crossing the lines, and quite a number of them enlisting in organizations were for the distant States of Massachusetts and Michigan, I determined to see the Governor of this State and suggest the organization of regiments within its limits, and thus obtain a credit for the negroes in the State's quota, the plan to be similar to that adopted for Missouri.
I accordingly repaired to Frankfort and had a full conversation with Governor Bramlette, detailing my plan that the State might receive credit for the colored troops, and that the owners of the slaves might receive from the recruiting officers certificates for all slaves who might enlist. The Governor stated that the State was undoubtedly loyal and would support the Government, but that the slavery question had caused great excitement in the State, and he dreaded any agitation at present, and sincerely hoped that the authorities at Washington would take no steps in the matter, believing that any movement to raise colored troops in the State would be injurious to the Union cause, which of late had so greatly increased. I assured him that such being his views, I would take no steps to organize regiments at this time without I received instructions from you. He then referred to assurances given by the President to him that recruiting would not be ordered. He further said that he was receiving many complaints from the vicinity of Paducah, where it was stated that recruiting had recently commenced, and that he should call the attention of the War Department to the subject, as the excitement of the people in the First Congressional District was very great.
I informed him that a regiment of heavy artillery had been authorized for the garrison of Paducah.
I conversed freely with very many Senators and Representatives at Frankfort, and the expression of sentiment was universal, agreeing fully with the views of the Governor.
The citizens of Kentucky, by a large majority, are loyal, and the Legislature eminen politicians there are many shades of differeno themselves, and which I could not comprehend. They regard the institution as virtually dead, and feel that it would be of benefit to the State to be entirely rid of slavery; but the people, while progressing in the right direction, have not schooled themselves to believe that the time has arrived for decisive action on their part for the entire abolition of slavery.
My presence at the State capital was the occasion of quite an excitement amongst all classes, male and female, the opinion being fully expressed that I could only be there to take their negroes from them and put arms in their hands. I was, however, received with great kindness, and when my views were known all were perfectly satisfied.
I think it would be injudicious to attempt raising troops in this State at present, and it might be well to suspend operations at Paducah, and let me, if necessary, raise a heavy artillery regiment for its garrison elsewhere. I desire instructions on the subject.
I shall leave to-morrow for Nashville, where communications will reach me. General Grant is expected to arrive here to-night from Saint Louis.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,