This post isn’t about Quantrill’s Civil War raid on Lawrence, Kansas.
This post won’t filibuster whether it was the poorly prepared abolitionist town’s own fault it was attacked on Aug. 21, 1863, or whether brokenhearted confederate Missouri brush dwellers slaughtered 150 to 180 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, vandalizing, slavery-opposing Kansas Jayhawkers or the drunken, fiendish, proslavery Missouri Bushwhackers who were on the side of right.
Neither the rebel Lost-Causers’ defense of treason and revenge nor the injustice, horror or meritorious necessity of Kansas’s retaliatory General Order No. 11 interests us here. All of that and more await you in books, articles, papers, websites, speeches, podcasts, bits of it here, here, here and beyond.
Instead, we look north from Lawrence to Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte Hazen in Oskaloosa, Jefferson County, Kansas, to observe an illustration of the young state’s response to the guerilla Quantrill’s massacre at Lawrence.
Within three days of the massacre, J.B. Hazen had organized an Oskaloosa militia company called the “Lawrence Avengers” under the state’s call for militias. A good share of the men populating this early roster, including 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, primarily 1856 and 1857. Oskaloosa women sewed a silk flag for the 1863 militia company, surrounding the gold-lettered “Lawrence Avengers” with gold stars.
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 whole story of Quantrill’s confederate guerrilla slaughter of about 180 men, boys and some soldiers. The next day, a few newspapers carried haunting snippets about the massacre at Lawrence, the state’s center for anti-slavery partisans since Kansas was opened to settlement in 1854.
The day after 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 in Oskaloosa, decided to go with the little information he had for his weekly newspaper the next day, Saturday, Aug.22. (See newspaper clipping, “Lawrence Burnt.”)
After another day, other towns’ daily newspaper columns poured out details of 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 soldiers 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 invasions and murders.
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. Residents in four Missouri counties had 15 days to leave. The Union Army burned homes and farms, leaving little or nothing for Missourians to return to. It was an action loudly applauded in Kansas but is said to have turned more Missourians, including Union-supporting Missourians, against the Union. Go to Missouri today and you will find General Order No. 11 well remembered on the border.
Besides the order to eliminate the boltholes feeding and sheltering the confederate guerillas, army recruiters took to the road to fill the Kansas ranks with more soldiers. Charles R. “Doc” Jennison, leader of “Jennison’s Jayhawkers”(the 7th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry) campaigned 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 before Quantrills massacre and was sent off with other Oskaloosa recruits (5th Kansas Cavalry) to fight the Bushwhackers on the Missouri/Kansas border. An account of Mitch Newell and a few comrades killing a group of Quantrill’s men in Missouri can be found near the end of this post.)
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 also 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.”
In fact, The Leavenworth Times reported that Hazen’s “Lawrence Avengers was the second company in Kansas to report his roll after the governor called upon the militia after the Lawrence attack. Calling Hazen one of the ’56 boys (1856) for his fighting for the freestate cause during the Bleeding Kansas struggles over slavery, the Times described Hazen’s acceptance of a “Lawrence Avengers” flag with its gold stars. (Read the newspaper clipping here.)
Carrie Macomber, who had two brothers in Kansas regiments, gave the townswomen’s flag to Hazen with a short speech. Hazen likewise addressed onlookers.
“Union,” the Times correspondent for Oskaloosa, wrote several anonymous Oskaloosa regiment articles during the war. Oddly, the article appears in a Leavenworth newspaper and nothing of the article’s jaunty description and background appears in the hometown Oskaloosa paper, The Independent. The full roster of the original “Lawrence Avengers” is at the bottom of this post.
Throughout Jefferson County and the state, militia groups coalesced precinct by precinct. Gov. Carney’s order activated Civil War militia organizations that already existed. 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, Jefferson County’s proslavery headquarters during pre-statehood days, 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 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 state’s border.
Meanwhile, militias readied to defend their town squares, and incandescent Kansas newspaper editors called for retaliation against Quantrill, his raiders and all Bushwhackers intent on invading Kansas.
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 called for for at the time.
John W. Roberts of The Oskaloosa Independent lauded Ewing’s General Order No. 11 and suggested that if he had issued it before the Lawrence massacre and if Jennison had 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 post-Quantrill’s Raid “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, Jesse Newell’s son who enlisted as a corporal in the Fifth Kansas Cavalry at age 18? He managed to survive the war. We don’t know much about his service beyond the state’s military records, except for the tale written by an anonymous “Jayhawker” in 1889.
In one of the many war-time reminiscence stories published after the war, a 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 many 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.
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