Border States


This page provides background to the situation in the Border States during the Civil War


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Union and Confederacy Statistics
Population: 22,300,000 9,100,000 (3.5 million slaves)
Factories: 110,000 18,000
Shipping (tonnage): 4,600,000 290,000
Workers: 1,300,000 110,000
Cotton Production: 43,000 bales 5,344,000 bales
Wheat and Corn Production: 698,000,000 bushels 314,000,000 bushels
Data from: Davidson et al. Nation of Nations, p. 562


The View from the Border States

TThe Border States consisted of Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri. West Virginia is often considered a border states as well, as it was granted statehood during the Civil War in 1863 without being forced to immediately abolish slavery. In Border States, there was strong sympathy for both the Union and Confederacy. According to Civil War author James M. McPherson, nearly 170,000 soldiers from Border States fought for the Union, while over 86,000 fought for the Confederacy. With competing loyalties, the Border States (particularly Missouri and Kentucky) often bore witness to brutal guerrilla warfare, massacres, assassinations and unprecedented violence.

The fate of the Border States was crucial to the outcome of the Civil War. President Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in “enemy territory,” purposely did not apply to the Border States for fear that would cause their secession. Furthermore, with the Union capital sandwiched in between the Confederate state of Virginia and the Border State of Maryland, it was imperative that President Lincoln keep Maryland from seceding, lest the capital be totally surrounded by Confederate territory. While there was support for secession in Baltimore and Maryland’s eastern shore, citizens in western Maryland were less enthusiastic and thus Maryland remained in the Union and even abolished slavery in the state before the end of the war.