« AnteriorContinuar »
CHAP. III. The appearance of Polk's forces at Columbus, the
action of the Legislature, the occupation of Paducah by Grant, and the threatening rumors from Buckner's camp created a high degree of excitement and apprehension. On the 16th of September Anderson reported Zollicoffer's invasion through Cumberland Gap, upon which the President telegraphed him to assume active command in Kentucky at once. Added to this, there came to Louisville on the 18th the positive news of Buckner's advance to Bowling Green. This information set all Central Kentucky in a military ferment; for the widely published announcement that the State Guards, Buckner's secession militia, would meet at Lexington, on September 20, to have a camp drill under supervision of Breckinridge, Humphrey Marshall, and other leaders, seemed too plainly coincident with the triple invasion to be designed for a mere holiday. A rising at Lexington and a junction with Zollicoffer might end in a march upon Frankfort, the capital, to disperse the Legislature; a simultaneous advance by Buckner in force, and the capture of Louisville would, in a brief campaign, complete the subjugation of Kentucky to the rebellion. There remains no record to show whether or not such a plan was among the movements “in advance of the Governor's action,” which Buckner discussed with Jefferson Davis on September 3, at Richmond. The bare possibility roused the Unionists of Kentucky to vigorous action. With an evident distrust of Governor Magoffin a caucus of the Union members of the Legislature assumed quasi executive authority, and, through the presiding officers of the
W. R. Vol. IV.,
two Houses, requested General Thomas, at Camp CHAP. III. Dick Robinson, to send a regiment, “fully prepared for a fight,” to Lexington in advance of the advertised 66 camp drill” of the State Guards, also promising that the Home Guards should rally in force to support it. Thomas ordered the movement, and, in spite of numerous obstacles, Colonel Thomas E. Bramlette brought his regiment to the Lexington Fair Ground on the night of the 19th of September.
His advent was so sudden that he came near making important arrests. John C. Breckinridge, Humphrey Marshall, and other leaders were present, but being warned fled in different directions, and the “camp drill,” shorn of its guiding spirits, proved powerless for the mischievous ends which had evidently been intended.
At Louisville General Anderson lost no time in an effort to meet Buckner's advance. There were no organized troops in the city, but the brigade Rousseau had been collecting on the Indiana shore was hastily called across the river, and joined to the Louisville Home Guards, making in all some two thousand five hundred men, who were sent out by the railroad towards Nashville, under the personal command of Sherman. An expedition of the enemy had burned the important railroad bridges, apparently, however, with the simple object of creating delay. Nevertheless, Sherman went on and occupied Muldraugh's Hill, where he was soon reënforced; for the utmost efforts had been used by the Governors of Ohio and Indiana to send to the help of Kentucky every available regiment. If Buckner meditated the capture of Louisville, this show of force caused him to pause;
CAAP. III. but he remained firm at Bowling Green, increasing
his army, and ready to take part in whatever movement events might render feasible.
No serious or decisive conflicts immediately followed these various moves on the military chessboard; they served merely to define the hostile frontier. With Polk at Columbus, Buckner at Bowling Green, and Zollicoffer in front of Cumberland Gap, the Confederate frontier was practically along the northera Tennessee line. The Union line ran irregularly through the center of Kentucky. One direct result was rapidly to eliminate the armed secessionists. Humphrey Marshall, Breckinridge, and others, who had set up rebel camps, hastened with their followers within the protection of the Confederate line. Before further
operations occurred, a change of Union commanders Gen. Scott took place. The excitement, labors, and responsi1981: W.R.bilities proved too great for the physical strength
of General Anderson. Relieved at his own request,
on October 8, he relinquished the command to Orders, General Sherman, who was designated by General Ibid., p. 297. Scott to succeed him. The new and heavy duties
which fell upon him were by no means to SherDavis, Oct. man's liking. “I am forced into the command of
this department against my will,” he wrote. Looking at his field with a purely professional eye, the disproportion between the magnitude of his task and the immediate means for its accomplishment oppressed him like a nightmare. There were no troops in Kentucky when he came. The recruits sent from other States were gradually growing into an army, but as yet without drill, equipment, or organization. Kentucky itself was in a curious
Oct. 8, 1861.
Sherman to Garrett
8, 1861. Ibid.
transition. By vote of her people and her Legis- CHAP. III. lature she had decided to adhere to the Union; but, as a practical incident of war, many of her energetic and adventurous young men drifted to Southern camps, while the Union property-holders and heads of families were unfit or unwilling immediately to enlist in active service to sustain the cause they had espoused. The Home
The Home Guards, called into service for ten days, generally refused to extend their term. The arms furnished them became scattered, and if not seized or stolen by young secession recruits and carried to the enemy, were with difficulty recovered for use. Now that the General Government had assumed command, and the State had ordered an army, many neighborhoods felt privileged to call for protection, rather than furnish a quota for offense; and even where they were ready to serve, the enlistment of the State volunteers, recently authorized by the Legislature, had yet scarcely begun.
About the middle of October Mr. Cameron, Secretary of War, returning from a visit to Frémont, passed through Louisville and held a military consultation with Sherman. “I remember taking a large map of the United States," writes Sherman, “and assuming the people of the whole South to be in rebellion, that our task was to subdue them, showed that McClellan was on the left, having a frontage of less than 100 miles, and Frémont on the right about the same; whereas I, the center, had from the Big Sandy to Paducah, over 300 miles of frontier; that McClellan had 100,000 men, Frémont 60,000, whereas to me had only been allotted about 18,000. I argued that for the pur
CHAP. II. pose of defense we should have 60,000 men at once,
and for offense would need 200,000 before we were done. Mr. Cameron, who still lay on the bed, threw up his hands and exclaimed: “Great God! where are they to come from?' I asserted that there were plenty of men at the North ready and willing to come if he would only accept their services; for it was notorious that regiments had been formed in all the Northwestern States, whose services had been refused by the War Department, on the ground that they would not be needed.
We discussed all these matters fully, in the most William T. friendly spirit, and I thought I had aroused Mr. Sherman, Cameron to a realization of the great war that was before
was, in fact, upon us.” While recognizing many of the needs which Sherman pointed out, the Secretary could not immediately promise him any great augmentation of his force. Complaints and requests of this character were constantly coming to the Administration from all the commanders and governors, and a letter of President Lincoln, written in reply to a similar strain of fault-finding from Governor Morton of Indiana, plainly indicates why such requirements in all quarters could not be immediately supplied:
"Memoirs," Vol. I., p.
Your letter by the hand of Mr. Prunk was received yesterday. I write this letter because I wish you to believe of us (as we certainly believe of you) that we are doing the very best we can. You do not receive arms from us as fast as you need them; but it is because we have not near enough to meet all the pressing demands, and we are obliged to share around what we have, sending the larger share to the points which appear to need them most. We have great hope that our own supply will be ample before long, so that you and all others can have as