Between the Rock and the Hard Place: Sources on Guerrilla Violence in CWG-K

Click here to view this Subject Guide in the new Civil War Governors interface.


On June 14, 1864, John T. Smith penned a letter to Kentucky governor Thomas E. Bramlette. According to Smith, the County Court of Logan County had selected him to serve as a special messenger. His task: hashing out a solution for Logan County’s guerrilla infestation. “Our object,” Smith wrote, “is to fall upon some plan so as to have a company to act against Guerillas … the condition of most of us is such that we can not be spared long at a time from our families and therefore can not with propriety volunteer regularly and devote our whole time to the Service but we can raise a sufficient number to keep off guerillas and robbers by taking turn about with each others.”

Stationing troops in the area—an oft-used solution for localized outbreaks of irregular violence in Kentucky—wouldn’t do in this case; outside soldiers, the Logan County contingent argued, “are unacquainted with the country and its citizens and can do but little in catching guerillas who are well acquainted with both people and country.” Put another way, guerrillas had home field advantage against regular troops and it would take an insider to catch an insider. Smith and his comrades were willing to use their own intimate knowledge of Logan County to hunt pro-Confederate bushwhackers (on a part-time basis), so long as Governor Bramlette would provide them with supplies, firearms, and the state’s permission to wield them with lethal force.

Perhaps most interesting, though, is the postscript of Smith’s letter. It reads as follows:

P.S. We are troubled by all sorts of Guerillas. Since writing the above, I learn that a squad of federal guerillas or negro Soldiers from Clarksville Tenn. came into the neighborhood of Voleny last night (the place visited by rebel guerillas two nights before) and stripped the citizens of their negroes and horses. It is a perfect outrage upon our country. The Federal Soldiers at Clarksville are so busy recruiting negroes that they pay no more attention to guerillas and robbers than if they belonged to the same class of individuals. If we are permitted to raise our company give us instruction what is to be done with negro guerillas. I think we can raise from 150 to 200 men a portion of whom can always be in motion and when necessary all can act.

Aside from Smith’s views on black enlistment, this addendum reveals the extent to which Logan County residents were caught between a gray rock and a blue hard place: pro-Confederate guerrillas would raid a neighborhood and take what food and horseflesh they needed to operate in the bush. Then a group of Unionist guerrillas—sometimes even black Unionist guerrillas—would come through the same neighborhood, accusing the residents of having willingly supplied the Confederates. This cycle could repeat itself ad infinitum (and often in the reverse order), with local citizens trapped in the middle. And it was anything but limited to Logan County — this was a state-wide problem.

So if you’re interested in finding out how Governor Bramlette, private citizens like John Smith, and/or Kentucky’s military forces waged war against irregular combatants, check out this subject guide on Guerrilla Warfare — but be advised that it only represents the tip of the iceberg.

***

SUBJECT GUIDE: Guerrilla Warfare

KYR-0001-001-0008Thomas E. Bramlette, Proclamation by the Governor, Jan. 4, 1864

It is in the power of persons whose sympathies are with the rebellion to prevent guerrilla raids, almost invariably, by furnishing to Military Officers of the United States or State of Kentucky, the information which experience has proved them to be, as a general thing, possessed of.

If all would unite, as is their duty, in putting down guerrillas, we should soon cease to be troubled with their raids. A neglect to afford all assistance and information which may aid in defeating the designs of marauding parties, can but be construed as a culpable and active assistance to our enemies.

I, therefore, request that the various Military Commandants in the State of Kentucky will, in every instance where a loyal citizen is taken off by bands of guerrillas, immediately arrest at least five of the most prominent and active rebel sympathizers in the vicinity of such outrage for every loyal man taken by guerrillas. These sympathizers should be held as hostages for the safe and speedy return of the loyal citizens. Where there are disloyal relatives of guerrillas, they should be the chief sufferers. Let them learn that if they refuse to exert themselves actively for the assistance and protection of the loyal, they must expect to reap the just fruits of their complicity with the enemies of our State and people.

KYR-0001-002-0018Berry S. Young et al. to Thomas E. Bramlette, Feb. 16, 1864

The Undersigned citizens of Crittenden having been informed that by Legislative enactment and by the authority vested in you as Governor of said State that forces are to be Raised for the defense of the state against Guerrilla invasion if such be the fact We would Recommend to your favorable Consideration Lieut F S Loyd of Co H 20th Ky Regt as Col and J N Hughey 1st Sergt Co E 48th Ills Regt ^for Lt Col^ both Recruited from this (Crittenden) County both of them accomplished Gentlemen and Soldiers they Refer you to Col Edward of your Staff By promoting those Young Gentlemen you will greatly oblige the Undersigned and Reward merit gained by gallant service in their countrys cause

Berry S Young clk c c c

James M Steele

W C Carnahan

S L. R. Wilson

Robt F Haynes County Atty,,

J H Walker Clerk

Crittenden Circuit Court

D N Stinson Post Master at Marion Crittenden Co Ky

John N Woods

Alfred Armstrong

James W Wilson —

  1. E. Black

J C Henson

  1. L. Leigh

S U Elder

KYR-0001-004-0996George Shirley and E. Wilty, Affidavit, Jun. 13, 1864

State that John Branstetter an infirm old man of near 70- years has lived many years in this county (formerly Barren County) a respected & good citizen and up to the commencement of this Rebellion a Sober & discreet man- that the Guerrilas Robbed him of a great deal of his property. From the troubles consequent there to & the additional fact we suppose, that his two sons Joined an independent company called the “Metcalfe Tigers” for the purpose of hunting down guerrillas & were exposed to many dangers the Old man took to drink- While in one of his drinking sprees he was induced by some bad men to go into the woods & play a game of cards. The game was played on his land & money was bet & won as appears by the evidence Testimony of a credible witness- who chanced to come upon them & saw the game He has been indicted therefore tried & fined $200- which is the least the law provides in such cases This old man is often delirious & wild wherein these drinking sprees & has to be guarded sometimes We his neighbors & friends are candid in representing that we think this is one of the few cases which demand the interposition of the Governor and ask that his fine be remitted.

KYR-0001-004-1941Z. Wheats to Thomas E. Bramlette, Jun. 19, 1865

I called at your office to-day & left for your consideration, the Petition of Capt. Edwin Terrell of the Independent Ky Scouts. I hope you will grant the prayer of his petition. He is one of the bravest men I ever saw, & has done more to rid Kentucky of Guerrillas than any man I have heard of. The fact is, his little band have been more effective in this service, than some Brigades of Cavalry. His head quarters were in Shelbyville & they gave our town & county protection which we could not have obtained from any other source.

KYR-0001-004-1380Hill and Knott to Thomas E. Bramlette, Dec. 16, 1864

Sir: As you are doubtless aware this portion of our State has long been infested by a gang of Guerrillas whose depredations have been committed almost with impunity, in Spite of the utmost vigilence of the Military, whose efforts to capture or destroy them, they have constantly managed to elude. So frequent and successful have been their forays—characterized by murder robbery and plunder—that their presence has become a cause of extreme terror to the citizens of whatever portion of our community they may mark as their prey. Some three weeks ago they made a raid through a portion of this County murdering some, robbing others, and maltreating in some manner, nearly all with whom they met.

KYR-0002-225-0083M. E. Poynter to Thomas E. Bramlette, Feb. 15, 1865

I trouble you with a line in regard to the recruiting officer for the State Service at this place who professes to have authority— from you to raise a company &c. I refer to W. W. Harper— and as a citizen and a Union man in behalf of the cause—the community, your own good name and of common decency I protest against such an appointment—As badly as this service demands men and as much as we have suffered from guerrillas we as a community had rather Quantrell, would pay an occasional visit than be annoyed by this man in “brief authority”— all the time.

KYR-0001-003-0086E. H. Hobson to Thomas E. Bramlette, Mar. 5, 1864

The 37th Ky Mounted Inft has greatly improved, Since Col C J Hann took command this Regt has recd its Horse equipments and enfield rifles but to make them more efficient would most respectfully Suggest that you arm two or four compns of the regt with Ballard Carbines or muskatoons I am anxious to have the Regt mounted and send them to the Cumberland to protect the Border Counties. the notorious Gurilla Capt Richardson and nine of his men will arrive here to day as Prisoners, they Justly merit and I hope will be punished with death give Col Hansons wishes your favourable consideration.

KYR-0002-022-0062W. M. Allen to Thomas E. Bramlette, Dec. 23, 1864

The last raid resulted in the death of two of our best citizens, and the killing of three of the band, and the wounding of three others of them. It was at first supposed that two of them killed at Jeffersontown were Federal soldiers, taken prisoners by the gurillas but we are all satisfied that they were deserters & gurillas. Our people are now pretty thoroughly aroused, and are anxious to have them pursued and exterminated. When pursued, these cut throats flee to the Salt River hills and scatter about among their friends and cant be found. We know who many of their aiders and abettors are but have no power to punish. The Military Authorities give us but little protection. We want something of our own that will be more efficient. It is proposed by some to raise 100 men in our county at our own expense!

KYR-0002-225-0079John F. Lay to Thomas E. Bramlette, Mar. 11, 1865

I have the Honor to make aplication to you for authority to recruit a Company of State troops to Serve in the State of Ky for the period of twelve months I have Served over three years in the Fedral army and know Cannot remain at Home on account of Gurillas if you will favor me with authority please Send me Some Blank Enlistment papers

KYR-0002-225-0037W. H. H. Faris to Thomas E. Bramlette, Apr. 24, 1864

I have presumed to address your excellency on a matter of some importance. It is the method we should adopt as the most proper for the defence of our state. The two already provided, the state troops and militia, have not proved sufficiently available. It is as much as the state troops can do, to guard the frontier, so, as to prevent the greater inroads of bodies of five hundred men. And sometimes a thousand. While parties of from thirty to forty can slip in between the posts that establishes the military chain along the southern border, effect every species of robbery, and commit any depredations they wish, and pass out again with perfect impunity. This predatory warfare is to be made on Kentucky during the three seasons when the woods are thicker, so they (the guerrillas) can practice it with greater security. This mode of warfare is characterized by the guerilla chieftains as the scouting systems. All this the militia are intended to prevent, but in which they will most signally fail; as they have done as they have done already.
Because there is ^no^ method, no arrangement no anything about them that is calculated to intercept, or overtake one of those flying bands of guerillas that pass through one county, and into another (committing all the mischief they wish) before the one has been, or the other is aware of its approach.

KYR-0001-019-0156Bennett Spearger to D. E. Downing, Aug. 14, 1862

The guerrilla warfare is working its ruin as a cause produces its effect a few yesterday about 2. oclock. P.M. there were 2 Union Men Killed on the Road leading from my house to Thompson Arterberry’s Hamilton and a bout 30 other men came into Tompkinsville yesterday morning a bout 8. oclk a.m. and had Nathaniel Austin and ^a^ young Hefflin Prisenors they shot Austin through the head and lefthis Brains was scatered in the road and they shot Heflin in several places, you are acquaintd ^with^ Austin and Heflin Both neither of them you Know never belong to any army the man who stealthily takes deliborate aim at the husband and Father of a helpless family ^and^ because he is freind to his Country, sends the mesenger of death to drink his life blood and compells the heart stricken widow and helpless Orphans to seek protection and support at the hands of a cold unfeeling world. Could the hands of a cold grave’s dread monster enter claim to such a fiend in any form too horrid to mete out to them there just deserts

SOURCE: John T. Smith to Thomas E. Bramlette, 14 June 1864, Kentucky Department of Military Affairs (KDMA).

Subject Guides: Military History

Click here to view this Subject Guide in the new Civil War Governors interface.


KYR-0001-003-0003William L. Hurst to Thomas E. Bramlette, Oct. 6, 1863
[W]e have just received information at this office that the military forces known as the 40th Kentucky Regt now Stationed at the Town of Grayson in Carter County, (distant about 25 miles from this place) are ordered to move immediately & Station at Mountsterling Ky, which when they are thus removed will leave this part of the Country exposed to the Raids of Rebel Guerrillas…. I find that they eighth & ninth Congressional Districts of Ky have furnished more Volunteers than any other part of the state & have received less Protection than any other part in fact a large section of each District have received no protection at all but the Government through an erroneous disposition of the forces intended for the protection of that part of the state have suffered those people to be robbed murdered and the Country almost desolated by the Rebel Guerrillas East Tennessee has not suffered worse than the People of Morgan, Wolfe Breathitt and adjoining Counties

KYR-0001-003-0050Brutus J. Clay to Thomas E. Bramlette, Jan. 15, 1864
The subject of recruiting Negro soldiers for U S service, in Kentucky. It is rumored here that Agents have been sent from other states for that purpose. This thing of plundering our people ought & should be stopped if possible, even recruiting for our own quota would be injurious & demoralizing to our Slave population by the consent and approval of the owner himself I think a firm stand taken by you against it, would have a good effect and even prevent the U. S. Government, from attempting it in our State.

KYR-0001-003-0077William S. King to Thomas E. Bramlette, Feb. 21, 1864
In view of the frequent applications made at this office, by the destitute families of volunteers in Kentucky regiments, for relief which the Federal Military Commanders have no authority to provide; and in asmuch as this destitution is caused by the neglect of soldiers to transmit much,—or, in most cases any part,—of their pay to their families for their support; I venture to suggest to Your Excellency, that enquiry be made whether the allotment system; whereby each soldier devotes a stated portion of his pay for the support of those dependent upon him, is carried out in the various regiments; or that such other action may be had, to prevent this needless pauperism and distress, as to Your Excellency may seem meet and proper.

KYR-0001-003-0083Volney Baker to Cicero Maxwell, Apr. 5, 1864
During last court, all the Judges presented to the Grand jury, which was Entirely secession; and two of the men, who presented the Judges were the, Circuit Judge, and the County Judge—The entire Court was one of treason, and numberd out with traitors; … The meanest set of secessionists that ever existed under the canopy of Heaven, live in this immediate section of Ky; and we must adopt means, & severe ones too, to prevent a resistance which is almost sure to take place sooner or later, unless prevented

KYR-0001-018-0019N. Wickliffe to Beriah Magoffin, Jun. 11, 1861
I have just resigned my position as an officer in the United States Army. I am impelled to this course for the reason that that army is being concentrated and used for the subjugation of the Southern people who have my entire sympathy. I believe it is proper for me, here, to add that the time has come to pass when Southern blood is sufficient to attaint officers of the army; and unless they subscribe to new oaths, join bond in denouncing their late comrades of the south (who were the best men of the Army) as traitors, and invoke a war of extermination on their own people, and kindred suspicion and proscription are put upon them. I am unable at this distance to understand the exact position that Kentucky occupies in the great struggle between the
two sections, but I cannot believe that she can or will remain long a neutral spectator

KYR-0001-028-0015 E. W. Hawkins to James F. Robinson, Aug. 23, 1862
At the time of the first call of the President for volunteers, several citizens of this city immediately volunteered in the famous Ninth Ohio Regiment under the lamented Robert L. McCook, there being no Kentucky regiments then in the field. … These men have shared all the dangers of the severe campaign of Western Virginia, and partook in the splendid Bayonet Charge, which decided the day at Mill Springs, where Kentuckians participated in the glory. They are “Military Men.”, the Lieutenant having served in Germany for a number of years, and the other two having acquired their knowledge during the present war. … The regiment would be exclusively German, who would flock under the banner of these well tried men with alacrity from all parts of our state.

KYR-0001-028-0040Rob Morris and S. W. Hunt to James F. Robinson, Sep. 9, 1862
The Undersigned have enjoyed many military opportunities for military experiences—the former in Texas during the guerilla warfare of 18436-40, the latter for more than 30 years in the organizing and governing militia corps in this Kentucky. … They therefore propose to raise a Regiment of militia for 3. months service … We will go wherever your Excellency directs and subsist on the country trusting on the bounty of Union men and the fears of disloyal men to feed us. If allowed to operate in the section above indicated we will guarantee to afford an efficient military police there—to restore the respect for State and Federal authority now so sadly shaken,—preserve the publlic records, overawe the disloyal and in all the hearts of true men.

KYR-0002-020-0022Julius H. Alexander to James F. Robinson, Apr. 24, 1863
Theare is a memorial sent to you by a few Officers of this Regt recomending Major Bradley to Lieut Colonel of this Regt permit me to say in this note to your Excellency that Major Bradly is not qualified to fill the office that he no hoalds, … and again he doo not know the first Lesson of a Trooper I have Privats in my Comp. that understands Military Tastics then the proposed Lieut Colonel. I have noting to say about myself & non have to say abut me as I am only a Foreigner by Birth, & have to du all the duty, & keept in the Dark.

KYR-0002-022-0077Isaac Fitzpatrick et al. to Thomas E. Bramlette, Jun. 27, 1864
Dear Sir we the undersigned citizens of Johnson County State of Ky Between the ages of eighteen and forty five and now in the Military service of Ky camped at Louisa Ky Respectfuly represents and showeth that we are not satisfied with our present colonel Burgess Preston who was appointed to said position we therefore ask that we have the privilege of exercising our Election Franchise and choosing from among our ranks at our next august Election a Colonel and Lieutenat Colonel … If these are our rights we Respectfully ask them If not we humbly acquiesse as loyal citizens to the laws of our country

KYR-0002-022-0121C. Brock to Thomas E. Bramlette, Aug. 16, 1864
Being Judge of this County, the people think it is proper & right that I should make inquiry & endevor to ascertain the number of negroes who are credited to this (Montgomery) County on the rolls in the state Military department at Frankfort. There ^were^ recruited here during the spring from 125 to perhaps 175 negroes, by the U. S. Military Authorities. Now I desire to know how many we have credit for.

KYR-0002-024-0065Curran Pope to James F. Robinson, Oct. 9, 1862
In consideration of the unanimous and strongly expressed wishes of the officers of this Regt who took part in the late battle of Chaplin Hills and of the very gallant conduct on that occasion of Capts Joseph. R. Snider Co “B” and Henry F Kalfus Co “D,” I earnestly recommend that the former be commissioned as Lieut Col and the latter as Major of the Regt, and urge that commissions be immediately forwarded to them to date from Oct 9. 1862, and withdraw any other recommendation made by me, and advise that if any other appointments have been made, they be immediately cancelled.

KYR-0002-036-0039Robert Brown, Affidavit, Aug. 12, 1865
Capt Bridgewater made the promise that when the men captured anything it should belong to them. The promise was made by the then Cap B that all money arising from the sale of these guns ^(some three or four)^ and pistols should be placed to the credit of the Battalion to be equally divided at a future time. states that he saw Capt B. take about $70 in money from a man killed by the command.

KYR-0002-038-0024George H. Travis to Thomas E. Bramlette, Aug. 22, 1864
I went to the “front.”—joined my Command, the 2nd Ky. Battery, and was wounded last April, in a skirmish, in the left arm. My arm was amputated. … Disiring my discharge, I made application for Commission in Colored Troops. in order to get out of the service as a Com. Officer, by resignation. Yet I do not approve the arming of negroes. … I request you to Commission me in some Ky. Regt. to enable me to resign—to get out of service. Will you do so? Having the gift of oratory, I desire to stump the States of Ill. and Ind. for the Candidate of the Chicago Convention. But I cannot do so, as I am now situated. You can enable me to do so. Will you? You can see what influence a Private soldier can have on the Stump who has lost a limb in the service.

KYR-0002-042-0023Daniel W. Lindsey to Edwin M. Stanton, Jul. 11, 1864
Owing to the unsettled state of affairs in Kentucky, his Excellency Gov. Bramlette, proposes to organize a State force to consist of three Battalions; one to be assigned to duty in East Ky, one in the vicinity of Paducah, and one at Frankfort. These forces are intended to aid and assist the Federal troops, and shall be held subject to the call of the District Commander for any service in the State. The Governor proposes to sustain this force at the expense of the State, but to avoid competition with the General Government in the market for supplies, he requests me to ask that you will order the proper United States officers in Kentucky to issue both Commissary and Quartermaster supplies to this force upon requisition, approved by him, to be paid for by the State in General Settlement.

KYR-0002-042-0087John W. Finnell, Receipt to William E. Cox, Sep. 4, 1862
Sept. 4.  To hire of men, drayage & c. & c., in in removing Books & furniture from Adjutant General, Military Boards & Quartermasters Department  $15 50

KYR-0002-042-0091 – Daniel W. Lindsey to John Boyle, Jun. 18, 1864
General: I have the honor to submit the following report, of the defense of the State Capital, against the recent attack of a detachment of Genl. John H. Morgan’s guerilla forces—… On the morning of the 9th the train containing the public property, with a guard composed of the clerks of the various offices, and volunteers from the Militia, and strangers in the City…started for Louisville. When nearing Pleasureville the road was discovered to be on fire. The engine was immediately reversed, and the train attacked by guerillas. … The enemy were found to be occupying all the roads leading into the city. Several attempts were made by them to approach the Arsenal through the Cemetery and by the Railroad, but the shells thrown from the guns at the Fort and a gun at the Arsenal kept them back. … The presence of his Excellency the Governor and Attorney General Harlan animated the men and contributed very materially to the defence of the Fort.

KYR-0002-042-0102Joshua F. Speed to Salmon P. Chase, Mar. 22, 1862
I have filed with the 3d Auditor, in the Treasury Department,—vouchers for money expended by the State of Kentucky, in and of the Govt. in suppressing the rebellion, amounting to Seven Hundred and Eighty six thousand, one Hundred and Ninety three 11/100 Dollars….I am also furnished, with a balance sheet, by our Military Board, showing that they have up to this time, expended in paying, subsisting, arming and equipping, the Kentucky Volunteers.— One Million Seven Hundred and Seventy-two thousand, Six hundred & Seventy-nine 55/100 Dollars…. What I desire, in behalf of the State, whose agent I am, is — that the Government will pay us forty per. cent. of our expenditures. — Out of the remainder, we desire to settle Kentucky’s proportion of the War tax:

KYR-0002-211-0027Samuel G. Suddarth, Receipt to Rutha R. Manion, Apr. 27, 1865
To Cooking and Washing for the State Military Hospital for the Month of December 1863 and month of January 1864 $24 00

KYR-0002-218-0266Thomas E. Bramlette to Daniel W. Lindsey, Nov. 5, 1864
It is of the utmost vital importance to the cause of our Country, that peace be preserved in Kentucky; and that there should be no semblance of Collision between the Civil and military authorities of the State and those of the Federal Government. … To my utter surprise Genl Burbridge without my being able to get a line from him in explanation or otherwise of his intentions has assumed a hostile position—menacing towards the State authorities and forces; and with no shadow of authority or just pretence has been threatening to disband them; and in various ^ways^ apparently sought to provoke collision. A collision with him would be a matter of small moment but I cannot and will not have a collision with the federal forces under his command…and for the additional reason that no folly of others shall make me collide with my Government.

KYR-0002-219-0010Madison C. Johnson to John B. Temple, Oct. 1, 1861
We have placed to the Credit of the Treasurer of Ky for the use of the Military Board the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars—for which we received your certificate according to Law. At this time we have not more than about one hundred thousand dollars in Bank notes, having burnt our notes for safety. … Will you please advise me in what time & manner you expect to draw it out. I presume it will remain on deposit here until your Board disburses it.

KYR-0002-225-0041William R. Thompson to Thomas E. Bramlette, May 28, 1864
My son Lt John V. Thompson, has been trying to raise a company for the ten thousand troops you called for, but there seems not to be much disposition to volunteer the rebels & their sympathies do every thing they can to discourage it; & you have taken the right course, just make them walk right in, a man that wont fight for his country ought not to live in it. I have greatly more respect for the men who are in the field with Jeff. Davis, than for those who are among us plotting the overthrow and destruction of the Government that protects them & all they possess, for them I have no respect, they have been handled with gloves too long.


Want to see more interesting topics? Visit the Subject Guides page.

Subject Guides: Slavery and Capitalism

Click here to view this Subject Guide in the new Civil War Governors interface.


KYR-0001-004-0638Alanson Trigg to Thomas E. Bramlette, Mar. 1864
[Petitioner] could not owing to the condition of the County well bring these negroes from Warren to Barren County, in ^which^ your petitioner resides. Both ^Each^ of them had wives ^a wife^ in Warren County near a farm owned by this Petitioner for many years & on which he had kept his slaves. On selling his farm he did not want to sell his slaves & allowed them to remain in Warren out of humanity. But he placed them in the care & control of John Petty and Wm G Hendrick who promised to take care of & manage them as their own & if the law has been violated your Petitioner says others & not he violated it. Your Petitioner avers that there are not better behaved & more honest slaves any where to be found than the two mentioned in the Indictment & he humbly asks your Excellency to remit the fine imposed upon him

KYR-0001-004-1722 C. A. Wandelhor et al. to Thomas E. Bramlette, Apr. 28, 1865
Polly Southgate is a free woman of Color and the slave so permitted to go at large is by the name of Caleb and both her husband and Slave. He makes a living for himself and family be engaging in Such jobs of work as he can get to do in and around Falmouth and the earnings of his labor so performed are the only means of Support for himself and family … Should she be required to pay the full amount of said fine. She will be compelled to sell her Slave and husband to do so. and will then be without any means of Support whatever for herself and children…

KYR-0001-005-0040Benjamin P. Cissell, Affidavit, Jun. 8, 1864
The affiant B P Cissell states that in the year 1856 he qualified as the Guardian for Samuel, William, Sarah, Carrie & Angeline Ten, that Samuel, William & Sarah has arrived at Majority he has divided the property & settled with said parties Carrie & Angiline are girl of quite tender years, & own under said division two slaves each, one owns a small girl & Phil, a man about 26 or 27 yrs old, the other a girl a boy named Dick about 14 years old. That these slaves are all the property said Children own that yield any income to raise & educate them. That for the year 1864 he had hired Phil to D R Burbank for 240$ Dick to same for $225. That neither of said slaves as he verily believes was fit for military duty, one of them, Dick was not even enrolled. That During the late raid of one Col Cunningham ^of the U S Army^ with an armed force of slaves in Union County said two slaves were captured on the farm of said D R Burbank in Union County & carried to Paducah or some part to affiant unknown and have never been returned and affiant has been informed that Said Cunningham insists that all said slaves are now forever free & refuses to allow any of them to return—

KYR-0001-008-0003 Thomas E. Bramlette to Kentucky General Assembly, Feb. 13, 1864
Since the commencement of the rebellion large numbers of fugitive slaves have been arrested and committed to jail, under the provisions of chapter 93, article 6, Revised Statutes.

This statute was framed in reference to peaceful relations, and to ensure those acts of comity, due from one State to another, of the same government.

The law was intended to secure to the owner the return of his slave.

This purpose of the law can not now be accomplished.

The hostile attitude of the other slave States to the position and relations of Kentucky, wholly precludes the owner, in hostile States, from the benefits of the law. He can not come here to prove ownership and reclaim his property. …

For whose benefit is the arrest and committall to be made? The owner can not be profited by it; and no Kentuckian desires to appropriate these fugitives to the public use; nor is it desirable in this questionable mode to increase that population, at this time, with its cumulative evils upon our people, in violation of the spirit of our constitution and the laws pursuant thereto, prohibiting the importation of slaves into this State, as merchandize. No one derives benefit from the law except the captors, who obtain the reward, and speculators, who buy at nominal rates, and by selling, shift the loss upon others.

KYR-0001-020-0438 W. H. Calvert to Beriah Magoffin, Jan. 14, 1861
I therefore beg your Excellency to give me further indulgence on the debts first respited by you until times grow better and money can be come at or until I can get a judgment to sell the land and slaves of James & John Williams for the payment of their debts. There was a division of the slaves of the Estate of Jesse Williams among his children on the 1st of January 1861 and five slaves were alloted to James & John Williams which are in my possession except a man who is in Jail under an indictment for Murder, with $900.00 a Boy aged 16 worth $900.00 a woman aged 40 years worth $700.00 A Boy aged 10 years worth $700.00 a girl aged 14 years worth $700.00 There will be about 160 acres of land coming from said Estate to James & John which will be worth $8.00 an acr all of which which will be sold for their debts to the commonwealth & others—the above is all the property that will be coming to James and John from their Fathers Estate, and I have already as above stated paid out for them nearly five thousand dollars, and am still indebted for them to the Commonwealth nearly four thousand dollars as the representative of their father who was their surety—.

KYR-0001-020-1206 Sparke & Gallagher to Beriah Magoffin, Jul. 23, 1861
Particular attention given to the purchase of Plantation and Levee Supplies
Wm. H. Sparke,
John T. Gallagher.
Office Sparke & Gallagher
Grocers and Commission Merchants.
No. 207 Main Street, between Second and Third
Louisville, July 23rd 1861
Hon. B. Magoffin
Dear Sir

The barer D. C. Kelley we are assured is worthy of the favor he asks at your hands and we hope you may do him the favor of remitting the fine as the party for whome he is bound has enlisted in the Southern armey and it would ruin him pecuniarly to pay the bond.

Very respectfully we remain Your frieneds
Sparke, &, Gallagher

KYR-0001-020-2183 Hiram McElroy et al. to Beriah Magoffin, date unknown
[Petitioners] will State that they verily believe that the death of Said Slave was owing to accident & a want of desertion of said Leonard, and free from any design on his part to take life—That said negro was notoriously vicious headstrong and ungovernable—had been hired out year after year, and was all ways returned to the owner, as soon as his character was ascertained—that Clements had hired him: and he chastisied him with the sole view of making him perform his duty; & not to take life but, said negro afterwards died either from the correction, or from some disease in his system that was superinduced by said correction to produce death

Clements has paid the owner of said negro $1600 for said negro—that he is a young man of fine family, Steady habits & moral character, we therefore pray for your Excellency to grant him a pardon & restore him to the bosom of his family & country & in duty bound they will ever pray &c

KYR-0001-023-0022 James G. Seach to Beriah Magoffin, Feb. 18, 1861
I have recd from Mr. Yancey a copy of his speech in the African Slave trade, delivered in the Alabama Convention the 18th Oct. He takes ground against it viewing it as a question of political economy, contending that the states Composing the Confederacy will have as much slave labor as will be profitable, and he therefore recommends the adoption of a provision in the Constitution prohibiting the introduction of Slaves as merchandize from any foreign source whatever. This will prevent Ky & other slave states that refuse to join the Southern Confederacy from sending their slaves for sale.

From what I can learn since my return this County is largely for Convention. Mr. Wright will have an Editorial in this weeks paper, severely, but I think justly, Commenting on the proceedings of the recent session of the Legislature.

KYR-0003-092-0084 W. H. Johnson to George W. Johnson, Dec. 2, 1860
I have not as yet been able to sell Harriett nor do I believe I shall be able to do ^so^ in the present condition of financial affairs in the country. The negro traders tell me they have not sold one this fall. I offered 2 negro men for sale, at public auction, belonging to the Black estate and did not get a bid on them. The rate of interest on money is so great, that every one who has it prefers it loaning, to investing in negroes or any other description of property. I have known the paper of the best paper houses in Vicksburg to sell for 4 per cent, per month discount. Under these circumstances would it not be better to send Harriett up to Miller’s place? She is doing nothing in Vicksburg. But if you still desire her to remain I will do the best I can, and in this event you must let me know the lowest price you will take for her.

Political affairs in this section are in a most critical condition. All of the Cotton States as they are called with the exception of Texas and Arkansas have called Conventions of their citizens or are preparing to do so. A great desire exists to establish a Southern Confederacy, the only question being how shall it be accomplished? Some are in favour of the immediate secession of each state, and then consult with the other ^slave^ states in regard to forming a Union amongst themselves— Others, and amongst them myself, are in favour of having a general consultation with all the Southern States, before either acts seperately. Having the same rights and interests at stake, I think it would be wrong in any one state to take such a position as would ^force^ others against their wishes to join her, without at least first consulting them on the propriety of the course. What will be the result of this movement, it is impossible to conjecture— It has already depreciated property to a most alarming extent, deranged financial ^matters^ beyond all precedent, and created distrust where good feeling should exist. A few months and these grave questions will all be settled.


Want to see more interesting topics? Visit the Subject Guides page.

Subject Guides: Coal, Gas, and Petroluem

Click here to view this Subject Guide in the new Civil War Governors interface.


KYR-0001-004-2605 E. B. Treadway et al. to Thomas E. Bramlette, Oct. 10, 1865
[A]t the June Term ^1864^ of the Owsley Circuit Court McKinley Maloney was tried & fined $60—& cost for Keeping a Tipling house Maloney is a very poor man with a family and not able to pay the debt and unless it is remitted his securities will have to pay the it debt and they are very poor and their Coal which they have raised for market is now levied upon to satisfy it—

KYR-0001-004-2127D. R. Haggard to Thomas E. Bramlette, Jul. 10, 1865
Mr. Gilbert was Employed by myself to go to Tennessee to lease oil lands for a Company of us organized in this City, and it was not because He wanted to Evade Any responsibility. But to make $100—per month, and have 1/8, of the proffits arising from the yeald of the oil, This was the Cause of his absence, from Ky—His family needed Bread, & He wanted to make it as I think honestly,

KYR-0001-007-0332 William V. Archer, Oath, Nov. 19, 1864
Name. 1. The corporate name of said Company shall be “The Hardwick Oil Company.”
Objects. 2. The objects of the formation of the said company are the searching and mining for Petroleum and other minerals, and producing, refining and vending the same.
Capital Stock. 3. The Capital Stock of the said Company shall be the sum of One million dollars divided into Forty thousand Shares of Twenty five Dollars each.
Directors. 4. The affairs of the said company shall be managed by a Board of seven Directors to be chosen annually at the time and place specified in the By Laws. The Board for the first year shall consist of the following stockholders viz—J. Edgar Thompson Joseph Pancoast Marmaduke Moore Stephen Benton Nelson Yocum Geoge L Crawford and H. C. Yarrow
Operations. 5. The Operations of the said Company are to be carried on in ^Clarke^ Estill and Powell Counties Kentucky in the town of Irvine in said Estill County in the State aforesaid

KYR-0001-007-0350D. H. Hazen to Thomas E. Bramlette, Jan. 26, 1865
[I] would respectfully solicit the appointment of Chatham T. Ewing of this City as Commissioner of Kentucky for the State of Pennsylvania.

The oil Excitment among our people has led many of them to invest largely in your state and to facilitate exchanges and transfers of territory located there Some of us are desirous to have a Commissioner of Kentucky in our midst…

KYR-0001-007-0372John Francis to Thomas E. Bramlette, Feb. 7, 1865
[T]here are a few persons here who contemplate assisting to develop one of the almost wholly latent sources of wealth in your state as soon as the arm of Justice can destroy the bands of Gurrillas by which it is infested

We sent down some men the other day & after spending nearly a thousand dollars at Louisville for tools, they were obliged to leave on account of the murders & robberies committed in the neighborhood—Allen County

Could your Excellency adopt some plan or station a force there it would add vastly to the resources of the State as it has already in Pennsylvania. If I mistake the value & export of Oil from that State well nigh competes with that of Cotton in its palmier days & is at any rate in a high degree worthy of the forstering care of your Excellency, and the National Government.

KYR-0001-009-0047R. M. Bradley and William O. Bradley to Ephraim L. Van Winkle, Oct. 8, 1865
Sir, you will please answer the following questions—sending your letter to Lancaster
1. Whether or not you are engaged with a Northern Co for the purchase of land on the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River?
2. What is the amt Cap Stock of said Co?
3. Do you or not own the Beaty Oil well? and a large quantity of land connected with the same above ^both^ the pumps on said river?
4. Is it or not your intention to shortly proceed to remove those pumps? and will or not that be absolutely nescessary to render your property above that place of value.

KYR-0001-020-0500Elizabeth Palmer to Beriah Magoffin, Jan. 12, 1861
Elizabeth Palmer would respectfully represent that on the 5th day of this month she was tried for adultey under the following circumstances and fined $20 & cost— she says her husband is a poor man and labours in the Coal mines for a living. That he has been for several months labouring in coal diging for one J. H. Kemper and was living duing the time in one of Kempers houses— all Kempers boats being loaded with coal he desired to get rid of her and her husband and wanted the posession of his house her husband left home on business and sd Kemper made improper advances to her which she promptly regected. Kemper got seemingly verry mad & procured one of his hands a dependent of his to watch her house in the night time who did so and climbed up on the chimney for the purpose of so doing and then swore he saw a man in her Room and heard her bed making a noise She says as she lives she is not Guilty— nor never has been of such an offense

KYR-0001-020-1503William Gross, Affidavit, Nov. 22, 1861
William Gross states that he lives in Cloverport Kentucky and whilst Margolyes kept his tavern, he was employed by the coal & oil company on there road and the said Tavern being on the immediate side of the road makes me well acquanited with said Margolyes and his tavern.


Want to see more interesting topics? Visit the Subject Guides page.

Subject Guides: Food

Click here to view this Subject Guide in the new Civil War Governors interface.


KYR-0001-002-0010 T. J. McGibben to J. G. Foster, Jan. 26, 1864.
I am a loyal citizen of the state of Kentucky, residing in Harrison County, five miles from Cynthiana in said county. I am a farmer having about three hundred and seventy acres of land. I have a distillery and have for several years past distilled the grain of my own product on my farm, and fed and fatted my stock hogs upon the swill. I have about 400 barrels of Corn and 5000 bushels of wheat on hand. I produced most of this grain on my farm, and purchased a part of it, before any military order was issued restricting distillation. I have 900 hogs purchased and raised by me before any order was issued against distilling grain. It will require more grain than I have on hand to feed and keep said hogs. I will ^suffer^ great loss, almost total loss of my hogs if the grain is taken from me. The swill from the corn, in distilling it, will feed and fatten the same ^or greater^ number of hogs, being fed when warm, than the grain itself would feed and keep.

KYR-0001-003-0116William DeB. Morrill to Unknown, Aug. 8, 1865.
At this place there came into the Coach a woman with four small children. The children were crying with hunger. The Mother said that neither she nor her children had tasted a mouthful of food that day (past noon) I bought some food before we started, when we got to the hotel, had them stop & gave them all a dinner, I gave her ten dollars in money. She was entirely destitute. This woman was the widow of John White of the 3d Ky,, Cavly,, Govr Bramlette’s regiment. He, White died in the Service. The rebels had destroyed evrything at Mt Vernon, her home & even shot her cow, while she was milking it. some of the balls passing through her dress, & one wounding her little girl in the shoulder as I could see by the scar.

KYR-0001-004-0131James R. Dupuy, Affidavit, date unknown.
About two months before the death of the child (which occurred sometime in Feb 1863.) Levis who had purchased some strychnine for the purpose of killing some cats and pigeons that had been annoying him asked his wife for the poison…. He called Caroline & had her to bring him some beef which he took & cut into three peices, small peices, about 1 1/2 inches square & on each peice put some of the poison saying at the time that “here is enough strychnine (or poison) to kill a regiment of men”. Caroline standing near by with the remainder of the beef in her hand & hearing the remark Levi put these peices of meat under the house (the adjacent house) of a neighbor (a plank being off next the ground), placing the beef as far under the house as he could reach with his arm

KYR-0001-004-0441Merie G. Banks to Thomas E. Bramlette, Jan. 25, 1864.
my Husband was only a common Soldier his pay as you know was only $13, per month— which was not enough to support us. the duties which he had to perform were that of being guard at Barracks no 1. So his times was not occupied all the time, So he would Sell various articles of necesities to Soldiers at the Barrack and Hospitals, Such as fruits tobacco and cigars the profits of which in addition to his regular pay enabled us to live tolerably comfortable, But when he got these two packages of tobacco from the Boys, he though he would Sell it at wholesale. hence he offered it ^to^ the grocerymen Saying to the groceryman to Say nothing about it, the reason that he wished him to keep it a Secrect was that he knew that the Police would arrest him for Pedling without licens if they became conizant of the fact, So doing Such a small business he could not afford to take out license hence they requested Secrecy.

KYR-0001-004-0544 John G. Brookover to Maggie, Mar. 15, 1864.
I have had to Spend Some money in buying butter and vetetables that we cannot draw from the commissary department. These things are all very high in the army butter is worth 75cts and and one dollar per pound Green apples have been worth twenty and twenty five dollars per Bbl and have been Since last fall, and other things as high in proportion Whisky Sells for fifty cents a drink and from eight to twenty five dollars per gallon. I have not bot any of it in no form Since our army left Helena We could ^get^ a little there from the commisary department for Sixty cents per gal= Potatoes are worth ten and twelve dollars per Bushel and none Scarcly to be had at that price. We have had a little fight at South bend bend forty mile below us on this river the Rebels captured one of our boats loaded with commisary supplies: but our forces recaptured the boat and took one one hundred Rebel Prisoners

KYR-0001-004-2416 David Schroeder to Thomas E. Bramlette, Sep. 7, 1865.
I David Shroeder would respectfully state that in the month of November 1861 I purchased a cow of Joseph Nicholas on Market streret near 6th ^street^ in Louisville Ky in open market & in presence of Joseph Kramer & my son John then about 13 years old. On the following day I killed the cow and sent the hide to a tanner. One Geo F. Huber on the same day having lost his cow as he said, went to the tanner and there among about 20 green skins found one which he claimed as the hide of his cow. I was arrested & gave bail for my appearance at the next term of the Jefferson Circuit Court.

KYR-0001-004-2738 John Rice to Thomas E. Bramlette, Jun. 14, 1865.
The Grand Jury at that Term Indicted him for Tipling (that is for two acts of selling sprituous Liquor. …we have been Living for several years without Courts or Law & it was a very hard matter for Union men who remained her to sell any way—I am no Grocer or Tavern Keeper I had a small quantity of Apples which I distilled & had some little apple Brandy on hand this selling that I have Confessed is all that I Sold by the Small have no more on hand—& will not again be caught I am a Poor man & have a wife & several children to support a small mountain farm to make a Living on for them & if I am Compelled to pay the Judmt it will deprive my family of actual Comforts of Life & it will not be felt by the State hence I verry Respectfully ask your Excellency to Remit said Fine

KYR-0001-004-3439 John S. McGrew to Unknown, date unknown.
I beg leave to report that I have made a thorough examination of the Western Military Asylum at Harrodsburg Ky and found the grounds & buildings greatly delapidated, Yet they are intrinsically very valuable to the Government & it can be made one of the most beautiful and delightful Soldiers Homes in the United States. … there are ample out buildings of every kind including also fine green houses full of flowers grasseries & vineyards. and especially a very large amount of valuable fruit trees of every new and improved vaieties. There are two large vegetable gardens of about five acres each in a high state of cultivation handsomely laid out one of which alone was sold, last Year about $1000 of marketing after supplying the large family of the occupant. The vineyards are now yielding their crops and a good many barrels of wine are made from them annually … The tillable land would raise all the Corn Oats Hay &c necessary for the Establishment. The grass lands would sustain all the stock necessary to carry it on indeed all the necessary Beef & Pork could be raised upon it and the “House” could be made in a few years self sustaining from the labor of the Soldiers which could be performed by them merely as a healthy recreation

KYR-0001-009-0065 J. A. Cook et al. to Thomas E. Bramlette, date unknown.
[Your Petitioners] state that they grain they have is nearly all of their own product, and that it is necessary to feed the stock they have on hand. Beside a large number of hogs to be fed by them, there cattle and some mules are kept and fed upon the swill. The grain is absolutely necessary to sustain and keep their stock. The hogs, mules and cattle are necessary for the country and for the army and the use they make of it must inure to the general and public benefit. And the taking the grain from them will inflict a serious and unpardonable loss and injury to them
and to their families, and they ask to be allowed to distil their grain—grain of their own product and that your Excellency procur permission to this effect and protectiion to them against molestation in distilling—They state that they are licensed distillers, have paid to the Collector of Internal Revnew the tax or license fees, as required by act of Congress.

KYR-0001-017-0163 John B. McIlvain & Son et al. to Beriah Magoffin, May 1861.
We the undersigned Manufacturers and dealers in flour in this City, have pititioned the Legislature. to pass a Law giving your honor the power to appoint an Inspector of flour in our City independent of the two that is appointed by our City Council, the cause which leads to this is set forth in our petition to the Legislature to which we refer you, Having a deep interest in the Commercial prosperity of our City, and knowing that the flour trade is rapidly increasing this point becoming one of vast importance and having had the benefit of W.G. Timberlakes services as an Inspector of Flour for the last three Years and having entire Confidence in his Judgment capacity and Integrity most earnestly recommend him to your Excellency for the appointment as Flour Inspector.

KYR-0001-020-0190John G. Carlisle and Joe G. Kennedy to Beriah Magoffin, Jul. 27, 1860.
Baker was tried for stealing a parcel of fruit trees; the evidence was altogether circumstantial, and it was the prevailing opinion among those who heard it the evidence, that he was innocent- He was himself a dealer in fruit trees and had on hand a large number at the time of his arrest-The owner of the lost trees examined those of Baker, and thought he identified some of his among them- Baker proved that he had for some time been purchasing trees in the Cincinnati market, but he could not prove that these identical trees had been bought there.

KYR-0001-020-1423H. Berlin to Beriah Magoffin, Jan. 20, 1860.
Now your petitoner Solemly avers that the true facts of the Case and these, He says that he Keeps a Tavern, near the Pork house of A. S. White & Co, at the head of Jefferson Street in the City of Louisville Ky, and that said slave was hired by his owner to work at sd pork house, and that on the day named in said in said indictment a white man came into the Tavern of the undersigned, with said slave, and represented that he was one of the managers of said pork house—that the slave was in his Employ & directed me to let him have a Dram of whisky, I done so, never thinking but that the white man was authorized to Call for the Drink

KYR-0001-029-0179 E. B. Davis et al. to James F. Robinson, date unknown.
Rebels passed through this county and stoled all of the horses he had which was one in number they took and destroyed all of his beading and clothes for himself and family destroyed all of his cupboard ware such as tea cups saucers plates knives and forks and all of his cooking utencels besides salt Bacon & Beef and fed out a quantity of corn &c and upon the whole he was Litterally destroyed as a house Keeper; and he was taken a prisoner by the Rebels and taken away from home at the same time.

KYR-0002-204-0044Military Board, Receipt to Foster Ray, Dec. 16, 1861.
The State of Kentucky
To Foster Ray Dr

Date of Purchase                                                                                             Dollars Cents
Oct 30th 1861 to Nov. 20

To 21107 lbs of Beef at 3½ cts pr. lb                           738      74
To 1199 lbs of Bacon 10 cts pr. lb                              119      90
” 66 Bushels potatoes at 25 cts pr. b                           16        50
” 2 Bags ground coffee at 22½ pr. lb                          51        75
” 500 loaves bread (of Shirley & Woolfork 3½          17        50
Louisville Ky) Freight on same                                   2          50
” 19 lbs ground coffee sent from home 22½                4          28
” 191 lbs green Coffee @ 19c                                      36        29
” 10 Chickens, 12½ Qts butter                                     1          50
” ½ Bushl Red Pepper in pods –                                 1          00
” 107 lb Sugar 13 cts                                                    13        91
” 1 Barrell Vinegar 5. 50                                             5          50
1009    37
for one thousand and nine Dollars & 37 cents –

I certify that the above account is correct and just, and that the articles have been accounted for on my property return for the [gap] ending the [gap] of [gap] 186[gap].

Jno M Harlan Col Ky Vols


Want to see more interesting topics? Visit the Subject Guides page.

 

Subject Guides

What’s there to learn from Civil War Kentucky? Browse thematic document excerpts from the Civil War Governors of Kentucky corpus to see the diversity of topics, themes, and voices contained in this unique collection. Whether starting a new project or expanding a current one, CWGK subject guides are your introduction to this research platform geographically and chronologically at the heart of U.S. historiography.

View these Subject Guides and more in the new CWGK interface.

Civil War Governors of Kentucky Subject Guides:
Coal, Gas, and Petroleum
Food
Guerrilla Warfare
Military History
Slavery and Capitalism