“Anguish and grief, like darkness and rain, may be depicted; but gladness and joy, like the rainbow, defy the skill of pen or pencil.”

Today in History, September 3, 1838:

A young man named Frederick Douglass manages, on his third attempt, to escape slavery by hiding aboard a train headed north.

The future abolitionist leader, author, statesman, marshal, and presidential confidant, after a dangerous trip through several states, finds himself in New York City.

“I have often been asked, how I felt when first I found myself on free soil. And my readers may share the same curiosity. There is scarcely anything in my experience about which I could not give a more satisfactory answer. A new world had opened upon me. If life is more than breath, and the ‘quick round of blood,’ I lived more in one day than in a year of my slave life. It was a time of joyous excitement which words can but tamely describe. In a letter written to a friend soon after reaching New York, I said: ‘I felt as one might feel upon escape from a den of hungry lions.’ Anguish and grief, like darkness and rain, may be depicted; but gladness and joy, like the rainbow, defy the skill of pen or pencil.”

Kentucky…Better Left Alone. Polk’s Blunder


Today in History, September 3: 1861 – Unintended consequences. At the outset of the Civil War, Kentucky declared itself neutral, primarily because the state had an almost equal allegiance to both sides. President Lincoln, on precarious footing with the border states, was careful to respect the neutrality. Kentucky covered key geography and the North couldn’t afford to push it to the South. 

Confederate General Leonidus Polk (2nd cousin to President Polk), was not quite as politically astute, making one of the worst blunders of the war. He made the decision to secure the strategic town of Columbus, Kentucky. The act pushed the fence sitting Kentucky government to the other side, and they asked for Federal protection from the Confederate “invaders”.  This came in the form of Gen. US Grant’s Army forcing Polk out. 

While there were Kentucky units that fought for both the Union and the Confederacy, the state itself was now officially Union.