CSA Governor at Old State Capitol

Historical Marker #522 in Frankfort commemorates the installation of Richard Hawes as Kentucky's second Confederate governor. The ceremony took place at the Old State Capitol in Frankfort in 1862.

That year, several Confederate armies invaded Kentucky. They installed Hawes as governor to show Kentuckians that their occupation of the state was militarily and politically viable.

Born in Virginia in 1797, Hawes attended Transylvania University and was a lawyer, legislator, and congressman. Hawes became the Confederate governor after his predecessor was killed at the Battle of Shiloh, fought in Tennessee in April 1862.

After a parade through downtown Frankfort, the ceremony was held in the House of Representatives' chamber. Several generals spoke, and Hawes said that he would protect slavery and destroy Federal tyranny in Kentucky. He added that "the state would be held by the Confederate army, cost what it might."

Soon after, however, Union troops advanced on Frankfort, and the planned inaugural ball was cancelled as the Confederates fled. Hawe's tenure in the capital was brief, and, after the Battle of Perryville, the Confederates left Kentucky.

Union colonel William Carlin called it "the farce of inaugurating a rebel governor . . . at the point of the bayonet." Hawes's provisional government remained in exile for the remainder of the Civil War.



General Bragg introduces Governor Hawes
On October 4, 1862, Confederate General Braxton Bragg introduced Governor Richard Hawes during Hawes's inauguration at the Old State Capitol in Frankfort. Recreated audio clip courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society.
View File Record
Confederate Governor Richard Hawes's speech
During his October 4, 1862, inauguration at the Old State Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky Confederate Provisional Governor Richard Hawes addressed the public. Recreated audio clip courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society.
View File Record
Resolution to Move Kentucky Government to Louisville
In August 1862, as Confederate armies advanced into central Kentucky, the Kentucky legislature made a resolution to move the state government from Frankfort to Louisville. They vowed to return when the area was deemed to be "safe." ...
View File Record