Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 1.djvu/231

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Kentucky in the Summer and Fall of 1861

I REACHED Louisville during the last week of August, 1861, and took a room at the Galt House, the largest and best hotel in the city, kept by Captain Silas Miller, well known throughout the Southwest as a successful commander of Ohio and Mississippi steamboats. He was a staunch and enthusiastic Unionist, owing to which his house was sought by the Kentucky loyalists and shunned by the rebel sympathizers. Louisville could boast of a good deal of commercial activity in ordinary times, but its business was then at a standstill from the stoppage of trade between North and South, and the almost entire cessation of steamboating on the Ohio. Many of the business men and the majority of the young men of the place had gone South to join their fate to that of the Confederacy. Hence, the streets wore a very quiet and even deserted look. The hotel, too, was almost empty. I had a few letters of introduction, one to Mr. Speed, the postmaster, a friend of President Lincoln and brother of the future Attorney-General, and another to a Northern family by the name of Cowan. Both led to very pleasant, though limited, social relations, as four-fifths of the upper class favored the South and showed the utmost animosity towards the loyal element. I also made the acquaintance of George D. Prentice, the poet-journalist, editor of the Louisville Journal, and of his principal assistants, with all of whom I was soon on such good terms that their editorial rooms became a familiar resort for me. Mr. Tyler, the agent of the New York Associated Press, a native of Massachusetts, and his wife likewise became my friends.