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 Posted: Fri Sep 26th, 2008 11:18 am
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izzy
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I stopped at the Cumberland Gap NP and bought a couple of books.  (What?!  You expected me to walk out empty handed?)  One book is a collection of essays edited by Kent Masterson Brown called The Civil War in Kentucky: Battle for the Bluegrass State. 

The first essay in it, Lincoln, Grant, and Kentucky in 1861 by John Y. Simon, covers the neutral stance of KY and the political peril of either the Union or Confederate govt perceived as encroaching on its territory.  Uninvited encroachment would cause KY to abandon its neutrality and declare for one side or the other.

What gave me nightmares was reading for the first time that Fremont wanted to grab Columbus KY before Polk could.  If that had happened, then KY would have declared for the Confederacy.  Then what?

 

 



 Posted: Fri Sep 26th, 2008 12:46 pm
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Scout
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That is an interesting point. In reading the Connely books on the AoT, one thing that seemed so obvious was the advantage to the CSA (particularly Tenn) of Kentucky remaining neutral. It seriously limited the Northern ability to wage war in the west, since they did adhere to KY's threats, and would have given A.S. Johnston some time to arm the half of his men who carried sticks....Polk's movement to Columbus still puzzles me...

That said, I doubt Lincoln would have allowed that. Considering how important he felt Kentucky was, I think given his track record on suspending individual rights he may have placed martial law in Frankfort. If armies had already moved in, as with St.Louis and Baltimore he probably would have arrested all those with secessionist leanings and had the vote go through ensuring Kentucky's loyalty.

How does the author Simon way in on it?

Of course, If KY had declared for the Confederacy, they would have had to ship all those horses south pronto...I'm not sure the war would have initially gone any differently. Johnston being forced to move north to protect Polk, was in Bowling Green and Zollicoffer was in southeastern KY. So, the movements would have been similar I suppose, with the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers still being daggers through the very thin line. Also, I wonder if the KY men would overwhelmingly jine up?, since they did not really take that chance offered by Bragg and Kirby-Smith in '62. If they did so, they would add to the problem of arming troops in the western armies...

Last edited on Fri Sep 26th, 2008 12:56 pm by Scout



 Posted: Fri Sep 26th, 2008 02:25 pm
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ole
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As far as the Union's chances of prevailing were concerned, Lincoln had to retain the Border States. Not having Kentucky (or Maryland or Missouri) would have required manning a front such as AS Johnston was faced with. Even with its advantages in men, materiel and wealth, the Union forces would have been spread perilously thin.

In either event, I don't see Kentucky declaring for the Confederacy, even with a Union invasion (which would have been benign).

ole



 Posted: Fri Sep 26th, 2008 02:47 pm
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David White
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Looking at it strictly militarily, it was advantageous for the CS to violate the neutrality of KY and move the front to the Ohio River as it truly is the only effective natural barrier between the North and Key West. Unfortunately I don't think the Confederate armies were organized or large enough to make that happen. So if Kentucky declares for the south and the front begins on the Ohio River I think that is huge toward CS success.



 Posted: Fri Sep 26th, 2008 09:26 pm
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mikenoirot
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I agree with Lincoln. If he was to lose KY, the game would be over. You all make very good points on this, but the most critical reason for keeping KY in the Union, was for unmolested travel on the Ohio River. If the North lost the Ohio, travel between PA, OH, IN, IL and MO would have been seriously hampered. How would they have gotten materiel and troops through??



 Posted: Fri Sep 26th, 2008 10:08 pm
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izzy
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Sorry I haven't posted a reply to any of you.  I have been on the road all day and am tired and a bit brain fried right now.  I'll post a couple quotes from Simon's essay to hopefully address some of your posts.

(pg 10)  On August 28, Fremont ordered Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to take command at Cape  Girardeau, to cooperate with forces moving eastward from Ironton, and to be aware that Fremont had ordered forces at Cairo to prepare for a move southward.  Col Gustav Waagner had been sent to Belmont, Missouri, opposite Columbus, KY, to destroy Confederate works and to build his own.  Fremont intended to occupy Columbus "as soon as possible".  Waagner's occupation of Belmont on September 2 triggered the end of KY's neutrality....Two day's later a spy reported Union forces at Belmont.  Under Polk's orders, Pillow embarked for KY, occupying both Hickman and Columbus.

 

(pg 16)  Fremont's plan to occupy Columbus imperiled the Union cause in KY, as did his proclamation of August 30 declaring martial law in Missouri and threatening to enforce the Confiscation Act passed by Congess against slave property of Missouri rebels....Lincoln privately explained his concern: "The KY Legislature would not budge till that proclamation was modified; and Gen. Anderson telegraphed me that on the news of Gen. Fremont having actually issued deeds of manumission, a whole company of our Volunteers threw down their arms and disbanded.  I was so assured, as to think it probable, that the very arms we had furnished KY would be turned against us.  I think to lose KY is nearly the same as to lose the whle game.  Kentucky gone, we can not hold Missouri, nor, as I think, Maryland..."

     Lincoln's final response to Fremont was to remove him from command and ultimately replace him with Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, the epitome of military correctness and respect for proceedure.

(pg 19)  During the war, KY furnished troops to North and South in a ratio of three to one.

(pg 9)  How Kentucky was dragged into the war, by whom and under what circumstances, mattered much to fervent neutralists.



 Posted: Fri Sep 26th, 2008 10:22 pm
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izzy
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A couple more thoughts if KY were Confederate:

The Kentucky Orphan Brigade would be Union.

Wouldn't Indiana then become another problematic "border state"?  If I recall correctly, southern Indiana leaned toward the Confederacy.

I'm not sure why Lincoln includes Maryland as another border state that would be lost because of KY.

When was West Virginia peeled off Virginia?  Would Lincoln try to peel off the Appalachian region of KY and form the state of Eastern KY?



 Posted: Sat Sep 27th, 2008 12:22 am
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izzy
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Another thought:

If KY declared for the Confederacy, it may have negotiated a larger role for Simon Bolivar Buckner.  I don't know anything about him (yet).  Who would do a better job, Buckner or AS Johnston?



 Posted: Sat Sep 27th, 2008 02:14 am
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ole
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Looking at it strictly militarily, it was advantageous for the CS to violate the neutrality of KY and move the front to the Ohio River as it truly is the only effective natural barrier between the North and Key West. Unfortunately I don't think the Confederate armies were organized or large enough to make that happen. So if Kentucky declares for the south and the front begins on the Ohio River I think that is huge toward CS success.
Paducah would have made more sense than Columbus. That city, at least, was on the Ohio. Columbus makes no sense to me. What was Polk going to do with it? Cut off the Mississippi? (Here I'll acknowledge that Grant didn't let Polk's dust settle before he occupied Paducah.)  There already were Confederate strongholds interdicting river traffic -- why Columbus?

Was that Polk's picadillo? Or was he led to believe that it would be a good idea? (He didn't quite rise to the level of being merely dull.)

Great thread! Good stuff.

ole

o

 



 Posted: Sat Sep 27th, 2008 02:48 am
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44th VA INF
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If kentucky had joined the confedrate cause a Lees number would have been 80,000 during the overland campaign



 Posted: Sat Sep 27th, 2008 02:59 am
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mikenoirot
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Johnston was by far a better field commander. He had no difficulties taking the strategic goals of the Confederacy and molding an operation plan. Sidney Johnston suffered from what most other Rebel commanders did - too much real estate and too few troops.

Buckner, while a strong brigade commander, with a good grasp of tactics, had difficulty seeing the "big picture."



 Posted: Sat Sep 27th, 2008 11:48 am
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izzy
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(pg 19)  During the war, KY furnished troops to North and South in a ratio of three to one.  It is very probable that this ratio would be reversed in favor of the Confederacy.


44VA Inf wrote:  If kentucky had joined the confedrate cause a Lees number would have been 80,000 during the overland campaign


44VA - I think you are right that KY's manpower would go with the south.  For starters they would be used to consolidate the Confederate hold on KY.



 Posted: Sat Sep 27th, 2008 12:05 pm
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izzy
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pg 10:  Polk's ambitious subordinate, Gideon J. Pillow, untrained but unafraid, resented his secondary status in the western armies and considered himself better qualified to lead.  On August 28 he informed Polk that the Confederate position at New Madrid, Missouri, was inferior, that Columbus was the place to defend Tennessee.  Kentucky neutrality, wrote Pillow, existed no longer.  Arguing that the time had come for decision, Pillow pushed the weaker Polk into action.

pg 19:  Fortification of Columbus confirmed an existing Confederate stranglehold on the Mississippi River without broader military advantages.

Pg 20:  Late in August 1861, commanders North and South had recognized that Kentucky neutrality was shattering.  Both Fremont and Polk decided to risk the consequences of invading the state in exchange for the occupation of strategic positions.  Polk won the race for Columbus with dire consequences.


(I'm on the road again today.  Later.)

Last edited on Sat Sep 27th, 2008 12:06 pm by izzy



 Posted: Sat Sep 27th, 2008 02:18 pm
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Bighouse
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I'm wondering with KY as a part of the confederacy if there might not have been some seccesionist problems in southern IL as well. There was a very large pro seccesion contingent in that part of the state.



 Posted: Sat Sep 27th, 2008 04:13 pm
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ole
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I'm wondering with KY as a part of the confederacy if there might not have been some seccesionist problems in southern IL as well. There was a very large pro seccesion contingent in that part of the state.
Southern Illinois (and Indiana) are still considered southern. Although there was a very large pro secession contingent, it was only able to muster up a company or two to fight with the secesh. I think I read somewhere that Ohio contributed more troops to the Confederacy than did Illinois.

Just a thought.

ole



 Posted: Sat Sep 27th, 2008 09:11 pm
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izzy
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Ole - Sorry, I meant to say Illinois in post #7, not Indiana.  Told you I was brain fried.  It doesn’t matter anyway if only a few companies signed up to fight for the Confederacy.

 

Kentucky’s situation is so weird.  I’m on this road trip mainly to look at Zollicoffer’s invasion route into KY via the Cumberland Gap and Wilderness Road to Camp Wildcat.

 

 A quick primer:  Because of loyalist unrest in East TN, on July 26, 1861, Felix Zollicoffer was ordered to East TN by Jefferson Davis.  Before the Second Department was under A.S. Johnston, Zollicoffer reported to the War Department directly.  His orders were “to preserve the peace, protect the railroad leading into southwestern Virginia, and repel invasion.”  Zollicoffer, headquartered in Knoxville, reported that “several thousand East Tennesseans were organizing in southeastern KY to force a passage through the mountains back to their homeland.”  Out of his more than 10,000 troops he had four infantry regiments guarding Cumberland Gap against those loyalist forces in KY.

 

Then on September 4th Pillow occupied Columbus KY.  In response, Grant occupies Paducah on Sept 6th The next day the War Department sent Zollicoffer the message: “The neutrality of KY had been broken by the occupation of Paducah by Federal forces.  Take the arms.  Return answer.”  Zollicoffer’s answer was to move six infantry regiments to Cumberland Ford, Kentucky, 10 miles from Cumberland Gap. 

 

Now what kind of an order is that?   “Return answer” to whom?  Zollicoffer moves 10 miles into KY on the Wilderness Road and sets up camp in the woods in the middle of nowhere.  Furthermore, it took Zollicoffer out of his primary assignment, keeping East TN under control.  Zollicoffer had turned 180 degrees and marched into KY.  Meanwhile in East TN, “When the cat is away, the mice will play.”

 

I’m not sure that 1861 Kentucky could overcome the Confederate cast of characters even if it did join the Confederacy.  1861 Kentucky is like laying eyes on a platypus for the first time.  First it raises eyebrows; then it raises a lot of questions.  No matter what angle you look at it, it is one bizarre looking duck.

 



 Posted: Sun Sep 28th, 2008 01:11 am
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ole
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Now what kind of an order is that?   “Return answer” to whom? 

For the first time ever (write this on your calendar), I have no idea. Someone on the board does know, and I'll wait with you for his/her answer.

 1861 Kentucky is like laying eyes on a platypus for the first time.  First it raises eyebrows; then it raises a lot of questions.  No matter what angle you look at it, it is one bizarre looking duck.

Well, a platypus does waddle and swim. Any idea what kind of noise it makes?:shock:

ole


 



 Posted: Sun Sep 28th, 2008 01:19 am
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Crazy Delawares
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Well, if AS Johnston still is killed and PGT takes over then Bragg takes over, seems to me that everything still ends as it did.
Still, I like the "What if" questions. Excellent thread!



 Posted: Sun Sep 28th, 2008 11:46 am
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izzy
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The order from the Confederate War Department is so vague that Zollicoffer simply subsumes it into his own agenda of going after the Tennesseans gathering in southeast KY.  Zollicoffer is an intelligent and accomplished man but he has very little military experience.  Six thousand of his men are now camped along approximately a 5 mile stretch of the Wilderness Road at present day Pineville.  “Camp Buckner” is cramped into a narrow valley with steep forested hills.  There is no local subsistence.  He has to haul all his provisions in.


In Kenneth A. Hafendorfer’s book, Wild Cat Mountain: Kentucky, October 21, 1861, page 29:  Commenting upon the region through which they passed this day, one Confederate soldier wrote:  Its “chief production was rocks, peaches, apples, brandy and honey, and long-legged, long haired men with squirrel rifles ever ready to shoot a ‘Rebel’ when opportunity was presented, for the country was filled with Union men noted for their dense ignorance and devotion to the old Union.  The country also abounded in mountain girls, nearly all brunettes, with long, dark, uncombed hair with bare feet.” 


Zollicoffer’s soldiers made three forays deeper into Kentucky over the next month and a half.  First, to clear out the Home Guard and East Tennesseans gathered at Barbourville; second, to clear out the Laurel Home Guard near London and to get salt at Goose Creek; and third, to take on the Federal forward position at Camp Wildcat in the Rockcastle Hills north of London.  Zollicoffer was repulsed at Wildcat Mountain.  He finally had had enough of dealing with the hardships presented by the Wilderness Road.  He marched back to Camp Buckner for the last time on October 29th.  The next day, Zollicoffer, with the rest of his force left Camp Buckner heading south to Cumberland Gap.


Meanwhile on the Federal side, soldiers that walked the road found it unfit for travel. Years of rolling wheels and pounding hooves had taken a toll.  Rocks broke wagon wheels, and mud holes swallowed horses and wagons.   Stephan Keyes Fletcher, 33rd IN Infantry, commented upon the condition of the Wilderness Road as his regiment marched to reinforce Camp Wildcat before Zollicoffer’s attack:  “We found the road for 3 miles lined with the train of wagons, stuck in the mud, mules into their bellies.”  The road that looked so inviting on the map proved of little use to either army.


It took Zollicoffer three round trips from Camp Buckner into KY to figure that out. When Federal General George Thomas wanted to follow Zollicoffer into East Tennessee, his commander, Wm. T. Sherman, took one look at the road and essentially said, “Are you crazy?”

 



Last edited on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 11:51 am by izzy



 Posted: Sun Sep 28th, 2008 10:09 pm
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izzy
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Sorry, that last post was a real eye test.  When I copy and paste a post from a Word document, odd things happen.

 

Back to Confederate Kentucky.  If you were A.S. Johnston, where would you put your forces?  First, in the actual situation he was facing just after he was appointed to Command of the Second Department, and second, where would you move them to if Fremont occupies Columbus KY and KY declares for the Confederacy?  (the 3 to 1 ratio of KY troops would now favor the Confederates over the Union)

Last edited on Sun Sep 28th, 2008 10:11 pm by izzy



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