Beriah Magoffin to Abraham Lincoln, August 19, 1861

    Source citation
    Beriah Magoffin to Abraham Lincoln, August 19, 1861, Frankfort, KY, Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress,
    Date Certainty
    Transcribed by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College, Galesburg, IL
    Adapted by Don Sailer, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    The following transcript has been adapted from the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.

    Commonwealth of Kentucky
    Executive Department
    Frankfort Aug 19 1861


    From the commencement of the unhappy hostilities now pending in the country, the people of Kentucky, have indicated an earnest desire and purpose, as far as lay in their power, while maintaining their original political status, to do nothing by which to involve themselves in the war. Up to this time they have succeeded in securing to themselves and to the state peace and tranquility as the fruits of the policy they dopte adopted-- My single object now is to promote the continuance of those blessings to the people of this State.

    Until within a brief period, the people of Kentucky were quiet and tranquil, free from domestic strife and undisturbed by internal commotion. They have resisted no law, rebelled against no authority, engaged in no revolution, but constantly proclaimed their firm determination to pursue their peaceful avocations, earnestly hoping that their own soil would be spared the presence of armed troops, and that the scene of conflict would be kept removed from beyond the borders of their state. By thus avoiding all occasions for the introduction of bodies of armed soldiers and offering no provocations for the presence of military force the people of Kentucky have sincerely striven to preserve in this state domestic peace and avert the calamities of sanguinary engagements.

    Recently a large body of soldiers have been enlisted in the United States Army and collected in military camps in the central portions of Kentucky. This movement was preceded by the active organization of companies, Regiments &c, consisting of men sworn into the United States service under officers holding commissions from yourself. Ordnance arms, and munitions and supplies of war are being transported into the state and placed in large quantities in these camps In a word an Army is now being organized and quartered within this state supplied with all the appliances of war, without the advice or consent of the Authorities of the State and without consultation of with those most prominently known and recognized as loyal citizens. This movement now imperils that peace and tranquility, which from the beginning of our pending difficulties, have been the paramount desire of this people and which up to this time they have secured to the state.

    Within Kentucky there has been and is likely to be no occasion for the presence of military force. The people are quiet and tranquil, feeling no apprehension of any occasion arising to invoke protection from the Federal arm. They have asked that their soil territory be left free from military occupation, and the present tranquility of their communities left uninvaded by soldiers. They do not desire that Kentucky shall be required to supply the battle-fields for the contending Armies or become the theatre of the war.

    Now there fore, as Governor of the State of Kentucky and in the name of the people whom I have the honor to represent and with the single and earnest desire to avert from their peaceful homes the horrors of war, I urge the removal from the limits of Kentucky of the military forces now organized and in camp within the state. If such action as is hereby urged, be promptly taken, I firmly believe, the peace of the people of Kentucky will be preserved and the horror of a bloody war will be averted from a people now peaceful and tranquil.

    I am very Respectfully.
    Your obedient servant.

    B. Magoffin

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