Missouri Jayhawking Raids into Kansas by Albert Castel

©Albert Castel, published with permission

“KANSAS JAYHAWKING RAIDS INTO WESTERN MISSOURI IN 1861”

by Albert Castel

Copyright 1959 Albert Castel. Used with Permission.

This is copyrighted material–the article, the pictures, and the introduction–and may not be copied or reproduced in any form, including on other websites, without permission of the authors.
Books by Albert Castel

available from Amazon.com

Articles of War: Winners, Losers, and Some Who Were Both During the Civil War

Tom Taylor’s Civil War

General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West

Bloody Bill Anderson: The Short, Savage Life of a Civil War Guerrilla

William Clarke Quantrill: His Life and Times

Decision in the West

More books by Albert Castel

Introduced by G. E. Rule

Albert Castel, over a published career that is approaching fifty years, has proven himself to be the leading historian of the Civil War in the West. With titles like General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West (1968), William Clarke Quantrill: His Life and Times (1962), and Bloody Bill Anderson: The Short Savage Life of a Civil War Guerrilla (with Thomas Goodrich, 1998), none of those who are serious about studying the war in Missouri can consider themselves well-read on the subject if they have not read Castel. His other titles on the war in the West will also be read for many years to come, and his Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864 (1992) is an award-winning title that is likely to remain the definitive statement on what was arguably the most important campaign of the war. Dr. Castel’s most recent title, Articles of War: Winners, Losers, and Some Who Were Both in the Civil War, Stackpole Books, 2001, is available from Amazon.com.

“Kansas Jayhawking Raids into Western Missouri in 1861” originally appeared in the Missouri Historical Review 54/1 (State Historical Society of Missouri, October 1959). Castel, as both pioneer and leading authority on Kansas and the Civil War, provides an interesting account of the early history of the Kansas-Missouri war-within-a-war. This war would continue to build in intensity and tragedy until culminating in August of 1863 in the Lawrence Massacre and Order No. 11 depopulating three western Missouri counties (see also Castel’s “Order No. 11 and the Civil War on the Border”). It is worth noting that T.J. Stiles recent and critically acclaimed Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War has challenged, at least to a degree, the traditional reading of the relationship between Jayhawking and the motivation of the Pro-Confederate guerrillas of western Missouri. Unlike Castel and the traditional school of thought on this issue, Stiles puts more emphasis on Lawrence as “the abolitionist center” of Kansas rather than as “the Jayhawking center”.  It was both, of course, and it will be interesting to see if future historians continue to accept Castel’s analysis of the guerrillas, or take Stiles’ reading and generalize it beyond Jesse James. Our own opinion is that the average Missourian of the time, although unfairly in many cases, would have seen “Jayhawker” and “abolitionist” as nearly interchangeable terms, with the former being merely a subset of the latter.



Kansans watched Missouri closely during the early months of 1861, anxious as to the course it would pursue in the crisis between North and South. They retained bitter memories of the “Border Ruffian” raids of the ’50’s and feared that if Missouri joined the Confederacy these would be repeated on a greater and more devastating scale. Many Missourians, they knew, harbored an intense hatred of the “horse-stealing abolitionists” of Kansas.[1]

The direction Missouri would take, North or South, long remained uncertain. Torn by conflicting sympathies and interests, most Missourians hoped that their state could be neutral. Finally, however, open warfare broke out in June between the Unionists headed by Brigadier General Nathaniel B. Lyon and the pro-­Southern followers of Governor Claiborne F. Jackson. Lyon drove Jackson from the State capital at Jefferson City, and Jackson countered with a proclamation calling for 50,000 men to resist the Northern “invasion.” The Missouri State Guard, commanded by Major General Sterling Price, gathered in Southwest Missouri for a campaign against Lyon in conjunction with Confederate forces from Arkansas.[2]

Governor Charles Robinson of Kansas regarded Jackson’s proclamation as tantamount to a declaration of war. At his order, hundreds of armed Kansans gathered along the border and prepared to repel invasion.[3] Some Kansans, however, declared that the best policy was to take the offensive against the Missourians in order to “keep them from our doors by giving them something to do at home.”[4] Foremost among this group were the “jayhawkers” of “Captain” James Montgomery and “Captain” Charles Jennison, who for several years had been harassing alleged proslavery settlers in southern Kansas and making occasional raids into Missouri. Their activities had gained them notoriety as “the scourges of the border,” and they had the support of influential Kansas and New England abolitionists. But although they claimed to be inspired by only the highest motives, it was often difficult to determine whether their hatred of slavery equaled their love of plunder. They wel­comed the coming of war in Missouri as opening up new and greater opportunities.

Jennison was the first to act. On June 19, with about 100 men “well-versed in guerrilla war­fare,” he accompanied a regular army expedition to Kansas City and participated in a Union flag-raising ceremony. The fol­lowing day he went on an “independent scouting mission” to Independence, where he forced “several of the leading rebels” to take the oath of allegiance.[5] Shortly afterwards Montgomery made a quick dash across the border, fought a skirmish with “rebel guerrillas,” then marched back loaded with plunder and accompanied by “contrabands”–slaves who “happened to walk off on their own accord.”[6] In July, Jennison struck at Morristown, Missouri, where his men reportedly killed a number of “secesh,” and in August he looted the stores of Harrisonville.[7] Throughout the summer other jayhawker bands led by John Stewart and Marshall Cleveland followed the example of Montgomery and Jennison on a lesser scale.[8]

Late in August a force of 1,200 troops, entitled the “Kansas Brigade,” assembled at Fort Scott under the command of Senator James H. Lane, leader of the extreme antislavery element in Kansas. Its ostensible mission was to defend southern Kansas from Price, who had defeated Lyon at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek on August 10. However Lane openly proclaimed his intention of marching into Missouri, declaring that as he did so he would not object to seeing “an army of slaves marching out.”[9] Montgomery, who had procured a colonel’s commission, was second in com­mand to Lane, Jennison, Stew­art, and other jayhawkers attached themselves informally to the brigade.

Price, having heard that the Missouri counties east of Fort Scott were “infested” with the “marauding and murdering bands” of Lane, decided to “clear them out.” On September 2 he defeated a portion of Lane’s troops in a skirmish at Drywood Creek near Fort Scott, which Lane evacuated. Content with thus “chastising” the Kansans, he marched on to Lexing­ton, Missouri, where he successfully besieged the Union garrison.[10]

Lane remained in a fortified camp near Fort Scott, fearful for the safety of his army and Kansas, until assured that Price had gone on to the Missouri River. He then sent a detachment under Jennison in “pursuit.” Jennison followed Price at a respectable distance as far as Papinsville, Missouri, then returned with 200 cattle and a number of “contrabands.”[11]

On September 10, “with a smart little army of about 1,500,” Lane started northward along the Missouri line. His avowed objective, however, was not to pursue Price but to “clear out” the valley of the Osage and to “pitch into” the towns of Butler, Harri­sonville, Osceola, and Clinton. On September 12 he reached Trading Post, Kansas, and from there turned eastward into Missouri. As soon as they crossed the border his men began to loot, burn, and perhaps murder and rape.[12]

The climax of Lane’s march occurred at Osceola on Septem­ber 23. After exchanging a few shots with some Confederates on the outskirts, his men entered the town and proceeded to ransack it. They robbed the bank, pillaged stores and private houses, and looted the courthouse. Captain Thomas Moonlight bombarded this last building with a cannon, and others set fire to the town, almost totally destroying it. Many of the Kansans got so drunk that when it came time to leave they were unable to march and had to ride in wagons and carriages.[13] They carried off with them a tremendous load of plunder, including as Lane’s personal share a piano and a quantity of silk dresses.[14] The “Sack of Osceola” henceforth was a prime cause of bitter hatred of Lane and Kansans by the people of West Missouri.

The self-proclaimed purpose of Lane’s expedition was to sup­press secessionist sentiment in western Missouri and to hamper Price’s operations. But his real objective, besides plunder, was to give a practical demonstration of what he had told his Senate colleagues in July, that slavery could not survive the march of the Union armies.[15] By the time his brigade had completed its march scores of Negroes were present in its ranks as teamsters, cooks, and even as soldiers.[16] Probably most of the Negroes came along on their own accord. As early as July, Montgomery wrote that “Contraband Brigades are coming in hourly” and that he did not know what to do with them.[17] Other reports told of large numbers of Negroes, either singly or in groups, fleeing into Kansas.[18] Later, in November, chaplains H. H. Moore and H. D. Fisher of the brigade led a “Black Brigade” of 160 wagons, all filled with Negroes, into Kansas, where they distributed the ex-slaves as laborers among the farms and towns of the southern part of the state.[19]

Lane completed his march at Kansas City on September 29. After remaining three weeks, he joined Major General John C. Fremont’s army in a southward pursuit of Price’s retreating forces. “Our march through Missouri,” later wrote the commander of Lane’s cavalry, “was noted for nothing very remarkable except that our trail was marked by the feathers of ‘secesh’ poultry and the debris of disloyal beegums.” The brigade arrived at Springfield on November 1 but advanced no further. At Lincoln’s order Major General David Hunter replaced Fremont and dispersed the army into defensive positions. Lane and his men headed back to Fort Scott.[20] Thus ended the garish career of the Kansas Brigade.

In the meantime Jennison, through the good offices of Governor Robinson, had acquired a commission as colonel of United States Volunteers. Robinson hoped, fatuously, that if Jennison were given a legitimate outlet for his warlike propensities he would cease his marauding and be of service to the state and the Union.[21] Jennison set about recruiting a regiment which he called the “Independent Mounted Kansas jayhawkers” but which was officially designated the Seventh Kansas Volunteer Cavalry.[22] Second in command of the regiment was Lieutenant Colonel Daniel R. Anthony, brother of Susan B. Anthony, a hotheaded abolitionist and publisher of the Leavenworth Daily Conservative, which despite its name was the most radical newspaper in Kansas.

Jennison did not have a complete regiment until November 7. Many of his men were Missourians, and several units came from Illinois. The most notable company, however, was from Ashtabula County, Ohio, and was commanded by John Brown, Jr. The members of this company were all fanatical abolitionists. Another organization of more than passing interest was Company H, which consisted mostly of criminals and ruffians, commanded by the notorious jayhawker and ex-convict, Marshall Cleveland. Many of the other officers were hardly better than Cleveland.[23] Jennison himself was “in reality unfit for any position [of authority] on account of his poor education.” Anthony and the other staff officers were “very careful not to permit him to write or do anything unless done under the supervision of some of his friends who have good judgment [sic].”[24]

After exercising their martial prowess in sacking the saloons of Leavenworth, eight companies of the Seventh Kansas crossed into Missouri at Kansas City on November 11 and 12. Anthony was in command, as Jennison remained behind “to perfect the organization of the regiment. The announced purpose of the expedition was to protect Union supply trains in Jackson County against bush­whackers, put down “rebels,” and “loyalize” the people of that section. [25] Company H rode one-fourth mile ahead of the main column as the advance guard. Its movements were marked by the flames of burning houses and wheatfields and by the flight of women and children into the woods.[26] Near the Little Blue, Anthony encountered a band of armed Missouri irregulars headed by the “notorious” Upton Hayes. After a sharp fight in which he lost nine killed, Anthony drove Hayes’ men from their camp. He next marched to Pleasant Hill, near where his men killed eleven guer­rillas and recaptured most of a wagon train.[27] Then followed a raid on Independence, where “the citizens were given a little touch of the misfortunes of war,” after which the jayhawkers, as the Seventh Kansas was popularly known, marched back to Kansas City, carry­ing much plunder and accompanied by many Negroes.[28] Some of the former slaves, reported Missouri artist George C. Bingham, were armed and serving as soldiers.[29]

Late in November, Brigadier General James W. Denver, com­mander of the District of Kansas, ordered the Seventh Kansas to West Point, Missouri, to protect against a threatened northward thrust by Price. Its march to that town followed the pattern of its earlier operations, as a member of the Ohio company wrote that “Every house along our line of march but one was burned and off on our left flank for miles, columns of smoke from burning houses could be seen.”[30] On reaching West Point, Anthony wrote to his father that his men had taken on the way 150 mules, 40 horses, and 129 Negroes, and that he had given the Negroes 60 horses and mules,  some oxen, and ten wagons and two carriages, “all loaded down with Household Furniters [sic]….” “The Negroes [sic] train into Kansas,” he added, “was one mile long. . . .”[31] In a letter written several weeks later to sister Susan, he declared: “In our march we free every slave … and arm or use them in such manner as will best aid us in putting down rebels. . . . We hope to stir up an insurrection among the negroes. . . .”[32]

Although Price’s invasion failed to materialize, the Jayhawkers remained in the vicinity of West Point well into January. Com­manded by Anthony, sections of the regiment plundered Pleasant Hill, Morristown, and Rose Hill and burned Dayton and Columbus. General Hunter “read with surprise” Anthony’s reports on the destruction of these villages and wrote him that he found no evidence in them “of a state of facts sufficient to warrant these extreme measures.”[33]

Late in January the Seventh Kansas was ordered to Humboldt, Kansas. There, in April, Jennison resigned his commission in a huff over not being promoted to brigadier general. Before resigning he made an “intemperate speech” to the regiment in which he denounced the President and the commanding general and practi­cally urged his men to desert. A number of them, mainly from Company H, took his advice.[34] On learning of Jennison’s speech, General Hunter had him arrested and confined in the military prison at St. Louis. Pressure from influential abolitionists, to whom he was a hero, prevented a court martial and secured his release.[35] He then entered the “live stock” business in Leavenworth–an enterprise which perhaps gave rise to the saying that the horses of Kansas were mostly “out of Missouri, by Jennison.”

Although Jennison’s name was identified with the activities of the Seventh Kansas by both Kansans and Missourians, he had actually exercised little direct command over the regiment. Accord­ing to a letter of Anthony’s, dated March 1, 1862, “Col. Jennison has been Col of his regiment six months and has yet to give the first command to them. I have always commanded them.[36] Therefore, on the basis of his own testimony, as well as other evidence,[37] Anthony deserves most of the “credit” for the operations of the Jayhawkers in Missouri. He himself admitted as much when, in writing to a brother about Jennison’s arrest, he remarked uneasily that if Jennison were brought to trial for “his Missouri policy,” then “we are all in the same boat.”[38]

It is difficult to assess precisely and completely the personal motives which lay behind the conduct of Jennison, Montgomery, Lane, and Anthony in Missouri. With Jennison it was probably a desire primarily for the profits of plunder: in one instance he is reported as selling his loot at a public auction.[39] As for Montgomery, while the plunder motive was present, it seems that he was a sincere, if unscrupulous, antislavery zealot.[40] Lane and Anthony, however, although doubtlessly abolitionists, were impelled mainly by military and political ambition. This was especially true of Lane, who hoped to become President with radical backing and who declared to the New England abolitionist, George L. Stearns, that if given the chance he would march to New Orleans, “stir­ring up slave insurrections on the way.”[41]

Kansans generally approved the forays of the jayhawkers through the border counties of Missouri. Their growing anti­slavery fervor caused them to applaud the slave-liberating aspect of these operations, espe­cially since the freed Negroes relieved the labor shortage in Kansas. True, exaggerated, and false reports of outrages suffered by Kansans and Missouri Union­ists at the hands of Missouri secessionists seemed to warrant retaliation in kind. In addition, the people of Kansas had a distorted concept of the object and nature of the activities of Lane, Jennison, Anthony, and James H. Lane. They believed that their campaigns and raids were designed to put down “treason” and guard against invasion, while the newspaper correspondents who accompanied Lane’s brigade and the Seventh Kansas wrote up the supposedly heroic exploits of these commands and either ignored or glossed over the looting and killing. Finally, there was a rather sizeable element in Kansas which out of economic and moral poverty was quite willing to advocate and practice the plundering of the farmers of western Missouri, who had “a dangerous reputa­tion for wealth.”[42]

The majority of Kansans tended to classify all Missourians, at least those living in the border counties, as rebels. This viewpoint ran counter to the facts and largely reflected prejudice, ignorance, and a desire to rationalize the depredations in Missouri. Probably from one-third to over one-half of the people residing in western Missouri were loyal to the Union or at least neutral in 1861.[43] One of the main results of the raids of Lane and Anthony was to turn many of these Unionists and neutralists into Confederates. By the end of 1861 Major General Henry W. Halleck, then in command of all Union armies west of the Mississippi, expressed the opinion that a few more such raids would make Missouri “as Confederate as Eastern Virginia.”[44]

Another serious consequence of the jayhawking incursions was that they transformed the already existent animosity of the people of western Missouri toward Kansas into an embittered and impas­sioned hatred. This feeling was not confined to pro-Confederate Missourians, but it also affected pro-Unionists. On at least one occasion Missouri State Militia in Federal service warned that they would fire on Kansas soldiers if they did not stay on their side of the line.[45] By the spring of 1862 the situation along the border was so tense that Brigadier General John M. Schofield, commander of the Department of Missouri, feared “open hostility between the Union troops of Kansas and Missouri.”[46]

Scores, perhaps hundreds, of Missourians in the country devas­tated by Lane, Jennison, and Anthony formed guerrilla bands or joined the Confederate army. The force under Upton Hayes which Anthony encountered on the Little Blue had been raised in the locality to defend it against Jennison. Hayes was a freighter engaged in the Santa Fe trade when the war began, operating out of the town of Little Santa Fe near Kansas City. He turned bushwhacker after jayhawkers captured one of his wagon trains, burgled his house, and took his cattle, horses, carriages, and slaves. The famous Cole Younger similarly “took to the brush” when Jennison’s men robbed and killed his father, who had been pro-Union. Far from stamping out such bands as Hayes’, the marches of Lane and Anthony served only to increase their number and intensify their desire for vengeance.[47]

Early in the spring of 1862 a gang of bushwhackers made a shockingly brutal raid on the little village of Aubry in Johnson County, Kansas. The

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raiders not only took horses and other property, but they shot down helpless civilians in cold blood. Their leader had a strange, sinister-sounding name: Quantrill.[48] The seed sowed by Lane at Osceola and by Jennison and Anthony in Jackson County would be harvested by this man at Lawrence.
Notes:


[1]S. J. Reader to “Frank,” June 2, 1861, Kansas Historical Quarterly, IX (February 1940), 33; John Ingalls to “Father,” May 15, 1861, William E. Connelley, editor, “Some Ingalls Letters.” Kansas Historical Collections, XIV (1910-1918), 122; Charles Robinson to Mrs. Charles Robinson, June 17, 1861, Charles and Sara T. D. Robinson Papers, State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas; Floyd C. Shoemaker, “Missouri’s Proslavery Fight for Kansas, 1854-18:15,” Missouri Historical Review, XLVIII (April-July 1954), 221-36,325-40, XLIX (October 1954), 41-54.

[2]A good brief account of the secession crisis in Missouri is Edward Conrad Smith, The Border­land in the Civil War (New York, 1927), 240-60.

[3]Leavenworth Daily Conservative, June 18, August 4, 1861; “Military History of Kansas Regiments,” Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kansas, 1861-1865 (Topeka, 1896), 73.

[4]James Montgomery to George L. Stearns, June 21, 1861, James Montgomery Papers, State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas.

[5]Leavenworth Daily Times, June 9, 18, 23, 1861; Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, June 14, 15, 16, 20, 1861.

[6]Montgomery to Stearns, June 26, July 5, 1861, George L. Stearns Papers, State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas.

[7]Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, July 25, August 12, 1861.

[8]Leavenworth Daily Conservative, July 11, 17, 27, 30, August 20, 1861; Atchison Freedom’s Champion, August 10, 1861; Elwood Free Press, August 10, 1861; Lawrence Kansas State Journal, August 8, 15, 1861; Lawrence Republican, July 17, 1861; White Cloud Kansas Chief, September 5, 1861; Olathe Mirror, June 27, July 25, 1861.

[9]Leavenworth Daily Conservative, August 16, 1861. Lane had been appointed a brigadier general by President Lincoln but had been forced to relinquish the commission or else resign his Senate seat. However, he possessed a brigadier general’s commission from the Governor of Indiana and signed his military correspondence and was addressed by the Federal military authorities as “Brigadier General.”

[10]The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, D. C., 1881-1901), Series I, III, 162, 185; LIII, 435-36. (This publication henceforth shall be cited as O. R.).

[11]Ibid., III, 163-64, 475; A. T. Andrews, History of the State of Kansas (Chicago, 1883), 1,071.

[12]O. R., Ser. I, III, 485, 490; Jacob Stringfellow (Nicholas Verres Smith), “Jim Lane,” Lippin­cott’s Magazine, V (March 1870), 274. Lane’s men are charged with committing murders and molesting women in the following sources: Charles Robinson, The Kansas Conflict (Lawrence, Kansas, 1898), 447; John McCorkle, Three Years with Quantrill (Armstrong, Missouri, 1915), 10-11, 75; William H. Gregg, “The Gregg Manuscript”, (State Historical Society, Columbia, Missouri), 48, 62; John C. Shea, compiler, Reminiscences of Quantrell’s Raid upon the City of Law­rence, Kas. (Kansas City, Missouri, 1879), 5; Council Grove Press, September 14, 1863.

[13]O. R., Ser. I, III, 196; Henry E. Palmer, “The Black-flag Character of the war on the Border,” K. H. C., IX (1905-1906), 456; W. S. Drought, “James Montgomery,” ibid., VI (1897-­1900), 243; John Speer, “The Burning of Osceola, Mo., by Lane, and the Quantrill Massacre Contrasted,” ibid., 306-308; Robinson, Kansas Conflict, 452-54; William E. Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars (Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1910), 199-200.

[14]Lawrence Kansas State Journal, November 28, 1861; White Cloud Kansas Chief, October 6, 1864. One of Quantrill’s men who participated in the Lawrence Raid of August 21, 1863, wrote years later that the raiders found three pianos in the parlor of Lane’s home in Lawrence, two of which were recognized as having belonged to Southern people in Missouri. See McCorkle, Three Years with Quantrill, 87.

[15]Congressional Globe, 37th Cong., 1st Sess., 187.

[16]Leavenworth Daily Conservative, October 8, 9, 1861.

[17]Montgomery to Stearns, July 26, 1861, Stearns Papers.

[18]Leavenworth Daily Conservative, September 20, 1861.

[19]Ibid., November 21, 1861.

[20]O. R., Ser. I, III, 559, 748; James G. Blunt, “General Blunt’s Account of His Civil war Ex­periences,” Kansas Historical Quarterly, I (May 1932), 216-17.

[21]Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, August 9, 1861; Leavenworth Daily Conservative, August 21, 1861; Robinson, Kansas Conflict, 434-35.

[22]William A. Lyman, “Origin of the Name ‘jayhawker’ and How It Came To Be Applied to the People of Kansas,” K. H. C., XIV (1915-1918), 206-07; Simon M. Fox, “The Story of the Seventh Kansas,” ibid., VIII (1903-1904), 27.

[23]Ibid., 19-23, 26. Cleveland resigned his commission on November 1, following a quarrel with Anthony.

[24]Anthony to Aaron Anthony, March 1, 1862, Daniel R. Anthony Papers, State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas.

[25]Leavenworth Daily Conservative, November 10, 12, 13, 1861; Anthony to “Father,” Novem­ber 5, 1861, Anthony Papers.

[26]War Diary of Fletcher Pomeroy (typewritten copy of the original MS, State Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas), 15. Pomeroy was a member of John Brown, Jr.’s company. This section of his diary was written in a summary fashion and is not under chronological headings.

[27]Anthony to “Father,” November 24, 1861, Anthony Papers. In this letter Anthony states that one of his men was to be shot for having stolen some property.

[28]Leavenworth Daily Conservative, November 19, 1861

[29]George Caleb Bingham to James S. Rollins and William A. Hall, February 12, 1862, M. H. R. XXXIII (October 1938), 52.

[30]Pomeroy Diary, 18.

[31]Anthony to “Father,” December 22, 1861, Anthony Papers.

[32]Anthony to “Sister,” February 3, 1862, Anthony Papers.

[33]Hunter to Anthony, January 20, 1862, O. R., Ser. I, VIII, 508.

[34]Anthony to “Brother,” April 25, 1862, Anthony Papers.

[35]Jennison to George L. Stearns, April 21, 1862, Stearns Papers; Leavenworth Daily Conservative, April 8, 30, June 3, 1862.

[36]Anthony to Aaron Anthony, March 1, 1862, Anthony Papers.

[37]Pomeroy Diary, 34; Fox, “Seventh Kansas,” K. H. C., VIII, 24, 27-30.

[38]Anthony to “Brother,” April 25, 1862, Anthony Papers.

[39]Leavenworth Daily Conservative, January 12, 1862.

[40]Theodosius Botkin, “Among the Sovereign Squats,” K. H. C., VII (1901-1903), 433; John N. Edwards, Noted Guerrillas, or the Warfare on the Border (St. Louis, 1877), 38.

[41]Frank L. Stearns, The Life and Public Services of George Luther Stearns (New York, 1907), 251-52.

[42]The above discussion of the Kansas attitude toward jayhawking raids in Missouri is based on a complete survey of the Kansas press of the period and of other contemporary records.

[43]Wiley Britton, Memoirs of the Rebellion on the Border—1863 (Chicago, 1882), 114-18; Wil­liam L. Webb, Battles and Biographies of Missourians (Kansas City, Missouri, 1900), 263.

[44]O. R., Ser. I, VIII, 449-50, 507-08, 819; III, 742-43.

[45]Ibid., 433-35, 457-461, 467-68; XXII, Part I, 798-801, 808, 824.

[46]Ibid., 386-87.

[47]Webb, Battles and Biographies, 324; Leavenworth Daily Conservative, November 13, 26, 1861; George Miller, Missouri’s Memorable Decade, 1860-1870 (Columbia, 1898), 76, 89; A. Birdsall, The History of Jackson County, Missouri (Kansas City, 1881), 208-09, 271-73; W. Z. Hickman, History of Jackson County, Mo. (Topeka, 1920), 208-09, 214, 299; Pomeroy Diary, 16; Bingham to James S. Rollins, M. H. R., XXXIII, 46.

[48]O. R., Ser. I, VIII, 335-36.

Order 11 by Albert Castel

©Albert Castel, published with permission

“Order No. 11 and the Civil War on the Border”

by Albert Castel

Copyright 1963 Albert Castel. Used with Permission.

This is copyrighted material–the article, the pictures, and the introduction–and may not be copied or reproduced in any form, including on other websites, without permission of the authors.
Books by Albert Castel

available from Amazon.com

Articles of War: Winners, Losers, and Some Who Were Both During the Civil War

Tom Taylor’s Civil War

General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West

Bloody Bill Anderson: The Short, Savage Life of a Civil War Guerrilla

William Clarke Quantrill: His Life and Times

Decision in the West

More books by Albert Castel

Introduced by G. E. Rule

Albert Castel, over a published career that is approaching fifty years, has proven himself to be the leading historian of the Civil War in the West. With titles like General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West (1968), William Clarke Quantrill: His Life and Times (1962), and Bloody Bill Anderson: The Short Savage Life of a Civil War Guerrilla (with Thomas Goodrich, 1998), none of those who are serious about studying the war in Missouri can consider themselves well-read on the subject if they have not read Castel. His other titles on the war in the West will also be read for many years to come, and his Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864 (1992) is an award-winning title that is likely to remain the definitive statement on what was arguably the most important campaign of the war. Dr. Castel’s most recent title, Articles of War: Winners, Losers, and Some Who Were Both in the Civil War, Stackpole Books, 2001, is available from Amazon.com.

“Order No. 11 and the Civil War on the Border” originally appeared in the Missouri Historical Review 57 (State Historical Society of Missouri, July 1963): 357-68 and was reprinted in Winning and Losing in the Civil War (University of South Carolina, 1996), which is an excellent compilation of dry wit and sharp observations on a variety of issues and incidents of the war. As an example of the former, Castel skewers one academic colleague by noting “he achieves a truly remarkable originality when he refers to McClellan’s operations as commander of the Army of the Potomac as ‘lightning maneuvers.’” The current article, below, is an example of the latter.

Castel reports this article has been largely ignored by his fellow historians, while also noting “so far no one has directly challenged these findings, much less rebutted them.” Civilwarstlouis.com is pleased to give “Order No. 11 and the Civil War on the Border” a home on the internet, and to offer a balanced and thoughtful appraisal of one of the most emotional issues of the war in Missouri. Indeed, one can speculate this balance has been a factor in the neglect Castel notes; his article does not offer either side the unqualified brick-bat they would like to belabor the other with. While each side could pick telling phrases to hurl at the other, they would immediately find themselves confronted with an equally powerful excerpt from the same source that they would find distasteful.


Order No. 11 was the most drastic and repressive military measure directed against civilians by the Union Army during the Civil War. In fact, with the exception of the hysteria-motivated herding of Japanese-Americans into concentration camps during World War II, it stands as the harshest treatment ever imposed on United States citizens under the plea of military necessity in our nation’s history.

Issued August 25, 1863, by Brigadier General Thomas Ewing, Jr., commander of the District of the Border, with headquarters at Kansas City, Order No. 11 required all the inhabitants of the Western Missouri counties of Jackson, Cass, and Bates not living within one mile of specified military posts to vacate their homes by September 9. Those who by that date established their loyalty to the United States government with the commanding officer of the military station nearest their place of residence would be permitted to remove to any military station in the District of the Border or to any part of Kansas except the counties on the eastern border of that state. Persons failing to establish their loyalty were to move out of the district completely or be subject to military punishment.[1]

Lawrence ruins from Harpers

The general public at the time, as well as most historians since, regarded the order as an act of retaliation for the destruction of Lawrence, Kansas, and the massacre of c. 200 of its male residents by William Clarke Quantrill’s Missouri guerrillas on August 21, 1863. Critics of the order both then and thereafter condemned it as being cruel, unjust, and unnecessary.[2]Its defenders, on the other hand, while admitting its severity, maintained that it was fully warranted by the military situation and that it achieved the results intended—the forcing of Quantrill’s bushwhackers out of the border region of Missouri and the ending of guerrilla raids into Kansas.[3]

Both parties to the controversy over Order No. 11 have usually dwelt upon the circumstances immediately preceding its promulgation and upon the short-range impact of its execution. Rarely, if at all, have they examined its full background or its ultimate operation. Yet it is only through such an examination that a valid evaluation of the order can be made. Once this is done, then perhaps a definite answer can be given to the question, was Order No. 11 a justified act of military necessity or an unjustified deed of military tyranny?

The territorial conflict of the 1850s left a legacy of hatred between Kansas and Missouri. Kansans resented the invasions of the Missouri “Border Ruffians” and the Missourians bitterly recalled the incursions of John Brown, James Montgomery, and other Kansas “jayhawkers.” The outbreak of the Civil War intensified this mutual animosity. Kansas jayhawkers and Red Legs made devastating raids into Missouri during which they plundered and murdered, burned farmhouses and crops, and liberated hundreds of slaves. These forays in turn caused pro-Southern guerrilla bands to retaliate against Kansas. Led by Quantrill, the Missouri bushwhackers sacked Kansas border settlements and shot down unarmed civilians “like so many hogs.” At the same time they waged a deadly partisan warfare against Federal troops and Union adherents in Missouri itself.

The efforts of the Federal army to put down bushwhacking were frustrated by the skill of the guerrillas, the difficult nature of the countryside, and above all the assistance rendered the bushwhackers by the civilian population. Most of the people of Western Missouri looked upon the guerrillas as their avengers and defenders, and a large portion of them had friends and kinsmen riding with Quantrill. Consequently they aided them in every possible way, from feeding and sheltering them, to smuggling them ammunition and acting as spies. Even anti-Confederates assisted the partisans out of fear of reprisals. Thus in effect the Federal forces in Western Missouri were opposed by an entire people.[4]

By the spring of 1863 Union officers serving along the border had concluded that the bushwhackers could never be suppressed by ordinary tactics. “Good men and true,” wrote one of them, “have been for months trying to catch the bushwhackers, and I know it is, as they declare, almost an impossibility.”[5] And declared another: “If any one … can do better against bushwhackers than we have done, let him try this country, where the people and bushwhackers are allied against the United States and its soldiers.”[6]

In June 1863, Brigadier General Thomas Ewing, Jr., took command of the District of the Border. Ewing, aged thirty-four, was a prominent Kansas Republican, former chief justice of Kansas, and the brother-in-law and one-time law partner of General William T. Sherman. A man who believed that he had “few equals in mental vigor,” he was intensely ambitious and hoped to secure election to the United States Senate. With that goal in mind he was at this period seeking the favor of Senator James H. Lane, the “King” of Kansas politics.

By the end of July Ewing decided that unless his forces were tripled the only possible way to destroy the guerrillas was to strike at the root of their power, the support they received from the civilian population. Therefore on August 3 he wrote his departmental commander, Major General John M. Schofield, stating that since two-thirds of the families in Western Missouri were kin to the bushwhackers and were “actively and heartily engaged in feeding, clothing, and sustaining them,” several hundred families of the “worst guerrillas” should be transported to Arkansas. This would not only deprive the guerrillas of their aid, but would cause the guerrillas whose families had been removed to follow them out of the state. Surrender terms could then be offered to the less offensive bushwhackers remaining.[7]

Schofield approved the plan, and on August 18 Ewing put it into effect by issuing General Order No. 10.[8] Then, three days later, Quantrill and 440 bushwhackers destroyed Lawrence. This deed, which was not only the climax of the Kansas-Missouri Border War but also the most horrible atrocity of the entire Civil War, shocked, frightened, and enraged Unionists in both Kansas and Missouri, and caused them to demand that the bushwhackers be crushed once and for all so as to prevent further raids of this kind. Ewing, who likewise believed that drastic action was needed, responded to their clamor by promulgating Order No. 11 on August 25.

Immediately large numbers of pro-Southern and Conservative Union Missourians denounced the order as “inhuman, unmanly, and barbarous.”[9]Most prominent and vehement among the critics was George Caleb Bingham, the famous artist. Although a Unionist, Bingham hated Kansans in general and Ewing in particular. After Order No. 11 was announced he went to Ewing’s headquarters in Kansas City and demanded that it be rescinded. Ewing refused, and the interview became highly acrimonious. Finally, as he departed, Bingham warned: “If you persist in executing that order, I will make you infamous with pen and brush as far as I am able.”[10]

Photographic reproductions of the George Caleb Bingham painting “Order No. 11” are available from the State Historical Society of Missouri

Bingham carried out his threat in both respects. First he produced a painting entitled “Order No. 11 .” It showed Ewing astride a horse complacently supervising his troops as they expel a Missouri family from its home. A Kansas Red Leg has just shot down a young man, and another is about to shoot the elderly head of the family, oblivious to the pleas of a beautiful young woman kneeling at his feet. The house is being pillaged by Union soldiers, one of whom bears a likeness to the noted jayhawker, Colonel Charles Jennison. In the background columns of smoke rise from burning fields and a long, funereal line of refugees wends its way along the road. The painting was mediocre art but excellent propaganda, and it did more than anything else to create the popular conception of Order No. 11.[11]

What he depicted in the painting Bingham also expressed in various writings which may be regarded as representative of all the criticisms of Order No. 11. According to him the order was “an act of purely arbitrary power, directed against a disarmed and defenseless population” in violation of “every principle of justice.” It was inspired by vengeance and was issued by Ewing in order to curry favor with the Kansas “mob” and advance his political ambitions. It resulted in “barefooted and bareheaded women and children, stripped of every article of clothing except a scant covering for their bodies,” being “exposed to the heat of an August sun and compelled to struggle through the dust on foot.” Under it men “were shot down in the very act of obeying the order, and their wagons and effects seized by their murderers.” Union soldiers and Red Legs burned dwellings and sent long wagon trains of plunder into Kansas. Refugees “crowded by hundreds upon the banks of the Missouri River, and were indebted to the charity of benevolent steamboat conductors for transportation to places of safety where friendly aid could be extended to them without danger to those who ventured to contribute it.”

There was neither need nor cause for Order No. 11, asserted Bingham. Most of the real bandits on the border were not Quantrill’s bushwhackers but Kansas Red Legs who carried on their “nefarious operations under the protection and patronage of General Ewing. . . . The bushwhackers were but small in number, “at all times insignificant in comparison with the Federal troops. . . .” The guerrillas could “at any time have been exterminated or driven from the country had there been an earnest purpose on the part of the Federal forces in that direction, properly braced by a willingness to incur such personal risks as become the profession of a soldier.”

Finally, the order did not accomplish its professed purpose. Instead of driving them out, it gave up the country to the bushwhackers, “who, until the close of the war, continued to stop the stages and rob the mails and passengers, and no one wearing the Federal uniform dared to risk his life within the desolated district.”[12]

Much of Bingham’s pictorial and verbal condemnation of Ewing and Order No. 11 was false and unfair, and motivated by personal malice. It is extremely unlikely, for instance, that Ewing, as the painting “Order No. 11” would imply, ever sat about on his horse callously watching the Red Legs slay defenseless men. The charge that the Red Legs enjoyed Ewing’s “protection and patronage” was viciously absurd, since Ewing, while in command of the District of the Border, made constant and earnest efforts to suppress the Red Legs and stop jayhawking.[13]As for the assertion that bushwhacking did not become widespread until after Order No. 11, this is so obviously contrary to facts as not to require refutation.

Other of Bingham’s accusations, however, had at least some basis in fact. Thus, in issuing the order, Ewing was motivated in part by a desire to satisfy the clamor for revenge in Kansas. In addition there can be little question that he was also concerned about his political prospects. Many Kansans criticized his conduct of affairs along the border and declared that he should be removed from command. Senator Lane warned him that unless he took harsh measures against the guerrillas, he would be a “dead dog” politically.[14]

However, these were not the sole motives, nor even necessarily the main ones, behind the issuance of Order No. 11. Other important considerations were Ewing’s desire to reassure the badly frightened people of Kansas, and to forestall a threatened mob invasion of Western Missouri. Shortly after the Lawrence Massacre, Senator Lane called on the men of Kansas to assemble on the border for the purpose of marching into Missouri and carrying out a campaign of “devastation and extermination.” Had it not been for Order No. 11 this invasion probably would have taken place; as it was, even after issuing the order Ewing had a great deal of difficulty heading off Lane’s proposed expedition.[15] Thus it can be argued that however drastic Order No. 11 was, it helped prevent much worse.

Still another reason for Order No. 11, and probably the main one, was the military situation. The Lawrence Massacre made it obvious that all previous efforts to combat the guerrillas had been unavailing, and that they threatened to drive all Unionists from the border. Therefore the only thing that could be done, for it was the only thing left to be done, was to direct measures against the civilian population which contributed so much to the success of the bushwhackers. Although the timing and circumstances of the order made such an assumption natural and plausible, it was not, except in a limited sense, a retaliation for the massacre. It had been presaged by Order No. 10, and was essentially an extension of a policy already in effect, a policy suddenly made more drastic as a result of a shockingly horrible event.[16]

Finally, even if Ewing had not issued Order No. 11, a similar program would have gone into effect. For on the very same day that Ewing published the order, Schofield sent him the draft of an almost identical order. The major difference between the two was that Schofield’s draft was much harsher than Ewing’s order. Schofield believed that “nothing short of total devastation of the districts which are made the haunts of the guerrillas will be sufficient to put a stop to the evils.” Unlike Order No. 11, Schofield’s proposal established no method of differentiating between Union and Confederate adherents.[17] All in all, Bingham’s criticism of Ewing’s motives in issuing Order No. 11 were for the most part either erroneous, pointless, or both. In any case, Schofield must share the responsibility for the order with Ewing.

Bingham was on much firmer ground in denouncing the severity of the order. There can be no doubt that its execution resulted in a great deal of hardship and suffering. H. B. Bouton, a Unionist living near Kansas City, told of seeing large numbers of “poor people, widows and children, who, with little bundles of clothing, are crossing the river to be subsisted by the charities of the people amongst whom they might find shelter.”[18] Colonel Bazel Lazear, Federal commander at Lexington, Missouri, wrote his wife: “It is heartsickening to see what I have seen. . . . A desolated country and men & women and children, some of them all most [sic] naked. Some on foot and some in old wagons. Oh God.[19]

Marauding by Union troops increased the misery of the refugees. Most of the soldiers enforcing the order were vengeance-minded Kansans who welcomed such a splendid opportunity to punish the Missourians. Ewing, to be sure, repeatedly ordered his men not to engage in wanton pillaging, but his efforts were largely in vain.[20] By the end of September the depopulated district was a silent, forlorn land of stark chimney standing over charred ruins.[21]

But if Bingham had some justification for denouncing the hardships caused by Order No. 11, he was almost totally wrong in contending that it was unnecessary and that the inefficiency and cowardice of the Federal forces were alone responsible for the success of the bushwhackers. Schofield, a competent professional soldier who ultimately became the commanding general of the United States Army, personally investigated the situation in Western Missouri after the issuance of the order and concluded that it was “wise and just—in fact a necessity.”[22] For over two years the guerrillas had been attacking Federal posts and patrols, terrorizing Unionists, and raiding border settlements, and doing so with ever-mounting intensity. As anyone familiar with the nature and history of partisan warfare knows, not only are guerrillas extremely exasperating but also terribly difficult to combat, and that one of the most effective ways (sometimes the only way) to defeat them is to deprive them of their civilian support as Orders No. 10 and 11 contemplated.[23] Such tactics, for example, were employed successfully in South Africa by Lord Kitchener against the Boer commandos, partisans who had many characteristics in common with the Missouri bushwhackers. According to the British military historian, Cyril Falls, Kitchener resorted to “destroying farmhouses and their stores . . . and placing the inhabitants, mostly women, old people, and children, in camps, wherein the death-toll from sickness was high.”[24] And along the same line, it should be noted that Grant in 1864 became so annoyed by Mosby’s raids that he instructed Sheridan to send a cavalry division through Loudon County, Virginia “to destroy and carry off the crops, animals, Negroes, and all men under 50 years of age capable of bearing arms.”[25]

Order No. 11, moreover, was imposed on a predominantly enemy population which was willingly aiding and abetting the bushwhackers. Neither Bingham nor any of the other critics of the order maintained otherwise. The most they claimed was that “hundreds” of the people subjected to the order were “true and loyal” to the Union.[26] But even if this were true the loyalists constituted only a small fraction of those affected by the order. Ewing, it will be recalled, estimated that two-thirds of the families in Jackson, Cass, and Bates counties were voluntarily helping the bushwhackers. This contention is supported by the Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, which declared that most of the inhabitants of these counties were disloyal, and that the few remaining Unionists were terrorized by the guerrillas into aiding them.[27] The Reverend George Miller, who lived in Kansas City during most of the war and opposed Order No. 11, stated in his memoirs that over four-fifths of the people in that region were secessionists.[28] In connection with this last statement, it is interesting to note that a Federal officer engaged in carrying out the order wrote in his diary that only one person in five was being permitted to remain in the district as being loyal to the Union.[29]

As a final answer to this particular criticism of Bingham’s, it should be pointed out that under the laws and practices of war, whenever enemy civilians willingly assist guerrillas, then they must expect to take the consequences, and that among the consequences is forced evacuation of their homes.

The last, and in a way the most important, of Bingham’s strictures on Order No. 11 was that it utterly failed to attain its avowed objective: the destruction of the guerrillas. This charge, to the extent it referred to the immediate effect of the order, was well founded. On this matter we have the testimony of one of the bushwhackers, who later recalled that despite the order,

Quantrill was in no hurry to leave the country for the South. The farmhouses were nearly all vacated as required by Order No. 11, but in every smoke house there hung from the rafters hams and bacon, and the country was full of stray hogs, cattle, and chickens which the owners had been forced to leave behind. There was plenty of feed for horses, and the men gathered the food at night.[30]

When Quantrill left Missouri early in October he did so only because of the approach of cold weather.

Thus the immediate effectiveness of Order No. 11 was practically nil. What, then, was its ultimate result? To this question, unfortunately, there can be no definite answer, for the simple reason that the order was not allowed to function as originally intended. First, Ewing himself relaxed its terms by issuing, on November 20, Order No. 20. This provided for a limited resettlement of the depopulated district by “loyal persons” under a strict system of screening and accountability.[31] Then, in January 1864, as part of a general re-organization of military affairs in the West, the border counties came under the command of Brigadier General Egbert B. Brown, a Missouri militia officer who disapproved of Order No. 11. Acting without prior consultation with Schofield or his approval, Brown on January 14 issued an order permitting all persons not “disloyal or unworthy” to return to their homes in the district.[32] Although nominally similar to Order No. 20, Brown’s order set up a very loose procedure for determining loyalty and disloyalty, and it seemingly ignored the existence of Ewing’s resettlement program, under which, according to the Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, “nine-tenths of all the really loyal who intend to return have done so.”[33] Ewing at once protested the new order to Schofield, declaring that it would undo all that Order No. 11 had accomplished, and that “General Brown will let disloyal refugees return, and following them will return the guerrillas.”[34] But Schofield soon ceased to command in Missouri, and Brown’s policy remained in effect.

As a consequence Ewing’s prediction was fulfilled. By May Colonel James H. Ford, commander of Union forces in Jackson County, was writing that “the county is full of bushwhackers, and they have friends all through the country who furnish them with food . . . . I am satisfied that there are many families that are feeding them that have proved their loyalty. . . .”[35] And in June, following a scout through Jackson County, another Federal officer reported that “wherever we found settlements there we found signs of bushwhackers, and vice versa. Around Hickman Mills, Pleasant Hill, and the Sni Hills there are a good many families returned under the orders of General Brown, all of them bearing protection papers, either from General Brown’s headquarters or headquarters at St. Louis.”[36]

Significantly, not one of the bushwhackers in his memoirs indicates that Order No. 11 in any way handicapped their operations in 1864. On the contrary, one of them related that Quantrill’s band, when it returned to Missouri in the spring, stopped off at a farmhouse and “got a good breakfast of biscuits and bacon . . . prepared by the woman of the house.”[37]

To be sure, it might be argued that Order No. 11 was successful since there were no more guerrilla raids into Kansas from Missouri following its issuance. But it is extremely doubtful that the order as such was more than a minor and indirect factor in achieving this result. Of greater importance were the strengthened border defenses of Kansas following the Lawrence Massacre, an improved home guard system in that state, and above all the fact that the bushwhackers during the summer of 1864 concentrated their operation in Northern and Central Missouri so as to prepare the way for Sterling Price’s invasion that fall.[38] If the guerrillas had wanted to make another foray into Kansas they could have done so at almost any time. Certainly all through 1864 and even in 1865 Kansas communities were in a constant fret over being raided, a good indication that they placed little faith in the effectiveness of the badly watered-down Order No. 11.[39]

Regarded objectively from the standpoint of historical perspective Order No. 11 was a natural and perhaps inevitable response on the part of the Federal military authorities to a situation which had become intolerable. It was, by mid-Victorian if not by modern standards, very cruel. Yet this cruelty, in the final analysis, merely reflected the cruelty of the Kansas-Missouri Border War, without doubt the most savage and bitter phase of the entire Civil War.

Membership in the State Historical Society of Missouri, publisher of the
Missouri Historical Review for almost 100 years, is an inexpensive and
effective way to support the preservation of Missouri’s Civil War heritage.

State Historical Society of Missouri

NOTES


[1]U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 128 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901), Series I, 22, pt. 2, 473 (hereinafter cited as O.R., followed by series number, volume number, part number [if any], and page). The terms of the order also included a narrow strip of the northern part of Vernon County. In all, the region affected by the order had a population of about 40,000 at the beginning of the war.

[2] For example, see Jay Monaghan, Civil War on the Western Border (Boston: Little, Brown, 1955), 287; Carl W. Breihan, Quantrill and his Civil War Guerrillas (Denver: Sage, 1959), 135-39; Darrell Garwood, Crossroads of America: The Story of Kansas City (New York: Norton, 1948), 320-21; John N. Edwards, Noted Guerrillas; or, The Warfare of the Border (St. Louis: Bryan, Brand, 1877), 205; Charles Robinson, The Kansas Conflict (Lawrence, Kans.: Privately printed, 1898), 447-48.

Editor’s Note: The article as published in MHR in 1963 uses a death toll of 150 from the raid on Lawrence, which was the standard figure used at the time. Castel reports he later came to the conclusion the actual number was probably closer to 180, and that he now accepts the estimate of “around two hundred” as given by Edward E. Leslie in The Devil Knows How to Ride: William Clarke Quantrill and His Confederate Raiders, Random House, 1996, p.237. We have made this correction at the author’s request.

[3] See Lt. Col. R. H. Hunt, General Order No. 11 (Topeka: Kansas Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, 1908), 3-7; Henry E. Palmer, “The Lawrence Raid,” Kansas Historical Collections, 6 (18971900): 317-25; Shalor W. Eldridge, Recollections of Early Days in Kansas (Topeka: Kansas State Printing Plant, 1920), 197.

[4] The Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, January 23, 1864, estimated that in 1863 nine-tenths of the people in Jackson, Cass, and Bates counties “supplied and aided” the guerrillas.

[5] Ibid., June 13, 1863.

[6] Ibid., May 2, 1863.

[7] O.R., I, 22, pt. 2, 428-29.

[8] Ibid., 450-51, 460-61.

[9] Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, September 5, October 3, October 10, 1863, quoting the Lexington Union and the St. Louis Republican.

[10] C. B. Rollins, ed., “Letters of George Caleb Bingham to James S. Rollins,” Missouri Historical Review, 33 (October 1938): 62.

[11] Bingham completed the painting in November 1868. The original hangs in the art gallery of the State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia.

[12] The above statements and quotations are from a public letter written by Bingham in 1877, most conveniently found in William L. Webb, Battles and Biographies of Missourians (Kansas City: Hudson-Kimberly, 1900), 256-64.

[13] Albert Castel, Frontier State at War. Kansas, 1861-1865 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1958), 111-12.

[14] William E. Connelly, Quantrill and the Border Wars (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Torch Press, 1910), 417-18.

[15] Castel, Frontier State at War, 146-49.

[16] Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, September 5, 1863; Schofield to Ewing, January 25, 1877, in Webb, Battles and Biographies, 265.

[17] O.R., I, 22, pt. 2, 471-72. John N. Edwards, Noted Guerrillas, 205-6, who got most of the material for his book from former guerrillas, even stated, mistakenly, that the order actually originated with Schofield, who in turn got his instructions from Washington.

[18] Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, September 19, 1863.

[19] Vivian K. McLarty, ed., “The Civil War Letters of Colonel Bazel Lazear,” Missouri Historical Review, 44 (July 1950): 390.

[20] O.R., I, 22, pt. 2, 570-71, 591; ibid., 34, pt. 2, 326, 375; Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, September 19, November 23, 1863, January 30, 1864. John N. Edwards, who rarely missed an opportunity to berate the Kansans, declared that Ewing executed Order No. 11 “mercifully.” Edwards, Noted Guerrillas, 206.

[21] About one-half of the refugees crossed into North Missouri, while most of the other half went South. O.R., I, 22, pt. 2, 753. Only about 600 of the 10,000 some inhabitants of Cass County remained there by September 9. Richard S. Brownlee, Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1958), 126.

[22] John M. Schofield, Forty-six Years in the Army (New York: Century, 1897), 83.

[23] Theodore Ropp, War in the Modern World (Durham: Duke University Press, 1959), 77; Cyril Falls, A Hundred Years of War (London: Duckworth, 1953), 278, 282, 288-89.

[24] Ibid., 148, 279.

[25] Virgil Carrington Jones, Gray Ghosts and Rebel Raiders (New York: Macmillan, 1956), 279.

[26] O.R., I, 22, pt. 2, 484; ibid., 34, pt. 2, 242-43; Webb, Battles and Biographies, 261.

[27] Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, September 5, 1863.

[28] George Miller, Missouri’s Memorable Decade, 1860-1870 (Columbia, Mo.: Press of E. W. Stephens, 1898), 36.

[29] Diary of Sherman Bodwell, MS, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka, August 29, 1863.

[30] MS Memoirs of Frank Smith, copy of original in possession of author.

[31] O.R., I, 22, pt. 2, 693-94, 702-3, 713-14; Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, November 21, 1863.

[32] O.R., I, 34, pt. 2, 79-80.

[33] Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, January 23, 30, 1864. About 250 families were allowed to resettle under Order No. 20, according to Ewing’s chief quartermaster. William Birdsall, comp., The History of Jackson County, Missouri (Kansas City: Union Historical Co., 1881), 290-91.

[34] O.R., I, 34, pt. 2, 81, 89.

[35] Ibid., pt. 3, 623.

[36] Ibid., pt. 1, 1022.

[37] MS Memoirs of Frank Smith.

[38] Brownlee, Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy, 206-9.

[39] Kansas City Western Journal of Commerce, June 18, July 2, 1864; O.R., I, 34, pt. 3, 401, 502; ibid., pt. 4, 25, 54-55; Charles Robinson to Mrs. Charles Robinson, February 5, 1865, Charles Robinson Papers, Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka.

John Newman Edwards Bio

JOHN NEWMAN EDWARDS

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.

BY REV. GEO. PLATTENBURG, DOVER, MO.

From John N. Edwards: Biography, Memoirs, Reminiscences and Recollections,

edited by Jennie Edwards, 1889

Major John Newman Edwards, CSA, was General Jo. Shelby’s adjutant and chronicler. At war’s end Edwards chose to share Mexican exile with Shelby as well. When they returned to the U.S. in 1867, Edwards rapidly published three large volumes of wartime experiences. Two dealt specifically with Shelby, “Shelby and his Men”, 1867 and “Shelby’s Expedition to Mexico”, 1872. In 1873, he published a long piece in the St. Louis Dispatch —”A Terrible Quintette”—about the James Boys, two of the Youngers, and Arthur McCoy. Some of this piece was reused for his 1877 book “Noted Guerrillas”, a broad handling of the Confederate irregulars in Missouri during the war. Edwards also founded the Kansas City Times and was its editor for many years.

Make no mistake, Major John N. Edwards was a Confederate and proud of it. You will not find more than passing reference to the other side of the coin in his pages. His flamboyantly purple prose is sometimes entertaining and sometimes tiresome, but is always used in defense of Confederate Missouri and its view of the world and “the late unpleasantness”.

Historians almost universally pillory Edwards for his exaggerations and blatant defense of all things Confederate, no matter the individual facts of the case. Yet at the same time, they must deal with him. In many instances he is the only source available. While it would be a grave mistake to rely solely on Edwards for your understanding of the Civil War and Reconstruction in Missouri, you cannot be well read on the war in Missouri without having read Edwards, and you cannot understand the way the Missouri Confederates understood themselves without reading Edwards. In addition, many western historians credit Edwards with almost single-handedly starting the myth of the “noble outlaw” in this country with his defense of the Jameses, Youngers, and their cohorts after the war.


By John Newman Edwards: Noted Guerrillas and, the extremely rare, A Terrible Quintette for the first time available on a searchable CD-ROM:

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FIRST PUBLICATION OF “A TERRIBLE QUINTETTE” ANYWHERE IN 129 YEARS!

FIRST SEARCHABLE PUBLICATION, WITH ALL ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATIONS, OF “NOTED GUERRILLAS”

“Noted Guerrillas, or the Warfare of the Border”, John N. Edwards, 1877, 488 Pages, 26 illustrations.

Quantrill (“Quantrell”), Bloody Bill Anderson, George Todd, Arch Clements, Fletch Taylor, Jesse James, Frank James, Cole Younger, John Jarrette, Arthur C. McCoy, John Thrailkill  —they’re all here, described by a man who knew them.

“A Terrible Quintette”, John N. Edwards, St. Louis Dispatch, Nov. 22, 1873. 21,000 words.

FIRST PUBLICATION ANYWHERE IN 129 YEARS!

“Edwards had for the first time put together some of the most important ingredients of the James Legend.” –William A. Settle, Jr, author of “Jesse James Was His Name”, describing “A Terrible Quintette”

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The subject of this brief sketch, John Newman Edwards, was born in Warren County, Va., January 4, 1839. Whilst a mere boy he learned type-setting at the town of Front Royal, a place now of great and heroic memories, in the Gazette office, a paper at this writing called the Sentinel. Even at that time he was regarded as a boy of extraordinary powers, having, at the immature age of fourteen years, as testifies a contemporary, written a story that gave him “wide celebrity.” While yet a boy, through the influence of his relation, Thomas J. Yerby, of Lexington, now of Marshall, Mo., he was induced to come to the State of Missouri in 1854 or 1855. Arriving in Lexington, he soon thereafter entered upon his avocation of printer in the office of the Expositor, by whom conducted I do not now recall. Here, really, began the education of this singularly gifted boy, whose manhood was to be so rich in strange adventures and romance. Of schools Major Edwards knew but little, his advantages of this kind were limited and poor in character. As a boy, he loved solitude—this peculiarity in manhood made him shy to the verge of girlish timidity. He loved the fields, sweet with “the breath of kine” and the new-mown hay. He lingered in the dim vistas of the woods, and from out their slumberous shadows, dreamily watched the ceaseless swirl of the great river. This love of nature and its communion, made him fond of the hunt and the pastime of gentle Izaak Walton.

His life during these years, in and about Lexington, was of the ordinary uneventful character, belonging to extreme youth and peaceful times. But the storm was brewing. The distant and sullen muttering of a great political upheaval was breaking ominously upon the nation’s ears. Great questions lying radically at the very base of the two antagonistic conceptions of the American system of government, were loudly and hotly contested by the sections of the country. The slavery question was not the cause, but the occasion of the threatened rupture. Whatever men may say, or however much they may deplore sectional controversy, there were, as there are, but two great drifts of thought as to the true theory of our institutions, the one, denominated, “State Rights,” the other, the steady trend toward centralization. Leaving the truth or falsity of these contested theories out of the question, the fact remains that out of them came one of the mightiest struggles known to the annals of the race. The rupture came. The “golden bowl was broken,” the “silver cord was loosened,” and there came an era of hate and blood that all good men ought gladly to wish to be forgotten.

HIS CAREER AS A SOLDIER.

It is at this juncture that Major Edwards began his active career. In the year 1862, Gen. Jo. O. Shelby organized a regiment near Waverly, Lafayette County, Mo. Of this regiment Frank Gordon was Lieutenant-Colonel. Colonels Shanks and Beal G. Jeans, with Capt. Ben Elliott in command of a battalion, joined and united with Shelby at this point. This command moved on the day of the Lone Jack fight with a view of forming a junction with Cockrell and Coffee. The forces of Shanks, Jeans, and Elliott, with his own regiment, constituted the original force under Shelby. Of this command, after the expiration of several months, upon the retirement of Captain Arthur, John N. Edwards received the appointment of Brigade-Adjutant, with the rank of Major. This occurred in the month of September, 1863. When finally Shelby was promoted to the command of a division, Edwards shared the fortune of his generous and chivalrous leader and became the Adjutant of the division, I think with the rank of Colonel, though of this I have no positive evidence at hand. In this position he continued until the disbanding of the whole command after Lee’s surrender.

Shelby’s force, as we have seen, left Waverly to form a junction with Cockrell and Coffee, but on reaching Columbus in Johnson County, he heard of the Lone Jack battle, and was compelled to revise his plans. He began to work his way south, invironed by almost indescribable difficulties, and never at any time were the experiences and dangers of this illustrious body of men greater or graver. Care, prudence and courage of the highest order were manifested in successfully making this junction, with the men that fought at Lone Jack, an accomplished fact. This was done at or near Newtonia, from which point the united force fell back to McKissock’s Springs, in Arkansas. Of this force, as Senior Colonel, Shelby took command, Lieut.-Col. Frank Gordon being at the head of the old regiment. From McKissock’s they fell back to Cane Hill, a place made memorable years before by one of those tragedies so incident to frontier life of almost indescribable horror. Here they rested, Hindman at that time having his headquarters at Van Buren. To Shelby was given the arduous and dangerous duty of watching and contesting, step by step, the Federal advance from Fayetteville. It was necessarily Shelby’s additional duty to cover Hindman’s movements at Van Buren, Blount performing alike service for Curtis. During this period the splendid soldierly qualities of this whole command were daily exhibited. The soldier alone knows the hardships, and the demand for an almost superhuman endurance in this form of military service, of such varied fortune of defeat and victory. During the whole period immediately prior to the battle of Prairie Grove, Shelby held the position in front of Hindman’s advance, and finally, on a frosty December morning, he opened the hard contested fight of Prairie Grove. The sad December night before the battle is thus described by Major Edwards himself, and as he alone could do it: “The moon this night had been eclipsed, too, and upon many of the soldiers the weird, mysterious appearance of the sky, the pale, ghost-like phantom of a cloud across its crimson disc, had much of superstitious influence. At first, when the glowing camp fires had burned low and comfortable a great flood of radiance was pouring over the mountains and silvering even the hoary white beard of the moss clustering about the blank, bare faces of the precipices. The shadows contracted finally. The moon seemed on fire, and burned itself to ashes. The gigantic buckler of the heavens, studded all over with star-diamonds, had for its boss a gloomy, yellowish, struggling moon. Like a Wounded King, it seemed to bleed royally over the nearest cloud, then wrapt its dark mantle about its face, even as Caesar did, and sink gradually into extinction. There was a hollow grief of the winds among the trees, and the snowy phantasm of the frost crinkled and rustled its gauze robes under foot. The men talked in subdued voices around their camp-fires, and were anxious to draw from the eclipse some happy augury. Relief exhibited itself on every face when the moon at least shone out broad and good, and the dark shadows were again lit up with tremulous rays of light.”

And e’er the great sun’s white splendors kissed the rime-robed earth, Shelby’s voice, clear as a bugle’s note, came to gallant Shanks, “Forward, Major!” And since the day that men first learned war, they never rode with more splendid courage into battle; not one of all these men but deserved the golden spurs of chivalrous knighthood. From this field, stained with such precious blood on this chill December day, Shelby again occupied the post of honor and danger, covering Hindman’s retreat. Falling back slowly, on reaching Van Buren he found that General Hindman had abandoned his position at Van Buren, and had fallen back to Little Rock. Shelby finally went into camp at Lewisburg, on the Arkansas River, and became virtually an outpost of Hindman’s command at Little Rock. Shelby in all this service acted independently, although shortly prior to the Prairie Grove battle Shelby’s and Marmaduke’s Brigades had been united, forming Marmaduke’s Division; the latter becoming Division Commander by virtue of a Brigadier’s commission at that time in his possession. At this camp was organized an expedition into Missouri, the leading event of which was the capture of Springfield, January 8, 1863. But being unable to hold the position won, they moved on in an easterly direction to the town of Hartsville, where a disastrous defeat was sustained. From this point a retreat was effected, and the force went finally into camp at Batesville, on the White River in Arkansas. Here, probably in the month of April, subsequent to the events described, was organized what is known as the “Cape Girardeau Expedition,” as the attack upon this town was the leading event of the campaign, where the subject of this sketch was wounded and taken prisoner. Sometime prior to that measureless blunder of a most pitiful senility, the disastrous assault upon Helena, Arkansas, Major Edwards was exchanged and had rejoined his command, taking part in the fateful scenes of that dark day when so many gallant and fearless men were slaughtered upon the altar of a boundless stupidity. Shelby was wounded in this battle. His command then moved to Jackson Port, where he remained until the Federal advance under that humane soldier, General Frederick Steele, was made on Little Rock. Shelby was commanded to take position on Bayou Metoe, to watch Steele’s advance from points on the White River. Price’s whole force was then occupying an intrenched position on the Arkansas River immediately opposite Little Rock. Colonel Frank Gordon’s regiment was occupying a position on the extremity of a spur of Big Rock, in full view of the city. In all the scenes before Little Rock Shelby’s division was a very large part, and finally covered Price’s retreat from the city. At Arkadelphia another expedition into Missouri was organized, at the earnest solicitation of General Shelby, and so the raid of 1863 was inaugurated. He gained permission to select a number of men from each regiment of his division, to the number of 800. After a single day’s march they came within the enemy’s territory. Marching day and night, engaged in countless skirmishes, they reached and captured Boonville; from thence they came to Marshall, where they were surrounded by not less than 5,000 men under Ewing, Crittenden and Pleasonton. The two formed in front, the latter in the rear. After three or four hours’ fighting, Shelby determined to cut his way out, and an order to this effect was borne to Colonel Shanks by Major Edwards. The plan was successfully accomplished despite the mighty odds against them. The inequality of the forces gave especial glory to the deed.

But it is not possible in a brief sketch like this to follow the fortunes of this band of noble soldiers under so dashing and fearless a leader, in a long war. Of the scenes so tragic of this vast conflict each soldier might say with Aeneas as he recounted the miseries and the fall of Troy, to Dido and her Tyrians, until the sinking stars invited to repose “Magna Pars Fui.” Of the great contest and its strangely varied fortunes they were a great part. It was at this point in the history of this great internecine struggle that Major Edwards began to receive that military prominence he so richly deserved. As a soldier, he was not only brave and fearless, and wise in council, but gentle, tender, courteous to the humblest soldier beneath him. As he was whole-hearted in the cause he espoused, so dealt he kindly with the men that shared his convictions and the fortunes of a common cause.

I here employ the beautiful tribute of Major J. F. Stonestreet, who shared with him the vicissitudes of a long and bitter struggle. It is better said than I could say it:

A COMRADE’S TRIBUTE.

The achievements of Shelby and his men are matters of history. Of them all Major Edwards was the hero. The individual instances of his bravery in battle, his wisdom in council, his tender solicitude for his men, his self-sacrificing spirit, would fill a volume. Major J. F. Stonestreet, of this city, who was with him until he crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico, tells well the story of his part in the great struggle.

“I cannot speak of John Edwards without emotion,” he said. “He was the noblest man of the many noble men who took part in the great struggle in the West. I can not begin to tell of all the instances of his valor in .battle, his kindness in camp, his care for his comrades, his noble self-sacrifice, his great brain and noble heart. No one but those who were with him in those dark hours can appreciate his magnificent spirit. He was only a boy when he joined Gordon’s regiment, but he soon became the hero of Shelby’s old brigade. It was a grand sight to see him in battle. He was always where the fight was thickest. He was absolutely devoid of fear. The men had the confidence in him that they would have had, had he been a God. Their trust in him was sublime. He had a genius for war. While he was as brave as a lion, his courage was not of the rash, impetuous sort that led him into foolhardy under takings. His wisdom was as great as his bravery. No one appreciates more the character and achievements of General Shelby than I; but when the dark days came, it was John Edwards who, more than anybody else, inspired hope in the hearts of the men, cheered and encouraged them, and spurred them on to renewed exertions.

“This self-sacrifice was noble. I have seen him dismount and give his horse away to a tired trooper. In the hospital once I saw him take off his shirt and tear it up for bandages for the wounded, not knowing when or how he was to get another one. I have seen him take off his coat and give it to a soldier who, he thought, was more in need of it. His spirit was so gentle that it hurt him more to see others suffer than to suffer himself. What heroism he displayed in that awful retreat from Westport! Small-pox broke out among the men. John Edwards feared it as little as he did the bullets of the enemy. He would take a soldier with the small-pox in his arms, carry him to the most comfortable place that could be secured, and nurse him with the care of a woman. He would brave anything to secure a delicacy for a sick soldier. When we were eating horseflesh on that awful march, and the men were starving, naked and ready to give up, it was he who cheered and encouraged them and held them together. His heart was so big that he thought of everybody before himself.

“In battle he was a very Mars; in camp he was as gentle as a woman. The men loved him, and little wonder. He could never do enough for them. Brave men, all of them, they recognized him as the bravest and the brainiest. ‘Follow me, boys,’ I have heard him cry, ‘and I will take you where the bullets are the thickest and the sabers the sharpest,’ and then, his sword flashed in his hand, he would be off to where the fight was the hottest. And the men would be after him with a confidence and devotion that insured victory. He was the bravest man in war and the gentlest in peace that I ever saw. He was the soul of honor. He was one man in a million. He was the Chevalier Bayard of Missouri.”

Notwithstanding his intrepid bravery, Major Stonestreet says he was badly wounded but once. That was in Marmaduke’s raid on Springfield, when he was shot and taken prisoner in the fight near Hartsville. He was afterward exchanged and rejoined his regiment at Jacksonville, Ark. He especially distinguished himself for bravery and strategy in the 4th of July fight at Helena, which was in progress when Vicksburg surrendered. It was said of him that he had more horses shot from under him, and gave more horses away to those whom he thought needed them more than himself, than any man in Shelby’s brigade.

So testifies one who knew John Edwards through all the trying scenes of a contest all too bitter, and who loved him well. John Edwards was a born soldier. The genius of war and the genius of poetry alike presided at his birth. The courage of the Knight and the poesy of the Troubadour were alike his. He crowned the brow of war with golden nimbus of the poet. For his deft fingers the brand of the grizzled grenadier and the minstrel’s lute were alike fashioned. He brought the chivalry and song of the thirteenth into the Titanic struggles of the nineteenth century.

An officer once bore a report of General Shelby’s to General Holmes, who on reading it exclaimed with an impious expletive: “Why, Shelby is a poet as well as a fighter!” “No,” replied the officer, “but his Adjutant is a born poet.” It was this remarkable combination of elements in Major Edwards that made him as brave and fearless as he was tender and gentle. It also accounts for the strong, religious sentiment of his nature mentioned in a brief speech at his grave. Belief in the supernatural elements of religion and poesy go hand in hand. Goethe stated a very large and a very fundamental truth when he wrote, “Der Aberglaube ist die Poesie des Lebens“—the “overfaith, the supernatural, is the ground of life’s highest political forms.

IN MEXICO—MARRIAGE, ETC.

After the close of the war Major Edwards followed the fortunes of his old leader with others of his fellow’ soldiers into Mexico, where he spent two years, a deeply interested spectator of the affairs of Maximilian’s Empire. With this amiable, but unfortunate Prince, and with his wife the “Poor Carlotta,” he became a favorite, and through him was negotiated and obtained the grant which enabled Shelby, and perhaps fifty others, to establish the Cordova Colony of Carlotta. He and Governor Allen, of Louisiana, a man of beautiful spirit and richly stored mind, established a newspaper, The Mexican Times, devoted to the restoration of an era of peace, prosperity, and good government for this sadly distracted people. Whilst here, the material of one of his books, “An Unwritten Leaf of the War,” was produced and gathered, which appears in this present volume. What a strangely romantic period these two years must have been to the dreamy, poetic soldier of the North. The rich, tropical foliage, the skies luminously blue, the warm airs, the voluptuous climate, the romantic people inheriting the glorious traditions of Old Spain, the memories of the Cid, songs of Calderon and Lope de Vega, chanted in the sweet the Castilian tongue must have been things of ceaseless charm to the imaginative temperament so strongly marked in Major Edwards. It was a period of romantic adventure, and from time to time he has related to me singular episodes that occurred during his association with Governor Allen, but brevity denies indulgence to the reminiscent mood.

In the year 1867, having returned from Mexico, Major Edwards went on the Republican as a reporter, then under the editorial control of Col. William Hyde, a noble gentleman and an able writer, whose contributions to that great paper have rarely been equaled in western journalism. In the year 1868, in connection with the brilliant and versatile Cola John C. Moore, now of the Pueblo Dispatch, he inaugurated the Kansas City Times, with the financial support of R. B. Drury & Co. It was at this time that he was married. This marriage took place on March 28, 1871, to Mary Virginia Plattenburg, of Dover, Lafayette County, Missouri. A woman scarce less brilliant than himself, of high impulses, poetic sentiment and of an uncommon literary faculty, she was a fit companion for this molder of “fiery and delectable shapes.” They were married at the residence of Gen. John O. Shelby, near Aullville, in Lafayette County. This marriage took place away from the home of the bride because of an interposed objection on the part of the parents, grounded solely upon the near family relationship of the parties. The fruit of this marriage is two boys and one girl. The boys are John aged seventeen and James fourteen years, the girl Laura eight.

THE DUEL WITH COLONEL FOSTER.

Major Edwards remained on the Times until 1873, two years after it passed into its present management, and greatly aided in building it up into its present commanding position as director of western thought and enterprise. In this same year, he went upon the St. Louis Dispatch, owned and controlled by Mr. Stilson Hutchins, whom he followed into the St. Louis Times. It was while at work on the Times that his duel with Col. Emory S. Foster took place. The difficulty grew out of certain questions incident to the great civil struggle whose memories were yet fresh in the minds of all, and its passions still unallayed. These matters were discussed with great acerbity of temper and sharpness of expression. The acrimony engendered by a long, bitter contest, was still more or less dominant in the minds of men in all sections. It can serve no good purpose here to dwell on the questions themselves or their mode of treatment; they belong to the dead past, and there let them remain. I know that the acrimony so rife at the time of this occurrence with Major Edwards, in common with the better class of men in both sections, was a thing to be deplored and forgotten. The friends and admirers of Major Edwards are of all parties. There are no more tender or appreciative tributes to his memory than those written by the men in blue. Mrs. Edwards informs me that she has received as many expressions of sympathy and admiration from Federal as from Confederate soldiers. The perpetuation of the rancor of the war is left to the camp-follower and coward. I shall here enter on no defense of Major Edwards’ ideas on the duello. With his education, and sensitive perception of the worth of personal honor, it is easily accounted for. Omitting the offensive paragraphs we give this statement from a morning paper the day after the rencounter:

BELOIT, Wis., Sept. 4, 1875.

A duel was fought at five o’clock this afternoon, six miles north of Rockford, in Winnebago County, Illinois, between Maj. John N. Edwards, of the St. Louis Times and Dispatch, and Col. E. S. Foster, of the St. Louis Journal. The origin of the affair grew out of the recent invitation to Jefferson Davis to address the Winnebago Fair. The St. Louis Times of August the 25th contained an article written by Major Edwards, commenting upon the treatment of Mr. Davis, and reflecting upon the intolerant spirit manifested. To this the Journal replied that the writer of the Times article had lied, and knew he lied, when he wrote it.

Major Edwards took exception to this and demanded a retraction of the offensive language. Colonel Foster, the editor of the Journal, disavowed any personal allusion to Major Edwards, but declined to retract the language. A lengthy correspondence ensued, Col. H. B. Branch acting as the friend of Major Edwards, and Col. W. D. W. Barnard as the friend of Colonel Foster, the result of which is embodied in the last letters of the principals, which show the difference between them:

St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 30, 1875.

“Col. EMORY S. FOSTER:

“Sir: In reply to your letter of this date I have to state that your reply to the reasonable request I made of you, to-wit, to withdraw and to disavow all language in your editorial of the 25th inst., personally offensive to myself, is evasive and not responsive to my request. In my letter to you I referred solely to what was directly personal to myself, without inquiring whether my editorial, or yours in answer to it, exceeded the usages of the press in discussing a subject generally or referring to bodies of persons. I can not admit your right to introduce these questions into this controversy which refer solely to your allusion to the writer of the Times editorial.

“The disclaimer in the first four paragraphs of your letter would be satisfactory had you followed it up by a withdrawal of the offensive terms of your editorial, so far as they referred to me personally. But as you decline to do so I must, therefore, construe your letter of this date, and its spirit, as a refusal on your part to do me an act of common justice, and so regarding it, I deem it my duty to ask of you that satisfaction which one gentleman has a right to ask of another.

“My friend, Col. H. B. Branch, who will deliver this, is authorized to arrange with any friend you may select, the details of further arrangements connected with the subject. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. N. EDWARDS.”

St. Louis, Aug. 31, 1875.

“Col. JOHN N. EDWARDS:

“Sir: Yours of the 30th inst. was handed to my friend, W. D. W. Barnard, Esq., at 11 o’clock this A. M., by your friend, Col. H. B. Branch, and is now before me. In reply, I have to state that I emphatically disclaimed in my note of yesterday any intention of referring to you, or in any way offering to you, a personal offense in the matter in which you have raised the issue.

“My friend Mr. Barnard will have charge of my honor in the premises. I am, very respectfully. your obedient servant, EMORY S. FOSTER.”

It being found impossible, as appears from the above correspondence, to accomplish a reconciliation between the parties by a withdrawal of the offensive language, the matter passed into the hands of the seconds, Col. H. B. Branch, on the part of Major Edwards, and W. D. W. Barnard on the part of Colonel Foster.

They were to meet on the 4th day of September, 1875, between the hours of 6 and 7 A. M., or as soon thereafter as the parties could reach the grounds, in the county of Winnebago, State of Illinois. The weapons, Colt’s navy revolvers calibre 38, the distance twenty paces. Each party entitled to one shot, unless both demanded a second. The firing was to be at the words, thus: “Are you ready; one, two, three”—the firing to occur after the word “two” and not after the word “three.” The seconds were to be similarly armed, and any violation of the rules agreed upon entitled the second of the one to shoot down the offending second of the other.

Upon arriving at Rockford both parties drove to the Holland House and partook of dinner.

About 3 o’clock the seconds completed their arrangements. It was decided to drive five miles north on the Beloit road, and have the meeting in some secluded spot. Both principals agreed, and Col. Edwards’ party started off in a hack at half-past three, the understanding being for them to await the other party for half an hour after arriving as far out as designated. If the challenged party did not arrive on time it was to be regarded as an evidence of cowardice.

The Foster party caught up with the other party just as they were halting at an estimated distance from the city of five miles.

The spot where the halt was called was a shaded valley, with a winding stream called Turtle Creek, running through it. The seconds held another consultation, and, the site suiting them, they went in search of a place sufficiently far from the Beloit road to be safe from intrusion. After an absence of five minutes they were successful in their search, and on their return the whole party left the carriages. The hackmen, who were wondering what was in the wind, but had not the enterprise to gratify their curiosity, were told to wait in the neighborhood for a few minutes, which instructions they filled to the very letter. The names of the parties who went on the field were: Col. John N. Edwards, the challenging principal; Col. H. B. Branch, second; Dr. Montgomery, surgeon; Dr. Munford, of the Kansas City Times, friend; Major Foster, principal; W. D. W. Barnard, second; Dr. P.S. O’Reilly, surgeon, and the representative of the Tribune, friend.

The spot selected was a couple of hundred yards to the west of the road, a beautifully shaded valley in which horses and cattle were grazing. The seconds took up position near a tree and commenced to examine the weapons. The principals were a few yards apart, Foster reclining on a bank, coolly smoking a cigar, Edwards resting with his back against a tree and conversing with Dr. Munford, with whom he served in the Confederate army. The surgeons took their cases of instruments to the hill-side, where they sat watching the preparations for the encounter. Some time was occupied in the examination and loading of the pistols, and while the necessary part of the work was in progress, the principals each divested himself of his watch and other articles which might turn off a bullet. The next procedure was to measure the ground, a matter which was gone through with business-like dispatch and coolness. Twenty paces was the distance. The positions were north and south, and were marked by a short stake driven into the ground. Branches of trees were cleared out of the way to prevent injury from falls, and other details attended to which might render things comfortable for the parties immediately interested. The next important step was to toss up for position and the call. Branch, Edward’s second, won the choice of position, and Barnard the call. This fact was communicated to the principals, who expressed themselves satisfied with the result. The principals and seconds then walked up the ground. Edwards asked Foster’s opinion as to position, but the latter said he had no choice. They both received their weapons from the seconds and Edwards chose the south end of the ground. Before the final arrangements were completed, the friends were requested to relieve themselves of their pistols, a precaution against a general skirmish should either party feel aggrieved. Dr. Munford was the only one who had a pistol on his person, and he at once placed it in his valise. The conditions of the fight were then read. Edwards requested Barnard to articulate the words, “Are you ready? one, two, three,” in a distinct manner, so as to prevent unpleasant haste. Both men at this point displayed marvelous nerve, Foster smoking his cigar in an unconcerned way. Positions were then taken up, the seconds shaking hands with their principals, and receiving instructions in case they should fall. At length all was ready. The seconds had pistols in their hands ready to revenge any infringements of the code. There was an ominous pause. At exactly 5 o’clock the men faced each other and took mental aim; then came the words, “Are you ready?” in clear, distinct tones: “one, two.” Before the word three the duelists fired almost simultaneously. The surgeons anxiously looked each to his man, expecting him to fall, but neither was wounded. “A little high!” exclaimed Foster, as soon as he had fired. Edwards demanded another fire, in an excited tone. His second asked if he would adhere to that resolution. “Yes,” he replied, “it is just as I told you before we came on the field. I will go on if it takes a thousand fires; “and with this remark he sat down on the grass. Foster declined another fire. He was the challenged party, and felt no bitterness against his antagonist. Therefore he was not anxious for blood. His honor had been sustained as the challenged party. Shots had been exchanged, and that was all that was necessary. Barnard went to talk with Edwards, who was heard to say: ” I have admitted as much as I can do—have received no satisfaction to take with me.” After the interchange of a few words, Edwards concluded to make the thing up. He approached Foster and shook hands. There was mutual congratulation all round, and it was interesting to see the brotherly love displayed by the men, who two minutes before, had faced each other with death in their eyes. The genial Bourbon was produced, and the agreeable termination to the affair toasted. A short time was spent on the grass in mutual explanation, and everything was forgotten and forgiven. The parties then returned to their hacks, one shaping toward Beloit and the other to Rockford, which place they left in the evening, but for what point the reporter failed to ascertain.

Apprehending a possible fatal result, Major Edwards wrote the following note to his friend, Dr. Morrison Munford, who was present. It was written at the Tremont House, Chicago, and bears no date, and written in pencil on a leaf torn from a note-book which he carried in his pocket. The note needs no comment—it carries its own:

Dear Morry: A little farewell I want to speak to you. I have but three thoughts: my wife, my two children. When you can help my wife in her pride—help her. It aint much—only it is so much to me. Your friend,

J. N. EDWARDS.

This note is a revelation of the character of the relations between these two men, and shows how implicitly he relied upon the loyalty and steadfastness of Dr. Munford’s friendship—the one man of all others upon whom he called in his supposed extremity. John Edwards knew the man he calls “Dear Morry” as perhaps no other man did, and he trusted him. And now, the “little farewell” has been spoken, and the memory of a brave soul is left to men.

JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR.

After his withdrawal from the St. Louis Times he started to Santa Fe, to engage in sheep-raising, but visiting Dover to make his farewells, he was dissuaded from the undertaking, and remained at the home of his wife’s father, Judge J. S. Plattenburg, and wrote the “Noted Guerrillas,” a wonderful record of the border warfare. Subsequently he went to Sedalia, taking editorial charge of the Democrat. Retiring from this paper he started the Dispatch, which had a brief, but singularly brilliant career. He was then called to the editorial management of the St. Joseph Gazette, by the late Col. J. N. Burnes, the owner of the paper. Again, in 1887, he was recalled to the editorial chair of the Kansas City Times, which place he held at the time of his death. One needs but to read the numerous press tributes to know how exceedingly brilliant his editorial career has been. His style, bright and full of poetic forms, was forceful, vigorous and convincing; as flashing and as keen as the scimitar of Saladdin. Many of the passages in this book bear critical comparison with the most beautiful passages of classic English. The exuberance of expression and prodigality of beautiful words in the compositions of Major Edwards have occasionally led men to overlook or underestimate the more solid aspects of his mind. His historical and general knowledge was very great; his familiarity with the best specimens of Classic English in both prose and poetry was something wonderful in both accuracy and comprehensiveness. The opportunities of a student’s life were never within his reach, and yet he knew vastly more of books than most men who had been patient toilers over their pages through continuous years. To the ordinary mind it was wholly inexplicable, how or when he obtained such stores of rich and varied knowledge. His work was a remarkable blending of fact and fancy, of cogent reasoning and vivid poetic expression. A rare combination of powers. There are many gradgrinds, but few poets to clothe the hard facts of life in the aureole of imperishable beauty. The words necessary to describe fitly the dauntless courage, the greatness of soul, the tenderness surpassing that of woman, characterizing the life of John Edwards, would, to those who little knew him, seem fulsome and extravagant. But not so to his friends who knew him. Some of the virtues of Major Edwards were so intense in their expression as to seem almost weaknesses. He never talked of himself. There was not a single shred of the braggart in his nature. He was reticent of his own deeds to the verge of eccentricity. He seemed to be wholly unambitious, free, even from a suspicion of egotism. A strongly marked instance of this is shown in the fact in three books of which he is the real hero, not once is illusion made to himself. I fully agree with his devoted friend, Dr. Munford, that such a repression of self, under such circumstances, is simply without a parallel. I have known but one other man well, in Missouri, who even nearly equaled the modesty, the unselfish self-forgetfulness of John Edwards. That man was the prince of orators, whose soldiery skill wrote his name beside that of Xenophon, viz. Gen. A. W. Doniphan. For all meretricious methods, for every form of pretense, for merely dramatic effect, John Edwards entertained the harshest scorn. Sham and cant that sniveled, stirred his gentle nature into holiest and hottest wrath, and he wove around its victim the network of scathing lampoon that burned like the shirt of Nessus. Trickery, deceit and cowardice alone made him pitiless. That he was unselfish is clearly manifested in this fact, that his great influence, and surely no single man in all the State had so large a personal following whose devotion was a passion, was never employed to advance his own financial interest or to win place for himself. His influence was always for his friends. The witnesses are everywhere, in every walk of life. Men in high places; and low alike, bear testimony to his unselfish work for every comer. He showed me once a letter from a poor Irishman, asking his assistance to procure a position on the police force of St. Louis, and it was granted as readily as to a seeker of the highest place and power. Of his carelessness of self-advancement and his unceasing thought of other people, this circumstance is recalled. He, the writer, and an old soldier, grim and gray, in stature a very son of Anak, stood together. These two men had ridden into battle as joyously as the groom seeks his bride. And now in the days of peace, the grizzled soldier asks: “John, wouldn’t you make a good governor?” Promptly the answer came: “No, but I know who would.” The swart grenadier asks: “Who?” It is not needful to give the party named, beyond this: that he represented his district in Congress, and wore for years stainlessly the judicial ermine of his State. I reconsider, and give the name of Elijah Norton, the able jurist, the distinguished publicist and reproachless gentleman.

HIS DEATH.

Major Edwards was ill as early as the Wednesday prior to his death, but his demise at last was sudden and unexpected by his friends. The immediate cause of his death was inanition of the cardiac nerves. In the morning early he read part of a late paper. No one witnessed his death, but Thomas, a colored servant, and his little daughter Laura, aged eight years. His sons were at St. Mary’s College, Kansas, and Mrs. Edwards, worn out from loss of rest, had retired to another room. He seemed to have some premonition that the end was near, as three different times he asked Thomas to call Mrs. Edwards. The boy not realizing the Major’s condition, said, “no let Mrs. Edwards rest.” The child was playing with a bubble-pipe, and about ten minutes before death he blew a bubble, and said “Laura, always remember that papa bought you that pipe” evidently from this he knew the end had come. The little girl stood by the bedside wiping the chill death dew from her father’s brow, as his soul took its mysterious flight to that “bourne whence no traveler returns.” Mrs. Edwards and Major Bittinger entered the room together, just as life’s bound was reached. Soon it was noised abroad, and produced a profound sensation in all parts of the city. Says one:

The news soon spread throughout the city, and there was universal expression of profound sorrow. Major Edwards had been a frequent visitor to the capital, attending all the sessions of the Legislature for the past eighteen years, and all Democratic conventions held during that time. He was known to a majority of the members of the General Assembly, to the State officials and to the people generally. As soon as his death was announced, groups of men could be seen on the principal streets, discussing the sad event, and at the capitol half of the members of the Senate and House at once left their seats and gathered in the lobby and adjoining rooms. Republicans and Democrats alike expressed the deepest sorrow for his sudden and untimely death, and the highest sympathy for his bereaved family. During the recess at noon nothing else was talked about among the crowds at the various hotels but the death of the brilliant journalist.

RESOLUTIONS OF RESPECT.

At the afternoon session of the Senate, Senator McGrath, of St. Louis, offered the following resolution:

WHEREAS, The Senate of Missouri, with profound regret, have learned of the death of one of Missouri’s greatest and most distinguished citizens, Major John N. Edwards; therefore, be it

Resolved, That in respect to his memory the Senate now adjourn.

After a few appropriate remarks by Senator Moran, of St. Joseph, the resolution was unanimously adopted and the Senate adjourned. In the House, Hon. Lysander A. Thompson, of Macon, offered a similar resolution, which was unanimously adopted and the House adjourned. This evening a great number of the members of the Senate and House visited the McCarty House to take a last look at the features of the dead journalist.

In addition to the action of the Senate and House of Representatives as a mark of respect to the memory of the dead journalist, the local newspaper men and newspaper correspondents met at the Tribune office this afternoon, and a committee consisting of Walter M. Monroe, of the Tipton Times, W. A. Edwards, of the St. Joseph Gazette, and C. B. Oldham, of the Jefferson City Tribune, were appointed to draft suitable memorial resolutions to the memory of the deceased journalist. The committee reported the following:

Maj. John N. Edwards was born in Virginia about fifty-one years ago. His parents moved to Lexington, Mo., when he was of tender age. He received a common school education and afterward learned the printing trade in an office at Lexington. At the commencement of the Civil War he enlisted in the Confederate army and belonged to Gen. Jo. O. Shelby’s command. He was promoted time and again for skill and personal bravery, and won his military titles in the most honorable manner possible. He was engaged in more than fifty battles and skirmishes, and was severely wounded on more than one occasion. As the war drew to a close he followed Shelby and Price to Texas, and about the time peace was declared a small fragment of Shelby’s command, known as the “Iron Brigade,” sank the flag—the blood-stained flag which they had carried through the war—in the Rio Grande River, crossed the line into Mexico, and for thirteen months served in the French army. Later, Major Edwards returned to Missouri and published several books, one relating to the border warfare in Missouri, Texas and Arkansas, another entitled “Shelby and his Men.” He soon after engaged in newspaper editorial work, first in St. Louis, next in Sedalia, then in St. Joseph and Kansas City, respectively. He was for a time editor of the Dispatch and Times in St. Louis, edited the Sedalia Democrat and Dispatch, later the St. Joseph Gazette, and at the time of his death was editor of the Kansas City Times. No writer in the West was better known than Major Edwards. He followed no man. Every idea he advanced was original, and every thought he expressed in. print was copied far and wide. He had no superior in the newspaper field and but few peers. He was honest and fearless, and never published a line in public prints which he did not believe to be the truth, and for which he would not answer personally at all times. We, representatives of the western press, recognize in his death an irreparable loss. He was brave and generous in war, and fearless and honest in civil life, and liberal to a fault—an affectionate husband and a kind father. We believe that his death has left a vacancy in Missouri journalism that can never be filled. His death is a calamity to the press of the State. As an original writer and conscientious literary man, he never had a superior. He was brave and magnanimous in health, and fearless and resigned when the final summons came. Resolutions can not express our opinion of his ability and fearlessness. He lived the life of a patriotic American, and died the death of a brave, conscientious newspaper man.

Augustine Gallagher, Kansas City Journal, president.

W. A. Edwards, St. Joseph Gazette, secretary.

C. B. Oldham, Tribune, chairman committee.

Walt M. Monroe, Tipton Times.

Walter Sander, Westliche Post.

John Meagher, St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

A. C. Lemmon, Post-Dispatch.

W. M. Smith, St. Louis Republic.

W. N. Graham, Sedalia Gazette.

J. H. Edwards, Tribune.

W. A. Curry, Kansas City Times.

W. J. Cambliss, Higginsville Advance.

John W. Jacks, Montgomery Standard.

A. A. Lesueur, Lexington Intelligencer.

Walter Williams, Boonville Advertiser.

Immediately on the announcement of Major Edwards’ death, Col. A. C. Dawes telegraphed General Manager Clark of the Missouri Pacific, and received a reply that he would place his special car at his disposal to convey the remains of the dead journalist and his family to Dover, Lafayette County, where it had been decided he should be buried. The pall-bearers are: ex-Governor Charles P. Johnson, Dr. Morrison Munford, Maj. J. L. Bittinger, Darwin W. Marmaduke, J. F. Merryman and Col. Thomas P. Hoy.

Captain Lesueur, Secretary of State, gives the following account of the journey from Jefferson City to Dover:

THE FUNERAL JOURNEY.

The death of Maj. John N. Edwards, from heart disease, took place at the McCarty House, in Jefferson City, at 9:40 A. M., Saturday, May 4th. It is not too much to say that it created a profound sensation throughout the city. No man in Missouri was so well known as he to its

public men. In Jefferson City he was known by everybody, and his friends were numbered by the limit of his acquaintance. Republicans as well as Democrats were his warm admirers, and the humblest negro that knew him loved him.

It is safe to say that no funeral that has occurred at Dover for many years has created a more profound impression upon the public mind than did that of Major Edwards. There he learned to know his beloved commander, Gen. Joseph O. Shelby, and many of the brave and daring soldier boys whose firmness in battle and endurance on the march gained for the old brigade that renown which he afterward immortalized in most poetic prose. There, too, he wooed and won his bride, a fair, gray-eyed Southern lassie, as full of impulse and romance as himself, a woman of ideals and poesy perhaps, but a brave and true-hearted woman who stood by him always, in weal and in woe, in joy and affliction, and was ever his ministering angel, his comfort and his solace. O, yes, Dover had many ties upon the heart of Major Edwards, and to the good people of the vicinity, a steady, God-fearing people, but a people of leisure, who read and preserve a touch of the romance of the days of Coeur de Lion, of Bruce and of McGregor, John Edwards was the embodiment of all that was chivalric and poetic. They ever followed from journal to journal his gifted pen, and he was nearer and dearer to them than he was to many with whom he came in daily contact out in the busy, active world. And they were there to put all that was mortal of him away in its last resting place with their own loving hands. Their wives and daughters were there, too, to add their tears to those of the stricken wife and children. As the numerous. assemblage encircled the grave, grief and sorrow written upon every face, the scene was one to immortalize the painter who could have seized it and put it on canvas. There was the evidence of an unusual depth of feeling and regret even for such an occasion.

From the moment of his death until his remains were taken from the train, there was a constant stream of sad and sorrowing friends passing in and out of the corridor, all intent upon hearing the particulars of his dying hours, upon looking just once more at his familiar features, upon expressing grief at his loss and of sympathy with his bereaved wife and children. At 12:30 on Sunday the funeral procession formed at the hotel to go to the depot, where the train was waiting. First, came a long line of gentlemen on foot, led by Governor Francis, and composed of senators, members of the house of representatives, and many others. By the side of the hearse were the pall-bearers—Dr. Morrison Munford, Col. D. W. Marmaduke, Hon. J. Frank Merriman, Maj. John L. Bittinger, Col. T. P. Hoy and Capt. A. A. Lesueur; after them came the family and other friends in carriages. At Tipton a special train furnished by the courtesy of S. H. Clark, Esq., at the request of Col. A. C. Dawes, awaited the funeral party, which was composed of Mrs. Edwards, Miss Ella McCarty, her near friend, all of the pallbearers (except Col. Marmaduke), Rev. Peter Trone, and Messrs. George and Walter Plattenburg. At Boonville they were joined by Hon. Thomas Cranmer, and at Marshall by Elder George Plattenburg and Mr. Yerbey. The train reached the Dover depot at about 6:30 p. m., where it was met by a number of the citizens of the place, and by the following named gentlemen, who acted as actual pall-bearers: John Allen Harwood, E. S. Van Anglen, Dr. E. R. Meng, R. T. Koontz, James F. Winn and George B. Gordon. The casket was deposited at the Plattenburg mansion, Mrs. Edwards’ girlhood home, until 10 o’clock the next morning, when the burial took place in the village cemetery. The whole country-side had turned out.

The train arrived as above, at Dover, 6:40 p. m. Sunday, May 5th. The following day, May 6th, he was borne to his last resting place. The burial is thus described by the Kansas City Times, the paper he started, and at whose helm he gallantly and dauntlessly stood through many a storm:

THE LAST SLEEP.

[Special to the Kansas City Times.]

HIGGINSVILLE, Mo., May 6th.—In the old cemetery, just at the outskirts of the little town of Dover, ten miles from here, the body of John N. Edwards was buried this morning. It is a quiet, secluded spot, where the rumble of wagon wheels in the road near by are the only sounds, save the singing of birds, heard from one year’s end to the other—just the place where one with Major Edwards’ love of nature and the beautiful would desire to lie in his last long sleep. And it was his wish, frequently expressed, that he should be buried there. It is within easy view from the old Plattenburg homestead, where his wife spent her girlhood and he wooed and won her, and from which his body was carried to its last resting place this morning. From the windows the tombstones which mark the graves of the former residents of Dover are plainly visible. The whole scene is a pretty rural one, the scattering houses of Dover giving it just enough of an urban aspect to soften its outlines without destroying its primitive beauty. It was no wonder that one with the poetic temperament and chivalrous ideals of Major Edwards should choose the old Dover cemetery as his burial place, even if his early days had not endeared it to him.

The special train—which was kindly furnished by the Missouri Pacific—bearing the body, the wife and little daughter of Major Edwards, the pall-bearers and friends, arrived at Dover from Jefferson City, Sunday night at 6:40. The pall-bearers were Maj. John L. Bittinger of St. Joseph; Dr. Morrison Munford, Hon. J. F. Merryman, Rev. Peter Trone of Clinton; Col. T. P. Hoy and Secretary of State A. A. Lesueur. Miss Ella McCarty of Jefferson City; Messrs. George and Walter Plattenburg of Kansas City; brothers of Mrs. Edwards, and Mr. Thomas Cranmer, sheriff of Cooper County, were among the party that came from Jefferson City.

The body was at once taken from the station to the residence of Mrs. L. C. Plattenburg, Mrs. Edward’s mother.

THE LAST SAD LOOK.

At 8:30 this morning the casket was opened, and the citizens of Dover and the people from the country for miles around, filed in to take a last look at the face which was loved throughout the length and breadth of Lafayette County, where he passed his early life, and from which he went to make a name that was honored and loved wherever it was known. Moist eyes of strong men gave evidence of the sincere affection with which the dead soldier and journalist had been regarded. Many of the men who passed had seen him go out to battle in the pride of his youthful strength, and they said that after many years the face was not changed as much as might have been expected. The features were life-like and the expression peaceful. “He looks as if he were sleeping,” many remarked.

The greater part of the five or six hundred people who viewed the corpse came from Lexington, Higginsville, Corder and the neighboring towns. There had been a misunderstanding as to the time the funeral would take place, and many persons from Higginsville, Corder and other

places had driven over Sunday. This and the comparative inaccessibility of Dover kept many persons away who had desired to be present. Nevertheless the little town could not have accommodated many more strangers.

There were no services at the house. At 10 o’clock the casket was closed. In addition to the pall-bearers who had accompanied the body from Jefferson City, Mr. John Allen Harwood, E. S. Van Anglen, E. R. Meng, R. I. Koontz, James F. Winn, and George B. Gordon of Dover, had been selected. They carried the casket to the hearse, which had been sent from Lexington. Besides Mrs. Edwards and her two sons and daughter, the members of the family who were present were J. Q. Plattenburg, H. W. Plattenburg, H. Y. Plattenburg, George Plattenburg, and W. L. Plattenburg, brothers of Mrs. Edwards; Mrs. L. C. Plattenburg, her mother and Miss

Eula Plattenburg, her sister. Mrs. Thomas Yerby, with whom Major Edwards lived when he was a boy, and learned to set type, also followed the body to the grave. Mr. Wiley O. Cog, of Kansas City, was in one of the carriages. The procession was a long one, but the distance from the house to the cemetery was short.

THE PREACHER’S TRIBUTE.

The services at the grave were simple, as Major Edwards had wished them to be. They were conducted by Rev. George Plattenburg, a cousin of Mrs. Edwards. He spoke feelingly and every word was listened to intently. His address was substantially as follows:

Twenty-eight years ago, when General Shelby was the captain of a single company, composed largely of the flower of the youth of this immediate vicinity, Major Edwards came to my home in Little Rock, Arkansas, accompanied by Yandell Blackwell, a soldier and gentleman from spur to plume. From that day to this my intercourse with Mayor Edwards has been of a most intimate character. I have never met a more rarely gifted or nobler man. His knowledge of men and books was simply wonderful. When and how he gained this great and varied knowledge was to me, a close student of books for more than forty years, still more wonderful, engaged as he was continuously in great active interests, and involved in the stress of vast political contests. A great journal of yesterday morning spoke of him as only a poet. If by this was meant that he was only a maker of rhythmic phrases, or the framer of melodious sentences, the statement was scarcely just. His was the wonderful and acute insight of the true poetic faculty into the great problems of human life and action and destiny—the faculty that intuitively penetrates the reason of things. In this sense he was a poet. These things he clothed in the poet’s glowing words, in striking and ofttimes surprisingly beautiful forms of speech. In his best moods he threw off passages of rare charm, not surpassed, if equaled, anywhere in the vast field of American journalism.

It was not the splendor of his intellect, the marvelous grace of his diction, or the unequaled mastery of scintillant and forceful words, that bound John Edwards to his friends, but his greatness of heart, his sweet, gentle and unselfish nature. In a long intercourse with men of all ranks and conditions, professions and trades, I have met no man so free from all ignoble and selfish impulses. His wide influence was never used for his own gain or personal advancement, but always for that of others. Those debtor to John Edwards in this regard may be counted by hundreds. A journalist, and now a State official said to me years ago, “he asks for himself, never; for others, always.” A great, loyal, loving and unselfish heart was his. God rarely makes a man like him. Fitly might the Recording Angel write of him, Abou Ben Adhem’s prayer, “write me as one that loves his fellow men.”

Whatever the infirmities of gentle and gifted John Edwards, there was in him a strong religious sentiment. I do not mean religious as defined by books, or as formulated in creeds, but in the acceptance and reverent holding of those great truths that lie behind all formulated systems and of which organized religions are the product. That Infinite Being, forming the primary religious concept of primitive peoples, the Jehovah of the Hebrew records, the “Heaven-Father” of the Vedic hymns, which Max Muller says formed humanity’s first poem and first articulate prayer, and as exalted by the great Master in that universal prayer: “Our Father who art in Heaven,” he

recognized and looked up to with the trust of a child. In addition to this as a necessary sequence, he accepted unfalteringly the doctrine of the soul’s immortality as the sole basis of a hope that can gladden and sweeten the labor of stricken men. Once as I sat by his bedside at the McCarty House, late in the night, turning suddenly to me after a lull in our talk, he asked: “Do you ever go down to the great river that flows near your home, and sitting beneath the midnight stars listen to the solemn swish of the onsweeping mysterious stream, and think of the vast things that lie beyond the river and beyond the stars?” From this we drifted into a discussion of the largest problems with which the soul has to do; the questions of action and destiny. Then, more than ever before or after, John Edwards revealed to me the secrets of his immost life. He felt as the Laureate sings:

My own dim-life should teach me this,

That life shall live forever more,

Else earth is darkness at the core,

And dust and ashes all that is.

This round of green, this orb of flame,

Fantastic beauty, such as lurks

In some wild poet as he works

Without a conscience or an aim.

To-day, from every part of the great Southwest, the scarred veterans of the “lost cause,” will turn with tearful eyes to this village graveyard, where we reverently and lovingly lay their old companion in arms, so brilliant in intellect, so noble in heart, so gentle and generous, so pure and chivalrous in every impulse. May the smile of God rest upon this village grave as a perpetual benediction.

In the quiet, quaint little village of Dover, whose people removed, “Far from the maddening crowd’s ignoble strife,” pursue the even tenor of their way, on a gentle declivity leaning to the kiss of southern suns, a sheltered, sequestered spot, fit place of rest after life’s “fitful fever,” lies the village graveyard. Here:

“The sacred calm that reigns around,

Bids every fierce tumultuous passion cease;

In still small accents whispering from the ground

A grateful earnest of eternal peace.”

In this retired spot reverent hands laid all that remained of gifted John Edwards. The voice, that oft within the “battle’s red rim,” shouted, “Steady, Men,” is hushed. The eye that flashed with steely glitter, as it saw the setting and onset of squadrons, but so gently limpid in repose, is closed forever. The blare of bugles, the cannon’s roar, the rush of armed fleet and the voice of love are now alike unheard. The fearless soldier, the brilliant journalist, the loyal friend, the dreamer of sweet dreams, by his own request lies quietly among the village dead, apart from the stress of enterprise and the coldness of greed. Above the narrow, dreamless abode of the great heart now pulseless, the leaves shimmer in soft light, the fragrance of flowers lingers above the turf lovingly, and the sweet May stars distill their dews to keep the grasses green. In his own words, written of “Prince” John B. Magruder’s lone Texas grave, we may say, “If roses are the tear drops of angels as the beautiful Arab belief puts forth in poetry, then is this lowly mound a hallowed spot, and needs not the sculptured stone, the fretted column and the obelisk.” Few men have been so admired, or so mourned. At his grave, old, scarred soldiers, unused to tears wept like girls. Friends, kindred, his children grieved, but a larger grief was hers, whom he wooed and won with knightly devotion in the summer days long ago. She, sitting within the mysterious shadow of the “Spheral Change, by men called death,” can only sing with Dante Rossetti, in mournful questioning:

“O nearest, furthest! Can there be

At length some hard-earned, heart-won home,

Where exile changed for sanctuary.

Our lot may fill indeed its sum,

And you may wait and I may come.”

War Experiences of Bettie Shelby

WAR EXPERIENCES

By Mrs. Bettie Shelby, widow of General Shelby.

The accounts of the women of Civil War Missouri are more rare than those of the men but often give greater insights into the war on the homefront. This was not a war fought only on distant battlefields but right within the homes and communities of the people of Missouri. The women were vital participants on both sides of the conflict. They showed a stoutness of spirit and resolution equal to that of any battlefield warrior. In Missouri Rebel women were material participants as couriers, spies, in providing aid and succor to the men operating behind the lines.

Bettie Shelby, wife of Missouri Confederate General Joseph O. Shelby remained behind for a time, then followed her husband south in his camps. After the war she followed her husband into Mexican exile. The account she gives here of her wartime experience is scanty and barely touches upon the many adventures and experiences she had during the war.

A fictional account (though based on solid research) of Bettie Shelby’s wartime experiences are told in “Save Weeping For the Night” by Loula Grace Erdman, who grew up in Lafayette County, home of the Shelbys. The book is, unfortunately, out of print, but copies are available used from ABEBOOKS. Just click “go” on the search box to see available listings.



The early years of the war between the states found me, still a girl in years, with two children, as I had married at the early age of sixteen.

General JO ShelbyGeneral Shelby, who had refused many tempting offers to join the Federal army, organized a company from the flower of Howard county, and proceeded to join General Price at Springfield. Myself and children were left under the protection of an aunt, a high-spirited woman, who had sent several sons to the southern army, and when taxed by the Federals with furnishing altogether too many rebel soldiers, she boldly retorted that if she had a hundred sons they would all be there. Many threats were made to burn out this nest of rebels. Frequently as many as twenty-five soldiers would appear and order a meal of the best we could produce, which we dared not refuse, else our smokehouses would have been raided and nothing left to us.

My aunt provided a cot and nursed for several weeks, in the brush, one of our men who had been badly wounded. A surgeon came surreptitiously in the night and set a broken bone. My aunt went every day and dressed the wound and sent him food. We were in daily terror lest the negroes should betray him, but they never did, and he recovered and joined the army. On another occasion two of our men were secreted under a dormer window in the top of the house. They had been traced there, and the Federals threatened to burn down the house if they were not produced. Had they carried out their threats our friends would have been shot down in endeavoring to escape. Soon, however, we had to leave our homes, and finally when General Shelby’s raids became more frequent hail to leave the state. We first went to St. Louis, where we were somewhat protected because of the relationship, between General Shelby and Frank Blair, but the authorities feeling that Shelby’s raids would be less frequent if his family was out of the state, we were completely banished. I went to my husband’s relatives in Kentucky. Later, when General Steele was operating in Arkansas and Louisiana, I started in company with another lady, accompanied by our colored maids, for the south. It was suggested that our nurses might desert us on occasion, consequently we had their trunks placed in close touch with us as a precaution after boarding one of the river boats for Memphis. As our maids did not appear as usual in the morning our first move was to see if the trunks were still there. They were gone. And we were left to battle with the babies as best we could. On arriving at Memphis we were held for three weeks at a hotel. We suffered untold trials getting through the lines at all as there was fierce fighting raging around Little Rock and vicinity. We were finally, in company with other refugee families from Missouri, placed at Clarksville. Tex., where we remained until the close of the war.

General Shelby and his men decided to go to Mexico instead of surrendering at the close of the war. I accompanied him as far as Austin, Tex., but as Federal troops were already approaching Texas, and they might be captured before reaching the border of Mexico, it was decided to push on rapidly, and I was left to follow them by another route. My husband met me at Veracruz, near where he was trying to start a colony. This enterprise was finally abandoned, as the Mexicans made it so disagreeable for us by shooting into our camps, etc. I will mention an incident which has been questioned:

As Shelby’s command could not carry the Confederate flag into Mexico, a consultation was held, and it was decided that they should bury it beneath the waters of the Rio Grande, which they did. I have heard General Shelby speak of this disposition of the flag frequently as a matter of fact.

The soldiers all gradually drifted back to the old homes, or rather where they had stood, but where now was nothing but ruin. We now settled in Bates county, where we reared a large family of children and lived happily until my husband passed away. He left me several sons and one daughter to mourn his loss. Yearly at the memorial services in the beautiful Forest Hill cemetery may be seen, in company with the family, an aged faithful body servant, now the coachman, paying a beautiful tribute in flowers to his former master.


Aftermath of the Lawrence Massacre

The Aftermath of the Lawrence Massacre
by Lt. Gen. John M. Schofield, USA

Excerpted and introduced by G. E. Rule

from “Forty-Six Years in the Army”, by John M. Schofield, 1897

Lt Gen SchofieldJohn M. Schofield had a busy war, rising from lieutenant on leave of absence in the spring of 1861 to Lieutenant-General by the end of the war. Schofield was Nathaniel Lyon’s mustering officer in April of 1861, adjutant at Wilson’s Creek, commander of the Department of Missouri, corps commander under Sherman on the drive to Atlanta, army commander at the battle of Franklin, TN, and then rejoined Sherman in time to help negotiate the surrender of Joe Johnston’s army after Washington had rejected the original terms.

“The Aftermath of the Lawrence Massacre” is Schofield’s rather odd account of the Union reaction in Missouri and Kansas immediately following the bushwhackers’ sack of Lawrence. There is no actual account included of the attack on Lawrence, and Schofield introduces the topic as an aspect of the internecine strife in Union circles in Missouri and Kansas between the “claybanks” (conservatives) and “charcoals” (radicals). Schofield seems to be taking pains to show that he did what he could to blunt the worst of the retribution that Unionists were demanding after Lawrence. He even implies near the end that his moderating of the radicals planned revenge nearly resulted in a civil war within the Civil War –this one between radical and conservative Unionists.

Perhaps the most eye-opening aspect of the whole account is his take on the cause of the Lawrence Massacre. While he does not go into the details that any good Missouri Rebel can recite by heart—including the horror of the Kansas City jail collapse that killed or injured many southern ladies and children, driving their bushwhacker men-folk wild with a flaming desire for retribution—Schofield clearly attributes Lawrence to the recent change in Union policy towards these southern hostages. Even more, he reports to his superiors that he warned Ewing that something of the like might happen. Schofield says: “Accordingly I directed General Ewing to adopt and carry out the policy he had indicated, warning him, however, of the retaliation which might be attempted, and that he must be fully prepared to prevent it before commencing such severe measures. Almost immediately after it became known that such policy had been adopted, Quantrill secretly assembled from several of the border counties of Missouri about 300 of his men.” While not as fulsome an admission as a Confederate partisan would prefer, Schofield is essentially agreeing with them.


Further Reading:

Available at Amazon.com

Forty-Six Years in the Army by John McAllister Schofield

Lyon’s adjutant at Wilson’s Creek, and Union commander of Missouri for much of the war, Schofield’s memoirs are an important addition for anyone interested in Missouri during the war.

My impression is that the nature of this quarrel in Missouri was not fully understood at the time in Washington, as General Halleck wrote me that neither of the factions was regarded as really friendly to the President. But my belief is that they were then, as they subsequently proved to be, divided on the Presidential question as well as in State politics; that the conservatives were sincere in their friendship and support of Mr. Lincoln, and desired his renomination, while the radicals were intriguing for Mr. Chase or some other more radical man.

This struggle between extreme radicalism and conservatism among the Union people of Missouri was long and bitter, but I have nothing to do with its history beyond the period of my command in that department. It resulted, as is now well known, in the triumph of radicalism in the Republican party, and the consequent final loss of power by that party in the State. Such extremes could not fail to produce a popular revulsion, and it required no great foresight to predict the final result.

The factions in Missouri gave the military commander trouble enough in 1863; but to that was added the similar and hardly less troublesome party quarrel in Kansas. I cannot give a more accurate account of the complicated situation there than by quoting from my correspondence and journal of that period. On August 28 [1863] I wrote to President Lincoln as follows:

In reply to your telegram of the 27th, transmitting copy of one received from two influential citizens of Kansas, I beg leave to state some of the facts connected with the horrible massacre at Lawrence, and also relative to the assaults made upon me by a certain class of influential politicians.

Since the capture of Vicksburg, a considerable portion of the rebel army in the Mississippi valley has disbanded, and large numbers of men have come back to Missouri, many of them doubtless in the hope of being permitted to remain at their former homes in peace, while some have come under instructions to carry on a guerrilla warfare, and others, men of the worst character, become marauders on their own account, caring nothing for the Union, nor for the rebellion, except as the latter affords them a cloak for their brigandage.

Under instructions from the rebel authorities, as I am informed and believe, considerable bands, called “Border Guards,” were organized in the counties of Missouri bordering on Kansas, for the ostensible purpose of protecting those counties from inroads from Kansas, and preventing the slaves of rebels from escaping from Missouri into Kansas. These bands were unquestionably encouraged, fed, and harbored by a very considerable portion of the people of those border counties. Many of those people were in fact the families of these “bushwhackers,” who are brigands of the worst type.

Upon the representation of General Ewing and others familiar with the facts, I became satisfied there could be no cure for this evil short of the removal from those counties of all slaves entitled to their freedom, and of the families of all men known to belong to these bands, and others who were known to sympathize with them. Accordingly I directed General Ewing to adopt and carry out the policy he had indicated, warning him, however, of the retaliation which might be attempted, and that he must be fully prepared to prevent it before commencing such severe measures.

Lawrence Ruins from HarpersAlmost immediately after it became known that such policy had been adopted, Quantrill secretly assembled from several of the border counties of Missouri about 300 of his men. They met at a preconcerted place of rendezvous near the Kansas line, at about sunset, and immediately marched for Lawrence, which place they reached at daylight the next morning. They sacked and burned the town and murdered the citizens in the most barbarous manner.

It is easy to see that any unguarded town in a country where such a number of outlaws can be assembled is liable to a similar fate, if the villains are willing to risk the retribution which must follow. In this case 100 of them have already been slain, and the remainder are hotly pursued in all directions. If there was any fault on the part of General Ewing, it appears to have been in not guarding Lawrence. But of this it was not my purpose to speak. General Ewing and the governor of Kansas have asked for a court of inquiry, and I have sent to the War Department a request that one may be appointed, and I do not wish to anticipate the result of a full investigation. . . .

I am officially informed that a large meeting has been held at Leavenworth, in which a resolution was adopted to the effect that the people would assemble at a certain place on the border, on September 8, for the purpose of entering Missouri to search for their stolen property. Efforts have been made by the mayor of Leavenworth to get possession of the ferry at that place, for the purpose of crossing armed parties of citizens into north Missouri.

I have strong reasons for believing that the authors of the telegram to you are among those who introduced and obtained the adoption of the Leavenworth resolution, and who are endeavoring to organize a force for the purpose of general retaliation upon Missouri. Those who so deplore my “imbecility” and “incapacity ” are the very men who are endeavoring to bring about a collision between the people of Kansas and the troops under General Ewing’s command.

I have not the “capacity” to see the wisdom or justice of permitting an irresponsible mob to enter Missouri for the purpose of retaliation, even for so grievous a wrong as that which Lawrence has suffered.

I have increased the force upon the border as far as possible, and no effort has been, or will be, spared to punish the invaders of Kansas, and to prevent such acts in the future. The force there has been all the time far larger than in any other portion of my department, except on the advanced line in Arkansas and the Indian Territory. . . .

P. S. Since writing the above I have received the “Daily Times” newspaper, published at Leavenworth, containing an account of the meeting referred to, and Senator Lane’s speech, which I have the honor to inclose herewith for your information.

In a letter of that same date (August 28), Governor Carney informed me, among other things, that “after the fearful disaster at Lawrence and on the return of our troops who had pursued Quantrill and his murderous band, General Ewing and General James H. Lane met at Morristown and spent the night together. The latter returned to Lawrence and called a mass meeting, at which he defended General Ewing and made an intensely bitter speech against you. Yesterday he arrived in this city, and soon after caused to be issued a placard stating he would address the citizens on war matters. There are two parties here—one for and the other against Ewing. That against him is headed by Mr. Wilder, member of Congress, and by Mr. Anthony, mayor of this city. This division put General Lane in this dilemma here, that he could not defend Ewing as he had done in Lawrence, and hence he devoted his whole attention to you. The more violent of the men opposing you are for independent raids into Missouri. How far General Lane encouraged this class you must judge from the facts I have stated and from the inclosed speech. To give tone and distinction to the meeting, General Lane offered a resolution calling upon the President to relieve you, affirming that there could be no safety in Kansas, no help for Kansas, unless this was done. . . . You will judge from the facts stated, from the course pursued by General Lane at Lawrence, and from his speech here, how far General Ewing is your friend or fit to command this district?”

On August 31, I started for the scene of the agitation. The following extracts from my journal reveal the situation:

Sept. 2.— Reached Leavenworth at five o’clock A. M. Stopped at the Planters’ Hotel; was called upon by Governor Carney and several of his political friends. Discussed at much length the condition of affairs in the District of the Border. Carney is an aspirant for the United States Senate. Intends to run against Lane. Desires to kill off Ewing, considering him a formidable rival, or at least a supporter of Lane. Ewing has determined not to be a candidate at the next election, and will not commit himself in support of either Carney or Lane. Desires to keep on good terms with Lane because he thinks Lane will probably be reelected. Carney understands Ewing as supporting Lane, or at least as having withdrawn in Lane’s favor. In fact, Ewing refuses an alliance with Carney. Carney therefore desires to kill Ewing. Lane finds it to his interest to sustain Ewing so long as Schofield commands the department. Ewing is a better man for Lane than any other Schofield would be likely to give him. Lane’s desire is to remove Schofield and get in his place a general who would place Kansas under command of one of Lane’s tools, or a man who could be made one by Lane; therefore Lane defends Ewing and concentrates his attack upon Schofield.

Asked and obtained a long private interview with Lane. Went over the whole ground of his hostility to Genl. S[chofield] during the past year. Showed him the injustice he had done Genl. S., and how foolish and unprofitable to himself his hostility had been. He stated with apparent candor that he had bent the whole energies of his soul to the destruction of Genl. S.; had never labored harder to accomplish any object in his life. Said he had been evidently mistaken in the character and principles of Genl. S., and that no man was more ready than he to atone for a fault. We then approached the subject of the invasion of Missouri by people of Kansas. Genl. Lane still adheres to his design of collecting the people at Paola and leading them on an expedition “for the purpose of searching for their stolen property.” He professes his ability to control the people; that he would be answerable, and offered to pledge himself to Genl. S. and the government that they should do nothing beyond that which he declares as the object of the expedition.

Lane was informed that Genl. S. would go to Kansas City the next day, and Lane replied that he intended to go also. It was agreed that both should go the next morning and converse with Genl. Ewing on the subject. The same evening Genl. Lane made a public speech in Leavenworth, in which he urged the people to meet at Paola, and assured there that the department and district commanders would not interfere with the proposed expedition; on the contrary, that both would countenance and cooperate with it. He also proclaimed the object to be to lay waste the border counties of Missouri and exterminate the disloyal people. This statement, following an interview on that subject, was calculated to mislead a large number of well-disposed people who would not for a moment think of acting in opposition to military rules, and to greatly increase the number of people who would assemble at Paola, and seriously complicate the difficulty.

In the evening had another interview with Gov. Carney and some of his friends. My main object was to secure the full cooperation of the State government in preventing the invasion of Missouri. For this purpose I had to consult to a considerable degree the political views and aims of the governor and his friends. Their object was, of course, to make out of Lane’s project as much capital as possible against him. It was held by many of them that Lane had no serious design of entering Missouri; that he expected, of course, that the military authorities would forbid it; and that he would yield as a military necessity, and thus gain with his people additional ground for condemnation of the department commander, while he had the credit of having done all he possibly could to enable them to “recover their stolen property.” . . . Viewing matters in this light, the governor and his advisers were strongly inclined to the opinion that the surest way of making capital for themselves out of Lane’s move was to let him go on with it, without any interference on their part, confident that it would turn out a grand humbug. . . . After reaching Kansas City and talking with Genl. Ewing, I replied to the governor, accepting the services of as many of his troops as he and Genl. Ewing should deem necessary for the protection of all the towns in Kansas near the border, stating that with Kansas so protected, Genl. Ewing would not only carry out his order for the expulsion of disloyal persons, but also in a short time drive out the guerrillas from his district and restore peace. In addition to this, I wrote the governor a private letter urging him to issue his proclamation discouraging the Paola meeting and warning his people against any attempt to go into Missouri, and informing him I would issue an order forbidding armed men not in the regular military service from crossing the line.

Sept. 4.—I received the governor’s reply that he would issue his proclamation as requested, and also asking permission to publish a letter which I had written him on August 29, in reply to one from him regarding these matters. This permission was granted.

My order was also published declaring that the militia of Kansas and Missouri would be used only for the defense of their respective States; that they should not pass from one State into the other without express orders from the district commander; that armed bodies of men not belonging to the United States troops, or to the militia placed under the orders of the department commander by the governors of their respective States, should not, under any pretext whatever, pass from one State into the other.

In the evening of the 3d I sent a despatch to the general-in-chief [Halleck], informing him that the Paola movement was under the control and guidance of Lane, and that I should not permit them to enter Missouri; that Lane said he would appeal to the President; that I did not apprehend a hostile collision; but that a despatch from the President or the Secretary of War (to Lane) would aid me much in preventing difficulty.

If such despatch should be sent, I requested to be informed of its purport. No reply received from the general-in-chief up to this time (1 p.m., Sept. 5).

Sept. 6.—Lane failed to meet me at Kansas City, according to agreement. My correspondence with Governor Carney relative to the Lawrence massacre and the Paola movement appeared in the Leavenworth papers of yesterday; also my order forbidding armed citizens from crossing into Missouri.

The governor’s proclamation did not appear according to promise; probably he may have decided to defer it until after the Paola meeting, as a means of making capital against Lane.

A private letter from one of Governor Carney’s advisers was received yesterday (5th), dated the 3d, but evidently written in the evening of the 4th or morning of the 5th, which indicated that Carney does not intend to publish a proclamation, for the reason that Lane desires to force him to do it.

Went to Westport yesterday. Met several of the leading loyal citizens; all agree that Genl. Ewing’s order No. 11 is wise and just—in fact a necessity. I have yet to find the first loyal man in the border counties who condemns it. They are also warm in their support of Genl. Ewing, and deprecate his removal. I am satisfied he is acting wisely and efficiently. . . .

The radicals in Missouri condemn him (Ewing) as one of my friends; the conservatives, because he is a Kansas man, and more especially because of his order No. 11, and similar reasons and radical measures. For a time this will weaken me very much, and possibly may cause my overthrow. This risk I must take, because I am satisfied I am doing the best for the public good, and acting according to my instructions from the President. I seem in a fair way to reach one of the positions referred to in the President’s letter of instructions, viz.: that in which both factions will abuse me. According to the President’s standard, this is the only evidence that I will ever have that I am right. It is hardly possible that I will ever reach a point where both will commend me. . . .

Sept. 8.—Went to Independence yesterday, in company with Genl. Ewing; . . . made a few remarks to quite a large assemblage of people, which were well received; was followed by Genl. Ewing in an appropriate speech, which produced a good effect.

Have determined to modify General Ewing’s order, or rather he will modify it at my suggestion, so that no property shall be destroyed. I deem the destruction of property unnecessary and useless. The chief evil has resulted from the aid given to guerrillas in the way of information conveyed by disloyal people, and by preparing their food for them. This evil is now removed. Forage and grain cannot be destroyed or carried away to such extent as materially to cripple them. I will as far as possible preserve the property of all loyal people, with the view of permitting them to return as soon as the guerrillas shall be driven out. Property of known rebels will be appropriated as far as possible to the use of the army and loyal people who are made destitute. None will be destroyed.

Had a long interview this morning with Mayor Anthony of Leavenworth and a number of influential citizens of that place. Anthony was arrested and sent to this place yesterday by a detective in the employ of Genl. Ewing. The arrest was without authority, and Genl. Ewing promptly discharged the mayor. The object of the citizens was to obtain a revocation of martial law in Leavenworth, and come to a correct understanding as to the relation between the military and civil authorities in that town, so as to prevent difficulty in future. The whole matter was satisfactorily arranged. . . .

So far as can be learned, no people have gone from Leavenworth to the Paola meeting, and it is probable the whole affair will amount to nothing. Believing that the trouble here is substantially over, I propose to start for St. Louis to-morrow morning.

A regiment of enrolled militia ordered to New Madrid to relieve the 25th Missouri, in order that the latter might go to reinforce General Steele in Arkansas, mutinied after they had gone on board the steamer, brought the boat ashore, and went to their homes. The provost guard of St. Louis was sent to arrest them. News having come of the capture of Little Rock, the two enrolled militia regiments in St. Louis were dismissed, except the mutineers, who were kept at hard labor for some time, and the leaders tried for mutiny.

This mutiny was caused by the efforts of the radical papers and politicians, who had for some time openly opposed the organization of the provisional regiments, and encouraged the men to mutiny.

I published an order enforcing martial law against all who should incite mutiny among the troops, and through General Halleck obtained the President’s approval of this order, but did not find it necessary to make that approval public until it was made known by the President himself.

In writing to General Halleck on September 20, I said:

I inclose herewith a copy of an order which I have found it necessary to publish and enforce. The revolutionary faction which has so long been striving to gain the ascendancy in Missouri, particularly in St. Louis, to overthrow the present State government and change the policy of the national administration, has at length succeeded so far as to produce open mutiny of one of the militia regiments and serious difficulties in others.

I inclose a number of slips from papers published in Missouri, to show the extent to which this factious opposition to the government has been carried. The effect already produced is but natural; and the ultimate effect will be disastrous in the extreme, unless a strong remedy be applied speedily.

Out of consideration for popular opinion and the well-known wishes of the President relative to freedom of speech and of the press, I have forborne until, in my belief, further forbearance would lead to disastrous results. I am thoroughly convinced of the necessity for prompt and decided measures to put down this revolutionary scheme, and my sense of duty will not permit me

to delay it longer. It is barely possible that I may not have to enforce the order against the public press. They may yield without the application of force; but I do not expect it. The tone of some of their articles since the publication of the order indicates a determination to wage the war which they have begun to the bitter end. This determination is based upon the belief that the President will not sustain me in any such measures as those contemplated in the order. A distinct approval by the President of my proposed action, and a knowledge of the fact here, would end the whole matter at once. I desire, if possible, to have such approval before taking action in any individual case. Indeed, I believe such approval would prevent the necessity for the use of force. It is difficult, I am aware, for any one at a distance to believe that such measures can be necessary against men and papers who claim to be “radically loyal.” The fact is, they are “loyal” only to their “radical” theories, and are so “radical” that they cannot possibly be “loyal” to the government. . . .

These men were styled “revolutionists,” not without sufficient cause. It was currently reported that they had in 1861 conceived the elevation of Fremont to a dictatorship. In 1862, and again in 1863, they invented a scheme for the violent overthrow of the provisional State government and the existing national administration in Missouri. The first act of the program was to seize and imprison Governor Gamble and me. In 1862 some of them committed the indiscretion of confiding their plans to General Frank P. Blair, Jr., who at once warned me of it, but refused to give me the names of his informers or of the leaders. He said he could not do so without breach of confidence, but that he had informed them that he should give me warning and expose the individuals if any further steps were taken. Here the matter ended. In 1863 I received warning through the guard stationed at my residence in the suburbs of the city, with which the revolutionists had the folly to tamper in their efforts to spread disaffection among my troops. This discovery, and the premature mutiny of the regiment ordered to New Madrid, nipped the plot in the bud. I refer to the circumstances now only to show that I was not unjust in my denunciation of the “revolutionary faction” in Missouri.

In General Halleck’s letter of September 26, inclosing the President’s written approval of my general order, he said:

. . . Neither faction in Missouri is really friendly to the President and administration; but each is striving to destroy the other, regardless of all other considerations. In their mutual hatred they seem to have lost all sense of the perils of the country and all sentiment of national patriotism. Every possible effort should be made to allay this bitter party strife in that State.

In reply, September 30, I expressed the following opinion:

. . . I feel compelled to say that I believe you are not altogether right in your information about the factions in Missouri. If the so-called “claybank” faction are not altogether friendly to the President and administration, I have not been able to discover it. The men who now sustain me are the same who rallied round Lyon and sustained the government in the dark days of 1861, while the leaders of the present “charcoal” faction stood back until the danger was past. I believe I have carried out my instructions as literally as possible, yet I have received a reasonable support from one faction and the most violent opposition from the other. I am willing to pledge my official position that those who support me now will support me in the execution of any policy the President may order. They are the real friends of the government. It is impossible for me to be blind to this fact, notwithstanding the existence, to some extent, of the factional feeling to which you allude.

The improvement produced by the order was so decided that publication of the President’s approval was thought unnecessary. It only became public through his letter of October l, 1863, of which he gave a copy to the radical delegation.

In September the governor of Missouri placed all the militia of the State, including those not in active service, under my command. I published orders intended to control their action and prevent interference with political meetings; also to secure freedom of voting at the coming election in November. Several militia officers guilty of such interference were dismissed, which produced a wholesome effect.

Making of a Confederate Guerrilla

The Making of a Confederate Guerrilla

by

John N. Edwards

Excerpted and introduced by G. E. Rule, from “Noted Guerrillas or the Warfare of the Border”, by John N. Edwards, 1877

John N. Edwards


Major John Newman Edwards, CSA, was General Jo. Shelby’s adjutant and chronicler. At war’s end Edwards chose to share Mexican exile with Shelby as well. When they returned to the U.S. in 1867, Edwards rapidly published three large volumes of wartime experiences. Two dealt specifically with Shelby, “Shelby and his Men”, 1867 and “Shelby’s Expedition to Mexico”, 1872. In 1877 he published “Noted Guerrillas”, a broad handling of the Confederate irregulars in Missouri during the war. Edwards also founded the Kansas City Times and was its editor for many years.

Make no mistake, Major John N. Edwards was a Confederate and proud of it. You will not find more than passing reference to the other side of the coin in his pages. His flamboyantly purple prose is sometimes entertaining and sometimes tiresome, but is always used in defense of Confederate Missouri and its view of the world and “the recent unpleasantness”.

Edwards knew most of the Missouri Confederate guerrilla leaders personally, but did not actually participate in most of their raids in the same way he had as Shelby’s adjutant. So while his sources for “Noted Guerillas” are excellent, they are still mostly second-hand in that he is often reporting what he was told (sometimes months or years after the fact), and not what he saw. In addition to Major Edward’s clear partisanship, one must make allowance for the possibility that the guerillas themselves told him their stories the way they wanted them told, leaving out any inconvenient facts as they saw fit. For example, later historians have thoroughly demolished the tale given in the beginning of the book about Quantrill’s early years in Kansas before the war.  However, all agree that it was Quantrill, and not Edwards, who created the fabrication.

“The Making of a Confederate Guerrilla” does not –quite—constitute a defense of those who decided on this method of warfare instead of joining the regular Confederate army. Edwards clearly sympathizes with them, but in talking about why they made the choice he stays just this side of the “and they were right to do it this way” line that separates biased reporting from naked advocacy.


Further Reading: Civil War on the Western Border, 1854-1865
by Jay Monaghan

Ride With the Devil by Daniel Woodrell

The Story of Cole Younger by Himself : Being an Autobiography of the Missouri Guerrilla Captain and Outlaw, His Capture and Prison Life by Cole Younger

Three Years With Quantrill by John McCorkle

Recommended Movies:

Ride With the Devil

The Outlaw Josey Wales

It is the province of history to deal with results, not to condemn the phenomena which produce them. Nor has it the right to decry the instruments Providence always raises up in the midst of great catastrophes to restore the equilibrium of eternal justice. Civil war might well have made the Guerrilla, but only the excesses of civil war could have made him the untamable and unmerciful creature that history finds him. When he first went into the war he was somehow imbued with the old-fashioned belief that soldiering meant fighting and that fighting meant killing. He had his own ideas of soldiering, however, and desired nothing so much as to remain at home and meet its despoilers upon his own premises. Not naturally cruel, and adverse to invading the territory of any other people, he could not understand the patriotism of those who invaded his own territory. Patriotism, such as he was required to profess, could not spring up in the market place at the bidding of Red Leg or Jayhawker. He believed, indeed, that the patriotism of Jim Lane and Jennison was merely a highway robbery transferred from the darkness to the dawn, and he believed the truth. Neither did the Guerrilla become merciless all of a sudden. Pastoral in many cases by profession, and reared among the bashful and timid surroundings of agricultural life, he knew nothing of the tiger that was in him until death had been dashed against his eyes in numberless and brutal ways, and until the blood of his own kith and kin had been sprinkled plentifully upon things that his hands touched, and things that entered into his daily existence. And that fury of ideas also came to him slowly, which is more implacable than the fury of men, for men have heart, and opinion has none. It took him likewise some time to learn that the Jayhawker’s system of saving the Union was a system of brutal force, which bewailed not even that which it crushed; that it belied its doctrine by its tyranny; stained its arrogated right by its violence, and dishonored its vaunted struggles by its executions. But blood is as contagious as air. The fever of civil war has its delirium. When the Guerrilla awoke he was a giant! He took in, as it were, and at a single glance, all the immensity of the struggle. He saw that he was hunted and proscribed; that he had neither a flag nor a government; that the rights and the amenities of civilized warfare where not to be his; that a dog’s death was certain if he surrendered even in the extremist agony of battle; that the house which sheltered him had to be burnt; the father who succored him had to be butchered; the mother who prayed for him had to be insulted; the sister who carried food to him had to be imprisoned; the neighborhood which witnessed his combats had to be laid waste; the comrade shot down by his side had to be put to death as a wild beast—and he lifted up the black flag in self-defense and fought as became a free man and a hero.

Much obloquy has been cast upon the Guerrilla organization because in its name bad men plundered the helpless, pillaged friend and foe alike, assaulted non-combatants and murdered the unresisting and the innocent. Such devil’s work was not Guerrilla work. It fitted all too well the hands of those cowards crouching in the rear of either army and courageous only where women defended what remained to themselves and their children. Desperate and remorseless as he undoubtedly was, the Guerrilla saw shining down upon his pathway a luminous patriotism, and he followed it eagerly that the might kill in the name of God and his country. The nature of his warfare made him responsible of course for many monstrous things he had no personal share in bringing about. Denied a hearing a the bar of public opinion, the bete noir of all the loyal journalists, painted blacker than ten devils, and given a countenance that was made to retain some shadow of all the death agonies he had seen, is it strange in the least that his fiendishness became omnipresent as well as omnipotent? To justify one crime on the part of a Federal soldier, five crimes more cruel still were laid at the door of the Guerrilla. His long gallop not only tired but infuriated his hunters. That savage standing at bay and dying always as a wolf dies when barked at by hounds and bludgeoned by countrymen, made his enemies fear him and hate him. Hence from all their bomb-proofs his slanderers fired silly lies at long range, and put afloat unnatural stories that hurt him only as it deepened the savage intensity of an already savage strife. Save in rare and memorable instances, the Guerrilla murdered only when fortune in open and honorable battle gave into his hands some victims who were denied that death in combat which they afterward found by ditch or lonesome roadside. Man for man, he put his life fairly on the cast of the war dice, and died when the need came as the red Indian dies, stoical and grim as a stone.

As strange as it may seem, the perilous fascination of fighting under a black flag—where the wounded could have neither surgeon nor hospital, and where all that remained to the prisoners was the absolute certainty of speedy death –attracted a number of young men to the various Guerrilla bands, gently nurtured, born to higher destinies, capable of sustained exertion in any scheme or enterprise, and fit for callings high up in the scale of science or philosophy. Others came who had deadly wrongs to avenge, and these gave to all their combats that sanguinary hue which still remains a part of the Guerrilla’s legacy. Almost from the first a large majority of Quantrell’s [common misspelling of Quantrill used by Edwards throughout] original command had over them the shadow of some terrible crime. This one recalled a father murdered, this one a brother waylaid and shot, this one a house pillaged and burnt, this one a relative assassinated, this one a grievous insult while at peace at home, this one a robbery of all his earthly possessions, this one the force which compelled him to witness the brutal treatment of a mother or sister, this one was driven away from his own life a thief in the night, this one was threatened with death for opinion’s sake, this one was proscribed at the instance of some designing neighbor, this one was arrested wantonly and forced to do the degrading work of a menial; while all had more or less of wrath laid up against the day when they were to meet face to face and hand to hand those whom they had good cause to regard as the living embodiment of unnumbered wrongs. Honorable soldiers in the Confederate army –amenable to every generous impulse and exact in the performance of every manly duty –deserted even the ranks which they had adorned and became desperate Guerrillas because the home they had left had been given to the flames, or a gray-haired father shot upon his own hearth-stone. They wanted to avoid the uncertainty of regular battle and know by actual results how many died as a propitiation or a sacrifice. Every other passion became subsidiary to that of revenge. They sought personal encounters that their own handiwork might become unmistakably manifest. Those who died by other agencies than their own were not counted in the general summing up of a fight, nor were the solacements of any victory sweet to them unless they had the knowledge of being important factors in its achievement. As this class of Guerrillas increased, the warfare of the border became necessarily more cruel and unsparing. Where at first there was only killing in ordinary battle, there became to be no quarter shown. The wounded of the enemy next felt the might of this individual vengeance –acting through a community of bitter memories –and from every stricken field there began, by and by, to come up the substance of this awful bulletin: Dead such and such a number –wounded none. The war had then passed into its fever heat, and thereafter the gentle and the merciful, equally with the harsh and the revengeful, spared nothing clad in blue that could be captured.

Jayhawkers Versus Bushwhackers

Jayhawkers vs Bushwhackers

Jayhawkers were honorable abolitionists…or lowlife horsethieves. Bushwhackers were patriotic defenders… or murderous bandits. Here are vehemently opposing viewpoints by two of the Civil War’s participants. One area they coincide is in their poor opinion of the genetic traits of their opponents. It’s easier to fight people you see as less than human.

The Kansas

Jayhawker

by

John N. Edwards

The original Jayhawker was a growth indigenous to the soil of Kansas. There belonged to him as things of course a pre-emption, a chronic case of chills and fevers, one starved cow and seven dogs, a longing for his neighbor’s goods and chattels, a Sharpe’s rifle, when he could get it, and something of a Bible for hypocrisy’s sake—something that savored of the real presence of the book to give backbone to his canting and snuffling. In some respects a mountebank, in others a scoundrel, and in all a thief—he was a character eminently adapted for civil war which produces more adventurers than heroes. His hands were large, hairy, and red—proof of inherited laziness—and a slouching gait added to the ungainliness of his figure when he walked. The type was all of a kind. The mouth generally wore a calculating smile—the only distinguishable gift remaining of a Puritan ancestry—but when he felt that he was looked at the calculating smile became sanctimonious. Slavery concerned him only as the slaveholder was supposed to be rich; and just so long as Beecher presided over emigration aid societies, preached highway robbery, defended political murder, and sent something to the Jayhawkers in the way of real fruits and funds, there surely was a God in Israel and Beecher was his great high priest. Otherwise they all might go to the devil together. The Jayhawker was not brave. He would fight when he had to fight, but he would not stand in the last ditch and shoot away his last cartridge. Born to nothing, and eternally out at the elbows, what else could he do but laugh and be glad when chance kicked a country into war and gave purple and fine linen to a whole lot of bummers and beggars? In the saddle he rode like a sand bag or a sack of meal. The eternal “ager cake” made a trotting horse his abomination, and he had no use for a thoroughbred, save to steal him. When he abandoned John Brown and rallied to the standard of Jim Lane—when he gave up the fanatic and clove unto the thief—he simply changed his leader without changing his principles.

Excerpted and introduced by G. E. Rule, from “Noted Guerrillas or the Warfare of the Border”, by John N. Edwards, 1877

For Edwards’ view of the Bushwhackers read Making of a Confederate Guerrilla

Major John N. Edwards, CSA, was General Jo. Shelby’s adjutant and chronicler. At war’s end Edwards chose to share Mexican exile with Shelby as well. When they returned to the U.S. in 1867, Edwards rapidly published three large volumes of wartime experiences. Two dealt specifically with Shelby, “Shelby and his Men”, 1867 and “Shelby’s Expedition to Mexico”, 1872.  In 1874 he published “Noted Guerrillas”, a broad handling of the Confederate irregulars in Missouri during the war. Edwards also founded the Kansas City Times and was its editor for many years.

Make no mistake, Major John N. Edwards was a Confederate and proud of it. You will not find more than passing reference to the other side of the coin in his pages. His flamboyantly purple prose is sometimes entertaining and sometimes tiresome, but is always used in defense of Confederate Missouri and its view of the world and “the recent unpleasantness.”

The Missouri Bushwhacker

by

John McElroy

Next to Slavery, the South had been cursed by the importation of paupers and criminals who had been transported from England for England’s good, in the early history of the Colonies, to work the new lands. The negro proving the better worker in servitude than this class, they had been driven off the plantations to squat on unoccupied lands, where they bred like the beasts of the field, getting a precarious living from hunting the forest, and the bolder eking out this by depredations upon their thriftier neighbors. Their forebears had been paupers and criminals when sent from England, and the descendants continued to be paupers and criminals in the new country, forming a clearly marked social class, so distinct as to warrant the surmise that they belonged to a different race. As the eastern part of the South and the administration of the laws improved, this element was to some extent forced out, and spread in a noisome trail over Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri. While other immigrants went into the unbroken forest with a few rude tools and in the course of several years built up comfortable homes, theirs never rose above abject squalor. The crudest of cabins sufficed them for shelter, beds of beech leaves were all the couches they required; they had more guns in their huts than agricultural or mechanical implements; they scarcely pretended to raise anything more than a scanty patch of corn; and when they could not put on their tables the flesh of the almost wild razorback hog which roamed the woods, they made meat of woodchucks, raccoons, opossums or any other “varmint” their guns could bring down. They did not scorn hawks or owls if hunger demanded and no better meat could be found.

It was this “White Trash” which added so much to the horrors of the war, especially in Missouri, and so little to its real prosecution. Wolf-like in ferocity, when the advantages were on their side, they were wolf-like in cowardice when the terms were at all equal. They were the Croats, Cossacks, Tolpatches, Pandours of the Confederacy—of little value in battle, but terrible as guerrillas and bushwhackers. From this “White Trash” came the gangs of murderers and robbers, like those led by the Youngers, Jameses, Quantrills, and scores of other names of criminal memory.

As has been the case in all times and countries, these dregs of society became the willing tools of the Slaveholding aristocrats. With dog-like fidelity they followed and served the class which despised and overrode them. Somehow, by inherited habits likely, they seemed to avoid the more fertile parts of the State.

Excerpted and introduced by G.E. Rule, from “The Struggle for Missouri”, John McElroy, 1909

In 1863, at the age of sixteen, John McElroy joined an Illinois cavalry regiment. Six months later he was taken prisoner and remained so until the end of the war, spending much of the time at the infamous Andersonville prison. In 1879 he wrote a book about his experiences, “Andersonville: A Story of Rebel Military Prisons. Fifteen Months a Guest of the so-called Southern Confederacy”. In 1909 he was back with “Struggle for Missouri”, with little of his anti-Confederate heat dissipated. “The Struggle for Missouri” is dedicated “To the Union Men of Missouri”, and they get the better end of every argument or controversy in its pages.