Kentucky Crossroads can remind us of the importance of the rivers to winning the War. Western Kentucky, where the Ohio River joins the Mississippi, was an important crossroads of waterways. Many of the skirmishes in late summer, 1861, were fought by gunboats in the area.
Kentucky (in orange in the middle of this map)
was a border state
that remained in the Union
Kentucky began the War as officially neutral but it was a slave state with split loyalties. Neutrality was often impossible to maintain. As Union sympathizers gained political strength during the summer of 1861, Confederate troops went in to secure the Mississippi River for the South, taking over the town of Columbus and the river below that. On September 6, 1861 General Ulysses S. Grant's Union Army occupied the town of Paducah at the junction of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, ensuring that the North controlled the Ohio River.
Paducah remained under Union occupation for the duration and Kentucky remained a Union state, although the Confederacy held on to Columbus and the lower Mississippi for several years.
Mr. F. Beard sketched the town for Harper's Weekly six weeks after Grant's takeover. He described occupied Paducah as a
"beautiful little city, full of respectable and often elegant residences. It now wears, however, a deserted and melancholy appearance. Whole streets of tenantless buildings stretch from the landing to the intrenchments; and the few inhabitants who remain, although entirely unmolested and secure, look guilty and sullen. Some of our boys left the steamer Sunday, and, wandering about the town, took possession of the deserted choir of a secesh church, and one of our number being a good organist, and most of us having assisted before on such occasions, we did our best to convince those within hearing that, although belonging to the 'Northern rabble,' we were not altogether heathen and benighted."
The pattern Kentucky Crossroads was given the name in an early 20th century magazine. My source is just a clipping in a scrapbook; it may have been Comfort or Hearth & Home magazine. We know the pattern best as an album block. (BlockBase #2881).
Cutting an 8" Finished Block
A - Cut 4 light strips 2-3/8" x 5-1/2". You'll trim these at the end.
B - Cut 1 dark square 6-5/8". Cut into 4 triangles with 2 diagonal cuts. You need 4 triangles.
C - Cut 1 medium square 2-3/8"
Sew the corner strips to the center strips.
Trim the corners.
This album block (or Kentucky Crossroads) is an authentic pre-Civil-War pattern.
The detail below contains blocks dated 1847.
Album by Bettina Havig and Friends
Album by Mary Wilk Madden
and Barbara Brackman