From reliable information in my possession I was and am satisfied that the Federal Government will not attempt to quarter troops in Kentucky.
General Buckner was sent and fully accredited to me by the Governor of Kentucky to report to me an agreement made a few days since between General McClellan, on the part of the Federal Government, and General Buckner, as the agent and representative of the Governor of Kentucky. General McClellan, while he claims for the Federal Government the right to march troops over the territory of each of the States of the Federal Union, he declares it to be the settled policy of the Federal Government to respect and not violate the neutrality of Kentucky, and he pledges himself as the commanding officer in that division that it shall not be violated, and that if at any time this policy shall be changed by the Government of the United States the Governor of Kentucky shall be notified of the change of purpose in due time.
Both Governor Magoffin and General Buckner have entire confidence in the pledges of General McClellan. General Buckner assures me that from a long and intimate acquaintance with General McClellan he knows him to be in every respect reliable and that he will keep his pledge. It is proper to remark in this connection that General McClellan was absent upon the occasion when troops were landed at Elliott's Mill, which act he promptly and publicly disapproved, and was not expected to return to Cairo until about this time, from which I infer that he was absent on yesterday when the outrage upon Columbus, referred to, was perpetrated.
The agreement between the Federal Government and the State of Kentucky being as stated above, you see at once that either party attempting to quarter troops within that State provokes the opposition and antagonism of Kentucky. Every consideration of justice to that people as well as sound policy for ourselves, it seems to me, should teach u to avoid this result as long so.
But if at any time the Federal Government should quarter a force there, and Kentucky submits to it, or the force so quartered shall be too powerful for her to dislodge, then I should not hesitate to send a force large enough to drive back the invader.
In other words, I would not violate her neutrality, but to the extent of my ability aid her in maintaining it by driving back those who would violate and disregard it.
I am satisfied that the Federal Government will not quarter troops in Kentucky, and I do not believe that they will attempt to go down the river, but I think it quite probable that they may attempt to reach Memphis by crossing over to Bird's Point and pass down the river by land on the Missouri and Arkansas side. Though they may not be able to carry with them baggage trains by this route, may they not risk getting their supplies by the river, as they have quite a number of very fleet gun-boats so constructed as to be proof against 6 and 12 pounders?
Investigate as fully as you can the possibility of their reaching Memphis by this route, an adopt the best means of preventing it. If Governor Rector could station some 8,000 or 10,000 men on the river