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Mississippi on the west and the Ohio on the east, projects deeply into them. At the point of confluence of those streams is the important position Cairo.


It was, as we have seen (p. 95), the intention of the Their political posi- original seceding states to intrench themselves behind this great natural barrier, expecting that it would bear the burden of the war if any should take place, and be the scene of whatever devastation might ensue. In that favorable seclusion, it was thought that the cotton crop might be raised with out molestation. To obtain access to this staple, it was expected that England would not hesitate to break any blockade that the national government might establish, and that a recognition of independence, and perhaps military aid from Western Europe, might follow.




and importance to

It was therefore important to the leaders of the secession movement that the alliance of the Border the Confederacy. States should be secured. To accomplish this, it was necessary, in accordance with the theory of the American political system, to obtain the direct consent of the people of those states through a Convention expressly called in each. The Legislatures and executive officers had no direct or lawful power in the matter be yond that of calling such a Convention. They could only act in obedience to the existing Constitution whose agents they were. The transference of allegiance was

not in their control.

The inhabitants of the Border States clearly foresaw that their geographical position placed them in the front of the conflict. In addition to the fact that they were by nature (vol. i., p. 102) more predisposed than their Southern neighbors to look to the consequences of their acts, their vicinity to the Free States caused them to be brought under influences antagonistic to the slave system. Under such circumstances, it could not be opinions and inter- expected that they would exhibit unanimity; on the contrary, they must necessarily be divided by clashing opinions and interests. Though the slaveowner might view a coalescence with the Southern Confederacy with satisfaction, the slaveless white might perhaps resist any attempt to detach him from the Union.

Division in their


The problem for the secessionist leaders to solve was therefore how to deal with these divided

Mode by which it

cure South.

was proposed to se- border populations. At an early period, while the secession movement was a mere conspiracy, it was seen that the election of trustworthy governors must be secured. Through the governor a certain amount of control over the Legislature could be obtained, and the vote of the Legislature was needed for



calling a Convention of the people. Moreover, by mak ing sure of these influences, it was not impossible, though such actions might be arbitrary, to obtain possession of the military resources of each of those states.



No pains were spared to excite the slave interest by Their slave interests representing that the Free States had at last entered upon an abolition crusade, and that the Republican party inaugurated in Washington had determined on tyrannical measures toward the South. On the other hand, all through the summer of 1861 the national government used every exertion to retain these Border States in their loyalty. It was mainly on their account that no hostile measures were taken against slavery. That ominous subject could not fail, however, to intrude, and accordingly it had to be dealt with by the military commanders both at Fortress Monroe and in Northwestern Virginia. General McClellan, then in command in the latter, declared that he should not only abstain from interference with the slaves, but with an iron hand crush any attempts at insurrection on their part. Almost on the same day, General Butler, at Fortress Monroe, determined to regard them as "contraband" of war, and to employ them at a fair compensation.

The effect of their

In his message to Congress at its extra session in July, President Lincoln pointed out clearly what Deutrality. the effect of the attitude of neutrality must necessarily be. "In the Border States so called, in fact the Middle States, there are those who favor a policy which they call ' armed neutrality;' that is, an arming of these states to prevent the Union forces passing one way, or the disunion the other, over their soil. This would be disunion completed. Figuratively speaking, it would be building an impassable wall along the line of separation - and yet not quite an impassable one, for under the

On their account the government avoided action on slavery.



guise of neutrality it would tie the hands of the Union men, and freely pass supplies from among them to the insurrectionists, which could not be done if they were open enemies. At a stroke it would take all trouble off the hands of secession except only what proceeds from the external blockade. It would do for the Disunionists that which of all things they most desire-feed them well, and give them disunion without a struggle of their own. It recognizes no fidelity to the Constitution, no obligation to maintain the Union."


Armed neutrality found advocates among both the secessionists and the loyal. The former feared

Neutrality advoca

and loyalists.

ted by secessionists that if open war should ensue, their slaves, for the retention of whom they were willing to sacrifice the Union, would escape. The latter, still retaining a deep attachment to the national government, were willing to adopt a course which they hoped would avoid any fatal collision with it.

Kentucky, both in a political and military point of view, was of the utmost importance to the Confederacy. Its slave interests were large, and must be protected. Columbus, a little below the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi, might be made to command the latter river and blockade it completely. From that point to Bowling Green there was railroad connection. Here, in the opinion of the Confederate engineers, must be established their outer line of defense. The occupation of Kentucky was correctly viewed by them as a military necessity.

The Governor of Kentucky had been elected as a Democrat in 1859; he was thoroughly devoted to the secession cause. He denounced the policy of President Lincoln, and refused the state's quota of troops (p. 27).

Importance of

Policy of its gov



An extra session of the Legislature had been summoned (January 18th, 1861) for the purpose of calling a State Convention. In his message to it the governor declared that the people of the Unit ed States are already effectively sundered, and that the Union exists only as an abstraction; that, in fact, it was dissolving into its original integral elements; that a bloody revolution, already commencing in South Carolina, was inevitable. He directed attention to the suc cessful establishment of the Southern Confederacy, and inquired in what attitude Kentucky should stand, and by what authority her external relations should be reguwhich refuses to call lated. But the Legislature refused to call a State Convention, preferring that there should be a National or Peace Conference at Washington. The intentions of the Unionists of Kentucky were exQualified loyalty of pressed at a meeting held in Louisville the Unionists. (April 18th) immediately after the capture of Fort Sumter. It was resolved that the sympathies of Kentucky are with those who have an interest in the protection of slavery, but that she acknowledges her fealty to the United States until its government becomes regardless of her rights in slave property. The use of coercive measures to bring back the seceded states was condemned, and the Kentucky State Guard was admonished to remember that its fidelity was pledged equally to the Union and the state.

a Convention.

His message to the


The governor again summoned an extra session of the Legislature (April 28th). It refused once

Second extra ses


sion of the Legis- more to call a Convention, or to grant him three millions of dollars which he had required for arming the state. It even amended the militia law so as to require the State Guard to take an oath of allegiance to the Union. He then issued a proclamation of neutrality (May 20th), denouncing the war as horrid,

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