Saturday, September 15, 2012

Civil Authority

The following exchange reflects the problems of governance in a border state. Notice the apparent coordination of the two complaining telegrams, and the immediate reaction of Stanton, who made no inquiries as to the details of the complaints.


LOUISVILLE, KY., September 15, 1862-10 a. m.

I find great dissatisfaction and I fear injury to the Union cause in Kentucky from an irregular and changing system of military arrests, which, as now organized and administered, does more Larm than good. I am of opinion it should all be subordinate to the Executive of the State.

Governor of Kentucky.

                              * * *

LOUISVILLE, KY., September 15, 1862-10 a. m.

Annoying arrests continue, very much to our detriment. The good of the cause requires that you should direct Boyle to leave this whole matter to our loyal Governor. Order Boyle to the field. He is a good man there. In his present position he is doing more harm than good. Our cause is weakening under his management.


                               * * *

WAR DEPARTMENT,Washington, D. C., September 15, 1862.
Brigadier-General BOYLE, Louisville, Ky.:

Complaints are made of injudicious military arrests made by your order. There now being a loyal Governor, the necessity for the exercise of military power for such purpose no longer exists. You will therefore abstain from making any more arrests except upon the order of the Governor of Kentucky. Please acknowledge the receipt of this order.

Secretary of War.

                               *  *  * 

LOUISVILLE, KY., September 15, 1862-5.15 p. m.

I have not ordered the arrest of 20 persons in the State, excepting those arrested here recently during the first excitement of defeat of our forces at Richmond, KY. The representations made to you are false, and made by weak-backed Union men, who hope to so act as to secure rebel protection. I would be glad to know who makes them. There is a bounty of absolute security and protection to be a rebel in Kentucky. If the Government does not intend to put down the rebels in our midst and enforce the President's proclamation by depriving them of their property, the war will have to be fought over in Kentucky every year. Rebel flags are thrown from the windows of houses in this city with impunity, and I countermanded the order for arrests.[?]


It is incredible that such a drastic policy change was effected in less than eight hours and without consultation, based on two such vaguely stated complaints.

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