The Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition (CWG-K) is producing an annotated, searchable, and freely-accessible online edition of documents associated with the chief executives of the state, 1860-1865—three Union governors, Beriah Magoffin (1859-62), James F. Robinson (1862-63) and Thomas E. Bramlette (1863-67), and the two provisional Confederate governors, George W. Johnson (1861-62) and Richard Hawes (1862-65).
Yet CWG-K is about far more than the five governors. It is about reconstructing the lost lives and voices of tens of thousands of Kentuckians who interacted with the office of the governor during the war years. The diverse and largely unknown lives of the people captured in the CWG-K documents—generals and politicians, prostitutes and plantation mistresses, free African American professionals and “contraband” refugees—as well as the social, economic, political, and geographic networks they allow us to visualize and understand, are the ultimate prizes for CWG-K. The project will make an estimated 40,000 documents and a populated network of hundreds of thousands of identified people, places, and institutions available to researchers across the globe, prompting historians to ask new and far-reaching historiographical questions through this digital research platform.