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Benjamin Forsythe Buckner (1836--1901) faced a dire choice as the flames of Civil War threatened his native Kentucky. As an ambitious Bluegrass aristocrat, he was sympathetic to fellow slave owners, but was also convinced that the Peculiar Institution could not survive a war for Southern independence. Defying the wishes of his Rebel fiancée and her powerful family -- yet still hoping to impress them with his resolve, independence, and courage -- Buckner joined the Twentieth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry in 1861 as a Union soldier. President Abraham Lincoln's issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 ultimately destroyed Buckner's faith in his cause, however, and he resigned his commission. In For Slavery and Union, Patrick A. Lewis uses Benjamin Buckner's story to illuminate the origins and perspectives of Kentucky's conservative proslavery Unionists, and explain why this group eventually became a key force in repressing social and political change during the Reconstruction era and beyond. Free from the constraints and restrictions imposed on the former Confederate states, men like Buckner joined with other proslavery forces to work in the interest of the New South's brand of economic growth and racial control. Other studies have explored how Kentucky cultivated a Confederate identity after the Civil War, but For Slavery and Union is the first major work to personify this transformation. Lewis's important book transcends biography to provide a deeply nuanced look at the history of the commonwealth in the nineteenth century and the development of the New South.
Most Americans imagine the Civil War in terms of clear and defined boundaries of freedom and slavery: a straightforward division between the slave states of Kentucky and Missouri and the free states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kansas. However, residents of these western border states, Abraham Lincoln's home region, had far more ambiguous identities-and contested political loyalties-than we commonly assume. In The Rivers Ran Backward, Christopher Phillips sheds light on the fluid political cultures of the "Middle Border" states during the Civil War era. Far from forming a fixed and static boundary between the North and South, the border states experienced fierce internal conflicts over their political and social loyalties. White supremacy and widespread support for the existence of slavery pervaded the "free" states of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, which had much closer economic and cultural ties to the South, while those in Kentucky and Missouri held little identification with the South except over slavery. Debates raged at every level, from the individual to the state, in parlors, churches, schools, and public meeting places, among families, neighbors, and friends. Ultimately, the pervasive violence of the Civil War and the cultural politics that raged in its aftermath proved to be the strongest determining factor in shaping these states' regional identities, leaving an indelible imprint on the way in which Americans think of themselves and others in the nation. The Rivers Ran Backward reveals the complex history of the western border states as they struggled with questions of nationalism, racial politics, secession, neutrality, loyalty, and even place-as the Civil War tore the nation, and themselves, apart. In this major work, Phillips shows that the Civil War was more than a conflict pitting the North against the South, but one within the West that permanently reshaped American regions.
A month after Lincoln’s assassination, William Alvin Lloyd arrived in Washington, DC, to press a claim against the federal government for money due him for serving as the president’s spy in the Confederacy. Lloyd claimed that Lincoln personally had issued papers of transit for him to cross into the South, a salary of $200 a month, and a secret commission as Lincoln’s own top-secret spy. The claim convinced Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt—but was it true? Before the war, Lloyd hawked his Southern Steamboat and Railroad Guide wherever he could, including the South, which would have made him a perfect operative for the Union. By 1861, though, he needed cash, so he crossed enemy lines to collect debts owed by advertising clients in Dixie. Officials arrested and jailed him, after just a few days in Memphis, for bigamy. But Lloyd later claimed it was for being a suspected Yankee spy. After bribing his way out, he crisscrossed the Confederacy, trying to collect enough money to stay alive. Between riding the rails he found time to marry plenty of unsuspecting young women only ditch them a few days later. His behavior drew the attention of Confederate detectives, who nabbed him in Savannah and charged him as a suspected spy. But after nine months, they couldn’t find any incriminating evidence or anyone to testify against him, so they let him go. A free but broken man, Lloyd continued roaming the South, making money however he could. In May 1865, he went to Washington with an extraordinary claim and little else: a few coached witnesses, a pass to cross the lines signed “A. Lincoln” (the most forged signature in American history), and his own testimony. So was he really Lincoln’s secret agent or nothing more than a notorious con man? Find out in this completely irresistible, high-spirited historical caper.
Kentucky and Tennessee share a unique and similar history. However, the people of these sister states found themselves on opposing sides at the most critical time in American history. Surprisingly, the Civil War in the Volunteer and Bluegrass states has not garnered the attention by scholars that it deserves. In this text, prominent Civil War historians redress this by providing an account of the military contests in this vital region.
Perhaps more than any other citizens of the nation, Kentuckians held conflicted loyalties during the American Civil War. As a border state, Kentucky was largely pro-slavery but had an economy tied as much to the North as to the South. State government officials tried to keep Kentucky neutral, hoping to play a lead role in compromise efforts between the Union and the Confederacy, but that stance failed to satisfy supporters of both sides, all of whom considered the state's backing crucial to victory. President Abraham Lincoln is reported to have once remarked, "I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky." Kentucky did side with Lincoln, officially aligning itself with the Union in 1861. But the conflicted loyalties of Kentucky's citizens continued to impact the state's role in the Civil War. When forced to choose between North and South, Kentuckians made the choice as individuals. Many men opted to fight for the Confederate army, where a great number of them rose to high ranks. With Kentuckians in Gray: Confederate Generals and Field Officers of the Bluegrass State, editors Bruce S. Allardice and Lawrence Lee Hewitt present a volume that examines the lives of these gray-clad warriors. Some of the Kentuckians to serve as Confederate generals are well recognized in state history, such as John Hunt Morgan, John Bell Hood, and Albert Sidney Johnston. However, as the Civil War slips further and further into the past, many other Confederate leaders from the Commonwealth have been forgotten. Kentuckians in Gray contains full biographies of thirty-nine Confederate generals. Its principal subjects are native Kentuckians or commanders of brigades of Kentucky troops, such as Morgan. The first complete reference source of its type on Kentucky Civil War history, the book contains the most definitive biographies of these generals ever assembled, as well as short biographical sketches on every field officer to serve in a Kentucky unit. This comprehensive collection recognizes Kentucky's pivotal role in the War between the States, imparting the histories of men who fought "brother against brother" more than any other set of military leaders. Kentuckians in Gray is an invaluable resource for researchers and enthusiasts of Kentucky history and the American Civil War.
This vivid history of the Civil War era reveals how unexpected bonds of union forged among diverse peoples in the Ohio-Kentucky borderlands furthered emancipation through a period of spiraling chaos between 1830 and 1865. Moving beyond familiar arguments about Lincoln's deft politics or regional commercial ties, Bridget Ford recovers the potent religious, racial, and political attachments holding the country together at one of its most likely breaking points, the Ohio River. Living in a bitterly contested region, the Americans examined here--Protestant and Catholic, black and white, northerner and southerner--made zealous efforts to understand the daily lives and struggles of those on the opposite side of vexing human and ideological divides. In their common pursuits of religious devotionalism, universal public education regardless of race, and relief from suffering during wartime, Ford discovers a surprisingly capacious and inclusive sense of political union in the Civil War era. While accounting for the era's many disintegrative forces, Ford reveals the imaginative work that went into bridging stark differences in lived experience, and she posits that work as a precondition for slavery's end and the Union's persistence.
The border states during the Civil War have long been ignored or misunderstood in general histories. This book corrects that oversight, explaining how many border state residents used wartime realities to redefine their politics and culture as "Southern." • Explains how neutrality and definitions of loyalty and disloyalty during the war, which became key political issues, emerged from the military experience in the neutral border slave states • Documents how Lincoln's major wartime political issues centered on events or conflicts that originated in the border slave states • Describes the centrality of emancipation, black enlistment, and their intersection with guerrilla warfare in the border states' experience during the Civil War

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