General Bragg's Proclamation to the Citizens of Kentucky

General Bragg's Proclamation to the Citizens of Kentucky  (1862) 
by Braxton Bragg

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT NO. 2, Glasgow, Ky., September 14, 1862.

Kentuckians, I have entered your State with the Confederate Army of the West, and offer you an opportunity to free yourselves from the tyranny of a despotic ruler. We come not as conquerors or as despoilers, but to restore to you the liberties of which you have been deprived by a cruel and relentless foe. We come to guarantee to all the sanctity of their homes and altars, to punish with a rod of iron the despoilers of your peace, and to avenge the cowardly insults to your women. With all non-combatants the past shall be forgotten. I shall enforce a rigid discipline and shall protect all in their persons and property. Needful supplies must be had for my army, but they shall be paid for at fair and remunerating prices. Believing that the heart of Kentucky is with us in our great struggle for constitutional freedom, we have transferred from our own soil to yours not a band of marauders, but a powerful and well-disciplined army. Your gallant Buckner leads the van. Marshall is on the right, while Breckinridge, dear to us as to you, is advancing with Kentucky's valiant sons to receive the honor and applause due to their heroism. The strong hands which in part have sent Shiloh down to history and the nerved arms which have kept at bay from our own homes the boastful army of the enemy are here, to assist, to sustain, to liberate you. Will you remain indifferent to our call, or will you not rather vindicate the fair fame of your once free and envied State? We believe that you will, and that the memory of your gallant dead who fell at Shiloh, their faces turned homeward, will rouse you to a manly effort for yourselves and posterity.

Kentuckians, we have come with joyous hopes. Let us not depart in sorrow, as we shall if we find you wedded in your choice to your present lot. If you prefer Federal rule, show it by your frowns and we shall return whence we came. If you choose rather to come within the folds of our brotherhood, then cheer us with the smiles of your women and lend your willing hands to secure you in your heritage of liberty.

Women of Kentucky, your persecutions and heroic bearing have reached our ear. Banish henceforth forever from your minds the fear of loathsome prisons or insulting visitations. Let your enthusiasm have free rein. Buckle on the armor of your kindred, your husbands, sons, and brothers, and scoff with shame him who would prove recreant in his duty to you, his country, and his God.

BRAXTON BRAGG,

General, Commanding.