This post isn’t about Quantrill’s Civil War raid on Lawrence, Kansas.
This post won’t filibuster whether it was the poorly fortified abolitionist town’s own fault it was attacked on Aug. 21, 1863, or whether the brokenhearted confederate Missouri brush dwellers slaughtered 150 to 200 Lawrence people at their homes and businesses because four to 10 of their female loved ones died or were injured in a Union prison collapse.
We won’t analyze whether it was the indiscriminately thieving, effective, vandalizing Kansas Jayhawkers or the drunken, fiendish, proslavery Missouri Bushwhackers who were on the side of right. The rebel Lost-Causers’ stalwart celebration of treason and the injustice, horror or meritorious necessity of Kansas’s retaliatory General Order No. 11 doesn’t interest us. All of that and more await you in books, articles, papers, websites, podcasts, bits of it here, here, here and beyond.
Instead, we look north from Lawrence to find Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte Hazen in Oskaloosa, Jefferson County, and observe an illustration of the young state’s response to Quantrill’s massacre. Within three days of the massacre, J.B. Hazen had organized an Oskaloosa militia company called the “Lawrence Avengers” under state militia regulation. A good share of the members who populated this early roster, including J.B. Hazen, had been radical freestaters who had fought, scouted and voted to make Kansas a state free of slavery during the turbulent Kansas territorial years.
News of William C. Quantrill’s early morning assault on Lawrence had tumbled across the prairie to incredulous neighbors in Oskaloosa and nearby Kansas towns. Some could see the smoke over Lawrence. Unthinkable rumors fluttered in.
But they didn’t yet have the full story of Quantrill’s confederate guerrilla slaughter of about 180 men, older boys and some soldiers in Lawrence. The next day, a few newspapers carried haunting snippets about Quantrill’s killing raid on Lawrence, the state’s center for anti-slavery partisans. By then it was too late for anyone to ride 20 miles from Oskaloosa down to Lawrence to prevent or stop the assault. John W. Roberts , the publisher of The Independent, decided to go with the little he had for his weekly newspaper the next day, Saturday. (See newspaper clipping, “Lawrence Burnt.”)
Within another day, daily newspaper columns were filled with details of the atrocities, street by street, house by house, corpse by corpse, in Lawrence. Outraged calls for punitive violence against Quantrill and his Bushwhackers screamed through Kansas, whose Union army soldiers were already fighting near and far in the Civil War.
The state of Kansas responded. Kansas Gov. Thomas Carney quickly fired off General Order No. 1 calling the state’s home militia into active service to protect Kansas from what citizens feared would be future Quantrill-like attacks.
In the regular army, Brig. Gen. Thomas Ewing doomed key Missouri counties on the Kansas border with General Order No. 11, warning the nation that his troops would be wiping out shelter for Bushwhackers and guerrillas in Missouri counties along the Kansas border, vacating those counties. It was an action loudly applauded in the heated aftermath of Quantrill’s murders, but turned Missourians, including Union-supporting Missourians, against Kansas. Go to Missouri today and you will find General Order No. 11 well remembered on the border.
In addition, regular army recruiters like Charles R. “Doc” Jennison, leader of “Jennison’s Jayhawkers,” the Seventh Kansas Cavalry, were sent out to raise new regiments and fill in old ones with new recruits. Their goal was to rid the earth of confederate guerrillas and their attacks on Kansas civilians and troops. (One of Jesse Newell’s sons, Mitchell “Doc” Newell, had joined up a couple of months earlier and was sent off with other Oskaloosa boys in the 5th Kansas Cavalry to do such a job. A chilling account published years later describes such a raid.)
J.B. Hazen, Oskaloosa, had already served in the Civil War, joining one of U.S. Sen. James H. Lane‘s own brigades, the Fifth Reg., Kansas Cavalry, from July 1861 until March 23, 1862. He was discharged for disease or disability. Hazen also was in Jesse Newell’s Rifle Company in 1859, helping escort Underground Railroad conductor John Doy’s rescue squad back into Kansas. (You might recognize Mr. Hazen from his 1867 wagon train journal about his overland move to California, detailed in this blog.)
After Quantrill’s raid, Hazen was early to put together an Oskaloosa cavalry for the state militia, responding to Kansas Gov. Thomas Carney’s militia call for men aged 21-45 not in regular military service to enroll to protect their towns and homes “… from murder and rapine.”
Throughout Jefferson County and the state, militia groups coalesced precinct by precinct. Carney’s order activated militia organizations that were already organized at some point, since militias were signed on at the war’s beginning in 1861. Men 21 to 45 years old who were not yet enrolled were ordered to enroll, if they were not in the regular army. These smaller precinct-level militias were combined and combined again to form larger county and multi-county state militia regiments. As Hazen’s crew was combined with other Jefferson County militia organizations, it lost its “Lawrence Avengers” name. The regiments, including some Jackson County sections, were under command of Col. Azel W. Spalding.
In Osawkee, once Jefferson County’s proslavery headquarters, old freestater Ephraim Bainter organized “Bainter’s Rangers” on Aug. 31, 1861. Included on its roster was Valentine F. Newell, Jesse Newell’s oldest son. The “Jefferson Rangers” formed in Sautrell/Sautrelle Falls on Sept. 5, 1863. The full roster of the original “Lawrence Avengers” is at the bottom of this post.
The militia regiments, once filled and their officers elected, were required to conduct weekly drills and be ready to defend Kansas, within Kansas. I haven’t yet found whether Jefferson County’s militia was called to action in 1863, compared to the massive militia participation in 1864 to protect the border. A forthcoming blog post will look a little more closely at some of the 1863 Jefferson County militia groups.
Meanwhile, while militias readied to defend their town squares, Kansas was incandescent with calls for retaliation and campaigns to destroy the Missouri guerrillas’ hideouts.
Sen. James H. Lane addressed a crowd in Leavenworth six days after the massacre in Lawrence, charging that the confederate guerrillas hiding in the Missouri border counties could be stopped only one way.
“I will tell you what I want to see,” Lane was quoted as saying, Aug. 28 Leavenworth Times, and outlining the policy of General Order No. 11. “I want to see every foot of ground in Jackson, Cass and Bates counties burned over — everything laid waste. Then we shall have no further trouble. The bushwhackers cannot then remain in the country, for they will have nobody to feed them — nobody to harbor them — nobody to provide them with transportation — no place to sleep in, and will have thirty-five miles further to march before they reach Kansas.”
Regiments like Jennison’s had used 1850s Kansas-Missouri border war tactics in Missouri, scouting and harassing enemies, stealing horses, liberating enslaved people. And while these “Jayhawker” methods were criticized and shamed before and again after the war, the methods were exactly what people were clamoring for.
John W. Roberts of The Oskaloosa Independent lauded Ewing’s General Order No. 11 and suggested that if he had issued it before the massacre and if Jennison already had his new regiment in place, the tragedy might have been prevented.
Jennison and George H. Hoyt, later a lieutenant colonel for this unit, barnstormed the state recruiting the Fifteenth Regiment Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, as broadcast by this advertisement, left. Other Jennison notices shouted: “No compromise with Rebels! — No quarter to Bushwhackers! Desolation Shall Follow Treason Wherever this Regiment Marches!” The ad promised rifles, revolvers and sabres for the regiment.
Jennison and Hoyt, or at least Hoyt, brought their Death to Traitors campaign to Oskaloosa. The Oskaloosa newspaper’s observation about the speech in its Sept. 15, 1863, edition, said that Captain Hoyt had said many good things in his speech. But.
“… we protest against the useless amount of profanity which characterizes too much of the public speaking of politicians in Kansas,” the brief article said. “The English language is strong enough to give expression to any idea proper to be uttered without the use of profanity or vulgarity. We hope there will be a reform in this particular.”
And of Mitchell “Doc” Newell, who enlisted as a corporal in the Fifth Kansas Cavalry at age 18, the Fifth being merged into Jennison’s new Fifteenth? He managed to survive the war. We don’t know much about his service beyond the state’s military records, except for a chilling story written by an anonymous “Jayhawker” in 1889.
In one of the many war-time reminiscence stories published (so much) later, an anonymous writer described going on a mission in the Missouri woods with members of the young Newell’s Fifteen Kansas Cavalry and Capt. Charles F. Coleman of Kansas Ninth Cavalry Regiment. The writer admired the stealthy skill of Coleman, who like a deer hunter hid like the Bushwhackers did in the thickets in the woods, waiting for his chance.
Coleman had designed a the plan through which the Kansas soldiers would trap and kill the bushwhackers in their hidden camp on Dry Creek, and six of Quantrill’s raiders died that night, “Jayhawker” wrote.
 The number of dead has been reported variously from 150 to 200, but more recent accounts put the number in the 180 range.
 John W. Roberts was editor and publisher of his weekly, The Independent (renamed The Oskaloosa Independent), from July 1860 into 1892, although Roberts did not move from Ohio to Kansas until 1862.
 The 5th Kansas Cavalry was a unit set up by U.S. Sen. James H. Lane when President Abraham Lincoln gave him the extraordinary designation of brigadier general in 1861, meaning Lane could vault over normal procedure and raise troops himself. Lane’s 3rd and 4th regiments, along with the 5th Kansas Cavalry, were called Lane’s Brigade. Lane’s securing such power caused consternation for Kansas Gov. Charles Robinson, who held the duty of organizing the state’s military units, and his supporters. Washington powers were well aware of Lane’s strong ties to his Kansas men, many from territorial days, and the recruiting power he would have. More: http://www.civilwaronthewesternborder.org/encyclopedia/lane-james-henry
 From the Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kansas, 1861-’65. Vol. I Volume 1, pt. 1-2 – Primary Source Edition, p. 138.
 Quoted text is taken from General Order No. 1 as it was published in Kansas newspapers. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/22868830/gov_carneys_general_order_no_1/
 Sautrell or Sautrelle Falls had replaced Grasshopper Falls as the the name of this Jefferson County town. “Sauterelle” is the French word for grasshopper so the town apparently didn’t go far enough with its image makeover, and the town is now Valley Falls.
The Kansas State Historical Society has digitized the handwritten county militia records from the Civil War on its Kansas Memory website. This link takes readers to the beginning of the Jefferson County portion of page, Kansas Memory Item 227858, page 910.
The pages below show a post-Quantrill’s raid state militia organization in Oskaloosa, Kansas, the Lawrence Avengers, organized Aug. 24, 1863, by J.B. Hazen. The page may be viewed on the Kansas State Historical Society’s Kansas Memory images, Item 227858, page 940, here.