Did Kentucky mess over the Confederacy?

Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
I've thought about this for some time, did Kentucky's indecisivness end up being a death knell the CSA?

In 1860 John C. Breckinridge was the pro slavery candidate of choice. He was a native of Kentucky, I don't recall him pushing the state to go with the South, why? Weren't there alot of resources there? Horses, grain, livestock, no?

When I think about states like Delaware and Maryland, there is less sense in them seceding then Kentucky. Maryland and Delwares proximity to Washington makes secession hard to conceive, but a state like KY actually makes more sense due to it being slightly more cut off from the North and the capital.

So what do you think? Discuss.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Why Kentucky Did Not Seceed

slave map kentucky.jpeg

Detail 1860 Slave Census Map of Kentucky.
Library of Congress
In 1860, the largest export from Kentucky was hemp. It was sold to rope walks in New England to be made into rope & cables. Only 75 families owned the 50 slaves required to achieve plantation status. As the census map indicates with gradation from white at zero & on up to black, only a very few counties had substantial slave populations. As the slave-holders of Kentucky knew all too well, without the Fugitive Slave Act being enforced, there was no way to keep their slaves from crossing the Ohio River to freedom.

The swathe of mountainous country from Virginia down through Tennessee was populated by non-slave-holders. As Virginia found out, those folks were implacably hostile to the claims of sovereignty made by the slave-holding aristocracy. Breaking up the Union to guarantee "the right to hold other human beings as property" was abhorrent.

From the 1850 to 1860 census, the slave population of Kentucky had dropped significantly. There simply weren't enough slave-holders & those dependent on them to tip the balance in favor of secession.

1860 map of Kentucky.jpg

1862 map of Kentucky showing every rail road & every rail road station with distances between each station.
Library of Congress
Saving the Union was a powerful force that can't be underestimated. Be that as it may, lets talk about something with some real sticking power, money. This map tells you just about everything you need to know. The main artery for Kentucky's imports & exports was the Ohio River.

The Shakers at Pleasant Hill, near Lexington, hired professional poultry drovers & their specially trained dogs. They would drive flocks of nearly a thousand birds overland the 70 miles to Louisville. There, the gobblers would be transshipped north & south. Dinner tables in New York were set with fresh Kentucky poultry via the Erie Canal. Thousands of pounds of Pleasant Hill smoked sweet potatoes, a staple of the diet on plantations in the Lower South went sent down the Ohio. The locks at the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville were opened in 1860, which meant that cargos did not have to make the laborious portage & could steam directly to market.

Seven rail roads enter Kentucky from the north. Those lines connected Kentucky producers with markets in New England & the Midwest. One line, the single track Louisville & Nashville was Kentucky's only connection to the deep south via Chattanooga. This alone should tell you everything you need to know about where Kentucky's trade flowed, north, not south. Joining the Confederacy would have spelled immediate economic collapse to the State of Kentucky & lots of people of all kinds knew that.

All that trade, plus the ladings from the Tennessee & Cumberland Rivers, all passed through the choke point where the Ohio meets the Mississippi. Kentucky’s river trade was vulnerable to blockade.

It was the combination of the abhorrence of slavery & the social pretensions of slave-holders combined with hard, cold accounting that prevented Kentucky from seceding. Politically, there were those who wanted to join the Confederacy, but they were scattered in the black counties on the slave map. As General Bragg's foragers discovered, mountain folk who had driven their cattle & hogs back up into coves & hollows were willing to fight rather than support the Confederacy. As things turned out, they weren't the only members of the Commonwealth of Kentucky who refused to fight for the Southern Cause.

In contrast to the premise of this thread, Kentucky owed the Confederacy nothing. When Bragg invaded Kentucky, he brought with him thousands of stands of arms intended to arm the swarm of volunteers that surely would flock to join his army. The myth that Bragg brought a wagon train of supplies back over the mountains when he retreated sprang from the wagons loaded with muskets that no Kentuckian was willing to shoulder. That fact shouts volumes. Less than a hundred boys who, "Wanted to join Morgan" volunteered to join up. Kentucky was not going to join the Confederacy because the slave-holding minority were just that, a minority.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas

Why Kentucky Did Not Seceed

View attachment 353796
Detail 1860 Slave Census Map of Kentucky.
Library of Congress
In 1860, the largest export from Kentucky was hemp. Only 75 families owned the 50 slaves required for the designation of plantation. As the census map indicates with gradation from white at zero & on up to black, only a very few counties had substantial slave populations. As the slave-holders of Kentucky knew all too well, without the Fugitive Slave Act being enforced, there was no way to keep their slaves from crossing the Ohio River to freedom. The swathe of mountainous country from Virginia down through Tennessee was populated by non-slave-holders. As Virginia found out, those folks were implacably hostile to the claims of sovereignty made by the slave-holding aristocracy. Breaking up the Union to guarantee "the right to hold other human beings as property" was abhorrent. From the 1850 to 1860 census, the slave population of Kentucky had dropped significantly. There simply weren't enough slave-holders & those dependent on them to tip the balance in favor of secession.

View attachment 353797
1862 map of Kentucky showing every rail road & every rail road station with distances between each station.
Library of Congress
Saving the Union was a powerful force that can't be underestimated. Be that as it may, lets talk about something with some real sticking power, money. This map tells you just about everything you need to know. The main artery for Kentucky's imports & exports was the Ohio River.

The Shakers at Pleasant Hill, near Lexington, hired professional poultry drovers & their specially trained dogs. They would drive flocks of nearly a thousand birds overland the 70 miles to Louisville. There, the gobblers would be transshipped north & south. Dinner tables in New York were set with fresh Kentucky poultry via the Erie Canal. Thousands of pounds of Pleasant Hill smoked sweet potatoes, a staple of the diet on plantations in the Lower South went sent down the Ohio. The locks at the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville were opened in 1860, which meant that cargos did not have to make the laborious portage & could steam directly to market.

Seven rail roads enter Kentucky from the north. Those lines connected Kentucky producers with markets in New England & the Midwest. One line, the single track Louisville & Nashville was Kentucky's only connection to the deep south via Chattanooga. This tell you everything you need to know about where Kentucky's trade flowed, north, not south. Joining the Confederacy would have spelled immediate economic doom to the State of Kentucky & lots of people of all kinds knew that. All that trade, plus the ladings from the Tennessee & Cumberland Rivers, all passed through the choke point where the Ohio meets the Mississippi.

It was the combination of the abhorrence of slavery & the social pretensions of slave-holders combined with hard, cold accounting that prevented Kentucky from seceding. Politically, there were those who wanted to join the Confederacy, but they were scattered in the black counties on the slave map. As General Bragg's foragers discovered, mountain folk who had driven their cattle & hogs back up into coves & hollows were willing to fight rather than support the Confederacy. As things turned out, they weren't the only members of the Commonwealth of Kentucky who refused to fight for the Southern Cause.

In contrast to the premise of this thread, Kentucky owed the Confederacy nothing. When Bragg invaded Kentucky, he brought with him thousands of stands of arms intended to arm the swarm of volunteers that surely would flock to join his army. The myth that Bragg brought a wagon train of supplies back over the mountains when he retreated sprang from the wagons loaded with muskets that no Kentuckian was willing to shoulder. That fact shouts volumes. Less than a hundred boys who, "Wanted to join Morgan" volunteered to join up. Kentucky was not going to join the Confederacy.
Wow, thanks Rhea.

But didn't they vote to secede? Wasn't it close? 47 to 48 in favor of neutrality?
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
Like Tennessee, the secession votes in Kentucky were one big fur ball, I haven’t even attempted to disentangle it.
Agreed.

From what I know personally, Unionists were far more organized in the state than Secessionists, they also had more of a backing. I also feel many in Kentucky were loyal to the state and would've went either way depending upon what the local government decided. Not seeing this was a tactial blunder for the CSA.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Agreed.

From what I know personally, Unionists were far more organized in the state than Secessionists, they also had more of a backing. I also feel many in Kentucky were loyal to the state and would've went either way depending upon what the local government decided. Not seeing this was a tactial blunder for the CSA.
I agree entirely. Bragg was grossly misinformed by Morgan, in particular. He could not differentiate between his personal popularity & secessionist sentiment. When the promised recruits did not appear, during his Kentucky invasion, Bragg bore a grudge against Kentucky troops ever after. He had several Kentuckians shot for stealing apples here in Murfreesboro. Breckinridge was seen to be physically ill at the execution. The profound distrust that sprang from that incident bore bitter fruit.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
I've thought about this for some time, did Kentucky's indecisivness end up being a death knell the CSA?

In 1860 John C. Breckinridge was the pro slavery candidate of choice. He was a native of Kentucky, I don't recall him pushing the state to go with the South, why? Weren't there alot of resources there? Horses, grain, livestock, no?

When I think about states like Delaware and Maryland, there is less sense in them seceding then Kentucky. Maryland and Delwares proximity to Washington makes secession hard to conceive, but a state like KY actually makes more sense due to it being slightly more cut off from the North and the capital.

So what do you think? Discuss.
I would not use the concept of " Kentucky let the Confederacy down". Kentucky was like any other state in that the residents made up their own mind on what side to support or try to stay neutral the best they could. Has another poster pointed out in another thread if the percentage of slave owners in a state is over twenty five percent that state will be a Confederate state and only eleven states matched that number.
Kentucky per Stephen Freeling"The South vs the South" 25k men from Kentucky joined the Confederate Army vs 50k for the Union Army plus Confederate gurrillas vs Unionist militas.
So some people from Kentucky supported the Confederacy just not a majority who has @Rhea Cole in his excellent post pointed out had no reason to support the Confederacy.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca

Why Kentucky Did Not Seceed

View attachment 353796
Detail 1860 Slave Census Map of Kentucky.
Library of Congress
In 1860, the largest export from Kentucky was hemp. It was sold to rope walks in New England to be made into rope & cables. Only 75 families owned the 50 slaves required to achieve plantation status. As the census map indicates with gradation from white at zero & on up to black, only a very few counties had substantial slave populations. As the slave-holders of Kentucky knew all too well, without the Fugitive Slave Act being enforced, there was no way to keep their slaves from crossing the Ohio River to freedom.

The swathe of mountainous country from Virginia down through Tennessee was populated by non-slave-holders. As Virginia found out, those folks were implacably hostile to the claims of sovereignty made by the slave-holding aristocracy. Breaking up the Union to guarantee "the right to hold other human beings as property" was abhorrent.

From the 1850 to 1860 census, the slave population of Kentucky had dropped significantly. There simply weren't enough slave-holders & those dependent on them to tip the balance in favor of secession.

View attachment 353797
1862 map of Kentucky showing every rail road & every rail road station with distances between each station.
Library of Congress
Saving the Union was a powerful force that can't be underestimated. Be that as it may, lets talk about something with some real sticking power, money. This map tells you just about everything you need to know. The main artery for Kentucky's imports & exports was the Ohio River.

The Shakers at Pleasant Hill, near Lexington, hired professional poultry drovers & their specially trained dogs. They would drive flocks of nearly a thousand birds overland the 70 miles to Louisville. There, the gobblers would be transshipped north & south. Dinner tables in New York were set with fresh Kentucky poultry via the Erie Canal. Thousands of pounds of Pleasant Hill smoked sweet potatoes, a staple of the diet on plantations in the Lower South went sent down the Ohio. The locks at the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville were opened in 1860, which meant that cargos did not have to make the laborious portage & could steam directly to market.

Seven rail roads enter Kentucky from the north. Those lines connected Kentucky producers with markets in New England & the Midwest. One line, the single track Louisville & Nashville was Kentucky's only connection to the deep south via Chattanooga. This alone should tell you everything you need to know about where Kentucky's trade flowed, north, not south. Joining the Confederacy would have spelled immediate economic collapse to the State of Kentucky & lots of people of all kinds knew that.

All that trade, plus the ladings from the Tennessee & Cumberland Rivers, all passed through the choke point where the Ohio meets the Mississippi. Kentucky’s river trade was vulnerable to blockade.

It was the combination of the abhorrence of slavery & the social pretensions of slave-holders combined with hard, cold accounting that prevented Kentucky from seceding. Politically, there were those who wanted to join the Confederacy, but they were scattered in the black counties on the slave map. As General Bragg's foragers discovered, mountain folk who had driven their cattle & hogs back up into coves & hollows were willing to fight rather than support the Confederacy. As things turned out, they weren't the only members of the Commonwealth of Kentucky who refused to fight for the Southern Cause.

In contrast to the premise of this thread, Kentucky owed the Confederacy nothing. When Bragg invaded Kentucky, he brought with him thousands of stands of arms intended to arm the swarm of volunteers that surely would flock to join his army. The myth that Bragg brought a wagon train of supplies back over the mountains when he retreated sprang from the wagons loaded with muskets that no Kentuckian was willing to shoulder. That fact shouts volumes. Less than a hundred boys who, "Wanted to join Morgan" volunteered to join up. Kentucky was not going to join the Confederacy because the slave-holding minority were just that, a minority.
I had no idea of smoked sweet potatoes. I guess we don't have a lot of folks from Kentucky in LA but I could be wrong. Wow what a concept! I imagine smoked sweet potatoes goes well with smoked beer? I would love to find out next Thanksgiving.
Dogs that are so well behaved they won't bite turkeys? That's on heck of a well disciplined 🐕.
I take it no Pit bull needs apply? What kind of dog has that kind of self control?
I had no idea about the above.
Got to find me some smoked sweet potatoes.
Leftyhunter
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
I would not use the concept of " Kentucky let the Confederacy down". Kentucky was like any other state in that the residents made up their own mind on what side to support or try to stay neutral the best they could. Has another poster pointed out in another thread if the percentage of slave owners in a state is over twenty five percent that state will be a Confederate state and only eleven states matched that number.
Kentucky per Stephen Freeling"The South vs the South" 25k men from Kentucky joined the Confederate Army vs 50k for the Union Army plus Confederate gurrillas vs Unionist militas.
So some people from Kentucky supported the Confederacy just not a majority who has @Rhea Cole in his excellent post pointed out had no reason to support the Confederacy.
Leftyhunter
Of course it's deeper than that, maybe I shouldn't have titled this post that.

From the prespective of Kentucky claiming neutrality than breaking it by letting Union recruiting in the state after explicitly saying that they wanted to stay out of it, In a way I believe they kinda screwed the South, and that's a good thing lol.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Of course it's deeper than that, maybe I shouldn't have titled this post that.

From the prespective of Kentucky claiming neutrality than breaking it by letting Union recruiting in the state after explicitly saying that they wanted to stay out of it, In a way I believe they kinda screwed the South, and that's a good thing lol.
In Civil War there is no such thing as neutrality on a state level. The best an individual can do is beat feet for a forigen country to avoid the draft which certainly happened when Northern men fled to Canada or some Texans fled to Mexico.
Kentucky is just a state they can't say no recruiting on their soil since no state can leave the Union. As far as Lincoln is concerned he need not heed what any governor or other state official opines about neutrality.
Leftyhunter
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I had no idea of smoked sweet potatoes. I guess we don't have a lot of folks from Kentucky in LA but I could be wrong. Wow what a concept! I imagine smoked sweet potatoes goes well with smoked beer? I would love to find out next Thanksgiving.
Dogs that are so well behaved they won't bite turkeys? That's on heck of a well disciplined 🐕.
I take it no Pit bull needs apply? What kind of dog has that kind of self control?
I had no idea about the above.
Got to find me some smoked sweet potatoes.
Leftyhunter
They are good. I have made my own in a smoker grill. When properly stored, smoked sweet potatoes will keep for years. The end of slavery seems to have ended the demand. I wonder if they were an African thing
Sit back in your chair & have rehydration at hand. Google herding turkeys. It will be jaw dropping. The last regular turkey drives in New England occurred in the 1950’s... be prepared to be amazed!
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
They are good. I have made my own in a smoker grill. When properly stored, smoked sweet potatoes will keep for years. The end of slavery seems to have ended the demand. I wonder if they were an African thing
Sit back in your chair & have rehydration at hand. Google herding turkeys. It will be jaw dropping. The last regular turkey drives in New England occurred in the 1950’s... be prepared to be amazed!
I saw a lot of smoked patatoe recipes on the web so it's still going on. Yeah I have to Google heading turkeys. I have never heard of such a thing. Sadaly of course turkeys other then wild turkeys are just genetic freaks raised in factory farms.
Leftyhunter
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Location
Texas
I got the idea for the post from the video. I know this is going to sound super lazy, but I prefer to listen to podcasts of videos instead of reading. Listening is less labor intensive. 😂 😂 😂

 

kitty o'cairre

Corporal
Joined
Aug 25, 2017
Location
out amongst the tumbleweeds north texas =)
I had no idea of smoked sweet potatoes. I guess we don't have a lot of folks from Kentucky in LA but I could be wrong. Wow what a concept! I imagine smoked sweet potatoes goes well with smoked beer? I would love to find out next Thanksgiving.
Dogs that are so well behaved they won't bite turkeys? That's on heck of a well disciplined 🐕.
I take it no Pit bull needs apply? What kind of dog has that kind of self control?
I had no idea about the above.
Got to find me some smoked sweet potatoes.
Leftyhunter
lefty youre a * mess.. LOL
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
lefty youre a * mess.. LOL
In Romania they still herd poultry with dogs. The ones in the phots I saw looked like blue heelers. I think all herding dogs have a certain similar look about them.

<tasteofthewildpetfood.com> Train Your Dog to Herd Backyard Chickens, will answer many of your questions. The Shakers used a bell to lead their turkeys & ducks to feed. That bell would be used to lead the flock across country. Out west, some flocks were herded for hundreds of miles.
 
Last edited:

kitty o'cairre

Corporal
Joined
Aug 25, 2017
Location
out amongst the tumbleweeds north texas =)
In Romania they still herd poultry with dogs. The ones in the phots I saw looked like blue heelers. I think all herding dogs have a certain similar look about them.
depends on what breed youre looking at =) aussies & boarders yes borders are like aussies wiith out tails =)
why they are 'tagged' wigglebutts =) dont have friends with aussies that 'herd chickens' But goats sheep cattle.. kids in droopy diapers yes LOL
 
Last edited:
Top