Perhaps more than any other citizens of the nation, Kentuckians held conflicted loyalties during the American Civil War. As a border state, Kentucky was largely pro-slavery but had an economy tied as much to the North as to the South. State government officials tried to keep Kentucky neutral, hoping to play a lead role in compromise efforts between the Union and the Confederacy, but that stance failed to satisfy supporters of both sides, all of whom considered the state's backing crucial to victory.
President Abraham Lincoln is reported to have once remarked, "I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky." Kentucky did side with Lincoln, officially aligning itself with the Union in 1861. But the conflicted loyalties of Kentucky's citizens continued to impact the state's role in the Civil War. When forced to choose between North and South, Kentuckians made the choice as individuals. Many men opted to fight for the Confederate army, where a great number of them rose to high ranks.
With Kentuckians in Gray: Confederate Generals and Field Officers of the Bluegrass State, editors Bruce S. Allardice and Lawrence Lee Hewitt present a volume that examines the lives of these gray-clad warriors. Some of the Kentuckians to serve as Confederate generals are well recognized in state history, such as John Hunt Morgan, John Bell Hood, and Albert Sidney Johnston. However, as the Civil War slips further and further into the past, many other Confederate leaders from the Commonwealth have been forgotten. Kentuckians in Gray contains full biographies of thirty-nine Confederate generals. Its principal subjects are native Kentuckians or commanders of brigades of Kentucky troops, such as Morgan.
The first complete reference source of its type on Kentucky Civil War history, the book contains the most definitive biographies of these generals ever assembled, as well as short biographical sketches on every field officer to serve in a Kentucky unit. This comprehensive collection recognizes Kentucky's pivotal role in the War between the States, imparting the histories of men who fought "brother against brother" more than any other set of military leaders. Kentuckians in Gray is an invaluable resource for researchers and enthusiasts of Kentucky history and the American Civil War.