Bramlette's devotion to the Union was apparent in his actions as governor of Kentucky. Although the state was badly divided by the Civil War, Bramlette remained adamant in his belief that the Union must be preserved. In January 1864 he issued a proclamation stating that Confederate sympathizers would be punished if guerrilla warfare persisted in the Commonwealth. Fines of up to $1,000 would be exacted from anyone aiding those engaged in guerrilla activities. He also declared that, if a loyal Kentuckian were captured by pro-Confederate forces, five Confederate sympathizers would be seized and held as hostages for the safe return of the loyal Kentuckian.
The devotion of Governor Bramlette to the Union cause was severely tested after General Jeremiah T. Boyle ordered the enlistment of former Kentucky slaves into the Union army. Bramlette appealed to the Lincoln government to pledge that blacks would not be recruited in Kentucky. However, General Boyle's successor, General Stephen G. Burbridge, ordered able-bodied blacks in Kentucky to enlist in the Union army.
Ron D. Bryant, "Bramlette, Thomas Elliott," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00138.html.