POPULATION CONTROL IN THE CONQUERED AREAS OF THE WEST
The victory at Shiloh gave the Union complete control over Kentucky and virtual control of the western half of Tennessee: over 50,000 square miles of territory. Thereafter, the problem of population control became important. Even though there had always been many Unionists in both Kentucky and western Tennessee, the majority of the people there had been Confederate supporters. So, it was not surprising that many became reluctant citizens of the United States. In fact, many men from these two areas served in the armies of the CSA to the end of the war.
Early in the conflict, Union General Horatio G. Wright was commander of the Department of the Ohio and in charge of dealing with the people of these conquered areas. He initiated a very aggressive policy toward people who had shown favor/support toward the Confederate States of America. Thousands were arrested. Their arrest was usually based upon the word of Unionists. Some of these suspected supporters of the CSA were sent South; others imprisoned at Camp Chase in Ohio. All of them had their property confiscated. Some were hung.
Because of extensive guerrilla warfare and the resulting disruption in this area, Martial Law was declared by President Lincoln in 1864. In Kentucky, he gave command to General Stephen G. Burbridge. THis charge was to discourage and punish disloyalty. Toward that end, Burbridge issued Order # 59 which declared:
“Whenever an unarmed Union citizen is murdered, four guerrillas will be selected from the prison and publicly shot to death at the most convenient place near the scene of the outrages.”
Burbridge directed the arrest and execution of many people on charges of treason even though most of which was unproven. During the 1864 presidential campaign, he even arrested McClellan supporters including Lt. Governor Jacob and a Judge Bullit and sent them South to Richmond, VA. His harsh administration caused much resentment and made it difficult to heal the wounds of civil conflict.