The Civil War scene in Kentucky, site of few full-scale battles, was one of crossroad skirmishes and guerrilla terror, of quick incursions against specific targets and equally quick withdrawals. Yet Kentucky was crucial to the military strategy of the war. For either side, a Kentucky held secure against the adversary would have meant easing of supply problems and an immeasurably stronger base of operations. The state, along with many of its institutions and many of its families, was hopelessly divided against itself. The fiercest partisans of the South tended to be doubtful about the wisdom of secession, and the staunchest Union men questioned the legality of many government measures. What this division meant militarily is made clear as Lowell H. Harrison traces the movement of troops and the outbreaks of violence. What it meant to the social and ecomic fabric of Kentucky and to its postwar political stance is ather theme of this book. And t forgotten is the life of the ordinary citizen in the midst of such dissension and uncertainty.
Lowell H. Harrison, professor emeritus of history at Western Kentucky University is the author of many books on Kentucky history, including Lincoln of Kentucky and George Rogers Clark and the War in the West. He is also coauthor of A New History of Kentucky and editor of Kentucky's Governors.