A slave state which did not secede from the Union in the run-up to the American Civil War. Nowhere were the divisions between North and South so personal, so poignant than in these states. Although the term "brother against brother" was used as a sort of metaphor for the war in general, in the border states this was hard reality.

Geography was the principal factor in various states' decisions to secede, specifically, the economic divide between the urban industrial power of the North and the dependence on labor-intensive agriculture (supported by slavery) in the South. The northernmost Confederate states, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia, were the last ones to secede. Within each state, pro-secession sympathies were concentrated in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains, where high-profit labor-intensive agriculture was possible. As one moved into hillier and more mountainous terrain, support for secession decreased.

  • Delaware was divided between the pro-Union industrial area around Wilmington and the secessionist Kent and Sussex counties. Abraham Lincoln did poorly in Delaware in the 1860 election. Democratic Governor William Burton was against the abolition of slavery. But Burton appointed Henry Dupont head of the state militia. Most of the Duponts were pro-Union (although one of them, writing from Baltimore, called for troops from Richmond). Before Dupont could organize, however, scessionists broke into the state arsenals and stole all of the weapons. In the fall of 1861, the 2nd Delaware occupied the state, supplied with arms from Washington. Delaware was the only border state in which a major battle did not occur.

  • Maryland was a hotbed of secessionism; Lincoln also fared poorly here in 1860. Again, support for secession was strongest on the Coastal Plain (the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland). This feeling was aggravated by the Northern troops passing through the state on their way to Washington. The first real bloodshed of the Civil War occurred in Baltimore on April 19, 1861, when the 6th Massachusetts Reginemt fired on an armed mob blocking their march down Pratt Street to get from one railroad station to another. On April 22, General Benjamin Butler arrived in Annapolis with 8,000 troops. Nevertheless, the legislature met in Frederick on April 26 and considered secession (never voted on). The arrest of John Merryman inflamed passions higher. When Chief Justice Roger B. Taney issued a writ of habeus corpus demanding Merryman's release, Lincoln suspended Habeus corpus. Upon hearing this, Maryland expatriate James Ryder Randall wrote Maryland, My Maryland, which was to be a Confederate rallying cry through throughout the war.

    Maryland was the scene of the important 1862 Union victory at Antietam, as well as the campaign of Jubal Early, who led the only Confederate force to enter Washington. 60,000 Marylanders enlisted in the Union army, and about 25,000 joined the Confederate army. Because of the state's divided loyalties, Maryland Union troops were considered unreliable, and most were used in support position behind the lines. The cannons in Fort McHenry point in the last direction they were aimed, towards downtown Baltimore.

  • Virginia's taxation structure was highly regressive, favoring the slaveowners in the eastern part of the state. A national depression in 1857 hit Western Virginia harder than the East, alienating those counties further. Also in 1857, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was extended to Wheeling. The northwestern part of the state was thus more closely connected to Baltimore and Pittsburgh than it was to Richmond.

    When Virginia called a secession convention in response to Lincoln's call for troops after the attack on Fort Sumter, delegates from the western counties stormed out (Virginia seceded on April 17, 1861).

    George McClellan's victory at the Battle of Philppi and William Rosecrans's victory at Rich Mountain allowed the Union to occupy the northwestern part of the state. In June, 1861, a convention met in Wheeling, forming a rival government of Virginia. An election on October 24 (with Union troops stationed at the polls) approved the creation of a new state. Union control of western Virginia was consolidated in 1862 with General Rosecrans's victory at Gauley Bridge. Over the next year, West Virginians wrangled over a constitution for the state, the principal sticking point being the abolition of slavery. Eventually, Congress passed a statehood bill enacting gradual abolition, and a statehood referendum passed on March 26, 1863. The Union engineered the addition of the three eastern panhandle counties, to control the B&O Railroad. West Virginia officially came into existence on June 20.

    Union control of West Virginia was by no means assured. The Confederates captured Harper's Ferry during 1862 and held it until the end of the war. About 32,000 West Virginians fought on the Union side, and about 18,000 on the Confederate side. The Confederates made frequent raids from Virginia, with the intent of distrupting supply lines and the B&O Railroad. Morgantown was captured briefly during one such raid in 1862. In addition West Viriginia irregulars conducted a guerilla campaign, considered the greatest threat to the new state government.

    More battles were fought in the eastern part of Virginia here than in any other state, including some of the most famous: Bull Run, Chancellorsville, the Shenandoah River Valley campaigns of Stonewall Jackson and Philip Sheridan, Fredericksburg, and then Ulysses S. Grant's bloody slog down to Richmond, and the eventual surrender at Appomattox.

    Today, West Virginia sticks in the craw of modern-day secessionists. Some like to argue that it was unconstitutional to make a state out of another state. But Virginia accepted this situation de facto when it was readmitted.

  • Kentucky's pro-Union legislature was able to block a sovereignty convention called by pro-secession Governor Beriah Magoffin. An unofficial convention met in Russellville with representatives from 65 counties, passing an article of secession on November 20. The fate of this article, however, lay on the battlefield. The 1862 campaign of General Braxton Bragg reached the outskirts of Louisville and Cincinnati, but was repulsed by the Army of the Ohio under Don Carlos Buell. Bragg's campaign was doomed by the Battle of Perryville on October 8, 1862.

  • Missouri Governor Claiborne Jackson was pro-secession to the point of calling out the State Guard without waiting for a secession resolution. General Nathaniel Lyon pursued him but was killed on August 10, 1861 at the Battle of Wilson's Creek. With Southwestern Missouri under Confederate control, a rump legislature met in Neosho in October and passed a secession resolution. But when New Madrid fell on April 8, 1862, after a two-month seige, the Union controlled most of the Mississippi River. Confederate General Sterling Price's 1864 attempt to seize Kansas City and Leavenworth had to turn back when the Union took control of Byram's Ford on the Big Blue River, and General Samuel R. Curtis repulsed Price himself at Westport. This denied the Confederacy a Western base that might have prolonged the war, and marked the end of the last Confederate advance anywhere.

    There were over 1,000 battles and skirmishes in Missouri, as pro-Union and pro-Confederate bands fought a guerilla campaign on top of the Civil War itself.

  • Kansas never permitted slavery, and was not admitted until January 29, 1861, but falls into this category nonetheless. The Kansas-Nebraska Act was a last-ditch effort by the South to preserve dominance in Congress. It called for settlers to vote on the legality of slavery in propsective new states. This led to a rush of competing pro-and anti- slavey settlements, which often came onto conflict with one another. Violence erupted on May 24, 1856, when the Free State Volunteers, led by John Brown, killed five pro-slavery settlers at Pottawotamie Creek. From then on, Bushwhackers from Missouri and Jayhawkers from Kansas would make bloody cross-border raids. "Bleeding Kansas" was a herald of things to come.

    Most of the fighting in Kansas was conentrated along the Missouri border, as Missouri's guerilla war spread across it. William C. Quantrill's August 21, 1863 raid on Lawrence is probably the most famous incident. When Price was forced to turn back from Kansas City, he made an attempt to enter Kansas further south three days later, but his baggage train became stalled at a ford of the Osage River and was captured by General Alfred Pleasanton's cavalry.

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