War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0802 OPERATIONS IN KY., TENN., N. ALA., AND S. W. VA. Chapter XVII.

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ocrat, and all the other journals of the State, denounced the policy in bitter terms, but now are awed and silenced by the Government. Universal dissatisfaction prevails, and information from various sources proves that the Kentucky troops in the Federal service are discontented and distrusted. The officers have been invoked to resign in such an event by the press, and many have announced their intention to do so if the anti-slavery measures before Congress should pass. Major Phifer, who bore a flag of truce from General Hindman to General Johnson, now commanding the advanced corps of the Federals, after the skirmish in which Terry fell, told me that General Johnson, who is a Kentuckian and former comrade, said openly that an avowal of such a policy would cause him and others instantly to resign and abandon the Federal service. It is said that Generals Ward, Rousseau, and Crittenden are discontented and distrusted; that Ward has resigned, Rousseau has been ordered from the advance to the rear, and that Crittenden is no longer in command at Calhoun. Colonel Jackson, a member of Congress, has expressed his intention to resist any attempt at anti-slavery legislation, and the resolution before the Legislature at Frankfort shows that in the Union party there is a vast majority determined to oppose all plans of emancipation by Congress.

Under these circumstances it seems to me that it is a matter of great importance to augment to the utmost this dissatisfaction. The chief obstacle to the redemption of Kentucky is the fear of the leaders who have adhered to Lincoln that they have gone so far that in the event of Southern success they will be forever proscribed and persecuted. There are now some 20,000 troops from Kentucky in the Federal service. The legislators and officers tremble before the changing opinions of the people, who have been deceived by their illusory promises that the war was conducted in no spirit of hostility to the institution of slavery. The mask is laid aside and the true character of the contest is revealed.

In this posture of affairs I venture to suggest the expediency of holding out every inducement to the discontented to abandon the cause of the North and to fraternize with the South. In my judgment a proclamation containing a guarantee from Your Excellency that they would be welcomed and received as brethren, that their organizations would be recognized, and that their officers would be assured the same rank, pay, and command would exercise a most powerful effect and induce many to abandon the service of the North, or engender such distrust between the Southern and Northern troops and officers as to paralyze their confidence and impair fatally their efficiency. The proclamation would be in accordance with the order setting forth the reasons for entering Kentucky, and could hold out the strongest reasons to induce men of honor and patriots to resist the contemplated destructions of their rights by the Federal Government, the forfeiture of its promises, and the humiliation of Kentucky by an abolition Congress. Such a paper emanating from you would produce a great and salutary effect. It cannot come from any other quarter carrying with its such influence. The leading men attached to the South in Kentucky are few in number and powerless to tempt the ambitious into the path of honor and patriotism.

I trust that you will pardon me for taking up your time, but these suggestions are offered from the belief that a golden opportunity exists, which may induce many to act with us hereafter and to unsettle and perplex our enemies in this quarter for the present.

I have the honor to remain, your obedient servant,

W. PRESTON.