« PreviousContinue »
POLITICAL MOVEMENTS IN KENTUCKY.
and forbidding the United States and the Confederate States invading Kentucky. This the Legislature refused to indorse. The intention of the people was doubtless truly expressed by a resolution of their Senate, that the state "should not sever its connection with the national It inclines toward government, nor take up arms for either belligerent party, but arm herself for the preservation of peace on her borders." Her attitude was that of conditional Unionism. The loyalty of her people was shown at the election for delegates to the Peace Convention (May 4th). They gave a Union majority of fifty thousand votes, and the insincerity of those who would have forced her out of the Union was manifested by the fact that, though they had declared that allegiance and loyalty compelled them to go with their state, they did not consider themselves under any obligation to remain with their state.
Kentucky had thus, by very large majorities, refused to join in the secession movement; but her governor, like those of Virginia and Missouri, was not unwilling to make her a screen behind which the purposes of the insurgents in the Cotton States could be carried on. In a letter to President Lincoln (August 19), he
Letter of the gov
ernor to the Pres- declared that her people earnestly desire to avoid being involved in the war; that they have rebelled against no authority, engaged in no revolution, and have done nothing to provoke the presence of a military force. He therefore urged that the national troops be removed.
In his reply, setting forth the reasons which compelled him to decline gratifying the governor in his request, since the troops in question consisted entirely of Kentuckians, Lincoln, in a very characteristic manner, remarks, "I most cordially sympathize with your excellency in the wish to preserve the peace of my own native state, Kentucky; but it is with regret
The President's reply.
CHAP. XLVI.] THE CONFEDERATES INVADE KENTUCKY.
I search for and can not find in your not very short letter any declaration or intimation that you entertain any desire for the preservation of the Federal Union." In a message to the Legislature which shortly afterward convened (September 3d), the gov
eruor to the Legis- ernor again complained of the intrusive ag gression of the North, and declared his opinion that Kentucky would never renounce her sympathy with her aggrieved sister Southern States; but that body resolved that the neutrality of Kentucky had been violated by the Confederate forces, requested protests against the the governor to call out the militia to expel them, and invoked the United States to give aid and assistance. The governor vetoed these resolu tions. The Legislature at once passed them over his veto by very large majorities.
The Confederate authorities perceived that it was absolutely necessary for them to take military possession of Kentucky, no matter what the wishes of its people might be. If it could not be used as a bulwark, it must be used as a battle-field. They therefore assigned General Polk to the command of a department extending from the mouth of the Arkansas northward on both sides of the Mississippi. He had been the bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Louisiana, but now, as far as it was possible for him to do so, had exchanged ecclesiastical for military life. Like some of the bishop-generals of the Middle Ages, he drew forth well-tried weapons from the spiritual armory, as well as those of a carnal kind, in his first general order, declaring that "the invasion of the South by the Federal armies had brought with it a contempt for constitutional liberty, and the withering influences of the infidelity of New En gland and of Germany combined."
General Polk at once occupied Columbus and fortified it. Hereupon General Grant, who was in command of the national forces at Cairo, took possession of Paducah (September 16th), at the junction of the Tennessee and Ohio. It was about this time and in reference to these Confederate forces that the Legislature passed the resolution above referred to requiring their removal from the state.
Simultaneously with the invasion of Kentucky by General Polk on the west, General Zollikoffer invade East Ken- entered it on the east, declaring that this step was necessary for the safety of Tennes see; and to meet his forces, national troops were introduced from Indiana, Ohio, etc.
THE MISSISSIPPI BLOCKADED-BELMONT.
The Confederate troops occupy Columbus.
The seizure and fortifying of Columbus by Polk blockBlockade of the Mis- aded the Mississippi. The position was sissippi established. eventually made very strong, being defended by more than 120 heavy guns.
Opposite Columbus, on the Missouri side of the river, is Belmont, a steam-boat landing, at which a small Confederate force was encamped. On the 7th of November, Grant attacks Bel- General Grant, with 3114 men, attacked this force. He succeeded in destroying their camp and driving them down to the brink of the river. But, the place being commanded by Columbus, General Polk was able to bring several of his guns to bear on the national troops, and dispatched as quickly as he could a re-enforcement of 5000 men across the river. Discipline in the armies was at that time very lax. The national soldiers indulged themselves in plundering, the officers in making stump speeches glorifying the Union and magnifying themselves. While this was going on Polk's troops appeared. Grant, however, successfully cut his way through them, bringing off his own guns and some of those of the enemy. He lost 480 men in killed, wounded, and missing. Polk's loss was 642.
TRANSACTIONS CIVIL AND MILITARY IN MISSOURI.
In Missouri the governor and Legislature were in favor of secession; the State Convention averse to it.
The governor inaugurated hostilities by seizing a national arsenal. In his subsequent movements he was defeated at the battle of Booneville. He then proclaimed the secession of the state.
Battle of Wilson's Creek, and death of General Lyon.
General Fremont assigned to the command of the district. Causes of his sudden removal.
Battle of Pea Ridge, and march of General Curtis to Helena.
IN MISSOURI the separation of the people into two parInternal dissensions ties at once occurred. The slaveholders were numerically in the minority, but their inferiority in that respect was compensated for by their social influence and wealth. They were mostly settled in the rich river valleys, and had no intention of yielding to the New Englanders and German immigrants with whom the chief towns were thronged. The governor was a supporter of the secession party, and the Legislature had similar inclinations.
A State Convention was called by the Legislature. It The State Conven- met February 28th. A commissioner from Georgia was permitted to address it. He was, however, respectfully dismissed with the information that his views were not considered acceptable, and that it was to be regretted that he had no plan of reconciliation to offer. The Committee of the Convention on Federal Relations presented its report on March 9th. It offered resolutions declaring that there was no adequate cause for Missouri to leave the Union; that she would
POLITICAL MOVEMENTS IN MISSOURI.
It desires an ami- labor for its perpetuation; that the people cable adjustment. of that state earnestly desired an amicable adjustment of all difficulties; it suggested the Crittenden Compromise as a satisfactory basis, and a Convention of the states for the purpose of suitably amending the Constitution; it equally denounced coercion of the seceding states by the government, and assaults by those states on the government, and entreated both not to bring on the nation the horrors of civil war. An amendment was added to this report, before its adoption by the Convention, recommending the national government to withdraw its troops from the forts in the seceded states, where there might be danger of a collision with state troops. The Convention then adjourned to the following December.
Though the Convention had thus determined against secession, the governor at once proceeded to
The governor de
sires to turn the render its action abortive. To President
state over to the Confederacy.
Lincoln's requisition for troops he returned a refusal, and called an extra session of the Legislature (May 2d) to authorize the military organization of the state. In his message on that occasion, he declared that the sympathies of Missouri were with the Slave States, and that it was necessary for her interests to unite her destiny with theirs. In his views the Legislature concurred.
He seizes the arse
The governor had already (April 20th) seized the United States Arsenal at Liberty, and had nal at Liberty. distributed among his friends the arms it contained; he had attempted to obtain control of the city of St. Louis by establishing in it an armed force under the guise of a metropolitan police; he had ordered the mili tia to go into encampment under pretense of drilling, but, in reality, to be ready to secure the state. His intention. was to seize the national arsenal at St. Louis, at that time in charge of Captain Lyon, who had a garrison of about