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[297] something to hold such a man to the Union cause. What that something was, is not certainly known, but it is said to have been a commission as general in the rapidly gathering armies of the North, although there was then no lack of material for general officers. Mc-Clellan appears to have thought that he was a man of capacity and promise in such a crisis, and did all in his power to prevent Buckner going astray. But he could not be swerved from his purpose.

Apropos of these interesting efforts to secure the adhesion of this brilliant man to the Union cause, is an episode that occurred while Kentucky was posing in the anomalous attitude of armed neutrality between the two sections during the spring and summer of 1861, a position assumed largely through Buckner's influence and advice. This condition of neutrality, if observed by the North, was held to be very advantageous to the South, for it was a well established fact that Unionist influence predominated in Kentucky and controlled the Legislature, which made it a physical impossibility to vote the State out of the Union. The next best thing for the Confederacy, of course, was to prevent its being utilized by the Federals. But doubtless the great desideratum with Buckner and the other Kentucky leaders was the safety of Kentucky herself, and immunity from the devastation of war.

George B. McClellan, one of Buckner's West Point chums, had been made by President Lincoln a major-general in the regular army, and placed in command of the Department of the Ohio, which was soon enlarged to include Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and other territory. His headquarters were at Cincinnati, where he had previously resided as superintendent of the Ohio and Mississippi railway. Mc-Clellan was a very attentive observer of the progress of events on the south side of the Ohio, and appeared to regret a state of neutrality which prevented him from occupying salient points on the opposite side for the defence of Cincinnati. In a letter to the War Department on May 10, 1861, McClellan writes that, ‘the Governor of Kentucky (Magoffin), is a traitor, and Buckner is under his influence, so that it is necessary to watch them.’ Again: ‘I confess that I think all our calculations should be based on the supposition that Kentucky will secede; everything points in that direction.’ However, McClellan soon changed his views on this point, for we find him writing on May 17th in this strain: ‘The Union men of Kentucky express a firm determination to fight it out. Yesterday, Garrett Davis told me, “we will remain in the Union by voting if we ”’


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