網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

CHAPTER XLIV.

AFFAIRS IN KENTUCKY, AUGUST TO NOVEMBER, 1861.

The dream of neutrality in Kentucky, shore by the Falls of the Ohio. It was it was soon evident, must yield to the commanded by an ardent patriot, Colpractical realities of the day. While onel Lovell H. Rousseau, whose efforts legislators and politicians were passing in the Kentucky legislature to arrest the resolutions the people were acting for incoming tide of secession, we have althemselves. The sympathizers with the ready spoken of. These proceedings did rebels were freely enlisting in the Con- not escape the jealous vigilance of Gov. federate army and bands of loyal citi-ernor Magoffin. We have seen his ill zens were enrolling themselves during success with the Governors of Ohio and the summer as Home Guards for the Indiana. He now fared little better with protection of the State. They were, the President of the United States. Adhowever, without arms and could accom-dressing an epistle to President Lincoln, plish little against the rebel influences at through a special embassy to Washingwork around them. In this condition of ton composed of two gentlemen of Lexaffairs, while the State was threatened ington, Mr. W. A. Dudley and Mr. F. with invasion on its southern frontier, K. Hunt, in terms of remonstrance at and the property of Union men was ex- the mustering of the national troops, he posed to pillage from the secessionist earnestly requested their withdrawal, militia or State guard raised by General urging his belief that if such a course Buckner at home, the Government at were pursued “the peace of the people Washington at length interposed, sup- of Kentucky would be preserved and the plied arins to the loyal citizens and mus- horrors of a bloody war averted from a tered their forces into her service under people now peaceful and tranquil.” The officers holding commissions from the President received the embassy, on their United States. A camp of loyal men arrival, with his accustomed courtesy, called together to protect the State, as a and a day or two after communicated to member of the National Union, from ag- them his reply to the Governor, in the gression from armed assailants without following letter : or within its borders, was formed in

WASHINGTON, D. C., Aug. 24, 1861. Garrand County. It bore the name To His Exy, B. Magoffin, Goo. of the State of Kentucky. Camp Dick Robinson, and was under SIR : Your letter of the 19th inst., in the command of General William Nel- which you "urge the removal from the son, a native of Kentucky, formerly an limits of Kentucky of the military force officer of the navy, who had entered the now organized, and in camp within said military service in 1855. It was of con- State,is received. I may not possess venient access from East Tennessee and full and precisely accurate knowledge was reinforced by a regiment of loyal upon this subject ; but I believe it is refugees from that region. There was true that there is a military force in another camp of note of loyal Kentuck- camp within Kentucky, acting by auians, named in honor of the patriotic thority of the United States, which force orator, Camp Joe Holt. It was situated is not very large, and is not now being nearly opposite Louisville on the Indiana augmented. I also believe that some arms have been furnished to this force to the acts of the Federal Government, by the United States. I also believe which he held to account in this portentthis force consists exclusively of Ken- ous arraignment: “And now, addresstuckians, having their camp in the im- ing myself to the representatives of the mediate vicinity of their own homes, and people of Kentucky, I protest, in their not assailing or menacing any of the name and presence, in the name of congood people of Kentucky. In all I have stitutional liberty, and in presence of done in the premises, I have acted upon heaven and earth, against all and every the urgent solicitation of many Kentuck- of the President's usurpations, and unians, and in accordance with what I be- constitutional and illegal acts; and I lieved, and still believe, to be the wish protest, furthermore, against the furtliér of a majority of all the Union-loving prosecution of a war professedly for the people of Kentucky. While I have con-object of restoring the government, an versed on this subject with many emin-object utterly impossible of attainment ent men of Kentucky, including a large by such insane means as a war of coermajority of her members of Congress, Icion ; and I protest, moreover, against do not remember that any one of them, Kentucky being made a camping ground, or any other person, except your Excel- or the pathway for the movement of lency and the bearers of your Excel-forces, by either belligerent ; and I relency's letter, has urged me to remove commend earnestly to the General Asthe military force from Kentucky, or to sembly the prompt passage of resoludisband it. One other very worthy citi- tions requiring both belligerents to keep zen of Kentucky did solicit me to have off our soil, and to respect in good faith the augmenting of the force suspended the neutrality which the people of Kenfor a time. Taking all the means within tucky, with unexampled unanimity, in my reach to form a judgment, I do not good faith desire to preserve. The valor believe it is the popular wish of Ken- and fortitude of the Southern people are tucky that this force shall be removed underrated by those who imagine that beyond ber limits ; and, with this im- they can be subjected to terms of hupression, I must respectfully decline to miliating submission by any military so remove it. I most cordially sympa- force which the North can possibly find thize with your Excellency in the wish means to maintain in the field. It is my to preserve the peace of my own native opinion, therefore, that the General AsState, Kentucky ; but it is with regret Isembly of Kentucky ought to declare, by search, and cannot find, in your not very solemn resolution, that this war ought to short letter, any declaration, or intima- be instantly stopped. If it is not, our tion, that you entertain any desire for people, already oppressed by taxation, the preservation of the Federal Union. will be bankrupted, our markets des

Your obedient servant, - A. LINCOLN. troyed, our trade ruined, our fields ravThe closing rebuke of the letter of the aged, every home made desolate and in President was enforced by the potent mourning, and after the expenditure of voice of the people of the State, who in all our treasure and the loss of a million the recent elections for members of Con- of lives in the vain effort to subjugate gress and the State Legislature had given the South, the belligerents at last will be an overwhelming majority to the Union compelled to negotiate a peace, the peocandidates. Notwithstanding, however, ple and our children having been made the latter convincing demonstration of barbarians, and the last hope of liberty the popular will, Governor Magoffin met extinguished. It is the policy of Kenthe new Legislature in September with a tucky to take no part in it. She should message in the old strain of disaffection keep firinly her present position of neu

[merged small][ocr errors]

trality, and when opportunity offers, as a lar letter to the President of the Conmediator, present terms of peace and of federate States, asking for an “authorisettlement alike honorable to both of the tative assurance” that the neutral posicontending parties.”

tion of Kentucky would be respected by

to approve of the course of Governor vis replied, that it would be respected Magoffin in its bearing on the interests “so long as her people maintained it of the Government and the true welfare themselves ;" adding significantly, “if the of Kentucky and the Nation, there cer door be opened on the one side for the

the persistency and consistency of his ties upon the other, it ought not to be Messages and Proclamations. But while shut to the assailed when they seek to he thus resolutely adhered to his convic-enter it for purposes of self-defence.” In tions, he declared his intention to abide other words, when he required the soil by the will of the people. “It is my of Kentucky for the purposes of his duty,” he said, "to execute all constitu-strategy, he would use it. tional laws of the Commonwealth, and The occasion was close at hand. On no matter what may be my opinions in the fourth of September, Major-General regard to their wisdom, my respect for Leonidas Polk, the successor of General States rights, States sovereignty, and the Pillow in the command of the Confederwill of a majority of the people is such ate army in Tennessee, ascended the river as to make me acquiesce in their decis- with several thousand troops from Memion and bow in respectful submission to phis, and took forcible possession of the that will as long as I am a citizen of town of Columbus. It was an important Kentucky.” In justice to the people, it station, as the event proved, having railmay be said, that they were not long in way communication with the great southgiving Governor Magoffin an opportunity ern lines in the interior, and command

ing the waters of the Mississippi below The temper of the Legislature was the mouth of the Ohio. This was an innot to be mistaken. More than two- vasion of Kentucky in earnest. Few thirds of the members of both branches persons could be honestly in doubt of were decided Unionists. The special the constitutional right of the general vote of the House to raise the old flag government to march its troops over the over their place of meeting indicated soil of any of the States ; none whatever their resolve to support the national au- could hesitate as to the monstrous abuse thority. Major Anderson was already of State sovereignty for another State or on his way from Washington to Louis- a combination of States, or a power callville, commissioned to execute that au- ing itself Foreign, thus to enter and take thority in his military department of the forcible possession. General Polk, as an Kentucky and Tennessee. General Fre- officer and gentleman, to say nothing of mont, in his adjoining command covering his position in relation to a Border State, Illinois and Missouri, was hastening his felt himself called upon for an explanapreparations on the Mississippi. All tion, and he gave it in the form usual were indications of the advancing su- with all military commanders—he issued premacy of the Union, not likely to be a proclamation. It was as follows : neglected by the Confederate command "Columbus, September 4, 1861. The ers. When Governor Magoffin wrote to Federal Government having, in defiance President Lincoln concerning the occu- of the wishes of the people of Kentucky, pation of the State by the soldiers of the disregarded their neutrality by estabUnited States, he also addressed a simi- | lishing camp depots for their armies, and by organizing military companies within site bank in formidable numbers, with the territory, and by constructing mili- their cannon turned upon Columbus. tary works on the Missouri shore imme. The citizens of the town had fled diately opposite and commanding Colum- with terror, and not a word of assurance bus, evidently intended to cover the of safety or protection had been addresslanding of troops for the seizure of that ed to them. Since I have taken possestown, it has become a military necessity sion of this place, I have been informed, for the defence of the territory of the by highly responsible citizens of your Confederate States, that a Confederate State, that certain representatives of the force should occupy Columbus in ad- Federal government are setting up comvance. The Major-General commanding plaints of my act of occupying it, and has, therefore, not felt himself at liberty are making it a pretence for seizing other to assume the loss of so important a pos- positions. Upon this course of proceedition, but has decided to occupy it. In ing I have no comment to make, but I pursuance of this decision, he has thrown am prepared to say, that I will agree to a sufficient force into the town, and or withdraw the Confederate troops from dered them to fortify it. It is gratifying Kentucky, provided she will agree that to know that the presence of his troops the troops of the Federal government be is acceptable to the people of Columbus, withdrawn simultaneously, with a guarand on this occasion he assures them anty, which I will give reciprocally for that every precaution will be taken to the Confederate government, that the insure their quiet and the protection of Federal troops shall not be allowed to their property, with all their personal enter or occupy any point in Kentucky and corporate rights.” In further ex- in the future.” planation or apology for this transaction, The author of this proclamation, GenGeneral Polk, some days after, address- eral Polk, a native of Tennessee, had ed this letter to Governor Magoffin : been educated at the Military Academy

“ Columbus, Kentucky, September 9th. at West Point, graduating with credit at Governor B. Magoffin : I should have that institution in 1827, when he entered dispatched you immediately the troops the National service with the rank of under my command, took possession of Second Lieutenant of artillery. In a this position, the very few words I ad- few months, however, he abandoned the dressed to the people here ; but my du- profession of arms for another of a very ties since that time have so pressed me, different character. He studied divinity that I have but now the first leisure time and took orders in the Protestant Episto communicate with you. It will be copal Church, where he rapidly rose to sufficient for me to inform you, which my its most responsible office, being conseshort address here will do, that I had crated Bishop of Louisiana in 1838. He information on which I could rely, that was considered a zealous and high toned the Federal forces intended, and were officer of the Church, and was known by preparing to seize Columbus. I need his efforts to promote the cause of edunot describe the danger resulting to cation at the South. Possessed of conWest Tennessee from such success. Re- siderable wealth, an accomplished scholalizing my responsibility, I could not ar, a large slave owner, and a strenuous permit them quietly to lose, through the supporter of what were called “Southcommand entrusted to me so important a ern Rights," he exercised much influence position. In evidence of the informa in the promotion of opinions in that retion possessed, I will state, as the Con- gion of the country. His advocacy of federate forces occupied this place, the Secession at the breaking out of the Refederal troops were formed on the oppo-1 bellion, was no doubt an important aid

[merged small][ocr errors]

in the furtherance of that political here- charge of the defence of that part of the sy, through the influence which the pre-Valley of the Mississippi which is emcept and example of a man of his high braced within the boundaries of Division character and position must have had No. 2, I hereby assume command. All with the better portion of the communi- officers on duty within the limits of said ty. Certainly it was in one way a mas- division will report accordingly. In aster stroke to secure him as a military suming this very grave responsibility, leader, and convert the highly respected the General in command is constrained Right Reverend Bishop Polk into a Maj- i to declare his deep and long-settled conor-General in the Confederate service. viction that the war in which we are enHe had, we are told, some hesitation in gaged is one not warranted by reason or assuming the office, and while it was be- any necessity, political or social, of our ing urged upon him, consulted his friend existing condition ; but that it is indefenthe venerable Bishop Meade of Virginia, sible and of unparalleled atrocity. We as to its acceptance. If we may trust have protested, and do protest, that all the Richmond correspondent of the New we desire is to be let alone, to repose in Orleans Picayune, who published an quietness under our own vine and our account of the interview, Bishop Meade own fig-tree. We have sought, and only reminded his visitor “that he already sought, the undisturbed enjoyment of the held a commission in a very different inherent and indefeasible right of selfarmy to which he held allegiance till government—a right which freemen can life's journey ends.'” To this truly never relinquish, and which none but tyChristian and apostolic intimation, Bish-rants could ever seek to wrest from us. op Polk is stated to have replied in this Those with whom we have been lately remarkable language: “I know that associated in the bonds of a pretended very well and I do not intend to resign fraternal regard have wished and endeait. On the contrary, I shall only prove vored to deprive us of this, our great the more faithful to it by doing all that birthright as American freemen. Nor is in me lies to bring this unhallowed and this all; they have sought to deprive us unnatural war to a speedy and happy of this inestimable right by a merciless close. We of the Confederate States war, which can attain no other possible are the last bulwarks of civil and relig- end than the ruin of fortunes and the deious liberty ; we fight for our hearth-struction of lives, for the subjugation of stones and our altars ; above all we fight | Christian freemen is out of the question. for a race that has been by Divine Prov- “A war which has thus no motive exidence entrusted to our most sacred cept lust or hate, and no object except keeping. When I accept a commission ruin and devastation, under the shallow in the Confederate army, therefore, I not pretence of the restoration of the Union, only perform the duties of a good citi- is surely a war against Heaven as well zen, but contend for the principles which as a war against earth. Of all the ablie at the foundation of our social, polit-surdities ever enacted, of all the hypocical and religious polity.”

risies ever practiced, an attempt to reThat we may do no injustice to the store a union of minds, and hearts, and spirit which governed Bishop Polk in ac- wills like that which once existed in North cepting his command, we cite the words America, by the ravages of fire and of the Proclamation or order which he sword, is assuredly the most prodigious. sent forth, as his first official act in his As sure as there is a righteous Ruler of new capacity of Major-General: "Head- the Universe, such a war must end in quarters Division No. 2, Memphis, July disaster to those by whom it was in13, 1861. Having been assigned to the augurated and by whom it is now prose

ned Bishon uce, to the lasies ever practacted, of all

« 上一頁繼續 »