The Burning of Lawrence….

Quantrill.jpg

“Come all you bold robbers and open your ears,
Of Quantrell the Lion heart you quickly shall hear.
With his band of bold raiders in double quick time,
He came to lay Lawrence low, over the line.

Oh, Quantrell’s a fighter, a bold-hearted boy,
A brave man or woman he’d never annoy.
He’d take from the wealthy and give to the poor
For brave men there’s never a bolt to his door”

It was 147 years ago today that Captain William Quantrill led nearly 400 Missourians from Missouri over the Kansas line to Lawrence , Ks. Although potrayed in the media at the time as an inhumane act, the fact of the matter is that it was no more inhumane than the crimes that had been committed against Missourians for nearly three years prior to Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence.

Information posted by author Paul R. Peterson at www.quantrillsguerrilas.com  states:

“Lawrence citizens have always emphatically insisted that the only victims during the Lawrence raid were “peaceable, unarmed citizens.” History proves them wrong.

Lawrence citizen Richard Cordley wrote, “It was not the shooting of a few obnoxious persons. The killing was indiscriminate and mostly in cold blood, the victims being quiet, peaceable citizens. None of them, as far as I know, had taken any part in the early disturbances, and none of them were connected with the border troubles during the war. I do not now recall a single military man among the killed….The guerrillas shot the men they found, without knowing who they were or caring what they were.”

The actual truth about the raid can be found in reviewing the historical record. After he gathered his men for the Lawrence raid Quantrill supplied his men with maps with each targeted house marked for destruction and “Death Lists” of individuals to be killed. The names and places shown came as no surprise. In its entirety it showed the enormity of the opposition and the level of the Kansan’s participation in waging war against her neighboring state. The foremost movers against the institutions in Missouri were those from the east that had come to Kansas in military styled companies associated with the New England Emigrant Aid Society. The remainder of the names were radical abolitionists, operators on the Underground Railroad, who had enticed or stolen slaves from Missouri, newspapermen who were guilty of fomenting unrest and calling for invasion and plunder in Missouri and assassination of Missouri slave owners, and naturally any military men either in the Federal army or Kansas militia.

Robert S. Stevens who took an unofficial accounting of the dead and wounded after the raid recorded 133 names of those killed in Lawrence also listing wounded including both white and Negro casualties. General Thomas Ewing’s Official Report on the sack of Lawrence recorded almost the exact number of casualties listing 140 dead, including 14 from the 14th Kansas Cavalry and 20 from the 2nd Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment with 24 wounded. And Capt. Henry E. Palmer stated 145 lives lost in his account of “The Lawrence Raid, Running Fight with the Guerrillas,” And Lawrence citizen Richard Cordley listed in his account “Pioneer Days in Kansas” 150 dead and 30 wounded. Cordley recounted that “one hundred and twenty-two were deposited in the cemetery, and many others in their own yards.”

In addition Peterson adds that most of the “victims” of the Lawrence , Ks raid were military men:

“A large majority(of the victims) are in the military. Since the Kansas provost-marshal’s files were destroyed in the fire that engulfed the building that held its records we can naturally assume from the accounts emulating from Lawrence that the remainder of the names were in the town’s militia organization”

As I cited in an article that I have previously authored entitled “Quantrill’s Raid Revisited” :

“Many modern day historians, media outlets and public education institutions are quick to call Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, Kansas a “massacre”. However; there were two primary reasons for Quantrill’s raid on the Eastern Kansas abolitionist stronghold. The first involves operations being conducted by Senator James Lane’s Kansas Jayhawkers.

As General Price was moving North toward Lexington , following his victory at Wilson’s Creek, James Lane and his men were following cautiously behind him plundering Missouri farms and citizens from a safe distance. Once again quoting Peterson:

“While Price’s army was closing on Lexington, rather than render assistance to Mulligan, Lane and his ragtag army of twelve hundred Kansas jayhawkers marched instead against the small pro-Southern town of Osceola, Missouri, in St. Clair County. The Missouri editor of the Weston Argus described the sight of fifty shiftless horsemen riding through his town to join “Lane’s Brigade”…

They were nearly naked, and minus shoes and hats in many cases. They were not armed, but a number of them had hams of meat on their backs, which they no doubt had stolen from some man’s meat house on the road. There are the kind of men that Lane’s Brigade is to be composed of; thieves, cutthroats, and midnight robbers. These hirelings passed through town on a full trot, their eyes looking as big as new moons, as they expected at every corner to be stopped or fired on by the Rebels. On a dark night such soldiers would make a splendid charge on a hen-roost, meat house, negro kitchen or stable, but they can’t fight honest Americans in daylight.”4

This description of the men who belonged to “Lane’s Brigade” provided by Peterson , via the writings of a newspaper editor, paint a vivid portrait of New England Puritans, who immigrated to Kansas in pursuit of a socialist Utopia that ultimately left them desolate and hungry. Jim Lane and his “Kansas Brigade” no doubt had a far greater prize in mind than the “hen-roost, meat house and negro kitchen”.

“Osceola was one of the more prosperous towns in southwest Missouri. At the beginning of the war, the population was greater than 3000…On September 23,1861, when Lane entered the area , there wasn’t a Confederate soldier within miles of the town. With Lane were Col. William Wir’s Fourth Kansas Jayhawker Regiment and Col. James Montgomery’s Third Kansas Jayhawker Regiment. A few residents fired on the jayhawkers so Lane ordered Capt. Thomas Moonlight to shell the town. After the Union guns had receded the town to rubble, nine male inhabitants were brought to the town square for a drumhead court-martial and shot. Most of the remaining residents were women and children.

Banks were an easy target for the jayhawkers, but the Osceola bank prudently had shipped its funds elsewhere. When Lane found little currency in the bank , he ordered the stores, warehouses and homes ransacked. His men loaded the lot into government wagons and any other vehicles they could confiscate. Among Lane’s personal haul were a number of pianos for his home in Lawrence.

He then set the town afire. Of Osceola’s eight hundred buildings all but three were turned to ashes. No consideration was given to political leanings of the homeowners. The plunder included 350 horses, 400 head of cattle , 200 kidnapped slaves, 3000 sacks of flour and 50 sacks of coffee. The jayhawkers also took the county records from the courthouse. Lane stole a fine carriage from the home of his colleague, U.S. Sen. Waldo P. Johnson, and sent it to his family in Lawrence along with several silk dresses.

Eyewitnesses noted that the plunder train of 150 wagons was at least a mile long. Property losses were estimated at more than a million dollars. One jayhawker wrote: As the sun went down Sunday night Osceola was a heap of smoldering ruins. Three thousand people were left homeless when Osceola was burned, and perhaps the fairest city in Missouri had been utterly wiped from the earth”5

Also worth noting is the fact that Peterson reveals:

“The Osceola raid was four times more destructive than the 1863 Lawrence Raid”…

“Many modern day historians, media outlets and public education institutions are quick to call Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, Kansas a “massacre”. However; there were two primary reasons for Quantrill’s raid on the Eastern Kansas abolitionist stronghold. The first involves operations being conducted by Senator James Lane’s Kansas Jayhawkers.

As General Price was moving North toward Lexington , following his victory at Wilson’s Creek, James Lane and his men were following cautiously behind him plundering Missouri farms and citizens from a safe distance. Once again quoting Peterson:

“While Price’s army was closing on Lexington, rather than render assistance to Mulligan, Lane and his ragtag army of twelve hundred Kansas jayhawkers marched instead against the small pro-Southern town of Osceola, Missouri, in St. Clair County. The Missouri editor of the Weston Argus described the sight of fifty shiftless horsemen riding through his town to join “Lane’s Brigade”…

They were nearly naked, and minus shoes and hats in many cases. They were not armed, but a number of them had hams of meat on their backs, which they no doubt had stolen from some man’s meat house on the road. There are the kind of men that Lane’s Brigade is to be composed of; thieves, cutthroats, and midnight robbers. These hirelings passed through town on a full trot, their eyes looking as big as new moons, as they expected at every corner to be stopped or fired on by the Rebels. On a dark night such soldiers would make a splendid charge on a hen-roost, meat house, negro kitchen or stable, but they can’t fight honest Americans in daylight.”4

This description of the men who belonged to “Lane’s Brigade” provided by Peterson , via the writings of a newspaper editor, paint a vivid portrait of New England Puritans, who immigrated to Kansas in pursuit of a socialist Utopia that ultimately left them desolate and hungry. Jim Lane and his “Kansas Brigade” no doubt had a far greater prize in mind than the “hen-roost, meat house and negro kitchen”.

On August 13, the Kansas City Journal reported that Ewing was at departmental headquarters in St. Louis seeking authorization to banish the families of known guerrillas. From this meeting , five days later, Ewing issued General Orders No. 10.”18

Order number 10 required officers to arrest all men and women , not heads of families, who willfully aided “the enemy”, it also required that persons who were heads of families who willfully aided the enemy, to leave his military district.

This leads to the second reason that Missouri Partisans raided Lawrence , Kansas on August 21’st, 1863:

“Union authorities acting out of frustration for losing most all of their encounters with the guerrillas, decided to banish all Southerns in the area who were helping these men defend their homes. Federal officials issued orders to execute anyone giving aid to the Partisan Rangers.

In the mid summer of July 1863, Federal Occupational troops began to arrest and detain many area women (mainly those related to Missouri Partisan Rangers) who were said to be spying and gathering food & information for the Partisan Rangers.

Among the women detained were close relatives of prominent Partisan Rangers. These included Mary and Josephine Anderson who were sisters of Bill Anderson.

These women were to be detained until arrangements could be made to transport them to St. Louis, where they would be tried.

All the prisoners were incarcerated into a 3 story building named The Longhorn Store and Tavern located on the site of 1409 Grand Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri.

The Longhorn Store and Tavern was a fairly new structure, and was built in 1856. Awaiting transport, The Longhorn Store and Tavern had been converted into a make shift jail house for women.

On August 13, 1863 the 7 year old building suddenly collapsed.

Four women were killed including 14 year old Josephine Anderson, sister of William T. Anderson. Bill’s other sister, Mary Anderson was badly injured (both legs broken).

Also arrested and incarcerated during the collapse were Charity Kerr, sister of John McCorkle (killed), Mrs. Nannie McCorkle, sister-in-law of John McCorkle (uninjured), Susan Vandever, cousin of Cole Younger (killed), Armenia Whitsett Selvey, cousin of Cole Younger (killed).

Here is where the criminal event takes place…

The inner structures and supports of the building were actually weakened by Federal troops so as to make it collapse. Many of the guards had been drinking and celebrating after the collapse, and were overheard bragging and boasting as to the sabotage!!!! “19

Once again, Paul Peterson’s “Quantrill of Missouri” provides an intricately detailed account of this deliberate sabotage. He describes the scene and the building that the Missouri Partisan’s female relatives were being held as follows:

“The unusual construction of the building was that it was actually two separate buildings that shared a common wall as well as floor joists that ran the width of the buildings, almost fifty feet, and rested on the outside walls of both buildings…The soldiers garrisoned in the adjoining guardhouse had examined the building and realized that it could easily be destroyed. A few days prior to August 13, they began to weaken the structure of the Cockrell Building, which they occupied. The soldiers premeditated their designs, known that if they weakened the structural integrity of their own building, it would cause the instability in the adjoining building being used as the female prison.

They began by removing the center posts on the main floor of the guard-house. This left no support for the roof and the floor joists of their own building, thus creating a lever action and causing the adjoining female prison to collapse on top of their own building.

The soldiers gained access to the basement of the Thomas Building and removed the brick pillars that held up the floor joists of the first floor….Not wanting to injure one of their own men, the assassins next door waited until the lone guard left the prison to fetch the water {that they had sent him to get} when they made the final stroke against the supporting column. With the supporting posts and columns in the Cockrell Building finally cut down and removed, the building began to sink. The structure began to fall as the guard was returning. Once the pressure from above started to drive the top stories into the cellar, the supports in the outside walls and, following a lever action, collapsed on top of the guardhouse. “20

This alone would be enough to make one thirst for revenge, but upon examination of further details, it makes one wonder why the Missouri Partisans spared Lawrence, Kansas as long as they did. The “prisoners” included, Charity McCorkle Kerr, Mollie Grinstaff , Martha Anderson , (who at the ripe old age of ten had angered her Union captors , who in turn, had attached a 12 pound ball and chain to her ankle), Molly Anderson , Nannie Harris McCorkle, Susan Crawford Vandever, Armina Crawford Selvey, and Josephine Anderson.

Peterson writes that after the collapse:

“All but five of the eleven women imprisoned here escaped death. Four were killed immediately…{ten-year-old} Martha Anderson, restricted by the ball-and-chain, tried desperately to make it to a window; she lived but here legs were horribly crushed”21

Missouri Partisan, John McCorkle, who rode with Quantrill would later recall:

“This foul murder was the direct cause of the famous raid on Lawrence, Kansas. We could stand no more. Imagine, if you can, my feelings. A loved sister foully murdered and the widow of a dead brother seriously hurt by a set of men whom the name assassins, murderers and cut-throats would be a compliment…The homes of our friends burned, our aged sires, who dared sympathize with us had either hung or shot in the presence of their families and all their furniture and provisions loaded in wagons and with our live stock taken to the state of Kansas. The beautiful country of Jackson county, Cass County and Johnson County were worse than desert, and on every hillside stood lone blackened chimneys, sad sentinels and monuments to the memory of our once happy homes. And these outrages had been done by Kansas troops, calling themselves soldiers, but a disgrace to the name soldier. And now our innocent and beautiful girls had been murdered in a most foul, brutal, savage and damnable manner. We were determined to have revenge, and so, Colonel Quantrill, and Captain Anderson planned a raid on Lawrence, Kansas, the home of the leaders, Jim Lane and Jennison.”

The reality is that the policies of the United States government ( with Lincoln’s blessing) towards Missourians made the Bushwhackers the men they were. They had no other choice.  The truth is that Quantrill’s men, on their Lawrence, Ks raid on August 21, 1863 were far more sparing than their Union counterparts had been in Missouri.

On this 147th anniversary of the raid on Lawrence, Ks, I salute Quantrill and his band of Missourians.

Quantrill grave marker

8 responses

  1. Thank You !

    Lt. John C. Smith, Quantrills Company of Cavalry.

    1. Sir: I am putting together a roster of Quantrill’s company. Can you supply provenance for Lt. John C. Smith being with Quantrill? Thank you.

  2. Thanks – great work putting all of that together.

  3. Y’all are quite welcome.

  4. M I Z. Z O U.

    {expletive} KANSAS. THEY WERE {expletive}{expletive} {expletive} THEN AND THEY STILL ARE TODAY.

    BTW:

    N DAKOTA ST: 6
    GAY-U: 3

    LOOKS LIKE QUANTRILL WASN’T THE LAST ONE TO ROLL INTO LAWRENCE AND TEABAG THOSE {expletive} {expletive} BEAKERS.

    I WISH SOMEONE WOULD ROLL IN TODAY AND BURN THAT {expletive}{expletive} TO THE GROUND.

    CHOKE ON IT YA BEAKER {expletive}.

  5. articles about facebook…

    [...]The Burning of Lawrence…. « Across Our Confederation[...]…

  6. This is really interesting – thanks for putting all of this research together. This whole story is so fascinating.

    1. Thanks for reading!

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