University Press of Kentucky
As the secession crisis yielded the bitter fruit of civil war in the spring of 1861, Abraham Lincoln understood well the multifaceted importance of the border states, including his native state of Kentucky. He is said to have remarked that, while he hoped that God was on his side, he needed Kentucky. Indeed, Union and Confederate partisans in and out of the state coveted Kentucky’s manufacturing capacity as well as its ability to provide military resources such as soldiers and draft animals. The state’s geographical position was vital as well. Kentucky offered a springboard for invasion of the North or the South, and the forces that controlled the state’s portions of the Cumberland, Ohio, and Tennessee rivers would be well positioned to drive deep into enemy territory—a fact that Ulysses S. Grant demonstrated effectively with his seizure of Forts Henry and Donelson in February of 1862.
Raney, David A.
"Kentucky’s Rebel Press: Pro-Confederate Media and the Secession Crisis,"
Civil War Book Review: Vol. 20
Available at: https://repository.lsu.edu/cwbr/vol20/iss4/23