Citizens of Kentucky
The alternative is now presented to you of entering either the Federal or Confederate army.
All persons between the ages of 17 and 45, who are not lawfully exempt, will be required to go into service at once. You must now see that after the sacrifice of all freeman should hold dear to avoid the evil and to save our property - that the one has not been rendered secure and you have not saved yourself from the others, even by the sacrifice of principle and honor.
Your country has been overrun by lawless bands whose depredations are only equaled by the outrage of large bands of the Federal army, who neither feel nor have any respect for the submissionists, and you are plundered, robbed and murdered with impunity. How long do you intend to continue? To what depth of depredation and shame are you to lie reduced before you will cut loose the bond of slavery and assert your rights as freemen.
Men of Kentucky, are you willing to see your families reduced to the level of our slaves? Mothers, can you realize an affiliation of your daughters with the African. Young men, can you expect to have any claim to manhood? Can you hope to share the smiles or claim the love of the bright eyed daughters of the famed land of beauty, while those gentle beings are subjected to the insults of Yankee Hirelings and negro troops? If not, then speedily seize the only way to bring you true liberty and honor. Too long have you listened to the syren [sic] song of the traitors of the country. Already too much has been sacrificed to no advantage. Your only hope of peace is in the success of the Southern armies. Not alone your liberties but your lives are involved in this issue.
I appeal to you again, as I did two years ago, to rally and strike a blow for the freedom of your country.
Col. A.R. Johnson,
Commanding Confederate forces in Southern Kentucky