Monday, March 12, 2012

Uncle Kirby Wants You for the CS Army

I love historic handbills and broadsides. It is amazing that so many of these pieces of ephemera have survived, but thankfully they have because they tell us so much about the past.

Take the above for instance. This one was issued by Major General Edmund Kirby Smith in attempt to recruit Kentuckians to join the Confederate army when they invaded the state in 1862. It was apparently tacked to a tree in Harrison County. It clearly makes an effort to use native Kentuckians and Confederate commanders John C. Breckinridge and Simon Bolivar Buckner as a means of appeal to the men of the state. The bill also explains that Kentucky's and the Confederacy's interests are one.

It says:
"Kentuckians, I am authorized by the President of the Confederacy to organize troops and issue commissions. I appeal to you to make one effort for your principles, for your institutions [slavery] and for your state. Rally under your flag, organize and muster your men in the cause of the South. Breckenridge [sic], Buckner and their brave Kentuckians are on their way to join you. Make one effort, strike one blow and your state will be saved, from Yankee thraldom [sic] and take place in the van of the Confederacy, where her interests, her institutions and her principles rightfully place her.
Kirby Smith, Major Gen. C.S.A."

Courtesy Kentucky Historical Society


  1. This is one of my favorites -- I like how some of the pieces of type were (hastily?) put into place upside-down in several words in the bottom paragraph ("from," "Yankee," "institution," etc). Have you done much reading on printing during the Civil War?

  2. Yeah, it's a cool document. I haven't read much about printing in the Civil War, but I'm sure that the process of setting type (usually backward) so that it comes out correctly was a talent that came through experience. I have found many typos from setting type in period newspapers.