|KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS|
TROUBLES NORTH OF THE KANSAS.
The sudden and unexpected reverse of the Pro-slavery bands about Lawrence, the treaty made with them by Gov. Shannon, his absolute refusal to call the Missouri militia into the Territory, and his ordering out of the whole garrison from Ft. Leavenworth to restore order and prevent their taking revenge, exasperated the Pro-slavery men both in Western Missouri and Kansas, to the extreme of taking summary vengeance into their own hands wherever Free-State settlers could be found in isolated places, or in insufficient number to offer effectual or formidable defense. So, as on former occasions, the subsidence of disorder south of the Kansas was the beginning of a fresh chapter of horrors in Leavenworth, Atchison and at all other points near the border where the Free-State settlers were fewer in number, less efficiently organized, and at the mercy of their merciless foes. To the intensity of hate was added the wild delirium of fear, and under the combined influence of these two most potent incentives to violence, murder, arson, rapine and the whole hoard of minor terrors were let loose to run riot among the defenseless Free-State settlers wherever they were in a helpless minority. In the reign of terror and the rule of anarchy which ensued, culminated the woes and horrors of Kansas' early struggles.
On august 16, the rally of the Pro-slavery forces was begun along the border. On that day a call was issued at Westport, Mo., signed by D. R. Atchison, W. H. Russell, A. G. Boone and B. F. Stringfellow. It began thus:
WESTPORT, AUG. 1856
Then follows an account of the driving out, on the 7th inst., by "Brown, the notorious assassin and robber," with a party of three hundred Abolitionists, of Cook, and a party of Georgians, who had settled near Osawatomie. The account says: "This colony was unarmed, and numbered in all - men, women, children and slaves - about two hundred! Their houses were burned, all their property, (even to the clothes of the children) taken and destroyed." Following, was an account of the expulsion of Mr. White from Lykins County, 'although a Free-State man,' for his efforts to procure the arrest of the murderers of Wilkinson. The taking of Franklin, where is was stated that the assault of three hundred Abolitionists, many of them Lane's men, but headed by Brown, was withstood, until their house was fired by fourteen Pro-slavery men - the subsequent evacuation and pillage; the destruction of "Treadwell's Settlement" (Fort Saunders), by a force of four hundred men, all well mounted, under Brown and Walker, were all described. Friends were constantly coming in, robbed and plundered. Hourly expresses arrive, announcing the progress of the traitors. The closing appeal was as follows:
We believe that ere this Lecompton is taken. In ten days not one Pro-slavery settler will be left on the south side of Kansas River, unless instant aid be given them. Our Friends on the north side, scattered and unprepared, will then be exterminated and expelled.
The response to this appeal was immediate, and troops began to gather on the border awaiting the expected call of the Governor on the Territorial militia, as a pretext for advancing into the Territory in force. But Shannon was deaf to their frantic appeals to be called into action, and they remained upon the border, increasing, as the days went by, like the black and swelling clouds of the coming storm. Meantime the excitement and panic in the border counties of Kansas increased. Fresh news of more outrages came daily, and were give, with all the exaggeration of fear and hate, to the excited people. The following are given as samples of the style in which the news was served up to the citizens of Leavenworth, Atchison, and the border towns:
[From the Leavenworth Journal Extra.]
The Kansas Herald Extra, giving the same or equally panic-stricken accounts of the devastation of Lane's army, opened with the following startling headlines: "War and Desolation!--Lecompton Taken by Lane's Men!--Col. Titus' Company Held as Prisoners!--Sheriff Jones' House Threatened by the Outlaws!-- Murder and Butchery!"
An account of the storming and taking of Titus' house, and the general devastation of Lane's men, closed s follows:
Is there a heart in the beast of any Law and Order man in Kansas that will not respond to the following earnest and touching appeal. Let the cry be - To arms! To arms!!
Under the excitement of such reports and appeals as these, the Law and Order men of Leavenworth and Atchison Counties at once began the counter work of exterminating what Abolitionists or Free-State men could be found in their midst. Murders became too common to cause more than passing notice, except accompanied with some peculiar atrocity. One Fuget, under the inspiration of whisky and the call of Atchison, Stringfellow & Co., before quoted, on the day following its issue, made a wager of a pair of boots that he would have the scalp of an Abolitionist within two hours. He won his bet - within the time he had secured the reeking scalp of Hoppe, a German, whom he had murdered. A German, who expressed horror of the deed, was shot dead. The murderer fled, wearing the boots he had so fairly won. No Free-State man's life was safe, except under the protection of Fort Leavenworth, to which many fled for safety. As the panic- stricken Pro-slavery settlers were flocking to the Missouri border, south of the river, through fear of "Lane's men," a like exodus of Free-State families was going on north of the Kansas, all along the Missouri River. The down boats were loaded with Free-State refugees, driven out by their relentless foes, or willing fugitives from the bloody horrors of the time. Gov. Shannon is reported to have stated that, at the time he left the Territory, the roads abut Leavenworth "were literally strewn with dead bodies." The concentration of horrors about Leavenworth was attributed to a band of desperadoes under one Emory, a United States mail agent, who, in response to the appeals put forth for help, had recruited them in Platte County, Mo. They styled themselves the "Regulators," and declared their intention to kill every Abolitionist who did not leave the Territory.*
THE ADMINISTRATION OF ACTING GOVERNOR WOODSON.
Secretary Woodson entered upon the duties of Acting Governor on the evening of August 21. On the preceding day, Maj. Gen. William P. Richardson wrote Gov. Shannon that, having received information of the approach of Lane, with his army, from the north he had deemed it his duty to call out the Territorial militia of his division to repel or intercept him. What reply Gov. Shannon might have given to this extra-official military precaution can never be known, as he had ceased to be Governor of the Territory before Richardson's letter reached him. Woodson, however, approved it and also immediately ordered Maj. Gen. Coffey, commanding the Southern Division of Kansas Militia, to call out his troops and take the field. This, with a proclamation issued by Woodson, on the 25th, declaring the Territory in a state of insurrection, and calling out the militia, opened wide the eastern gates of Pro-slavery invasion, through which the waiting Missourians poured into the Territory, to mingle in the general carnival of disorder, and, perhance, if victorious, to close the northern gates against the threatened Free-State invasion.
The Pro-slavery press, now assured, until the arrival of Gov. Geary, of the full, heart-felt and unscrupulous co-operation of the Acting Governor, put on anew its war paint, and urged a sharp, quick campaign of extermination. The Squatter Sovereign, under the head of "Third and Last Time," urged the Missourians to work of extermination thus:
Our Friends have been collecting on the Border during the past week, and in a few days will have a well-organized force in the field, equal to any emergency. We again reiterate: a crisis has arrived in the affairs of Kansas, and another week will tell a tale that will have an important bearing on the future fate of Kansas. It behooves every citizen to shoulder arms without any further delay. We have been slow to believe that anything like serious fighting would occur, but we are now fully convinced that a deadly struggle must ensue, and one or more hard battles transpire before the Abolitionists can be subdued. Already the smouldering ruins of numerous dwellings, and the reeking blood of many a victum,(sic) cries aloud for vengeance. The cry is heard and will be answered with tenfold retaliation. If there is one breast still unpenetrated by this call, we urge that it instantly become alive to the importance of the emergency. The want of a few men may turn the fortunes of war against us. Then let every man who can bear arms "be off to the war again." Let it be the third and last time. Let the watchword be, "extermination, total and complete."
The Pro-slavery men keenly appreciated the importance of quick, decisive work. The work to be effectual must be done, to avoid risks of governmental interference, while Woodson remained in power, and that so thoroughly that his successor could not undo it, if he would. With no Free-State men left in the Territory, Gov. Geary would find none to protect. With their extermination would vanish all their violated rights and importunate claims for redress and justice; "it was a consummation devoutly to be wished," and "if it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly." To quicken to renewed and prompt action the Pro-slavery men of the border, and another manifesto was issued on the 26th of August, signed by Atchison, Stringfellow and all the acknowledged Pro-slavery leaders of Leavenworth and Atchison. It received the indorsement of their Missouri allies as follows:
"We, the citizens of Missouri, urge our fellow citizens and the citizens of other States to respond to the above call of the citizens of Kansas. Signed by A. W. Doniphan, Oliver Anderson, B. J. Brown, Henry L. Rouett, A. G. Boone, Jesse Morin, John W. Reid, B. F. Stringfellow."
The manifesto recounted fully the past history of the struggle, as viewed from a purely Pro-slavery standpoint, and announced in terms of earnestness and sincerity the imminent danger of irretrievable failure unless immediate response, in overwhelming numbers, was made to their call. The spirit of the whole document is evinced in the excerpts which follow:
We have asked the appointment of successor who was acquainted with our condition; who, a citizen of our Territory, identified with its interests, familiar with its history, would not be prejudiced or misled by the falsehoods which have been so systematically fabricated against us - one who, heretofore a resident, as he is a native of a nor-slave-holding State, is yet not a slave-holder, but has the capacity to appreciate, and the boldness and integrity requisite faithfully discharge, his duty, regardless of the possible effect it might have upon the election of some petty politician in a distant State.
At the time of the issue of the above manifesto, Atchison and Stringfellow had already, at Little Santa Fe, a force variously estimated to number from five to eleven hundred men. They organized under the name of 'THE ARMY OF LAW AND ORDER IN KANSAS.' David R. Atchison was elected Commander-in-chief of the forces in the field. The army was organized into two regiments. The first foray into the Territory was made on the 25th, at which time the Quaker Mission was robbed of all its cattle, horses, and such provisions and valuables as could be carried off. The occupants who were traditionally hostile to slavery, were termed nigger- stealers, and as such, treated most barbarously. The Mission was for the time broken up.
The Free-State men were frankly informed of the proposed intentions of Acting Gov. Woodson. The mustering of armed bands all along the border, and the proclamation calling them into service meant to them another invasion, continued war, and perhaps the driving out of all Free-State men. Every avenue to sources of supplies had been cut off, and already the citizens of Lawrence were short of provisions; attempts to obtain them from Leavenworth or Kansas City, proved unavailing. Teamsters sent thither for supplies were taken prisoners, murdered on the road, or if suffered to obtain supplies, were waylaid on the return, robbed, and sent to Lawrence as empty as when they set out.
On August 24, the citizens determined to appeal to Woodson, the Acting Governor, for relief. A committee of five citizens, of whom C. W. Babcock was chairman, waited on Gov., Woodson, whom they found in the quarters of the officers in command of the United States troops, then stationed at Lecompton. The committed stated to Woodson that Lawrence was out of provisions; that their roads were blockaded by armed mobs; that two of their teamsters had been murdered, and that they desired to know whether he would grant them a guard to their teams to Westport and Leavenworth, or leave them to guard their own teams and open the roads. They wished further to be informed whether he intended to interpose troops to prevent this overwhelming mob from murdering, burning, and pillaging, or were the people of Lawrence to be left to take care of themselves? In reply, Gov. Woodson is reported to have said that if the people of Lawrence would obey the laws (the Territorial laws), and if he could have assurances to the effect, 'this thing' (meaning the invasion) could be settled in five hours - that, under those conditions he would bring the troops, of which he was Commander-in-chief, to bear upon these mobs and disperse them. In reply, Mr. Babcock said: "Governor, anre we to understand that your position is this: That if we obey the bogus laws you will protect us with the whole force under your command; and if not, you will allow us to be murdered? Is that your position?" Gov. Woodson protested that he had no desire to see them murdered, but the laws must be obeyed and the wrist must be executed. The committee returned to Lawrence without the protection, and fully convinced that the fight must be continued. The old redoubts of the town were again put in a state of defense, and the temporary lull which has followed Shannon's late treaty and exchange of prisoners, gave way to a fresh rally of Free-State troops who, concentrating rapidly in Lawrence, prepared for renewing the contest. Three days later, on the 27th, while preparations for defense were still going on in the city, another call was made on Woodson for protection and redress; this time by private citizens: G. W. Hutchinson, a Lawrence merchant, whose teams had been stolen on the way to Leavenworth, and his teamsters taken prisoners; and Mr. Sutherland, the mail-carrier between Lawrence and Leavenworth, whose hack and driver had met the same fate. They first appealed to Col. Phillip St. George Cooke, who was in command of the United States troops at Lecompton, having come in from Ft. Riley two days before. He referred them to Woodson. While in his presence telling their story, they were seized as prisoners by the Territorial militia. Col. Cooke was indignant at the outrage, and made repeated demands on the Governor for their release, to no purpose. Woodson's reply being that they were-seized as "spies in the enemy's camp, and were held as prisoners of war."
So well prepared were the Missourians for the fray, that the evening of the first day after the call of Gov. Woodson was made saw the Quaker Mission sacked, and a detachment of the Missouri army, numbering some 150 men, under Capt. John E. Brown, encamped on Middle or Mound Creek, some eight miles in the enemy's country, not far from the present site of New Lancaster, Miami County. The encampment was discovered by some companies of Free-State men, who, with equal alertness, had responded to Gov. Woodson's call, and were in watch for the advance of the invaders. These companies were in command of Capts. Cline, Anderson and Shore, the latter being one of the heroes of the battle of "Black Jack." The combined force numbered 118 men. On the following day, about noon, they attacked the camp. After a sharp firing of some ten minutes, the Missourians fled, leaving their baggage, horses, coats, and a well-prepared dinner in the hands of the assailants. They retreated to the border, and joined the main army. Eleven prisoners taken were paroled the next day, and permitted to follow their friends over the border. Lieut. Cline, the only one of the Free-State men wounded, subsequently died from the effects of his wounds.
On the 29th, the grand army moved into the Territory in full force, and encamped in the evening on the head-waters of Bull Creek, some fifteen miles north and four miles west of Osawatomie. From this point, a detachment, numbering three hundred or more men, under the command of Capt. John W. Reid, made a force march to the village of Osawatomie, which they reached early the following morning.