Colonel Frank Wolford was a vocal opponent of President Abraham Lincoln’s
policies in Kentucky
during the Civil War. He protested the
enlistment of African American solders and was arrested and discharged from the
Born in Adair County
in September 1817, Wolford built a reputation as a criminal-defense
lawyer. He fought in the Mexican War and
served in the state legislature. During
the Civil War, Wolford organized the 1st Kentucky Union Cavalry, which
frequently fought John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate cavalry.
he supported the Union, in March 1864 Wolford gave a speech in Lexington condemning the Federal enlistment
of African American soldiers. He also
for the “indiscriminate, wide-spread ruin which he is sowing.” He gave a similar speech in Danville, and was arrested and discharged
from the military.
intervened and Wolford was released, he continued giving speeches. Again arrested, he was told that charges
would be dropped if he stopped complaining.
Wolford wrote Lincoln, “Excuse the bluntness of a soldier, [but you
have] by an exercise of arbitrary power caused me to be arrested and held in
confinement contrary to law, not for the good of our common country, but to
increase the chances of your re-election.”
eventually intervened, and Wolford was again released.
Kentuckians opposed the enlistment of African American troops, so Wolford held
important positions after the war, including adjutant general of Kentucky, legislator, and U. S. congressman. He died in 1895 and was buried in Columbia.
sword belonging to Colonel Frank L. Wolford
Kentucky Historical Society Collections