Richard Hawes (February 6, 1797 – May 25, 1877) was a United States Representative from Kentucky and the second Confederate Governor of Kentucky. He was part of an influential political family, with a brother, uncle, and cousin who also served as U.S. Representatives. He began his political career as an ardent Whig and was a close friend of the party's founder, Henry Clay. When the party declined and dissolved in the 1850s, Hawes became a Democrat, and his relationship with Clay cooled.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Hawes was a supporter of Kentucky's doctrine of armed neutrality. When the Commonwealth's neutrality was breached in September 1861, Hawes fled to Virginia and enlisted as a brigade commissary under Confederate general Humphrey Marshall. When Kentucky's Confederate government was formed in Russellville, Hawes was offered the position of state auditor, but declined. Months later, he was selected to be Confederate governor of the Commonwealth following George W. Johnson's death at the Battle of Shiloh.
Hawes and the Confederate government traveled with Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee, and when Bragg invaded Kentucky in October 1862, he captured Frankfort and held an inauguration ceremony for Hawes. The ceremony was interrupted, however, by forces under Union general Don Carlos Buell, and the Confederates were driven from the Commonwealth following the Battle of Perryville. Hawes relocated to Virginia, where he continued to lobby President Jefferson Davis to attempt another invasion of Kentucky.
At the end of the war, the Confederate government of Kentucky in exile ceased to exist, and Hawes returned to his home in Paris, Kentucky. He swore an oath of allegiance to the Union, and was allowed to return to his law practice. He was elected county judge of Bourbon County, a post he held until his death in 1877.
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