When to Hold Your Move – Kentucky in the Civil War

Today in History, December 10, 1861:

Kentucky is accepted into the Confederacy by the Confederate government. However the act didn’t mean much.

When the war had begun, both sides very much wanted Kentucky, a well-positioned border state, contiguous with the Mississippi River, on their side.

However, it’s citizens were pretty evenly split in their allegiances between the North and the South, so they declared themselves neutral in the conflict.

President Lincoln very much wanted the state and it’s resources, but what he wanted even more was not to push them to the South, so he accepted their neutrality.

In September of 1861 the Confederacy, in the form of Gen. Leonidas K. Polk, violated that neutrality by ordering the occupation of Columbus and setting up a fort there.

Union Gen. U. S. Grant responded by occupying Paducah; Union assets had to be defended, and a strategic Confederate presence could not go unopposed.

The Kentucky assembly responded by issuing a proclamation ordering the Confederates out and the US flag to be flown over the capitol. Polk had chosen a side for them.

Soon a shadow government of Confederate sympathizers was formed, elected a governor, and applied for entry into the Confederacy, which was granted.

While Kentucky did have regiments on both sides of the conflict, the Confederate government of the state was impotent, soon having to leave the state, finishing the war by trailing the Army of the Tennessee around the South. Their elected governor was killed at Shiloh.

Today in History, October 12: 1492 – Three ships, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, commanded by Christopher Columbus, discover the New World. Columbus went ashore on one of the Bahama Islands and claimed it for his sponsors, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. He continued on to find Cuba and Hispaniola in the days ahead, which he thought were Cathay (China) and Japan respectively. The expedition believed they had accomplished their mission of finding a western trade route to the far east. He would bring back riches to Spain that would set off a competition for new lands in the New World by the major powers of Europe.

Millions would die in the years to come due to disease brought on by the meshing of multiple cultures who had no immunity to each other. Also due to the Europeans using the indigenous peoples as slave labor. 

Should we honor Columbus and his contemporaries as heroes?  Or demonize them for their abuses?  It is possible to recognize both. History is what it is and should be studied that way. 

Columbus, the Vikings, Hudson, Magellen, etc, etc. The Americas were going to be discovered and settled by what were then foreigners. 

The atrocities which occurred did not have to have occurred. Columbus statues should not be removed…they are history. Instead, lets also recognize people who have previously been forgotten to history whose stories are just as important.