THE GENERAL, obviously absorbed in thought, was pacing up and down the railroad platform. It was the fall of 1861 and the command of Union forces in a section of the key border state of Kentucky lay upon his shoulders. An undeterminedly large Confederate enemy stood to his front and to his rear was a Northern presidential administration and people he believed were unaware of the danger they faced. He fretted and he paced, trying to find some hope in what he saw as basically a hopeless situation. Should the enemy attack him in his position on Muldraugh's Hill, forward of Louisville, he was sure his forces would be overrun.
The approach of a man carrying a sheaf of papers interrupted his thoughts. F. B. Plympton, a reporter and later editor of the Cincinnati Commercial, introduced himself to General William T. Sherman and presented letters of introduction, including one from the general's brother-in-law, Thomas Ewing,