brigadier - general. He 
quarreled with Gates, whom he accused of treachery 
and falsehood, and resigned his brevet rank, retaining 
his commission as colonel. Congress, approving his 
action in his quarrel with Gates, made him, in 1779, 

1 The Memoirs of my own Times, by General James Wilkinson. In 
three volumes. Philadelphia, 1816. Printed by Abraham Small. 


clothier-general of the army. In this capacity he served 
to the end of the Revolutionary War. In this period 
of trial Wilkinson appears to have been a patriotic and 
devoted officer. 

At the end of the Revolution he left the army, and 
became, in some obscure way, concerned with some 
capitalists in a scheme of trade in the Mississippi Val- 
ley. From 1793 to 1806 he is singularly silent as to 
his occupations. His Memoirs, infinitely detailed for the 
other part of his life, do not directly mention any of his 
acts from 1779 to 1806. All we know of him is from 
the imperfect record of his performances in Kentucky. 
His great energy, fertility of resources, and singular 
business tact, gave him a large place in the develop- 
ment of the commerce between Kentucky and the Span- 
ish possessions in Louisiana. He, in fact, created this 
traffic by way of the Mississippi to the sea, and was 
indeed the pioneer of commerce in this valley. His 
facile, cultivated ways, his lavish expenditure of money, 
and general largeness of nature, undoubtedly did much 
to ingratiate him with the Spanish authorities. 

It was natural that the Spaniards, with the thirst for 
territory common to the Spanish mind, should desire to 
win larger control over the Mississippi Valley than they 
then had. It would be a triumph if Kentucky could 
be detached from the Federal government and brought 
under her control. Wilkinson doubtless seemed to the 
Spanish authorities an apt instrument for this work. 
It is likely that he in some way engaged himself to abet 
this project, and that the extremely liberal concession 
of trade which he brought to Kentucky in 1787 was a 
compensation for this work. The concession was es- 
teemed extremely valuable, and there is no other assign- 


able reason for the grant. That there was an element 
of treason in his projects is made clear by his subsequent 
course. This traffic, which continued for many years, 
put him in the power of the Spanish government, by 
the fact that they withheld a large part of the money 
due him for tobacco furnished to the Louisiana agents. 
It seems likely that whatever designs Wilkinson may 
have formed, looking to the separation of Kentucky and 
its alliance with Spain, they did not long commend 
themselves to his judgment. He apparently abandoned 
all decided efforts after his first failure to secure action 
in this direction. Still, as he had money to the amount 
of one hundred thousand dollars in Spanish hands, he 
had to keep up the semblance of devotion to their pur- 

In 1801 we find Wilkinson once again in the Federal 
army, with the rank of brigadier-general. He gives no 
explanation of his reestablishment in the army, and his 
reappearance there in high command, after his well 
known relations to the previous Spanish intrigues, is 
one of the mysterious incidents of American history. 
What is still more curious is that he was placed in com- 
mand of the very department where he could have the 
most to do with the Spaniards. He remained in com- 
munication with the Spanish authorities after he entered 
on this responsible position. 

In the term of President Madison, Wilkinson at last 
fell under suspicion. Charges of official misconduct in 
many different events were brought against him, and it 
appears from the official records that he was ill used by 
the Federal authorities, who appeared inclined to pre- 
judge his case and not to give him a fair trial. His 
first trial was in the National House of Represents- 


tives, which seems to have been unfair in its methods. 
The next was before a court-martial, which appears to 
have given his case a most exhaustive consideration. 
Although in this trial his judges seemed to have been 
prejudiced against him at the outset, the verdict was 
distinctly in his favor. It was clearly proven that the 
several " mule loads " of silver which he had received 
from the Spanish authorities were in payment of debts 
due him on account of tobacco furnished before he re- 
joined the army, though the charge that he had been 
a pensioner of Spain during his period of civil life was 
not disproved. 

The court-martial reported that in his negotiations 
with the Spaniards he was actuated by a desire to re- 
ceive the money justly due him, and that any excess 
of attention given by him to the Spanish authority was 
to be explained by this fact. It was clearly shown that 
when Thomas Power came with the last proposition of 
the Spaniards, that which afterwards brought trouble 
to Messrs. Nicholas, Innis, and Murray, he went from 
Kentucky to Detroit, where Wilkinson was then sta- 
tioned. The latter received him coldly, and without 
heeding his propositions sent him back under guard to 
the frontier, with orders not to return under any cir- 
cumstances. The last "mule load" of silver had been 
received, and it was no longer necessary for him to 
keep any communications with the Spaniards. 

Although acquitted by a jury of his peers, Wilkinson 
was still the subject of constant watchfulness and covert 
hostility on the part of Secretary of War Armstrong, 
and apparently also on the part of President Madison. 
After the War of 1812-1815, in which he evidently 
did faithful though hampered service, he was once,more 


court-martialed. Again the prosecution was singularly 
vindictive, and again did General Wilkinson receive a 
complete exoneration from very grave but evidently un- 
supported charges brought against him. It is impossi- 
ble to give him too much credit for the signal ability 
with which he conducted his defense in both these trials. 
His speeches in his own defense, though affected and 
stilted, are capital specimens of pleading. In the closing 
appeal which he made to the court in his last trial he 
rises to the height of true eloquence. 

No one can go patiently over the records of these 
trials without feeling a keen sympathy with this able 
man. Whatever his error of judgment in the Spanish 
negotiations may have been, though it was probably 
grave, it was atoned for by long and devoted services 
in the midst of a constant hostility from his superiors. 
Soon after the last trial Wilkinson left the army and 
went to Mexico, where he died in 1825. There is no 
more enigmatical or more pathetic figure in American 

In the following two years the State, relieved of its 
anxieties of Indian warfare, and with its desires con- 
cerning the navigation of the Mississippi gratified, pur- 
sued a course of peaceful development. This period of 
repose is naturally marked by an increased interest in 
educational matters. The institution known as the Ken- 
tucky Academy was established by subscriptions amount- 
ing to $10,000, which came in the main from the East- 
ern States. The State supplemented this sum by a gift 
of six thousand acres of land, while an equal amount 
was given to four other academies. 

This attention to local affairs must not be taken as 
evidence that the State had in any way relaxed its close 


watch on the behavior of the much suspected Federal 
government. It now repaid, with interest, the suspicion 
which the Federal government had long given to its 
own actions. On the passage by Congress of the famous 
alien and sedition laws a storm of protest broke out 
against the centralizing tendencies of the Federal gov- 
ernment. As is well known, those laws were provoked 
by the behavior of Genet and his partisans. They pro- 
vided the government with power to expel foreigners 
for certain causes, and also made it a felony to libel the 
President of the United States or either house of Con- 

To a people disposed to find in each successive step 
of the Federalist party an intent of changing the repub- 
lic to some form of a monarchy, these additions to the 
central power might well seem dangerous. That which 
concerned the expulsion of foreigners was of no par- 
ticular account, but the sedition clause would even now 
be regarded as an intolerable piece of legislation, for 
the reason that, however great the evil that comes from 
reckless political abuse, it would be a thousand times 
worse to grant the central government power to limit 
discussion of its acts. 

So far from regarding the outbreak of passion that 
these laws provoked as an evidence of seditious discon- 
tent, we should rather look upon it as evidence of a 
proper sensitiveness to the danger of over-government. 
We have seen that those who were working in the inter- 
est of the Spapish government, and who had a "sinister 
interest " in discovering a treasonable party in Ken- 
tucky, had failed to see any chance for the creating of 
such a party. This must be taken as primd facie evi- 
dence that there was no material for rebellion in Ken- 


tucky ; indeed, it goes far as an answer to the assertion 
that the State was in a seditious mood. But let us now 
look at the other evidence of a secession spirit, which 
some students think they find in the resolutions of 1798. 
These resolutions were adopted in November of that 
year. They were offered by John Breckiuridge, one 
of a long line of distinguished men, but they undoubt- 
edly were approved by Jefferson, if they were not ac- 
tually from his hand. 1 

The greater part of these resolutions is now so well ac- 
cepted that even the most federally minded would hardly 
be willing to question them. The statement, however, 
that " each party has an equal right to judge for itself, 
as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of re- 
dress," contains the element of political heresy that de- 
serves attention. There can be no reasonable question 
that this statement expressed the nearly unanimous 
opinion of the people of Kentucky. There was but one 
dissenting voice in the two houses. This was given by 
William Murray, who had been one of the persons se- 
lected by the Spanish Governor Carondelet as likely to 
favor the secession of the State. It appears possible 
that his dissenting vote was given in order to balance 
his as yet unpublished relation to that intrigue ; it cer- 
tainly was a favorable occasion for him to purge himself 
of that iniquity. 

At this time the legislature contained a very fair 
representation of all the elements in the State, Feder- 
alists as well as Separatists. We cannot believe that a 
reference to the people would have changed the result. 
In considering this vote we must bear in mind the fact 
that, less than three years before, bold and well in- 
1 See Appendix A. 


formed men had deemed it chimerical to try to sep- 
arate the State from the Federal Union. There had 
been nothing in the mean time to change the temper of 
the people. On the contrary, everything conspired to 
bind them more firmly to the Federal government. 

The Indian difficulties were suppressed and the navi- 
gation of the Mississippi was in a fairly satisfactory 
position. With these matters settled, there was no 
longer any basis for rebellion. 

The victory of Wayne had certainly done much to 
insure the respect for the Federal government, as it 
made an end of the charges of incompetency, so often 
and with such good reason brought against it. 

We must find the explanation of this nullification doc- 
trine, however, in the general conditions of the public 
mind as to the nature of the Federal relations. At the 
outset of this inquiry we should notice that it is difficult 
for us to see in this day the way in which people looked 
on the Federal government during the tenth decade of 
the last century. The several colonies had fought their 
war of separation from Britain as separate political 
units, each with its own motive, and none with any 
distinct idea of what the future government was to be. 
Each had fought for its local rights, for its own hand. 
These local rights were all that there were to fight for. 
The essence of their struggle was for local, as distin- 
guished from external, government. The long political 
struggle of Kentucky for separation from Virginia is 
in itself a capital instance of the feeling of this time. 
The better known debates in the convention that adopted 
the Constitution of the United States show that at 
every point the States fought zealously, even furiously, 
for their separate rights. No candid person can read 


these debates without rising from his task with the con- 
viction that the delegates of this constitutional conven- 
tion failed to determine the precise relation between 
the States and the Federal government. They were 
driven farther than the people had gone, or were then 
prepared to go, in the direction of consolidation by the 
logic of facts that they only could perceive in their 
full meaning. If there had been an effort to put the 
sedition act in the constitution, no one can doubt that 
it would have been overwhelmingly defeated in the con- 
vention. The fate of the Adams party in the next 
coming election shows plainly that even in the States 
that inclined most strongly to Federalism, these laws 
were generally disapproved. 

Since the one distinct object of the American Revolu- 
tion had been to secure local government, it is not to be 
wondered at that a people who more than any other in 
the United States were by their history devoted to this 
end, should have revolted against the alien and sedition 
laws, which clearly were very dangerous advances in the 
direction of that consolidation against which they had 
effectively protested in the convention. In the extrem- 
ity of their conceived need they naturally turned to the 
patent omissions in the contract by which they were 
bound to the Federal government. The convention had 
studiously refrained from providing any means whereby 
the States should be coerced into submission to the 
Union, differing in this regard in a very suggestive 
fashion from similar constitutions in other countries ; l 
and this was no accidental omission, but one that re- 
sulted from a careful discussion of the problem. That 

1 As, for instance, Switzerland, which provides for a process of 
federal execution. 


patriotic men felt this doubt about the conditions of the 
constitution is well shown by the subsequent proceed- 
ings in other States, notably in Virginia and Massa- 
chusetts, where men whose character cannot be im- 
pugned without casting a shadow on a whole people, 
took the same view of the relation between the several 
States and the Federal government. 

We must grant that the seeds of nullification and 
secession were in these resolutions of '98, but these 
germs of trouble were sown in the events that led to 
the independence of the colonies, and were nourished 
by the intentional omissions of the constitution itself. 
The constitution as we know it, an instrument af- 
firmed partly by assent of the greater part of the States, 
then by the circumstances of the South Carolina nul- 
lification in the fourth decade of this century, and finally 
by the result of the civil war, did not then exist. All 
that was before the minds of men was a new and very 
debatable instrument, concerning whose meaning there 
was naturally a great difference of opinion. The Ken- 
tucky resolutions were the first proclamation of the 
great discussion which was destined to continue for two 
generations, to be in the end decided, as it could only be 
decided, by a third, in the most famous civil struggle 
of all time. 

That the resolutions were intended only as the ex- 
pression of a sentiment, and not as the % basis for any 
contemplated action, is shown by the previous and suc- 
ceeding course of politics within the State. It would 
be a distortion of history to look upon this action as if 
it had been taken in 1860. It was, in fact, only a caveat 
directed against the course of a party disposed to take 
an even more unconstitutional view of the Union than 
was held by those who voted for the resolutions. 


After having thus relieved its mind on this engross- 
ing question of national politics, the Kentucky assembly 
turned some of its attention to the difficulties of its own 
organic law. During this period, as too often in the 
subsequent history of the Commonwealth, the interest 
in national politics had overshadowed the local needs. 
The first step was to improve the local government by 
calling a convention to revise the constitution. This 
instrument, like all first instruments of the kind, was 
found to be unserviceable in several respects. The peo- 
ple did not like the system of choosing the governor 
and the members of the upper house by the electoral 
college plan, but desired to have a more immediate 
power of election. The immediate jurisdiction of the 
Supreme Court in land cases was also unsatisfactory to 
the people ; the danger of land suits caused by the rude 
methods of survey in use was being amply justified. 
As the land was still of relatively slight value, and the 
means of communication with the seat of the court lim- 
ited, this method of procedure was troublesome. With 
the action carried on in a local court the owner and 
witnesses, even in case of appeal, would have no occa- 
sion for resort to the State capital. These matters were 
changed by the constitutional convention of 1799 ; other 
alterations were also introduced. The governor and 
senators were made elective by the popular vote, and 
the Supreme Court hereafter had only appellate juris- 
diction. The spirit of revision had already led, in the 
session of 1797-98, to considerable alterations of the 
criminal code. This legislation limited the penalty of 
death to the crime of deliberate murder, thereby show- 
ing an advance in the theory of punishments remarkable 
in a primitive community. 


The last political act of the century was an effort to 
amend or repeal the resolutions of '98. The Common- 
wealth had solicited the cooperation of the other States 
of the Union ; but, except in the case of Virginia, she 
had received no approval, and some of the answers 
were bitter in their tone. This bitterness is particu- 
larly noticeable in the reply which came from the Legis- 
lature of Massachusetts, and was one of the sources of 
the dislike that long existed towards that State among 
the Kentucky people. The result of this effort was 
that the reconsideration was denied and the resolutions 
reaffirmed. This reaffirmation of the long debated res- 
olutions shows clearly that they were based on the de- 
liberate judgment of the people, and were not in any 
way the result of hasty or inconsiderate action. 

The Federal census of 1800 showed an astonishing 
increase in the population of Kentucky. The total had 
risen to 221,955 ; 179,873 were whites, 40,343 slaves, 
and 737 free colored. Thus the whites had increased 
about 200 per cent, and the slaves 224 per cent, in the 
preceding decade. 1 

1 See Collins, i. p. 25. 



THE first year of the new century was an eventful 
one in Kentucky. The long pause in warfare had given 
a chance for the minds of the people to turn into other 
more peaceful channels. The first work of this social 
change was a great increase in the religious sentiment. 
That form of religion known as Methodism, which long 
ago had reached its height in the Eastern States, now 
began rapidly to develop in Kentucky. The excitement 
was very great. One camp-meeting, near Paris, was 
said to have been attended by twenty thousand people. 
Thousands were thrown into the convulsive state that 
was then believed to be a mark of the divine power. 
Although such exhibitions are not pleasant to those who 
take more sober views of religion, there is no doubt 
that these violent revivals of the religious impulse, 
which for years marked the history of Kentucky, were 
very important elements in determining the quality of 
the people. At one time or another, perhaps one half 
the population was brought under the influence of an 
enthusiasm that for a moment took them quite away 
from material things. There are more refined ways of 
awaking the altruistic sentiments than were followed 
in the old Methodist revivals ; but in these rough-cast 
folk, hardened by a life that was necessarily very ma- 
terial, and with few influences that were calculated to 


awaken the sympathies or the deeper thoughts of the 
mind, these religious excitements had their value in 
mental culture. Thousands who never otherwise would 
have been taken from the life of the day obtained some 
insight into the depths of the problem of existence, 
which could come to them in no other way. 

To a large part of the people who came under this 
strong influence of religious fervor the result was mo- 
mentary, but a larger part yet got from it effects that 
lasted all their lives. No one, who remembers the peo- 
ple who owed their conversion to this time, can doubt 
that on the whole it was a blessed influence, and did 
more than anything else to smooth away the rudeness 
which the endless combats of thirty years had put upon 
the people. 

In the train of this " revival " came, naturally enough, 
the development of the first distinct anti-slavery move- 
ment in Kentucky. Even as early as 1799, Henry 
Clay, who had recently settled in Kentucky, was an 
advocate of emancipation, but nothing came of his pro- 
ject until years afterwards. In 1804 a number of Bap- 
tist ministers, six of whom are described as men of 
note and others of no fame, started a crusade against 
slavery. 1 

" They called themselves," says Collins, " the friends 
of humanity, but we know them in the record of these 
times as emancipators." Thero is no mistaking their 
object; none of the Abolitionists of later day could 
have been stronger of speech. Their church pronounced 
against them, saying " that it was improper for minis- 

1 The six men of note were Carter Torrant, David Barrow, John 
Sutton, Donald Holmes, Jacob Gregg, and George Smith. See Col- 
lins, i. 419. I, 


ters, churches, or associations to meddle with the eman- 
cipation of slavery, or any other political subject ; " ad- 
vising them to " have nothing to do with it in their 
religious capacity." These protestants against slavery 
unfortunately withdrew to a separate local association 
known by the curious name of " the Baptist Licking 
Locust Association Friends of Humanity," and in this 
narrow field soon ceased to be heard of more. This 
society marks the beginning of the outspoken opposi- 
tion to slavery which was destined to a slow though a 
sure growth in the years to come. We shall have oc- 
casion in the sequel to examine into the history of this 

In 1802 the first banking system of Kentucky and 
of the Mississippi Valley grew out of an accident of 
legislation. The growing trade with the Lower Missis- 
sippi, begun by Wilkinson and his associates, and now 
of considerable importance, made some system of in- 
surance necessary. This trade was conducted princi- 
pally by small merchants, who could not well afford 
themselves to take the risks of the little craft which 
they floated down and " poled " up the stream. A com- 
pany was therefore chartered to give them the protection 
they required from total loss by accident. This char- 
ter contained a provision which allowed the company to 
issue transferable notes, and so the State came by a 
banking system that served a good purpose for many 
years. It was well it came by chance, for these peo- 
ple had much the same objection against invested cap- 
ital that marks the Granger movement of the present 
day. The charter for a bank, as such, would certainly 
have been refused. This fear of paper currency, which 
long remained a permanent feature in Kentucky, rested 


upon an unhappy experience with the Continental money, 
through which the country had just passed. The lesson 
was severe enough to be well remembered. 

In this year the trade by the Mississippi, which now 
was the life of the rapid commercial advance that was 
going on in the State, was suddenly interrupted, the 
treaty conceding it having expired without renewal. At 
once the State was again in a flaming excitement over 
the navigation question. Before the disturbance could 
go far, a fortunate stroke of diplomacy ended the ques- 
tion forever. By the treaty of St. Ildefonso, France 
regained the territory of Louisiana, which years before 
she had lost to Spain. It came back to her with its 
bounds essentially unchanged. Bonaparte was then on 
the eve of war with England, in which this fair colony 
would most likely be wrested from him through the 
command of the sea that Britain enjoyed. He there- 
fore sold it for the sum of eighty million francs to the 
United States. On December 20, 1803, the Americans 
took possession. It is worth our notice that General Wil- 
kinson received the possession for the Federal govern- 
ment. Thus, by the chance of time, this intriguer came 
in a legitimate way to enjoy authority in Louisiana. 

Wilkinson and his followers reappear in the next 
considerable incident in Kentucky history, namely, the 
Burr conspiracy, which in its motives and its following 
is the natural successor of the French and Spanish 

There is great difficulty in telling the story of this 
remarkable conspiracy. Burr, its leader, was a meas- 
ureless liar. Several of the men arrested with him 
were persons singularly skilled in intrigue, and remark- 
ably able in holding their secrets. Burr was a man ,of 


commanding intelligence, of marvelous self-possession, 
and great foresight. Unhappily these great abilities 
were marred by an instinct for dangerous intrigue and 
an infinite untrustworthiness. He was Vice-President 
in the first term of Jefferson's administration, and seemed 
then in a fair way of promotion to the highest honor. 
Failing to achieve this, he conceived a vast but histor- 
ically obscure project of a south-western empire, which 
was to be won from the territories lying to the south 
and west of the United States. This project appears 
to have taken shape in his mind while Louisiana was 
still in the hands of Spain. His purpose at this time 
probably was to use the desire of the people in the Mis- 
sissippi Valley to gain a hold upon the outlet of that 
stream for the advancement of his fortunes. The ces- 
sion of Louisiana cut a portion of his ground away, but 
did not altogether destroy his hopes of success. The 
Spanish possession of Mexico, then including all of 
Texas and the unknown region of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, still afforded a wide field for action. It appears 
likely, however, that he had some idea of separating 
this region of the Mississippi from the control of the 
United States, uniting it with the conquests that he 
hoped to make in the area still claimed by Spain. The 
project was a great and shadowy scheme, but more 
captivating to the wild spirits of the time than if it had 
been clearly defined. 

In the summer of 1805 Burr journeyed through Ken- 
tucky, and began the arrangements for the execution 
of his project. Again, in the following summer, he 
passed through the State on his way from New Orleans 
to the island home of Blennerhasset, in the Ohio, where 
he had his headquarters. Although his machinations 


were quietly conducted, enough was known of their 
purport to enable Mr. Daviess, the attorney for the 
United States, to lay the outlines of the scheme before 
the President. It was necessary to construct many 
boats for the transportation of the several thousand 
men who were to be engaged in the expedition, and 
this work -necessarily attracted attention. 

In the summer of 1806 a letter from Burr to Gen- 
eral Wilkinson, who was then territorial governor of 
Missouri, became public. In this Burr made the largest 
possible claims of support in his project from the Fed- 
eral government as well as from England. He asserted 
that the navy of the United States and the British squad- 
ron at Jamaica were to cooperate with him, a state- 
ment that should have aroused suspicion of his sanity. 
In this letter there is no announcement of a definite 
plan, no statement of the end to be attained. There is 
questionable testimony as to his conversations at this 
time which goes to show that he had some idea of get- 
ting control of the Mississippi Valley, and afterward of 
changing the whole government of the United States. 
If this testimony can be believed, it affords, as the histo- 
rian Butler remarks, fair ground for believing that Burr 
was insane. 1 In November, 1806, Daviess, as attorney 
for the United States, made a presentation of the case 
to the Federal court, and asked for process against 
Burr. Although this application v/as denied by the 
court in Burr's absence as " unprecedented and illegal," 
and Burr was under no obligation to answer further, 
he chose to present himself before the court and demand 
a trial, claiming an absolute innocence of the charges. 
Owing to the absence of witnesses Daviess could not 
1 Butler, History of Kentucky, p. 312. 


prove his allegations ; the grand jury failed to find a 
bill of indictment, and Burr was discharged. The event 
was of no particular consequence in the history of this 
conspiracy save that it affords complete proof of Burr's 
utter untrustworthiness. Henry Clay, who had begun 
his great career in Kentucky, was one of Burr's coun- 
sel. Before Clay took charge of the case he received 
Burr's pledge of honor that he was in no way engaged 
in such a project as his enemies v charged. 1 It is only 
necessary to say that the letter to Wilkinson, which 
afterward came to light, was written in the preceding 
July. There can be no doubt that this declaration of 
Burr to Clay had much to do with his immediate ac- 
quittal. To the singular charm of person and manner 
with which this man was blessed, and which overpow- 
ered the hearts of men and women, we must attribute 
the wild joy with which his acquittal was received. 
Still the charm was not all Burr's alone. The people 
of this State undoubtedly longed for adventure. The 
old avenues of action were closed. The State was full 
of men who had lived through the heroic age of the 
country, and the rising generation caught from them 
the love of conquest. These men inherited the spirit 
of the Elizabethan English. For two centuries their 
blood had been constantly stimulated by contests, and 
was as yet untamed by the commercial life that has in 
later days, in part, changed the motives of this people 
and inclined them to the ways of peace. We cannot 
deny that the mass of the Kentucky people were always 
" nllibusterish," though they had at the same time a po- 
litical sense which weighed down the natural hunger 
for adventure. There is not a decade in which we do 
1 See Collins, i. p. 293 


not find some evidence of this motive, until the civil 
war, with its hard fighting, wore out the old humor, 
at least for a time. 

Burr's bubble collapsed ; no force was necessary to 
make an end of it. His ten thousand men dwindled 
down to less than five hundred. Wilkinson, on whom 
Burr seems to have relied for material support, imme- 
diately divulged his plans to the government. Once 
again it is difficult to say whether in this act Wilkinson 
played a double part or not. The first court-martial 
that tried him acquitted him of the charge of treasona- 
ble correspondence with Burr ; but it is hardly to be 
believed that Burr would have unfolded his plans to 
him without some evidence of sympathy. 

The excitement concerning Burr's project led to an 
investigation of the malfeasance of Judge Sebastian, 
before referred to. This miserable man was found to 
have been a hireling of the Spanish government all the 
while he had been a member of the highest court of the 
Commonwealth. It was in this legislative inquiry that 
the history of the last effort of Spain to seduce Ken- 
tucky from her allegiance became known. As before 
noted, the offer of Spain was rejected by all the parties 
to whom it was addressed. Even Sebastian, though in 
the pay of Spain, agreed with the others in this judg- 
ment. The inquiry resulted in the resignation of Se- 
bastian. As there was no violation of statutes in his 
conduct, prosecution was impossible. With this incident 
the long history of the Spanish intrigues was quite ex- 
hausted. The materials for a full account of this curi- 
ous effort on the part of Spain are not yet accessible. 
There is probably no incident of American history that 
would be so profitable a subject for careful study, t, 


After this period of political disturbance there came 
a term of years in which the historian finds only ma- 
terial growth to be recorded. This process of devel- 
opment was going on with extreme rapidity, as will be 
seen from the tables at the end of this volume. The 
census of 1810 showed that the population had risen 
to 406,511, of which the whites were 324,237, slaves 
80,561, and free blacks 1,713. By comparing this record 
with the census of 1800 it will be seen that the negro 
population was now gaining on the white, the increase 
of the former being at the rate of eighty-four per cent, 
and of the latter ninety-nine per cent. There was also 
a noticeable increase of the free colored people, which 
now amounted to more than two per cent, of the total 
population of African descent. The rate of increase of 
the free blacks was about one hundred and fifty per cent. 
This rapid increase of the free blacks is fairly to be 
taken as an indication of the anti-slavery propaganda 
that began with Henry Clay. Althougji there is little 
in print about it, there is evidence enough to show that 
the minds of the people were strongly directed to the 
consideration of this grave question. 

The long period of political quiet that marked the 
first years of the century was broken first by the In- 
dian wars in the northwest, and these campaigns gave 
a last chance for many an old Indian fighter to renew 
the memories of his youth. The battle of Tippecanoe 
ended the struggle. It was a trifling action as regards 
the number engaged or the number who fell, but for 
the moment it roused a great enthusiasm among the 
people. Kentucky lost in this battle two valuable citi- 
zens in Colonels Daviess and Owen. 

At this time the tide of people that hitherto had set 


like a flood into Kentucky began to pour from its terri- 
tory to the western and northern fields. There were 
many who found the wrestle with the Indians and the 
wilderness sweeter than all the satisfactions of civilized 
life. Among those who went into the then far West 
was the now aged Boone. This singular, guileless man 
had lost all his " land locations " in Kentucky through a 
lack of capacity to care for his affairs. So he removed 
to Missouri when near seventy years old, though yet a 
vigorous man, hoping to make a new life in that wil- 
derness. He there entered ten thousand acres of land, 
but again lost it through some informality in the legal 
conditions. In his extremity he besought the help of 
Kentucky in a simple yet affecting memorial, stating 
" that he had no spot he could call his own whereon to 
lay his bones." 1 

The State begged a gift of ten thousand acres of land 
for him, and Congress readily granted the petition ; but 
this, too, was spon lost in some lawsuits, so that the 
brave old man, who had helped to conquer an empire, 
died landless at last. In dismissing this old heroic spirit 
it is proper to state that the popular opinion that Boone 
the leading pioneer in Kentucky is a mistake. His 

1 We may here notice the curious habit of burial on the land of the 
deceased to which Boone alludes. As is well known, the English an- 
cestors of this people had the usual habit of burying in churchyards. 
In the scattered population of Virginia churchyard burial in such 
places became impossible. In its place grew up the habit of interring 
the dead beside the homestead. This ground, consecrated by the dust 
of the family, was the last possession parted with ; indeed, it almost 
always remained in the possession of the kindred to the farthest gen- 
eration. So it came about that for a decent man to own no acres that 
might receive his dust was something that appealed strongly to his 
fellows. It is a social instinct peculiar to the Southern States of this 


adventures were singularly picturesque, and at the out- 
set his calm heroism was of great value in giving con- 
fidence to the settlers ; but he did not have powers of 
command. There was a certain silent diffidence in his 
temperament, a lack of self-assertion, which hindered his 
promotion among men of that time. In later years the 
people seized upon him as a type of the pioneer. It 
chose well, but his place in Kentucky life was never as 
large as it is commonly supposed to have been. 


THE WAR OF 1812. 

THE Indian disturbances that led to the Tippecanoe 
campaign were stimulated by the controversies that pre- 
saged the War of 1812. It was only after some years 
of dispute that trouble came to blows, but the British 
and Canadians doubtless aroused the spirit of depreda- 
tion in their willing allies, the savages, long before war 
actually began. The Kentucky people, through their 
public meetings and their legislature, expressed their 
desire for this struggle some years before it came. The 
irritations of the Revolutionary War had never been al- 
layed nor the combat entirely quelled. 

In the levy of one hundred thousand men for this 
war with Great Britain, Kentucky's quota was fixed at 
fifty-five hundred. She was required to send at once 
fifteen hundred of these to the aid of Hull at Detroit. 
This call was answered by the very best men of Ken- 
tucky. So eager were they for the service that the com- 
mand was swelled by volunteers, who would not be re- 
fused, to over two thousand men. As they crossed the 
Ohio on their march they learned of the shameful sur- 
render of Hull's army and the important forts at De- 
troit. Unhappily these raw Kentucky troops were of a 
less hardened nature than those of earlier years. The 
pioneers were mostly gone. Those who remained were 
generally beyond the military age, so the leading offi- 
cers alone were war-tried men. 

THE WAR OF 1812. 159 

Circumstances pointed to General Harrison as the fit- 
test man for the command of the army. Hull, who was 
still in nominal command, was so universally contemned 
that the militia-men refused to serve under him. In this 
period it required about twenty days to make the jour- 
ney to and from the seat of government. Allowing 
time for action at Washington, a month would go by 
before the evils of Hull's defeat would be remedied. 
There was reason to fear that the elated British army 
would push on at once to the Ohio, a movement that 
they could easily have then made. In this condition 
of affairs the Governor of Kentucky determined to com- 
mission General Harrison, then a citizen of Ohio, as 
major-general of Kentucky, and set him in command of 
an expedition to retake Detroit, if possible, or at least 
to stay the tide of invasion by a vigorous move in that 
direction. This bold resolution is a capital proof of the 
military energy of the Commonwealth. With this force 
from Kentucky, together with militia from Cincinnati, 
Harrison moved swiftly to the north, his army swelled 
by continual additions of volunteers from both sides of 
the Ohio River. He was soon upon the waters of the 
great lakes. The Indians fled before him, their scouts 
carrying the report that " Kentuc was coming as nu- 
merous as the trees." He relieved Fort Wayne, on the 
Maumee, from its siege without having to fight a battle. 
Thus the first object of the movement was accomplished 
without difficulty. The southward march of the British 
was arrested, and time was given for the Federal gov- 
ernment to act. 

Further successful advance of Harrison's army was 
hindered by many difficulties. The autumn weather was 
exceedingly trying ; the men were compelled to march 


knee deep in miles of swamps that covered this coun- 
try in the rainy season. Taken at once from comfort- 
able homes to this miserable life, without any of the 
hardening experience of camps of training, with no fight- 
ing, no excitement, except the work of burning aban- 
doned Indian towns, the troops lost heart. One of the 
Kentucky regiments revolted, though it was quickly 
brought to its duty by the vigorous remonstrances of 
its officers. With an army worn by vain marching, un- 
provided with artillery, and poorly fed, Harrison's battle 
was for a long time fought with the wilderness and 
winter for his foes. In January, 1813, the western- 
most part of the army found a chance to strike a blow 
at the British and Indian force at the riv r er Raisin. Al- 
though these events were beyond the limits of Ken- 
tucky, they are a part of Kentucky history, for nearly 
all the men engaged were from this Commonwealth, and 
the consequences of the action were far-reaching. 

The immediate aim of the movement that led to the 
battle of the Raisin was to overwhelm a body of about 
four hundred Indians and British, who were fortified 
at Frenchtown, on that river. This post was within 
a day's march of the large British garrison at Maiden, 
and two days' march from the fort at the rapids of the 
Maumee. The opportunity was good, and a successful 
attack followed by an immediate retreat upon the Fed- 
eral base would have been a brilliant military stroke. 

A detachment of about one thousand Kentucky 
troops, under the command of Colonel Lewis, was sent 
upon this errand. They were, in the main, the regi- 
ment of Allen, which had lately been guilty of insub- 
ordination. The attack was successful ; the fortifica- 
tions were carried by storm, and the garrison pursued 

THE WAR OF 1812. 161 

a considerable distance. Then, in place of promptly re- 
tiring, the captured fort was held and a report of the 
success sent to Winchester, the commanding officer of 
the brigade. Winchester, instead of ordering a re- 
treat, came to the fort with two hundred and fifty 
regulars under Colonel Mills. The circumstances de- 
manded that these fresh troops should have been placed 
within the stockade, but from some stupidity they were 
quartered in Uie open ground at some distance from 
the fortifications. 

On the morning of the 22d the army, which had 
slept without pickets, was suddenly assailed by a force 
of two thousand British and Indians. The first charge 
was directed against the stockade, but this, though 
made by regular British troops, was easily repelled by 
the Kentucky volunteers with great loss to the assail- 
ants. Next the blow fell upon Mills' exposed men. 
Overwhelmed by numbers, this force was quickly put to 
rout. Colonels Allen and Lewis, with some of their 
men, left the entrenchment they had so well defended, 
and endeavored "to turn the fugitives into the enclosure, 
arid so save them from utter destruction. Allen was 
killed in his effort to bring some order out of the con- 
fusion, and Lewis was taken prisoner. The militia- 
men were now left without their commanders. Several 
other of the bravest under officers had fallen beyond 
the stockade in their effort to save a portion of the reg- 
ilar regiment from massacre. Although this sally of 
leaders into the rout they failed to stay, and in 
rhich they fell, was ill-judged, it is one of the most 
iliant incidents in Kentucky history. 
The beleaguered men in the weak fort kept up their 
iistance for several hours, but their stockade was 


under fire from a battery of artillery which searched 
every part of their slender defenses. Only when their 
ammunition was almost exhausted did they surrender, 
under promise of honorable conditions. There is no 
reason ta doubt that General Proctor, the British com- 
mander, intended to keep his promises, but the wounded 
men were left on the ground without sufficient guard. 
At night the Indians, wild with drink, burst in and 
butchered nearly all of them in a most atrocious man- 
ner. This grave disaster carried sorrow throughout 
Kentucky ; the loss, including the men massacred, was 
not greater than had been met in other fields, but the 
butchery of the wounded inspired a fury that was 
marked in the later events of the war. To this day 
the river Raisin is remembered in every old family in 
Kentucky as a name of horror. 

Occurring in midwinter it was months before there 
was any chance to recover from this severe blow ; it 
was the more discouraging, since it came at about the 
same time as a much more disgraceful campaign that 
had been undertaken against the Illinois Indians. A 
force of two thousand Kentuckians, under the command 
of General Hopkins, went upon this expedition. The 
command crossed the Wabash River in October, and 
went in search of a Kickapoo Indian village. They 
expected to arrive there after a march of eighty-five 
miles; this march was prolonged until the provisions 
were exhausted without finding any Indians whatever. 
The disgusted troops, convinced that they were on a wild 
goose chase, refused the request of their commanders 
to pursue the march one day longer, and sullenly re- 
turned to Vincennes. They judged rightly, as it after- 
ward turned out, for the town they were seeking was 

THE WAR OF 1812. 163 

three or four days' march beyond the point where they 
turned back, and it would, with their supply of food, 
have been impossible to reach it; but no properly minded 
man, certainly no one who has been a soldier, can ac- 
quit these men of conduct that was disgraceful. 

The behavior of these raw levies in the armies of 
Hopkins atid of Harrison, as well as all other experi- 
ences with Kentucky troops, shows that they require 
a long discipline before they are fit for the routine en- 
durance of the soldier. Even when fresh from their 
homes they can be trusted to take punishment and to 
strike hard blows ; but they have too much individ- 
uality to stand the continued trials of the march. They 
have been too much accustomed to be a law unto them- 
selves to make them patient in the dull round of toil 
which makes up the life of the soldier until they have 
been well and carefully disciplined. Most officers will 
agree, however, that they would rather have material 
that was insubordinate at the outset, than men who 
went at once with ox-like patience to the yoke that 
every private soldier has to bear. This otherwise 
minded and impatient population gave, in the next gen- 
eration, the material that made such troops as the 1st 
Kentucky Brigade in Johnston's Confederate army, and 
a host of other commands that showed the perfection 
of soldierly qualities. 

Harrison's inaction left his army in a shape to be be- 
sieged by the British. If they had not been so slow 
they might, indeed, have driven him back to the Ohio. 
As it was, his adversary, General Proctor, if anything 
a worse soldier than old Tippecanoe, gave him ample 
time to make for his defense a moderately strong fortifi- 
cation at the falls of the Maumee, known in history as 


Fort Meigs. After he had received some reinforcements 
and supplies from Kentucky, on ahout the first of May, 
he found himself strongly besieged by the British forces. 
He had little artillery, and this was so' scantily provided 
with ammunition, that the greater part of his shot was 
that which came to him from the enemy's bombard- 

The troops from Kentucky and Southern Ohio, which 
had been gathered for the relief of Fort Meigs, suc- 
ceeded in getting an understanding with its commander 
as to the steps to be taken in the effort to raise the 
siege. This plan was too complicated for the class of 
troops that were to execute it, for it involved several 
delicate mano3uvres that demanded a high degree of 
discipline. The immediate .assault succeeded ; the en- 
emy's batteries, taken in rear, were carried, but the 
militia-men, their blood up, wildly pursued the fugitives 
and were, by a judicious movement of the British com- 
mander, cut off from the rest of the army and cap- 
tured. They would probably all have been butchered 
by the Indians but for the timely arrival of the brave 
and honorable chief, Tecumseh, who stayed the work 
of slaughter. Although the fight of the 5th of May 
was a decided defeat for the Americans, General Proc- 
tor felt that his position was critical ; and believing 
that the Kentucky reinforcements were much larger 
than they really were, abandoned the movement, and 
took up his position again in his strong fortifications at 

Considering the fact that Proctor's force was prob- 
ably much larger than the combined American troops, 
the operations that ended the siege succeeded better 
than they deserved to do, for which our forces had to 

THE WAR OF 1812. 165 

thank the inefficiency of the British commander, since 
their own movements were so badly managed as to in- 
vite defeat. 

The only brilliant episode in this extremely dull and 
ineffective piece of campaigning was the defense of a 
stockade called Fort Stephenson. This post was held 
by Colonel George Croghan with one hundred and fifty 
men ; on his way from the siege of Fort Meigs Gen- 
eral Proctor endeavored to carry this post by assault. 
Croghan l had been ordered to withdraw from it, but 
before he could effect the movement the place was as- 
sailed by the half of Proctor's army. When summoned 
to surrender, Croghan defied his enemy to an assault ; 
they, trusting to their tenfold superiority, tried an esca- 
lade, but were easily beaten off with heavy loss. 

In Perry's ship fight on Lake Erie a force of Ken- 
tuckians served as musketeers, where they did good 
service. This victory required Proctor to abandon De- 
troit and withdraw his army to the north side of the 
lakes. Here he was followed by Harrison. In a short 
time, owing to his blundering ways of warfare, he was 
forced into an action on the banks of the Thames. He 
was considerably outnumbered by the American army, 
but he had the choice of position, a fairly strong one, 
and he had one regiment of British regulars in his com- 
mand. His total force was about two thousand, while 
the Americans had over three thousand men. This 
action is properly a part of the history of Kentucky, as, 
with the exception of a few regulars and some volun- 
teers from near Cincinnati, also largely of Kentucky 
blood, the whole force was from that State. 

The greatest advantage of Proctor's army was that 
1 Croghan (pronounced Crawn). 


he had with him the great Indian chief, Tecumseh, and 
the flower of his army, composed of savages who were 
fairly disciplined and inured to war. This noble red 
man had succeeded in giving the warriors of his race n 
steadiness and a soldierly quality which they never pos- 
sessed under any other commander, at least in the old 
days. He had a great and elevating influence upon 
them, restraining their brutalities, and lifting their 
minds to a patriotic fury. He was one of the few In- 
dians of whom we can say he had a great moral force. 

The attack was begun by a simultaneous charge upon 
the British and Indian forces ; against the weak British 
line the assault was quickly and completely successful. 
The force of regulars was broken almost at the first 
blow, and pursued from the field. The Indians made 
a far more effective resistance. The charge of the 
mounted Kentuckians was repulsed, and the attack 
quickly degenerated into the old-fashioned skirmish fir- 
ing that marks the ordinary Indian fighting of these 
days. The defeat and destruction of the British con- 
tingent left the Indian antagonist in a position to be 
easily enfolded by the superior force of the Kentuck- 
ians. The death of Tecumseh, which occurred early in 
the action, was an overwhelming blow, so that they 
\N^re soon driven from the field. 

In this fight we can plainly see the rapid ripening of 
the Kentucky troops in the art of civilized warfare. In 
a few months they had passed from a rabble, which 
could hardly be trusted to bear the fatigues of the 
murch, to men who could be relied on to take the heav- 
iest burdens of war. Their attack quickly overwhelmed 
a line of regular British troops ; this is sufficient evi- 
dence of their soldierly quality gained in a few months' 

THE WAR OF 1812. 167 

experience. The rest of the Canadian war did not in- 
volve Kentucky troops, and may therefore be dismissed 
from consideration. We therefore turn to the last arid 
most brilliant campaign of this war, that of the Lower 
Mississippi, including the battle of New Orleans. The 
abdication of Bonaparte had released a large British 
army that could be used against ' the United States. 
Their other campaigns in the northern and eastern coun- 
try showed the British that they had little hope of con- 
quests in that direction. There remained the chance of 
striking a great and heavy blow at the country by occu- 
pying the delta of the Mississippi. There is reason for 
surprise that the British had not taken this chance at 
an earlier stage of the war. The mouth of the Missis- 
sippi was practically undefended. It was of slow and 
difficult access from the centre of population in the 
Northern States, and the native element was not to be 
trusted to make much resistance against a vigorous 
attack ; a few light ships and a corps of three thousand 
men might, if acting quickly and with a little address, 
have gained a position from which it would have been 
impossible for the American forces to dislodge them. 

When Pakenham, with a force of ten thousand men, 
was sent on this expedition, although he had the flower 
of the British troops with him, and was himself an 
officer of excellent ability, he seems to have left all his 
witp on the other side of the water. His error seems 
to have been that he despised his enemy, and chose 
rather the ways of a dress parade than the swift and 
vigorous measures of war in dealing with his foe. This 
state of mind was probably due to the recent cowardly 
behavior of the American army at Bladensburg, when 
they abandoned the Federal capital to destruction in 


a disgraceful way. Pakenham, fresh from successes 
over the best troops of Europe, assumed his success as 
assured. He expected no serious fighting. 

When it became certain that a blow was to fall on 
the region about New Orleans, the Federal government 
did the little that was possible in the way of making 
preparations that had been all too long delayed. Gen- 
eral Jackson, of Tennessee, who had made a measure 
of fame in conflicts with the Indians of the South, and 
whose energy in emergencies was well thought of, was 
sent with seven hundred men to the post of New Or- 
leans. When the British landed, his whole force con- 
sisted of this handful of regulars and about three thou- 
sand half armed and wholly undisciplined militia drawn 
from the adjacent country. The British were obligingly 
slow in their disembarkation and in their initial move- 
ments, so that time was allowed for Tennessee militia 
under General Coffee, and a brigade of Kentucky troops 
under General Thomas, to arrive before the main attack 
was prepared. When the Kentuckians arrived they were 
without proper arms, and, like their brethren of the 
northwest army, entirely without any other discipline 
than that which they had received in their worthless 
local musters. 

Before the arrival of these reinforcements Jackson, 
who was as vigorous as his enemy was dilatory, had 
already delivered a serious blow to them as they. ad- 
vanced from their landing-place. With twenty -five 
hundred men and an armed schooner he assaulted them 
in the march. The attack was in the night, and led, 
as such attacks are apt to do, to utter confusion on both 
sides. Jackson's assault, though ineffective in check- 
ing the British advance, made it more cautious, >and 

THE WAR OF 1812. 169 

gave him some days in which to receive further re- 
enforcements and to complete his preparations. A por- 
tion of his Kentucky troops were at last supplied with 
arms, but at best not over one half of those present 
were even able to do more than load the muskets of 
those who occupied the actual line of battle. 

The slowness of the British movements gave Jack- 
son twelve days, after the time of his night attack, in 
which to complete his preparations. At the end of this 
time he had a very strong position on the east, or New 
Orleans' side of the river, where the principal action 
was evidently to be fought. The British made a feeble 
reconnaissance on the 28th, that served only to show 
Jackson the danger of having his left turned. After 
that the enemy gave him eleven more days in which to 
avail himself of this information. At the end of that 
time his lines were too strong to be forced, even when 
assaulted by the veterans of the Peninsula and defended 
by raw militia, without a heavy preliminary treatment 
with artillery, which the enemy did not try to apply to 

Finally the deliberate Pakenham arranged his plan 
of assault. He sent fourteen hundred men to the west 
bank of the river. The remainder of his infantry 
troops, amounting to about fifty-five hundred men, were 
to assail the main lines. Jackson's whole force amounted 
to about the same as the British. There were seventeen 
hundred men on the west bank and forty-nine hundred 
opposed to Pakenham's main column. The Kentucky 
troops were disposed as follows : One hundred and 
eighty were with Morgan's line on the left or west 
bank, and eleven hundred were placed with Adair in 
the centre of the main line on the eastern side of the 


When the assault came it was made with all the pre- 
cision of a parade. It fell at once upon the lines on 
both sides of the river. On the west side the British 
carried the ill-constructed fortifications in one charge. 
The resistance was of the feeblest sort. The small force 
of Kentuckians behaved like the rest of the outflanked 
force. If the battle had depended on Morgan's men it 
would have been a sorry day for the Americans. On 
the eastern side of the principal attack it was, as we all 
know, a very different story. There Jackson had massed 
his most trustworthy men in a line several files deep. 
Where he expected the heaviest assault, it is said that 
the men were packed six ranks deep, those in the 
rear passing their loaded muskets to the front ranks, re- 
ceiving from them the discharged guns, thus keeping 
up a much more steady fire than was possible with the 
ordinary formation of a line of battle. 

Against such a fire, steady and coolly delivered, not 
even Pakenham's veterans could stand. The British 
never came into a position near enough to the fortifica- 
tions to do. any real fighting. It was a mere butchery, 
such as was never seen before or since in modern war- 
fare. The British charge was, like that of Balaklava, 
magnificent, but it was not war. 

It is small praise to say that the Kentucky troops, 
in the centre of the line, stood well. They, like the 
rest of the line, never came under a serious fire. But 
the furious Jackson, deeming his success qualified by the 
defeat of Morgan's men on the west shore, and un- 
mindful of the fact that about one fourth of his vic- 
torious troops were Kentuckians, dwells in his report on 
the flight of the men from Kentucky who were on the 
left bank of the river, as if that was the whole share 
of its citizens in the battle. 

THE WAR OF 1812. 171 

This hostility of the American commander to the 
good name of Kentucky is easily explained. Jackson 
was, by affiliation, a Tennesseean. Between that State 
and Kentucky there was always a slight element of 
jealousy. Tennesseeans of this time felt that they were 
in the position of poor relations in their intercourse 
with the somewhat arrogant people from Kentucky. 
The disgraceful flight of the Federal troops on the west 
bank gave Jackson's rough humor a chance to vent 
itself, and although only one eighth of this force was 
from Kentucky, he laid all the blame on them. 

The campaign of New Orleans ended the important 
features in the military history of Kentucky for many 
years. The life of the people was mainly to be spent 
in their arts and politics for a generation to come. To 
those who find an interest in political history, this period 
is not without incidents that will well repay attentive 
study. A very large number of the citizens of Ken- 
tucky nearly all the more ardent spirits, in fact 
were hereafter to take themselves to the westward mov- 
ing frontier. We find them all along the line from the 
great lakes to the Gulf. They pass from the limits of 
Kentucky history, yet their work should not be forgot- 
ten when we are considering the national work of this 
Commonwealth. We find them in every important In- 
dian fight, in all the battles of the Texan war, as well 
as in every legislative assembly of the Western States. 
The first fifty years of Kentucky life was a good school 
of those arts that serve to construct and maintain a 
State, and the whole of the West felt the profit of its 



AMONG all peoples the intervals between wars afford 
a series of natural divisions in their history. These 
disturbances are like the critical illnesses of a man, 
which mark stages in his history, though they may be 
termed unnatural accidents in his development. The 
period from 1812 to 1846 was occupied by the Ken- 
tuckians in a wrestle with some grave problems, which 
gave them even more serious trouble than their Indian 
difficulties. The position of this new American State 
in the fertile fields of the Mississippi Valley abounded 
in difficulties ; rich in natural resources, but poor in the 
profits of experience so necessary to the proper control 
of communities. The place of- this young Common- 
wealth was like that of a young heir of good blood aod 
high mettle, who has just come by a great inheritance, 
but whose education has not in the least degree fitted 
him for such a care as he should give his affairs. 

The life of the generation from 1815 to 1845 was 
full of grave blunders, but it was full of profit as well. 
No State has made more serious mistakes in govern- 
mental affairs than Kentucky. We shall see that one 
by one they exhausted the follies that it was possible 
for a developing community to commit, but we shall 
also see that they profited by their painful experiences. 

The first difficulty concerned the monetary system of 


the Commonwealth. The whole American experience 
shows how well-nigh impossible it is to bring a majority 
of the people of a State to a clear understanding of the 
principles of exchange. Men in general can compre- 
hend the simple barter of goods ; but as soon as barter 
is further complicated by a selection of some standard of 
exchange, the problem gets quite beyond their compre- 
hension. At once these measures of value become the 
subject of a curious delusion ; they are looked on as mys- 
terious agents of almost superhuman power. Whether 
they are cowries or coins, miraculous powers are soon 
attached to them. When the real value of the coin be- 
comes represented by a bank note, the money problem 
escapes entirely from the comprehension of the people. 

The first state of mind of the Kentucky people in 
reference to the currency was very wholesome. They 
had been through the severe experience of the Conti- 
nental paper money. They had seen that currency go 
down into the pit. For a time, up to about 1785, Ken- 
tucky was practically without any form of money what- 
ever. The first generation after that experience clung 
to barter, or they used rude mediums of exchange, such 
as a given weight of furs or of tobacco, in their trade. 
The prejudice against paper money continued as long 
as there were any to remember the woes of the Conti- 
nental period. The first bunk came by accident in the 
charter of an insurance company. 1 The opening of a 
trade with the Spanish at New Orleans brought some 
Spanish silver into the State, and this was long the 
principal currency. After the War of 1812-15 the com- 
mercial growth of Kentucky was rapid ; it became the 
main depot or supply station for all the country to the 
1 See p. 149. 


west and northwest. Its industrial and social organ- 
ization was then far ahead of the conditions in the 
other neighboring States and Territories, so that the 
exchangeable supplies of the region were great, and the 
force that before had gone towards war and politics 
turned towards commerce. 

At this time the general resumption of specie pay- 
ments in Europe, after the long suspension that attended 
the wars with Bonaparte, diminished the metallic cur- 
rency of the American world in a way that was very 
destructive to its business interests. The conservative 
policy that Kentucky had pursued left her in excellent 
position at the close of the second war with Great Brit- 
ain. She met the direct tax of the Federal government, 
amounting to $169,000, promptly. The people, bold in 
their prosperity, were eager for new enterprises. The 
trade spirit was as high as the war spirit of the preced- 
ing generation. The great stream of energy which had 
been developed in the battle with the forest and its in- 
habitants, now flowed into the pursuits of peaceful life. 

The application of steam to navigation early inter- 
ested this people. It was natural that it should, for their 
experience in navigating against the swift currents of 
the streams made it plain to them that they needed the 
aid of this power. As early as 1794, Edward West 
launched a small trial vessel in an artificial lake, made 
by damming the waters of Elkhorn Creek where it 
flowed through the town of Lexington. This is one of 
the first, though not the very first, successful trials of 
a river steamer in the United States. 1 The complete 

1 Some of the old geographical dictionaries speak of Elkhorn Creek 
as a stream navigable to Lexington. This attribution of navigability 
to a trifling rivulet of water came from the above experiment. | 


possession of the more important Mississippi waters, 
which was secured by the events of 1815, gave a great 
impetus to steam navigation. In 1820 and thereabouts, 
the greater number of the steamboats in the West were 
owned in Kentucky. 

The manufactures of the State, which were consider- 
able in the last decade of the eighteenth and the first of 
the nineteenth centuries, became very much extended. 1 

1 " Kentucky was the home and burial-place of at least three of the 
earliest inventors of steamboats John Fitch, James Ruinsey, and 
Edward \Vest. The latter was born in 1757 in Virginia, and removed 
in 1788 (one account says in 1785) to Lexington, where he died Au- 
gust 23, 1827. He Avas the first watchmaker there, was a gunsmith by 
trade, and a man of great inventive genius. He constructed a steam- 
boat on a small scale, which in 1794, in the presence of hundreds of 
citizens, he had the proud satisfaction to see move through the water 
with great velocity, in an experimental trial on the Town Fork of 
F.Ik horn, previously dammed up near the centre of Lexington for the 
purpose. This miniature steamboat had no flywheels; but to overcome 
the dead point, the piston-rod was made to strike metallic springs at 
every return motion given by the steam. The identical engine, or 
rather cylinder, piston-rod, framework, supply and escape pipe, were 
preserved for more than fifty years in the Ad el phi Society of Tran- 
sylvania University, and have since been transferred to the Museum 
of the Eastern Lunatic Asylum. On July 6, 1802, Mr. West received 
a United States patent for his steamboat invention. Why he delayed 
until then obtaining a patent, we have not learned. On the same day 
he was awarded three other patents for a gunlock, for a nail-cutting 
machine, and for a nail-cutting and heading machine, the first ever 
invented, and which the celebrated English traveler, F. A. Michaux, 
in 1805, said cut in twelve hours 5,320 pounds of nails, and the 
patent of which 'he sold at once for $10,000.' Lexington shortly 
after actually exported nails of her own manufacture to Louisville, 
to Cincinnati, and even to Pittsburg which is now the most exten- 
sive nail manufacturing point in the. United States, if not in the 
world. April 28, 1816 (only four and a half years after the first 
steamboat in the West), a steamboat, made by Bosworth & West, on 
Mr. West's model, left the mouth of Hickman Creek, on the Ken- 
tucky River, in Jessamine County, for New Orleans. This boat, an 
editorial notice in the Kentucky Gazette says, was upon a plan dis- 


The State at this time developed a considerable amount 
of mechanical ingenuity among its people ; many of the 
inventions of its mechanics were important contribu- 
tions to the arts. As an instance of the manufacturing 
development in Kentucky, we may take the business 
conditions of Lexington in 1817. There were then 
over sixty factories, employing a capital of 467, 225, 1 
or about two million dollars of modern money. A 
number of other places were important .manufacturing 
centres during the second decade of the nineteenth 
century. In 1819, Louisville had sixty-four mechan- 
ical shops, and about the same number of other stores. 

This rapid development of mechanical industry and 
the great growth of agriculture required some better 
system of currency than was in existence at this time. 
There then existed but one banking institution, the 
Bank of Kentucky, with a capital of $1,000,000. After 
a long resistance to the project of free banking, the 
legislature in 1818 chartered at once forty-six separate 
banks, having a total capital of $8,720,000. This ex- 
periment was singularly unfortunate, for within the 
year the demand for specie which came from the United 
States Bank, brought about the suspension of payments 
on the part of the only strong banking-house in the 
State, the old Bank of Kentucky, and wrecked 
nearly all the flimsy banks that had been organized 
under these charters. They were mostly in the hands 

tinct from any other steamboat then in use, and on a trial against 
the current of the Kentucky River, at a high stage, more than an- 
swered the sanguine expectations of her owners (a company of Lex- 
ington gentlemen), and left no doubt that she could stem the current 
of the Mississippi with rapidity and ease. She did not return." Col- 
lins, ii. p. 174. 
i Collins, ii. p. 176. 


of weak men, and had begun their operations by loaning 
money on worthless securities. 

Convinced by dearly bought experience that this 
course was perilous, the legislature in 1820 annulled 
these charters, and left the problem of banking where 
it was before. So grievous was the burden of debt that 
was caused by the collapse of speculations undertaken 
in the previous years that the legislature was forced to 
another wild scheme, which brought about one of the 
most singular and instructive political struggles that had 
ever been seen in an American State. The act in ques- 
tion provided for the organization of the Bank of the 
Commonwealth, with a capital stock of $2,000,000. 
There was a long and fierce debate before this charter 
was granted : on the one side were arrayed the few 
who by native insight rather than by reading perceived 
the true principles of money, men like Christopher 
Greenup and the other clear-headed members of the 
Political Club of Danville ; on the other side was the 
host of impetuous men who had been harder tried in 
their speculative combats with the impossible in finance 
than they ever had been in their struggle with the sav- 
ages. They were ruined in pocket : they fancied that in 
some way the State could, without injustice to any man, 
make them whole again. If there was only a bank that 
would advance a little money on securities they deemed 
as safe as gold, all might be well. 

History repeats itself more often in monetary than 
any other matters. It was now the innings of the soft 
money men. This Bank of the Commonwealth was al- 
lowed to issue notes, for which the holder could not 
claim specie payment. It was to have twelve trustees, 
and was allowed to put out $3,000,000 of circulating 


paper. This paper was made a legal tender for all debts. 
The next step of the mad party that led in the legis- 
lature was to get possession of the excellent Bank of 
Kentucky, the only sound banking establishment in 
the Commonwealth. The old directors of this institu- 
tion were turned out, and their places taken by men 
who represented fiat money. The plan was to use the 
well earned credit of this bank to float the bills issued 
by the new " wild cat " enterprise. The result was to 
overthrow the credit of the only sound bank in the 
country. 1 

In the course of the year the paper of the new bank 
fell to a fraction of its face value. Creditors properly 
objected to payment in notes that represented no real 
value, and when their property was seized, appealed to 
the courts. Fortunately at that time the judiciary of 
the State, still appointed by the governor, and holding 
office during good behavior, was composed of able and 
trustworthy men. The effort to defeat the " will of the 
people '' by process of law aroused an extraordinary ex- 
citement throughout the State. The mad-cap element, 
deprived of the profits of their majority, threatened the 
judges with ejection from their seats, and even personal 
violence, if they dared to decide against the constitu- 
tionality of the law. The first decision came from the 

1 It is worth while to notice that the legislature undertook to com- 
mend this ill-advised project to the people by devoting one half the 
profits of the Commonwealth Bank to what was known as the " Lit- 
erary Fund." This money was to go for the purchase of books and 
philosophical apparatus and other betterments of the Transylvania 
University, Centre College, and to the Southern College of Kentucky. 
This appropriation came to nothing, but it is an interesting evidence 
of the desire for the increase of the usefulness of the State colleges, 
and the sense of what might best reconcile the conservative people tc 
the new monetary scheme which they so stoutly opposed. ' 


court of the Clarke County district. The sitting jus- 
tice, Judge Clarke, decided that the clause in the act 
which gave a retrospective effect to the action of re- 
plevin was unconstitutional and void. 

It is not worth while to go into the complicated 
technicalities of this decision. The essence of it was 
that the legislature had no power to take steps that in 
any way impaired the obligation of contracts, as it did 
by making the notes of the Commonwealth Bank a legal 
tender. As is often the case, the decision touched only 
a part of the laws that were in controversy, but it 
clearly showed how the courts would deal with the 
whole problem when it came fairly before them. 

The State was already divided into two political par- 
ties, known as the relief and anti-relief parties. The 
forn:er insisted that the will of the people should pre- 
vail in the passage of the laws for the relief of debtors ; 
the latter, that these laws were inconsistent with the 
Federal Constitution, which forbids the passage of laws 
that impair the obligation of contracts. As usual, the 
more radical men won at the outset, the conservative 
element being slow to array itself in determined op- 
position to the overthrow of the organic law. The re- 
lief party had an overwhelming majority in the legis- 
lature, and the weak-minded Governor Adair was in 
sympathy with them. An extra session of the legisla- 
ture was called, and the just and fearless judge, who 
had decided against the law, was cited before it in order 
that steps might be taken summarily to remove him. 
Judge Clarke made an able defense of his action, and 
there was enough reason left in this legislature to con- 
vince some of his antagonists and to make his removal 
impossible, at least while the Court of Appeals had the 


question of his decision under hearing. In 1823 the 
Appellate Court consisted of three judges, Boyle, 
chief justice, Mills and Owsley, associates, all men 
of a strong type and unshakable by popular clamor. 
Disgraceful efforts were made to frighten them into a 
decision in favor of the relief party: It is infinitely to 
their credit that the judgment they rendered was a clear 
judicial verdict against the constitutionality of the law, 
on the ground that it violated the clause in the Con- 
stitution of the United States which forbids the States 
to impair the obligations of contracts. 

Their decision was received by the relief party with 
a perfect tempest of rage. Efforts were at once made to 
remove the judges by act of the legislature. The elec- 
tion of 1824 was decided on this issue, and Governor 
Joseph Desha, the relief candidate, received 38,378 
votes, and his opponent, Christopher Thompson, 22,499. 
This majority carried with it the control of both the 
senate and house, but not sufficiently complete power 
to enable the legislature to remove the offending jus- 
tices by impeachment, which required a two third's 
vote. So an indirect means of accomplishing this end 
was devised. As soon as the legislature met a bill was 
brought in and speedily passed, to break up the Su- 
preme Court, by repealing all the laws that gave it ex- 
istence. Then another court, under the name of the 
Court of Appeals, was organized. The new places were 
immediately filled by men who were known and earnest 
supporters of the popular party. This revolutionary 
act unfortunately had the support of some of the ablest 
men in the State. William T. Barry, the chief jus- 
tice of the new court, John Rowan, Joseph Desha, and 
others who were the leaders in the relief party, were 


men of high character and distinguished ability. Their 
conduct in this matter is only to be explained by sup- 
posing that their judgment was obscured by the political 
excitement which the states rights element of the prob- 
lem had engendered. 1 

Fortunately for the State the justices of the old court 
were men of calm strength, who felt that when the sub- 
ject was fairly presented to the people they would be 
supported. They did not accept this dismissal from 
their high office. They "made a judicious and complete 
answer to the legislature in its effort to legislate them 
out of office, and when their offices were vacated by en- 
actment they took the strong ground that as their court 
was created by the conditions of the Constitution of the 
Commonwealth, nothing less than the amendment of that 
instrument could remove them from their positions. Al- 
though they were deprived of their records, which were 
placed under a military guard that allowed only the 
new court to have access to them, they continued to sit 
and give judgments as before, leaving the final decision 
of the matter to the people. The minority of the legis- 
lature, though their protests against the illegal action 
of their colleagues were refused even a place on the 
records of both senate and house, took the question to 
the people. Then came a bloodless campaign, which 
for energy and bitterness has never been equaled in the 
history of the State, if ever among English speaking 

1 Space does not allow, nor perhaps would the reader be repaid, for 
the careful review of this interesting struggle. Those who are curious 
in such matters will find a full record of the debates outside of the 
legislature in the two weekly journals which were created as organs 
of the two parties, the Patriot and the Spirit of '76, published in 
Frankfort, Ky., during the trial of this momentous issue before the 


peoples. Not even the elections immediately preceding 
the Civil War gave anything like the same fury to men's 
minds as did the struggle between the old and new 
court parties in the election of 1825. In the canvass 
of 1860 every one felt that there was a great elemental 
storm arising that might sweep the land to destruction. 
This subdued the fury of partisanship. 

The election of 1825 had, in its principal question, 
one well suited to arouse the bitterest passions. On 
one side was arrayed the " people's party," that large 
body of people who from the first had held to the notion 
that the will of the populace should be the supreme law. 
Something of these gross notions concerning the func- 
tion of government was shown in the earlier history 
of the Commonwealth. We see them in the actions 
of the French party. They are marked in the frequent 
cases of insubordination among Kentucky troops. But 
now was the first time that this socialistic force was 
arrayed against the best interests of the State itself. 
The debate before the people was long and furious, but 
the next election showed that the heart of the Common- 
wealth was sound. They gave their hearty approval 
to the anti-relief party, electing sixty of old court men 
to thirty-five for the new court. Still the senate, which 
was only partly renewed by this election, disregarding 
the will of their constituents, which they pretended to 
take as their guide, refused to concur with the house in 
a bill to rescind the laws constituting the new court. 
The question was kept open until the next year, when 
the voters reaffirmed their decision in an election which 
so changed the senate that the two bodies were able to 
pass an act to annul this detestable legislation. In De- 
cember, 1825, all the laws constituting the new court 


were repealed, thus ending a contest that brought the 
Commonwealth in the face of the gravest problems of 
public morals. 

During this long struggle the Commonwealth was 
continually on the verge of a civil war. The whole 
machinery of law was out of joint; no legal steps could 
be taken with any certainty that the action was properly 
brought. The records of the Supreme Court were in y 
the possession of the newly constituted Court of Ap- 
peals, and were under military guard, and the governor 
was in complete sympathy with the new court party. 
The good judgment of the people, together with the 
dignity and patience of the court, enabled the State to 
avoid the worst consequences of this great error, to 
give it no graver name. The act of 1825, repealing the 
laws constituting the new court, was passed over the 
governor's veto, so that the end was attained against 
the resistance of the magistrate, who had sworn to de- 
fend the Constitution that gave him his authority. 

This struggle between the parties of old and new 
courts had certain very important effects upon the po- 
litical life of the Commonwealth. For the first time it 
brought the motives of the radical element of the popu- 
lation clearly into view, and arrayed against them the 
conservative and law-abiding element of the people. 
The question before the court, and in its legal aspect, 
turned upon the clause of the Federal Constitution that 
forbade the impairment of contracts, though the imme- 
diate victory was gained on other and more special legal 
grounds. But there was a nearer and simpler question, 
one of honesty in the management of public affairs, 
which was the part debated before the people and on 
which they gave their decision in an unmistakable way. 


We may fairly regard this debate as a turning-point 
in the politics of the State. The election which gave 
the relief party its overwhelming majority in the legis- 
lature of 1824, and elected Desha by a vote of thirty- 
eight thousand to twenty-two thousand for his opponent, 
represents the uninformed and rash state of public opin- 
ion. The reversal of this vote in the following year 
shows an extraordinary revolution of sentiment. It 
shows a moral awakening which was full of promise, 
and one that time has justified. From this time onwards 
the State has always inclined to conservative ways. 
In its end the controversy between the old and new 
courts was very wholesome, since it showed the people 
the way in which grave dangers lay. That the people 
of the Commonwealth met the emergency in a manly 
fashion, promptly reconsidering their first hasty steps 
when they had a chance to see whereto they led, and 
in the end found a position on firm ground, is a matter 
of satisfaction to all who hold the name of Kentucky 

When the final overthrow of the new court came it 
was acquiesced in by both parties, though with the nat- 
ural inertia of politics for some time the party lines 
stood near where they had been placed by this conflict. 
With apparent satisfaction the people turned their at- 
tention from their local affairs to the larger field of na- 
tional questions. There was a matter which had been 
in abeyance during the old and new court conflict that 
was ready for use. In 1825 the election for President 
having been thrown into the House of Representatives, 
Clay, then a member from the Ashland district, had 
cast his vote for Adams. It was fit that he should 
have done so, for Adams fairly represented the party 


with which he had acted for many years. The radical 
element of Kentucky and elsewhere chose to take this 
vote in high dudgeon. There was then, and for a long 
time afterwards, a great dislike to New England, and 
especially to Massachusetts, among the extremists of 
Kentucky. This was, in the beginning, due to the fact 
that the New England States opposed the admission of 
Kentucky to the Federal Union ; even those who did 
not desire to have that union effected were naturally 
offended by this resistance. To this original cause of 
hatred was added the anti-slavery propaganda which 
came from that region, as well as the severe answer 
that Massachusetts had made to the invitation sent her 
by the young Commonwealth to concur in the resolu- 
tions of 1798. 

Clay and the cause of Adams, in the approaching 
Federal election, were espoused by the old court party, 
then known as the National Republican party. Jack- 
son was the candidate of the new court party, then 
known as the Democratic Republicans. In the State 
election of 1825 it was evident that Adams was a bur- 
den that even the strength of the old court party could 
not carry, for, although this party elected Metcalf, their 
candidate as governor, Jackson carried the State in 
November by a majority of eight thousand. This vote 
for Jackson should not be regarded as representing the 
true position of the parties at this time. It is well 
known that Adams had incurred a great burden of un- 
popularity throughout the United States, as is shown by 
his overwhelming defeat in the other States, while Jack- 
son represented the greatest victory that had ever been 
won by the national troops, an action in which nearly 
one third of his men were Keutuckians. The people 


had forgiven him his unjust criticism of their soldiers, 
for which he in a fashion apologized, and only remem- 
bered his really noble and soldierly qualities. The won- 
der is that, under the circumstances, Jackson's majority 
was so small. The vote stood for Jackson, 39,394; 
for Adams, 31,460. 

The defeat of Adams was a severe blow to Henry 
Clay, and for a time promised to make an end of his 
political life, but this fascinating and pliant man soon- 
recovered his place among his people. Jackson's course 
as President, though not to the satisfaction of the more 
conservative element, pleased the mass of the people. 
For two years this approval was marked by the as- 
cendancy of the Democrats. Even in 1832 this party 
succeeded in electing their governor by a slender ma- 
jority. But the nomination of Clay as a candidate of 
the National Republican or Whig party, to contest a 
second election with Jackson, finally determined the po- 
litical complexion of Kentucky. The people were in a 
state of wild enthusiasm for their illustrious citizen, and 
in the November election the poll stood: Clay, 43,614; 
Jackson, 36,200. 

On the national arena Jackson defeated Clay by a 
large majority, but the Kentuckian was now master of 
his own Commonwealth, and long ruled it wisely. Al- 
though his place in national statesmanship may be ques- 
tioned, though it may be shown that his advocacy of a 
tariff and of the Missouri Compromise were not founded 
on sound principles of statesmanship, there can be no 
question that within the limits of Kentucky his influence 
was beneficial beyond that of any other citizen. With 
little academic instruction, he was a man of a really 
wide culture. His conservatism was not a narrow k^nd, 


but carne from a keen sense of the value of deliberate- 
ness and fidelity in all public actions. We cannot in 
this brief sketch trace his influence on Kentucky life, 
nor even give the outlines of his work ; but it should 
be remembered that whil.e he was never keenly inter- 
ested in State politics, and there is no important State 
legislation that can be regarded as his work, yet in 
founding and strengthening the conservative spirit that 
began to come with the greater wealth and culture of 
the State, he assuredly did a very great work. From 
the time of his local victory over Jackson to the present 
day, the conservative element of Kentucky, the party 
that takes the tasks of government deliberately and 
philosophically, that debates, before acting and after act- 
ing, the questions of public duty as they should be con- 
sidered, has never lost its hold upon the State. Par- 
ties have changed names, political issues have come and 
gone, but the conservative power that came from the 
bank question, and was affirmed by Clay, still holds the 
old Commonwealth with a firm hold. 1 

The course of Jackson in reference to the national 
bank soon brought the Kentuckians back again to their 
local needs. The winding-up of the Commonwealth 
Bank was skillfully managed. The legislature ar- 
ranged for the calling in and the cancellation of its 
outstanding paper, so that the indecent neglect of the 
public rights, shown in its founding, gave place to a 
commendable honesty in its finish. 

The notes of the United States Bank were now the 

1 I shall hereafter discuss the present position of parties in Ken- 
tucky, and believe that I shall show that the present so-called Demo- 
cratic party of Kentucky is essentially the conservative party much 
as it was left by Clay. 


principal circulating medium of Kentucky. They served 
their purpose well until Jackson began his assaults on 
the bank. When it fell before the furious campaign 
whicn Jackson waged against it, the State legislature 
endeavored to replace its paper by creating three banks, 
known as the Bank of Kentucky, the Bank of Louis- 
ville, and the Northern Bank of Kentucky, the first 
being the reconstitution of a bank that had long ex- 
isted ; these banks had a total capital of ten million of 

If Jackson had been defeated at New Orleans, his 
ruin could not have done the country as much dam- 
age as his repeal of the charter of the United States 
Bank, without any provision for its replacement in the 
system of American commerce. The immediate result 
was a general return to the " wild cat " money of ten 
years before ; banks started up at every cross-roads' 
town ; every speculative person found banks to lend him 
money, for the more of the paper that these institutions 
could set afloat the larger would be the measure of their 
profits. The Kentucky banks were far more provident 
than those of the neighboring States, but they c'ould 
not resist the tide of fraudulency that came in the train 
of this wild speculation. The commerce of Kentucky 
was now involved with that of half a dozen other com- 
munities, which were of a much less conservative humor 
in the management of the banking question. The bub- 
ble of speculation was soon blown up to the bursting 
point, and in 1837 all the banks of the United States 
were, by the resulting collapse, forced into a suspension 
of payments. 

Despite the hard lessons of the preceding decade, 
Kentucky had been led into the full tide of speculation 


which affected not only individuals but the State itself. 
The legislature had undertaken a vast system of pub- 
lic improvements on its own credit. It was at work on 
a costly system of canalizing the principal rivers, whose 
whole water system lies in the State ; the Kentucky, 
the Green, and the Licking were to be provided with 
locks and dams, so that they might be navigated from 
the Ohio to their head-waters. A great series of turn- 
pikes also received the aid of the State. These im- 
provements were well conceived. The State was suf- 
fering under a grievous want of ways of communication. 
Its centres of population and of industry were far from 
the Ohio, then the only great pathway of commerce. 
The clayey character of the soil in all the fertile dis- 
tricts made unmacadamized roads impassable to any 
heavy traffic during half the year. The State had 
shown commendable enterprise in dealing with this car- 
dinal difficulty of its civilization. It was a great mis- 
fortune that the effort was made in a period of such 
monetary uncertainty. But the very stimulus to enter- 
prise that led to the undertaking of these improvements 
was due to the speculation that caused commercial dis- 

The financial hurricane of 1837 produced a universal 
and enduring distress in Kentucky. Nearly every busi- 
ness man in the State, and very many of the farmers, 
were rendered bankrupt or burdened by debt to the 
point of virtual insolvency. In this time of trial the 
people showed the profit of the lessons of the preced- 
ing ten years. There was a general effort to mitigate 
the evils by mutual help rather than by legislation. 
The State refused to forfeit the charters of the sus- 
pended banks, or to compel them to resume specie pay- 


ments. The brief breathing time of 1838, when for a 
few months the banks tried to resume payment, revived 
the hopes of the people ; but the burden of unliquidated 
debt rested too heavily on them for an enduring revival 
of business, so that the banks were compelled again to 
suspend their proper functions. The years 1840, 1841, 
and 1842 were the most hopeless that this people have 
ever known. Not even the shadowed days of the Civil 
War brought such despair to their firesides. War 
brings the light of action and expectation, with its 
swift movements, that is wanting in a time of universal 

It is not surprising that this time of trial led to a 
revival of the " relief party," which grew rapidly to 
formidable dimensions. But the conservative element 
was bold, and readily met their schemes. The legisla- 
ture refused to take any unreasonable steps. The most 
they did was to modify the system of the courts, so as 
to give the creditor a little more time in which to meet 
the actions brought against him. Gradually, through 
infinite suffering that is recorded in the long dockets of 
the courts and the cloud of judgments that fell upon all 
forms of property, the people won their way back to 
commercial prosperity. 

This episode closes the remarkable events in the his- 
tory of the financial development of the State. From 
this time on the Commonwealth's banks were singularly 
sound and efficient institutions. They were commonly 
domestic in their system ; they trusted for their strength 
to a mixture of control exercised by the State through 
its ownership of stock and the citizen stockholders. 1 

1 In many ways these banks were singularly domestic institutions. 
Custom required the cashier to reside in the bank building, so f that 


They gave to the people a better currency than ex- 
isted in any State west of the mountains. Even in the 
trial of the Civil War they stood, as they still stand, 
unbroken. Their strength is so great that although 
their currency has been destroyed by the laws of the 
United States, they remain the mainstays of the busi- 
ness of the Kentucky people outside of one or two of 
the larger cities. 

It will be worth the reader's while to follow this pe- 
culiar history of Kentucky banking beyond the limits 
of this sketch. I know no other case in the history of 
these American States where the problem of an ex- 
change system has been so beautifully shown in all its 
various workings. In the first period of the State's 
history we had a long time in which the industry was 
carried on in the main by barter. Then came the period 
when the Spanish currency of the dollar was the main- 
stay of commerce. It is likely that the singular philo- 
Spanish party got some of its influence from the use of 
this currency. A sense of kinship comes with a com- 
mon money. Relations with Spain that now seem so 
impracticable, probably looked more natural to a people 
who used Spanish money in the most of their transac- 
tions. When the want of small money became great, 
as it did about the beginning of the century, the need 
was met by cutting the Spanish dollar into four or eight 
parts, called " quarters " or " bits." These angular 
fragments of " cut money " passed current for thirty 
years or so, and were the subject of several legislative 

the bank affairs were in a way a part of the household of its execu- 
tive arrangements. It may be that this domestication of the bank 
aided in part to secure the peculiar honesty that marked their admin- 


enactments. This plan of dividing coins into segments 
was a singular if not unique device, and long served a 
good purpose. 

When the commerce of this people came to the point 
where a better system of money became necessary, we 
find them learning the hard lesson of banking by the 
dear way of experience, and profiting by that experience 
in a singularly immediate fashion. Moreover, the ad- 
vance of the Kentuckians in the methods of govern- 
ment can, to a great degree, be attributed to the com- 
plete discussion of the principle of public faith that they 
had then to decide in the matter of the Commonwealth 
Bank and the new court questions. It is impossible 
in this place to do more than furnish an outline of this 
extremely interesting chapter in commercial history, but 
it will be well for some student of political economy to 
give especial attention to the instructive series of events. 
In no other American State can the money problem be 
found in such a good position for study. The careful 
student will there find a wonderful catalogue of mone- 
tary expedients. 

From their trials in business the people more than 
once turned, with their usual eagerness, to the questions 
of national politics. The wide habit of thought bred in 
their early wrestle with national problems, such as the 
first forty years of the life of the Commonwealth opened 
to them, made such matters always of paramount in- 

The Harrison presidential campaign of 1840 was de- 
cided, as was the first Jackson campaign, on the mem- 
ories of the War of 1812. Van Buren received 32,616, 
while Harrison's vote was 58,489, a majority of nearly 
two to one, and this despite tho fact that Richard iM. 


Johnson, the candidate for Vice-President with Vau 
Buren, was a Kentuckian of Kentuckians, the man who, 
it was believed, had killed the great Tecumseh in the 
battle of the Thames, and who had otherwise deserved 
well of his country. The Whig vote was doubtless re- 
duced by the popularity of this illustrious citizen. 

In 1844 Clay was the Whig candidate for the Pres- 
idency. Although he was supported by his party with 
a singular ardor, his majority in the State was only about 
nine thousand, a great falling off from the majority 
given to Harrison four years before. This marks a pe- 
culiar set of politics in Kentucky, which we must now 

In this election the Democratic party represented the 
project for the annexation of Texas, which now was 
becoming a burning question in American politics. The 
attempt which Texas was then making for independence 
of Mexico claimed and gained the keenest sympathy 
from Kentucky. Many of the leaders in that remark- 
able conflict were from this Commonwealth, and they 
all represented the motives of that western life which, 
in time of trial, knows no State bounds. 1 There have 
been few incidents in American history so calculated to 
interest the Kentucky people. The struggle was ro- 
mantic in its object and in its details. For years the 
Kentucky people had been deprived of all share in the 
excitement of war. Wur for political objects has always 
had an absorbing interest to a people who have the out- 
going type of mind combined with rude vigor. More- 
over, the growing interest in the slavery problem led 

1 Many hundred of the soldiers of the Texan army were from Ken- 
tucky. General Albert Sydney Johnston, General Felix Huston, and 
many other distinguished officers were her sons. 


many strong advocates of that institution to desire an 
extension of territory in the Southwest, into which the 
slave population might find its way. These influences 
led many persons temporarily to detach themselves from 
the old Whig or conservative party, and to join the side 
that advocated aiding Texas in her conflict with Mexico, 
or her admission into the United States. The same 
influences acted throughout the Union, but with more 
energy in Kentucky than elsewhere, because the force 
of sympathy with the Texan cause was stronger than in 
any other Whig State. Nothing else could show so well 
the gain in the conservatism in Kentucky as the fact 
that, despite all these natural incentives to sympathy 
with Texas, the State was held by a majority of over 
nine thousand in resistance to the project of a war with 
Mexico. The basis of Clay's opposition to the annexa- 
tion of Texas was in the very tendency to the extension 
of slavery that this annexation would bring about. A 
majority of the people of Kentucky were no longer 
friendly to the extension of slavery, though they were 
even more heartily opposed to the abolition party. 

The defeat of Clay was the final blow to his long de- 
ferred hopes of occupying the chair of the President at 
Washington. He still remained the foremost figure of 
Kentucky politics, but his influence even there ends with 
this defeat. This failure of their candidate was the 
more exasperating because treachery in New York de- 
termined the issue against him. The nation at large 
abandoned the cautious policy that strangely enough had 
pome' to be the motive of Kentucky, which in the pre- 
ceding generation was the most radical State in the 
Union. Had it been left to Kentucky, despite her nat- 
ural sympathy with Texas and the pro-slavery Soufh, 


there would probably have been no annexation of new 
territory for many years, and slavery might have been 
hemmed within its old bounds. 

We leave the discussion of the events of the Mexican 
War to the next chapter, and turn back to consider the 
condition of the institution of slavery during this middle 
period of the State's history. The tables in the Appen- 
dix will give the reader a synopsis of the increase in 
the African element of the population in the successive 
decades since the first census. It will easily be seen 
that the first settlers of Kentucky, though they came 
from slave-holding colonies, brought few negroes into 
the State. As soon as the pioneer life began to give 
place to a commercial activity, and men took to plant- 
ing for profit and not for subsistence, the negro popula- 
tion rapidly increased. From 1790 to 1840 there was 
a rapid gain of the African element of the population 
represented in per cents, at the several decades as fol- 
lows. The upper line gives the per cent, of increase in 
the preceding decade in the black, the lower in the 
white, population. 

1800. 1810. 1820. 1830. 1840. 1850. 1800. 1870. 
Slaves 224 99 57 20 1-3 10 1-3 15 2-3 7 6 
Whites 200 84 36 22 1313 26 17 14 

Thus the African race increased more rapidly than 
the white up to 1830. In 1840 the white population 
shows a notable increase over the black. This gain is 
more marked in 1850, it is extended in 1860, and in 
1870 the black population shows an absolute decrease. 
In a small way this actual decrease in 1870 may be due 
to the emigration of the negroes during the war, but it 
will be noticed that it very nearly agrees with the series 
of changes belonging to the earlier decades. This will 


be more apparent to the reader from a consultation of 
the tables in the Appendix, where also the notable total 
increase of the blacks is shown. We may say that this 
decrease would have come about in the natural succes- 
sion of changes, even if the war had not been fought or 
emancipation established. There is great difficulty in 
analyzing the history of slavery in Kentucky. There 
are no sufficient records on which to base the study of 
the problem. In the following statement the writer has 
had to rely on his long personal knowledge of the Com- 
monwealth and on fair opportunities for insight into its 

In the first place the reader should observe that only 
a small part of the Commonwealth is fit for anything 
like plantation life. The greater part of the area re- 
quires the thrift and personal care of the owner to 
make its cultivation remunerative. Even that part of 
the land of Kentucky that may be used for tillage in a 
large way is decidedly more profitable in the hands of 
farmers who cultivate small areas. Next, it should be 
noticed that the whole system of Kentucky life fell from 
the first into something essentially like the yeomanry 
system of England. The land came into the hands of 
small landholders, who in the main worked with their 
own hands. Each year increased this element of the 
State at the expense of the large properties. The prin- 
ciple of primogeniture, which in Virginia outlasted the 
laws that supported it, never gained a place in Ken- 
tucky. The result was that each generation saw the 
lauds more completely divided, and the area fit for slave 
labor became constantly less occupied by large farmers. 
There was also in this yeoman class, as well as among 
the more educated men of fortune, a growing discontent 


with the whole system of slave labor. Nor was this dis- 
like to slavery based on economic considerations alone. 
Already, in the first decades of Kentucky life, there was 
a strong protest from many religious people against the 
system. When Clay, about 1798, began to be a power 
in the land, his plan of emancipation, with or without 
colonization, became an article of faith with his party, 
and was held by the larger part of the conservative 
people. There came to be a prejudice against all forms 
of commerce in slaves. This notion came to its height 
in the decade between 1830 and 1840, and is probably 
responsible for a part of the rapid relative decrease of 
slaves within those years. From the local histories the 
deliberate student will easily become convinced that if 
there had been no external pressure against slavery at 
this time there would still have been a progressive elim- 
ination of the slave element from the population by 
emancipation on the soil, by the sale of the slaves to 
the planters of the Southern States, and by their coloni- 
zation in foreign parts. 

In the decade from 1840 to 1850 the activity of the 
abolition party in the North became very great; all 
along the Ohio River there were stations for the rescuing 
of slaves and conveying them to safe places beyond the 
border. The number of negroes who escaped in this way 
was small, it probably did not average more than one 
hundred a year, but the effect upon the state of mind 
of the people was very great. The truth is, the ne- 
groes in Kentucky were not generally suffering from 
any bonds that weighed heavily upon them. Slavery in 
Kentucky was of the domestic sort ; that is, it was to 
the most of their race not a grievous burden to bear. 
This is well shown by the fact that thousands of them 


quietly remained vvitli their masters in the counties 
along the Ohio River, when in any night they might 
have escaped across the border. Their state was such 
that if they had one and all been given six months to 
wander, and at the same time a choice of returning to 
their old homes, at least three quarters would, at the end 
of this time, have been found again under the yoke in 
their old places of abode. Still this underground railway 
system, although it did not free many slaves, profoundly 
irritated the minds of their owners, and even of the 
class that did not own slaves. 

Accompanied as was this work of rescuing slaves by 
a violent abuse of slaveholding, it destroyed in good 
part the desire to be rid of the institution which had 
grown on the soil, and gave place to a natural though un- 
reasonable determination to cling to the system against 
all foreign interference. More than all, it roused anew 
the hatred of New England, which had well-nigh dis- 
appeared in the growing conservatism of the people. 
John Quincy Adams's visit to Kentucky, and his noble 
defense of Clay, had at one time made an end of this 
old rancor, at least among the conservative Kentuck 
iane. This visit of ex-President Adams was in 1844. 
His speech in Maysville, in answer to the welcome of 
General Richard Collins, deserves quotation here. Gen- 
eral Collins said that Mr. Adams " has placed Kentucky 
under deep and lasting obligations for his noble defense 
of her great statesman, Henry Clay, in his letter to the 
Whigs of New Jersey," to which Mr. Adams replied : 
" I thank you, sir, for the opportunity you have given 
me of speaking of the great statesman who was con- 
nected with me in the administration of the general 
government, at my earnest solicitation who belongs 


not to Kentucky alone, but to the whole Union, and is 
not only an honor to his State and the nation, but to 
mankind. The charges to which you refer, though after 
my term of service had expired and it was proper for 
me to speak, I denied before the whole country, and I 
here reiterate and reaffirm that denial ; and as I expect 
shortly to appear before my God, to answer for the con- 
duct of my whole life, should these charges have found 
their way to the throne of eternal justice, I will in the. 
presence of Omnipotence pronounce them false." 1 

From 1840 to 1860 the progress of thought in Ken- 
tucky probably increased the number- of actual aboli- 
tionists at a rapid rate, but it diminished the number of 
those who desired to see some deliberate and legal solu- 
tion of the appalling difficulty. This separation of the 
two parties was unfortunate but natural. Thus the 
election of Polk may be taken as a critical point in the 
history of slavery within the State. After that, the 
emancipation party lost much ground that was only in 
small part gained by the abolitionists. 
1 See Collins, i. p. 50. 



THE Mexican War, with its long prelude in the vary- 
ing scenes of the Texas struggle, had a great interest 
for the people of Kentucky ; it brought back the mem- 
ories of their own long combat in the first forty years 
of their State life, much of which was still in the mem- 
ory of the older men. The leaders in this Texas strug- 
gle were men of heroic mould. Houston, Crockett, and 
Johnston still command our sympathy, and in that day 
they held a large place in the hearts of the western 
people. Nothing so well shows the singular strength 
of the conservative party in Kentucky as the fact that 
after years of excitement they still held the State by an 
overwhelming majority, and cast their votes against the 
whole project of southern extension of the national 
territory. Though not in direct terms a vote against 
the extension of the area of slavery, the election of 
1844 was in fact a vote of this nature. This political 
position could be made plain did space permit us to 
make a careful analysis of the motives of the time. 
But the action speaks for itself. 

The resolutions for the annexation of Texas were 
passed in February, 1845, but it was not until the 
Bth of May, 1846, that the battle of Palo Alto brought 
about the condition of war between the United States 


and Mexico. Kentucky was called on for a contin- 
gent of twenty-four hundred men. Ten thousand men 
at once were ready for the war, so that it became a 
struggle for the chance of service. The force first sent 
out consisted of the Louisville Legion commanded by 
Colonel Ovvsley ; an independent company under the 
command of John S. Williams, of Clarke County ; the 
second regiment of infantry commanded by Colonel 
W. R. McKee, of Lexington, with Lieutenant-Colonel 
Henry Clay, Jr., second in command; and the first 
regiment of cavalry, under command of Colonel Hum- 
phrey Marshall. 

Three of the leading officers who were to take charge 
of the operations of the war were chosen from citizens 
of Kentucky. Zachary Taylor, major-general of the 
regular army ; William O. Butler, of Carroll County, 
major-general of volunteers ; and Thomas Marshall, of 
Lewis County, brigadier-general of volunteers. 

In this brief story it will only be possible to con- 
sider the doings of the Kentucky troops during the 
Mexican War, in so far as a history of that war will 
throw light on the character of the men of the time, to- 
gether with so much of the actions of particular men as 
will show the training which in their youth fitted them 
for their more important services in the Civil War. 
Many of these soldiers of the Mexican War reappear in 
the subsequent civil history of the State, and a number 
of them remained to take a prominent part in the Fed- 
eral and the Confederate armies. Their experience 
and reputation acquired in this foreign war did much 
to give them leadership. When we come to consider 
the steps that led to the Civil War, and the conduct of 
its campaigns, we shall constantly have to trace the im- 
portant in Hue nee of these men. 


So long a time had elapsed since the population of 
Kentucky hud been engaged in warfare, that there 
were few of the volunteers for the war with Mexico, 
officers or men, who had ever looked upon a line of bat- 
tle. The long peace had brought the militia into the 
contempt into which a citizen soldier unfortunately al- 
ways falls as soon as the time of need is past. There 
was probably no State in the Union where the neglect 
of the military art was at this time so complete. The 
militia consisted of extensive paper lists, and a few 
small, half-drilled companies, unfamiliar with the evolu- 
tions of the battalion, and without the discipline that 
converts the citizen into the soldier. There remained 
from the military life of the old days Ipnt two elements 
of great value to the soldier, an instinctive as well as 
a trained ability in the use of fire-arms, and a strong 
combative spirit. On these foundations, with such vig- 
orous bodies as this soil breeds, the judicious discipli- 
narian can soon build the soldier. 

The United States troops were to act against a people 
who possessed a large share of the qualities of the good 
soldier. The Mexicans were hardy, brave, and patient ; 
they were well trained in the simpler part of the art of 
war, their frequent internal struggles having given them 
recent and extensive experience in military affairs. 
They furnished an excellent opportunity to test the 
quality of the Kentucky militia after their long desue- 
tude of arms. 

The first noticeable fact brought out by the Mexican 
War is that these Kentucky troops showed little of the 
rebellious spirit, or the unwillingness to endure hard- 
ships and submit to command, that marked their ances- 
tors in the War of 1812. The long training in civic life 


had finally subjugated the savage impulse of insubordi- 
nation that was the opprobrium of the pioneer soldier. 
Except for a little " larking," the troops went through 
the trying preliminary work of changing from citizens 
to soldiers in a very quiet way. Though abundant time 
was afforded for the work, there was no effort to give 
these forces a good camp training before they went into 
service. Their officers were incompetent for this work. 
The first campaign of the Mexican War was far ad- 
vanced before the troops of the Commonwealth came 
to the front. The first engagement involving any Ken- 
tucky troops was the assault on Monterey. In this 
action the Louisville Legion had a subordinate place ; 
they garrisoned a mortar battery, where they were put 
to the severest trial that can befall new troops, being 
exposed for nearly twenty-four hours to an artillery 
fire, to which they could make no reply. In this ac- 
tion General Butler was severely wounded, and Major 
Philipe N. Barbour of the regular army, a native of 
Kentucky, was killed. Although there is nothing pic- 
turesque in this action of the Louisville Legion, it is 
important as showing a willingness to endure fire with-* 
out resistance, which is most praiseworthy in new sol- 

The next considerable action, in fact the only one of 
the Mexican War tnat was largely shared in by the 
Kentucky troops, was the battle of Buena Vista. In 
this action General Taylor had 4,759 men, of whom 
about 900, or nearly one fifth, were Kentuckians. His 
loss in killed and wounded amounted to 723 men, of 
whom 162 were Kentuckians. Thus the Kentucky 
troops lost considerably more, in proportion to their 
numbers, than did the army considered as a whole. 


The importance of the battle of Buena Vista as a 
test of the Kentucky troops warrants us in taking the 
space necessary to discuss the more important details 
of its history. Next after the battle of New Orleans, 
it was to Kentuckians a gauge of valor as a standard 
of what men could do under the press of superior num- 
bers through a long and desperate fight which often 
seemed hopeless to the stoutest hearts ; in this way it 
served in later times to affect the military conduct of 
Kentuckians in other fields of battle. 

The circumstances that led to the battle of Bueua 
Vista were peculiar. General Taylor found himself, 
after the capture of Monterey, with far too few troops 
to venture on the further prosecution of his campaign. 
He had parted with the greater portion of his regular 
battalions, which were taken by General Scott, the com- 
mander-in-chief, for his expedition designed to pene- 
trate to the City of Mexico by way of Vera Cruz. It 
was necessary for Taylor to hold Monterey and Saltillo, 
in order to give any protection whatever to his lines of 
communication. His force was deemed sufficient for 
*his duty of holding what had been gained by the cap- 
ture of these strongholds. By holding these places he 
could avert the danger of a sudden invasion of Texas 
while the blow to be delivered by Scott was preparing. 
It clearly was not expected that Taylor should either 
take the offensive, or that he would have to struggle 
with any large body of the enemy. This, as it turned 
out, was a rash miscalculation of the force and soldierly 
sense of the enemy. No sooner had Taylor's troops 
been depleted by the removal of his veteran regiments, 
than Santa Anna prepared to overwhelm this Federal 
army with a force of four or five times their numbers, 


before Scott's column could get into position to assail 
him. Leaving garrisons in Monterey and Saltillo, Tay- 
lor wisely resolved to gain some* ground to the south on 
which to find a suitable place to meet the attack which 
he had reason to expect. Once penned within his forts, 
he would soon be compelled to surrender. 

A few miles south of Saltillo, the only practicable 
way of approach to it from the southward is by passes 
through the Sierra Nevada Mountains ; the road lies 
in a valley two to three miles wide, in which stands the 
Hacienda of Buena Vista. At a place called Angostura, 
or the straightened pass, which is two or three miles 
yet further south, the space between the mountains is 
narrowed to a width of about a mile. Observing the 
advantages of this excellent position, Taylor pushed his 
force a few miles further on, where he could have a 
camping ground and a good water supply. He also 
shrewdly remarked, that if he should fall back to this 
chosen position at Buena Vista, the impetuosity of the 
Mexicans in following up his retreat would be more 
likely to lead them to attack him there than if they 
found him in that position. This acumen was charac- 
teristic of that admirable soldier. 

While at his more advanced position of Agua Neuva, 
diligent effort was made by Taylor to ascertain the 
place and strength of Santa Anna's army, but the Mexi- 
cans were possessed of an abundant and highly efficient 
cavalry, by which they so clouded their main force that 
nothing certain was known of the enemy's numbers or in- 
tentions. A reconnaissance of the celebrated Ben McCul- 
lough, afterwards a famous Confederate general, brought 
the news that the enemy were in great force, and not 
far away. On the evening of February 21, Taylor de- 


camped and made ready to take up his position in the 
defile of Angostura, on ground that had been carefully 
prepared by proper stutly for his action. 1 Still he did 
not march from his comfortable camp until McCul- 
lough himself confirmed the tale that his scouts had 
brought in ; only then Taylor marched for the position 
where he meant to have his fight. When this position 
was taken he sent a detachment of cavalry to recon- 
noitre for the enemy to the southward. They were 
scarcely out of camp on the morning of the 22d. when 
they ran upon the advance of Santa Anna's troops, 
already within a mile of the more advanced posts of 
the Federal camp. 

Santa Anna had taken up his line of march almost 
at the moment when McCullough left his post, expect- 
ing to make a night attack on Taylor's army in its 
position at Agua Neuva. Finding that Taylor had re- 
treated, he pushed on, driving before him the mule 
teams and the other laggards of the army. These flee- 
ing trains should have been a timely warning to Gen- 
eral Wool, who commanded the outlying posts of the 
little army ; but the stampede, if it was noticed, was not 
acted on, and so the army was put in the utmost risk 
of an attack before the necessary final preparations for 
the combat had been made. In place of pressing on in 
their attack, the Mexicans, finding the United States 
forces in a strong position, and not knowing how they 
had surprised their enemy, halted and gave them 
time to form. They, too, had not expected a battle at 
this point ; their fair presumption was that Taylor had 

1 See articles in Old and New for June and July, 1871, entitled 
"Recollections of Mexico and the Battle of Buena Vista," probably 
from the pen of the late General H. W. Benham. 


fallen back to Saltillo, where he had some fortifications 
and a considerable garrison. Moreover, the ground on 
which they found they had to give battle demanded a 
very peculiar disposition of troops, which required time 
to make. 

The slopes which extended from the flanks of the 
parallel mountains to the central part of the pass were 
cut up by numerous deep gulches, which were worn out 
by torrents in the short rainy season, but were now 
quite without water. This made a formation in line of 
battle very difficult. The Mexican troops were at the 
end of a long and fatiguing march, for, besides the thirty 
or more miles which they had made to the point where 
they expected to find Taylor, they had rapidly marched 
fifteen miles further before they beat up his quarters. 
They did well as soldiers to rest before they gave 
battle. 1 

The American troops were in excellent heart ; their 
only difficulty was that the great height of the position 
(6,000 feet) made them breathless under exertion. The 
troops of the enemy were carefully reconnoitred. There 
were actually about six thousand cavalry and about 
nineteen thousand of the other arms, but the reports of 
McCullough led to even higher estimates on the part 
of the Federal commanders. The greatest disadvantage 
to the United States troops, if it is worth while to count 
disadvantages where the numbers were so overwhelming 
against the defense, was in the cavalry, for that of Tay- 
lor was ill disciplined and generally mounted on mules. 
Although the mule is a soldierly beast he does not 

1 The following general account of the movements of the troops in 
this action is mainly taken from the articles by General Benham in 
Old and New, vide supra. 


make a good war horse. The disposition of the ground 
fortunately made the excellent Mexican cavalry of lit- 
tle effective value. Their superiority in artillery was 
of more importance. In guns they at least twice out- 
numbered the Americans, and they were of much heavier 
calibre and were well served. 

On the first day the only attack of importance came 
late in the afternoon, when a division of Mexicans en- 
deavored, by climbing the ridges on the left flank of the 
Americans, to get a flanking fire on their lines. As is 
well known, a down hill fire of infantry is worthless, 
while a fire up a slope is singularly effective ; so, after 
losing about five hundred men, killed and wounded, to 
half a dozen wounded of the Americans, this effort was 
abandoned. In the evening Santa Anna summoned 
Taylor to surrender ; his answer was, " I have the honor 
respectfully to decline your proposition." 

On the morning of the 23d a little effort was made 
to entrench one of the batteries, but the modern art of 
creating fortifications on a line of battle was then un- 
known, and these defenses were of little value. The 
time was spent in patient expectation of the storm that 
the morrow was to bring. 

The first event on the second day was an effort of 
the infantry columns against the centre of the American 
line. This charge was led by the gallant Santa Anna 
in person. The accurate fire of Washington's battery 
broke it at the distance of five hundred yards of the 
line without any aid of musketry. Santa Anna's horse 
was killed under him in this charge, and several hun- 
dred of his men put hors de combat. This signal re- 
pulse gave the battle a pause of some hours. 1 At this 

1 At this point in the action came the daring reconnaissance of a 


time Taylor came upon the ground, having been prepar- 
ing for the defense of Saltillo in case he met defeat in 
the pass of Angostura. 

The character of the ground was sucli as to make a 
continuous line of battle attack from the enemy impos- 
sible. The Mexican movements were reduced to a suc- 
cession of isolated charges. Short as was the distance 
from steep to steep across the valley, it was not possi- 
ble, and fortunately not necessary, for Taylor completely 
to occupy it with the scant force at his disposition. 
Fortunately the ragged ground admitted of another dis- 
position than a continuous line of battle, which could 
not have been maintained by Taylor's force for an hour. 
The several gulches and ridges served as natural lines 
of defense, behind which the concealed troops could be 
shifted from time to time to meet the successive attacks 
without being under the fire of the enemy. 

These successive charges at last succeeded in break- 
ing the centre of the American line, where the 2d In- 
diana gave way. The regiment was brave enough, but 
the colonel who was supporting O'Bryan's battery, mis- 
taking the order to " limber up " for an advance as 
a movement of retreat, ordered his men to fall back. 
This movement was at first made in a soldierly way, 
but the men being raw and undisciplined, their retreat 
soon passed into a rout, and they were not reformed 
during the action. 

In the afternoon a large force of Mexican cavalry 
succeeded in making their way around the flank of the 
American line, and threatened an attack on its rear. 
Tliis was met by a brilliant charge of the American 

solitary Mexican officer, which well shows the valor of their soldiers. 
Benham, p. 14. 



horse consisting of a portion of the first Kentucky cav- 
alry under Colonel Marshall and a small part of the Ar- 
kansas cavalry under Colonel Yell. After a short hand 
to hand combat, the Mexican cavalry, though by far the 
more numerous, were driven from the field with much 
loss. The American horse lost two of its leading offi- 
cers, Colonel Yell and Adjutant Vaughan, as well as a 
number of non-commissioned officers and men. As by 
far the larger part of the troops engaged in this combat 
were from the Kentucky cavalry, they may fairly claim 
the credit of its brilliant success. It is the more credit- 
able to them inasmuch as they were poorly armed and 
worse horsed, and had, moreover, the reputation of be- 
ing ill disciplined. The famous Confederate general, 
John H. Morgan, was a subaltern in this regiment. 

At noon the action was interrupted by a severe storm 
of rain and hail. After it had ceased Taylor made an 
effort to break, by a charge, the Mexican line, which 
seemed to him open to assault. Wood's and Burnett's 
Illinois regiments and McKee's Kentucky regiment, in 
all about fifteen hundred men, or nearly half his avail- 
able force, were sent forward. 

In their advance in open echelon order, this force 
came suddenly upon a deep ravine, from which an un- 
perceived force of about six thousand of the enemy 
emerged in a counter charge. The American line was 
rapidly broken and forced back. In this fierce action 
Colonel McKeeand Lieutenant-Colonel Clay were both 
killed. Their men made a gallant effort to bear them" 
off the field, but the rescuing parties were all slain. 
O'Bryan's pieces, which had advanced to support the 
charge, were all taken. At this critical moment the 
pieces under the command of Sherman and Bragg 


opened an admirable cross-fire on the advancing columns 
of the enemy, which were compelled to move in close 
order by the shape of the ground, and drove them back 
with great slaughter. The loss of Taylor's army in this 
disastrous movement was the most serious of the day. 
If it had been followed up with vigor the Mexicans 
could have overwhelmed the shattered remnants of the 
American army. But the enemy were in no shape to 
take further action. None of their movements were 
sufficiently successful to give them heart; their commis- 
sariat was bad, and their men in dire want of food and 
rest. Therefore, though they had won a substantial vic- 
tory if they could have made avail of their successes, 
they abandoned the field during the night, and hastened 
with the shattered remnants of their army to reenforce 
the troops that were gathering to resist the impending 
advance of Scott by way of Vera Cruz. Santa Anna 
judged correctly that Taylor's force was not likely to be 
of further trouble to him, and did the best that could 
have been done under the circumstances that surrounded 

With the exception of Colonel Marshall, none of the 
Kentuckians have been criticised. 1 Their loss was 
proportionately considerably greater than that of the 
whole command, and they remained in as good heart as 

1 Benham's criticism on Marshall's conduct is very severe. He 
states that Marshall refused to obey the orders of General Taylor, and 
kept himself out of the tight. The testimon}' of his commanding offi- 
cer as well as of other observers, who had a chance to know the facts, 
is, that Marshall did his duty with perfect willingness and great gal- 
lantry. General Benham had among his brother soldiers the reputa- 
tion of being a bitter' and careless critic. A careful examination of 
his charges has shown them to be entirely untrue. 


any part of Taylor's shattered army. They have an 
even share in the credit that this actio'n gave to the 
American volunteer. This battle proved that Amer- 
ican militia, properly commanded, could sustain a long 
series of attacks from overwhelming numbers without 
becoming demoralized by the many well delivered blows, 
each of which struck their lines. Every credit should, 
however, be given to the admirable regular artillery of 
the army, the batteries of Bragg, O'Bryan, Washington, 
and Sherman, which repeatedly served to turn the tide 
of defeat when it seemed to be fatally strong. 

The only other Kentucky troops that were engaged 
in any severe action during the Mexican War was the 
independent company of Captain Williams, in later 
days a general in the Confederate army, and now a sen- 
ator from Kentucky. This company was with Scott's 
army, and took a very meritorious part in the actions of 
his campaign. With its valiant leader it was engaged 
in the assault of Cerro Gordo. Under the general com- 
mand of Colonel Haskell it there took part in the most 
brilliant charge of the war. Nothing could have been 
better than its behavior. Some other regiments of Ken- 
tucky troops were raised for this war, but its unex- 
pected termination deprived them of a chance to show 
their qualities. 

The interest of the Kentucky people in the Mexican 
War was intense. The affection for the memory of 
its dead is marked by a peculiar circumstance. Some 
time before the Commonwealth had instituted a State 
burial place on the hills above the capitol at Frank- 
fort, and honored some of its dead heroes with inter- 
ment there. This tribute was extended to the dead of 
the Mexican War. Their remains were brought fijom 


the distant battle-fields and committed to this garner of 
heroic dust. Since that day it has been the custom of 
the State to beg from the kindred of those who have 
died in the service of their country the privilege of giv- 
ing this distinction to their bodies. Thus in the pro- 
cess of time there have been gathered into this cemetery 
the remains of a multitude of distinguished men who 
have served the State, not only on battle-fields but in 
every walk of life in which men could gain honorable 

The sympathy with the heroic aspects of the Mex- 
ican War did not in the least change the political con- 
ditions of the Commonwealth. In August, 1847, the 
elections for the State legislature resulted in the choice 
of twenty-seven Whigs to eleven Democrats for the sen- 
ate, and of fifty-nine Whigs to forty-one Democrats in 
the house. In the next year General Taylor, the Whig 
candidate for the Presidency, had a majority of 17,524. 
Thus even the excitement of a popular war was not 
sufficient to diminish the strength of the conservative 
party. It should be noticed that the Mexican War 
first arrayed the national parties on the question of 
slavery. The strong Whig attitude of Kentucky is a 
fair index of the public mind at this time in regard to 
the extension of the slave power. 

After the close of the Mexican War the attention of 
the people was again strongly directed to their State 
constitution. This instrument was, by its own condi- 
tions, so arranged as to make amendment difficult to 
accomplish. After a number of efforts to secure a suf- 
ficient vote of the people to bring the constitutional 
convention together in August, 1848, 101,828, out of 
141,620 suffrages in the State, were cast for a conven- 


tion. There were two principal features in the con- 
stitution of 1799 which were unsatisfactory to the peo- 
ple. In the first placo, there was a general objection 
to the principle of the appointment of the judiciary by 
the governor. Under the constitution of 1799 all the 
judges, the clerks of the courts, justices of the peace, 
all attorneys for the Commonwealth, were appointed by 
the governor or by the courts. It seems impossible to 
resist the conviction that this system of appointing the 
judiciary machinery is, on the whole, the best that can 
be contrived, yet it is perfectly clear that it does not 
recommend itself to the mass of American citizens. 
One by one the States have fallen away from it, until 
at present there are but two that retain this feature 
which they inherited from their British ancestors. The 
complaints against it are that it separates the people too 
much from a control of that part of the administration 
with which they have the most to do ; that it gives the 
governor, in times of political excitement, too much 
power to express his views in the appointment of judges 
and other officers. Something of this was certainly seen 
in the old and new court controversy, and on other oc- 
casions. We may doubt the wisdom or the conserva- 
tism of this step, but it should be remembered that Ken- 
tucky was not the first to take it. Their action came 
after it had been adopted in the greater part of the ex- 
isting States. 

In an agricultural community, in the ordinary con- 
dition of State affairs, the system of an elective judi- 
ciary works moderately well. The result in Kentucky 
has been more felt in the appellate court than in the 
lower halls of the judiciary. This highest court has 
lost in part its reputation as a law-giving body. T^ie 


ablest jurists in the Commonwealth have felt unwilling 
to take the scant pay and onerous duties of this position. 
When this bench has been so fortunate as to secure able 
men under the new system, they have generally been 
unwilling to retain their offices for any length of time, 
preferring the chances of active practice of their profes- 
sion to the clamor and difficulties of repeated elections. 
The circuit judges have, on the whole, been as satisfac- 
tory as under the old system. 

Another evil of considerable moment was the power 
of the legislature to raise money on the credit of the 
State. This had led to the imposition of a consider- 
able burden upon the Commonwealth. The funded 
debt amounted, in 1849, to four and a half millions of 
dollars. The greater part of this had been incurred in 
the various public improvements made in the specula- 
tive years of the preceding decade. The people desired 
to see this debt extinguished, and to have the constitu- 
tion so arranged that it would not be possible to repeat 
the process of giving drafts on the future to meet tem- 
porary needs. From the beginning of their history, be 
it said, the people of Kentucky have been slow to con- 
tract and quick to pay their debts. 

These two objects were accomplished by the amend- 
ments to the constitution. The whole body of the ju- 
diciary was made elective by the people, and the State 
was practically secured against debt by some very pe- 
culiar features in its constitution, the like of which 
probably do not exist in any other State. This curious 
protection against debt has proved of great value to 
the best interests of the Commonwealth. Moreover, 
the provisions for changing the constitution, before dif- 
ficult, were now made so complicated that it has been 


found practically impossible to secure any further changes 
of that instrument, despite the considerable need that 
now exists for substantial changes. The main aims of 
the defenses that are about the constitution are com- 
mendable. Experience in the old and new court con- 
troversy hud shown that party conflict might run very 
high in the State, and for a moment an overwhelming 
majority might be enabled to effect hasty changes in the 
organic law. By shaping this law in such a way that 
it would be necessary for the people to continue in one 
mind about the necessity of a change for a decade or 
more, they avoided the risk of hasty action. By requir- 
ing a two thirds vote of all those holding suffrage in the 
Commonwealth to call the revising convention into ex- 
istence, they secured the instrument from the meddling 
of a less considerable majority. The result is, as the 
reader will perceive, that this constitution is one of the 
most archaic in the world. It contains untouched, and 
may retain for a generation to come, extensive provi- 
sions for the maintenance of slavery. Along with these 
evils, arising from excessive caution, there have been 
very great advantages arising from the security against 
the accumulation of debt. The considerable burden 
which existed at the time the constitution was amended 
has been gradually cleared away, until at present there 
is no actual State debt. 

With the change in the constitution the State en- 
tered on a short decade of prosperity. From 1848 to 
1857 the State saw its richest, and on the whole its 
most quiet, years. The State debt was slowly disap- 
pearing; the people had apparently abandoned the old 
frenzy for speculation, nnd were given to conservatism 
in their business operations. 


With all these elements of natural prosperity there 
was a restless humor in the matter of slavery, a forebod- 
ing sense that there was trouble to come on that ques- 
tion. From 1850 to 1860 the anti-slavery party became 
rapidly extended in Kentucky. In 1851 the party fa- 
voring the abolition of slavery made their first political 
campaign in the State. Their candidate for governor 
had a vote of 3,621, being somewhat more than three 
per cent, of the whole vote of the State. This vote 
by no means represents the numbers of the anti-slavery 
party at this time in the State. It was a well-known 
fact that the Whig party was, as a whole, inclined to 
some action that would limit the soil of slavery, and 
bring about emancipation along with the deportation of 
the blacks. This belief, along with the growing ex- 
citement on the slavery question, gradually reduced the 
majority of the Whig party, and sent many of its natural 
supporters into the ranks of the Democrats. By a grad- 
ual change of sentiments the Democratic, once the rad- 
ical party of the State, became the advocate of things 
as they were, opposing the notion of change in the sys- 
tem oT: Southern society. This change first marks itself 
distinctly in the elections of 1851, that which gave Cas- 
sius M. Clay, the abolition candidate for governor, his 
vote above referred to. In this election Lazarus W. 
Powell, the Democratic candidate, had a plurality of 
about one thousand votes, a portion of the more ad- 
vanced Whigs having deserted Archibald Dixon, their 
nominee, for the abolition candidate, while another frag- 
ment of the party was inclined to support slavery, hav- 
ing voted with the Democrats. The Whigs were now 
in that attitude of indecision on the slavery question 
which eventually made an end of their party. 


Cassius M. Clay was the leader of the abolition 
movement ; for a number of years he had been the 
most prominent member of that party in the Common- 
wealth. This gentleman was long and almost alone 
the advanced guard of abolitionism in the State, and 
did more than all others to win from the Kentuckians 
a respect for that valorous political faith. Of good 
birth, excellent education, and endowed with the daunt- 
less aggressive courage which everywhere captivates 
men, he defied the pro-slavery extremists, at the same 
time so winning their admiration that he never incurred 
their hatred. 

In 1845 Mr. Clay established an anti-slavery paper 
in Lexington. A meeting of citizens ordered him to 
discontinue its publication. At a time when he was 
prostrated by a severe illness a number of citizens of 
Lexington packed the contents of his printing-office 
and sent it to Cincinnati. Shortly afterwards he re- 
turned with it and quietly resumed the publication of 
his paper. 1 He then went to the Mexican War, where 
he was captured and was long a prisoner. On his re- 
turn his fellow-citizens presented him with a sword. 
His intrepidity and eloquence gained him the respect 
of his antagonists, and did much to take away the con- 
tempt with which his party was first regarded by the 
pro-slavery people. 

All through the decade from 1850 to 1860 the ex- 
citement concerning slavery steadfastly increased. It 
is impossible to catalogue the small conflicts that arose 
from the stampeding of negroes and the disturbances 
at political meetings that gave fuel to the fire. The 
progress of the debate served to divide the pro-slavery 
1 See Collins, i. 51. >, 


from the anti-slavery parties with constantly increasing 
distinction. Still, in 1852, the vote for Scott showed 
that the Whig candidate for the Presidency was the 
choice of Kentucky by a vote of 57,068 to 53,806 for 

The singular outbreak of anti-Catholic and foreign 
feeling which marked American politics in 1853 to 
1856 was very violent in Kentucky. This conflict was 
the more curious from the fact that Kentucky had 
hardly any foreign population, and the native Catholics 
were excellent and respected citizens. The old parties 
were much changed by this revolution, still the greater 
part of the Whig party went with the Know Nothings, 
and the Democrats generally sided with the party that 
opposed them. For a while this curious excitement, 
which in the hereafter will puzzle the student of politics 
even more than it does those of our own day, completely 
overwhelmed the interest in the slavery question. In 
the election of 1855 the Know Nothing candidate for 
governor received 4,400 majority over his competitor. 
This election led to a very disgraceful riot in Louisville, 
in which the roughs of the native American party at- 
tacked the Catholic people. This riot led to the loss of 
twenty-two lives, and to the destruction of a large 
amount of property. This disgraceful affair brought the 
Know Nothing party into much discredit, still the Whig 
element was so strong that in the presidential election 
for 1856 the Democratic ticket, though its candidate for 
Vice-President was John C. Breckin ridge, the most pop- 
ular citizen of Kentucky, only received a majority of 
6,118 over Millard Fillmore, the American party candi- 
date; the vote standing, Buchanan and Breckinridge, 
69,509, Fillmore and Donelson, 63,391. 


The speculative era from 1854 to 1857, which was 
general throughout the United States, had led to a con- 
siderable but hardly reprehensible enlargement of the 
Kentucky banking system. When the crisis of 1857 
came upon the country, the circulation of these banks 
was very much extended, and several newly chartered 
institutions went to the ground, but the old, well estab- 
lished banking houses of the Commonwealth, on which 
the business of the community depended for support, 
weathered the storm. In a few months they called in 
one half of their paper, and the remainder of their notes 
became the standard for the circulation of the Ohio 
Valley. They maintained specie payments through the 
whole of this severe financial, storm. The good credit 
thus secured by these banks was of great profit to them. 
It made their notes so popular that in 1859 their cir- 
culation amounted to over $14,000,000, being an in- 
crease of five millions of dollars within a year. 

Thus we see that this population had at last acquired 
that portion of the financial art which more than any 
other measures the sagacity and fidelity of a people in 
business affairs. When we remember that these bank- 
ing establishments were, in the main, in the control of 
men bred on the soil who were separated from the busi- 
ness traditions of the world, who had developed their 
methods out of their own experience, it gives Kentucky 
merchants a good claim for eminent capacity in this dif- 
ficult task of dealing with the monetary problems of 
society. This claim was yet further established, as we 
shall afterwards see, by the management of these banks 
in the serious difficulties that beset them at the outset 
of the Civil War. 

As we must shortly pass to the consideration of ^he 


events that immediately preceded the Civil War which 
made a new era in Kentucky history, it will be well to 
make a brief survey of the political and social coiidi- 
tious of the Commonwealth in the decade of 1850-60. 
So far the life of Kentucky had been an indigenous 
growth, a development from its own conditions sin^u- 
larly uninfluenced by any external forces. With only 
the germs of a society sown on this ground, there had 
sprung into existence a powerful Commonwealth, that 
now, at the end of eighty years of time, felt strong 
enough to stand alone in the struggles that were soon to 
rage about her. No other State in the Mississippi Val- 
ley hardly any of the original Southern States had 
pursued its course with so little influence from exter- 
nal conditions. There had been relatively little con- 
tributions of population from other States, except from 
Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, 
and but a small immigration from European countries 
since 1800. This made an indigenous development not 
only possible, but necessary. 

From 1774 to 1860, eighty-five years had elapsed. 
This period measures the whole course of Kentucky 
history, from the first settlement at Harrodsburg to the 
beginning of the great tragedy of the Civil War. As 
before recounted, the original settlement and the subse- 
quent increase of the Kentucky population were almost 
entirely drawn from the Virginia, North Carolina, and 
Maryland colonies ; at least ninety-five per cent, of the 
population was from these districts. Probably more 
than half of this blood was of Scotch and North Eng- 
lish extraction, practically the whole of it was of British 
stock. The larger part of it was from the frontier 
region of Virginia, where the people had never had 
much to do with slavery. 


The total number of these white settlers who entered 
Kentucky in the first eighty-five years cannot be deter- 
mined with any approach to accuracy, but from a care- 
ful consideration of the imperfect statistics that are 
available, it seems reasonable to estimate the whole 
number of white immigrants at not more than one hun- 
dred and twenty thousand (it was probably somewhat 
less), while the slave population that was brought into 
the State probably did not amount to one third this 
number. In 1860 the white population amounted to 
919,484, and the slave population to 225,483. The 
free black population to 10,684. Of the white popula- 
tion at this census 59,799 were born beyond the limits 
of the United States. This element of foreign folk was 
in the main a very recent addition to the State ; it was 
mainly due to the sudden development of manufactur- 
ing interests along the Ohio border, principally in the 
towns of Louisville, Covington, and Newport, and to 
certain new settlements of agriculturist Germans in the 
counties forming the northern border of the State. 1 
The foreign born people had not yet become to any 
degree mingled with the native people either in the 
industries or in blood. 

Before we can estimate the fecundity of this popula- 
tion we must note the fact that from 1820 or thereabouts 
down to 1860 and later, there was a very great tide of 
emigration from Kentucky to the States that were 
settled in the other portions of the Mississippi Valley. 

1 The region immediately along the Ohio River seems to have an 
especial attraction for German settlers. They began to be an element 
of some importance in the population of this region about 1850. The 
attractions of this region above other parts of the State seem to have 
been in the facts that the negroes were few in number, and the land 
cheap and suitable for the growth of the grape. I 


The southern parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois re- 
ceived a large part of their blood from Kentucky. Mis* 
souri was so far a Kentucky settlement that it may 
be claimed as a child of the Commonwealth. Tennes- 
see, Arkansas, Mississippi, arid Texas also received a 
large share of the Kentucky emigrants. The imperfect 
nature of the earlier statistics of the United States cen- 
sus makes it impossible to determine with any accuracy 
the number of persons of Kentucky blood who were in 
1860 resident in other States, but the data given in the 
Appendix make it tolerably clear that the total contri- 
bution of Kentucky to the white population of the other 
States amounted in 1860 to at least one million souls. 
The increase in the black population was probably 
rather less than that of the white, but there is no data 
for its computation. 

If this estimate is correct the fecundity of the Ken- 
tucky population in the first eighty years of its life 
exceeds that which is recorded for any other region in 
the world. There are several reasons which may ac- 
count for this rapid multiplication of this people. In 
the first place the original settlers of Kentucky were of 
vigorous constitution ; they were not brought upon the 
soil by any solicitations whatever, nor were they forced 
into immigration by the need of subsistence. Access 
to the country was difficult, and for some decades the 
region was exposed to dangers from which all weak- 
bodied men would shrink. The employment of the 
early population was principally in agriculture, upon a 
soil that gave very free returns. There was plenty of 
unoccupied land for the rising generations, so there were 
no considerations of a prudential nature to restrain the 
increase of population. For a long time children were 


a source of advantage to the land-tiller, and apart from 
pecuniary gain there was a curious patriarchal pride in a 
plenteous offspring. The climate proved exceedingly 
healthy. There were no low grade malarial fevers to 
enfeeble the body, and the principal disease of the early 
days, a high grade bilious fever, though rather deadly, 
did not impoverish the life as the malarial troubles of 
other regions in the Mississippi Valley have done. The 
syphilitic poison does not seem to have been common 
among the people, and its attendant, consumption, was 
less prevalent than in most other countries. Thus the 
first population of Kentucky was from the purest spring 
that ever fertilized a country, and there was little to 
defile its waters. The principal evils that beset the pop- 
ulation were two : first, the excessive use of tobacco 
and alcohol, which doubtless did something to lower the 
vitality of the population ; second, the extremely defec- 
tive system of education, which left the people essen- 
tially without the means of getting a training propor- 
tionate to their natural abilities. 

The institution of slavery tended to keep the indus- 
trial and the related social development confined within 
narrow lines. At the beginning of the century the 
State had an industrial spirit that was fit to compare 
with that of New England and the other northern free 
States. Many of the arts that were exercised by the 
whites took on a rapid advance, but the negro is not 
by nature a good general citizen, nor could he be ex- 
pected to develop his capacities in the state of slavery. 
Gradually manual labor, except in agriculture, became 
in a way discreditable and distasteful to the mastering 
race. The mechanical industries, except those of the 
simpler domestic sort, were generally abandoned even 


before northern and eastern competition came in, or 
were transferred to the northern border of the State, 
where they were carried on by foreign white labor, and 
were no important part of the life of the State. Grad- 
ually the occupation of men became more and more 
limited to agriculture. The^ census returns show a con- 
siderable list of factories, but they were principally of 
the domestic sort, the manufacture of whiskey, of home- 
spun cloth, tobacco, etc., employing relatively little cap- 
ital, and not giving much diversity of employment to 
the whites. This want of manufacturing life was by no 
means an unmitigated evil, for it kept the people in 
more wholesome occupation ; but it served to restrain 
the growth of wealth, on which the progress of educa- 
tion and the development of capital much depends. 

The development of slavery was also marked by the 
progressive separation of society into a richer and a 
poorer class, though, from the failure of the slave ele- 
ment to increase with the rapidity normal in the more 
Southern States, the effect was not as great as in these 
custricts. The middle class of farmers in Kentucky, 
those who though fairly well to do were not slave-own- 
ers, always remained a very strong, in fact a con- 
trolling, element in the Kentucky population. Still, 
men who were hand-laborers even on their own soil al- 
ways felt that they occupied another caste than those 
who owned slaves. Short of a great difference of race, 
there is no basis of social distinction that man has in- 
vented which is so trenchant as that which separates 
the slave-owner from the non slave-owner. However 
uniform the laws, social prejudices are sure to be en- 
gendered by such a difference in estate. The greater 
parfc of the tide of strong life that went from Kentucky 


to other States in the four decades that preceded the 
Civil War was from this yeoman class, the reddest, if 
not the bluest, blood of the State. 

Despite these hindrances to social development, the 
commercial advance of Kentucky in the first eighty 
years of her history was marvelously great, especially 
as it was accomplished practically without thd aid of 
any foreign capital whatever. This absence of immi- 
grant capital in Kentucky in the first sixty or eighty 
years of its history is something that well deserves to 
be considered in measuring the development of the 
State. Until the close of the Civil War there was 
scarcely an improvement in the Commonwealth that was 
not the result of the capital won by the people. The 
extracts from the United States census, given in the 
Appendix, show some of the more important features 
of this growth. An area of at least eighteen thousand 
square miles had been cleared of its forests and brought 
under plough tillage ; every portion of the more fertile 
districts had been penetrated by turnpike roads, by rail- 
ways, or made approachable by artificial navigation in 
the rivers. In connection with this it should be remem- 
bered that the expenditure of labor required to bring an 
acre of Kentucky land under tillage is many times as 
great as that required to subjugate prairie land. The 
mere felling of the forest and grubbing of the roots re- 
quire at least twenty days' labor to the acre of ground. 

It requires a vivid imagination, or some personal ex- 
perience, to conceive of the enormous amount of phys- 
ical labor involved in the bringing of forest land into a 
shape for the use of civilized man. In all the Northern 
States the work of subjugation and construction, which 
is necessary on new ground, was in good part acco^n- 


plished by the aid of capital that was brought into the 
country in its settlement. The first settlers in the North- 
west generally brought a considerable amount of wealth 
with them, and they were followed quickly by capital- 
ists glad to take advantage of the new opportunities that 
are offered for the investment of money in a new State. 
This hastened the new States past the frontier, or pio- 
neer, condition with extreme rapidity. None of these 
outside aids were offered to Kentucky. The first set- 
tlers had little capital beyond the price of their lands 
and the few household effects that could be packed on 
horses or wagoned over the mountains. All their wealth 
they had to win from the soil and from their little fac- 

Two circumstances greatly helped this people to es- 
tablish the foundation of their wealth. The settlements 
at the mouth of the Mississippi afforded, in a very early 
day, a considerable market for certain products of the 
soil, especially for tobacco. This plant, which had given 
a basis for the early commerce of Virginia, helped in 
turn the development of Kentucky. As early as 1790 
there was a considerable shipment of this article. Gen- 
eral Wilkinson, whose last shipments were in 1790, re- 
ceived, as was found in his court-martial, as much as 
$80,000 for a small part of his tobacco alone from the 
Spanish agents, and he was only the pioneer in this 
business, which afterwards grew to be a great commerce 
even before the cession of the Louisiana Territory to 
the United States. 

This source of traffic was rapidly supplemented by 
the use of Kentucky as a basis from which the settle- 
ment and supply of the other Western States went on. 


First the Virginian government, and afterwards, on a 
far larger scale, the United States government, were 
purchasers of the products of this region to be used in 
their campaigns. When, after the War of 1812, the 
valley of the Mississippi began rapidly to be settled, 
Kentucky was the natural depot whence came for a time 
not only the greater part of the settlers, but a large part 
of the materials, necessary for the starting of new set- 
tlements. This stimulus to trade made it easy to make 
money from agriculture, especially when that agricul- 
ture rested on a soil of admirable fertility and fair en- 
durance as to tillage. Unfortunately it led to the rapid 
wasting of the soil, especially in the tobacco husbandry. 
This crop is a very rapid exhauster of the fields where 
it is cultivated, and with a husbandry made reckless by 
large profits and cheap land, a considerable part of the 
soil was impoverished and left in a deplorable condition. 
Fortunately the Kentucky soils are easily restored to 
fertility by fallow and skillful tillage ; excepting some 
hundred thousand acres where the earth was actually 
washed away, it is already renewed or easily recovera- 
ble to its primitive fertility. 

In 1860 Kentuckians had already won nearly one half 
of the State's surface to the plough. The remainder was 
still in forests. At no time had there been any pressure 
for means of subsistence upon the people. The soils of 
the first quality were now actively under tillage or in 
grass. Nearly one third of the State was still covered 
with original forests, rich in the best timbers, and the 
mineral wealth of the State was essentially untouched. 
The preliminary geological survey of Dr. David Dale 
Owen had shown, in its four volumes of reports, that 


this country was extraordinarily rich in coal beds and 
iron ore deposits, but the State in the main drew its sup- 
ply of timber, coal, and iron from beyond its borders. 
All its principal industries were agricultural, and its ex- 
ports were raw products and men, exports, as has 
been well remarked, that naturally go out together. 

Its growth of population was now, in the ninth dec- 
ade of its existence, relatively slow, not that the people 
were less fecund than of old, but the trifling incoming 
of settlers along its northern borders did not in any de- 
gree replace the constant westward setting tide of emi- 
gration. Slavery no longer profitable, already in fact 
on its wane, condemned by its more intelligent people 
as a source of serious evils, still served to deter immi- 
gration and to stimulate the exodus of the yeoman 

Unhappy as the Civil War was in its immediate effects, 
it undoubtedly made an end of conditions that were 
sapping the strength of the Commonwealth. Another 
twenty years of wrangle over the slavery question, and 
of consequent emigration of the yeoman class, would 
have brought about a total arrest of its development 
and still further reduction of its manly strength. It 
had to pay heavily for the change of conditions, but 
dear as was the price, the new life was absolutely neces- 
sary to the best future of its people. The State was, 
by its conditions, unfit to profit by the presence of slav- 
ery. That institution, no longer of economic value, was 
dying apace, still its presence in name was enough to 
keep down growth. Kentucky was about to fall be- 
tween the two forms of life, when the war, and the de- 
struction of slavery which it entailed, opened a new 
future to its people. Although the separation from its 


old conditions was only secured by a tremendous con- 
flict that gave its whole manly strength to the work of 
war, and sent the best life of a generation to the grave, 
it was a less evil than the decay that now was bear- 
ing her down. 



FOR ten years before the actual outbreak of the Civil 
War the possibility of its coming was ever in the minds 
of the people. Their long training in the most practi- 
cal politics, that which comes with the making of a 
Commonwealth, had served to bring out their sense of 
political dangers, to give them a good degree of fore- 
sight in matters that concern the State. There was a 
general desire to do something with slavery, but an 
equally general sense of the enormous difficulties of the 
problem. Nothing was done, but it is something to 
have a whole people thinking of a problem. 

In 1850 the State Emancipation Convention at Frank- 
fort demanded that the new constitution should give the 
legislature complete power to perfect a system of grad- 
ual emancipation of slaves. In the same year the legis- 
lature provided for the placing of a block of Kentucky 
marble in the Washington monument, bearing the in- 
scription that " Under the auspices of Heaven and the 
precepts of Washington Kentucky will be the last to 
give up the Union." These two selected incidents will 
serve to mark the beginning of the conflict and the mo- 
tives of the people in reference to it. 

The elections of 1859, following on the great intensi- 
fication of the debate between the abolitionists and the 
pro-slavery party, gave the State to the Democrats by 


a majority of 8,904. It should not, however, be con- 
cluded that this by any means represented a majority 
for the " Southern Rights " party. A large, perhaps 
even the greater part of the Democrats represented 
men who were very strongly opposed to the idea of 
separation, but were desirous of resisting, by all con- 
stitutional ways, the motives of those who desired to 
abolish slavery by any action coming from beyond the 
State. They were State rights people, and often enough 
hostile to slavery in their sober judgment ; but as a 
class they were not willing to go to the point of sepa- 
rating from the Union to advance their State rights 

In a certain sense the Democratic party was now the 
conservative party of the Commonwealth. It was the 
party that desired to maintain the existing state of in- 
stitutions against a faction that was decidedly, though 
in a conservative way, revolutionary in its tendencies, 
in that it was willing to take some active measures con- 
cerning slavery. We may also notice that in this elec- 
tion of 1859 the same number of congressmen were 
chosen by each party. This indicates an equal division 
in the politics of the Commonwealth that deserves espe- 
cial notice. The Democratic majority came mainly 
from the Blue Grass or wealthier districts of Kentucky ; 
the counties on the poorer soil, where the slave interest 
was small or non-existing, retained their resolutely hos- 
tile attitude to the leadership of the slave power. This, 
the first definite decision on the slavery question, shows 
in a remarkable way an influence of the soil on politics. 
The dwellers on the limestone formations, where the 
soil was rich, gave heavy pro-slavery majorities, while 
those living on the poorer sandstone soils were gen- 


erally anti-slavery ill their position. This geological 
distribution of politics was by no means peculiar to 
Kentucky : it was common throughout the South. 

In the selection of Beriah Magoffin for governor, the 
Democratic party gave the executive office of the State 
into the hands of a man who, though an honorable citi- 
zen and one desirous of doing his whole duty, was not 
by nature or training well fitted to manage a govern- 
ment in the grave trouble that was coming upon it. 
Neither in politics, nor in any other line of activity, 
had he received the education which his difficult posi- 
tion required. Under ordinary circumstances he would 
have made a good, faithful, and efficient governor, but 
in the terrible trials that were in store for him he broke 
down altogether. 

This election gave the Democratic party a large ma- 
jority in both houses of the legislature. The assembly 
elected John C. Breckinridge, then Vice-President of 
the United States, as senator, by a vote of eighty-one to 
fifty-two for the opposition candidate. This is a fair 
measure of their majority. It will thus be seen that the 
Democratic or Southern Rights party had the fortune 
of the State given in their hands by the last election 
preceding the outbreak of the Civil War. Men of their 
choice had the future destinies of the State in their 
keeping. They had all the advantage of position in 
the struggle that was to come. There can be no doubt 
that already the greater part of the leaders of that 
party were latently inclined to secession in the event of 
Lincoln's election, though their motives only became 
gradually known to the people, or even to themselves. 
Their designs became manifest, not by any proclama- 
tion of their views, for it seems certain that as yet there 


was no distinct design of separation, but from the gen- 
eral course of their speech and action. But the fact 
that their cause was not approved by the people was 
at once plainly shown. 

In the August election of 1860, the fact that the peo- 
ple were drifting away from the leaders who held the 
State government was marked by the election of the 
Union candidate for clerk of the appellate court by a 
plurality of about twenty -four thousand over the Breck- 
inridge or secession candidate. The vote stood : Leslie 
Combs, Unconditional Union, 68,165 ; Clinton McCarty, 
Breckin ridge Democrat, 44,942 ; and R. R. Boiling, 
Union Democrat, 10,971, making the anti-Breckin- 
ridge vote nearly two to one that which his party polled. 1 
In the presidential election of the following November, 
Bell and Everett (Compromise Union) received 66,016; 
Breckinridge and Lane, 52,836 ; Douglas and Johnson, 
24,644 ; Lincoln and Hamlin, 1,366. Counting the votes 
opposed to Breckinridge as for the Union, we have a 
majority of 39,184 against secession in a total vote of 
145,862. 2 Comparing this vote with that of the elec- 
tions of the preceding year, when Magoffin, the Dem- 
ocratic candidate for governor, had a majority of 8,9(f4, 
we see clearly how rapidly the people of Kentucky 
were arraying themselves against secession as the na- 
ture of that project began to be unfolded. It would, 
however, not be proper to represent this feeling of 
the conservative party as an unqualified approval of 
the project of remaining in the Union come what 
would. The state of mind of the masses of the people 
at this time is hard to make clear to those who, by 
geographical position, were so fortunate as to have their 
i See Collins, i. 84. 2 Collins, i. 84. , 


minds carried into a perfectly defiuite position in this 
difficult question of national politics. The citizen of 
Massachusetts or the citizen of South Carolina, sur- 
rounded by institutions and brought up in associations 
which entirely committed him to a course of action that 
was unquestionably the will of his people, had only to 
go with the tide that bore him smoothly along. What- 
ever the issue might be, unity within his sphere of action 
was easily attained. Not so with the citizen of Ken- 
tucky ; the Commonwealth was pledged by a generation 
of conservatism to her line of conduct set forth in the 
inscription she had placed in the monument to Wash- 
ington. 1 Her people, almost without exception, shrank 
from any dissolution of the Union with a real horror. 
At the same time, if the Union should go utterly to 
pieces, if this fine fleet of sister ships was to be cast 
away in the great storm that was rising, what should 
she do to save her own staunch ship from the general 
peril ? The ties of blood and of institutions bound the 
Commonwealth with the Southern States, every one of 
which was drifting away from the Union. The pledge 
of political faith tied her to the fragment of the Union 
with which she had little social sympathy, and in which 
she could not expect much comfort. Surely never was 
a people so unhappily placed. 

All the days and nights for the dismal year that pre- 
ceded the war the harrowing question of their action 
was upon men's minds ; by every fireside and in endless 
meetings the conflict of opposed minds went on. Men, 
women, and children thought and talked of nothing 
else. The whole life of the citizens went into the mat- 
ter as never before among any people. In all the other 
i Vide supra, p. 231. 


stages of our race conflicts there has been a lower por- 
tion of the populace which gave little thought to polit- 
ical questions. They have acted, when the time came, 
in the way their leaders led them ; but in 1860 no white 
man's cabin in Kentucky was so remote in the wilder- 
ness that grave care did not sit by its fireside during all 
this year. 

The intellectual and political leadership of the Com- 
monwealth was mainly in the hands of men who, though 
often unconsciously, were steadily acting in a way to 
lead the people toward secession. Still there was in the 
crisis a host of strong, clear-headed men whose voices 
were heard in every gathering, who urged that political 
faith could not be abandoned for sympathies, and that 
the State must stand by her deliberate pledges to the 
Union. Gradually, out of the endless praying and de- 
bating, there came a curious state of mind, which soon 
took shape in action. 

This general opinion of Kentuckians was that the war 
was an unnatural strife which would necessarily result 
in the certain, though, as they hoped, temporary disrup- 
tion of the Union they all loved so well. They did not 
believe that the States had a moral right to secede ; on 
the other hand, they did not believe that the Federal 
government had either the constitutional right or the 
power and energy to coerce them back into the Union. 
The undoubted preference of the Kentucky people was 
that the Southern States should be allowed to go in 
peace. She herself would stay where her pledges kept 
her, and, after a sorrowful experience, she believed that 
her erring sisters would sue for readmission to the 
Union. If the Federal government resolved to take 
what seemed to these States the unconstitutional 


cess of arms to compel them to return into the Union, 
Kentucky would have no part in the process. She 
would stand alone, while North and South both left the 
paths of duty under the constitution, bidding them to 
keep their battles away from her soil. The position 
was a logical one, and has a certain grandeur in its con- 
ception. The people clearly believed that both sides 
had left the paths of the constitution, that the war was 
essentially unconstitutional, and that in time they would 
have to return to their old positions. They thought that 
Kentucky, by well-timed mediation, could soon persuade 
the warring States to peace. 

In the wild talk of the time this- neutrality project of 
the Kentucky people was denounced as cowardly. There 
are States in the world which it would be proper to de- 
fend from this accusation. With Kentucky this atti- 
tude was a sorrowful and noble, though it must be con- 
fessed in the after light of events a somewhat Quixotic, 
position. But in 1860 and the beginning of 1861, it 
seemed to be a very rational standing ground. If war 
came into Kentucky it would be internecine and frat- 
ricidal. The people did not so much fear war for the 
dangers and losses it would bring, but they did look 
with terror on the fight between friends and brothers. 
They were justified in their own minds, and will be 
justified in the opinions of reasonable people, in doing 
anything that honorable men could do that promised to 
avert this evil. 

At this time the State was rich in men and means of 
war. With fifty thousand soldiers of its own and forty 
thousand square miles of territory that lay between 
North and South, and with a willingness to take every 
means of conciliation to make an end of the conflict, 


they could soon hope to still the sea of troubles. Look- 
ing at it from half a lifetime of distance, it appears as 
a very remarkable resolution for a people to make, 
though it will be seen to be in many ways the logical 
result of the history of the people. The Kentuckians 
were, from the beginning of their history, in many ways 
a singularly separate State. The ancestors of the peo- 
ple won their right to life and property by their own 
hands. For two generations they stood almost entirely 
apart in their life and their politics, keeping always a 
keen interest in American affairs, but not wedded by 
interests very closely to the American system of States. 

Gradually Clay, Crittenden, and other great leaders, 
brought them to a sense of pride in, and devotion to, the 
Union. But the sense of their place as Kentuckians 
was always stronger than their sense of the Federal re- 
lation. It would require a separate chapter to explain 
the peculiar Southern sense of State rights and to ac- 
count for its development. We have, in a previous 
chapter, looked at the outlines of this history; as we 
are now to deal with a problem in which this -motive is 
again to be in the lead in the State life, we should bring 
it once more before us, as clearly as it can be done 
in a few words. 

From the colonization of this country until the end 
of the Revolutionary War the motives of political life 
were limited. Within the colony the adhesion to the 
mother country grew steadily less and less strong, until 
it was too weak to bear even trifling strains such as 
gave birth to the Revolution. No theory of the Amer- 
ican Revolution can be made reasonable that does not 
take as its essential basis the singular and hardly to be 
explained sense of local independence which was de- 


veloped in the colonies. As separate States the original 
thirteen colonies fought the Revolutionary War, and 
whatever interpretations may be given to the constitu- 
tion, it was as separate States that they dealt iu making 
the final Federal compact. This separatist impulse they 
took with them into their life as united States. What- 
ever motives of love for the Federal Union have since 
come into existence are new compared with the local 
loyalty of early days. In the Northern States, mostly 
communities occupying smaller areas, which soon be- 
came united one to another by the strong bonds of com- 
merce, this beloved sense of isolation and indepen- 
dence, perhaps in the beginning less strong than in the 
Southern States, became gradually weaker, and was re- 
placed by a strong national sense. In the South, where 
the social conditions favored a mediaeval isolation of 
communities, and when the interstate commerce, and, 
indeed, commerce of any kind, was always a small ele- 
ment in the life, State rights never lost their original 
strength. It is a great misfortune that the excellent 
political motive embodied in the "State Rights" im- 
pulse became the tool of the slave power, and the means 
of protection of that institution from the natural forces 
that menaced it. There is a common notion that State 
rights was a device of that power for the maintenance 
of its conflict with the rest of the country. The mo- 
tive was a deeper and nobler one than this theory would 
make it. Its connection with slavery was a mere acci- 
dent. It arose from that sense of domestic strength, 
that admirable power of trusting to and loving a com- 
munity that is the best quality of the race, that on 
which alone a great nation of freemen can firmly stand. 
When Kentuckians declared for neutrality they acted 


out the motives of their history. Futile as the expe- 
dient proved to be, it was singularly spontaneous and 
acceptable at the time it was devised. The decided 
Union men who desired to join in arms with the Fed- 
eral government, and the secessionists who wished the 
State to go with its southern kindred States, each wel- 
comed the movement as giving them possibilities of ac- 
tion that were denied them at the moment. In the 
chances of the combat each party could hope to win 
the result it wished to obtain. 

There is reason to believe that this course was the 
only one that could have kept Kentucky from seces- 
sion. If what had been unhappily named a sovereignty 
convention had been called in 1861, if the State had 
been compelled to accept the decision of a body of men 
who were acting under the control 'of no constitutional 
limitations, the sense of sympathy and of kinship with 
the Southern States, such as would easily grow up under 
popular oratory in a mob, would probably have precipi- 
tated action. Virginia, the mother State, was as decid- 
edly Union in its sentiments as Kentucky; yet it proved 
easy, as soon as it had departed from constitutional 
ways, so to turn the sentiment of sympathy that it 
overwhelmed the respect for the organic law of the 
Commonwealth, and led the State out of the Union. 
The Legislature of Kentucky caught this universal will 
of the citizens for neutrality, and proceeded to shape its 
action accordingly. 

Even after this resolution of neutrality had been so 
generally expressed as the will of the Kentucky people, 
there were various schemes for the solution of the dif- 
ferences between the Northern and Southern States. 
All of these efforts to stay a moral cyclone with a little 


political oil are interesting, especially those known as 
the Border State, or Crittenden, compromises ; they are 
interesting as a part of the political history of the times, 
but it would carry us too far from the account of the 
local affairs to give them more than mention here. 
They were all approved by the people, who were will- 
ing to take any road to peace, and were warmly sec- 
onded by the legislature, but they never got'beyond the 
state of resolutions ; they never had a chance of becom- 
ing a part of the Constitution of the United States, 
where alone they could have been of any service. In 
this time of storm the border people, on whom the blow 
of the war was to fall, caught like drowning men at 
every straw that promised safety. 

On May 6, 1861, the legislature met under a call of 
Governor Magoffin, and remained in session until the 
24th. It should be remembered that it was a Demo- 
cratic legislature, and that when elected it was supposed 
to be favorable to secession. Brief as was this session 
it lasted less than a month it was long enough to 
determine the future history of Kentucky, perhaps of 
the Union, for if Kentucky had cast her lot with the 
rebellion, it may well be doubted if the Union would 
have been preserved. 

In the rapidly changing conditions of the time, these 
legislators who assembled in Frankfort on the 6th of 
May were, for a time, in much confusion of mind. 
There was a distinct division between the decided Union 
men and the decided secessionists ; but between them 
there was a floating body which was awed by the re- 
solve of the people for neutrality, yet desired to obey 
their impulses and to act with the Southern States. 
Some men elected as Union had drifted to the other 


side. At least four of those who were originally " Breck- 
inridge men," or classed as " Southern Rights," had 
abandoned their leader after finding whereto he led 
them. 1 In this state of the parties the Confederate 
element was more hopeful than the Union party. The 
most that the latter dared try to obtain in a legislature 
so Southern in its sympathies was the accomplishment 
of the neutrality project. The secession party desired 
to defeat this measure, as the alternative would be, they 
had every reason to expect, what it had been in the 
other States, namely, secession. 

The legislation of this session began with resolutions 
intended to define the, position of the Commonwealth. 
The first of these referred to the answer that Governor 
Magoffin had made to the call of the Federal govern- 
ment for " four regiments of militia for immediate ser- 
vice." His answer was that " emphatically Kentucky 
will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of sub- 
duing her sister Southern States." 2 

The first resolution proposed was as follows : 8 

" Resolved, That we most cordially approve and in- 
dorse the course of Governor Magoffin in refusing to 
comply with the recent requisition of the Federal gov- 
ernment for troops to invade the Southern States." 

On this resolution a vote was offered to postpone, 
which was lost by a tie of forty-five to forty-five. This 
vote was .never passed. On May 16th the Committee 
on Federal Relations reported a resolution which read 
as follows : 

1 These men were R. T. Jacob and R. A. Burton, of the house ; F. 
Marshall and J. A. Prall, of the senate. 

2 Collins, i. 87. 

8 See speech of Colonel Jacob, Louisville Commercial, January & 


" Considering the deplorable condition of the coun- 
try, for which Kentucky is in no way responsible, and 
looking to the best means of preserving the national 
peace and securing the laws, liberty, and property of the 
citizens of the State ; therefore 

" Resolved by the House of Representatives, That this 
State and the citizens thereof should take no part in 
the Civil War now being waged, except as mediators 
and friends of the belligerent parties ; and that Ken- 
tucky should during the contest occupy the position of 
strict neutrality. 

" And your committee recommend the adoption of 
the following resolution : 

" Resolved, That the act of the governor in refusing 
to furnish troops or military force upon the call of the 
executive authority of the United States, under existing 
circumstances, is approved." 

The first resolution was carried by sixty-nine to twen- 
ty-six, the second by eighty-nine to four votes. 

These declarations the secessionist members took to 
be in the line for which they were acting. They, there- 
fore, in the main joined the neutrality men in voting 
for them. The next and third step was away from the 
path they ch*ose to tread, for if taken it certainly made 
immediate action in favor of their party impossible, and 
they well saw that they would not be so strong when 
they had submitted their cause to the election impend- 
ing in the August following. A motion was made to 
substitute for the preamble of the preceding resolution 
the following words : 

" Whereas, the General Assembly of the Common- 
wealth of Kentucky have asserted strict neutrality to 
be the position desirable for the State to occupy in the 


present contest between the Federal government and 
the seceding States, therefore the General Assembly of 
the Commonwealth of Kentucky asserts that their po- 
sition will be maintained with sincerity and honor by 
the State ; that the parties engaged in the present frat- 
ricidal war should respect the neutrality, and know that 
Kentucky cannot with honor to herself submit to armed 
forces hostile to this neutrality invading her soil ; that 
Kentucky asks and will defend her rights of friendly 
intercourse and trade with both sections, thereby de- 
nying and intending to deny to the Federal government 
and the Confederate States the right or authority, by 
force or otherwise, to take possession of and hold the 
property of private corporations on any territory within 
her borders for any purpose or on any pretense what- 

" That a copy of the resolutions passed by the gen- 
eral assembly, and approved by Governor Magoffin, 
in refusing troops to participate in this conflict, together 
with a copy of these resolutions, be forwarded to the 
executives of the Federal government and the Confed- 
erate States, respectfully requesting the proper author- 
ities in this unfortunate conflict to respect the neutrality 
of Kentucky." 

The previous question was moved by the advocates 
of neutrality. The leader of the secessionists moved 
to lay the motion on the table. The motives that led 
the secessionist party to vote for the milder resolution 
of neutrality, while they resisted this clear statement of 
the proposed amendment, were about as follows. The 
first proposition was so general in its terms that they 
would be left perfectly free to give active support to 
their cause ; some form of neutrality was called for by 


the people, and this to the secessionists the least offen- 
sive shape of that action might serve to meet the popu- 
lar demand. The substitute meant that the neutrality 
was to be very definite in its provisions, and that if it 
were to become the basis of action of the executive they 
could not hope to go farther with their projects within 
the State. 

Now began the most dramatic incident in this re- 
markable session. It was decided that the main ques- 
tion should be put. Then the motion to lay the pream- 
ble and resolution on the table was put and rejected by 
forty-eight to forty-seven. In this complicated game 
of political fencing, the details of which are not inter- 
esting, this was hailed by the secessionists as a victory ; 
it appeared that one of the Union men had gone over 
to their side. 

The remainder of the incident can best be told in 
the words of Colonel Jacob, himself one of the Union 
men of that legislature. "The secessionists, exultant 
with the prospect and certainty of triumph, were un- 
bounded in their expression of delight. The Union 
men, pale, despondent, and apprehensive that all was 
lost, were for a moment overcome arid staggered with 
dismay. Mr. William Brown, I think, of Christian 
County, one of the staunchest and best Union men, 
had apparently gone over to the Democrats, and given 
them the majority. Having every confidence in Mr. 
Brown's integrity, I determined to know the worst. I 
crossed over to his seat, and said, ' Brown, have you 
deserted us ? ' He replied, < No.' Then I said, * Why 
did you give that vote ? You have scared us nearly to 
death.' And I shall never forget his reply; it was 
this : < I wanted to give them a high fall.' And I tell 


you he did it on the next question, which was taken on 
the adoption of the substitute for the preamble, and it 
was decided in the negative, forty-seven to forty-eight, 
Mr. Brown renewing his connection with the Union 
party, and giving them one majority. The house then 
adopted the original preamble and resolution." 

This seems like a trifling incident, but it did much to 
determine the fate of the Commonwealth. The seces- 
sionists had seen victory in their grasp, they had ex- 
ulted in their majority, and found that they had been 
played with by their antagonists. They lost heart from 
that vote. Some of them at once left their places for 
the Confederate army, convinced that nothing but the 
invasion of Kentucky by an army from the Southern 
States would give them mastery. In this they judged 
well. The minds of the people were daily becoming 
more decided against the secession movement. The 
fury and haste with which their sister Southern States 
were leaving the Union did much to turn the Kentucky 
people against them. 

The State was now in a very precarious condition on 
account of the known animus of the militia organization 
called the State Guard. x There were fifty-four com- 
mands' of these troops, amounting in all to about fifteen 
thousand men. They were the only military force in 
the Commonwealth, and were generally under officers 
of disunion sentiments. About all the serviceable arms 
owned by the State were in their possession. The 
legislature gave the control of these troops into the 
hands of a military board, composed of trusted citizens, 
and presided over by the governor. They provided the 
sum of $1,000,000 for the expense of arming and dis- 
ciplining the militia, $750,000 to be expended for arms, 


one half to be issued to the State Guard, the other half 
to the Home Guards. The State Guard was to be at 
once placed in camp ; the Home Guards were to be held 
in reserve. It was provided that " neither the arms nor 
the militia were to be used against the government of 
the United States nor the Confederate States, unless in 
the sole defense of the State of Kentucky." On the day 
of the passage of this act the governor appointed Gen- 
eral Simon Bolivar Buckner Inspector- General of the 
State forces. 1 As will be seen in the sequel these ap- 
prehensions concerning the State Guard were entirely 

At a special election for congressmen to fill vacan- 
cies, held in June, the Union majority was 54,670, the 
anti-secession candidates being elected in nine out of the 
ten districts. On the 24th of June six companies of 
the State Guard, under the command of Colonel Lloyd 
Tilghman, were ordered to Hickman to secure that 
quarter against the threatened invasion of the Confed- 
erate troops. Colonel Tilghman at once resigned his 
command to take a place in the Confederate army, thus 
showing the first clear evidence of the entire untrust- 
worthiness of this force. 

The regular election on the first Monday in August 
gave the first distinct expression of the will of the neu- 
trality party; it gave 76 Union to 24 States rights or 
secession votes in the house, and 27 Union to 11 States 
rights in the senate. The Union majority in the sen- 
ate would have been larger but for the fact that one 
half that body held over from the preceding election. 2 

3 Collins, i. 91. 

2 In the Kentucky senate the members are elected for four }'ears ; 
one half the number is replaced each two years. 


Although the neutrality party had now obtained full 
control of the State legislature, the impossibility of their 
project was already beginning to be apparent. Thou- 
sands of the Confederate sympathizers slipped away 
over the border to Tennessee and Virginia. In some 
cases they were organized into companies on the soil of 
Kentucky. Humphrey Marshall had a recruiting camp, 
and organized troops in Owen County, within thirty 
miles of the State capital ; a camp of out-and-out Union 
men was established under the command of General 
William Nelson, at Camp Dick Robinson, in Garrard 
County. The extreme men of either party, dissatisfied 
with the position of the State, yet respecting its pro- 
claimed position, were pouring in a constant stream to 
take service in the regiments of other States. 

In this period of rapid change President Lincoln 
showed his remarkable discretion in avoiding all acts 
of invasion of the Commonwealth. The small United 
States garrison at Newport, the only government mili- 
tary station in Kentucky, was retained, but neither re- 
enforced nor fortified. The force gathered at Camp Dick 
Robinson, in Garrard County, was composed solely of 
Kentuckians, who claimed that they were organized for 
their own protection, and though they were recognized 
by the Federal authorities as Union soldiers, their ac- 
tion did not in strict terms constitute an invasion of the 
State. They went no farther against the attitude of 
neutrality than Marshall's action did. Several regi- 
ments of Kentuckians were, however, enrolled by the 
Federal government in camps in Indiana and Ohio, 
from among the citizens who crossed the border to 
enlist. This, too, was no transgression of the neutrality 
chosen by the Kentuckians. It was fast becoming eVi- 


dent that the greater part of the able-bodied citizens of 
the State would soon drift away into the opposing 
armies, leaving the Commonwealth an empty shell, an 
object of contempt to both sides. There was no chance 
to guard the frontier, and so to retain the citizens in 
the State ; the able-bodied whites, if all were mustered 
on the border, could not suffice to guard the possible 
lines of escape to the North and South. Moreover, 
there was no law that could have been used to retain 
citizens within the State. The periphery of the State 
is about fifteen hundred miles in length, and all its 
adult white males would, if constantly on watch, hardly 
make a single line of sentries along its extent. 

While it thus became evident that the position of 
neutrality would have to be abandoned, a number of 
circumstances now served to turn the temper of the 
people more and more towards a union with the North. 
A remark attributed to Ho well Cobb, of Georgia, that 
the Southern men would only have " to go home, raise 
cotton, and make money," leaving the war to the border 
States, was one of the many stings that turned the peo- 
ple from the once cherished idea of neutrality. More- 
over, the unanimity and apparent heedlessness of the 
Southern States iii rushing into rebellion were irritating 
to the Kentuckians, who had planned a course which 
they expected would bring the disturbance to some 
happy end. They felt they had a right, in this endeavor, 
to the sympathy and cooperation of the Southern States, 
especially of their cousins in Tennessee and their broth- 
ers in the mother State of Virginia. It was the belief 
of the neutrality men that these States had been forced 
from their position in the Union by the secession ele- 
ment without a proper appeal to the people of those 


States, and that by their action Kentucky had been 
deprived of her natural allies in its effort to stem the 
tide of war. It was felt that the Federal government, 
which had a real claim to Kentucky's allegiance, had 
acted liberally in respecting the neutrality, in form at 
least ; while the message of Davis, that he would respect 
the neutrality of Kentucky "so long as the people of 
Kentucky maintain it themselves," was a discourteous 
piece of arrogance to those who were struggling for 
peace. The tone of the Southern States in assuming 
that Kentucky belonged to them, but was kept in her 
relation to the Union by fear, was deeply offensive to 
the State pride. 

In this position of affairs the Confederates made the 
first distinct trespass on the neutrality proclamation. 
Major-General Leonidas Polk, a nephew of President 
Polk, a graduate of West Point, then a bishop of the 
Episcopal Church, was commander of the Confederate 
forces of Tennessee. Desiring to strengthen his hold 
on the Mississippi, he invaded Kentucky, and took up a 
strong position on the bluffs that command the stream 
at Columbus and Hickman, near the Tennessee line, 
This important step was taken on September 3d. At 
the same time General Zollicoffer invaded the south- 
eastern corner of the State, establishing his lines near 
Cumberland Gap. 

The first action of the State, in view of these inva- 
sions, an ominous act indeed, was a vote passed in the 
legislature that the United States flag be hoisted on the 
capitol at Frankfort. This step was taken by the house 
of representatives by a vote of 77 to 20. On the 10th 
a State rights convention for Kentucky was held at 
Frankfort ; they passed a resolution in favor of the dls- 


persion of the Federal camps in Kentucky, promising, 
when that was done, to assist in driving the Tennessee 
troops from the State. 1 

It is maintained by many Confederate sympathizers 
that the violation of the State's neutrality came first 
from the Federal authorities. They cite the recruiting 
at Camp Dick Robinson as evidence in proof of their 
assertion. It is hardly worth while to debate this ques- 
tion of precedence, when the action of both sides was 
so nearly simultaneous, and only accomplished the in- 
evitable overthrow of the neutrality of the Common- 
wealth ; still, after a careful review of all the records, 
the present writer has been driven to the conclusion 
that the actual infringement of the neutrality proclama- 
tion was due to the action of Polk and Zollicoffer, and 
that this simultaneous invasion of the State at points 
some hundred miles apart, shows that the rupture of 
Kentucky neutrality was deliberately planned by the 
Confederate authorities. Ill as it turned out for their 
cause, it gave them their last chance of getting political 
possession of the State. 

On the llth, after much private deliberation, the leg- 
islature, by a vote of 71 to 26 in the house, and by 25 
to 8 in the senate, resolved " That Governor Magoffin 
be instructed to inform those concerned that Kentucky 
expects the Confederate or Tennessee troops to be with- 
drawn from her soil unconditionally." This resolution 
was vetoed by the governor, but immediately passed 
over the veto by an overwhelming majority. 

Immediately after General Folk's invasion Grant's 
army moved across the Ohio and took up a position at 
Paducah. It was moved in the house that the gov- 
1 Collins, i. 93. 


ernor demand the removal of the Federal as well as 
the Confederate troops. This was refused by a vote of 
29 to 68. 

This vote may be regarded as a final commitment of 
the State to a policy of complete allegiance to the Fed- 
eral government. On September 18th, the Committee 
on Federal Relations brought in the following resolu- 
tions : J 

" Whereas, Kentucky has been invaded by the forces 
of the so-called Confederate States, and the commanders 
of the forces so invading the State have insolently pre- 
scribed the conditions upon which they will withdraw, 
thus insulting the dignity of the State by demanding 
terms to which Kentucky cannot listen without dis- 
honor, therefore : 

1. "Be- it Resolved by the General Assembly of the Com" 
monweaUh of Kentucky, That the invaders must be ex- 
pelled. Inasmuch as there are now in Kentucky Federal 
troops assembled for the purpose of preserving the tran- 
quillity of the State, and of defending and protecting 
the people of Kentucky in the peaceful enjoyment of 
their lives and property, it is, 

2. " Further Resolved, That General Robert Ander- 
son, a native Kentuckian, who has been appointed to 
command the department of the Cumberland, be re- 
quested to take instant command, with authority and 
power from this Commonwealth to call out a volunteer 
force in Kentucky, for the purpose of expelling the in- 
vaders from our soil. 

3. " Resolved, That in using the means which duty 
and honor require shall be used to expel the invaders 
from the soil of Kentucky, no citizen shall be molested 

i See Collins, i. 93. 


on account of his political opinions ; and that no citi- 
zen's property shall be taken or confiscated because of 
such opinions, nor shall any slave be set free by any 
military commander, and all peaceable citizens and their 
families are entitled to and shall receive the fullest pro- 
tection of the government in the enjoyment of their 
lives, their liberties, and their property. 

4. "Resolved, That his excellency the Governor of 
the Commonwealth of Kentucky be requested to give 
all the aid in his power to accomplish the end desired 
by these resolutions ; and that he call out so much of 
the military force of the State under his command as 
may be necessary therefor, and that he place the same 
under the command of General Thomas L. Crittenden. 

5. " Resolved, That the patriotism of every Kentuck- 
ian is invoked and is confidently relied upon to give ac- 
tive aid in the defense of the Commonwealth." 

These resolutions amount in fact to a declaration of 
war on the Southern Confederacy. They were vetoed by 
the governor, who remained in sympathy with the se- 
cessionist movement, and were at once passed by ail 
overwhelming majority. This vote definitely closes the 
effort to maintain the State in a neutral attitude. 

Before passing to the consideration of the next act of 
this political drama, it will not be amiss to consider cer- 
tain features of the rapidly changing politics of the 

The curious feature in the behavior of Kentucky at 
this time is the simple, indeed artless, exhibition of hu- 
man nature in the whole transaction. It was a singu- 
larly popular movement. Generally in the action of 
large communities in time of such trial the course of 
a State is dictated by certain leaders, deliberative 


statesmen who direct the course of events in highly 
artificial channels, so that there is a cold, disciplined 
quality in the results ; or, if this is wanting, it is be- 
cause some fierce outburst of passion has carried the 
people onward into headlong ruin. I do not know 
where else to find the likeness of these political move- 
ments of Kentucky, so deliberate, so dignified, and self- 
respecting as they were. 

The most singular thing about the movement was 
that the feeling, though intense, was at this time re- 
markably free from the commonplace bitterness that 
marks the earlier stages of most civil wars. While the 
people were falling asunder, going each to their places 
of arms, there were no outrages, no combats between 
the passing parties of men who were to be foes. On 
the contrary, it is doubtful if in years the State had 
been as free from all forms of disturbance as in this 
time of parting. A great sorrow fell upon the land. 
It was common enough to see strong men weeping for 
the woe that was to come upon their beloved State. 

One of the most painful features was the sundering 
of households that now took place. When the division 
came, very often the father went one way, the sons an- 
other. Usually the parting lines in civil wars are 
drawn by neighborhoods and clans, but in this battle 
the line of separation- went through all associations 
whatsoever. Families, churches, friendships, seemed to 
have no influence whatever on the way men went. It 
was the most singular evidence of independent minded- 
ness that is recorded in history. 

To the considerate observer, the most interesting 
feature in this period was the absolute forgetfulness of 
the moneyed value of the slave. Nearly one fourth the 


estimated value of the State was in slaves, yet this in- 
terest never seemed to enter into the minds of men ; 
we never hear of it in the public debates, and it was 
equally absent from the private talk of the times. There 
was no movement to remove 1 the slaves southwards 
where they still had their price. There was the same 
absence of desire to secure other property. There was 
no drifting out of capital or population from the State, 
no effort to convert real estate or chattels into money, 
such as has so often in other countries marked the be- 
ginning of perilous times. This, more than anything 
else, shows the intensity of the moral shock that was 
brought upon the people by the swift and appalling 
changes of the times. 

There have been many who have from afar flippantly 
criticised the behavior of the Kentuckians in the outset 
of the Civil War, who have attributed their slowness 
of action to the calculation of self-interest, or their un- 
willingness to enter upon the combat which was before 
them. The truth is the Kentucky people had a clearer 
prescience of what this war would mean than the other 
parts of the Union. The traditions of their firesides 
were full of war memories ; there was scarcely a family 
where there was not some one who could remember the 
kindred who had fallen on the numberless fields where 
the children of Kentucky had bled. There were men 
still living who remembered the days of St. Glair's de- 
feat, and the Raisin massacre. There is nothing more 
pathetic than the appeal that the women of Kentucky 
made in 1861 to the legislature of the Commonwealth, 
to guard them from the calamity of Civil War by main- 
taining neutrality. If the people of the other States 
had been as well able to perceive the awful seriousness 


of this crisis as were those of Kentucky, there would 
have been no war. 

When a historian arises who can treat this part of 
American history with the calm philosophy it deserves, 
we may be sure that the>effort of Kentucky to stay the 
tide of civil conflict, and to decide the difficulty by 
statemanship rather than by arms, will not be set down 
to her discredit, but will appear as the most remarkable, 
as well as the most creditable, spontaneous political ac- 
tion in the history of that great struggle. It is not too 
much to say that it will be regarded as one of the best 
evidences of a general political capacity that this coun- 
try has yet afforded. 



THE suddenness of the final determination in the 
matter of neutrality was at once fortunate and unfortu- 
nate for the State. It made it impossible for the Con- 
federacy immediately to seize upon its strong points, 
and thus forced the war back so far south, that for the 
time the territory of the Commonwealth was safe from 
invasion by those who were now the enemies of the 
State. At the same time it left the State in a very de- 
fenseless condition ; the greater part of the arms that 
had been purchased by the legislature went into the 
hands of the State Guard. This organization contained 
at this time ten thousand men, and was an admirably 
selected and tolerably efficient body of troops, under 
the command of well trained officers, some of them 
from the "West Point Academy, others from the State 
military school. Many of them had seen service in 
Mexico. It had long been known that the greater part 
of this body of troops was in hearty sympathy with the 
disunion element, yet it was hoped that their States 
rights motives would keep them true to the Common- 

No sooner had Kentucky cast in her lot with the 
Federal government than almost all of the companies 
of the State Guard marched from the State and joined 


the Confederate army. Its commander-m-chief, Buck- 
ner, resigned his position and repaired at once to Camp 
Boone, Tennessee, where he was joined by the regiment 
of Colonel Roger Hanson, by the battalion of Lloyd 
Tighlman, and by many separate companies of the same 
force. They then became the 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th 
Kentucky regiments of the Confederate army. These 
men of the State Guard were not the first Kentucky 
troops that entered the service of the Confederacy. In 
June, 1861, Colonel Withers began to recruit a regi- 
ment for that service, selecting Camp Boone for his 
rendezvous. The stimulus given to the Confederate 
hopes by the victory of Bull Run sent a large number 
of recruits to this camp, so that even before the State 
had determined against the South the 2d Regiment of 
Kentucky Confederate Lifantry was organized, as early 
as July 17th. 1 

John H. Morgan's company and other organizations 
passed from the State on other lines of march. Thus 
a force which was designed to protect the State, which 
was armed at its expense and sworn into its service, 
abandoned its flag as soon as the Commonwealth finally 
determined to respect its Federal obligations. Noth- 
ing shows better the intensity of the sympathy with 
the Southern movement that animated the secessionist 
minority of Kentucky. Nothing shows so well that the 
essential motive of the rebellion had not come from 
the States rights motive. The men and officers of 
this State Guard were as honorable men as the Com- 
monwealth ever had ; yet in this moment of excitement 
they cast aside ail the bonds of allegiance to the soil 

1 See Thompson's History of the 1st Kentucky Brigade, p. 51 et 
seq. | 


that bred them, and with the training and in part with 
the weapons that the State had just given them for 
her defense, repaired to the camp of those who were 
now her declared enemies. 1 This was the only inci- 
dent in the days of parting on which we can look 
with grave regret. Knowing as the present writer does 
the soldierly spirit that animated so many of the mem- 
bers of the State Guard, he believes that they, too, 
must share in the feeling that they then did what they 
should not have done. A few officers and some men of 
the State Guard did not take part in this movement. 
Thomas L. Crittenden, the brigadier-general of the 
Guard, remained, and afterward took service in the 
Federal army, but the State Guard as a whole went 
over to the Confederacy. The Home Guards remained, 
and took a brave but not always admirable part in the 
subsequent history of the war ; they were not well or- 
ganized ; their commanders were less able soldiers than 
those of the seceding State Guard. 

Although the secession of the State Guard cannot be 
defended by those who dispassionately examine it, much 
can be said in its favor. In the first place, it was in 
the power of the governor and the commanding officer 
of the Guard to have precipitated the State into seces- 
sion in the spring of 1861. Some of the hot-heads of 
the party desired to have this Guard, or the most de- 
cidedly secession of its commands, assembled in Frank- 
fort at the time of the meeting of the legislature during 
the month of May. The presence in the capital of this 
force at that time would probably have driven the State 

1 Only a portion (how large cannot be determined) of the State 
Guard took their arms with them when they left the State. Probably 
the larger part went out unarmed. 


into a nominal secession, which would have been as 
effective for the Southern cause as was the action of 
Tennessee. To General Buckner, the commander of 
the forces, to John C. Breckinridge, who still clung to 
the hope of some accommodation, and to Governor Ma- 
goffin, who, be it remembered, in all cases opposed a 
severance of the State from the Union without what 
seemed to him due forms of law, we owe the fact that 
this well trained Guard was not made an instrument 
of great danger to the State. 

It would require many pages to give even a list of 
the prominent citizens of the State who passed its bor- 
ders on their way to the Southern army. In the month 
following the abandonment of neutrality the roads were 
filled with the hurrying throng of horsemen and of 
wagons conveying munitions, on their way to the Con- 
federate camps that had been pitched beyond the south- 
ern and eastern borders of the State for their recep- 
tion. The Federal government pressed what troops 
were available for service into the State, but for a 
month or more the central part of the Commonwealth 
was held by the recruits that had been gathering at 
Camp Dick Robinson and by the companies of Home 
Guards. The process of enlistment of the Federal reg- 
iments went rapidly forward, but the material fit for 
immediate service had left the State to return as in- 

If the Confederate army that had gathered around 
the seceded State Guard had believed that the people 
were with them and had been tolerably determined in 
their resolution to possess the Commonwealth, they 
might have at this time seized Louisville, and perhaps 
occupied the line of the Ohio. It is a valuable com- 


mentary on the assertion that Kentucky was at heart 
with the Confederacy, that with a force of several thou- 
sand men, whose discipline was much above that of any 
force that could oppose them, and which certainly 
equaled the Federal troops that could at this time have 
been brought to arrest their advance to the northward, 
General Buckner's return to Kentucky, he knew so 
well, was made with extreme caution. 1 

This advance of Kentucky troops against their own 
State was begun even before the position of neutrality 
was overthrown. But this movement was extremely 
slow and circumspect. On the 20th Buckner was in 
possession of the line of the Green River, a strong 
strategic position defending Nashville. His scouts came 
as far north as Rolling Fork Station, about forty miles 
south of Louisville, breaking up the line of the Louis- 
ville and Nashville Railway, so that it could not be used 
by the Union forces. On the 21st of September he 
destroyed the locks and dams on the Green River, so 
as to prevent a movement on his flank by Grant's army, 
then in Western Kentucky, which he feared might 
come upon him by boats by way of that river. At the 
same time a Confederate army, under General Zolli- 

1 On September 10th General Albert Sydney Johnston, lately in com- 
mand of the United States forces on the Pacific, by birth a Kentuckian 
and well acquainted with the State, commanded the Confederate de- 
partment which included Kentucky. On the 17th of September, the 
day before the State abandoned its policy of neutrality, General John- 
ston ordered General Buckner to enter the State under the following 
instructions, namely : 

" You will, in order to cover the northern line occupied by the Con- 
federate army in this department, and threatened by the army of the 
United States, concentrate your command at Bowling Green, Ken- 
tucky, and secure and hold this important point in our line of de- 
fense." See The Life of General A. S. Johnston, by W. P. John- 
ston, New York. 1880. 


coffer, was moving on Central Kentucky by way of Bar- 
bourville, in the eastern part of the State. 

The first recorded combat of the war in Kentucky 
was between the advanced guard of this force and a 
body of Home Guards. It was termed a " spirited en- 
gagement," with no great loss, but it served to show 
the Confederate armies, if indeed they needed the in- 
formation, that the armed populace of the State would 
make a stubborn resistance to their projected invasion. 
The departure of the State Guard, and the hegira of 
secessionists that accompanied it, had left the people 
substantially united in their determination to combat the 
Confederacy. This united resistance did much to give 
the Confederate northward movement a pause, which 
made it afterward impossible for them to secure posses- 
sion of the State. Kentucky was now foreign and hos- 
tile ground to them. Their movements in it were re- 
ceived much as they would have been in Ohio or In- 

When General Johnston made his well-considered 
movement upon Bowling Green it was with the hope 
that his presence within the State would bring great 
numbers of recruits to his banners. Despite stirring 
proclamations the people received him sullenly ; and with 
a force that on October 28th was, according to General 
Johnston's own memoranda, twelve thousand strong, 
quite equaling the Federal force which could have been 
brought to resist him, he did not venture to move be- 
yond his fortifications. General Johnston was a brave 
and enterprising soldier, and if it had not been for his 
conviction that the Kentucky people were not as much 
in sympathy with the South as had been supposed, he 
would have moved forward with more decision. In a 


letter to the Confederate War Department, dated Oc- 
tober 22, 1861, he says: 

" We have received but little accession to our ranks 
since the Confederate forces crossed the line (i. e., the 
line dividing Tennessee and Kentucky) ; in fact no such 
demonstrations of enthusiasm as to justify any move- 
ments not warranted by our ability to maintain our own 
communications. It is true that I am writing from a 
Union county, and it is said to be different in other 
counties. They appear to me to be passive, if not apa- 
thetic. There are hundreds of ardent friends of the 
South in the State, but there is apparently among them 
no concert of action. I shall, however, still hope that 
the love and spirit of liberty are not yet extinct in Ken- 
tucky." l 

It is evident that the calm, intelligent mind of Gen- 
eral Johnston, already saw through the errors concern- 
ing the real attitude of Kentucky which the imagina- 
tions of the Confederate sympathizers had created. 

On the 23d of September the military board was 
given power to demand the return of arms from all 
associations that were suspected of disloyalty. This 
was a provision to destroy the suspected remnants of 
the State Guard, which were still within the State. The 
military board was now provided with a large amount of 
money. In addition to the appropriation of $1,000,000 
previously made, the legislature, on the 23d of Sep- 
tember, gave the board authority to borrow another 
$1,000,000, and on October 1st $2,000,000 more were 
put at their disposal for raising and arming troops. By 
a call of September 25th, the Commonwealth demanded 

i See Life of General A. 8. Johnston, by Win. Preston Johnston, 
p. 351. 


of its people forty-two thousand troops, or one man for 
each twenty-one of the whole white population, nearly 
one half of those remaining in the State who were fit to 
bear arms. The legislature also provided that the ex- 
ecutive departments might remove their offices beyond 
the reach of the enemy ; and that no liquor should be 
sold within five miles of any military camp. These 
resolute steps mark the earnestness and decision with 
which the Commonwealth entered on the war. 

These appropriations of money and of men were far 
ahead of the preparation that the State was called on 
to make. The appropriation of four millions of dollars 
from her slender means, and forty thousand from the 
possible eighty thousand able-bodied white men left in 
the State, show that she alone of all the American 
Commonwealths saw the magnitude of the struggle on 
which she had entered. It should be noticed that these 
steps were taken in the dark and gloomy days that fol- 
lowed the battle of Bull Run, when the chances seemed 
all against the success of the Federal arms. Nowhere 
in the Commonwealth did that disastrous and dispirit- 
ing reverse, and the subsequent trying inaction of the 
Northern armies, lead to any hesitation or temporizing. 
The State government went forward with an admirable 
courage in the path they had chosen. 

A most interesting and instructive feature of the time 
is the singular determination with which the people 
clung to their constitution and the laws, even when com- 
pelled by the needs of self-preservation to disregard them. 
A capital instance of this is seen in their action with ref- 
erence to their governor. Although Governor Magoflin 
was known to be in sympathy with the rebellion, and 
desirous of leading the State out of the Union ; although) 


he vetoed nearly every measure of protection that was 
passed by the legislature, no effort was made to displace 
him by impeachment, or in other ways to drive him from 
his post. He was closely watched, and in fact was 
guilty of no act of disloyalty. His vetoes were within 
his constitutional right. They were in succession over- 
borne by a large majority, and in each instance, be it 
said to his great credit, he at once did his duty as an ex- 
ecutive officer in giving effect to the laws which he had 
conscientiously vetoed. For eighteen months the legis- 
lature bore with this extraordinary relation to the chief 
executive officer of the Commonwealth because it was 
not in their power legally to dismiss him. Throughout 
they gave him the formal respect that his station de- 
manded, and when his own slow won conviction of his 
false position led to his resignation, they accomplished 
the change of officers in a legal and dignified manner. 
This commendable course should be borne in mind 
until we have considered the critical attitude which the 
legislature was in the end compelled to take to the Fed- 
eral usurpations of authority. This determined and 
instinctive clinging to the letter of the law is the key 
to many important actions in the subsequent years of 
the war. 

This regard for the laws was shown in many other 
ways, but only one other instance need be given. In 
order to afford every facility to the Federal commanders 
the legislature passed, on October 1st, a bill which " re- 
quired information, surveys, maps, and drawings to be 
given to officers of the army upon application therefor 
without delay." This bill was vetoed by the governor 
on the ground that private property was guaranteed 
from seizure without the process of law. The legisla- 


ture instantly receded from its action, there being but 
one vote in favor of passing the bill over the governor's 
veto. This was the only veto of the governor that re- 
ceived this treatment. 

It was a great good fortune for the Commonwealth 
in this critical period, that the Federal command was, 
at the request of the legislature, given to General Rob- 
ert Anderson, well known for his defense of Fort 
Sumter. General Anderson was born in the State, 
and his extensive family connections gave him a better 
understanding of the motives of the people than any 
other commander could have had. He was in perfect 
sympathy with the determination of the leaders of that 
party to maintain the civil law as far as it was possible 
to do so. On September 24th, he issued the following 
proclamation : " The commanding general, understand- 
ing that apprehension is entertained by citizens of this 
State who have hitherto been in opposition to the 
policy now adopted by this State, hereby gives notice 
that no Kentuckian shall be arrested who remains at 
home attending to his business, and does not take part, 
either by action or speech, against the authority of the 
general or State government, or does not hold corre- 
spondence with or give aid or assistance to those who 
have arrayed themselves against us as our enemies." 1 
At the same time the legislature refused to pass a bill 
making all those who joined the Confederate army or 
acted with the Confederacy incapable of taking any es- 
tate in Kentucky by bequest, descent, or distribution. 
The basis of their refusal was that this was contrary to 
the spirit of the constitution. 

The difficulty of maintaining the activity of the civil 
i Collins, i. 94. >, 


law in this period of conflict was made the greater by 
the action of the Home Guards, a force that could not 
be kept in proper control. These partisan troops made 
many raids upon persons known to be in sympathy 
with the South. The whole experience of the Civil 
War with these detached localized troops served to 
show that they were an element of great danger to the 
civil government of the State. The rapid organization 
of the regular troops of Kentucky fortunately made it 
possible in time partly to do away with this mediaeval 
type of soldiery, but the local disturbances that they 
bred were of more permanent damage to the State than 
all the large operations of war that were ever carried 
on within her borders. Their deeds of violence bred a 
crop of hatreds and blood feuds in which hundreds of 
lives were sacrified, and certain counties made almost 
desolate for years after the close of the war. Perhaps 
the best military lesson taught by the rebellion is that 
the middle age system of partisan commands is utterly 
unfit for the warfare of the day, and a source of great 
danger to any State which is trying to preserve the 
precious elements of its social system in a time of civil 

The organization of the State troops for service in 
the Federal army now became a matter of the first im- 
portance and of extreme difficulty. The governor and 
his cabinet were committed to an opposition to this pro- 
cess. Although the recruiting camps were overflowing 
with men, they were not organized and mustered as 
rapidly as they should have been. Fortunately the 
resignation of the adjutant-general, Scott Brown, was 
brought about, and in his place the governor consented 
to appoint General John W. Finnell. This gentleman 


was extremely well fitted for the arduous duties of his 
place ; of untiring energy, strongly devoted to the cause 
of the Union, and skillful in his dealings with men, he 
soon proved of incalculable value to the State. Before 
the end of the month nearly twenty thousand Ken- 
tuckians were enlisted arid fairly ready for the field. 
The newly organized regiments from Ohio, Indiana, and 
the other Northern States, brought up the Federal force 
in the State to about forty thousand men. 

This support came none too soon. Heavy columns 
of Confederate troops were endeavoring to make their 
way into the State before the Federal government could 
fix itself in advantageous positions. 'Their armies held 
nearly all the district south of the Green River, and 
were pushing their detachments towards the central and 
northern parts of the State. On the 21st of October, 
General Zollicoffer, a trained soldier, of a distinguished 
Swiss family, though of American birth, in command 
of seven thousand troops, endeavored to push his way 
along the " wilderness turnpike " to Central Kentucky. 
He was met at the Wild Cat Mountain, near London, 
by the 7th Kentucky Regiment under Colonel Garrard. 
Colonel Garrard's force acted well in its first action ; 
they resisted the Confederate advance until they were 
reinforced by General Schoepff in command of six reg- 
iments of Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee troops, as well 
as by Wolford's cavalry. The Confederates, finding 
themselves in face of an equal force occupying a very 
strong position, retired after a loss of thirty killed and 
about one hundred wounded ; the Federal loss was less. 

This action, though it did not deserve the name of a 
battle, was worth a good deal as a source of inspiration 
to the raw levies of the State. There was at this time 


a common notion that the emigration of some forty 
thousand of the natural leaders and fighting population 
of the State had left it with little material that could 
be made into good soldiers. Even General Sherman, 
who had recently replaced General Anderson, took at 
first a hopeless view of the military situation. He re- 
ported to Washington that the young men of Kentucky 
had generally joined the Confederate army, and that the 
Union men were aged and conservative, and would not 
enlist to fight against their Southern kindred. He as- 
sured the government that few Union regiments could be 
raised in Kentucky. How easy it is to misjudge a peo- 
ple is shown by the fact that Kentucky's quota of troops 
was always full, and that despite the fact that over forty 
thousand of her young men did go into the rebellion, 
she raised all the men that fell to her share almost 
without bounties, and practically without a draft, a pa- 
triotic record that was not exceeded, if it was equaled, 
by any State in the Union. 

The remainder of the year 1862 was spent in prepa- 
ration for movements that were to drive the Confederates 
from Kentucky. There were many small actions be- 
tween the outposts of the two armies, only two of which 
deserve particular mention. On November 8th a Con- 
federate force of about one thousand men, under com- 
mand of Colonel John S. Williams, well known for his 
gallant service during the Mexican War, encountered a 
Federal force of nearly thrice their number under Gen- 
eral Nelson at Ivy Mountain, on the head waters of the 
Kentucky River, near the Virginia line. Unhappily 
for their plans, the Confederates had chosen a position 
where their fire was downwards, and therefore entirely 
ineffective ; so, after a stubborn forest fight of over an 


hour, they were driven from the field. On December 
17th the Confederates were defeated in an action of 
a considerable nature near Munfordsville, where the 
Louisville and Nashville Railway crosses the Green 
River. These, and numerous other slight engagements, 
were useful for the training of the Federal troops, 
though they had no strategic value. 

Mingled with such endless skirmishes and cross-roads 
battles we find a singular incident which throws some 
light on the political projects of the Confederate gov- 
ernment. It shows very clearly how important the 
possession of Kentucky, even in name, appeared to it, 
and how much they were willing to ignore the facts of 
the political position of Kentucky in order to have some 
apparent claim upon the soil. It should be premised 
that the secession element had convinced themselves 
that the State was in some obscure way held under Fed- 
eral domination, and that if they could have a plebiscit 
for or against secession they could win the State to their 
side. At this time the Confederate armies held about 
one tenth the area of the Commonwealth, a region lying 
south of the Green River and east of the Cumberland; 
within this region they were closely hemmed ; their 
forays beyond their lines having been in all cases easily 
beaten back. Yet on the 18th of November they called 
what they were pleased to term a " sovereignty conven- 
tion," which sat for three days, and claimed to have rep- 
resentatives from sixty-five of the counties of the State. 
These representatives were self-appointed, or chosen 
by the troops from Kentucky then in the Confederate 
army. In this singular assembly a declaration of inde- 
pendence and an ordinance of secession were passed ; ! 
1 See Collins, i. 97. 


a full list of State officers was elected. At the head 
of this list was Colonel George W. Johnson, of Scott 
County, as provisional governor, and at the foot, W. N. 
Haldeman, of Oldham, was chosen to be State printer. 
Three commissioners were sent from the convention to 
Richmond, Va., to ask the admission of the State into 
the Confederacy, and on the 9th of December that body 
went through the process of admitting Kentucky into 
the Southern Union. When we recall the year of skill- 
ful, devoted labor these gentlemen who managed the 
convention had just given to carry the State into re- 
bellion, an effort in which they were favored by the 
possession of the State government and a large share 
of the sympathies of the people, it seems incredible that 
they should of their own will have undertaken this pre- 
tense of legislation. It has been conjectured that the 
Confederate government needed the appearance, if they 
could not get the substance, of Kentucky support, and 
that this performance was gone through with under in- 
structions from the Richmond government. 

This, however, is not the case. The writer has been 
assured that the project came from the brilliant and 
fertile mind of Mr. G. W. Johnson, who was elected 
the provisional governor. It is said that to his great 
powers of persuasion was due the final consent of Gen- 
erals Johnston, Preston, and Breckinridge, who at the 
outset vigorously opposed the project. The arguments 
of Mr. Johnson have not been published ; it is likely, 
however, that he saw the need of satisfying the Ken- 
tucky Confederate troops that they were acting with, 
and not against, their State government, and that he 
deemed this semblance of such government, the best 
at the moment attainable, better than nothing at all. 


There was much reason in this judgment. It, however, 
proceeded on the assumption that the Confederates were 
to continue their advance into Kentucky. 

In a few weeks this " provisional government " gave 
evidence of its eminently temporary character by leav- 
ing the State in company with General Johnston's 
army. For nearly two years they waited over the bor- 
der, like exiled Stuarts, for the time of coming to their 
own. Their gallant leader, Mr. Johnson, governor, met 
a soldier's death as a private, in the ranks of the 4th 
Kentucky Confederate regiment, at Pittsburg Landing. 
The other officers watched for a chance that came, but 
for one hour, when they might take their places in the 
capitol of the State ; 1 still, during the whole war, the 
pretense that Kentucky was a Confederate State was 
steadfastly maintained. There were senators and rep- 
resentatives from the State in the Confederate Congress 
elected by the soldiers in the field. Few more curious 
instances of a political pretense can be found in history. 
It is impossible to see where was the profit of this ac- 
tion ; so far from gaining sympathy for the rebellion in 
Kentucky, it tended rather to discredit the Confederacy 
among its people. 

During the whole of the year 1861 the Legislature of 
Kentucky was in intermittent session, the adjournments 
being for only a few weeks at a time ; their attention 
was given to the work of watching their governor, who, 
be it said, acted in a perfectly honorable manner in the 
discharge of the duties committed to him, and to a so- 
licitous care that the machinery of the civil law was 
kept in motion as well as it could be in a time of war. 
Their anxious efforts to preserve the people from the 
l Vide infra, p. 303. 


exactions of military commanders is worthy of great 
commendation. The Federal government, out of grati- 
tude for the allegiance of the State, was naturally dis- 
posed to give way to their suggestions, and for a long 
time, indeed, until the war became much embittered, 
there was little severity or lawlessness in the action of 
the Federal commanders. The only considerable diffi- 
culty was with General Nelson, himself a Kentuckian, 
but a man of a singularly furious nature, who persisted 
in the summary arrest and deportation from the State 
of many citizens whom he suspected of sympathy with 
the Confederacy. General W. T. Sherman, who for a 
while commanded the forces in the State, and all others 
in command in the first year of the war in Kentucky, 
except General Nelson, who, though Sherman's subordi- 
nate, seems never to have been in any proper sense 
under his command, seconded the protests of the legis- 
lature against arbitrary arrest. General Sherman stated 
that the removal of prisoners beyond the State, except 
those held as spies and prisoners of war, " without giv- 
ing them an opportunity for trial by the legal tribunals 
of the country, does not meet my approval." 

Long after the legislature had demanded the resigna- 
tions of their senators at Washington, the United States 
senate expelled John C. Breckinridge, who had been 
for some months with the Confederate army. The leg- 
islature chose as his successor Garrett Davis, an able 
and loyal man, who had previously held a seat in the 
lower house of Congress. 

In January the Confederate army, under General 
Johnston, which closely pressed srnd gravely threatened 
Western Kentucky and Tennessee, sought to create a 

i See Collins, i. 97. 


diversion by a movement on the Federal lines in the 
eastern part of the State. General George B. Critten- 
den, the Confederate commander, held an entrenched 
camp at Beech Grove, on the north bank of the Cum- 
berland, in Pulaski County. A considerable force, 
under General George H. Thomas, was marching upon 
his position, but had not concentrated for an attack. 
General Crittenden sought to beat his enemy in detail 
before the impending concentration was effected. Leav- 
ing his camp with a force of about five thousand men, 
on Sunday, January 19th, before day, General Zol- 
licoffer, who commanded under Crittenden, struck the 
advanced part of this Federal force under the command 
of General George H. Thomas. Thomas had with him 
the 4th Kentucky Infantry, a portion of the 1st Ken- 
tucky Cavalry, and a regiment each from the States of 
Ohio, Indiana, and Minnesota, a force but little less than 
General Zollicoffer's attacking column. Then began the 
most hotly contested battle that had yet taken place in 
the Mississippi Valley. For some hours the fight went 
on with varying fortune, but with no clear indication 
of the result, when the overwhelming reinforcements 
received by the Federal army and the death of Zolli- 
coffer by a pistol shot from Colonel Speed Fry, who 
commanded the 4th Kentucky Infantry, decided the ac- 
tion. The Confederates were forced to their intrenched 
camp, from which they managed to escape across the 
Cumberland River during the night, by boats which 
they burned behind them, with a total loss of about 
five hundred men. The evacuated camp was found to 
contain a large amour>t of artillery, munitions, and many 

This blow removed for a moment the danger of ii^- 


vasion in Eastern Kentucky. It was several months 
before the Confederate army again gathered force and 
courage to make another attack upon the State by this 
eastern line. This battle of Mill Spring, or Logan's 
Cross Roads, though the total of killed and wounded 
did not exceed six hundred, was a remarkably well con- 
tested fight. The men on both sides were entirely un- 
used to war, yet they showed the endurance of veterans. 
In the winter of 1861-62 the success of General 
Grant's movement against the fortifications by which 
the Confederates expected to secure control of the Ten- 
nessee and the Cumberland rivers had an important in- 
fluence on the Confederate plan of campaign. The 
organization of the "provisional government" at Rus- 
sellville, and the rapid accumulation of troops and mu- 
nitions at Bowling Green, showed pretty clearly that 
the Confederates had the military capacity to foresee 
that the possession of Kentucky was absolutely neces- 
sary to the prosecution of any successful campaign in 
the valley of the Mississippi. A glance at a map of the 
United States will show that this State cuts deeply into 
the area of the South. If the Confederacy could but 
once seize upon it and hold the borders of the Ohio 
River, they would have the only strongly defensible line 
of the West. They could then hope to transfer the war 
to the very frontier of the South, or even bring its bur- 
den upon the Northern soil. The Ohio River line is 
very defensible. There are very few fords practicable 
for an army even in the lowest water ; there were 
then no bridges. With the shipping on that river de- 
stroyed, and with strongholds at a few points on the 
line of the river, they would have had a position even 
more secure than that they held in Virginia. Their 


plan evidently was to make a strong push for the pos- 
session of this Ohio line. They would then have at 
their back the fertile lands of Kentucky, richer in grain 
and horses and mules than any other part of the South, 
the best fitted to maintain an army of any State in 
the Union. together with a population of a million 
people, from which they could hope to draw a large 
force of men. The neutrality attitude of Kentucky had 
deprived them of their chance to capture this ground 
with the sudden enthusiastic rush that secured them 
Virginia ; the obstinate resistance that they had met in 
their first efforts to push flying columns into the north- 
ern part of the State during the autumn of 1861 made 
it evident that they would have to accumulate a large 
force of men before this campaign could be undertaken 
with any prospect of success ; so it was midwinter be- 
fore they were ready to act. 

In the mean time they were threatened by the way 
of the Tennessee and the Cumberland rivers, which 
streams made their position open to a turning move- 
ment from the west. They appear to have neglected 
to strengthen the fortifications on these waters in any 
effective way. The little that was known of the Fed- 
eral gunboats led the Confederate soldiers to underesti- 
mate their ability to develop any formidable attacking 
qualities ; so the fortifications on these rivers, though 
strong enough to resist any assault from the Federal 
armies, fell easily before a combined naval and military 
force. The Confederate commanders do not seem to 
have apprehended the very great importance of these 
positions, though this should have been clear to them. 

The first great misfortune to the Confederate arms 
was in the loss of Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, 


just south of the Kentucky line. This fort was com- 
manded by General Lloyd Tilghman, who was an offi- 
cer of the Kentucky State Guard, and had hastened 
into the army of the Confederacy as soon as the State 
called upon him for the service he had engaged to give. 
He surrendered his post after a few hours' bombard- 
ment, without receiving any assault. This placed Gen- 
eral Grant's force well on the flank of the column at 
Bowling Green, but as the Cumberland River was still 
held by the Confederates, that force was not yet in 
serious danger. There was still a chance for its able 
leader, General Albert Sidney Johnston, to make his 
proposed dash for Louisville and the line of the Ohio, 
provided the Cumberland River was firmly held ; but 
before this movement could be undertaken, Grant's 
fleet and army were thundering at the defenses of the 
Cumberland. General Johnston was not without a clear 
discernment of his position ; he knew that this critical 
point should have been held at all hazards, yet it was 
inefficiently defended. Only a week after the fall of 
Fort Henry Grant's forces were before the lines of Fort 
Donelson. The action began on the 12th of February, 
and lasted five days. The Confederates in this fort 
were under the command of Generals Floyd and Pil- 
low. General Buckner, lately in charge of the Ken- 
tucky Guard, was the third in command. The total 
Confederate force available for the defense of Donelson 
amounted to about fifteen thousand men, who occupied 
an exceedingly strong natural position, which had been 
made stronger by an abundant expenditure of engineer- 
ing skill. 1 Grant's force was nearly twice as numerous 
as that of the Confederates, but the strength of the 
1 See Life of Albert Sidney Johnston, p. 443. 


Confederate lines made the conditions of the struggle 
not unequal. The Confederate artillery succeeded, in 
the end, in crippling all the gunboats before they had 
destroyed the defenses of the stronghold. It then re- 
mained for the Federal army to carry the position by 

The Federal forces essayed several assaults, but were 
easily beaten back with severe loss. This, in connec- 
tion with the successful combat with the gunboats, would 
have encouraged a well trained soldier to hold his 
ground with the hope that at the right moment he 
might take the offensive against his enfeebled antago- 
nist. But Floyd, though brave enough, was not made 
of war-proof material. He had been charged by Gen- 
eral Johnston under any circumstances to save his army, 
so he determined to cut his way out, and escape with his 
force to Nashville while it was possible. A sortie was 
determined on and abandoned, and finally replanned and 
successfully executed with great gallantry. The Fed- 
eral line gave way, was thrown back like a door on its 
hinges, and the way of escape for the Confederates lay 
wide open. An unfounded alarm concerning Federal 
reinforcements caused Floyd to return to his intrench- 
ments after he had practically attained the object of his 
sortie. His troops had been worn out in winning their 
profitless victory, and were benumbed by a fierce win- 
ter's storm. Still they had not lost more than one in ten 
of their numbers. It was determined to surrender after 
a portion of the army had been passed over the river to 
the uninvested side of the fortress, and another part es- 
caped up the stream on a steamer. General Buckner, 
to whom the command had been turned over, capitu- 
lated to General Grant. Soldiers of the Commonwealth, 


both Confederate and Federal, were engaged in this 
battle, two regiments on each side, and did their 
share of the fighting. The Confederate loss in killed 
and wounded was 1,338 men, or about one tenth their 
force, and 8,000 prisoners. The Federal loss by wounds 
was about the same. 

It is the general opinion of military men that the de- 
fense of Fort Donelson, though obstinate, was not as 
desperate as the exigencies of the Confederate cause de- 
manded. The chance of ultimate Confederate success 
in Kentucky depended on the issue of this defense 
more than it ever depended on any other battle in the 
Mississippi Valley. On it hung also the power of the 
Confederacy to control the State of Tennessee, and its 
chance of getting possession of Kentucky. It was for 
the Southern cause the most serious action of the war. 
The commander should have sacrificed everything for 
the reasonable hope that he might in the end have 
worn out the force of his enemy. If there ever was a 
position in which a desperate defense was called for, it 
was at Fort Donelson. But there was a singular lack 
of determination in the resistance that the Confederacy 
made at this stage of that western campaign. On the 
14th of February, even before the fate of Donelson was 
fully decided by the issue of battle, General Johnston, 
accepting defeat as inevitable, began the evacuation of 
Bowling Green. The Confederate army was compelled 
to destroy the stores accumulated for the Kentucky cam- 
paign, necessarily abandoned on the fall of Donelson. 
On the 27th of the month the Confederate position at 
Columbus, the occupation of which by General Polk 
had ended the neutrality of Kentucky, was evacuated. 

These movements cleared away the first invasion of 


Kentucky. There were now no organized bodies of the 
enemy within its limits, nor for months was its peace 
disturbed except by raids of the Confederates. 

This failure of the Confederates to obtain possession 
of Kentucky at the outset of the war was in good part 
due to their own extreme caution. This caution is very 
instructive. It will be noticed that the Confederate 
army consisted in large part of Kentuckians, including 
the most enthusiastic and soldierly part of the popula- 
tion ; it was commanded by men like Johnston, Buck- 
ner, Crittenden, and Tilghman, who were intimately ac- 
quainted with the State and with the temper of the 
people. In their public utterances, the Confederates 
always claimed that Kentucky was in thorough sym- 
pathy with their cause. Why, then, we may ask, did 
they not at once push north and rescue their State from 
Federal domination ? When Buckner moved from Nash- 
ville to Bowling Green, there were few troops in Ken- 
tucky except those native to the State ; if he could 
have counted on the sympathy of the population, he 
would have had no difficulty in overrunning the State, 
for the men whom he received as recruits would have 
been as fit for service as the raw Federal levies. Their 
action makes it evident that the Confederate leaders 
did not believe that Kentucky would receive them with 
open arms. If they had any doubts on the subject, the 
spirited battles between their scouting parties and the 
citizens cleared their minds, and showed them that it 
would require about the same force to invade Kentucky 
as it would to march into the States north of the Ohio. 
It is likely that this view of Kentucky's position did 
much to hinder the movement from Bowling Green to 
the northward. ' 


The belief that Kentucky was with them in spirit, 
though not held by those who knew most of the matter, 
grew to be a mania with Confederate authorities at 
Richmond. It resembled the Northern idea of the im- 
mense Union interest in the South, or the longing of the 
Degrees to take active measures to secure their free- 
dom. Such delusions, born of desire, are an accompani- 
ment of all civil wars ; these wars are always fought in 
a glamour, a sort of moonshine of sentiments and prej- 
udices, that change the facts out of their semblance of 
reality. It is necessary to wait until all these delusions 
have cleared away before the truth can be seen. 

The Confederates while at Bowling Green had 
learned a part of their lesson concerning the attitude of 
Kentucky. They were even better advised by the re- 
sults of Bragg's subsequent campaign ; but with many 
the delusion that Kentucky was at heart a Southern 
State still remained alive. 



THE process of organizing Kentucky troops in the 
first few months of the period following the overthrow 
of neutrality went on with very great rapidity. Al- 
though the Commonwealth lost the first flower of her 
military material by the secession of the greater part of 
the State Guard, for with them went those young men 
who had been selected to form the first levy of the 
State, such was the energy of the work of organization, 
that on February 18th, five months from the time she 
cast in her lot with the North, the State already had in 
the Federal army 24,026 infantry, 4,979 cavalry, and 
198 artillery men, a total of 29,203 men. This does 
not include a large force of Home Guards, men who 
were under a certain discipline, and in a way doing 
valuable work in resisting the small cavalry forays 
which the Confederates were constantly making into 
the State. In this five months, despite the depletion 
of the population from the going south of a force that 
may be estimated at 35,000 men, the State had propor- 
tionately more soldiers in the field than any other State 
within the Federal Union. 

In its repeated sessions the legislators gave little at- 
tention to anything but the war; still some of the legis- 
lation is interesting, as showing that they found time 


for other considerations. In February, during the time 
when the battles of Forts Henry and Donelson were 
being fought, they passed an important bill concerning 
the organization of Transylvania University, an insti- 
tution in which the State had long been deeply inter- 
ested. They also provided that the school terms inter- 
rupted by the crisis of 1861 should be completed during 
the year 1862. At this time the war seemed to act as 
a needed stimulus to the energies of the people. 

Now for the first time we find severe legislation di- 
rected against those who had passed from the State 
into the Confederate army. Such persons were de- 
clared to have expatriated themselves, and were not to 
be restored to citizenship except by permission of the 
legislature. The governor vetoed this bill, but it was 
quickly passed over his veto. Legal proceedings were 
authorized to secure from the so-called provisional gov- 
ernment a portion of the State taxes that it had laid 
hands on while the Confederate army held the country 
south of Green River. 1 A suit for money against citi- 
zens in rebellion is a novelty in civil warfare. 

In April came the great battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburg 
Landing, a battle in which nearly every State of the 
Mississippi Valley had a melancholy interest. 

After the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson the 
Federal army showed something of the -same lack of 
energy in their action that the Confederates had done 
in the defense of these posts. A Federal force of about 
twenty thousand men was left on the west bank of the 
Tennessee in a poor position, exposed to an unknown 
forte of the enemy under the command of General Al- 
bert Sidney Johnston. This Federal force knew so lit- 
i Collins, i. 101. 


tie of the enemy, that on the morning of April 6th they 
were driven from their very tents by an attack of the 
whole Confederate army of the Tennessee. After a day 
of overwhelming disasters, that even the persistent valor 
of his best men could in no way stay, General Grant's 
army was driven back upon the river in nearly utter 
rout, with the loss of nearly one fifth of the force as 
prisoners. By great good fortune, while his army was 
scarcely more than the debris of the command, and was 
exposed to utter destruction, he was reinforced by Gen- 
eral Buell, who, by a hurried march of twenty-five miles, 
one of the finest feats of American military history, suc- 
ceeded in interposing his army of twenty thousand men 
between the wreck of Grant's army and the victorious 

Thus what promised to be an overwhelming victory 
for the rebel army was turned into a disastrous defeat, 
through the action of General Buell, whom we are here- 
after to see treated with most unmerited severity, and 
left in his time of trial without a friendly word from the 
man whom he had saved from utter ruin. If Grant's 
army had fallen a prey to the Confederates, as it would 
certainly have done if Buell, acting on his own sense of 
the emergency, had not hastened with great celerity to 
its rescue, all that had been gained by the victories at 
Donelson and Henry would have been quickly lost. The 
subsequent movement of the Confederates into Ken- 
tucky would have been a triumphal march instead of 
the disastrous series of blunders which it came to be. 

The victory at Pittsburg Lauding was dearly bought ; 
no other battle in which Kentucky troops had ever be- 
fore been engaged was so bloody. The Federal loss in 
killed and wounded was about ten thousand, the Con-, 


federates about the same, so that the action deserves to 
rank with the greater battles of history. The loss of 
the Kentucky troops was particularly severe. It is not 
possible to determine the precise number of men from 
this Commonwealth engaged in the action. There were 
twelve regiments from the Commonwealth in the Fed- 
eral army, 1 amounting probably to a total of about six 
thousand men. Eight of these regiments showed a loss 
of five hundred men ; the loss in the other regiments is 
not traceable. On the Confederate side the loss of Ken- 
tucky commands amounted to six hundred and eighty. 
It is likely that the total loss in the Kentucky com- 
mands amounted to about thirteen hundred men, or 
nearly two per cent, of the men of military age and fit- 
ness for service, a dreadfully heavy tax. 

This battle, so dear in men, was practically without 
consequences; the Confederate army was not followed 
up ; its beaten but undismayed forces made their way to 
other fields of action. In the months of waiting, while 
the Federal commanders were trying to find what they 
wanted to do with their victories on the Tennessee and 
Cumberland, the Confederate government essayed a most 
important campaign, which had again for its .aim the 
possession of Kentucky. 

In the early part of the war President Lincoln, who 
seems to have had an excellent natural capacity for mili- 
tary affairs, saw the supreme importance of that point 
of the Appalachian Mountains which lies about Cum- 
berland Gap. It is easily seen that by way of this 
region, through which lies the high road by which the 
settlement of Kentucky was in the main effected, the 

1 Collins gives the total as sixteen regiments, and sets the loss at 
five hundred in eight regiments. See i. 102. 


Confederate armies could quickly and easily force them- 
selves on to Central Kentucky. Besides this mountain 
pass, known as Cumberland Gap, there are several other 
roads, all passing near this gap, by which troops could 
make their way from Central and Eastern Tennessee. 

President Lincoln's plan was to have a railway con- 
structed to Cumberland Gap, and that point strongly 
fortified, so that an army there might give an element 
of security to Central Kentucky, and threaten the rebel 
lines of communication in Eastern Tennessee. His pro- 
ject, though excellent in its conception, was never car- 
ried out. This part of the State was never provided 
with any adequate defenses. It was always as easy for 
the Confederate forces to turn the Federal position on 
its east flank as it was for the Federals to make their 
way by the Tennessee and Cumberland to the west 
of any force they had in Tennessee. The Confederate 
armies had been subjected to incessant defeat in the 
region adjacent to these rivers. As long as they were 
navigable to the Federal gunboats and transports the 
Confederates were at a hopeless disadvantage. They 
were at first slow to perceive this. In fact, the use 
of light draft gunboats extemporized from Mississippi 
steamers, convoying a fleet of admirably constructed 
transports, such as that type of vessels afforded, was 
an altogether new feature in warfare. Railways could 
easily be broken by raiding parties, and at best the 
transporting power of a poorly constructed single track 
railway was small. A stream like the Tennessee or 
the Mississippi, once in the control of gunboats, could 
not be wrested from an enemy's hands without defeating 
their fleet, an impossible task for the Southern Con- 


After the defeat of their army at Shiloh, the Con- 
federates were compelled for a time to abandon any 
further effort to approach Kentucky by way of Nash- 
ville, and laid their plans for an invasion on lines far 
enough to the east to avoid the danger of being attacked 
on their left wing from the Federal forces in control of 
the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. The Confed- 
erate lines had been pushed south and east, to near 
Chattanooga, by the advance of Buell's forces. The 
tide was setting so strongly against them, that if their 
hold upon the Mississippi Valley was to be preserved 
they must make another push for Kentucky. Their 
extreme need at this time developed a man who was 
one of the most extraordinary characters of the war, 
a man of whom it is hardly too much to say that he 
created and developed a new branch of the military 
art. John Hunt Morgan was one of the most notable 
soldiers that the war developed. A native of Alabama, 
he became in his youth a citizen of Kentucky ; he was 
a lieutenant in Humphrey Marshall's regiment in the 
Mexican War, and took a part in the battle of Buena 
Vista, but in no way did he give any promise of his 
subsequent career, nor was his purely commercial life 
from 1847 to 1861 in the least degree likely to arouse 
his dormant powers ; it was spent in inaction. He was 
a captain in the State Guard, and escaped with his 
command to the Confederate army. Early in the war 
he showed his singular capacity for swift and effective 

To Morgan may be attributed the invention of the 
raid in the rear of the enemy, which became such a 
peculiar feature in the Civil War. Used skillfully, this 
form of operations showed itself to be a most valuable 


means for relieving the pressure brought about by a 
vigorous advance of an enemy, when that advance has 
led him far from his base. It may fairly be said that 
Morgan's successes compelled the Federal army to use 
one fourth of its force for rear-guards that would not 
otherwise have been required for this service. 

But for its accomplishment this method of action de- 
manded very peculiar qualities in commander and men. 
To be successful the leader must take no counsel of his 
fears ; have very quick wits, a great power of inven- 
tion, and a great tactical capacity. His subordinates 
must share his qualities, for both in advance and retreat 
the movements of the force must be often by numer- 
ous detachments, so as to blind the enemy to his plans. 
His men, too, must have the power of acting individ- 
ually, and have an absolute confidence in their chief. 
With these conditions it is possible for a horsed force 
of three thousand men to keep ten times their number 
occupied in the defense of depots and communications ; 
they can destroy communications, capture weak posts, 
and in a critical moment break up the enemy's plan of 
campaign by requiring the detachment of so many 
troops that the striking power is gone from his army. 
Morgan's subordinate officers were nearly all Kentuck- 
ians, as were by far the greater part of his men. Their 
wonderful work is perhaps the best evidence of the 
military capacity of this people. More than any other 
T t shows the people to possess fertility of invention, en- 
durance, and the vigor in action demanded in success- 
ful war. 

Colonel Morgan, after being engaged in many expe- 
ditions and seeing much service in the more southern 
States, made his first raid into Kentucky in June, 1862, 


on the lines of the Louisville and Nashville Railway in 
Kentucky ; he captured some trains and a few soldiers, 
but the result was inconsiderable. This with his previ- 
ous partisan work in Tennessee was, however, enough 
to show the possibility of such cutting out tactics. Early 
in June, with a force of a little less than one thousand 
men, he again entered Kentucky. Leaving Knoxville 
on the 4th of July, on the 8th he defeated a force of 
250 men at Tompkinsville, Monroe County; getting 
possession of the telegraph wires, he sent false dis- 
patches to the Federal commanders so as to open his 
way to the North. This use of the telegraph to deceive 
the enemy was a novelty in the art of war, and a re- 
source that often served Morgan in his movements. 
On the llth, he was checked by a Federal force at 
New Hope, in Nelson County, but on the 12th he cap- 
tured Lebanon with a small force stationed there. 

Morgan quickly adopted the plan of rarely giving bat- 
tle if he could possibly help it. More clearly than any 
other commander he recognized the limitations of his 
activities. In a running fight with the Home Guards, 
he passed on to Harrodsburg, burning bridges and de- 
stroying the railway as he went. Masked by a cloud 
of skirmishers which he threw about him, it was im- 
possible for the Federal commanders to determine his 
force, which was commonly believed to be several times 
as large as it really was, or to determine the direction 
of his movements. He constantly used the telegraph 
lines to magnify his forces in the eyes of the Federal 
commanders, and to change the disposition of their 
troops to suit his purpose. Cincinnati and Louisville 
were almost without troops, and were greatly alarmed 
by the invasion. Moving toward Cincinnati so as to 


compel a Federal concentration there, Morgan on the 
17th captured Cynthiana, a town about sixty-five miles 
south of Cincinnati, despite the sturdy resistance of the 
Home Guards and a part of a newly organized regiment 
under Colonel Landrum ; the loss was about sixty men 
on each side in killed and wounded. At this point he 
destroyed a large amount of government stores. He 
was now pressed by a superior force of Kentucky cav- 
alry under General Green Clay Smith and Colonel 
Wolford, and by them was forced into a rapid retreat to 
East Tennessee, on which, however, he was able to de- 
stroy a large amount of government property. His re- 
port shows that in twenty-four days' campaign he trav- 
eled over 1000 miles, "captured" 17 towns, paroled 
about 1,200 regular troops, and lost in the raid only 90 
of his men. 1 The destruction of Federal stores proba- 
bly amounted to over a million dollars in value, and at 
least nearly twenty thousand men were for the time 
tied to the government posts they were guarding, or 
occupied in pursuing him. 

From this success came many similar though less 
spirited raids into Kentucky under the lead of inferior 
commanders. There were in the next few months many 
small actions all over the State, principally between 
these raiders and the Home Guards. These move- 
ments were but the precursors of the last great effort 
the Confederacy was about to make to gain possession 
of Kentucky. Under the cover of this cloud of raid- 
ing parties that forced back the Federal scouts, and 
thoroughly masked their movements, the Confederate 
tirmy, which had been gathered in East Tennessee under 

1 Collins, i. p. 104; also, Dukes' History of Morgan's Cavalry, p. 
182 et seq. 


command of Generals Bragg and Kirby Smith, ad- 
vanced into Central Kentucky. At this time the Fed- 
eral forces in this section of the State consisted of 
about ten thousand men, all except two regiments be- 
ing raw troops recently brought into the State from 
Ohio and Indiana. 

This force was under the general command of the able 
but erratic General William Nelson. General Nelson 
was an excellent division commander, as was well proven 
at Shiloh, where he won distinguished credit. He was, 
however, unfitted by his furious nature for indepen- 
dent command. Nelson expected the attack, but was 
surprised by the amazing swiftness of the Confederate 
advance, for in three days they had marched nearly 
ninety miles. Nelson himself was at Lexington, when he 
should have been with his army. About all his force, 
consisting of Hanson's and Cruft's brigades, amounting 
to about seven thousand men, were posted in Richmond 
when the Federal pickets gave a brief warning of the 
enemy's approach. There were only these two inex- 
perienced brigadiers with their raw troops to meet the 
Confederate force. The senior and commanding officer, 
Manson, believing that he had only to deal with one of 
the numerous raiding parties of the enemy, moved out 
with his own brigade, leaving Cruft in Richmond. 

At Rogersville, a few miles beyond Richmond, he re- 
pulsed the vanguard of the Confederate army. After 
the night came, he, still thinking that he had to deal 
with a small body which he had easily beaten, ad- 
vanced still further away from his supports in Rich- 
mond. In this more advanced position he became on 
the following day engaged with the whole of Kirby 
Smith's army, more than double his force. For the mo- 


ment it went well with him, for Kirby Smith detached 
half his force under General Churchill to execute a 
flank movement. This body missed its way and did not 
at first take part in the action. Manson's force, although 
it was their first action, did gallant duty. Cleburne, the 
ablest of the Confederate generals, was wounded, and the 
Confederate advance stayed. Then at last Churchill 
found the right wing of Manson's brigade, broke it, 
and although General Cruft came up with a regiment 
and two batteries of the force that had been left in Rich- 
mond, the exhaustion of the Federal ammunition in the 
regiments most hotly engaged, and the disorder of the 
troops on the right, made it impossible to resist the re- 
peated assaults of the veteran enemy. Mauson ordered 
a retreat to Rogers ville, hoping to reform there under 
the protection of the remainder of Cruft's force that was 
marching towards him. Retreating to this point, the 
Federal commands reformed in good shape, but after an 
hour's fighting their right was again turned, and the de- 
moralized force driven back into Richmond. There 
they met General Nelson, who, raging like a wounded 
lion, tried to restore a line of battle. A small part of 
the force again gallantly rallied, but only for a brief re- 
sistance ; they were quickly broken by the Confederates, 
and almost all of the men captured. Nelson was an 
hour too late ; the tide of fugitives swept back towards 
the bridge over the Kentucky River. For a little while 
it seemed as if they were safe ; the Confederate infantry 
was too much exhausted by the long and fierce fighting 
for further pursuit. 

But even this chance of safety for the broken army 
was to be lost. Colonel Scott, commanding Kirby 
Smith's cavalry, who had been marching on a detour 


to the west to secure the infantry column against any 
movement on its flank, struck the road in front of the 
rout of the utterly broken but not dismayed army. 
General Manson, with a hundred men, tried to beat 
them off, but was soon overcome. All the artillery and 
trains and three thousand prisoners fell into the Con- 
federate hands. The remainder scattered through the 
woods and by-paths in utter rout and confusion. The 
debris of the defeated army came out to the Ohio River, 
all the way from the Little Sandy River to Louisville, 
a line three hundred miles in length. 

In no other case during the war was an army so 
completely annihilated in a single day's battle. Gen- 
eral Nelson, himself wounded, escaped, but the greater 
part of his officers fell into the hands of the enemy. 
The Federal loss is not known with certainty ; it was 
probably about 300 killed, 600 wounded, and about 
3,500 prisoners. The Confederates lost 250 killed and 
700 wounded. It is manifest that the Federal troops, 
though raw, on the whole behaved with remarkable 
steadiness in the face of the larger and veteran force 
that they resisted so long. The battle does not deserve 
the opprobrious names that have been given to it. A 
raw force of 7,000, under inexperienced commanders, 
hud held its own for hours against twice its number of 
the best Confederate troops. But for Scott's luck in 
striking the road of their retreat, their disorder would 
have been by no means overwhelming, and on the fine 
of the Kentucky River they might have fought again. 

Although the Confederates had suffered heavily, their 
victory was full of promise. They had beaten the only 
organized troops in Kentucky. General Buell, the de- 
partment commander, still holding to the notion that 


Bragg, with his army of 40,000 men, intended to strike 
him in Central Tennessee, had made no preparations 
to meet this unexpected movement of his enemy into 
Kentucky. Kirby Smith now had command of about 
10,000 men, who in their triumph forgot the fatigues of 
their forced march. The redoubtable Morgan's force 
was hastening to his support. There was a wide field 
of action before him. 

While Buell was awaiting the Confederate attack 
in Eastern Tennessee, Bragg, encouraged by Kirby 
Smith's successes, and well informed as to the exposed 
position of Kentucky, began his march across the Ten- 
nessee table-land to enter Kentucky. It was desirable 
for him to threaten Nashville in order to delay Buell's 
movement towards Kentucky. This he accomplished 
by moving westward on the Knoxville and Nashville 
turnpike to the village of Carthage, from which point 
he turned northward into Kentucky. Moreover, by 
this route he gained new and richer foraging ground by 
which to supply his army on the march, Eastern Ken- 
tucky not offering supplies for so large an army. 

When Bragg entered Kentucky, Buell's force was 
massed between Murfreesboro and Nashville. By this 
movement Bragg placed himself so near the line of 
Buell's communications with Central Kentucky that he 
might hinder, by his raiding parties, his enemy's effort 
to^et north on the Louisville and Nashville Railway. 
It was not until Bragg actually turned north into Ken- 
tucky that Buell had a right to feel sure that his ob- 
ject was not to fight in Tennessee. So far Bragg's 
movement was skillfully contrived, and it is hard to see 
how it could have been met by Buell in any more sat- 
isfactory way, though if Bragg's object had been to seizp 


Louisville or Cincinnati, he had wasted time in march- 
ing so far westward, for he could have hastened Buell's 
retrograde movement equally well by means of powerful 
detachments of cavalry, of which he had a large force. 
As we shall see, the eight days that Bragg spent in 
this movement, which was intended to threaten Nash- 
ville, was probably the cause of his failure in his main 
object, which we may presume to have been the capture 
of Louisville and Cincinnati and the gaining a good 
position in Kentucky. 1 

Even after he had made his westward march, Bragg's 
advance was exceedingly dilatory. On September 12th 
his infantry advance force was only at Glasgow, having 
marched very easily all the preceding week. Veteran 
men could not have been worn down by their slow 
marching and in need of the rest he gave them. Bragg 
had now lost at least ten precious days. Though sin- 
gularly well placed for giving quick blows, he was pur- 

1 The Comte cle Paris thinks that Bragg moved west in order to 
have the advantage of a turnpike. This was not at all necessary for 
his movement. He could easily have gone into Kentucky by way of 
Big Creek Gap, the route pursued by Kirby Smith, and he would 
thereby have saved a week of precious time. It is likely that in part 
his aim was to secure a way through region that would forage his 
army. But the principal reason for this movement was doubtless the 
hope that he might be able to capture Nashville by a sudden assault. 
Bragg had with him the Confederate government of Tennessee. If by 
any chance he could regain Nashville and reestablish the Confederate 
State authority in that place, he would be in a much stronger posi- 
tion for his Kentucky campaign. At this time Bragg had upon his 
staff as aid Colonel J. Stoddard Johnston, a nephew of General Albert 
Sidney Johnston. Colonel Johnston was, in the main, the originator 
of the plan of this campaign. He urged upon his chief the necessity 
of vigor in its prosecution, but Bragg seems to have been paralyzed 
by the magnitude of the undertaking he had set about. A com- 
mander of vigor in lesser operations of war, he now moved like a man 
in a dream. 


sued by a powerful enemy under the command of an 
able general, who though slow to move was extremely 
careful of his steps and never blundered into danger. 
Bragg's project was, in its motive, a raid in force re- 
sembling, in a way, Morgan's. exploits, and controlled 
by the same need of swiftness in action. If his whole 
army could not be carried rapidly forward it should 
have been divided, a rear-guard left to resist Buell's 
northward movement, and the remainder hurried for- 
ward for a junction with Kirby Smith's victorious troops, 
who only needed a little help to secure both Louisville 
and Cincinnati. 

At the crossing of the Green River, Bragg found 
himself opposed by a force of 3,500 men, under the 
command of General Wilder. This officer was in- 
trenched in a position that commanded the crossing of 
the railway and turnpike road. An effort was made to 
carry this position by assault, but failed. Bragg was 
then three days in investing and reducing this work, 
and forcing it to surrender. He won it on the 16th. 
This position could have been left with its garrison 
without delaying the Confederate march more than 
a few hours. When Bragg should have been the mas- 
ter of Louisville, he was occupying himself in captur- 
ing this petty stronghold. 

Kirby Smith, whose army had now been increased 
by a force of several thousand under General Heth, 
was now well up to the line of the Ohio before Louis- 
ville and Cincinnati. He had a force near each of 
these points strong enough to tempt him to an assault, 
but was restrained by the orders of Bragg. Two 
courses were now open to General Bragg ; despite his 
delays he was still a good four days ahead of the north- 


ward moving army under Buell. He could have turned 
sharply to the south, struck the Federal force, fatigued 
with its long marches, and drawn out of battle order by 
the need of movement over several parallel roads ; or 
he could have still pushed northward, captured Louis- 
ville or Cincinnati, and gathering support from Kirby 
Smith and Heth, have given battle to Buell with su- 
perior numbers. But General Bragg, though an excel- 
lent artillery officer, found the position he now occupied 
too complicated for his powers. In his place Stonewall 
Jackson would have beaten the army of Buell in detail, 
and thus won the possession of Kentucky for the Con- 
federacy ; as it was, he fell between two lines of bril- 
liant and promising action ; he turned to the eastward 
on the road to Lexington, gathering ponderous trains of 
supplies from the rich country as he went, and allowed 
Buell to move on to Louisville, which he entered on 
September 29th. So slow was Bragg's movement that 
he took sixteen days to march the one hundred and 
twenty miles between the Green River, at the point 
where he crossed it, and Lexington, a march that could 
easily have been made in nine days. 

In order to see the imminent peril of Kentucky at 
this time, it will be necessary to consider the conditions 
at Cincinnati and Louisville while they were threatened 
by the armies of Generals Bragg, Heth, and Kirby 
Smith. Bragg's possession of the latter point would 
have placed Buell's army in a hopeless position ; he 
would have been compelled to find his way to the Ohio, 
at some point where he could have opened new commu- 
nications. This would have been, in the face of a vic- 
torious and vigilant enemy, a serious difficulty even for 
a commander of Buell's great ability. 


As before noted, the army of General Kirby Smith 
had the roads to the Ohio wide open to where the force 
under General Nelson was scattered at Richmond. Af- 
ter that signal victory he was reinforced by Heth and 
Morgan ; with these added forces General Smith imme- 
diately closed down on Cincinnati and Louisville. At 
the moment when the Confederate forces appeared be- 
fore these cities they could easily have been taken by 
assault, and thereby the base of supplies of the army 
of the Tennessee would have fallen into the Confed- 
erate hands. Heth's force threatening Cincinnati, 
amounting to not over nine thousand men, occupied a 
commanding position within five miles of Cincinnati, 
which was practically undefended. When he first set 
down before that city there were no troops that were 
likely to be useful in action to oppose him. The de- 
fenses consisted of a few weak unconnected redoubts, 
mounting about a dozen pieces of siege artillery, along 
a line nearly ten miles in length. This line was pene- 
trable at many points where it could not be swept by 
the fire of these guns. The surface of the country con- 
sists of sharp ridges and deep, interlaced valleys, re- 
quiring a very extensive system of fortifications to make 
it secure. Moreover, there were no gunners trained to 
the use of such pieces of artillery as were available, 
which require especial skill to make them effective 
against a well managed assault. There was, at the 
moment, hardly a single regiment on the ground that 
could have been trusted to be steady in the open field. 
The force there was altogether of newly enlisted troops, 
with no confidence in their officers, and with a great 
and well founded fear of the rebel prowess. 

On the report of Kirby Smith's northward march, 


from Lexington the States north of the Ohio were pro- 
foundly stirred. Thousands of volunteers, with domes- 
tic arms, but without organization or discipline, flocked 
to Cincinnati and Louisville. At Cincinnati the com- 
mand fell to General Lew Wallace, an officer of singu- 
lar energy in the work of organization. By him the 
city was at once placed under martial law, and nearly 
every man in it set to work upon the fortifications ; in 
about thirty-six hours the detached redoubts were con- 
nected by rifle pits, behind which the " squirrel hun- 
ters,'' as the volunteers were termed, found a position 
where it was hoped they could make some resistance. 
It is doubtful if ever before a line of fortifications of 
such length was constructed with such rapidity. Still, 
when, on September 6th, Kirby Smith's force arrived 
within sight of the fortifications, the defenses were in- 
complete, arid the horde of unformed citizens in the 
trenches, mingled with the half-armed, undisciplined, uu- 
commanded militia, would have given way before such 
a charge as the men who won the battle of Richmond 
could easily have made. 

Until the morning of September 8th, General Kirby 
Smith could have broken this line with the loss of a 
few score of men. Once within the defenses the very 
numbers of the mob engaged in the defense would have 
made his victory the more certain. There was no sec- 
ond line of defense, and the only line of retreat was by 
way of the single pontoon bridge over the Ohio. It 
was quite possible for the Confederates to capture the 
whole force. But the lethargy that had come with 
Bragg's assumption of the command paralyzed Kirby 
Smith and his able lieutenant, Heth. 

While these scenes of confusion, so tempting to the 


vigorous spirits of dashing commanders, were going on 
at Cincinnati, similar conditions prevailed at Louisville. 
A throng of willing but unorganized citizens was all 
that intervened between Bragg's force and the immense 
stores that had been gathered for the supply of Buell's 
army. After remaining six days in front of Cincinnati, 
restrained from action by the orders of the slow moving 
Bragg, General Heth was ordered back to Lexington 
to effect a junction with Bragg. About the same time 
Kirby Smith also fell back from his advanced positions 
towards Bragg's army. Although the Confederates 
thus lost the golden opportunity of doing great things 
for their cause, the Federal inaction was almost equally 
blundering. When, on September 9th, Kirby Smith, 
with not more than nine thousand men, was within sight 
of Cincinnati, the Federal force behind the fortifications 
amounted to over thirty thousand men. At least one 
third of these were veteran soldiers belonging to com- 
mands which had been hastily sent from the West. 
Heth's position was in the apex of a triangle, two 
sides of which were formed by the sharp northward 
bend of the Ohio River. The fortifications were now 
in such shape that they could have been safely trusted 
to one third of this force. With the remainder, or say 
twenty thousand men, the Federal commander could 
have easily overwhelmed and captured the little Con- 
federate army. 

While these vacillating and abortive movements were 
under way, Buell was steadily and certainly creeping 
along lines a few miles to the west of Bragg's army, 
towards Louisville. He had to subsist, in the main, 
from the country, and therefore was compelled to move 
with divided forces in several roads. A quick move- 


ment of Bragg's forces, after they had united with 
Smith, would have enabled him to strike Buell with 
superior numbers, while he was drawn out in this dan- 
gerous way by the needs of his march. There is rea- 
son to believe that he could have beaten him in detail, 
and forced the remnants of his army into the forests of 
Western Kentucky, where there would have been no 
subsistence for it. 

When Buell got to Louisville on the 2oth of Septem- 
ber, Bragg had lost his last opportunity of effective 
action in this momentous campaign. 

As soon as Buell's army was within the strong de- 
fenses of Louisville, Bragg's position changed from one 
that gave unbounded opportunities of attack to a purely 
defensive attitude. Buell's force was increased by a 
valuable reinforcement sent by river from Corinth, 
Miss., and by new and willing recruits from the North, 
until it amounted to one hundred thousand men, about 
one half being raw troops, the remainder seasoned vet- 
erans of that capital material which formed the early 
regiments of the Western States. Taking four days to 
reorganize and recruit his troops, none too much for the 
needed repair of his army before it set out on another 
long campaign, Buell prepared to take the offensive. 

On the day appointed for his marching, an order 
came for him to turn over his command to General 
George H. Thomas, one of his corps commanders. At 
Thomas's own earnest intercession this order was re- 
voked, but the discussion caused a delay of a day in 
the movements of the army, and the incident did much 
to diminish the effective control of Buell over his troops. 
The Washington authorities seemed to have a genius 
for removals at the most critical moments of campaigns. 


If Buell was to be removed, the action should have 
come as soon as he reached Louisville. 

At this time Bragg, having wasted the last opportu- 
nities of fortune, seeins to have abandoned all expecta- 
tion of doing more than effecting a retreat which should 
be slow enough to give time for his enormous trains, 
full of the booty, of war material and provisions that 
he had gorged himself with, to creep into East Tennes- 
see. To do this effectively he had determined, as far 
as he was capable of determination, to hold against 
Buell's advance the rectangular line formed by the Ken- 
tucky River and Dick's River, a steep-banked tributary 
of the Kentucky, that falls into it not far from Lex- 
ington. This was a naturally strong position, and was 
the stronger by the fact that an extraordinary drought 
had made it nearly impossible for Buell's army to find 
water away from the main streams. For nearly a month 
every military movement was hampered by this diffi- 
culty. There was hardly a march of Bragg's or Buell's 
army that was not in part determined by this unprece- 
dented drought. 

In his retreat Bragg proved by his movements that 
he was nearly as incompetent in defense as in attack. 
In the first place, he assumed that the Federal force 
would march by way of Frankfort, a path that would 
have placed Buell's army in great difficulties because 
of the rugged nature of the country caused by the 
deeply incised streams that enter the Kentucky River 
in that district. In this he reckoned without his host. 
Buell took the simpler and more effective plan of mov- 
ing towards Dick's River by way of Bardstown and 
Lebanon, where he had a plain country to traverse, 
one not affording strong positions to an enemy, an/3 


affording ground for a well-developed battle ; moreover, 
he secured by his route possession of a reasonably good 
railway, that needed but little repair to serve for the 
transportation of his supplies. This movement had also 
the advantage that it brought his army well on the 
flank of Bragg's coarse in his intended retreat. 

While Bragg, assuming that Buell would advance by 
way of Frankfort, was effecting a concentration near 
Lexington, Buell was slowly moving upon his flank. 
It is likely that Bragg's desire to remain north of the 
Kentucky River was in part due to his anxiety to carry 
out a political manoeuvre that was then under way. As 
soon as the Confederates obtained possession of Frank- 
fort they had a long-desired opportunity of giving some 
semblance of fact to the provisional government in Ken- 
tucky, by installing their officers in the State capital. 
It took some time to gather this ghost of a government 
at the capital, and to go through the form of electing 
and inaugurating a successor as governor to Colonel 
Johnson, who had met a soldier's death at Shiloh. 

Buell was in motion before the preliminaries to the 
induction ceremonies were under way. Just as the 
new governor was making his speech Sill's division, 
sent out as a flanking party of Buell's march, began to 
fire on the town. The flowing periods of Governor 
Hawes were interrupted, and with his staff he was driven 
through the tunnel near the capital on his way to Lex- 
ington. It was probably to complete this political farce 
that Bragg had loitered with a large part of his army 
about Lexington and Frankfort, as he for a similar 
purpose had loitered near Nashville, when he should 
have been concentrating his forces to meet the mena- 
cing flank movement of the Federal army. This he 


endeavored to effect when it was too late to get the 
profit of it. Buell's forces were now in a tolerably 
compact series of columns near Lebanon, marching by 
parallel roads towards Dick's River. If his army had 
not contained a large portion of raw troops, who had 
not yet been trained in marching, and who were worn 
out by the heat and dust, he would have been able to 
interpose his army between Bragg and his line of re- 

On October 8th the Federal columns were all within 
easy supporting distance of each other, a few miles west 
of Perry ville. The advance was at Doctor's Fork, a 
small stream now reduced by the drought to a few 
pools of stagnant water. The line of this stream was 
occupied by Sheridan's division, whose outposts were 
posted only a little distance beyond the stream. The 
wooded nature of the country prevented any distant 
view, and the men were too much exhausted for a vig- 
orous reconnaissance ; still it was a mistake to rest over 
night in the face of dangers that even a trifling scout 
would have revealed. The failure to make this recon- 
naissance was the only serious mistake that can be 
charged against the Federal commander. It was a mis- 
take, but one more visible in the retrospect than at the 
time when it was made. 

When the Federal force camped in the order of bat- 
tle, the low heights near Perryville, only two miles 
away, were occupied by a large part of Bragg's force, 
perhaps one third of his army, amounting to about fif- 
teen thousand men under Hardee, which was then about 
receiving reinforcement from Cheatham's division, 
which gave him about thirty-three thousand men. The 
Federal force, within attacking distance, amounted to 


about fifty-eight thousand men. If a reconnaissance 
had been made, the weakness of the Confederate force 
could probably have been ascertained, and it would have 
been possible on the following day to have over- 
whelmed their force with numbers. As it was, Buell 
acted on the supposition that he had the whole Confed- 
erate army before him, and took time to close his col- 
umns well together that he might be ready for the 
struggle of the morrow. 

This concentration was difficult on account of want 
of water and the forest-clad surface of the country. A 
similar error was made by the Confederates. They 
supposed that they were dealing with an inferior de- 
tached force which they hoped to overwhelm before its 
supports arrived. They probably supposed that the 
main Federal army had gone to drive the Hawes gov- 
ernment out of Frankfort. It is evident that they re- 
garded Hawes' presence at the Kentucky capital as a 
very important matter, one well deserving General 
Buell's entire attention. 

Buell's order of battle was necessarily controlled by 
the generally wooded condition of the country, which 
greatly impeded the formation of his lines. Critten- 
den's force was on the extreme south, cut off by a wide 
interval from the other forces; Gilbert's corps, which 
included Sheridan's division in the centre and Mitchell's 
division, farther to the north or left ; on the extreme 
left was Me Cook's admirable corps. 

Tli ere was no expectation of a battle on that day al- 
though the line was formed for it. In the budget of 
misconceptions, the Federal commander doubtless sup- 
posed that the Confederates knew that the force before 
them was the main army of the Cumberland, and that 


they would take all the time he would give them for 
concentration and defense. 

The battle began about noon of October 8th by a 
cannonade, which did not seem to presage any serious 
action. Such artillery engagements were in those days 
common enough between forces which lay over against 
each other. The Federal commanders prepared not for 
immediate action, but for an attack they meant to de- 
liver on the following day after their troops had much 
needed rest. The force was in good shape for an ad- 
vance, and an attack at the moment would have brought 
the whole of Buell's army against less than one half of 
Bragg's. On the other hand, the Confederates, equally 
ill advised concerning the force of the enemy, had de- 
termined on an attack, which they delivered suddenly 
and with crushing force. At two o'clock in the after- 
noon they began their assault on the right of the Fed- 
eral line, composed of the brigades of Lytle and Harris ; 
on this force they made no impression, but yet farther 
to the right, where Buckner's attack was masked by a 
wood, it struck Tirrill's brigade with such overwhelming 
force that the Federal line immediately gave way. The 
Federal troops on this part of the line were all raw, and 
though Generals Jackson and Tirrill were both killed 
in their efforts to maintain their lines, this part of the 
Federal force was utterly routed with a loss of eleven 
pieces of artillery. Webster's brigade of Jackson's di- 
vision succeeded for a moment in checking the utter 
rout of the broken line. Here General Webster fell, 
and his troops were driven back. 

Unfortunately for the Confederates they had not 
shaken Sheridan's force, which lay on the left or the 
south of their attack. His well posted and well secured 


artillery enfiladed their advancing lines, and compelled 
them to settle with him before they followed up their 
advantage. Sheridan's position gave his men the shelter 
of some woods, while the Confederates, advancing to 
the attack had to cross open fields ; though the Con- 
federate attack was heavily reinforced by two brigades 
of Cheatham's division, their gallant and repeated 
charges failed to shake Sheridan's veteran regiments. 
The other end of the broken Federal line was rein- 
forced by a brigade of Mitchell's division, which was 
sent to aid McCook, whose position the Confederates 
were endeavoring to turn. Despite the loss of its com- 
mander, General Gooding and one third of its force, it 
materially aided McCook to retain his position until 
night fell, and this furious action came to an end. 

Although the Federal force lost a dozen pieces of 
artillery, and for a time was beaten, it in the end gained 
on the enemy. They were driven beyond Chaplin 
Creek and through Perry ville. If the repulse had been 
followed up by the Federal force, some important re- 
sults might have been obtained. 

By some blunder of the staff officers, General Buell, 
who was some distance from the front, was not informed 
of this action until two hours after the Confederate at- 
tack began, nor did Crittenden know that there was 
anything of importance going on ; the thick forests be- 
tween the roads prevented the sound of musketry reach- 
ing any distance, and both the Federal commander and 
his lieutenant, Crittenden, supposed that the artillery 
firing was but a meaningless skirmish between batteries 
that did not mark an action of any moment. But for 
this unaccountable failure of the intelligence of the ac- 
tion to come at once to Buell, he could easily have by 


a counter-attack pushed Hardee to the wall before the 
darkness had fallen. As it was, the chapter of blunders 
that marks this battle had its completion in the failure 
of the Federal commander to know of it until it was 
half over. 

The retirement of the enemy, and the coining of the 
night made it ill advised for Buell, at the late hour when 
he learned of the action, to make any movement until 
the following day. Had he known that Bragg, though 
present himself, had but half his army with him, it would 
have been possible to have pushed forward his unshaken 
troops, and, taking advantage of the few hours of day, 
he might have carried the Confederate position. But 
the heavy blow he had received made him more than 
ever convinced that he had to reckon with the whole of 
his adversary's army. He therefore postponed his ad- 
vance until the following day. Bragg, who had now 
arrived on the ground, at once saw that he was con- 
fronted by Buell's whole force, and acted accordingly. 
It was not his purpose to fight a general battle, least 
of all did he desire to fight with half his army ; he 
therefore prepared to retreat in a northeasterly direc- 
tion, which would give him time to concentrate his 
scattered forces. 

Brief as this battle had been, lasting but for four 
hours, it was the bloodiest that was ever fought on Ken- 
tucky soil ; for the numbers engaged, and the duration 
of the action, it was one of the most destructive in 
modern military history. The Federal force actually 
engaged numbered rather less than twenty-five thousand 
men. Of these they lost in killed and wounded about 
four thousand ; McCook's corps lost three thousand 
killed and wounded, out of twelve thousand five hun- 


dred men engaged. The Confederates lost from the 
fifteen thousand men whom they brought into action 
over three thousand in killed and wounded. At least 
seven thousand men fell in that fierce storm between 
2.30 and 6 P. M. 

In the night Bragg, satisfied that he had to deal with 
the whole of Buell's army, fell back toward Harrods- 
burg, that he might hasten his conjunction with Kirby 
Smith's corps, which was moving toward him from 
Frankfort and Lexington, as well as with several other 
detached bodies of troops which were in various parts 
of Central Kentucky. This, though a necessary, was 
a very dangerous move, for it carried him farther from 
his line of retreat, and exposed him to attack from 
Buell, while in a position where orderly retreat would, 
in case of defeat, have been quite impossible. But 
Buell could hardly hope to strike him another blow be- 
fore this concentration was effected, even if he knew, as 
he probably did, the object of Bragg's northward move- 
ment. He therefore waited before forcing another ac- 
tion for the junction of Sill's division, detached to drive 
out the Confederate force in Frankfort, meanwhile war- 
-ily pushing forward his line to Danville. 

Hardee's blow, though in a way a blunder, served a 
good purpose for his cause, as it made Buell even more 
cautious than he was wont to be. After his junction 
with Kirby Smith's and the other detached forces, Bragg 
moved eastward to beyond Dick's River, making his 
centre at Bryantsville. Buell has been blamed for not 
attacking him here ; and at first sight there seems to 
have been a good chance lost in not forcing the game 
at this point. 

As will be seen from the map, Buell had what sailors 


would call the weather gauge of Bragg's position. To 
make good his retreat, Bragg had to march at least one 
third farther than Buell to attack him. But whoever 
will go over the ground, or even examine good maps of 
the country, will see that while a victory of the Federal 
arms at this point would have been overwhelming, the 
chance of winning it from an enemy of nearly equal 
strength, all of whose forces were veterans, was not so 
good that a discreet commander should have risked the 
venture ; a defeat would have been utter ruin to the 
Federal cause. Had Buell pushed forward the enemy 
could easily have forced the fight at Dick's River, or, 
beaten from that point, he would have the extensive 
defenses of Camp Dick Robinson at his disposal as a 
point d'appui. Moreover, the long drought had broken 
the very day of the Perryville fight, and the difficulties 
of the Sahara were exchanged for those of wet roads 
and swollen streams. Before Buell was prepared to 
strike a blow, Bragg, who was better in managing a 
retreat than an advance, slipped from his dangerous po- 
sition, and made for the ford of Rockcastle River at 

Crittenden's corps marched parallel with Bragg's army 
through Stamford, but was unable to gain upon him far 
enough to force anything but trifling actions with his 
rear-guard. The battle at Perryville had given the 
Confederate trains a long start for Cumberland Gap, so 
that Bragg had open ways and well-arranged supply 
stations for his light marching army. By obstructing 
the roads which, in this region, frequently run through 
forests, with felled trees, he was able to so hinder the 
Federal chase that it became hopeless, especially as the 
country had been absolutely denuded of all provisions 


for man or beast by the armies which had passed 
through it, and the pursuing column was necessarily 
dependent on its trains for all supplies. The pursuit 
was kept up to London and Manchester, but became 
daily more unavailing, and the Confederate army finally 
escaped with a vast amount of plunder to its strong- 
holds beyond the Cumberland Mountain, amid the ex- 
ecrations of all Southern sympathizers who deemed 
Bragg's enforced retreat a disgraceful act. 

As soon as it was evident that Bragg had abandoned 
all hope of further action in Kentucky, it became nec- 
essary for Buell to make all due haste for Nashville, 
lest the half beaten enemy should overpower the garri- 
son that Buell had wisely left in that place. But it 
was not to return under Buell's command ; on October 
30th he was displaced by Rosecrans, who had just won a 
considerable victory near Corinth, Miss., and whose star 
was on that account now in the ascendant. Early in 
December the Federal army was out of the State, except 
large garrisons that were left to guard against such suc- 
cesses as had been won by Morgan and Kirby Smith. 

There has been much criticism of this Kentucky cam- 
paign of the Federal army under Buell, the most of 
which seems quite undeserved. Buell's retreat to Louis- 
ville was clearly one of the best executed pieces of 
strategy of the war ; it was well planned and admirably 
executed, and though much of its success is to be at- 
tributed to the dilatory action of his enemy, it is fair to 
assume that its leader could have met all opposition in 
a soldierly way. The readvance from Louisville was 
swift, and extremely well suited to the needs of the 
position. It showed a remarkably clear grip on the 
whole problem before him. But for the singular series 


of accidents at Perryville, due to the blunder of Har- 
dee as to the force he was striking, and the mistake of 
Buell as to the force with which the blow was struck, 
to which was added the strange negligence of his sub- 
ordinates in not giving him due notice of the action, it 
is likely that he would have been able to deliver an 
overwhelming blow against Bragg's army. 

It must be remembered, however, that Bragg's posi- 
tion was exceedingly strong. As soon as he abandoned 
all his plans for holding Kentucky, and limited himself 
to the defense of his booty trains, he confessed his es- 
sential defeat, but was in a position to secure his retreat 
from the State. His army of forty-eight to fifty thou- 
sand veterans was so nearly a match for the fifty-five 
or sixty thousand men that Buell could hope to bring 
against it, that with the choice of position it could well 
afford to risk a battle. If defeated, it could expect to 
make good its retreat ; if victorious, it might again find 
Kentucky in its grasp. 

Buell's supreme duty was to drive Bragg from Ken- 
tucky ; he should have endeavored to destroy him if 
the chance of doing so was extremely good, but merely 
expelling him was a victory. He could not afford to 
risk the chance of the misfortunes that might come with 
any doubtful battle. If we justify Meade in permitting 
the broken Confederate army to escape after Gettys- 
burg, without further attack, as almost all good military 
authorities do, we must deem Buell's caution, in the 
face of a stronger and much better conditioned army, 
well within the limits of his duty, if not his supreme 
duty, under the circumstances. His sagacious action 
turned back the strongest wave of war that ever rolled 
over Kentucky without the risks of a hazardous battle. 


In following the movements of those great armies we 
have necessarily omitted all mention of several discon- 
nected incidents that are a part of the history of the 
campaign, which led to important consequences. The 
most notable of these was the admirably conducted re- 
treat of General George W. Morgan from Cumberland 
Gap to the Ohio River. On June 17th, General Mor- 
gan, with four brigades of troops, by threat of siege 
drove the Confederate General Stephenson from his un- 
assailable position, and occupied this magnificent natural 
stronghold. When the Confederates under Kirby Smith 
entered Kentucky by way of Big Creek Gap, a pass con- 
siderably to the west of Cumberland Gap, which the Fed- 
eral forces, in their ignorance of the topography, failed 
to fortify, Morgan was left to shift for himself without 
any instructions as to his course. He appears indeed 
to have been quite forgotten by his superior officers. 

If, on the threat of Kirby Smith's invasion, he had 
been promptly withdrawn to Central Kentucky, his force 
of about eight thousand men, all well seasoned soldiers, 
under the command of a man of decided military capac- 
ity, would doubtless have avoided the defeat of Nelson. 
Nothing shows the confusion of the Federal operations 
in the West so well as this capital blunder. When the 
interior of Kentucky was in the hands of the Confeder- 
ates, General Morgan found himself without provisions, 
and his old enemy, Stephenson, so placed that foraging 
was impossible. His only resort for supplies was in the 
rich valleys of Eastern Tennessee, now fully controlled 
by the Confederates. The mountain district of Ken- 
tucky furnished little for him. The small farms of the 
country were scantily tilled, and at best afforded little 
provision for an army. 


Many another commander would have surrendered 
his abandoned brigades to the enemy, but Morgan, de- 
stroying his stores, leaving nothing of profit to his pur- 
suers, plunged into the wilderness of Eastern Kentucky, 
and through a mountainous forest, where he had often 
to create his roads as he went, he made his way for 
about two hundred miles to the Ohio at Greenupsburg. 
He brought off all his field cannon, despite the ener- 
getic efforts of the Confederate General Morgan to 
cripple his march or at least to capture his trains. 

The Confederate resistance to this retreat was skill- 
fully planned, and might have been successful but for 
the failure of certain movements of his cavalry which 
were ordered by General Bragg. As it was, the march 
of the Federal army was a long, running, starving 
fight, from which the force came out looking like an 
army of spectres, shoeless, their clothing in tatters, and 
their bodies wasted by scant food. This retreat de- 
serves to be remembered as one of the great exploits of 
the war, and one of the most successful movements of 
the kind in military history. Morgan's retreat never 
received the credit it deserved. The public was clam- 
orous for battle, and was too little pleased with the mas- 
terly retrograde march of Buell to praise this equally 
capital exploit. 

There were many small actions between the de- 
tached parties of Confederate cavalry and the Home 
Guards of the several counties during the period of 
Bragg's great movement. We can only describe one 
or two of these by way of example, to show how strong 
was the spirit of resistance among the people. 

On September 27th Colonel Basil Duke, of the Con- 
federate General John Morgan's command, with abou^ 


four hundred men, undertook to cross the Ohio at 
Augusta, in Bracken County, about forty miles above 
Cincinnati, in order to threaten that city with the ex- 
pectation that a portion of the Federal troops on the 
south side of the town might be compelled to with- 
draw. This was apparently undertaken with the hope 
that the fortifications about Covington might thus be 
laid open ko a sudden dash of the Confederate forces, 
which still lay within convenient distance for attack. 
Duke's move was resisted at the point where they un- 
dertook to cross the Ohio by a force of about one hun- 
dred Home Guards, citizens of Augusta, under the com- 
mand of a Dr. Joshua Taylor Bradford. A part of 
this force consisted of Southern sympathizers, who had 
been pressed into service by the Union men. Two ex- 
temporized Federal gunboats fled at the outset of the 
fight, as soon as they found themselves exposed to the 
fire of some light field-guns in the Confederate hands. 
The Home Guards, though outnumbered four to one by 
their veteran assailants, fought for several hours from 
house to house, killing and wounding about fifty of 
Duke's men, and compelling him to expend the am- 
munition he had provided for his raid. Duke lost a 
large part of his officers from the accurate fire of these 
extemporized soldiers. Three of the captains of the 
Confederate force and six of the lieutenants were 

It is doubtful if even in the old Indian warfare there 
had ever been a fight of such terrible ferocity. The 
town was stormed, and the fighting was kept up from 
house to house, the inmates continuing the struggle until 
they were burned out or killed. General Duke says, in 
his account of the battle : " Details of men were posted 


ill the middle of the street in front of every house, to 
fire on the inmates as they showed themselves, and pre- 
vent them from maintaining an accurate and effective 
fire. Other details were made to break in the doors of 
the houses and enter them. The artillery was brought 
into the town, and turned upon the houses in which the 
most stubborn resistance was kept up. Planted about 
ten paces from a house, aimed to strike about a yard 
below the sills of the windows, beneath which the de- 
fenders were crouched (except when taking aim), and 
double - shotted with grape and canister, the howitzers 
tore great gaps in the walls. . . . Flags of truce about 
this time were hung out from several windows, and, 
believing that a general surrender was meant, I ordered 
the fires to be extinguished. But only those who shook 
the white flags meant to give up ; the others continued 
to fight. One or two men putting out the fires were 
shot. I immediately ordered that every house from 
which shots came should be burned. A good many 
were soon in flames, and even then the fighting con- 
tinued in some of them. My men were infuriated by 
what they esteemed bad faith in a continuance of the 
fight after the flags of truce were displayed, and by the 
loss of their comrades and of some favorite officers. I 
never saw them fight with such ferocity. Few lives 
were spared in the houses into which they forced their 

The Home Guards, having finally expended their 
ammunition, and the houses in which they were posted 
being burned over their heads or battered to pieces 
by the artillery, were compelled to surrender. But 
the expedition into Ohio was foiled. Duke returned to 
Morgan with his force decimated by this battle and with 


one more experience in the fighting power of the citizen 

On September 28th, eleven Home Guards at Fal- 
mouth had an encounter with twenty-eight Texan cav- 
alry, in which they defeated their assailants, inflicting a 
loss of six men. In a score of other engagements these 
little detached commands, fighting by their thresholds, 
showed their willingness to combat against hopeless 
odds and to endure a degree of punishment which it is 
hard to obtain from regular troops. Though often over- 
come, they showed the Confederate troops that the State 
would not be readily subjugated, and dissipated all the 
fondly-cherished ideas that Kentucky was actually in 
sympathy with the Confederacy, though she was held in 
bondage by the Federal power. 

This Confederate movement into Kentucky marks 
the high tide of the Civil War, and the retreat of Bragg 
was a part of the great reflux of that wave. The crush- 
ing defeat of Nelson's forces by Kirby Smith came on 
the same day as the second Confederate victory at Ma- 
nassas. The battle of Perryville, which made the re- 
treat of Bragg's army an imperative necessity, came 
three weeks after the defeat of Lee at Antietam. It 
was necessary that the Confederates should win both 
these hazards in order that their cause should succeed. 
In both cases the result was the sullen retreat of the 
Confederate forces into their strongholds. Their ar- 
mies were checked, but not broken, and the Federal 
forces were not able to give a crushing pursuit to the 
forces that they had beaten back, far better than the 
northern armies the troops of the Confederacy with- 
stood the trials of defeat. 

The enforced retirement of General Buell, and his 


subsequent court-martial, are painful incidents of this 
campaign. He was blamed for permitting the escape 
of the Confederate forces into Kentucky. It is difficult 
to see how he could have prevented Bragg from mak- 
ing this movement. He was endeavoring to possess 
himself of Chattanooga, and had barely force enough for 
this appointed task. It was impossible in such a coun- 
try for him to keep an effective grip upon his enemy. 
There should have been an army in Kentucky compe- 
tent to restrain a Confederate advance. The whole 
available force left in the State, except the entirely iso- 
lated and apparently forgotten garrison at Cumberland 
Gap, consisted of not over ten thousand raw troops, and 
these were scattered. The blame for this rests upon 
the Federal government, which was given to much lock- 
ing of the stable whenever the horse was stolen. 

One other incident of the war deserves notice here. 
This was the killing of Nelson by the Federal general, 
Jefferson C. Davis. 1 Nelson was one of the remarkable 
soldiers that Kentucky produced during the war. At 
its outbreak he was an officer of the United States navy. 
He was sent by President Lincoln to Kentucky to aid 
in the organization of new levies. He commanded a di- 
vision at Shiloh, where he won great credit. Always a 
man of passionate nature, the defeat of his forces by 
Kirby Smith made him furious, though he was respon- 

1 The numerous coincidence of names in the Federal and Confeder- 
ate armies in Kentucky will be apt to puzzle the reader. Nothing 
else shows so well the near kinship of the combatants. Jefferson C. 
Davis, Federal, and Jefferson Davis, Confederate ; George W. Mor- 
gan, Federal, and John H. Morgan, Confederate ; Thomas L. Critten- 
den, Federal, and George B. Crittenden, Confederate, are but a few 
cases of this correspondence of names among important men of the 


sible for the conditions that brought it about, for to him 
more than to any one else must be attributed the leav- 
ing of Morgan's forces at Cumberland Gap. When 
organizing the forces in Louisville under Buell, his 
rage broke forth against General J. C. Davis. Dur- 
ing a trifling dispute concerning some unimportant mat- 
ter, he insulted his opponent, and, on his dignified re- 
monstrance, struck him with his hand. Davis instantly 
killed him. Davis's act was generally approved by his 
brother soldiers. 1 

It is a well-known fact that in the conflict of arms 
the laws are commonly silent, but all the while these 
momentous movements were going on in Kentucky, the 
law-making power of the Commonwealth was by no 
means stilled. The vitality of the Kentucky legislature 
defied the shock of armies. From March 17th to August 
24th the legislature stood adjourned ; on the latter date 
it met on the summons of Governor Magoffiu. In his 
message he set forth the fact that the State laws con- 
cerning the security of citizens had been violated ; that 
many civilians had been arrested for asserted sympathy 
with the rebellion, and that these were detained by the 
Federal government, many of them having been taken 
from the State without due form of trial, and were de- 
tained in prison by process of military law. At the 
elections that had taken place a few days before the 

1 It was the present writer's chance to serve for a while under Gen- 
eral Davis. It is impossible for him to believe (hat a man so mild in 
nature would have slain a brother officer without the bitterest provo- 
cation. In the French army even a common soldier is justified by 
military law in killing instantly his commander if he receives the in- 
sult of a blow with the hand. In war the personal dignity of officers 
and men must be preserved. It cannot be kept without maintaining 
such cruel customs. 


legislature met men who were believed to be secession- 
ists were not allowed to vote or to be voted for. 

There is no doubt that the facts were as alleged, and 
that, without formal proclamation of martial law, the 
Federal commanders had undertaken to regulate a great 
many matters that did not properly concern them. The 
principal offender was Brigadier - General Boyle, of 
Louisville, commanding the provost guard forces in 
Kentucky. This man was much more vigorous in his 
dealings with citizens than was necessary. With him 
began the provost marshal rule which afterwards be- 
came so great an evil. 

There was no doubt a serious difficulty arising from 
the presence of many Confederate sympathizers in Ken- 
tucky, but while the civil law was allowed to perform 
its functions it was an insult to the State to have such 
intermeddling from its subject, the military arm. At 
certain points martial law was proclaimed, and the civil 
courts suspended in times of emergency ; but as a whole 
the Federal government long endeavored to abide by 
the strong desire of the people for civil control. The 
action of men like Boyle did a -great deal to turn many 
men against the Federal authority. They had entered 
on the war to preserve the laws that these cheap briga- 
diers treated with contempt. 

When Bragg came into the State he recruited about 
two thousand five hundred men in Central Kentucky, 
from the class of persons who had suffered in person 
or in their sympathies from the often brutal tyranny 
of the provost marshal system. 1 Many of them were 

1 It has been asserted that a much larger number joined the Con- 
federate army during this invasion. The estimate given is that of 
Colonel J. Stoddard Johnston, confirmed by other authorities. . 


men of conservative Union proclivities who had been 
turned into rebels by the outrages of the military au- 

At the time of its reassembly the legislature had lost 
all hope of maintaining the machinery of the civil law 
in its perfect integrity amid the shock of arms ; Gov- 
ernor M.-igoffin's message received not much sympathy, 
and that officer was at length persuaded to resign. He 
insisted, however, that his successor should be a man 
that should suit him, else he would not yet abandon his 
very uncomfortable chair. 1 Finally a treaty was made 
between the legislature and the executive, by which 
both the governor and acting lieutenant-governor were 
to resign. Mr. James F. Robinson was then elected 
.speaker of the senate, and thereby became ex-officio 
governor. Then the speaker of the senate who had re- 
signed for the nonce, in order to make way for Robin- 
son, was reflected to that office. Thus after two years 
of patient endurance of their difficult chief magistrate, 
by due form of law the legislature succeeded in clear- 
ing itself of a very unhappy connection. 

As before remarked, this patience of the Union men 
under circumstances calculated to inspire rage in a time 
of such peril is a very creditable incident in the history 
of Kentucky ; none but a people devoted to the prin- 
ciple of legality would have borne for two years with 
a chief magistrate, when rightly or wrongly they fully 
believed him to be at least an enemy to the cause they 
were battling for, if not in actual alliance with their 

The earnest protest that went up from all good citi- 
zens against the action of the provost marshal of Ken- 

i See Collins, i. 108. 


tucky, and the evident danger of an armed conflict with 
the legislature on the question, led to the momentary 
mitigation of its evils. General Boyle was ordered to 
execute his office under the governor, an arrangement 
which, loyally maintained, would have removed the worst 
sting from the system. This interlude of peace was, 
however, destined to be but brief. 

This session of the legislature marks by its acts the 
deepening rage of the people against those who were 
giving aid and comfort to its enemies. A number of 
severe acts were passed designed to make it uncomfort- 
able for persons who had taken part in the rebellion to 
remain within the State. All jurors were compelled to 
swear to their present and future loyalty. A similar 
oath was required of all " common school commission- 
ers, examiners of teachers, teachers, and college profes- 
sors." l Even ministers of the gospel were required to 
swear allegiance before they could legally perform the 
marriage rite. In fact it came about that even loyal 
people could hardly get through the activities of a day 
without at least once or twice swearing allegiance to 
the State and Federal government. 

This utter degradation of the solemnity of an oath 
was a serious and lamentable feature in our Civil War. 
It was by no means peculiar to Kentucky, though, from 
the fact that both State and Federal authorities were 
engaged in the miserable business, it was worse there 
than anywhere else. In his ordinary contacts with the 
people, an officer was constantly engaged in swearing 
men and women as to what they had done in the past 
or would do in the future. 

The origin of this distressing mistake is to be found 
l See Collins, i. 109. 


in the very high value given to a judicial oath among 
all classes of rural Americans. Before the war and 
since, perjury was among the rarest of crimes in Ken- 
tucky. Thus the legislature, in casting about for a safe- 
guard against the numerous sympathizers with the re- 
bellion, bethought itself of this bond of the oath. It 
goes without saying that the bond sat lightly on most 
minds, and even came to be utterly meaningless, al- 
though the parole of honor retained its moral value to 
the last. This miscellaneous oath taking was a degra- 
dation of a most sacred relation, that brought no profit 
to those who prostituted it to political ends. 

On the 31st of August, two days after the overthrow 
of Nelson's army, the legislature abandoned Frankfort, 
and removed with the State records to Louisville, hav- 
ing previously passed an act that warranted the change 
of the capital in case invasion maJe it necessary. 

The session held in Louisville did no important legis- 
lation. The war had now drawn away the greater part 
of the abler men from the legislative halls. The Con- 
federate or the Federal army held those to whom the 
people naturally looked for the control of their laws. 
The civil law had done all that it could to affect the 
immediate destinies of the people, the rest had to be 
left to the stern arbitrament of war. The efficient gov- 
ernor, in perfect sympathy with the Union cause, gave 
the people a sense of security that they never had while 
the chief executive was a man whose sympathies were 
with the Confederates, even though his honor kept him 
true to his oath of office. Governor Robinson had the 
qualities of an admirable executive, and earnestly sec- 
onded the energetic action of General Finnell, the adju- 
tant-general of the State, who had already done a won- 


derful work in pushing forward the recruiting of the 
State forces. 

On August 16, 1862, on the day of Robinson's in- 
auguration, General Finnell reported that the State had 
already furnished to the United States army 41,703 
men. Much talk has been made of the recruits that 
Bragg and Morgan received during their occupation of 
the State. It is doubtful if in all, with the prestige 
of their brilliant successes to aid them, the Confeder- 
ates obtained more than two thousand five hundred re- 
cruits ; while during the period when the prospects of 
the Federal party seemed the gloomiest, when for a 
time it appeared as if the Commonwealth had fallen 
before the rebel arms, and much of its area was in their 
possession, the State received more men than it could 
secure acceptance for under the Federal calls for troops. 
There were now, including the Home Guard forces, about 
fifty thousand Kentucky troops at the command of the 
Federal authorities. This total included much more 
than one half the able-bodied men, of all ages, in the 
State, after deducting those who joined the Confederate 

After the escape of the Confederate forces from Ken- 
tucky a period of relative inaction set in. There was 
still an incessant series of small raids, which were 
neither of political meaning nor military importance, yet 
were exceedingly harassing to the people. This was 
the beginning of a new form of evil that endured for 
a long time, and was more intolerable than the larger 
operations of legitimate warfare, which were generally 
conducted on both sides with a singular respect for non- 
combatarits. Such marches and combats as had recently 
taken place in Kentucky always leave in their train a 


mass of unsoldierly rubbish that is hard to clear away. 
Deserters from both armies formed bands of outlaws 
called guerrillas. These wretches, without commanders 
from either army, sheltered in the great forests that 
abound in nearly all parts of the State, were often 
strong enough to overcome the domestic forces, and 
were guilty of many outrages. They brought back to 
Kentucky the evils of its struggle with the Indians. 
Men again tilled their fields with their muskets by their 
sides, and slept in expectation of combat. During the 
whole of this and the following year these parties were 
hunted down, and when captured hanged without mercy. 
Still their numbers, their daring, and their swift move- 
ments, made the struggle as difficult and as bloody as 
in any year during the last century. 

The only military operation of any moment during 
the remainder of the year 1862 was another of Mor- 
gan's remarkable raids. After the battle of Perry ville 
and the retreat of Bragg's army, Morgan, with a curi- 
ous confidence in his own resources, remained for near- 
ly a fortnight in Central Kentucky, making occasional 
attacks on exposed positions ; then, dividing his force, 
he made a retreat from the State, in part by the way of 
Williamsburg, and in part by Waynesboro, on the Green 
River. In Tennessee he performed many brilliant feats 
by hampering the movements of Rosecrans in his efforts 
to repossess Tennessee. It would require the remainder 
of this volume to give an account of the swift and tell- 
ing strokes which he gave his enemy. As his men were 
Kentuckians the story would be germain to the history 
of the Commonwealth, and it is in many ways the best 
part of its military history. Unfortunately, we must 
limit the mention of Morgan's exploits to the more im- 


portant incidents of his campaigns in Kentucky, which 
were but a small part of the work effected by his com- 

In the latter part of December it was evident that 
Morgan's cavalry, with their untiring exertions and 
singular successes in cutting off detached forces, could 
not greatly hinder the excellent plans of Rosecrans. 
The only remaining chance was for Morgan to try once 
more the task of breaking up the Federal lines of com- 
munications with the North, and the creation of a divi- 
sion in Kentucky. 

On the 22d of December Morgan started on this ad- 
venture with about three thousand men. The lessons 
of experience had taught the Federal commanders to 
leave large garrisons at the important points on this line 
from Louisville to Nashville. There were more than 
thrice Morgan's numbers guarding the weak points of 
this line, but they were principally infantry troops, an 
arm that is worthless in dealing with such raids. 

Slipping adroitly by the larger garrisons of the Fed- 
eral forces, Morgan managed to capture first Glasgow 
and then Elizabethtown, the garrison at the latter place 
surrendering without any serious struggle ; next, though 
closely pursued, he captured the block-houses protecting 
the bridges at Muldraugh's Hill, where he burned the 
trestle work and destroyed the track. In this district he 
destroyed two thousand two hundred and fifty feet of 
bridges. 1 Thence he turned towards Bardstown, but 
finding strong bodies of troops at every important point 
he made a swift retreat into Tennessee without being 
brought to a battle. 

While crossing the Rolling Fork of Salt River, Mor- 
1 Hi-story of Morgan's Cavalry, Basil \V. Duke, p. 335. V 


gan's rear-guard and some detachments, amounting to 
about eight hundred men, were attacked by about seven 
thousand Federal troops. They should have been cap- 
tured, but by a brilliant attack on the advancing force, 
followed by a swift retreat, they were enabled to rejoiu 
their commands on the other side of the river. 

This blow of Morgan was answered by a similar raid 
from the Federal forces, whose commanders had at 
length caught the spirit of this swift partisan warfare. 
General Carter, a brilliant cavalry officer, with eleven 
hundred picked men, set out from Winchester, Kentucky, 
on December 25th. Through bitter winter weather, 
and exceedingly difficult ways, he pushed on without 
encountering any body of the enemy until he struck the 
Tennessee and Virginia Railway, in the valley of the 
Holston. His first object was to burn the great railway 
bridge at Bluntsville; this was guarded by a Confed- 
erate force of three hundred men under a Major Mc- 
Dowell. Carter hud marched with such rapidity that 
he was his own herald ; he captured McDowell's force 
without firing a shot. Burning this bridge over the 
Holston he marched westward, until he captured the 
bridge over the Watauga, some twelve miles away. 
The destruction of these bridges, and the burning of 
the ties of the road between, broke the railway in such 
a complete fashion that it would require months to 
effect its repair. After this considerable work, which 
was entirely undisputed, he made a swift and practically 
unopposed retreat into Kentucky. 1 This was the first 
semblance of retaliation for the numerous cavalry raids 
to which the Federal army had been subjected. It had 
not the brilliancy of Morgan's and Forrest's work, which 
1 See Comte de Paris, Civil War in America, vol. ii.'p.' '496. 


indeed was never attained by the Federal cavalry, but 
it did away with the notion that this sort of warfare 
was the peculiar property of the Confederates, though 
to the end they remained the best masters of the art 
which they had so well devised. 

It is a reasonable estimate that Morgan's force, which 
at the highest never exceeded four thousand men, and 
probably did not average over two thousand, which 
was horsed, foraged, and fed from its enemies, served 
to neutralize in the time of action at least ten times 
its numbers of less active troops. In no modern war- 
fare has the quality of commander and men served to 
give a force anything like this power. It should not 
be supposed that Morgan's success was due to any pe- 
culiar circumstances of American warfare. There can 
be no doubt that the same audacity, swiftness, and fer- 
tility of resources would have been equally successful 
on European fields. Such a force as Morgan's, oper- 
ating in the rear of the German armies during the war 
of 1870, would doubtless have attained something like 
the same measures of success as Morgan won. 

There was only one peculiar feature of America that 
especially favored such partisan warfare ; it was the 
wide distribution of saddle horses in the country where 
these operations were carried on. This made it possible 
for his men to obtain remounts as rapidly as their horses 
became exhausted, while their pursuers soon found their 
steeds worn out, while they were without means of re- 
placing them. None of the continental countries of Eu- 
rope could furnish anything like the number of horses 
fit for the saddle as may be found in the Southern Amer- 
ican States. This might somewhat limit the success of 
such movements in other lands, still it should be remem T 


bered that Morgan's men were not properly cavalry, but 
mounted infantry. They were armed with muskets, and 
in almost all cases fought as foot soldiers in single open 
ranks, so the horse was practically used to save the legs 
of the men in marching, and rarely served the more 
picturesque purpose of a charger. 

While considering this use of mounted infantry in 
flying columns, which was essentially an invention of 
Morgan, it may be worth while to call attention to 
another peculiar military project of his that marks his 
fertile mind. His men being essentially horsed infan- 
try, Morgan found that they were weak in a mounted 
charge ; he desired to have a small portion of his force 
with which he could strike a quick, telling blow, that 
might leave the enemy in a bad shape to resist the 
slower movement of his dismounted horsemen. He 
therefore chose, by competition, fifty men for their skill 
in shooting with the pistol while they were riding 
swiftly, mounted them on his swiftest horses, providing 
each man with four revolvers, or a total of twenty-four 
shots, giving them no other weapon. 

His general plan was to watch for a chance to hurl 
this force against the flank of men in line of battle, or 
marching in column, or perhaps in the momentary con- 
fusion of action. This project was matured only a short 
time before his death. The writer was told that it was 
twice tried with singularly good results, but his notes 
of the actions where it was essayed have been lost. It 
is easy to imagine that in such warfare as he waged, this 
picked body of swift riders and accurate marksmen 
might be a most valuable resource in the hands of a 
clear headed commander. It could convert momentary 


confusion into rout, and even in favorable cases it might 
be made to break an enemy's lines sufficiently to give 
its assailant a. great advantage in his main attack. 1 

1 It is proper to say that General Duke makes no mention of this 
device in his history of Morgan's command. 



THE failure of Bragg's campaign removed the seat of 
all grand movements of the war from Kentucky ; the 
following years are no longer to be divided by great 
events, but fall into something like the order of ordi- 
nary times. 

The most interesting incident of this comparatively 
barren period was the fierce discussion concerning the 
emancipation proclamation. It was not to be expected 
that this momentous event would be allowed to pass 
without a fierce battle of words among a people so long 
accustomed to dispute the actions of the Federal gov- 

When the Federal government entered on the war it 
took up an attitude of neutrality on the question of 
slavery. This neutrality, like that which Kentucky es- 
sayed with reference to the whole conflict, proved in a 
short time to be impracticable. The logic of events, 
which were unforeseen at the outset of the rebellion, 
compelled the overthrow of slavery, thus recognizing 
the essentially revolutionary character of the war in 
which the nation was engaged. 

There is no doubt that this overthrow of slavery was 
in violation of repeated and solemn assurances that the 
Federal government would not meddle with the insti- 
tution of slavery, but would prosecute the war without 


disturbing its legal status ; but it is the verdict of his- 
tory that this attitude had, at the time of the procla- 
mation, become utterly untenable. To have kept these 
words of promise would have been an act of treason to 
the country. Slavery had been practically destroyed ; 
all that the emancipation proclamation of January 1, 
1863, did, was to relieve the administration of its nec- 
essary difficulties arising from the effort to tear down 
slavery with one hand and hold it up with the other. 

Although this proclamation did not nominally affect 
the institution of slavery in Kentucky, for the action 
applied in its terms to the States in rebellion alone; 
although the institution at which it struck was a dere- 
lict, a mere wreck in the sea of war, this proclamation 
was felt as a blow by a large part of the Union people 
in Kentucky. They had taken sides with the Federal 
government to support the Constitution of the United 
States. In their view the essential difference between 
the combatants was that the rebels were breaking the 
constitution, while the armies to which they were giv- 
ing their support were endeavoring to maintain that 
contract. The proclamation of Lincoln was to their 
minds an act that put them as well as their enemies in 
an extra constitutional attitude. They felt that if both 
sides were to fight outside of the constitution their posi- 
tion lost the moral and historic value it had at the 

A considerable number of the sympathizers with the 
Confederates were made more decidedly rebellious by 
this action. The deliberative minds were puzzled, and 
generally disgusted, by the turn the war had taken, yet 
the motives of the people, as a whole, were not changed 
by the action, as the elections in August clearly showed. 


Their blood was up, they felt that they were in for the 
war where they stood, so they contented themselves with 
abundant and often noisy protest against the proclama- 

These difficulties brought about by the proclamation 
were, however, naturally increased by the constant in- 
terference of the military with unoffending citizens who 
were suspected of rebel sympathies. The Union party 
and its legislature, instinctively and determinedly cling- 
ing to the civil law, deprecated this action, and by fre- 
quent remonstrances with the Federal authorities from 
time to time broke up the evil. The difficulty would 
have been easy to overcome if the Federal govern- 
ment had taken a sensible course in the matter. If 
the military officers in the State, or at least the pro- 
vost marshals, had been left in the control of some dis- 
creet officer who could have had the time to compass the 
problem before him, it would have been easy to devise 
n system that would have sufficiently controlled the small 
number of Confederate sympathizers in the State with- 
out estranging the feelings of the Union population. 
But these provost commanders were coming and going 
with the movements of troops ; no sooner had one been 
educated to his difficult task than he made way for an- 
other who had his blunders to make. 

These interferences with the civil law took two fla- 
grantly unjust forms. One of these was the taxing of 
so-called rebel sympathizers for the damage done by the 
guerrillas or by the raiding parties of the enemy. It is 
impossible to devise any system under the pretense of 
law that brings about more irritating injustice than this 
often tried but ever failing measure. General La Mar- 
mora made it effective in the temporary suppression of 


brigandage in Sicily, but tbis was a case where the evil 
to be corrected was due to the inaction of a society 
which had abundant means of making its government 
effective against the evil-doers. But the outrages which 
the so-called Confederate sympathizers were forced to 
make good were utterly beyond their control. They 
were the work of a public enemy that the whole military 
force of the nation was endeavoring to overthrow. The 
only hope of the people whose property was confiscated 
was that the raiders would cease their work out of pity 
for their misfortunes. Moreover, the evidence on which 
the people were denounced as rebels was generally of 
a worthless nature, a few words of criticism of some 
Federal officer, the reported presence of a son or brother 
in the Confederate army, or the mere fabrications of 
some one who had a grudge to pay, were often enough 
to sweep away the property of citizens who had at most 
given nothing but their sympathy to the rebel cause. 
No American people have ever been subjected to as 
iniquitous oppression as this system brought about. 

The other form of the evil arose from the interfer- 
ence of the military power with elections. This was 
even more unnecessary and more irritating to the lawful 
Union men than the confiscation of property. For cen- 
turies they and their fathers had guarded the freedom 
of elections as a sacred heritage. The sight of a sol- 
dier at the poll has always been like a red rag to a bull 
among all English people. There was never a time 
since the overthrow of neutrality that the "out and 
out " Union men did not have a majority of two thirds 
of the voters of the Commonwealth. Even when fifty 
thousand of the Union voters were absent in the field, 
the old men of the Union party had absolute control of 


the State. It would have been more reasonable and 
certainly safer to let the discontented element of the 
people, who were not as a class in favor of the rebel- 
lion, but who were critical of the measures taken by 
the government, have their ineffectual protest than to 
still their voices by military force. 

One of the most flagrant cases of interference with 
purely political action, but only one of very many, was 
that which took place in Frankfort on February 18, 
1863. A convention of the so-called Democratic party, 
composed of two hundred delegates, representing only 
one third of the counties in the State, met to nominate 
a State ticket. They represented that portion of the 
people who were most in sympathy with the rebellion, 
though they strenuously and honestly denied all thought 
of secession. They were refused the use of the legis- 
lative hall for their meetings by the then sitting Union 
legislature, and were denounced by the Union papers 
as secessionists. Acting on this public opinion, Colonel 
Gilbert, commanding the forces at that point, proceeded 
to break up the convention by military force, ordering 
the members to go to their homes and to refrain from 
all " seditious and noisy conversation." In this out- 
rage on the civil law Colonel Gilbert appears to have 
acted on his own responsibility, but his action was jus- 
tified by his superiors. 

This high-handed outrage had a great effect upon 
public opinion in Kentucky. Even the legislature, 
now composed almost altogether of violent Union men, 
passed in the senate a series of resolutions to the effect 
that such interference was not desired by the Union 
men, and that it " was dangerous in its tendencies, and 
should not pass unrebuked." 1 In the August election 
1 Collins, i. p. 120. 


there was the same interference on the part of the mil- 
itary with the election. This last outrage had not even 
the palliation of effectiveness ; it exasperated the Union 
men without restraining the Confederate sympathizers. 
Only a few polling places were under the control of the 
troops. Jf the election had been perfectly free, it is 
doubtful if the result would have been materially varied. 
Its only effect was to arouse a very strong hostility to 
the action of the Federal government, which in an ear- 
lier* stage of the war might have had disastrous conse- 
quences. As it was, thousands of Union men, who had 
given their property and their blood to the cause of 
the constitution, feeling that the laws and privileges 
for which they were fighting were in danger by the ac- 
tion of the Federal officers, lost heart and their inter- 
est in the struggle. They had supposed that they were 
fighting not for the victory of armies, but for the main- 
tenance of laws; for the welfare of the country, and not 
for the supremacy of a political party that appeared to 
be willing to destroy the Commonwealth if it stood in 
the way of its purposes. 

So far from condemning this defection of spirit, which 
undoubtedly came upon the people from the overthrow 
of their election laws and the subordination of their 
courts to the military arm, we should rather praise the 
independence of mind of men who, in the midst of bat- 
tle, could keep in their hearts this reverence for the 
foundations of their political life. Although many who 
retain the memories of the great conflict will doubtless 
dispute this opinion, it will certainly be the verdict of 
the time to come, when these events are dispassionately 

This growing tide of antagonism to the methods of 


the Federal government led to no serious resistance to 
the Federal action. The people felt they were com- 
mitted to their course, and continued upon it ; they sep- 
arated their devotion to the constitution from their 
intense and growing hatred to the Federal executive 
that permitted these acts. 

In the election of August General Thomas E. Bram- 
lette, a gallant Union officer, was elected governor by a 
vote of 67,586 to 17,344 for Charles E. Wickliffe, him- 
self a proclaimed Union man, but of the ultra States 
rights stamp. Despite the interference of the military 
at the polls, the greater part of the secessionist vote was 
given to Wickliffe. It is not likely that the vote of the 
States rights candidate would have exceeded twenty 
thousand if the election had been absolutely free, for as 
it was the State polled nearly 84,000 votes, and this 
with the number of the soldiers beyond the State in the 
two armies made a vote greater than that of 1859, the 
last before the war, which was 143,000. Quite sixty 
thousand of the citizens were now beyond its limits or 
dead on the many battle-fields. 

We shall have to follow this growing hatred to the 
interference of the military with the civil force in the 
next chapter. For the moment we must turn to the 
interesting military incidents of the year. Though 
Kentucky was not in 1863 the pathway of great armies, 
some of the greatest events of the war took place near 
her borders, and the petit guerre with the raiding par- 
ties went incessantly on. 

On the 1st of January, 1863, General Rosecrans, who 
was still endeavoring to regain the ground lost in Ten- 
nessee during the preceding summer, had a four days' 
engagement with General Bragg, known as the battle 


of Stone River, or Murfreesboro. This long and com- 
plicated action is beyond the field of this histor}^ but 
it is of especial interest to us for the reason that it 
brought a larger loss to Kentucky than any other battle 
of the war, except, perhaps, that at Shiloh. Of the 
seventy-eight thousand men of the two armies engaged 
in this long and terrible struggle, about sixteen thou- 
sand were killed or wounded. The Kentucky troops 
engaged probably amounted in all to about twelve 
thousand men. The loss in Breckinridge's division of 
the Confederate army, composed largely of Kentucky 
troops, was over two thousand. The total lo*ss of Ken- 
tucky regiments on both sides was over twelve hundred 
men, of which nine hundred and eleven were lost from 
ten regiments in the Federal army. Like so many 
other of these greater battles of the rebellion it was 
nobody's victory, for while the Federals retained the 
ground they were in no shape to profit by their success. 
The American ground and the American nature are 
both unfavorable for decisive battles. 

Morgan's raids make the principal feature in the war 
in Kentucky during this year. They had now become 
as successive as a tertian ague ; men counted time from 
one raid to another. His brigade for this raid was 
under command of his able subordinate Colonel Cluke, 
returned to Kentucky in the latter part of February, 
after an absence of a month or so. As usual it marched 
in separate columns in various directions, striking several 
points, but meeting with such resistance that the suc- 
cesses were very small, except the permanent gain the 
Confederate cause received from the many thousand men 
who had to be kept ready to meet the invasion. Cluke 
thrice took Mount Sterling, each time capturing many 


prisoners and some army stores, and destroyed a num- 
ber of trains on the railways, but found the preparation 
for his reception so good that he soon abandoned the 
State. Cluke's management was very skillful, showing 
him to be an apt pupil of his great master. 

On the 24th of March the Confederate General Pe- 
gram, with twenty-six hundred men, essayed the same 
role of a raider. Advancing toward Richmond, he oc- 
cupied Danville. His advance was disputed by Wol- 
f Orel's Kentucky cavalry, a singularly irregular but 
often effective body of troops, and he soon made a 
hasty retreat. On the 30th he was forced to give battle 
at Dutton Hill, in Pulaski County, where he was de- 
feated by a force of half his number under the command 
of General Q. A. Gilmore. It was evident that Pegram 
was not fitted for the difficult work that he essayed, and 
lie was not afterwards troublesome to the State. The 
inevitable failure of all the Bother Confederate cavalry 
commanders when they tried raids in Kentucky shows 
the singular genius of Morgan's command. 

Morgan returned again to Kentucky in June, this 
time bound on a distant and important errand. The 
Confederate army was then upon its advance into Penn- 
sylvania. It was necessary to make some diversion in 
the West. If possible, this diversion was to persuade 
the Federal leaders that the experiment tried in the 
preceding year by Bragg was to be repeated. The 
condition of the Confederate forces in the valley of the 
Mississippi did not make it practicable for them to un- 
dertake any effective large movements- in Kentucky; 
but this dauntless rider felt that if he could effect a 
lodgment north of the Ohio he might be able to detain 
a large number of troops in the West, who would other- 


wise be employed against Lee, 1 and bring the burden 
of war upon States that had never felt the infliction. 
Moreover, his movement in force would lead to an anx- 
iety concerning the invasion of Kentucky. 

Morgan started on his important errand with about 
three thousand four hundred men. He did not at once 
make a straight way to his objective point, but spent 
some time in various operations in the State, which were 
probably designed to foster the idea that he was prepar- 
ing the way for an invasion in force. On the 4th of July 
he undertook to capture a force of four hundred men, 2 
under Colonel O. H. Moore, of the 25th Michigan, in- 
trenched on a bluff in a bend of the Green River. On 
his summons to surrender, the gallant Colonel Moore 
answered that the " 4th of July was a bad day for sur- 
renders, and that he would rather not." Several times 
Morgan hurled his force against this little band, and in 
the end withdrew with a loss of nearly one hundred, 
including half a dozen valuable officers, 8 among whom 
were Colonel Chenault and Major Brent, who had been 
extremely valuable to him. 

After this defeat, hungering for the success that he 
was so much accustomed to, he essayed the taking of 
Lebanon, where after a stubborn fight he captured the 
garrison of three hundred men of the 20th Kentucky, 
losing in this action about fifty of his men. Again his 
loss in officers was very heavy, among them his brother, 
Lieutenant Thomas Morgan. He then struck Bards- 
town, near by, where a force of twenty-six men, in- 

1 Morgan's crossing of the Ohio seems to have been contrary to the 
express orders of Bragg. See History of Morgan's Cavalry, p. 410. 

2 This is the force as given by Duke. Collins gives Moore's force 
as two hundred men. 

See Collins, i. 125. 


trenched in a barn, held a detachment of his force for 
a day, until he brought artillery to bear upon them. 1 
After these unprofitable experiments lie set about his 
more important errand. On the 8th he arrived at 
Brandenburg, on the Ohio, about forty miles below 
Louisville, where his artillery soon captured two steam- 
ers, which he used to ferry his troops across the river. 
Despite the resistance offered by the Indiana militia and 
a small gunboat, his loss in crossing was very trifling. 
A small scouting party under Captain Hines had pre- 
viously explored the country in the neighboring parts of 
Indiana, and found no Federal force to oppose him ex- 
cept the militia. 

Once upon the northern soil he began the most sin- 
gular raid of the war. Moving a little north of the 
Ohio River he turned to the east and began his accus- 
tomed work of destroying all the railways that his 
march intersected. At Corydon he captured five hun- 
dred militia, after a short and slight resistance. He 
had another skirmish at Salem, but so far there was no 
vigorous opposition to his march. It became evident to 
him, however, that his task was one of unusual hazard. 
The telegraph dispatches, intercepted by his skillful 
operators, showed that the country was rising, and that 
he would therefore have to beat away large gather- 
ings of militia, reinforced by regular troops from Ken- 
tucky. There was no doubt of his ability to maintain 
himself against any one such gathering, but in the suc- 
cession of combats his force would be frittered away. 
He therefore sought to return to the southern side of 
the Ohio at the earliest possible opportunity. 

The retreat of Lee from Pennsylvania had taken 
i Collins, i. p. 125. 


away the object of his raid, and the rapid rising of the 
country made his task more perilous than it promised 
at first to be. His determination to retire seems to 
have been taken soon after he passed north of Louis- 
ville. He tried the passage of the Ohio at Twelve Mile 
Island with a detached force, but lost the men he sent 
upon the scout. He next sought to cross five miles be- 
low Cincinnati where the river was fordable, but his 
scouts found this passage guarded by a force of artillery 
and infantry which made the effort inadvisable. 

There was now a capital stroke open to him, one that 
could have easily been accomplished; he could have 
occupied Cincinnati, destroyed the government stores at 
that point, and demanded a free passage for his force 
into Kentucky as the price of the safety of the city. 
The available force guarding the city did not equal the 
numbers of his own command ; they were all infantry, 
except two or three hundred mounted men. These 
scanty troops were distributed over an area of at least 
forty square miles of territory. He could have beaten 
a part of this scattered force, or gone between its de- 
tached positions, and in an hour he would have been 
in a position to dictate his terms for crossing into Ken- 
tucky. In place of this, although he knew that a sud- 
den rise of the river gave passage to the Federal gun- 
boats, he continued his ride to the east. His only 
chance now was to ride so far up the Ohio that he could 
get beyond the freshet that opened the way to the gun- 

Each hour his danger increased ; six regiments of 
Kentucky cavalry were now on his trail, and though he 
swept the country of the fresh horses he could not keep 
more than twelve hours' march ahead of them. The 


rapidity of his movement was marvelous. On one of his 
marches, from Sunman to Williamsburg, his weary men 
and horses made ninety miles in thirty-five hours, a 
speed in an enemy's country that it would be hard to 
parallel in military history. Each time his scouts came 
to the Ohio they found the Federal gunboats, and trans- 
ports with troops, watching the crossings, giving him no 
chance of escape. 

Finally, on July 18th, at Buffington Island, near the 
mouth of the Kanawha, he turned at bay, and tried to 
force a passage of the river. His men were exhausted 
from their ride of over eleven hundred miles, and the 
necessary wear of mind that attends such expeditions. 
After a brief resistance some companies of them sur- 
rendered. A large part of his command tried to swim 
the river, but the greater part of these were captured 
by the 1st Kentucky regiment of Federal troops, and 
many were killed in the water. Four companies only 
escaped into Virginia. A portion of the command, in- 
cluding their leader, deterred from crossing by the fate 
of the others, continued their eastward march. Finally, 
on the 26th, the remnant of this force was surrounded, 
and forced to surrender. Morgan himself was taken, 
and of all those who crossed the Ohio less than five 
hundred escaped to the Confederacy. 1 

Greatly to the disgrace of the Union arms the Fed- 
eral commander refused to observe the cartel made by 
Morgan with the officer who received their surrender. 


The surrender was made to a Captain Burbeck, of the 
Ohio militia, who doubtless exceeded his powers in ven- 
turing to determine the conditions of capitulation ; still, 
by all the usages of war, the Federal army was bound to 
i See Collins, i. p. 127. 


observe the conditions made with the enemy by any 
officer commanding a detachment of troops. Morgan 
and his officers were imprisoned in the Ohio peniten- 
tiary, and treated as convicts, a debasement of the cus- 
toms of war for which General Burnside must be held 
accountable. It is a satisfaction to all who have the 
honorable spirit of soldiers, that goes so far to redeem 
war, that these adroit fellows soon dug their way under 
the walls of their prison and were again free. 1 

Captain Hines, who planned the escape, was one of 
the most remarkable characters in Morgan's command, 
rich as that body was in gifted men. 2 The party of 
fugitives entered a railway train, rode to near Cincin- 
nati, where they crossed to Kentucky. 

1 They left their respects for their jailer, and a brief account of 
their escape, giving in their note an account of the time and labor 
spent in their mining operations. See Collins, i. 129. 

2 Few would imagine that the present able and dignified head of the 
Kentucky Court of Appeals, the chief justice of the Commonwealth, 
was once the dauntless partisan commander, Captain Hines. For 
years he was the head of any desperate enterprise that Morgan un- 
dertook. After Morgan's final overthrow, he was engaged in other 
enterprises of peril. He had charge of the projected, and nearly suc- 
cessful, attempt at releasing the Confederates confined in Camp Doug- 
las, near Chicago, arming them, and with them creating an army that 
should be strong enough to force its way to the Confederacy. 



THE desperation to which the people were brought 
by the system of guerrilla raids can hardly be described. 
In the year 1864, there was not a county in the State 
that was exempt from their ravages. The condition of 
the Commonwealth reminds the historical student of 
that which came with the Thirty Years' War in Ger- 
many, and with the latter stages of the war between 
king and parliament in England. It is the normal con- 
dition when a country is harried by the discords of a 
civil war, and especially when there are no longer large 
armies in the field. 

On the 4th of January, 1864, Governor Bramlette, 
late a Federal officer, who at the outset of his political 
life was opposed to such summary and unwarranted 
action, took the singular responsibility of ordering the 
arrest of the Confederate sympathizers, to be held as 
hostages for the return of all persons captured and de- 
tained by guerrillas. Great as was the need of protec- 
tion from these freebooters, this proclamation was a 
serious transgression of the laws which the governor 
was sworn to maintain, and as such met the condem- 
nation of a great part of the Union men. Afterwards 
the legislature endeavored to secure the suppression of 
this evil by providing more numerous and more effective 
troops to be used for State defense. This legislature 


voted the large sum of $5,000,000, for the purpose of 
paying for the adequate internal defense of the State. 1 

On July 16th, General Burbridge, then commanding 
in the State, issued a sanguinary order of reprisals, re- 
quiring that whenever a citizen was killed by guerrillas 
four prisoners chosen from this class of marauders were 
to be taken to the place where the deed was done, and 
in retaliation shot to death. Theoretically this princi- 
ple of retaliation is, though severe, within the usages of 
war. The difficulty was that it was never easy to de- 
termine among a lot of prisoners who belonged to a 
properly commissioned command, and who were simple 
brigands. Under the order many executions took place, 
some of men who probably were to be classed as Con- 
federate soldiers. The brutal violence of this plan 
made it extremely distasteful to all fair-minded people. 
It was carried out without even the semblance of law 
given by the proceedings of a court-martial. Nor had 
it the sorry merit of success. It merely gave an addi- 
tional bitterness to a contest that was becoming a re- 
proach to the name of the race. 

In the August election tire interference of the mili- 
tary with the polling was even more serious than in the 
previous year. In the election period an extensive sys- 
tem of military arrests was begun, designed to overawe 
those who were disposed to criticise the action of the 
military commanders. This system of provost marshal 
government so disgusted the people that a majority of 
them, though retaining their loyalty, could no longer 
be trusted to vote for the candidates approved and al- 
most nominated by the Federal commanders. Fortu- 
nately, the election of the year was not of a general 
i Collins, i. 130. 


character, or the result would have given encourage- 
ment to the rebellion, by showing that the Union men 
were now divided into two distinct divisions : the smaller 
part made up of those who were willing to go to any 
extremity in their toleration of the arbitrary acts of a 
provost marshal system that gave effect to the oppres- 
sive and often brutal humor of the courts of war ; and 
another larger part who, believing that the immediate 
danger from the armed enemy was over, were disposed 
to give their principal attention to the men who were 
undermining the foundations of civil government within 
the Commonwealth. 

The only office of importance that was to be filled at 
the August election of 1864 was that of judge of the 
Court of Appeals for the Third District. Alvin Duvall 
was a candidate for reelection ; his course as a jurist 
was satisfactory to a large part of the people, and he 
was renominated for the office. Although he had in no 
public way indicated any sympathy with the rebellion, 
he was not regarded as a strong Union man. If the 
matter had been left to the people, it is likely that he 
would have been defeated at the polls. But the mili- 
tary authorities resolved to arrest him just before the 
election, but he escaped from the State, and went be- 
yond their control. They then ordered that he should 
not be allowed to stand as a candidate, and put troops 
at the polls to enforce this order, their aim being to 
secure the election pf M. M. Benton, whom the Fed- 
eral officers had adopted as their candidate. To defeat 
this ' end the conservative Union men nominated Judge 
Robertson, telegraphing his nomination on the morning 
of the election to the polling places. As the military 
guards had no orders to refuse the tender of votes for 


Judge Robertson, he was elected as a protest against 
the arbitrary action of the military arm ; a large num- 
ber of citizens testified their disgust by remaining away 
from the polls. 

This iniquitous system of interference with the civil 
law had now pretty thoroughly separated the better 
class of the Union men from all sympathies with the 
Federal government. But worse was yet to come. In 
all the campaigns and battles in Kentucky, there had 
always been shown the utmost consideration for women 
and children. The soldiers of both armies, be it said 
to their great honor, were singularly considerate of them. 
Even when the battles raged through the towns, as 
they often did, the non-combatant class was tenderly 
cared for. 

But in 1864 the provost marshals of the State, mostly 
men who were not soldiers in any proper sense, who 
had none of the better traditions of war, began to arrest 
and imprison women on charges of sympathy with the 
rebellion, correspondence with the enemy, and the like. 
Women with their children were banished from the 
State to Canada under a guard of negro soldiers, or sent 
to prison. Women whose children, brothers, and hus- 
bands were in the Confederate army, or dead on its 
battle-fields, were naturally given to uttering much trea- 
son in their speech ; but it was a pitiable sight to see 
the power of the Federal government turned against 
these helpless sufferers. 

While this treatment of non-combatants, old men, 
women, and children, and the interference of the Fed- 
eral troops with elections, was the principal grievance 
of the conservative Union men, there was another source 
of trouble of a more truly political nature, which served 


to increase the disaffection of the Kentuckians with the 
ways of the Federal government. 

The Federal government had engaged to leave slavery 
as it found it in Kentucky and elsewhere. Although 
there was a certain amount of disgust when the emanci- 
pation proclamation came out, it did not in itself make 
an enduring impression on the minds of the Union men ; 
but when, in 1864, the government began to enlist 
negro troops in Kentucky the people became greatly 
excited over the matter. Up to this date the Common- 
wealth had met the requisitions for troops to carry on 
the war with a promptness and loyalty unsurpassed by 
any other State. They naturally considered it as an 
insult that their slaves, even though such in name only, 
should be taken from them and put into the army with 
their own volunteer soldiers. Although this state of 
feeling will probably not commend itself as reasonable 
to those who were born in non-slaveholding communi- 
ties, it was very natural in the Kentuckians. To them 
military service had always been an honorable occupa- 
tion, open only to those of the masterful race. They 
had refused to take into their service any 'recruits from 
the free negroes of the State. This blow at their mili- 
tary pride was keenly felt. 

The action of the Federal government in this matter 
of enlisting slaves was singularly vacillating; again and 
again the process was begun and abandoned on account 
of remonstrances of the State authorities. It was an. 
unprofitable experiment; the enlistment of white troops 
was made difficult ; a few thousand blacks were se- 
cured, but they never proved of much service to the 
Federal army. The pure negro, though a fairly brave 
fellow, wants the essential qualities that make a soldier. 


His valor is of the passive sort, while the soldier needs 
an active pugnacity. Negro troops will stand a fire 
that they cannot return as well or better than whites ; 
they will do well in distant firing, except that they are 
almost invariably bad marksmen ; but they cannot make 
a charge, and a small body of rebels coming swiftly 
upon them with that ugly yell, which rings in the ears 
of those who heard it at the distance of half a lifetime, 
would break any line of them, however unshaken be- 
fore. These remarks do not apply to mulattoes, or to 
negroes bred iu freedom ; such men seem to make fairly 
good soldiers. 

This bitterness between the conservative Union men 
and the Federal commander grew to such height that 
in September, 1864, there was grave danger of an ac- 
tual revolt of the Kentuckians against their oppressors. 
The State authorities were now fairly arrayed against 
the Federal provost marshals and their following. Gen- 
eral Hugh Ewing, commanding the district, had ordered 
the county courts to levy a tax sufficient to arm and pay 
fifty men in each county. His order was answered by 
Governor BrUmlette, who, in a proclamation, forbade 
the county courts giving effect to the order. Although 
Governor Bramlette represented the ultra Union men, 
there can be no doubt that he would have striven to 
maintain his position by the use of force. 1 Lincoln re- 
voked Ewing's order, and so this critical point was 
passed. At the same time an examination was ordered 
into the conduct of certain knaves, who had for months 
ruled Western Kentucky in a fashion that had not had 

1 It is reported to the writer that Governor Bramlette was at this 
time on the point of issuing a proclamation recalling the Kentucky 
troops from the field. 


its parallel since the tyrannies of the Austrian Haynau. 
A commission, composed of General Speed Fry and 
Colonel John Mason Brown, checked the iniquities, and 
made such- a showing that General E. A. Paine, Colonel 

t II. W. Barry, of the 8th United States Negro Artillery, 
and Colonel McChesney, of Illinois, and a number of 
subordinate officers, were removed. It was charged 
that they had been guilty of extreme cruelty and extor- 

'tion. 1 

These blows at the system of inflictions were not suffi- 
cient to do more than subdue, for a moment, the worst 
forms of the evil. This was too deep seated for easy 
remedy. General Burbridge had an overbearing spirit. 
He gathered around him a set of advisers who, it was 
asserted, acting as a secret inquisition, sent many Union 
men into prison .or banishment, simply because they 
protested against the Federal outrages. A sort of fury 
seemed to possess many men hitherto of good qualities 
as citizens or soldiers. 2 

So fur from these brutal reprisals diminishing the 
evils of the guerrilla warfare it grew each day to be a 
more crying evil. The Home Guards, which before had 
carried on a tolerably effective defense against these 
bands, became disgusted with the inefficiency and oppo- 
sition of the Federal commanders. A vast number of 

1 See Collins, i. 141. 

2 The partisan newspapers of the day inflamed the public mind by 
reckless charges against the leaders of both parties. The Rev. Dr. 
Robert J. Breckinriclge, a devoted Union man, who did much to de- 
termine the destiny of the Commonwealth in these trying days, was 
especially selected for assault. Certain newspapers, which were ani- 
mated by strong pro-southern sentiments, accuse Dr. Breckinridge of 
brutal language in reference to the Confederate sympathizers. (See 
Collins, vol. i. p. 142.) A careful inquiry has convinced the writer 
that this charge is entirely unfounded. 


bandit gangs, nominally in the Confederate army, but 
really without any control from commissioned officers, 
roamed over the State in all directions, robbing, mur- 
dering, and burning as they went. It seemed for a 
time as if civil government would be broken to pieces 
by these two mortal foes to order, the guerrillas and 
the provost marshals. Even the small bands of Federal 
soldiers pursuing the guerrillas learned so far to imitate 
their ways that Burbridge himself was compelled to 
issue aa order providing severe punishments for out- 
rages by the Union troops. All these accumulating 
evils showed how true was the instinct of the people 
of Kentucky who strove to keep the machinery of their 
civil system intact. There is a government by armies, 
and a government by citizens, but the two can never 
be blended without the utmost danger to the State. 

It is the painful duty of the historian to go yet fur- 
ther in the history of this pernicious system that was 
developed by General Burbridge's agents. All that he 
did in the effort to suppress the guerrillas and to clear 
the State of treason may be set down as grave blunders 
of a brave, well-meaning, though most misguided sol- 
dier. The next series of acts had, it was generally be- 
lieved, the purpose of improperly taking money from, 
the farmers of the State. 

The first step, in this new class of inflictions, was to 
order the farmers to sell their pigs to designated agents 
at ^ fair price ; next Burbridge commanded that no pigs 
should be sent out of the State without a special permit, 
but should be sold to the aforesaid specified agents. 
These agents offered a price considerably below that 
paid in the Cincinnati market. The ostensible reason 
of this action was that the Federal government had 


given a contract to certain parties in Louisville to fur- 
nish one hundred thousand head of swine, and that if 
the farmers were allowed to sell in their natural mar- 
kets the contractors would not be able to obtain a suffi- 
cient supply. 1 

General Bnrbridge's agents supported this demand by 
many threats of confiscation and other penalties. Nat- 
urally the beginning of a system of confiscation of pri- 
vate property aroused an even more general and furious 
indignation than the mere political acts of oppression. 
Here again the protests of the State government were 
heard by Lincoln, and after about a mouth of wrestle 
with the evil, Bui-bridge's famous ' hog order " was re- 
voked by the Federal government. Notwithstanding 
the revocation of this order, General Burbridge was re- 
tained in command for some months afterwards, but 
the citizens were yet to suffer for some months under 
this man more exasperating inflictions than came to 
them from the honorable war of other years. There 
can be no doubt that the people of Kentucky endured 
far more outrage from the acts of the Federal provost 
marshals than they did from all the acts of legitimate 
war put together. 

The military events of 1864, apart from the incessant 
though trifling encounters with guerrillas, were limited. 
The hard-pressed armies of the Confederacy could not 
spare men to threaten Kentucky with invasion in force. 
On the 25th of March Forrest attacked Paducah, on 
the Ohio, at the mouth of the Tennessee. It was de- 
fended by Colonel Hicks, with a part of the 16th Cav- 
alry, a portion of the 122d Illinois, and a small body of 
negro troops. Forrest exhibited his usual courage and 

1 Collins, i. 145. 


his usual ill-judgment in some fierce assaults on Fort 
Anderson, which was held by the intrepid Hicks, with 
the aid of the gunboats Peosta and Paw-paw. For- 
rest, after two days' battle, was finally beaten off with 
great loss. The Federal loss was one hundred men. 

The only other operation of importance was the last 
raid of Morgan into the Commonwealth. He came with 
a force of two thousand three hundred men. This time 
he came by way of the eastern line of the State. He 
slipped by Burbridge, who-was watching for him in Pike 
County, and quickly made his way to Mount Stirling, 
which he captured, after a vigorous resistance,^ from 
Captain Barlow, of the 40th Kentucky, who had but 
seventy men. He next, with a part of his force, tried 
to take Lexington, but, after some successes, was beaten 
off by the 4th Kentucky cavalry. 

While engaged in foraging and burning bridges on 
his old " stamping ground," his force was surprised in 
the night by three brigades of Federal cavalry, under 
the command of the gallant Colonel John Mason Brown, 
which by a forced march of ninety miles in thirty hours 
came up with a part of the Confederate force, though 
Morgan was himself then near Lexington. In the con- 
fusion and the darkness the Confederates escaped, after 
losing about two hundred men. Burbridge's men, ex- 
hausted by their long march, were in no condition for 
pursuit. Morgan with his men, refreshed by his rest 
near Lexington, pushed on to Cynthiana, where, with 
his usual fortune, he was successful in capturing a train 
with several hundred troops, who were looking for him. 
The town was defended by a force of Home Guards, 
who made a very obstinate resistance, fighting from 
building to building until a large part of the town was 
burned and severe punishment inflicted on the enemy. 


While one part of Morgan's force was engaged in the 
battle at Cynthiana, another part was trying to get 
possession of Frankfort. The latter place is strong by 
nature of its environing hills, and had a few small forts 
defending the approaches. The governor, the citizens, 
and about two hundred and fifty troops made a brilliant 
defense against two assaults, and repulsed the enemy. 
On the 12th, Burbridge,- who was as effective as a sol- 
dier as he was incompetent in civil affairs, made another 
forced march from Mount Sterling, and struck Mor- 
gan's force with a superior number of cavalry. After an 
hour's fight the whole of Morgan's force was broken, 
with a heavy loss in killed and wounded and several 
hundred prisoners. 

Gathering the remnants of his command, shorn of 
half of its original strength, Morgan fell swiftly back 
through Eastern Kentucky into Southwestern Virginia. 
Three months afterward, on September 4th, this valiant 
soldier was shot while endeavoring to escape from a 
force that had surrounded the house, in East Tennessee, 
in which he had lodged, at some distance from his com- 
mand. Thus ended the life of a brilliant soldier and 
one of the most successful commanders that this country 
has ever produced. 

The other military operations of importance were two 
extensive raids by Burbridge and his mounted men into 
Southwestern Virginia. These movements were in- 
tended to break up the important salt works of that 
country, which supplied the Confederacy with that nec- 
essary element of their rations, and to destroy the lines 
of communication that connected Richmond with the 
Southwest. The forces engaged were principally com- 
posed of mounted Kentucky troops. Their movements 


had nothing of the brilliancy and dash of Morgan's 
movements, yet they- served to show how penetrable 
was the once strong wall of the Confederacy. The work 
was accomplished with no great loss of life on either 
side, but the Confederacy received a telling blow upon 
its resources of war. 

Outside the State the successive great battles in Geor- 
gia and Tennessee took a heavy toll of the life of Ken- 
tucky that was in the armies of either side. The hun- 
dreds of skirmishes with guerrillas and raiding parties 
within the State were even more fatal than the regular 
warfare. It is possible that 1864 was the most de- 
structive year of the war to the citizens of Kentucky, 
whether fighting in the armies or skirmishing by their 
firesides. It is not possible to compute the loss of men 
from these various forms of fighting, but it seems prob- 
able that not less than five thousand were killed or 
disabled bv gunshot wounds within the year. 

Strong as was this draft on the manhood of the State 
the supply of troops continued. For a time, in the 
worst fury of the wordy combat between the State and 
the Federal authorities, the enlistments fell off and the 
Federal government ordered a draft. 

An effort was made to carry out this selection by lot 
in certain counties, but it utterly failed to furnish men. 
The conscripts to a great extent went into the guer- 
rilla bands, and many hundreds joined the Confederate 
army. A very large part of those chosen were found 
to be suffering from disabilities unfitting them for sol- 
diers' work. At this time, at least four fifths of the 
men fit for military life were in either army. Still the 
effort at conscription stung the pride of the Kentucky 
people, who could not bear the idea that it should go 


into history that in a war the people of the Common- 
wealth were driven to the lines of battle. Many men 
who had been in the Confederate army, and had on one 
ground and another returned to the State, enlisted in 
order to relieve their State of this reproach. On Jan- 
uary 1, 1865, the quota of the State was full. Out of 
a total enrollment of 133,493, of military age, eighteen 
to forty-five, the State had furnished and mustered into 
the United States service 76,335. About 7,000 more 
enlisted, but were not mustered in, making a total of 
about 83,000 men. Besides these there was a force 
that may be counted as 10,000 men, who were engaged 
as Home Guards, or, altogether, nearly one tenth of tho 
total population of the State. Add to this at least 
40,000 men of military age out of the State in the mil- 
itary service of the Confederacy, and we have a larger 
per cent, of the population given to war than has ever 
been furnished by any modern State in the term of 
three years. 

These estimates are given on the authority of Gen- 
eral Finnell, Adjutant-General of Kentucky during tho 
last three years of the war. During these years of trial 
the State furnished almost as many men to military 
service as had ever voted in any election. It should 
be remembered that these men were volunteers from 
the citizens of the State, and that they were in no part 
composed of the substitutes who formed so large a part 
of the forces from the most of the Northern States. It 
should also be borne in mind that at this time in her 
history Kentucky had for years been sending a large 
part of her youth as colonists to the other States of 
the Mississippi Valley. Thousands of them were in the 
regiments of the other Western States. 



JANUARY, 1865, brought some lightening of the 
clouds that had hung over the State for the previous 
four years. President Lincoln annulled the iniquitous 
orders concerning the limitations of trade in Kentucky, 
and the Confederate government at last, and hardly 
soon enough for their honor, took steps finally to disa- 
vow the action of the guerrillas in the State. For many 
months the regular troops of the Confederacy had re- 
pudiated all connection with these outlaws, and even in 
some cases had joined with the Home Guards in hunt- 
ing them down. 

The legislature met under circumstances of a very 
exasperating nature. The lieutenant-governor and pres- 
ident of the senate, Colonel Richard T. Jacob, a gal- 
lant soldier in the Federal army, had been arrested and 
sent into the Confederacy by General Burbridge, be- 
cause he dared to criticise in a public manner the con- 
duct of the Federal authorities in their management of 
affairs in Kentucky. There is no sort of question that 
this gallant officer and devoted Union man was abso- 
lutely loyal to the national government ; to it he had 
given all that a devoted soldier can give, save his life. 
At the same time Colonel Wolford, a partisan com- 
mander, who had done excellent service with his regi- 
ment of irregular cavalry, was subjected to the sam^e 


treatment. Even in his criticisms of the government ho 
mude it always clear that his resistance was to the 
illegal action of the Federal authorities and not to tho 
government which they disgraced. 

Early in February, Lieutenant- Governor Jacob es- 
caped from the Confederate lines and returned to his 
place in the senate. This banishment of Jacob and 
Wolford was followed by an order from General Bur- 
bridge to his subordinates to resist the State govern- 
ment, which was at that time trying to raise a sufficient 
force of State troops to hunt down and crush out the 
guerrilla bands. Burbridge not only sought to nullify 
this action of the Commonwealth in raising new troops, 
but ordered the muster-out of all the State troops now 
in service. 

Soon after the assembly of the legislature a commit- 
tee was appointed to visit Washington and lay before 
the President the deplorable condition of the Common- 
wealth due to the conduct of Burbridge and his party. 
The remonstrances of these ambassadors, and the atten- 
tion which Burbridge's acts had begun to attract in the 
whole country, led to his removal from command, thus 
relieving the State from the rule of a man who has been 
well named the " military Jeffreys " of the war. He 
was replaced by General Palmer, a man of much better 
temper, who, though he fell under the same evil influ- 
ences which had guided Burbridge in his course, never 
disgraced his calling. 

The people now began to act with more energy in 
the suppression of the guerrilla warfare. The small 
Confederate bands, from time to time within the State, 
did not hesitate to treat them as public enemies. A 
large part of the motive that led even decent citizens 


to take up with these marauding bands, or to give them 
aid and comfort, came from a spirit of protest against 
the arbitrary acts of the Federal officers. As soon as 
there seemed a chance that these evils were about to be 
mitigated, the people felt like regaining for themselves 
a better public security, and took efficient steps for their 

In February the thirteenth amendment to the Fed- 
eral Constitution was presented to the legislature for ac- 
tion. This amendment provided for the unconditional 
abolition of slavery within the United States, but did 
not secure any compensation for the value of the slaves 
within the loyal States. .The subject was referred to 
the judiciary committee of the State senate. Two re- 
ports were made : one, the majority, favoring the rejec- 
tion of the amendment ; the other its acceptance, with 
the request that Congress give compensation for the 
value of slaves held by owners who were loyal to the 
government during the rebellion. The majority re- 
port was accepted, both in the senate and house : in the 
former by a vote of twenty-one to thirteen ; in the latter 
by fifty-six to twenty-eight. The thirteenth amendment 
was soon after adopted by the requisite number of 
States, and in this way slavery quietly lost its legal po- 
sition, though its life had been practically extinguished 
by the events of the war. 

There was among Kentuckians a certain sense of dis- 
gust that this amendment should have been adopted 
through the vote of " reconstructed " Southern States, 
with governments essentially fictitious. Still, despite, 
the evident injustice arising from this appropriation of 
their property without process of law, not much at- 
tention was paid to the matter. The evil that came 


from the overthrowing of their labor system and the 
disappearance of property valued for taxation at over 
$100,000,000 in I860, and at that time worth at least 
double this amount, was forgotten in the anticipation of 
a happy end of greater ills. As at the outbreak of the 
war slavery had a small place in the public mind, so this 
last step in its overthrow found the people with only a 
languid interest in its pecuniary importance. 

When, on April 26th, Johnston's army surrendered 
to Sherman, an almost universal cry of joy went up 
from the people of Kentucky. The past losses and 
trials were forgotten. Although the better part of its 
population was dead, wounded, or worn out by the fa- 
tigues of hard campaigns, which generally leave chronic 
troubles that are often more destructive to vitality than 
those of sword or ball, a wonderful uplift of hope came 
upon the people. At the moment, they thought all 
their trials over. None imagined that the war was to 
draw consequences in its train that would keep them 
disturbed for many years to come. 

This sense of strength and new life manifested itself 
in many ways. Even before the war was finished, but 
when the movement of Sherman to Savannah showed 
that the end was at hand, the legislature passed an act 
accepting the gift of the Federal government to found 
an agricultural school, and arranged at the same time 
to add to it the other departments necessary to make 
a school that would have some of the qualities of a 
university. Some intelligent citizens, led by Colonel 
J. B. Bowman, arranged for the consolidation of the 
old Transylvania University with a college then at 
Harrodsburg, known as the Kentucky University, which, 
with the agricultural college, were to be placed at Lex- 


ington, in the old Transylvania buildings, and in the 
neighboring county. The whole was added to by sub- 
scriptions among the people, amounting to $200,000, 
made while the State was still struggling with the guer- 
rilla bands, and trying to save its social order from the 
peril these disturbances brought upon it. Provision 
was made for an increase of the school taxes in the 
local districts. In many other ways the Commonwealth 
now showed its recuperative power. 

It was some time before the old troubles with ma- 
rauding bands were quieted, but the State forces indus- 
triously hunted them down, and the more decent mem- 
bers of these gangs at once crept back to civil life. 

By the 1st of July the State was so secured in its 
position that with perfect safety the Federal troops 
could have been withdrawn from the State, and the civil 
government left to go its appointed way. This was, 
unhappily, not to be. The appetite for military methods 
had gained a very strong hold in the United States. 
The armies came home, and went again to their fields 
and firesides, or, where these were no more, began again 
to create for themselves places in the world. There 
were no better and more peaceful citizens than the vet- 
erans of the two armies, and no relations were ever 
more friendly than those between the men who learned 
to respect each other's manliness in a war that tried 
them well. Yet it suited the purpose of a political body 
that had fattened on the system of passes and permits 
and the other profitable complications of the Civil War, 
to maintain in time of peace a system that had its only 
justification in the hard conditions of war, if it can find 
justification at all. 

If Lincoln had survived we may well believe that his 


admirable good sense, which enabled him to help his 
native State whenever he could see her trouble, would 
have removed these barriers to the tide of peace and 
good will that came like a flood upon the people. His 
death and his replacement by a cheap and small-minded 
man brought on the last and most painful stage of the 
struggle, that in which a disarmed and war-worn peo- 
ple were driven to fight for the elementary rights of 
good government against the tyrannous exactions of a 
political junta which was insensible to the nobility of 
the victory. 

Fortunately for Kentucky it was not possible for the 
party in power to sink the State to the depths of po- 
litical degradation into which all the rebellious States 
were at once plunged. There was no valid pretense a,t 
hand for overthrowing the machinery of the State gov- 
ernment, though there was every evidence of a desiro 
to do so. Her sufferings were trifling compared with 
those of the States in that hell on earth, the recon- 
structed South ; still, as we shall see, even Kentucky 
had a time of purgatorial existence, which delayed the 
period of quiet and left a mass of painful memories 
that will hardly ever be forgotten. 

The first evidence that the Federal authorities were 
unwilling to accept the end of the war as the begin- 
ning of peace came in the August election of 18G5. 
The expatriation laws passed in former years being still 
in force, the returned Confederates were not, in the 
terms of the law, citizens of Kentucky, and were not 
allowed to vote. Governor Bramlette suitably warned 
the officers of election within the State to this effect by 
means of a proclamation. This act of expatriation had 
been declared unconstitutional by two judges of the 


State courts, and there was a general feeling that as 
the war was over the legislation on which this exclu- 
sion rested was revoked by the issue of the war. 1 This 
was properly a State question, and the impropriety of 
Federal interference was clear ; yet in this election many 
polling places were surrounded by Federal soldiers, who 
undertook to purge the poll. In some cases negro sol- 
diers were used for this exasperating work, apparently 
with the intention of making the act as offensive as pos- 

The result of this interference with the polls was to 
still further widen the breach between the Radical and 
Conservative parties. There was only one State officer, 
a treasurer, to be elected, and for this office the Conser- 
vative candidate had 42,187, and his opponent, a more 
radical Union man, 42,082. The size of the vote in a 
contested election shows that the ex-rebel element did 
not take part in it. Two Conservative congressmen 
were elected to four Radical members, and the com- 
plexion of the State legislature was utterly changed. 
The senate now stood twenty Conservatives to eighteen 
Radicals, a majority of the latter holding over from the 
last election, while the house stood sixty Conservatives 
to forty Radicals. In this remarkable political revolu- 
tion we behold the work of Burbridge and his like. 
In two years they did what neither the Confederate 
solicitations nor arms could do ; they had driven the 
people not out of their affection for the cause of the 
national constitution, but out of all sympathy with the 
ways of its representatives then in power. 

A more complete or more wholesome political dis- 
content never affected the Kentucky people. A con~ 
i See Collins, i. p. 163. 


test into which they had entered with really noble emo- 
tions had degenerated into a petty political game. They 
felt that their vast sacrifices had brought them sore evils 
for reward. 

The good humor arising from the end of the ^r 
was still further disturbed by innumerable interferences 
with every form of civil life. These cases are far too 
numerous for separate noting. This may serve as a 
sample : A preacher of the Methodist Church was im- 
prisoned because he opposed a union between the North 
and South wings of his church, and was detained in 
confinement without trial until October, 1865 ; for al- 
though the war was over, martial law was maintained 
in Kentucky. Every petty officer commanding a post 
had summary jurisdiction over the persons of the peo- 
ple, which he could exercise to gratify private malice 
or to increase his sense of personal importance. 

When, on November 30th, the other border States 
were relieved from the suspension of the right of habeas 
corpus, this writ was not restored to Kentucky. 1 Two 

1 The long continuance of the suspension of the habeas corpus act 
in Kentucky, after it had been restored to the other border States, is 
to be explained by the fact that the Republican party secured sub- 
stantial control of the other States, while Kentucky, though she had 
been the only one of the slave-holding States that had shown a very 
decided loyalty to the Federal cause, had eluded all the efforts of the 
Republican leaders to cajole or coerce her into its fold. They chose 
to assume that Kentucky was at this time disloyal, hostility to their 
party and disloyalty being then to their minds synonymous terms. At 
this time the Republican party was principally in the control of men 
who had no knowledge of the war, no sympathy with its sufferings or 
its nobler emotions. They had received great political, and often great 
pecuniar}', profit from its events. Unhesitatingly they stigmatized as 
di.-loyal the Commonwealth which had given as large a share of its 
life and treasure to maintain the Union as any other State, which had 
borne patiently and unflinchingly the most grievous burdens of the 
struggle, and had in fact clung more closely to the traditions of the 
Union than any other part of the country. 


years had now elapsed since this writ was suspended ; 
the people had borne with the loss of this, the dearest 
right of a free people, during the trials of actual war 
impatiently at times, but on the whole with becoming 
calmness ; now, when the State was free from disturb- 
ances which ihe civil law could not control, this vassal- 
age to the military arm became intolerable. 

At this stage of their troubles new evils developed in. 
the conduct of the Freedman's Bureau. This organiza- 
tion was probably necessary in the States that had been 
in the rebellion, but there was nothing in the relations 
between the negro and the white races in Kentucky that 
made it necessary to extend its operations to that State. 

The first work of the bureau was well calculated to 
breed difficulty. An act of Congress, passed after the 
emancipation proclamation, which, as is well known, did 
not affect slavery in Kentucky, provided that the wives 
and children of negroes enlisted in the United States 
army should be free. This act was clearly unconstitu- 
tional, as it deprived people of property without due 
process of law. There were many thousand women 
and children in Kentucky belonging in the families of 
black soldiers. The Freedman's Bureau undertook to 
compel the owners of these people to pay them wages 
for all the time that had elapsed since the enlistment of 
their fathers and husbands. The first suit was brought 
against the distinguished Garrett Davis, senator from 
Kentucky, one of the most resolute Union men in the 
State, one who may be ranked with those who had done 
the most for the Union cause. These prosecutions were 
entirely fruitless, save in the further irritation of the 
people, which seems to have been their whole purpose. 

When the legislature met iu December, 1865, it wps 


found to be more reactionary than it was supposed to 
be at the time of the election. It at once proceeded to 
clear away the whole of the legislation that alienated 
and disfranchised those lately in the Confederate army. 
By twenty-one to fifteen in the senate, and sixty-two 
to thirty-three in the house, it repealed the law that 
consigned to the penitentiary those Confederate soldiers 
who invaded the State. It repealed the expatriation 
act by a vote of twenty-two to twelve in the senate, and 
sixty-two to thirty-three in the house. 1 All the other 
laws passed to disqualify or punish persons for sympa- 
thy with the rebellion were swept away. There can be 
no question of the wisdom of this action ; the returned 
Confederates included a very valuable portion of the 
State life, and their restoration to citizenship dictated by 
a sound statesmanship had only good consequences. The 
dangers arising from the animosities of the war were at 
once done away with, and the breaches that were made 
in the society of the rebellious States by the continued 
disfranchisement of its citizens were avoided. It was 
an absolutely safe measure, considered even from the 
point of view of Federal politics. The experience of 
the Confederate soldiers in the years gone by had de- 
stroyed all desire of resistance to the Federal authority. 
It is doubtful if these men had been polled after their 
return to Kentucky whether they would have voted for 
a peaceable secession of the Confederate States. The 
problem of secession had been worked out to the end ; 
the result was generally accepted by the soldiers of 
the Confederacy as final. 

To have maintained the isolation of these returned 
Confederates would have been an act of political mad- 

1 Collins, i. 166. 


ness, and in receiving them in friendliness, the State of 
Kentucky did an act that unfortunately was not imi- 
tated by the Federal government. When in the centu- 
ries to come the historian looks over the graves of all 
those who took part in the Civil War, and sees their 
acts cleared of all the cloud of prejudice that even now 
envelops them, we must believe that these acts of rec- 
onciliation will stand forth as the noblest features in 
the history of this Commonwealth. He will see in them 
the best possible evidence of the civil strength, of the 
State making and State preserving power, of this peo- 
ple. He will certainly note the fact that the Union 
party in a border State, when passions were infuriated 
in the presence of immediate war, had a higher element 
of reason in their action than was found in the whole 
Federal Union, the greater and dominant part of which 
saw nothing of war except in the mind's eye. 

The last important problem left by the war was the 
question of negro testimony in the courts. The old 
slavery laws in Kentucky limited the testimony of the 
negro in many ways ; white men could not be convicted 
of grave crime by their evidence. These laws should 
have been at once repealed, and it is clearly to the dis- 
credit of the State that they remained upon the statute 
books until 1872, though negro testimony was admitted 
by the courts in 1871. l There is, however, some ex- 
cuse for this delay. The Freedman's Bureau had con- 
stituted itself the keepers of the whole negro popula- 
tion, and had in an unfortunate way removed them 
from the control of the ordinary civil law of the State. 
To the appeal for the abrogation of the statute the peo- 
ple answered, Do away with this interference with the 
i Collins, i. 214. *t 


negroes and we will give them equal position before the 
law. When in 1872 the end of this system of super- 
vision of the negro population by the Freedmau's Bu- 
reau was abandoned, the resistance to the complete as- 
similation of the negro with the white in all matters of 
the law came about. The negro has been found to be 
a very trustworthy witness, and none regret his full 
admission to the courts. 

The frictions between the provost marshals and the 
Freedman's Bureau on the one side, and the irritated 
and resisting people on the other, bred a spirit of law- 
lessness that came up after the first trouble with the 
guerrillas had nearly passed away. This series of dis- 
turbances is commonly known as the Ku Klux out- 
rages: as is well known these troubles were common 
to the whole South. They were less serious in Ken- 
tucky than elsewhere. 

It is difficult to ascertain the precise motive of this 
outbreak of violence, but as nearly as it can be deter- 
mined it was as follows : The sudden closing of the war 
left a considerable amount of social rubbish within the 
State, both white and black. The negroes, as a rule, 
behaved exceedingly well in their unaccustomed condi- 
tion, accepting their new lot of citizenship in an excel- 
lent spirit ; but a portion of them, especially those who 
had been employed in the army as teamsters and as 
camp servants, proved very troublesome. Nearly the 
whole of this part of the negro people had gathered 
into small separate settlements away from their orig- 
inal homes, and were under the influence of a bad class 
of white leaders. This demoralized condition of the 
lower classes of blacks led to a large amount of steal- 
ing ; no farmer could keep his sheep or pigs from their 


furtive hands ; usually the thieving was not accompanied 
by violence, but in some cases the trouble was more se- 
rious. In many counties the negroes organized them- 
selves into marauding bands ; there were a number of 
outrages upon women, an offense that had always been 
particularly abhorrent to the people of Kentucky, and 
which they have always visited with condign punish- 

In its beginning, at least in Kentucky, the Ku Klux 
Klun was probably designed to restrain and punish these 
transgressions. It doubtless in the outset did certain 
rude and effective justice. Its cheap mystic accompani- 
ments were certainly well designed to strike terror to 
the superstitious blacks. When it had accomplished the 
little good that was possible to a system so fundamen- 
tally evil, it fell into the hands of the most wretched 
class of the population, the very element it was designed 
to overthrow, and became a great curse to society. 

For a time the Ku Klux organization defied the 
power of the civil law ; the secrecy of the action and 
the terrorism exercised on witnesses, made it impossible 
to apply adequate punishment through the courts. 

Beginning in 1866, this evil system continued in in- 
termittent action until 1873. Like most social evils in 
a vigorous state, this system finally brought about its 
own remedy. For years the country folk tolerated the 
outrages for the profit that they brought to them ; their 
pigs were safer, even if the common people of the 
realm did suffer a bit. The old dislike of lawlessness, 
common to well organized societies, was lessened by the 
long time of strife. For several years the Ku Klux 
vented its outrages upon the essentially criminal class, 
the rough justice of many of their actions made the 


mass of the people pardon their worst crimes. Finally, 
there came a general sense that they were going too 
far, and that they should no longer be tolerated. When 
this feeling became general they were speedily crushed 
out. With the Ku Klux disappeared the last remnant 
of the greater ills that came in the train of the war. 

Regarding the Ku Klux system and the Freedman's 
Bureau as the closing evils of the war, we may accept 
1873 as the last year of that great revolution, which 
began in 1860, moved swiftly to the state of war, raged 
for four years with a fury of thought, words, and ac- 
tions unequaled in any struggle of the race, and then 
for eight years left its wreckage to trouble men weary 
with the nobler part of their great labor. 

That part of the development of Kentucky which 
can be in any proper sense termed historic ended in 
1873, with the sweeping away of the last cloud left by 
the war ; all the rest of its life is still in the process of 
evolution. Before we turn to consider the present con- 
dition of the State let us bring before our minds the 
outline of these years of rapid change through which 
this people had just passed. In 1860, when after in- 
finite debate Kentucky slowly came to the remarkable 
resolution that she would bar her doors to the great 
storm that was about to move heaven and earth about 
her, the Commonwealth was still a mediaeval society in 
all its essential qualities ; the institution of slavery had 
acted like a pickle to preserve unchanged much of the 
notions that belonged in other centuries of the race's 
life. Her very resolution to stand aloof in a war in 
which the nineteenth century fought against the sev- 
enteenth, shows that the people, despite an intense in- 
terest in politics, had not come to a point of view 


whence they could see where their social life stood in 
the world. They were as much out of the world of 
their day as if they had been shut in on every side by 
mountain heights ; a clean-blooded, land-loving, fairly 
thrifty lot, they had, through their activities, not suf- 
fered any of the degradation that comes to other races 
from their connection with slaves. They had escaped 
the poverty of their beginnings, and had attained to an 
almost ideal abundance of the primal needs of civili- 
zation. Their physical condition was probably better 
than that of any other population in the world. This 
is shown by the statistics of the Sanitary Commission. 

This beneficent society not only did an admirable 
work of charity during the war, but it left a valuable 
body of fact in its carefully made measurements of two 
hundred and fifty thousand men. These measurements 
were so tabulated as to separate men from different 
parts of the country. The results were carefully col- 
lated and classed by the distinguished mathematician, 
Dr. B. A Gould, now well known as the astronomer 
of the Argentine Republic. From this excellent digest 
of results of the measurements made by the commission 
the extracts given in the accompanying table are taken. 
Dr. Gould's results give the measurements of troops 
from Tennessee and from Kentucky, but as those from 
Kentucky were doubtless far more numerous than those 
from Tennessee, for the reason that the Federal re- 
cruits from Tennessee were relatively few in number, 
we may safely regard these tables as representing the 
physical conditions of the Kentucky people. (See table 
on page 373.) 

Moreover, the general physical status of the popula- 
tion in Kentucky and Tennessee is much alike, though 


A Table of Measurements of American White Men compiled from Re- 
port of the Sanitary Commission, made from Measurements of the 
United States Volunteers during the Civil War. By B. A. Gould. 




1 M 



an circumfer- 
ce around fore- 
id and occiput. 

xirtion of tall 
in each 100,000] j 


No. of 



- ss-g 


a> '2. a 

2 g 

S a 


31$!* si 


New England . . . 





34.11 1 22.02 


N. Y., N. J., Penn. . 
Ohio, Indiana . . 

273,02.;: 67.529; 140.83 
220,796)68169 145.37 

3,. 06 




Mich., Mo., Illinois 

71,193 67.822 141.78 37.29 




Seaboard Slave States 





1 600 

Kentucky, Tenn. 
Free States westftf Miss. R. 

50,334 68.605 149.85 
3,811 67.419 





British Maritime Provinces 

6,320 j 67.510, 143.50 

3 .13 




31 698' R ~ n*"' 1^.1 ^ 

3 14 

34 35 i 9 2 11 




66.741; 137.61 

3 .91 

34.30 22'. 16 



7 313 

R7 Or.8 157 8.=i 

3 57 

34 69 

22 23 


83*128 fifi-ft&l! laft'lH 

3 54 

35 27 



66 660 140 37 

3 20 

34 74 i 99 09 




67.337j 148.14 





1 Slave States, not including Kentucky and Tennessee. 

all who know the two States will doubtless agree with 
the assertion that the Kentucky people are physically 
the more vigorous of the two. 1 It should also be 110- 

1 Tennessee has been so unfortunate as to receive a large amount of 
blood derived from the settlements made in the seventeenth century 
on the waters of Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds. These people were 
imported from various parts of Europe by a land company. A por- 
tion of the population was excellent, but the mass of it was by far the 
worst of any brought to America under English auspices. 

From these settlements has come the greater part of the "sand 
hillers," "crackers," "dirt eaters," "red necks," and other oppro- 
briously named varieties of poor whites in the South. Kentucky has 
been so fortunate as to escape any large share of this population. 
Still, any one, whose eye is trained to recognize this streak of blood, 
can occasionally identify families derived from it, especially along 
the southern border of the State. The western march of this unhappy 
mongrel people passed south of Kentucky. They may be traced 
across the country from the Carolina coast to Central Arkansas and 
Southern Missouri. 


ticed that the Confederacy received the youth and 
strength from the richest part of the Kentucky soil. 
The so-called Blue Grass soil sent the greater part of its 
men of the richer families into the Confederate army, 
while the Union troops, though from all parts of the 
State, came in greatest abundance from those who dwelt 
on thinner soils, where the people were of a less ex- 
uberant type of body. It is most likely that the aver- 
ages given in the tables would have been distinctly 
greater if they had included the thirty or forty thousand 
men who went into the rebel army. Even without 
these corrections the form of the men, as determined by 
the measurement of fifty thousand troops, is surprising. 
Their average height is nearly an inch greater than that 
of the New England troops, they exceed them equally 
in girth of chest, and the circumference of head is also 
very much larger. In size they come up to the level 
of the picked regiments of the northern armies of Eu- 
rope. Yet these results are obtained from what was a 
levy en masse, for such in effect is a call to arms that 
takes more than one in ten of the total population. 

Although of fighting ancestry, this people had not 
been generally inured to war for more than a genera- 
tion. They proved, however, to be excellent material 
for the varied work of soldiers. Of the hundred and 
thirty thousand or more Kentucky men who bore arms 
during the Civil War a very good report can be given. 
Both as infantry and cavalry they did exceedingly effec- 
tive service in both armies. The Kentucky troops in 
the Confederate army being fewer in number, and from 
the richer and more educated part of the State, were as 
a whole a finer body of men than the Federal troops 
from the Commonwealth. The rebel exiles were ,the 


first running from the press, and naturally had the pe- 
culiar quality of their vintage more clearly marked than 
the later product. We find in this remarkable body 
of men a great capacity at once for dash and for en- 
durance. The force under Morgan, which owed its pe- 
culiar excellence more to the quality of the men and 
subordinate commanders than to the distinguished leader, 
developed a new feature in the art of war; vigilance, 
daring, fertility of resource, a race-horse power of hurl- 
ing all the husbanded force of body and mind into a 
period of ceaseless activity, were necessary for these 
wonderful raids. It is commonly supposed that the 
French are the masters of light cavalry operations, but 
all the history of its famous cavalry does not afford such 
a record as may be found in one of Morgan's many 
raids. 1 The reader, unless perchance his experience aid 
him, will not be able to imagine the native force and 
endurance that is required for such work. To break 
through the lines of the enemy, to live for weeks in an 
atmosphere of battle, fighting and destroying by day 
and marching by night, makes a life that only men of 
very tough fibre can endure. If we desire evidence that 
the men of Kentucky were of good condition, we can 
perhaps find the best proof of it in the history of the 
light cavalry brigades that they furnished to the Con- 
federate army. 

The history of the Federal brigades of mounted 
troops makes almost as good a showing for these quali- 
ties. They lacked subordinate officers of Morgan's type. 

i The reader will find himself repaid by a reading of the excellent 
History of Morgan's Cavalry, by General Basil W. Duke, a soldier 
not second to his chief in ability, and to whom a large part of the 
efficiency of that command was due. 


There were many excellent men among her officers, 
but no one brigade had such lieutenants as Basil Duke, 
Hines, Howard Smith, Grigsby, and a host of other ex- 
traordinary men that led his forces. 1 A curious feature 
in the history of Morgan's command was that it was 
officered and controlled almost entirely by persons of no 
military education, Grigsby, who came into it late in 
the service, being the only West Pointer in the force. 
The nearly uniform failure of civilian commanders in 
the larger operations of the war is in striking contrast 
with the admirable success of untrained men in this pe- 
culiar field of action. 

The success of the Kentucky troops in the infantry 
service was as marked as that of the mounted arm. Of 
their soldierly quality and endurance a part of the his- 
tory of the First Kentucky Confederate Brigade, given 
in outline in the foot-note, must serve as a sample. 2 

1 That these men who made Morgan's brigade so able were not mere 
madcap soldiers is proven by the subsequent history of those who 
survived their perilous and weary service. Basil Duke is now a dis- 
tinguished lawyer; Hines, the chief justice of Kentucky; Howard 
Smith was long the auditor of Kentucky, and is now its railway 
commissioner; Grigsby, now dead, worn out by his wounds, was a 
prominent legislator and a most valuable citizen; a host of other 
names could be added to these. 

2 The following statement concerning the history of this brigade 
during the campaign of 1864 was given me by my friend, General 
Fayette Hewett, now auditor of the Commonwealth, who was adjutant 
of the command : 

"On the 7th of May, 1864, the Kentucky Brigade marched out of 
Dalton, 1,140 strong. The hospital reports show that, up to Septem- 
ber 1, 1,860 wounds were taken by the command. This includes the 
killed; but man}' were struck several times in one engagement, in 
which case the wounds were counted as one. In two battles over 
fifty-one per cent, of all engaged were killed or w r ounded. During 
the whole campaign there were not more than ten desertions. The 
campaign ended with 240 men able to do duty; less than fifty were 
without wounds." 


It will be seen from this record, that in the "long 
fighting retreat of Johnston's army this command did 
a work unparalleled in the history of retreats in the 
face of continued defeat. In one hundred days this 
little war-worn band, all that was left from the wreck 
of a score of battles, numbering at the outset of the 
retreat only 1,140 men, took 1,860 mortal or serious 
wounds ; in two actions they lost over fifty per cent, of 
all engaged, and at the end, with but two hundred and 
forty fit for duty, there were but ten men who could be 
reckoned as deserters. The reader should remember 
that this campaign came at a time when the hope of 
the Confederate armies was well-nigh gone, and that 
they were fighting amid despair. The custom in the 
Federal army of making composite brigades, each con- 
taining regiments from several States, makes it impos- 
sible to cite any instances of endurance among these 
troops that can be compared with that of the First 
Confederate Kentucky Brigade. Still, the history of 
individual regiments will show that practically the same 
qualities belonged in many of the commands. It could 
be made clear, if space allowed the showing, that the 
best fighting material came from the richest and most 
elevated population of the Commonwealth, those dis- 
tricts where education was the most general, and where 
the commands contained a large proportion of men who, 
by family and training, were the most natural leaders of 

The destruction of life that took place during the 
war is not easily traceable. The returns of the adju- 
tant-general show only the deaths reported to him. 
They do not include the loss from death or wounds, the 
hundreds of small fights between the Home Guards 


and other irregular troops, and the raiding parties of the 
enemy. It is likely that the deaths by wounds in the 
two Kentucky armies amounted to at least ten thou- 
sand, and, as in all modern warfare, the loss on the bat- 
tle-field was small compared with that which came from 
disease. This loss by disease was particularly heavy in 
the Kentucky troops, for the reason that the medical 
inspection of the troops was very slight ; a vast number 
of boys and old men were taken into service, and among 
these the death rate is always large. In the cemetery 
at Andersonville alone there are the bodies of four hun- 
dred and ninety - two Federal soldiers from Kentucky 
regiments, not counting those who enlisted in the regi- 
ments of other States. It is probable that in the two 
armies the State lost not less than twenty thousand by 
unreported disease ; to these must be added a vast army 
of men who, though living, stood beside their graves, 
shorn of their limbs, afflicted with internal disease bred 
by camp and march, or prematurely aged by the swift 
expenditure of force that such war demands. We will 
not be amiss in estimating that one half the manhood 
of the generation that had its centre of life in the sixth 
decade of this century was swept away or rendered un- 
serviceable to the Commonwealth by the events of the 
war. A large part of the loss of life took place in small 
engagements that have no place in our histories. From 
a manuscript summary of the history of the war, from 
the pen of my friend Captain L. R. Hawthorne, it ap- 
pears that there were one hundred and thirty-eight com- 
bats within the borders of the State. 

The loss of property was proportionately as great as 
the loss of life. In 1862, despite the inflation of the 
currency, the auditor's report showed a falling ofj: of 


over fifty million dollars, a large part of the total value 
at the preceding census. In 1865 the whole valuation 
of the slave property, which, in 1860, was estimated 
at over a hundred million dollars, had entirely disap- 
peared. The other elements of wealth, though measured 
in a currency that was inflated to the amount of fifty 
per cent., had greatly diminished. Although the war as 
carried on in Kentucky had been on the whole a sin- 
gularly decent struggle, the actual destruction of prop- 
erty was very large. Nearly all the live stock was swept 
away. A considerable part of the houses had been 
burned ; cattle and other stock had disappeared without 
compensation ; fences were gone, and the forest, quick 
to recover its grasp on the rich soil, had changed vast 
districts of fertile fields into thickets that had to be re- 
won to the plough. Nor did the vast expenditure of 
money that took place in the rear of the Federal army 
prove of much advantage to Kentucky. At the time 
when the farmers might have profited by high prices, 
the able-bodied men were in the armies, and the greater 
part of their fields were tilled, only for scanty bread, by 
the hands of women, children, and the aged men. Al- 
though Kentucky suffered less than her rebellious sisters 
of the South, the shock to the Commonwealth arising 
from the conjoined loss of life and property defies ex- 
pression in words, nor do the ordinary accidents of so- 
ciety supply any analogy. When a city is burned its 
men remain ; a commercial crisis destroys neither the 
men nor the productive power of a State ; a pestilence 
leaves the real property untouched ; but the destruction 
of a long continued civil war is a thing hy itself com- 
bining all the evils which an ordinary society can suffer, 
and adds to those a new element of ruin in the over- 
throw of the precious trust in civil government. 


There was a pause of exhaustion after this time of 
trial that lasted for years, but it was not deep or long 
compared with the periods of inaction that in other 
countries have followed destructive civil wars. Still, 
when the reader asks why Kentucky and the other 
Southern States have remained so relatively inactive 
for the twenty years that have elapsed since the sur- 
render of the Confederate armies, he may find his an- 
swer in the physical trials, the destruction of life, en- 
ergy, and property, that the catastrophe of the Civil 
War brought upon the States that bore the real burden 
of the disaster ; not the burden of taxation and of death 
alone, but added to these all the burdens of actual war. 

The political history of Kentucky, which has been 
treated in connection with the history of the Civil War, 
is evidently the most curious chapter. The other really 
Southern States, with the exception of Missouri, show 
in their speedy secession the influence of the mob spirit 
which at once separates a community from the tradi- 
tions of order upon which the development of a society 
depends. The most important point in the history of 
Kentucky is the fact that she alone escaped the con- 
tagion of excitement that swept her sister States into a 
hasty rebellion. The reasons for this happy deliverance 
are, as we have found, hard to describe. They may, 
however, be summed up in the following propositions. 

First, the Kentucky population had been brought 
into a spirit of conservatism by their unhappy expe- 
rience with the results of rash political action. The 
episode of the old and new courts, and the financial dif- 
ficulties out of which that trouble grew, was a very val- 
uable education of the public mind. It was the good 
fortune of Kentucky to be led out of this wilderness of 


evil politics by men of strong conservative instincts, 
who had the power of imparting their motives to a very 
sympathetic people ; chief among these conservators was 
Henry Clay. 

The influence of this interesting man in national poli- 
tics has turned out to be smaller than it seemed at the 
time of his death to be, but his generous, though com- 
promising, spirit had a singularly wholesome effect 
upon a people overmuch inclined to rash political ac- 
tion. If we could accurately determine the origin of 
the singular deliberativeness that marked the Ken- 
tucky people during the Civil War, we should doubtless 
find that Clay's influence was of great moment in the 
determination of their attitude. 

Next we should note the fact that Kentucky at this 
time was singularly rich in men of decided political 
capacity, and of fair training, if not in the science, at 
least in the art, of politics. The curious independence 
of the early stations and settlements led to the develop- 
ment of the political habit in many hundreds of fami- 
lies. While in the more Southern States the tendency 
of the life was to give the leadership into the hands 
of a few dominant families, in Kentucky the influences 
combined widely to diffuse the qualities of leadership. 
When many of the most distinguished families in Ken- 
tucky pronounced for secession, there still remained an 
ample supply of natural leaders to take charge of the 
resistance to that project which actuated the masses of 
the people. 

In this problem of 1860, as in all other forms of polit- 
ical action, there was the utmost diversity of opinion. 
It is hardly too much to say that each thinking man 
was in his thoughts a party by himself, and only in his 


actions a member of one of the two great political divis- 
ions that mark American politics. 

This singular diversity of judgment was of much 
profit in the great trial, for it served to make a stam- 
pede into secession impossible. The secession party 
beat itself to pieces against this mass of diversified opin- 
ion ; its small, but singularly compact and able force, 
that in other States drove the passive body of the peo- 
ple before it, made no real impression on the critical 
and contentious army of independent minded men who 
could neither be frightened into obedience, nor excited 
to premature violence. The first Confederate assault 
upon the State constitution was fairly broken by the 
steadfast disputation that it encountered. Against that 
babel of tongues its vigorous onset went to pieces. 

The project of neutrality also grew out of this ex- 
ceeding diversity of opinion. It is likely that when 
neutrality was determined on not more than one tenth 
of the white people could have been classed as seces- 
sionists, probably not more than that number as unqual- 
ified Union men, that is, men who were willing to 
take the ground the Union men occupied after the eman- 
cipation proclamation. By far the larger part of the 
population were of a mind to do their duty by the Union 
as long as the constitution was respected. There was 
ever a strong love of the Federal government, but it 
was not the blind devotion of the followers of the Stu- 
arts for their king, but a sober affection for the magnifi- 
cent ideal of the American Union. The strongest sense 
of instinctive loyalty which existed in this eminently 
practical people was given to the State, where it histor- 
ically and naturally belonged. 

The intensity of the loyalty to the State differs ve^ry 


much in the various American Commonwealths. In 
some of these communities where there has been little 
local history, the national idea is predominant. In 
others, where the population is coherent and homoge- 
neous, and circumstances have given a large sphere of 
action to the State, the sense of devotion to the Common- 
wealth is very strong. This was the case in Kentucky, 
as is shown by the previous brief account. This State 
had worked out its history in a singularly separate and 
independent way. The fathers and grandfathers of the 
generation that was active in 1860 had built the struct- 
ure of the Commonwealth through great trials, and with 
deeds of which their descendants were justly and hon- 
orably proud. In the prospective wreck of the Federal 
Union, which filled the people with the deepest regret, 
their first and proper care was to save their own com- 
munity from overwhelming calamity. Out of this feel- 
ing came the neutrality project. It gave a period for 
observation during the swiftly developing, but at first 
obscure, motives of the more Southern States. 

As soon as it became evident that there was cohe- 
sion enough in the Northern States of the broken Union 
to give a chance of holding the frame-work of the nation 
together, so that its total wreck could be avoided, the 
Kentucky people steadily inclined more and more away 
from the cause of the Confederacy. The very unanimity 
and want of deliberation of the action of the seceding 
Southern States destroyed day by day the sympathy 
born of the kinship of the people. When the provoca- 
tion to resistance was given by Folk's action in seizing 
Columbus and Zollicoffer's invasion, it was welcomed as 
a reason for casting their lot with the Northern States. 

As soon as this momentous step was taken, the people 


of Kentucky were as a whole as decided as they here- 
tofore had been considerate. The speed with which they 
filled their quota of troops, arid the rapidity with which 
they provided money for the Federal needs, despite the 
fact that their State was the seat of war and had sent 
an army of over forty thousand men to the Confederacy, 
is remarkable. No other State in the Union gave pro- 
portionately so much or so freely to the contribution of 
men and money to the cause of the Union. Besides 
this inestimable contribution to the needs of the Union, 
the State had at all times a local force that was pro- 
vided for domestic needs. The total contribution of 
Kentucky to the Federal army amounted to over eighty- 
six thousand men, exclusive of eleven thousand negroes 
enlisted into the United States army within the State. 

The State Guard and Home Guard forces not counted 
in this estimate amounted in the average to not less than 
ten thousand men. Adding to it the men in the Con- 
federate army, the whole contribution to the conflict 
amounted to a levy en masse on the population, and 
gives the State a just claim to having furnished to the 
Civil War more men, in proportion to its population 
and the duration of the struggle, than were ever fur- 
nished by any Commonwealth in any modern war. 

No sooner had the war fairly begun than the people 
became aware that there were grave dangers menacing 
their civil law from the rash and tyrannical conduct of 
the military commanders of the Federal army. With- 
out abating the energy of their efforts to second the 
military work of the Federal government, they, with 
equal determination and judgment, fought against this 
evil. They made little evident headway in this battle, 
they were stemming an overwhelming flood of govern- 


mental ills, but they had the profit of their opposi- 
tion in the conscientious and determined protest against 
the iniquitous system that strove to govern them by 
military juntas. They at least preserved their rever- 
ence for the system of civil government, and when the 
war ended they had the social order for which they 
struggled essentially unimpaired by the nefarious acts 
of those who should have been their friends. 

The result of this strenuous though orderly struggle 
with the excesses of the military spirit and the wild 
legislation of the Republican Congress was to drive the 
State into intense political antagonism to the party that 
had the control of the government. This has unjustly 
been assumed to prove the essential sympathy of the 
Kentucky people with the Southern cause. No one who 
is at all conversant with the inner history of Kentucky 
can fail to see the error of this idea. The best sol- 
diers of the Federal party, those who struck the hard- 
est blows at the Confederacy, were the leaders in the 
antagonism to the militarism that was forced upon them. 
General Bramlette, one of the boldest and most effective 
of the original Union men, was a radical Republican 
in his humor when he came to the governorship, yet 
we find him driven into the fiercest antagonism against 
these methods. Colonels Jacob and Wolford, and a 
host of other good soldiers, were ready to do battle with 
one hand against the rebellion, and with the other to 
combat for the life of the civil law. While the Re- 
publican party in Congress was led by men who knew 
nothing of war, and was mostly supported by those to 
whom the war brought no immediate ills, this people, 
with the battle about their firesides, had a double com- 


bat to wage. That they did not falter in either duty 
is much to their credit. 

When the war ended, the parties in Kentucky were 
reorganized on new lines. The conduct of the Repub- 
licans in regard to the civil rights of the State during 
the active period of the struggle, the disgust arising 
from the emancipation of the slaves without compensa- 
tion to loyal owners, the acts of the Freedman's Bureau, 
and other proceedings hostile to the governmental in- 
tegrity of the State, arrayed an overwhelming majority 
of the people on the Democratic, which was then the 
Conservative, side. 

Perhaps the most satisfactory feature in the close of 
the Civil War was the really quick restoration of the 
civil order in the State and the perfect reunion of the 
divided people. The prompt and complete abrogation 
of the severe penalties laid upon the Confederate sol- 
diers and sympathizers greatly contributed to this speedy 
return to the conditions of peace. In this course the 
people of Kentucky set an excellent but unheeded ex- 
ample to the Federal government. By this action they 
avoided all risks of having a large part of their citizens 
parted in spirit from the life and work of the Common- 
wealth. This reconciliation was helped by the fact that 
both Federals and Confederates had played a manly 
part in the struggle. Not only had the soldiers in both 
parties shown themselves to be brave and manly men in 
the field, but the Kentucky troops on both sides had 
done all in their power to make war decent and hon- 
orable, and to lighten its burdens on non-combatants. 
They could wear their laurels and live their lives to- 
gether without shame. 

What was left of the forty thousand who went awafy 


into the Southern service came back to their place in the 
State sadder and wiser men, yet the better citizens for 
their dearly bought experience. We search in vain for 
any evidence of hatred or even dislike among these men 
who were so lately in arms against each other. In all 
the walks of life, in the courts and iii the legislature, 
as well as in the relations of kindred, we find these old 
enemies going together to their work of repairing the 
ruin that war had brought on the State. Fighting at 
times their battles over again in good-natured talk, but 
each dearer to the other for the fearful parting of the 

The historian will always admire this episode of rec- 
onciliation. Something of it is now seen in the wiping 
out of enmity that came to the whole country after the 
deplorable reconstruction troubles of the South. In 
Kentucky, however, it came at once ; there was no period 
of doubt, no hesitation in the return of peace. The 
spring of 1865 did not quicken the seed in the fields 
more speedily than it did the affection of these once 
parted children of Kentucky. 

The financial management of the Commonwealth dur- 
ing the war next demands consideration. We have 
given this part of the history of Kentucky some atten- 
tion up to the time of the outbreak of the rebellion. 
We have seen that the conservative education of the 
people had been in good part due to their early expe- 
riences in matters of finance, and that this training had 
led them to a singularly careful course in the matter of 
financial legislation and State expenditure. At the out- 
set of the war the State owed $4,729,234.03 ; of this 
$1,381,832.03 was the "school bond," a debt only in 
name. In 1884 the nominal debt is $1,879,110.19, of 


which $1,698,716.19 is the "school bond," or the sum 
on which the State agrees to pay interest to the com- 
mon schools. 

At various times during the war the Commonwealth 
was forced to borrow large sums of money to defray 
the expenses of placing the Federal troops in the field 
and maintaining her local forces ; in this work she ad- 
vanced to the Federal government over three million 
eight hundred thousand dollars. During and at the 
close of the war, there was received from the sale of the 
State's share in the assets of certain banks that closed 
their business, a large sum of specie, which was promptly 
sold at high prices and applied to the liquidation of her 
debt. The Federal government slowly repaid the three 
millions which had been advanced by Kentucky for war 
purposes. Thus, though the debt increased rapidly dur- 
ing the war, so carefully was it provided for by sinking 
funds and a strict economy in public expenditures, that 
in 1873 the State was in effect entirely out of debt. 
The only qualifications of this statement are as follows : 
The constitution provides that the State permanently 
owes to the school fund a debt of about two million of 
dollars in one bond. This was an ingenious way of 
securing the receipt of a school revenue from any chance 
of reckless legislation, and is not properly to be regarded 
as a debt. Besides this the Commonwealth owed, arid 
in part still owes, the sum of $331,000 for bonds not 
due or payable. In order to have the sense of freedom 
from debt dear to the bucolic mind of Kentucky, a de- 
posit of $350,000 in United States bonds was made in 
the New York bank where the State bonds were paya- 
ble, This extraordinary precaution to clear away even 
the shadow of obligation to creditors is a singular prqof 


of the financial conscience of this people, as well as of 
their rather original methods in finance. 

At no time during the Civil War, nor at any other 
time, have the bonds of Kentucky been defaulted in in- 
terest or in principal. At no time during the war was 
the State sorely pressed for money; the State banks and 
the citizens, principally the former, readily took the loans 
which were issued by the Commonwealth at their face 
value, trusting for their repayment to the sagacity and 
honesty with which her State treasury had always been 
managed, and apparently with no fear that the State 
itself would be imperiled by the struggle. Even when 
the government of the State was driven from the capital 
the people never for a moment lost their confidence in 
its promises to pay. This absolute trust of the people 
in their Commonwealth, even in the midst of war, is by 
no means the least important feature in the history of 
the time. It is in striking contrast with the lack of 
confidence in the ultimate Federal success, shown by the 
people of this country in their unwillingness to take 
the United States loans except at an extreme deprecia- 
tion of their face value. 

It may be remarked that this low price of the United 
States bonds is a clear evidence of the general doubt in 
the eventual result of the war ; it shows that the judg- 
ment that the Union had gone to pieces, which was the 
basis of the Kentucky effort for neutrality, was the 
opinion of the business world, that best of all judges 
in such matters, as well as of the Union men of this 

The business condition of Kentucky during the Civil 
War was better than it would have been if the State 
had been the seat of large manufacturing industries. 


No country can withstand the shock of war so well as 
those that rely mainly on the soil for their support. A 
little tilling will give bread, and if left fallow the soil 
often has a profit from it. 

This was the strength of the whole South. The 
negroes were generally indisposed to change their hab- 
its of labor, and they, with the old men and women, 
were sufficient to keep up the little tillage of the fertile 
soil necessary for food supply. With an average of 
fifty thousand men in the Federal service under pay, 
there was enough money to replace deficiencies arising 
from the neglect of the larger part of the fields. The 
result was that all suffering from famine, all impairment 
of the native strength of the people arising from de- 
ficient food, were avoided. 

Great as was the destruction of the material basis of 
civilization, immeasurable as was the loss from the bat- 
tle-fields and hospitals, the war left untouched the foun- 
dations of the State, its vigor of blood and its fertility 
of soil. It is doubtful if any Commonwealth ever es- 
caped from such perils with so little in the way of vital, 
irremediable injury. 

This glance at the history of Kentucky during the 
Civil War may lead us to a better understanding of the 
strength that inheres in the American State, when it 
has learned to live its individual life and to trust in its 
native institutions. In a period of national disaster, 
when the organization of the Federal government was 
for a while shaken to pieces, this unit of that structure 
holding firmly to its local government, even more firmly 
for the sense that the higher state had fallen to pieces, 
formed a bulwark to the cause of good government. 

But for the sense of devotion to the State consti,tu- 


tion and government that belonged in this people, the 
pro-slavery excitement would doubtless have enabled 
the secession element to sweep it into association with 
the seceding section. Undoubtedly the sense of States 
rights somewhat facilitated the action of the secession 
party in the Southern Commonwealths, and made it 
possible for them to be forced on the wave of the 
slavery agitation out of their allegiance to the Union. 
But its influence in this work has been exaggerated. 
In that contest the real battle was between antago- 
nistic civilizations. States rights was only the nominal 
ground of the struggle, though to many it seemed the 
real ground. 

Kentucky was the only Southern State where the 
principles of States rights found a due expression in 
this political excitement. She alone resolved to debate 
the question as a State, and to keep her action within 
the limits of her constitutional provisions. It was this 
sense of duty, by their own State laws, that gave time 
for the deliberate thought that ended in keeping the 
Commonwealth out of the rebellion. But for this sense 
of duty of the people of Kentucky by their Common- 
wealth, it seems pretty certain that the war would have 
come upon the North with much more difficult condi- 
tions, and the issue might have been very different from 
its happy end. AVith the Confederate battle line on the 
Ohio, and a hundred thousand more men behind it, who 
can say that the North would have won ? 



WE have in the preceding chapters disposed of all 
the trains of action that have worked out their prin- 
cipal effects in Kentucky ; we must now pass from the 
historical to the present life of the Commonwealth. 
On this subject it will not be possible to say much 
without going beyond the narrow limits of this sketch 
of the State's history. But as the existing life is the 
child of that which is historical, we must not leave it 

After the period of the Civil War there came a time 
of stagnation which is hardly yet passed away. Thus 
while the Northern States were moving forward on the 
way of wealth, profiting by the expansion that the war 
had given to their trade, while they were secured from 
the material losses of actual war, this Commonwealth 
has been relatively dormant, resting from the exhaus- 
tion of the great struggle, separating itself from the 
wreck of the olden time, and trying to find the clews to 
the new life before it. It was to shake off the theories 
of life proper to the seventeenth century and take on 
the ideas of the nineteenth. 

Despite this natural torpor, after four years of tre- 
mendous struggle that used up the material and vital 
resources of a generation, there has been a good share 
of recuperative activity exhibited by the Commonwealth. 


In 1873 the State set about the task of studying its re- 
sources by reconstituting its geological survey. An in- 
quiry into its mineral wealth was begun in 1854 and 
continued until 1860, when the premonitions of war 
caused the State to set about the most rigid economy, 
and to discontinue all enterprises except those that had 
reference to immediate needs. This new survey has 
been maintained for twelve years at a very considerable 
cost. In the same period no other State except Penn- 
sylvania, which has many times the wealth of Ken- 
tucky, has expended so much in this class of inquiries. 
Not only has the work been directed to the economic 
inquiries into the resources of the State, but the legis- 
lature has willingly approved a large amount of purely 
scientific work, which has no other end than the exten- 
sion of those branches of learning which have an intel- 
lectual profit alone. Since the war, over two hundred 
thousand dollars has been spent in this important work 
of studying the nature and resources of the Common- 

The question of immigration has received a very care- 
ful consideration both from the people at large and 
from their representatives. The quickest form of profit 
attainable by a State is gained by the immigration of 
well-trained and laborious people from other lands. 
Each adult man is. on the average, worth to society 
not less than three thousand dollars, and a part of his 
value goes at once into the property of every land- 
owner in the place where he settles. 

For a generation this tide of foreign life, frightened 
from those inviting fields by slavery, has drifted by the 
northern border of Kentucky, going to the west and 
north to fertilize and enrich the States of the North- 


west. Many Kentuckians have earnestly desired to 
take the means of soliciting this immigration to the 
Siate ; still, the majority has always been against any 
effort in the way of direct persuasion to induce the set- 
tlement of these people within the Commonwealth. 
Within the last five years the legislature has instituted 
a bureau of immigration, charged with the work of dis- 
seminating intelligence concerning the resources of the 
Commonwealth. It has refused to use a system of 
agents to solicit the coming of immigrants, in the way 
that a number of the newer States of the Northwest 
have done ; some results are now coming from this ac- 
tion. A good many colonies of English and German 
and Swiss people have been founded in the State 
within the last five years, and their uniform prosperity 
has shown that the State affords very large opportuni- 
ties for agricultural immigrants. 

There is much to say for this qualified attitude of 
Kentucky towards immigrants. There is something 
undignified in the battle for the newly-landed immi- 
grants at Castle Garden, and the solicitation of immi- 
grants in Europe which is carried on by some of the 
Northwestern States. There is much that is perilous 
to a new American State in the accumulation of such 
aliens within its bounds. Kentucky has had the good 
fortune to inherit a nearly pure English blood. Aside 
from the diminishing negro population, the blood of the 
people is of a singularly unmixed origin. Her success 
in meeting the strains of the Civil War could not have 
been secured if its people had not had this singular 
unity of race and the solidarity of motive that it brought 
with it. While there are doubtless evils ihat come from 
this predominance of English stock and the consequent 


uniformity of the motive of the people, leading as it 
does to a certain acceptance of existing conditions, there 
are other dangers, and graver, which come from the 
confusion of motives in the States that have a large 
foreign population, that are much more menacing to 

While Kentucky is lagging behind in mere physical 
growth as compared with the other States, there is a 
rationality in the motive that leads to this slow going. 
It may fairly be asked that the verdict as to the policy 
of attracting immigrants by excessive inducements be 
deferred until the results of the experiment have been 
obtained, until the time conies for comparing the con- 
ditions of such a Commonwealth with the mixed blood 
of other States. Besides the want of immigration that 
arises from the unwillingness to seek their contribution 
of new blood by solicitation, there are other barriers 
that have hindered the coming of immigrants into Ken- 
tucky. The European immigrant is generally unwilling 
to enter into competition with negro labor; although 
Kentucky has but a small and diminishing proportion 
of black people, although there are large parts of the 
State entirely without negroes, the name of a slave 
State clings like a cloud over her reputation, and leads 
many people to go to other more distant and less fer- 
tile lands for their homes. There is, moreover, a prac- 
tical obstacle arising from the difficulty with the land 
titles in Kentucky. The peculiarities of the patent sys- 
tem have already been noted, and the fact set forth 
that while this system was of great value to the State 
in the process of its settlement, it left the land titles 
of the less occupied districts in a very uncertain state. 
In the most populous parts of the Commonwealth, time 


and the courts have settled the questions of boundaries 
and ownerships; but in the eastern part, and generally 
in the regions where the lands are low priced enough to 
encourage immigration, there is often a cloud of doubt 
over the laud titles that is vexatious to the stranger. 

All these influences have acted to retard the accumu- 
lation of population within the boundaries of the Com- 
monwealth, and to leave its people to a greater extent 
unmixed with new European blood than in any North- 
ern State. These hindrances are rapidly disappearing. 
The negroes are leaving the fields and gathering into 
the towns. The process of litigation is rapidly making 
an end of the difficulties concerning land titles, so that 
in a very few years these obstacles will pass away. 

The census statistics given in the Appendix will show 
the fact that there was decided evidence of the recuper- 
ation from the effects of the war at the time when the 
census statistics of 1880 were gathered. In all the im- 
portant arts there was a gain ; and we may accept it as 
proven that all the material losses of the war had then 
been more than made good. The greatest and most re- 
grettable retardation in the advance of the State has 
been in the system of education. 

The public school system of Kentucky has never 
been in a satisfactory condition compared with the 
Northern communities, though, measured against the 
other Southern States, the showing is very good. The 
trouble has been that the scattered position of the pop- 
ulation has made the gathering of the children for 
school purposes a very difficult matter ; and next, that 
the standard of education has been low, an evil that 
Kentucky has shared along with the rest of the South- 
ern States. New England started with a highly ed f u- 


cated clergy and bar, and their educated character has 
been maintained with occasional exceptions ; the clergy 
and bar of Kentucky have had little more than profes- 
sional trainings ; they have done their special work 
well, because of the native force and earnestness of 
their minds, but they have not acted as supporters of 
public education among the people, as the men of their 
class have done in New England. 

There has always been a good old Saxon sense of the 
value of education. The earlier acts of the legislature 
abound in efforts to found schools ; again and again, even 
in times of grave difficulty, the State has made great 
efforts to develop a good system of education. The 
constitution now in force made a permanent provision, 
in the form of a bond from the State, to pay a sum to 
the schools, which in its time was the largest contribu- 
tion made by any Southern or Western State. This 
liberal help from the State, though meant for a benefac- 
tion, has been on the whole a curse to the educational 
system of the State ; it made it possible to maintain 
some semblance of a school in every precinct of the 
Commonwealth for a few months in the year without 
any contribution from the local taxes. It taught the 
people to look to the State, rather than to themselves, 
for the maintenance of education. Here, more than 
anywhere else, we see the vicious system of county 
government by which the South is cursed, an evil 
that even as much as slavery has served to retard its 
advancement in educational methods. 

As is well known the important unit of government 
in all these States is the county, always a large area, 
averaging several hundred square miles in surface. All 
the political life centres about the county seat of this 


county. Usually in Kentucky this " court house," as 
it is called, is on the average a dozen miles away from 
the home of the citizen ; except he be a political leader 
or a man of the law, he only visits the county seat at 
long intervals and for matters of a large political na- 
ture. He votes at his precinct, generally at the school- 
house in his school-district ; but this school-district is 
practically an administrative district with reference to 
the school alone. Its concerns are absolutely sepa- 
rated from the other affairs of the Commonwealth. All 
the political activity gathers about the county court 
house, where school affairs have no place in the discus- 
sions ; all the matters that concern the schools are at- 
tended to by a small board of elected trustees. 

In this system of county government there are no 
assemblies in which the people meet to discuss the af- 
fairs that most concern their life. The precious seed of 
the Folkmote, which was preserved in New England in 
the town system, never existed in the Virginia system 
of government. The political life is limited to the hear- 
ing of stump speeches, very interesting and profitable 
debates on the questions of large politics, but little help- 
ful in such humdrum matters as schools, roads, and 
bridges. The result is that the life of the people went 
out to questions about the Resolutions of '98, the Mis- 
souri Compromise, and other national matters, and there 
has been little care for the equally precious local life. 
The result is that there have always been thousands of 
men in Kentucky hardly able to read or write who 
could enlighten a Yankee farmer on questions of na- 
tional politics, but who had never given a thought to 
the district school. This absence of a good system of 
local government is the most serious difficulty in all l,he 


States of the American Union outside of New Eng- 
land. 1 

While the elementary schools of the State have re- 
mained little cared for save by the State gift, which is 
barely enough to keep them alive, there have been nu- 
merous efforts to develop a higher education. Very early 
in the history of the State provision was made for the 
foundation of certain academies. In the beginning of 
the century the impulse towards higher education led to 
the establishment at Lexington of an excellent school 
called Transylvania University. This college had a 
short but brilliant career. In its time it had some very 
scholarly men among its teachers, and it trained a gen- 
eration of fair students. It perished, however, under 
the malign influence of sectarian education. Each re- 
ligious sect strove to keep those born into its fold from 
the risk of contamination by its brother Christians. 
Schools for Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians 
sprang up over the State, each with the name of col- 
lege, but with generally little more than the system or 
resources of good high schools. It is the same dreary 
history which we read in the other parts of the Mis- 
sissippi Valley ; divide and be conquered by poverty 
seem to have been the issue of all the efforts for a 
higher education in that region. 

One of these schools, that of the Presbyterians at 
Danville, though always poor in all but the spirit of 
scholarship, has done on the whole excellent work. 

1 It is an interesting fact that the New England States are the only 
Commonwealths that have secured that principle of local government 
which is the soul of the " State rights " doctrine. This has been given 
them by their system of division into towns. Despite their longing 
for a local system of control, the Southern State.s have missed the true 
wav to it. 


For more than fifty years Centre College has shown 
by its many well-trained graduates how well this peo- 
ple could profit by an extended higher education. If 
the efforts to create a university in Kentucky had led 
to the enriching of this excellent school, the State 
might now have an institution of higher learning wor- 
thy of its people. 

It was not until the last year of the Civil War that 
any effort was made to create a school of high grade 
deserving the name of a university. In 1864, Colonel 
J. B. Bowman, a public spirited citizen, began an effort 
to bring together the nucleus of a true university. The 
newly given Agricultural College fund, arising from the 
grant of government lands, the remnants of the dead 
Transylvania University, and various other fragments, 
were skillfully patched together into a school of much 
promise. No sooner was it well started than in 1875 
a fierce religious war broke out within its walls. At 
the end of five years this most promising effort to create 
a university came to an end, leaving the State without 
a single institution strong enough to carry the burden 
of the higher modern education. The State Agricul- 
tural and Mechanical School and the old Centre Col- 
lege are the only institutions that have more than the 
semblance of life and growth. 

The educational problem is by far the most serious 
of all the difficulties before this State. The neglect of 
education has gone so far that it jeopardizes the future 
influence of the people in the affairs of the nation. 
Hitherto the natural talents of the people, given them 
by the admirable accidents of selection that secured to 
the Commonwealth the most vigorous blood of America, 
have served them well, have enabled them to keep, a 


permanent place in all the arts of war or peace. As 
long as the native strength of this people, unhelped by 
training, was matched against equally untrained people 
from the other Western States, there was no State in 
the Mississippi Valley that had anything like the power 
of giving able men for all needs that was manifested 
in Kentucky. This is seen in the history of legisla- 
tion, trade, and war in the decades of this century down 
to the end of the rebellion. In the war Kentucky pro- 
duced more good soldiers than any other equal popu- 
lation of the West, and at the present moment she has 
a large number of her sons in important public posi- 
tions ; but these men, with rare exception, have owed 
their promotion to the gifts of nature, unhelped by 
education. The time when men could win without the 
aid of training is rapidly passing away. It can hardly 
be hoped that the native talent of this people will ena- 
ble them much longer to keep the lead in the race for 
dominance. In another generation they will certainly 
be left behind by their less well endowed but more 
aptly trained competitors, unless they meet the needs 
of education with the same courage and self-sacrifice 
with which they have faced the other dangers and diffi- 
culties of their development. 

We may accept the fact that it will not be possible 
to create an adequate machinery like the New England 
town system, which can take charge of the schools and 
support them from local contributions. Even the ad- 
venturous Jefferson, who well knew and much admired 
the advantages of this New England system, never ven- 
tured to plan the introduction of this system of town 
government in the South. Nothing is so difficult as to 
alter the methods of. local government of a country. 


There is hardly a case in history where these govern- 
mental units of the State, once firmly placed, have been 
much changed by enactments. Inasmuch as there is no 
hope of developing good schools by local support, it will 
be necessary to maintain the public schools by the di- 
rect action of the State. To do this well will require 
at least the doubling of the revenue available for sup- 
porting the State school system in its primary grades. 

The condition of the civil law in Kentucky at the 
present time demands especial consideration, for the rea- 
son that there is a large amount of misconception con- 
cerning the matter. It is commonly supposed that this 
is a region where crimes meet with lax punishment and 
where people are much given to uncontrolled violence. 

It is not to be denied that there is a good deal of 
ordinary homicide in Kentucky. This is not a new 
feature in the life of the State, or of the race to which 
its people belong ; it dates as far back as the time of 
settlement. Men of the type of people who made the 
State in the olden day were not as a rule gentle nat- 
ured ; they had a full share of that brutal English stuff 
in them which has given their kindred the control of 
the world. This homicidal humor was no invention of 
Kentucky ; it was in the fierce blood of their ancestors. 
The first generation of Kentuckians grew amid a war 
with savages, a war that knew no refinements, when 
prisoners were rarely taken, and when the enemy's 
wounded were killed or left to die uncared for. All 
personal quarrels were settled by fighting, sometimes 
by a rough and tumble contest, or, in more serious cases, 
with a duel. Until within a few years it was common 
at the election places on the polling days for any one 
to declare himself the " best man on the ground," with 


the offer to " lick " any one who denied it. Some one 
was pretty sure to take up the challenge ; then the an- 
tagonists would have a fight as unlimited in its condi- 
tions as that between two dogs. Among the better 
classes the contests were always with the form of the 
duel. So extensive was this practice that it became a 
very serious evil. As early as 1814 all judicial officers 
and attorneys at law were required to take an oath that 
they had not had anything to do with a duel since a cer- 
tain date, and that they would not engage in any during 
their term of office. 1 

At other and later times various acts prescriptive of 
this method of settling disputes were passed with very 
severe penalties attached. Gradually the practice of 
dueling was pretty thoroughly broken up, but in its 
place came the greater evil of " shooting at sight.'* 
Men who had a serious dispute would send each other 
word that when they met they would have it out with 
their pistols or their knives. Although homicide of 
this nature was murder in the eye of the law, the jury 
that tried the murderer were always inclined to regard 
the offense as palliated by the " notice," so no one was 
severely punished for the crime. The laws against duel- 
ing were much in advance of the public sentiment of 
the people, which has always held to the opinion that 
certain personal wrongs were to be avenged with the 
life of the enemy. So in place of the regulated murder 
of the duel this legislation gave the public the much 
more savage and demoralizing street fight. 

This evil is only to be explained by the relative low 
value that this people have hitherto set upon life. In 
all primitive civilizations life is little valued. It is only 
i Collins, i. p. 27. 


in communities where the enforcement of the law has 
gone on uniformly for a long time that men learn to 
give life a supreme place among the goods of the world. 
The combatant habit of old times has been kept in ex- 
istence in Kentucky, while all the other circumstances 
of civilization have grown as they have done in the rest 
of the world. There are many signs that this disgrace- 
ful survival of an ancient bloodthirstiness is diminish- 
ing, and is soon to pass away. It is the last remnant 
of the " Elizabethan spirit " in the South. 

In considering the question of homicide in Kentucky, 
it should be remembered that, although the personal 
combats are frequent, other forms of outrage against 
the person are of very rare occurrence. Murder for 
money is almost unknown, and is swiftly and sternly 
punished. The ugly category of violent crimes against 
women, so common in more cultivated communities, 
has scarcely a place in its history, and such outbreaks 
of degraded passion arouse to perfect fury this commu- 
nity, which has not yet been brought to consider a com- 
bat to the death between men as out of the order of 

For many years there was no small trouble arising 
from the disposition to replace the regular working of 
the law by the spasmodic justice of Judge Lynch's 
courts. This evil has been in good part overcome. 
Ever since the closing of the war the State authorities 
have shown a commendable anxiety to put down all 
such outrages. Whenever there has seemed a risk of 
lynching, troops have been furnished to guard the pris- 
oners. Only a year ago a battalion of State troops, 
guarding a wretched murderer, were compelled to fire 
on a mob at Ashland, Kentucky. In resisting thefee 


lynchers, who were endeavoring to board a steamer in 
which the culprit was being taken to a place of safety, 
a dozen lives, partly those of innocent spectators, were 
lost. Such terrible lessons will soon make an end of 
this class of misdemeanors, which are as much con- 
demned by the serious people as they are in any other 

The disturbances of this description have mainly been 
limited to the easternmost part of the State; certain 
counties in Eastern Kentucky, noticeably the county of 
Breathitt, have been the seat of the principal mob out- 
rages. In this region there are certain blood feuds, the 
heritage of the Civil War; in these feuds the decent 
citizens have been settling accounts with members of 
guerrilla bands who committed outrages in the Civil 
War. On the one side are arrayed those who fought 
in the two armies and their descendants ; on the other, 
a clan of outlawish folk who belonged to neither side. 
This isolated region has been more or less engaged in 
the settlement of these old disputes ever since the close 
of the Civil War. The district has suffered much loss 
of life in this chronic struggle ; it seems at length to be 
over; the dangerous element has been "eliminated" 
by the use of the rifle, or has taken itself away to other 
lands. The small remainder of the folk who hold the 
ground celebrated last year the return of peace by 
building a large school-house at the county seat. Even 
in the worst days of this " Breathitt War," when the 
courts, if held at all, were under a heavy military guard, 
the county was safe to peaceable citizens and to trav- 
elers of all degree, except those who could be suspected 
of being on the lookout for illicit distillers. Yet the 
people in this district are, in the main, a manly, frank- 


natured folk, and were always ready to interrupt their 
occupations to entertain the wayfarer who demanded 
their hospitality. 

These fierce, bloodthirsty qualities will speedily dis- 
appear before the softening process of civilization ; all 
experience shows us that an appetite for open combat, 
blood feuds, and other savageries of this sort, often co- 
exist with admirable qualities of head and heart. In 
this people they certainly are associated with generous 
natures, and a singular freedom from the lower vices 
that are found among many less unruly peoples. The 
condition of these a hill people" has much to remind 
us of the Scotch Highlanders a century ago ; in a gen- 
eration that folk passed from a rather lawless people 
to quiet citizens. As soon as roads are made into their 
wilderness, so that they can make money, avarice, that 
master passion of the race, will subdue this archaic vice 
of violence. 

The civil law of Kentucky, in its application to prop- 
erty, is in excellent condition ; justice is quickly and 
cheaply rendered. The same sound commercial instinct 
that led the people sooner than any other Western State 
to a good system of banking, has served to keep them in 
a good way in their property law. There is now an 
intermediate court between the circuit and appellate 
court, but this arrangement has only been voted on 
trial for the term of four years. The next and final 
step in litigation is to the appellate court ; the repu- 
tation of this court, among jurists, is not what it was 
in the days before the judges were elected by the peo- 
ple ; it has, however, always been confidently looked 
to for justice, even under circumstances of great polit- 
ical excitement and wide-spread prejudice. 


In its motives the Kentucky law still retains much 
of the old British humor ; it is full of the traditions of 
the country whence it came. It is interesting to note 
that the last instance of a prisoner profiting by the 
beneficium clericale, or benefit of clergy, occurred in a 
Kentucky court. The case was as follows : a negro 
was on trial for the crime of rape before Judge Richard 
Btickner, in the Circuit Court of Glasgow, in Barren 
County. As the offense was against a white woman, 
the prisoner had to meet the bitter prejudice of the 
jury. A verdict of guilty, which carried with it the death 
penalty, was returned, though, in the opinion of the 
judge, the man was clearly innocent of the crime. The 
benefit of clergy was as yet unrepealed in Kentucky, 
and in it the sagacious judge found a way of escape 
from the task of sending to the gallows a man whom 
he believed to be innocent. He directed the prisoner's 
counsel to ask the benefit of clergy for his client. Then 
he directed the clerk of the court to test the prisoner in 
reading the Constitution of the United States ; he hav- 
ing proven that he could read, the court ordered him 
to be burned in the hand and discharged from custody. 
In 1847 the legislature abolished the benefit of clergy. 1 

The moral condition of the State in regard to matters 
of which the law takes imperfect cognizance is satis- 
factory. The vices of gambling and drunkenness, once 
grave evils, have very greatly diminished since the close 
of the Civil War. The evil of intemperance in drink has 
undergone a very singular diminution within ten years. 
There is probably no State in the Union where the 

i Colonel John Mason Brown, of Louisville, informs me that he has 
examined into the record of this incident, and that the facts are as 
given above. 


recent betterment in this respect has been greater. It 
is interesting to note that this improvement has been in- 
digenous, and that it has not been accomplished through 
any process of law ; there is a statute that permits the 
local divisions, called precincts, to prohibit the sale of 
spirits, if they elect so to do. This method of suppres- 
sion is here and there in use, but it has not been gen- 
erally adopted. The cessation of intemperance is a spon- 
taneous and apparently permanent reaction against the 
excesses of early days ; coming swiftly and silently, it 
constitutes one of the most interesting changes of the 
social practice that has ever taken place in any Amer- 
ican community. 

Lastly, we may note the fact that the State has as 
yet escaped the degradation of the marriage relation, 
arising from the extreme increase of divorce that is so 
rapidly becoming a menacing evil in other States. Ex- 
cept among the negroes the family relations seem to be 
in a very satisfactory condition. 

As a whole the social order of this Commonwealth, 
considering the fierce impulses derived from its early 
life, is in an eminently satisfactory condition. The his- 
tory of the Commonwealth gives us one of the most 
encouraging chapters in the history of our English race ; 
it shows us that its blood, entirely separated for two 
centuries from its parent influences, can carry on its 
development on the American soil, undiminished in 
vigor, and true to its original motives. 



THE Resolutions of 1798, as is well known, were intended 
as a protest against the unconstitutional action of the Fed- 
eral Congress in enacting the alien and sedition laws. In 
this protest the States of Virginia and Kentucky intended 
not only to manifest their deep displeasure on account of 
the passage of these acts, but to give publicity to the inter- 
pretation which they put upon the Federal Compact. On this 
account these resolutions have a great political importance. 

The original record of the Kentucky Resolutions was lost 
by fire, and for many years it has been believed by the stu- 
dents of the history of that Commonwealth that no attested 
copy of the original was in existence. 

Knowing that a copy of the document had been sent to 
the Governor of Massachusetts, it seemed to me worth while 
to search for it in the archives of the secretary's office of 
that Commonwealth. The search was kindly undertaken by 
the present secretary, Henry B. Pierce Esq., and fortunately 
resulted in the discovery of the copy given below. 

The document is neatly printed, and in a perfect state of 
preservation. It may therefore fairly be taken as an exact 
copy of the original. 


In the House of Representatives, November 10, 1798. 

The House, according to the standing order of the day, 
resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the state 


of the Commonwealth, Mr. Caldwell in the chair. And after 
some time spent therein the Speaker resumed the chair, and 
Mr. Caldwell reported that the Committee had, according 
to order, had under consideration the Governor's Address, and 
had come to the following Resolutions thereupon, which he 
delivered in at the clerk's table, where they were twice read 
and agreed to by the House. 

I. Resolved, that the several States composing the United 
States of America, are not united on the principle of unlim- 
ited submission to their general government ; but that by 
compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the 
United States and of amendments thereto, they constituted a 
general government for special purposes, delegated to that 
government certain definite powers, reserving each State to 
itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-govern- 
ment ; and that whensoever the general government assumes 
undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of 
no force: That to this compact each State acceded as a 
State, and is an integral party, its co- Stales forming, as to 
itself, the other party : That the government created by this 
compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the ex- 
tent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have 
made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of 
its powers ; but that as in all other cases of compact among 
parties having no common Judge, each party has an equal 
right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode 
and measure of redress. 

*II. Resolved, that the Constitution of the United States 
having delegated to Congress a power to punish treason, 
counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United 
States, piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, 
and offenses against the laws of nations, and no other crimes 
whatever, and it being true as a general principle, and one of 
the amendments to the Constitution having also declared 
" that the powers not delegated to the United States by the 
Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved 
to the States respectively, or to the people," therefore also 
the same act of Congress passed on the lith day of July, 
1798, and entitled " An act in addition to the act entitled an 
act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United 
States ; " as also the act passed by them on the 27th day of 
June, 1798, entitled " An act to punish frauds committed on 
the Bank of the United States " (and all other their actp 


which assume to create, define, or punish crimes other than 
those enumerated m the Constitution), are altogether void 
and of no force, and that the power to create, define, and 
punish such other crimes is reserved, and of riht appertains 



III. Resolved , that it is true as a general principle, and is 
also expressly declared by one of the amendments to the 
Constitution that "the powers not delegated to the United 
States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States 
are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people ; " 
and that no power over the freedom of religion, freedom 
of speech, or freedom of the press being delegated to the 
United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the 
States, all lawful powers respecting the same did of right 
remain, and were reserved to the States, or to the people : 
lhat thus was manifested their determination to retain to 
themselves the right of judging how far the licentiousness of 
speech and of the press may be abridged without lessening 
their useful freedom, and how far those abuses which cannot 
be separated from their use should be tolerated rather than 
the use be destroyed ; and thus also they guarded against all 
abridgment by the United States of the freedom of relig- 
ious opinions and exercises, and retained to themselves the 
right of protecting the same, as this State, by a law passed 
on the general demand of its citizens, had already pro- 
tected them from all human restraint or interference : And 
that in addition to this general principle and express dec- 
laration, another and more special provision has been made 
by one of the amendments to the Constitution which expressly 
declares, that " Congress shall make no law respecting an 
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise 
thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press," 
thereby guarding in the same sentence, and under the same 
words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press, 
insomuch, that whatever violates either, throws down the 
sanctuary which covers the others, and that libels, false- 
hoods, defamation equally with heresy and false religion, are 
withheld from the cognizance of Federal tribunals. That 
therefore the act of the Congress of the United States passed 
on the 14th day of July, 1798, entitled " An act in addition 
to the act for the punishment of certain crimes against the 
United States," which does abridge the freedom of the press, 
is not law, but is altogether void and of no effect. 


IV. Resolved, that alien friends are under the jurisdiction 
and protection of the laws of the State wherein they are ; 
that no power over them has been delegated to the United 
States, nor prohibited to the individual States distinct from 
their power over citizens ; and it being true as a general 
principle, and one of tlie amendments to the Constitution 
having also declared that " the powers not delegated to the 
United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the 
States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the peo- 
ple," the act of the Congress of the United States passed on 
the 22d day of June, 1798, entitled " An act concerning 
aliens," which assumes power over alien friends not dele- 
gated by the Constitution, is not law, but is altogether void 
and of no force. 

V. Resolved, that in addition to the general principle as 
well as the express declaration, that powers not delegated 
are reserved, another and more special provision inserted in 
the Constitution from abundant caution has declared, " that 
the migration or importation of such persons as any of the 
States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be 
prohibited by the Congress prior to the year 1808." That 
this Commonwealth does admit the migration of alien friends 
described as the subject of the said act concerning aliens ; 
that a provision against prohibiting their migration is a pro- 
vision against all acts equivalent thereto, or it would be nu- 
gatory ; that to remove them when migrated is equivalent to 
a prohibition of their migration, and is therefore contrary to 
the said provision of the Constitution, and void. 

VI. Resolved, that the imprisonment of a parson under 
the protection of the laws of this Commonwealth on his fail- 
ure to obey the simple order of the President to depart out 
of the United States, as is undertaken by the said act enti- 
tled " An act concerning aliens," is contrary to the Consti- 
tution, one amendment to which has provided, that " no per- 
son shall be deprived of liberty without due process of 
law," and that another having provided " that in all criminal 
prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a public 
trial by an impartial jury, to be informed of the nature and 
cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses 
against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining wit- 
nesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for 
his defense," the same act undertaking to authorize the Pres- 
ident to remove a person out of the United States who is 
under the protection of the law, on his own suspicion, with.- 


out accusation, without jury, without public trial, without 
confrontation of the witnesses against him, without having 
witnesses in his favor, without defense, without counsel, is 
contrary to these provisions also of the Constitution, is there- 
fore not law, but utterly void and of no force. That trans- 
ferring the power of judging any person who is under the 
protection of the laws, from the courts to the President of the 
United States, as is undertaken by the same act concerning 
aliens, is against the article of the Constitution which pro- 
vides, that " the judicial power of the United States shall be 
vested in courts, the judges of which shall hold their offices 
during good behavior," and that the said act is void for that 
reason also ; and it is further to be noted, that this transfer 
of judiciary power is to that magistrate of the general gov- 
ernment who already possesses all the executive, and a quali- 
fied negative in all the legislative powers. 

VII. Resolved, that the construction applied by the gen- 
eral government (as is evinced by sundry of their proceed- 
ings) to those parts of the Constitution of the United States 
which delegate to Congress a power to lay and collect taxes, 
duties, imposts, and excises ; to pay the debts, and provide 
for the common defense, and general welfare of the United 
States, and to make all laws which shall be necessary and 
proper for carrying into execution the powers vested by the 
Constitution in the government of the United States, or any 
department thereof, goes to the destruction of all the limits 
prescribed to their power by the Constitution : That words 
meant by that instrument to be subsidiary only to the execu- 
tion of the limited powers ought not to be so construed as 
themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part so to be taken 
as to destroy the whole residue of the instrument : That the 
proceedings of the general government under color of these 
articles will be a fit and necessary subject for revisal and 
correction at a time of greater tranquillity, while those speci- 
fied in the preceding resolutions call for immediate redress. 

VIII. Resolved, that the preceding Resolutions be trans- 
mitted to the Senators and Representatives in Congress from 
this Commonwealth, who are hereby enjoined to present the 
same to their respective Houses, and to use their best en- 
deavors to procure, at the next session of Congress, a repeal 
of the aforesaid unconstitutional and obnoxious acts. 

IX. Resolved, lastly, that the Governor of this Common- 
wealth be, and is hereby authorized and requested to com- 
municate the preceding Resolutions to the Legislatures ot the 


several States, to assure them that this Commonwealth con- 
siders Union for specified National purposes, and particularly 
for those specified in their late Federal Compact, to bo 
friendly to ths peace, happhiass, and prosperity of all the 
States : that faithful to that compact according to the plain 
intent and meaning in which it was understood and acceded 
to by the several parties, it is sincerely anxious for its preser- 
vation : that it does also believe, that to take from the States 
all the powers of self-governmsnt, and transfer them to a 
general and consolidated government, without regard to the 
special delegations and reservations solemnly agreed to in 
that compact, is not for the peace, happiness, or prosperity 
of these States : And that, therefore, this Commonwealth is 
determined, as it doubts not its co-States are, tamely to sub- 
mit to undelegated and consequently unlimited powers in no 
man or body of men on earth : that if the acts before speci- 
fied should stand, these conclusions would flow from thorn ; 
that the general government may place any act they think 
proper on the list of crimes and punish it themselves, whether 
enumerated or not enumerated by the Constitution as cog- 
nizable by them : that they may transfer its cognizance to 
the President or any other person, who may himself be the 
accuser, counsel, judge, and jury, whose suspicions may be 
the evidence, his order the sentence, his officer the execu- 
tioner, and his breast the sole record of tha transaction : that 
a very numerous and valuable description of the inhabitants 
of these States being by this precedent reduced as outlaws 
to the absolute dominion of one man, and the barrier of the 
Constitution thus swept away from us all, no rampart now 
remains against the passions and the powers of a majority of 
Congress, to protect from a like exportation or other more 
grievous punishment the minority of the same body, the leg- 
islature, judges, governors, and counselors of the States, nor 
their other peaceable inhabitants who may venture to reclaim 
the constitutional rights and liberties of the State and people, 
or who for other causes, good or bad, may be obnoxious to 
the views or marked by the suspicions of the President, or 
be thought dangerous to his or their elections or other inter- 
ests, public or personal : that the friendless alien has indeed 
been selected as the safest subject of a first experiment, but 
the citizen will soon follow, or rather has already followed : 
for, already has a sedition act marked him as its prey : that 
these and successive acts of the same character, unless ar- 
rested on the threshold, may tend to drive these States int9 


revolution and blood, and will furnish new calumnies against 
Republican governments, and new pretexts for those wbo 
wish it to be believed, that man cannot be governed but by a 
rod of iron : that it would be a dangerous delusion were a 
confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for 
the safety of our rights : that confidence is everywhere the 
parent of despotism : free government is founded in jealousy 
and not in confidence ; it is jealousy and not confidence 
which prescribes limited Constitutions to bind down those 
whom we are obliged to trust with power : that our Consti- 
tution has accordingly fixed the limits to which and no fur- 
ther our confidence may go ; and let the honest advocate of 
confidence read the alien and sedition acts, and say if the 
Constitution has not been wise in fixing limits to the govern- 
ment it created, and whether we should be wise in destroy- 
ing those limits ; let him say what the government is if it 
be not a tyranny, which the men of our choice have conferred 
on the President, and the President of our choice has as- 
sented to and accepted over the friendly strangers, to whom 
the mild spirit of our country and its laws had pledged hos- 
pitality and protection : that the men of our choice have 
more respected the bare suspicions of the President than the 
solid rights of innocence, the claims of justification, the sa- 
cred force of truth, and the forms and substance of law and 
justice. In questions of power then let no more be heard of 
confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the 
claims of the Constitution. That this Commonwealth does 
therefore call 011 its co-States for an expression of their sen- 
timents on the acts concerning aliens, and for the punish- 
ment of certain crimes herein before specified, plainly declar- 
ing whether these acts are or are not authorized by the 
Federal Compact. And it doubts not that their sense will 
be so announced as to prove their attachment unaltered to 
limited government, whether general or particular, and that 
the rights and liberties of their co-States will be exposed to 
no dangers by remaining embarked on a common bottom 
with their own : That they will concur with this Common- 
wealth in considering the said acts as so palpably against the 
Constitution as to amount to an undisguised declaration, that 
the compact is not meant to be the measure of the powers of 
the general government, but that it will proceed iu the exer- 
cise over these States of all powers whatsoever : That they 
will view this as seizing the rights of the States and consoli- 
dating them in the hands of thj general government with a 


power assumed to bind the States (not merely in cases made 
Federal) but in all cases whatsoever, by laws made, not with 
their consent, but by others against their consent : That this 
would be to surrender the form of government we have 
chosen, and to live under one deriving its powers from its 
own will, and not from our authority ; and that the co-States, 
recurring to their natural right in cases not made Federal, 
will concur in declaring these acts void and of no force, and 
will each unite with this Commonwealth in requesting their 
repeal at the next session of Congress. 

Passed the House of Representatives Nov. 10, 1798. 

Attest: THOMAS TODD, C. H. R. 
In Senate, Nov. 13, 1798, unanimously concurred in. 

Attest : B. THRUSTON, Clk. Sen. 
Approved Nov. 16, 1798. 

By the Governor. 


Secretary of State. 

SECRETARY'S DEPARTMENT, Boston, October 20, 1884. 
A true copy of the original, on file in this Department. 
Witness the Seal of the Commonwealth. 

[L. S.] Secretary. 


THE following tables are taken from the statistics of the 
tenth census of the United States. They are intended to 
give the reader a basis on which to criticise some of the gen- 
eral statements in the foregoing pages, and not as a statistical 
account of the Commonwealth, a task that is beyond the pur- 
pose of this very limited book. 

The reader who desires to extend his knowledge of tflie 


statistics of the State should consult the tables of the last 
census. The following indications will aid him in an effort 
to understand the movements of population to and from Ken- 
tucky. In volume 1, p. 417, of the statistics of the tenth 
census he will find a map showing the residence of the na- 
tives of Kentucky in that as well as other States. This will 
show how large has been the emigration from Kentucky to 
the Northwestern States. The map on page 273 of the same 
volume shows the relative amount of the foreign-born popula- 
tion in Kentucky and the States bordering it on the north : 




United States ............ 1,317,725 

Kentucky .............. 1,149,994 

Alabama .............. i. 502 

Arkansas .............. i. 024 

California .............. 

Connecticut ............. 

Delaware ....... ...... 

Florida ............... 68 

Georgia ............... *> m 

Illinois ............... 5 > 522 

Iowa ............... 


Louisiana .............. 

Maine ............... 


Massachusetts '"" 




New Hampshire ........... 

New Jersey ............. 

_. . . . o, < 10 

New York ......... 

North Carolina ........... 

Ohio .... ........... 



Table I. continued. 

Pennsylvania 5,952 

South Carolina 1,211 

Tennessee 46,828 

Texas 624 

Vermont 252 

Virginia 30,193 

West Virginia 1,677 

Wisconsin 240 

District of Columbia 187 



Alabama 2,624 

Arkansas 18,039 

California 7,851 

Colorado 3,786 

Connecticut 155 

Delaware 45 

Florida 668 

Georgia 1,136 

Illinois 61,920 

Indiana 73,928 

Iowa 12,920 

Kansas 32,978 

Louisiana 6,564 

Maine 42 

Maryland 422 

Massachusetts 502 

Michigan 1,732 

Minnesota 2,151 

Mississippi 7,844 

Missouri 102,799 

Nebraska 4,034 

Nevada 578 

New Hampshire 47 

New Jersev 483 

New York* 1,720 

North Carolina 365 

Ohio . . 32,492 ' 


Table 11. continued. 

Oregon 2,754 

Pennsylvania 1,829 

Rhode Island 76 

South Carolina 194 

Tennessee 24,868 

Texas 34,121 

Vermont 28 

Virginia 2,087 

West Virginia 4,361 

Wisconsin 1,410 



Austria proper .............. 

Belgium ............... 105 

Canada ................ 1> 010 

Denmark ............... 

Baden ................ 2,668 

Bavaria ................ 3 > 3 2 

Hamburg ............... 

Hanover ................ > 

He-en ................ M* 

Nassau ................ 


Wih-temberg . . . 
Germany, not specified 

... 18,256 
Ireland .......... ' 9 

Scotland ............... 

Holland ............ . 

Til ,. t ' WU 

Ital 5' ........ ... 124 

Poland ......... gg 

K ssia ............. 95 

23*?,' ...... !.." 1,130 

Switzerland ........ 17 

Total ... ....... ...... 




Kentucky 252,618 

Alabama 352 

Arkansas 112 

Georgia 384 

Illinois 152 

Indiana . 341 

Louisiana 282 

Maryland 307 

Mississippi 566 

Missouri 530 

. North Carolina 792 

Ohio 346 

Pennsylvania 80 

South Carolina 319 

Tennessee 7,558 

Texas 117 

Virginia 6,322 

West Virginia 59 

Wisconsin '. 78 

Total American born 271,448 

The foregoing tables show the origin and in a general way 
the distribution of the Kentucky people. It should be no- 
ticed that when in the census tables the number of immi- 
grants from any other State, or the Kentuckians settling in 
any other State, are less hi number than fifty they have no 
place in the table, though counted in the totals. 

The most important conclusion to be drawn from these 
tables is that Kentucky has received a much less considerable 
number of people from other countries than she has sent to 
other States of this Union. In 1880 the total number of per- 
sons born in Kentucky and then resident beyond the State 
amounted to about 380,000, while those born in other States 
of this Union and resident in Kentucky amounted to about 
168,000. In other words, Kentucky has of late been sending 
out more than twice the number of persons that she has re- 



ceived from the other American States. In the early decades 
of the century the proportion of these two movements was 
even more diverse. 

Next we note that the greater part of this immigration 
into Kentucky has been from immediately adjacent States. 
Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri, and Virginia have fur- 
nished more than half the total number. On the other hand, 
the emigrating Kentuckians have as a whole gone to more 
remote States. 

The relatively little emigration of the negroes is also 
well shown by these tables. It will be seen that less than 
twenty thousand of the blacks, or about one fourteenth of the 
population, were born in other States. 





















It will be seen from the foregoing table that the rate of 
increase has been remarkably steady for the decades since 
1810. The most noticeable difference being in 1830-40, 
when the emigration to the Western States was very great. 
The disturbances of the Civil War made but a slight inter- 

Table VI. shows that the negroes and whites in Kentucky 
are almost equally fecund, the negroes having a slight but 
unimportant superiority in the number of births in the thou- 
sand; but among the negroes the proportion of male and 
female children is almost exactly the same, or 208 to 207, 
while among the whites the males exceed the females at 
birth in the proportion of 126 to 122. This proportion is 
approximately maintained through life. 

Between ten and fifteen years of age an important change 
is observed: the negro children of that age form less than 



O CO r-< (M 

SClH i-T 

i S51 t * Tf O 

O^i ICClOlOl-t *^ 


cr i ocoCj"co'r-cDoo 

16 r=f CO ^ 05 Tj-* l-l rH 







one ninth of the total of that race, while the white children 
of that age amount to over one eighth of the total population 
of their blood. Between the ages of twenty-five and twenty- 
nine the same feature is not discernible; the negroes then have 
established themselves in their conditions, and afterwards 
have a promise of longevity quite equal to the whites. 

As far as statistics go the principal differences between 
the races in Kentucky seem to be : that the negroes have 
a larger proportion of female births, a larger infant mortal- 
ity, and, after middle age, a greater expectation of life, 
though the well-known fancy of old blacks for claiming a 
greater age than they have attained doubtless vitiates this 
part of the statistics. 












Maize ... . 








Tobacco ..... 
Flax ... . . 




















Value of home (or house- 
hold) manufactures . 




This table shows the degree to which the climate and soil 
of Kentucky are adapted to a varied agriculture. It will be 
observed that in each decade the Commonwealth is foremost 
among the States of the American Union in the production 
of some one or more staples, . . 


Allen, William B. A History of Kentucky. Louisville. 1872. 

Arthur, T. S., and W. H. Carpenter. The History of Ken- 
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Atherton, William. Narrative of the Sufferings and Defeat 
of the Northwest Army under General Winchester. Frankfort. 

Bishop, Robert H. An Outline of the History of the Church 
in Kentucky. Lexington. 1 824. 

Bradford, John. Sketches of Kentucky in a Series of Articles 
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Breckinridge, W. C. P. Address delivered at the Centennial 
Celebration of the Settlement of Breckinridge County. Frank- 
fort. 1882. 

Brown, John Mason. An Oration delivered on the Occasion of 
the Centennial Anniversary of the Battle of the Blue Licks. 
Frankfort. 1882. 

Butler, Mann. A History of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 
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Do. Second edition. Cincinnati. 1836. 

Do. Sketch of Louisville in the Directory of 1832. Louis- 
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Casseday, Ben. The History of Louisville. Louisville. 1852. 

Carpenter, T. The Trial of Colonel Aaron Burr. 3 vols. 
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Clark, George Rogers. Sketch of his Campaign in Illinois. 
Cincinnati. 1869. 

Collins, Lewis. History of Kentucky. Covington. 1847. 

i This list has been furnished by R. T. Durrett, Esq., of Louisville, 


Collins, Richard H. History of Kentucky. 2 vols. Coving- 
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Craik, Rev. James. Historical Sketches of Christ's Church. 
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Dana, E. Geographical Sketches of the Western Country. 
Cincinnati. 1819. 

Daveiss, Joseph Hamilton. View of the President's Conduct. 
Frankfort. 1807. 

Darnell, Elias. A Journal containing an Accurate and Inter- 
esting Account of the Hardship, etc., of the Kentucky Volunteers. 
Philadelphia. 1854. 

Davidson, Robert. History of the Presbyterian Church in 
Kentucky. New York. 1847. 

Do. An Excursion to the Mammoth Cave. Lexington. 1840. 

Deering, Richard. Louisville in 1859. Louisville. 1859. 

Drake, Daniel. Pioneer Life in Kentucky, a Series of Remi- 
niscential Letters. Cincinnati. 1870. 

Duke, Basil W. History of Morgan's Cavalry. Cincinnati. 

Durrett, Reuben T. The Life and Writings of John Filson, 
the first Historian of Kentucky. Louisville and Cincinnati. 1884. 

Filson, John. The Discovery, Settlement, and Present State 
of Kentucke. Wilmington. 1784. 

Do. Stockdale edition. London. 1793. 

Do. Campbell edition. New York. 1793. 

Fitzroy, Alexander. The Discovery, Purchase, and Settlement 
of the Country of Kentucky. London. 1786. 

Flint, Timothy. Indian Wars of the West. Cincinnati. 1833. 

Hall, James. Sketches of History, Life, and Manners in the 
West. 2 vols. Philadelphia. 1835. 

Hutchins, Thomas. A Topographical Description of Virginia, 
etc. London. 1778. 

Imlay, Gilbert. A Topographical Description of the Western 
Territory of North America. London. 1792. 

Do. Second edition. London. 1793. 

Do. Third edition. London. 1797. 

Joblen, M., & Co. Louisville, Past and Present. Louisville. 

Johnston, Wm. Preston. The Life of General Albert Sidney 
Johnston. New York. 1878. 


Kentucky. The Biographical Encyclopaedia. Cincinnati. 

Kentucky. Decisions of the Court of Appeals by Hughes, 
Sneed, Hardin, Bibb, and A. K. Marshall. 

Kentucky. Journal of House and Senate, first Session of the 
Legislature, June, 1792. Lexington. 1792. 

Kentucky. Report of Debates in Convention of 1849. Frank- 
fort. 1849. 

Kentucky. Resolutions of 1 798-99. Frankfort. 1798-99. 

Littell, William. Political Transactions in and concerning 
Kentucky. Frankfort. 1806. 

Do. Laws of Kentucky. 5 vols. Frankfort. 1809-1819. 

Lloyd, James T. Steamboat Directory and Disasters on the 
Western Waters. Cincinnati. 1856. 

Marshall, Humphrey. The History of Kentucky. Frankfort. 

Do. Second edition. 2 vols. Frankfort. 1824. 

McAfee, Robert. History of the Late War. Lexington. 1816. 

McClung, John A. Sketches of Western Adventure. Mays- 
ville. 1832. 

Do. Dayton, O. 1854. 

Do. Covington, Ky. 1872. 

McDonald, John. Biographical Sketches of General Nathaniel 
Massie, etc. Cincinnati. 1838. 

McMurtrie, H. Sketches of Louisville and its Environs. Louis- 
ville. 1819. 

Metcalf, Samuel L. A Collection of Some of the most Inter- 
esting Narratives. Lexington. 1821. 

Morehead, James T. An Address in Commemoration of the 
First Settlement of Kentucky. Frankfort. 1840. 

Morris, Robert. The History of Freemasonry in Kentucky. 
Louisville. 1859. 

Parraud, M. Histoire de Kentucke. Traduit de Panglois de 
M. John Filson. Paris. 1785. 

Perrin, Wm. H. History of Fayette County, Ky. Chicago. 

Do. History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison, and Nicholas Coun- 
ties, Ky. Chicago. 1882. 

Pioneer Life in the West. Philadelphia. 1858. 

Robertson, David. Reports of the Trials o! Colonel Aar?n 
Burr. 2 vols. Philadelphia. 1808. 


Rafinesque, C. S. Ancient History, or Annals of Kentucky. 
Frankfort. 1824. 

Ranck, George W. History of Lexington. Cincinnati. 1872. 

Bedford, A. H. The History of Methodism in Kentucky. 3 
vols. Nashville. 1868. 

Do. Western Cavaliers. Nashville. 1876. 

Robertson, George. Scrap Book of Law, Politics, Men, etc. 
Lexington. 1855. 

Smith, Colonel James. An Account of the Remarkable Oc- 
currences in his Life. Lexington. 1799. 

Do. A Treatise on Indian Wars. Paris. 1812. 

Smith, M. A Complete History of the late American War. 
Lexington. 1816. 

Spalding, M. J. Sketches of the Life, Times, and Character of 
the Right Reverend Benedict Joseph Flaget. Louisville. 1852. 

Do. Sketches of the Early Catholic Missions of Kentucky. 
Louisville. 1844. 

Taylor, John. A History of the Baptist Churches. Frank- 
fort. 1823. 

Toulmin, Harry. A Description of Kentucky. London. 1792. 

Voyage au Kantoukey et sur les Bords du Genesee. Paris. 

Webb, Ben. J. The Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky. 
Louisville. 1884. 

Wilkinson, James. Memoirs of my Own Times. 3 vols. Phil- 
adelphia. 1816. 

Williams, L. A., & Co- History of the Ohio Falls Cities. 2 
vols. Cleveland. 1882. 

Withers, Alexander S. Chronicles of Border Warfare. Clarks- 
burg. 1831. 


ABOLITION of slavery, 197-199. 
Abolition, first political campaign for, 

217. See, also, Anti-Slavery. 
Adair, Governor, 179. 
Adams, J. Q., speech of, on Kentucky, 

Admission of Kentucky into Federal 

Union, 167. 

Alien and sedition acts, 140. 
Alien and sedition, protest against, 

Alleghany Mountains, effects of, 14, 

Allen, Colonel, 1GO. 

Anderson, General R., 2G6. 

Anderson, General R., proclamation 
of, 266. 

Anderson, Fort, attack on, 354. 

Angostura (Buena Vista), battle of, 

Anti-slavery, first movements of par- 
ty, 122, 148. See, also, Abolition. 

Aristocracy, fear of, 127, 140. 

Arms, purchase of, in 1861, 246. 

Ashland, mob at, 404. 

Augusta, battle of, 315. 

BANK of Kentucky, 176. 

Bank of Louisville, 188. 

Bank of the Commonwealth, 177, 187. 

Banking system, origin of, 149. 

Banks hi 1818, 176. 

Banks in 1857, 220. 

Banks, charters annulled, 177. 

Banks, plan of, 190. 

Banks, value of, to State, 191. 

Baptists, first, in Kentucky, 118. 

Baptists' place in Kentucky history, 


Bardstown, fight at, 340. 
Barlow, Captain, 354. 
Barry, Colonel H. W., 351. 
Barry, William T., 180. 
Barter, system of, 173. 
Beech Grove, Fort, 274. 
Bell and Everett, 234. 

Benefit of clergy, 407. 

Benham, General, 206. 

Benton, M. M., 347. 

Blue Licks, battle of, 89. 

Boiling, R. R., 234. 

Boone, Camp, 258. 

Boone, Daniel, explorer, 64. 

Boone emigrates, 156. 

Boone seeks help, 156. 

Boonesborough, assaults on, 74, 78. 

Boonesborough convention, 69. 

Boonesborough laws, C9. 

Boonesborough, plan of Fort, 75. 

Boone's Station, 69. 

Border State compromises, 241. 

Bowman, J. B., 361. 

Boyle, General, 322. 

Boyle, Judge, 180. 

Bradford, Colonel (Dr.) J. T., 315. 

Bragg, General, enters Kentucky, 291- 

Bragg at Perryville, 306. 
Bramlette, Governor, 337, 345, 350. 
Brandenburg, Morgan crosses Ohio 

river, 341. 

Breckinridge, John, 233, 234. 
Breckinridge expelled from United 

States Senate, 273. 
Breckenridge, Dr. R. J., 351. 
Breckinridge, William C. P., vi. 
Browne, Colonel, vi., 351, 354, 407. 
Browne, Daniel, 245. 
Buckner, General, 247, 261. 
Buell, General, at Shiloh, 284. 
Buell, battle of Perryville, 306. 
Buell enters Louisville, 301. 
Buell, retreat of, 300. 
Buell, retirement of, 317. 
Buena Vista, battle of, 203. 
Buffalo trails, 58. 
Burbridge, General, 346, 351, 365. 
Burial customs, 156. 
Burr, Aaron, 150, 152. 
Burt, Major, 340. 
Butler, General, 110. 
Butler, Mann, v. 



CEMETERY, state, 213. 

Cheatiiam, General, 307. 

Chenault, Colonel, 340. 

Cherokee Indians, 70. 

Chickasaw Indians, 81. 

Churchill, General, 292. 

Cincinnati, siege of, 298. 

Civil government, struggle for, 358. 

Civil War, attitude in, 236. 

Clarke, George Rogers, 79, 81. 

Clarke, as French general, 128. 

Clarke, Judge, decision of, 179. 

Clay, candidate for President, 193. 

Clay, defeat of, 194. 

Clay, influence of, 18G, 381. 

Clay, Cassius M., 217, 218. 

CUy, Henry, defense of Burr, 153. 

Clay, Colonel Henry, death of, '210. 

Clay, Colonel Henry, Jr., 201. 

Cleburne, General, 192. 

Climate of Kentucky, 224. 

Cobb, Howell, speech of, 249. 

Collins, Lewis, iv. 

Collins, R. H., iv. et passim. 

Commercial advance, 226. 

Commonwealth, problems of, 121. 

Constitution, first, 121. 

Constitution, important points, 122. 

Constitution, first revision of, 145. 

Constitution, second revision of, 213. 

Constitution, difficulty of changing, 

Constitution, Federal, Thirteenth 

Amendment, SCO. 
Convention, for separation, 96. 
Convention, general secession, 102. 
Convention to form a Constitution, 


Coombs, Leslie, 234. 
County system, 397. 
Court party, intent of, 106. 
Court, Supreme, power of, 123. 
Courts of justice, early, 112. 
Corydon, capture of, by Morgan, 341. 
Crittenden, General, 307. 
Crittenden, Senator, 238. 
Cumberland Gap, 285. 

DANVILLE, convention at, 102. 

Danville political club, 113. 

Davis, General J. C., 318. 

Debt of Kentucky to Virginia, 1. 

Debts, power to make limited, 215. 

Democratic clubs, 126. 

Democratic party, position of, in 1860, 

Depew, Charles, employed by Genet, 


Doeha, Governor, 180. 
Divorce, 408. 
Dixon, Archibald, 217. 
Donelson, Fort, 277. 

Draft for troops, failure of, 356. 
Dueling, 403. 
Duke. General, v. 
Dunmore, Lord, 67. 
Durrett, R. T., 426. 
Duval, Allen, 347. 

EAST INDIA COMPANY, effect of, on 

Virginia, 4. 

Elections, interference with, 334, 346. 
Emancipation convention of 1850, 231. 
Emancipation proclamation, 332. 
Emigration from Kentucky, 155, 222. 
Erie, Lake, battle of, 165. 
Estell's Station, 82. 
Evans, Lewis, map of Kentucky, 61. 
Ewing, General, 350. 
Explorations of Kentucky, 57. 

FALLEN TIMBEBS, battle of, 130. 
Falmouth, fight at, 317. 
Fayette County, 81. 
Fecundity of Kentucky people, 223. 
Federal Congress, address to, 104. 
Federal Congress, tax of, 174. 
Federal Congress, troops, call for, 242. 
Federal Congress, attitude towards 

slavery, 331. 
Filson, John, iv. 
Financial management during civil 

war, 387. 

Fincastle County, Virginia, 79. 
Finnell, Adjutant-General, 267, 268. 
First Kentucky Confederate brigade, 

Fitch', John, 174, 175. 
Floyd, General, 278. 
Forrest, General, 353. 
Fortifications, previous methods, 75. 
Frankfort, attack on, 303. 
Franklin, abortive State of, 94. 
Freedman's Bureau, 366. 
French Revolution, 148. 
Fry, General Speed, 351. 

GAKEAED, 268. 

Genet, Citizen, 127, 128. 

Geological Survey, first, 228. 

German settlers in Virginia, 11. 

Gilbert, Colonel, 335. 

Oilman, General, 339. 

Girty, Simon, 83. 

Gooding, General, 307. 

Goodloe, W. C., vi. 

Gould, B. A., 372. 

Grant, General, at Paducah, 251. 

Grant, General, at Donelson, 277. 

Green, General, vi. 

Greenup, Christopher, 114. 

Guerrillas, 325. 

HALDEMAN, W. K., 271. 



Hanson, Colonel, 258. 
Hardee, General, 304. 
Harris, General, 306. 
Harrison, Colonel, 258. 
Harrison, General, 159, 192. 
Harrod, James, 67. 
Harrodsburg, 67. 
Harrodsburg, assault on, 73. 
Hawes, Governor (secession), 303. 
Hawthorne, L. R., 378. 
Henderson, Colonel, 69, 75. 
Henderson & Co., 68. 
Henry, Fort, loss of, 276. 
Heth, General, 296, 297. 
Hewitt, Fayette, vi. 
Hicks, Colonel, 253. 
Hines, Captain (Judge), 341. 
Holder, Captain, 83. 
Home Guards, 267. 
. Houston, General Felix, 193. 
Hull's surrender, 158. 

ILLINOIS, expedition to, 79, 163. 

Immigration, 81, 108. 

Immigration, attitude of Kentucky to, 


Independence, spirit of, 106. 
Indians, humanity of, 109. 
Indians, treaty with, 98. 
Inglis, Mary, captivity, 61. 
Innis, Henry, 104. 


Jackson, Gsneral James, 306. 

Jay, John, 100. 

Jefferson, Fort, 81. 

Jefferson, Thomas, 81. 

Johnson, G. W., 271. 

Johnson, Joseph, 361. 

Johnson, R. M., 193. 

Johnston, General A. S., 108, 193, 261- 

233, 283. 
Johnston, Colonel J. Stoddard, 295, 

Johnston, "W. P., 261. 


Kentucky, area of, 24. 

Kentucky, agricultural products, 32. 

See, also, Appendix. 
Kentucky, absence of Federal aid in, 


Kentucky, buffalo in, 46. 
Kentucky, behavior of troops, 163. 
Kentucky coal-beds, 38. 
Kentucky caverns, 42. 
Kentucky, civil law in, 402. 
Kentucky contingent in Mexican War, 

201. ' 

Kentucky, conditions at settlement, 27. 
Kentucky, dueling in, 403. 
Kentucky earthquakes, 44. 

Kentucky, elevation of, 24. 
Kentucky, English race not enfeebled 

in, 23. 
Kentucky and Federal government, 


Kentucky, first Kentuckians, 45. 
Kentucky, French explorations, 48. 
Kentucky, geology of, 35. 
Kentucky, health of people, 32. 
Kentucky, Indians in, 45. 
Kentucky, immigration to, 79. 
Kentucky iron ores, 38. 
Kentucky land system, 49. 
Kentucky, loss of life in Civil War, 


Kentucky, mammoth, 41. 
Kentucky, mountains of, 26. 
Kentucky mound builders, 45. 
Kentucky, peculiarities of origin, 22. 
Kentucky petroleum, 39. 
Kentucky, position of people in 1861, 


Kentucky, physical conditions, 24. 
Kentucky prairie land, origin of, 29. 
Kentucky, qualities of early people, 


Kentucky salt licks, 41. 
Kentucky saltpetre, 43. 
Kentucky, separation from Virginia, 


Kentucky, strategic position, 275. 
Kentucky, sympathy with Texas, 200. 
Kentucky County divided from Fin- 
castle, 73. 
Kentucky, Mammoth Cave, 42. 

LEBANON captured by Morgan, 290, 


Legislature of 1861, 241, 247. 
Legislature, Confederate, 251. 
Legislature, conservative action of, 

Legislature, intermittent session, 

Legislature repeals expatriation acts, 


Legislature, resolutions of 1861, 242^ 
Legislature, session in Louisville, 322. 
Lewis, Colonel, 160. 
Lexington club, 128. 
Lexington, business of, in 1817, 176. 
Lincoln, President, 285, 358, 362. 
Lincoln County, 81. 
Literary fund, 178. 
Little, William, v. 
Lynching, 403. 
Lytle, General, 306. 

MAGOFFIN, Governor, 233, 264, 321. 

Manufactures, early, 175. 



Marshall, H., General, 201, 210, 248. 

Marshall, H., Senator, 104, 122, v. 

Maryland, 21. 

Mrxcn County, 108. 

Massachusetts, quarrel with, 185. 

McC.rty, Clinton, 234. 

McCock, General, 3C7. 

McKee, Colonel, 201, 210. 

Measurements of men, 373. 

Mcips, Fcrt, 164. 

Methodists, first, 118. 

Mcthodkts. revival, 147. 

Mexican War, 202. 

Miami expedition, 91. 

Michaux, F. A., 175. 

Militrry law, evils of, 335. 

Mills, Cclonel, 161. 

Milk, Judge, 180. 

Miscissippi, question of navigation, 99, 


Mitchell, General, 307. 
Monetary crisis 17, 189. 
Monetary crisis 157, 220. 
Monetary system, 172. 
Mcney, cut, 191. 
Money for Civil War, 263. 
Money, Spanish ,.173. 
Mcnterey, battle of, 203. 
Moore, Colonel O. H. , 340. 
Morgan, General George W., 313. 
Mcrprn, General John H., 210, 208, 

282, 288, 289, 290, 326, 329, 338, S42, 


Morgan, Lieutenant Thomas, 341. 
Mount Stirling, 338. 

NEGRO testimony in the courts, 368. 

Nelson, General, 248, 273, 291. 

Neutrality in Civil War, 237, 249, 262, 

New Orleans, 167, 171. 

Nicholas, Colonel George, 121. 

North Carolina and State of Frank- 
lin, 96. 

OATHS, degradation of, 322. 

Ohio, Indian fights in, 109. 

Old and new court, controversy, 180. 

Old and new court, final decision, 

Old and new court, effects of decision, 

" Old and New, "magazine articles in, 

Onslow, Judge, 180. 

PACK saddle, use of, 58. 
Parties, division according to soil, 232. 
Patriot (journal), 181. 
Payne, General E. A., 351. 
Pegram, General, invades Kentucky, 

Perryville, battle of, 304. 

Fierce, H. B., Aprerdix. 

Pioneers, life of, 116, 117. 

Point Pleasant, battle of, 67. 

Political club, 113. 

Political club, debates of, 114, 115. 

Polk, General Leonidas, takes Co. 

lumbus, 250. 
Population in 1790, 108. 
Population in 1810, 155. 
Powell, Lazarus W., 217. 
Power, Thomas, Sptnuh agent, 132. 
Presbyterians , frst, in Kentucky, 118. 
Proctor, General (British), 162. 
Provost marEhrl, 321, 333, 348. 
Public works, 189. 

QUALITIES of early Kentuckians, 111. 

RAISIN, battle of, ICO. 
Reconciliation in 15, 361. 
Relief and anti-relief parties, 179. 
Relief party, removal of, in 1840, 190. 
Religious condition of pioneers, 118. 
Resolutions of 1798, 141, and Appen- 
Resolutions of 1798, effort to repeal, 

Revolutionary War, soldiers from, 2L 
Richmond, battle of, 291. 
Rctertscn, Judfe, 347. 
Rctinson, Camp Dick, 248. 
Robinscn, Governor, 321. 
Reman Catholics, 118. 
Roman Catholics, community in Nel- 
son County, 119. 
Rosecrans, General, 338. 
Rowan, John, 180. 

ST. ASAPHS, 67. 

St. Clair's defeat, 110. 

Salem, fight at, 341. 

Sailing, J., 59. 

Sanitary commission, 372. 

Schoepff, General, 268. 

School system, 396. 

Scott, Colonel, 292. 

Scott, General, 219. 

Sebastian, Judge, 133, 154. 

Secession resolutions of '98, 144. 

Secession spirit of I 1 ! 90 and 18C1, 107. 

Secession, Wilkinson's scheme, 98. 

Separation from Virginia, 93, 94. 

Sevier, Governor, 96. 

Shawanee Indians, 60. 

Shelby, Governor, 124, 128. 

Sheridan, General, 306. 

Sherman, General W. T., 268. 

Shiloh, battle. 283. 

Shiloh, Kentucky loss, 285. 

Slavery, abolition of, 197. 

Slavery, conditions of, 196. 



Slavery, effects, 217, 224. 

Slavery, increase of, 195. 

Slavery (anti-), 122, 148. 

Slaves, enlistment of, 339. 

Slaves, inattention to value of, in 18G1, 


Smith, Captain James, 64. 
Smith, General Kirby, 291, 313. 
Southern rights party, 232. 
Sovereignty convention, 240, 270. 
Spain, treaty with, 132. 
Spaniards, possessions of, 99. 
Spanish intrigues, 132. 
Speculation in 1830-1837, 188. 
Speed, Thomas, 113. 
State guard, 246, 257. 
States rights convention, 313. 
Steamboats, 174. 
Stephenson, General, 313. 
Stone River, battle, 338. 

TAX, Federal, 194. 

Taylor, General, 201, 203, 213. 

Tecumseh, 164, 166. 

Texas annexation, 200. 

Texas, war of, 193. 

Thames, battle of, 165. 

Thomas, General, 274, 301. 

Thompson, Christopher, 180. 

Thompson, E. P., history by, 258. 

Tilghman, General, 247, 277. 

Tippecanoe, battle, 155. 

Tirrill, General, 306. 

Transylvania University, 283, 361, 400. 

Troops, call for, 264. 

Troops, organization of, 281. 

Troops, joining Bragg, 324. 


VIRGINIA, awakening of, after 1790, 18. 
Virginia, claim on northwestern 

lands, 53. 
Virginia compared with New England, 

Virginia, character of settlers, 8. 
Virginia, dissolution of first company, 

Virginia, education, 16. 
Virginia, effects of AUeghany Moun- 
tains, 14. 
Virginia, early explorations, 57. 


Virginia, geographical condition, 9 
Virginia, organization of society, 14 
Virginia, pastors and religious spirit, 

Virginia, planting of, 6. 

Virginia, population compared with 

Massachusetts, 11. 
Virginia, reasons for desiring western 

colonies, 55. 
Virginia, separation of Kentucky 

from, 93. 

Virginia, sources of population, 11. 
Virginia, willingness of, for partition, 

WALKER, Rev. Thomas, explorer, 59. 

Wallace, General, at Cincinnati, 299. 

War of 1812, 158. 

War, Mexican, 200. 

War, Civil, beginning of, 231. 

War, Civilj attitude in, 236. 

Wayne, Fort, relief of, 159. 

Wayne, General, victory of, 130. 

Ways from Virginia to Kentucky, 68. 

Webster, General, 306. 

West, Edward, 174, 175. 

Whigs, indecision on the slavery ques- 
tion, 217. 

Wild Cat Mountain, battle of, 268. 

Wilder, General, battle of importance. 

Wilkinson, trading treaty, 101. 

Wilkinson, General, forms secession 
party, 98. 

Wilkinson, General, first trial of, 137. 

Wilkinson, General, second trial of. 

William and Mary College, 17. 

Williams, John S., 201. 

Williams, John S., at Cerro Gordo, 

Williams, John S., at Ivy Mountain, 

Winchester, General, 161. 

Withers, Colonel, 258. 

Women, imprisonment of. 348. 

Wood, Colonel, explorer, 59. 

Woolford, Colonel, 268, 339. 

Wyandotte Indians, attack by, 82. 

ZOLLICOFEE, General, 250, 262, 268, 




A series of volumes narrating the history of such 
States of the Union as have exerted a positive influ- 
ence in the shaping of the national government, or 
have a striking political, social, or economical history. 

The commonwealth has always been a positive force 
in American history, and it is believed that no better 
time could be found for a statement of the life inher- 
ent in the States than when the unity of the nation 
has been assured ; and it is hoped by this means to 
throw new light upon the development of the country, 
and to give a fresh point of view for the study of 
American history. 

This series is under the editorial care of Mr. Hor- 
ace E. Scudder, who is well known both as a student 
of American history and as a writer. 

The aim of the Editor will be to secure trustworthy 
and graphic narratives, which shall have substantial 
value as historical monographs and at the same time 
do full justice to the picturesque elements of the sub- 
jects. The volumes are uniform in size and general 
style with the series of "American Statesmen " and 
"American Men of Letters," and are furnished with 
maps, indexes, and such brief critical apparatus as 
add to the thoroughness of the work. 

Speaking of the series, the Boston Journal says: 
" It is clear that this series will occupy an entirely new 
place in our historical literature. Written by compe- 
tent and aptly chosen authors, from fresh materials, 
01 convenient form, and with a due regard to propor- 
tion and proper emphasis, they promise to supply 
most satisfactorily a positive want" 


Virginia. A History of the People. By JOHN ESTEN 
COOKE, author of " The Virginia Comedians," 
"Life of Stonewall Jackson," "Life of General 
Robert E. Lee," etc. 

Oregon. The Struggle for Possession. By WILLIAM 

Maryland. By WILLIAM HAND BROWNE, Associate 
of Johns Hopkins University. 

Professor of Palaeontology, Harvard University, re- 
cently Director of the Kentucky State Survey. 

Michigan. By Hon. T. M. COOLEY, LL. D. 

Kansas. By LEVERETT W. SPRING, Professor of Eng- 
lish Literature in the University of Kansas. 

California. By JOSIAH ROYCE, Instructor in Philoso- 
phy in Harvard University. 

New York. By Hon. ELLIS H. ROBERTS. 2 vols. 

Connecticut. By ALEXANDER JOHNSTON, author of a 
" Handbook of American Politics," Professor of 
Jurisprudence and Political Economy in the Col- 
lege of New Jersey. 


Tennessee. By JAMES PHELAN, Ph. D. (Leipsic). 

Pennsylvania. By Hon. WAYNE McVEAGH, late At- 
torney-General of the United States. 

Missouri. By LUCIEN CARR, M. A., Assistant Curator 
of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology. 

Ohio. By Hon. RUFUS KING. 

New Jersey. BY AUSTIN SCOTT, Ph. D. Professor 
of History in Rutgers College. 
Others to be announced hereafter. Each volume, 

with Maps, i6mo, gilt top, $1.25. 



Mr. Cooke has made a fascinating volume one which it will 
be very difficult to surpass either in method or interest. . . . True 
historic insight appears through all these pages, and an earnest 
desire to do all parties and religions perfect justice. The story 
of the settlement of Virginia is told in full. ... It is made as 
interesting as a romance. The Critic (New York). 

No more acceptable writer could have been selected to tell the 
story of Virginia's history. Educational Journal of Virginia 
(Richmond, Va.). 


The long and interesting story of the struggle of five nations 
for the possession of Oregon is told in the graphic and reliable 
narrative of William Barrows. ... A more fascinating record 
has seldom been written. . . . Careful research and pictorial skill 
of narrative commend this book of antecedent history to all in- 
terested in the rapid march and wonderful development of our 
American civilization upon the Pacific coast. Springfield Rt- 

There is so much that is new and informing embodied in this 
little volume that we commend it with enthusiasm. It is written 
with great ability. Magazine of American History (New York). 


With great care and labor he has sought out and studied origi- 
nal documents. By the aid of these he is able to give his work a 
value and interest that would have been impossible had he fol- 
lowed slavishly the commonly accepted authorities on his subject. 
His investigation in regard to toleration in Maryland is particu- 
larly noticeable. New York Evening Post. 

A substantial contribution to the history of America. Maga> 
tine of American History. 


Professor Shaler has made use of much valuable existing ma- 
terial, and by a patient, discriminating, and judicious choice has 
given us a complete and impartial record of the various stages 

through which this State has passed from its first settlement to 
the present time. No one will read this story of the building of 
one of the great commonwealths of this Union without feelings of 
deep interest, and that the author has done his work well and im- 
partially will be the general verdict Christian at Work (New 

A capital example of what a short State history should be. 
Hartford Courant. 


In all respects one of the very best of the series. ... His work 
exhibits diligent research, discrimination in the selection of ma- 
terials, and skill in combining his chosen stuff into a narration 
that has unity, and order, and lucidity. It is an excellent presen- 
tation of the important aspects and vital principles of the Kansas 
struggle. Hartford Courant. 


An ably written and charmingly interesting volume. . . . For 
variety of incident, for transitions in experience, for importance 
of events, and for brilliancy and ability in the service of the lead- 
ing actors, the history of Michigan offers rare attractions ; and 
the writer of it has brought to his task the most excellent gifts 
and powers as a vigorous, impartial, and thoroughly accomplished 
historian. Christian Register (Boston). 


Mr. Royce has made an admirable study. He has established 
his view and fortified his position with a wealth of illustration 
from incident and reminiscence. The story is made altogether 
entertaining. ... Of the country and its productions, of pioneer 
life and character, of social and political questions, of business 
and industrial enterprises, he has given us full and intelligent ac- 
counts. Boston Transcript. 

It is the most truthful and graphic description that has been 
written of this wonderful history which has from time to time 
been written in scraps and sketches. Chicago Inter-Ocean. 


American Statesmen. 

A Series of Biographies of Men conspicuous in the. 
Political History of the United States. 



The object of this series is not merely to give a 
number of unconnected narratives of men in Ameri- 
can political life, but to produce books which shall, 
when taken together, indicate the lines of political 
thought and development in American history. 

The volumes now ready are as follows. 

John Quincy Adams. By JOHN T. MORSE, JR. 
Alexander Hamilton. By HENRY CABOT LODGE. 
John C. Calhoun. By DR. H. VON HOLST. 
Andrew Jackson. By PROF. W. G. SUMNER. 
John Randolph. By HENRY ADAMS. 
James Monroe. By PRES. DANIEL C. OILMAN. 
Thomas Jefferson. By JOHN T. MORSE, JR. 
Daniel Webster. By HENRY CABOT LODGE. 
Albert Gallatin. By JOHN AUSTIN STEVENS. 
James Madison. By SYDNEY HOWARD GAY. 
John Adams. By JOHN T. MORSE, JR. 
John Marshall. By A. B. MAGRUDER. 
Samuel Adams. By JAMES K. HOSMER. 
Henry Clay. By Hon. CARL SCHURZ, 2 vois. 
Patrick Henry. By MOSES Coir TYLER. 
Gouverneur Morris. By THEODORE ROOSEVELT. 

George Washington. By HENRY CABOT LODGE. 

2 VOls. 

Martin Van Buren. By EDWARD M. SHEPARD. 
Others to be announced hereafter. Each volume, 
f6mo, gilt top, $1.25; half morocco, $2.50. 



That Mr. Morse's conclusions will in the main be those of 
posterity we have very little doubt, and he has set an admirable 
example to his coadjutors in respect of interesting narrative, 
just proportion, and judicial candor. New York Evening 

Mr. Morse has written closely, compactly, intelligently, fear- 
lessly, honestly. New York Times. 


The biography of Mr. Lodge is calm and dignified through- 
out. He has the virtue rare indeed among biographers 
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and the biography of Hamilton is a book which cannot have 
too many readers. It is more than a biography ; it is a study 
in the science of government. St. Paul Pioneer-Press. 


Nothing can exceed the skill with which the political career 
of the great South Carolinian is portrayed in these pages. The 
work is superior to any other number of the series thus far, and 
we do not think it can be surpassed by any of those that are to 
come. The whole discussion in relation to Calhoun's position 
is eminently philosophical and just. The Dial (Chicago). 


Prof. Sumner has, ... all in all, made the justest long esti- 
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book. New York Times. 

One of the most masterly monographs that we have ever had 
the pleasure of reading. It is calm and clear. Providence* 


The book has been to me intensely interesting. ... It is 
rich in new facts and side lights, and is worthy of its place m 
the already brilliant series of monographs on American States- 

Remarkably interesting. . . . The biography has all the ele- 
ments of popularity, and cannot fail to be widely read. Hart- 
ford Courant. 


In clearness of style, and in all points of literary workman- 
ship, from cover to cover, the volume is well-nigh perfect. 
There is also a calmness of judgment, a correctness of taste, 
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ing in biographies, and especially in political biographies. 
American Literary Churchman (Baltimore). 

The most readable of all the lives that have ever been written 
of the great jurist. San Francisco Bulletin. 


The book is exceedingly interesting and readable. The at- 
tention of the reader is strongly seized at once, and he is carried 
along in spite of himself, sometimes protesting, sometimes 
doubting, yet unable to lay the book down. Chicago Standard. 

The requirements of political biography have rarely been 
met so satisfactorily as in this memoir of Jefferson. Boston 


It will be read by students of history ; it will be invaluable as 
a work of reference ; it will be an authority as regards matters 
of fact and criticism ; it hits the key-note of Webster's durable 
and ever-growing fame ; it is adequate, calm, impartial j it is ad- 
mirable. Philadelphia Press. 

The task has been achieved ably, admirably, and faithfully. 
Boston Transcript. 


It is one of the most carefully prepared of these very valu, 
able volumes, . . . abounding in information not so readily ac- 
cessible as is that pertaining to men more often treated by the 
biographer. . . . The whole work covers a ground which the 
political student cannot afford to neglect. Boston Correspon 
dent Hartford Courant. 

Frank, simple, and straightforward. New York Tribune* 


The execution of the work deserves the highest praise. It is 
very readable, in a bright and vigorous style, and is marked by 
unity and consecutiveness of plan. The Nation (New York). 

An able book. ... Mr. Gay writes with an eye single to truth, 
7 he Critic (New Yotk). 


A good piece of literary work. ... It covers the ground 
thoroughly, and gives just the sort of simple and succinct ac- 
count that is wanted. Evening Post (New York). 

A model of condensation and selection, as well as of graphic 
portraiture and clear and interesting historical narrative. 
Christian Intelligencer (New York). 


Well done, with simplicity, clearness, precision, and judg- 
ment, and in a spirit of moderation and equity. A valuable ad- 
dition to the series. New York Tribune. 


Thoroughly appreciative and sympathetic, yet fair and criti- 
cal. ... This biography is a piece of good work a clear and 
simple presentation of a noble man and pure patriot; it is 
written in a spirit of candor and humanity. Worcester Spy. 

A brilliant and enthusiastic book, which it will do every 
American much good to read. The Beacon ( Boston). 

*% For sale by all booksellers. Sent, post-paid, on re~ 
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