transmitted the following messages to the Legislature of Kentucky on the 9th inst., which were referred to the Committees on Federal Relations:
Commonwealth of Ky., Ex. Department, Sept. 9, 1861.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives.
The following communication has just reached my hands.
I deem it important to the interest of peace at once to lay the information before you. So many false and exciting rumors now agitate and alarm the public mind, you will at once concur with me in the importance of clearly ascertaining facts as the only safe basis of action.
I can but commend the manifest purpose and audible spirit exhibited in the communication I herewith submit.
Sept. 9, 1861.
To his Excellency
, Gor. Magoffin
The undersigned, who have been accredited by the Governor
to your Excellency
, to preserve friendly relations between the States of Kentucky
, and to prevent, if in their power social estrangement and war between the people of the two States, are very desirous to omit nothing that might promote the objects of their mission
The undersigned yesterday received a verbal message, through a messenger, from Gov. Harris
The message was, that he (Gov H) had, by telegraphic dispatch, requested Gen Polk
to withdraw the Confederate
troops from Kentucky
, and that Gen. Polk
had declined to do so; that Gov. Harris
had telegraphed to Secretary Walker
, at Richmond
, requesting that Gen. Polk
be ordered to withdraw his troops from Kentucky
, and that such order was issued from the War Department of the Confederacy
; that Gen. Polk
replied to the War Department that the retention of the post was a military necessity, and that the retiring from it would be attended by the loss of many lives.
This embraces the message received.
The messenger it is true, in conversation said that he had heard in Nashville
that Secretary Walker
had sent a dispatch to Gen. Buckner
, giving Gen Polk
a discretion to hold or withdraw from the occupation of the post in Kentucky
The undersigned understood the messenger to say that he saw no dispatch of the kind just alluded to and that he heard of it after he last saw Gov. Harris
They have no further information on this subject.
They have no knowledge or information that President Davis
has issued any order in relation to the occupation of Kentucky
, or any place in it.
This note is written for the purpose of removing any false impressions that may have been made as to the nature or extent of the message received.
The undersigned beg leave to express the hope that something yet may be done to avert the calamities of war which threatens the people of both States, and restore to them not only peace, but a sense of security at their firesides
Commonwealth of Kentucky, Executive Department. Frankfort, Sept. 9, 1861.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives
I have received the following dispatches by telegraph from General Leonidas Polk
, which I deem proper to lay before you
A military necessity having required me to occupy this town.
I have taken possession of it by the forces under my command.
The circumstances leading to this act were reported promptly to the President
of the Confederate States
His reply was the necessity justified the action.
A copy of my proclamation I have the honor to transmit you by mail.
I should have dispatched you immediately as the troops under my command took possession of this position, the very few words I addressed to the people here, but my duties since that time have so pressed me that I have but now the first leisure time to communicate with you.
It will be sufficient for me to inform you, which my short address here will do. that I had information, on which I could rely, that the Federal
forces intended and were preparing to seize Columbus
I need not describe the danger resulting to West Tennessee
from such success.
In evidence of the information I possessed, I will state as the Confederate forces occupied this place the Federal
troops were formed in formidable number in position upon the opposite bank, with their cannon turned upon Columbus
, the citizens of the town had fied with terror, and not a word of assurance of safety or protection had been addressed to them.
Since I have taken possession of this place, I have been informed by highly responsible citizens of your State, that certain Representatives of the Federal Government
are setting up complaints to my act of occupying it, and are making a pretense for seizing other position.
Upon this course of proceeding I have no comment to make, but I am prepared to say that I will withdraw the Confederate
troops from Kentucky
, provided that she will agree that the troops of the Federal Government
be withdrawn simultaneously, with a guarantee which I will give reciprocally for the Confederate Government, that the Federals
shall not be allowed to enter or occupy any point of Kentucky
in the future.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient servant,
Respectfully, Leonidas Polk
Proclamation of Gen. Polk and corporate authorities of Columbus, Ky.
The Federal Government having in defiance of the wishes of the people of Kentucky
disregarded their neutrality by establishing camps and depots of armies, and by organizing military companies within their territory, and by constructing a military work on the Missouri
shore, immediately opposite, and commanding Columbus
, evidently intended to cover the landing of troops for the seizure of that town.
It has become a military necessity worth the defence of the territory of the Confederate States
that the Confederate forces occupy Columbus
commanding has, therefore, not felt himself at liberty to risk the loss of so important a position, but has decided to occupy it. In pursuance of this decision, he has thrown a suflicient force into the town and ordered fortifying it. It is gratifying to know that the presence of his troops is acceptable to the people of Columbus
, and on this occasion they assure them that every precaution will be taken to insure their quiet, the protection of their property with their personal and corporate rights.
, the fourth (4th) day of September, 1861. Leonidas Polk