National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Civil War Governors of Kentucky

Kentucky Historical Society

Additional information at

The Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition is a freely-accessible online collection of historical documents associated with the chief executives of the state, 1860-1865.  These include Union governors Beriah Magoffin (1859-62), James F. Robinson (1862-63), and Thomas E. Bramlette (1863-67). During the Civil War, a group of secessionists met at the Russellville to form a Confederate government for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. While this government never successfully displaced the government in Frankfort, two men were elected governor of the Confederate government: George W. Johnson (1861-62) and Richard Hawes (1862-65). CWGK is not just about the five governors; it is about reconstructing the lost lives and voices of tens of thousands of Kentuckians who interacted with the office of the governor during the war years. CWGK is working to identify, research, and link together every person, place, and organization found in its documents. This web of hundreds of thousands of networked nodes will dramatically expand the number of actors in Kentucky and U.S. history, show scholars new patterns and hidden relationships, and recognize the humanity and agency of historically marginalized people.


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The Civil War Governors of Kentucky project looks at the history of Kentucky as a border state.


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