KANSAS was admitted to the union as the thirty-fourth state on January 29, 1861. On April 4 James H. Lane and S. C. Pomeroy were chosen by the state legislature to be United States senators. On April 12 Fort Sumter was attacked, and two days later surrendered to the troops of the secessionists. On April 15 President Lincoln issued his first call for 75,000 volunteers. The Civil War had begun. The state of Virginia secretly adopted a secession ordinance on April 17. Maryland was in revolt, and seemed on the point of seceding also. The District of Columbia, lying between the two, was in an extremely vulnerable position, an easy target for bombardment and liable to be starved out if the railroads running from the north through Baltimore were cut off.
Precautions for the defense of the capital city were, of course, taken immediately. Volunteers were enrolled to fill the District's militia quota, government clerks were formed into military units, and state militia from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts-quickly followed by those from other Northern states-were under arms and en route to Washington almost before the first cannon roar at Sumter had ceased to echo. The Washington correspondent of the New York Daily Tribune, writing on April 12, reported that the city had resembled a military camp for two or three days. The correspondent continued:
In addition to political and geographical circumstances, defense of the capital was complicated by military difficulties. The United States army suffered great loss by the resignation of many high officers, including Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, the quartermastergeneral, Samuel Cooper, the adjutant-general, and Col. Robert E. Lee, the favorite aide of the commander in chief, Lt. Gen. Win-
field Scott, and the man favored to take over active field command of the armies in the event of wide-spread warfare. At no time was there a large number of troops in Washington, and optimistic reports of the Northern press to the contrary, there was certainly not enough now to withstand a determined assault by the Southern forces. True, there were ample volunteers to fill the militia quota, the clerks might have been able to hold off a seige of government buildings until the arrival of the state troops which were expected daily, but few of those in Washington had had military experience or could be counted on in an emergency. The New York Daily Tribune, interviewing a long-time resident of Washington who removed his family to the North when trouble came, quoted him as follows:
Rumors spread through Washington that the city was to be attacked, the government buildings and offices taken over by the Southerners, and the President captured and held prisoner. Extraordinary measures were necessary.
Jim Lane, who always loved a fight, must have licked his chops when he walked into the middle of this uproar to take up his duties as senator. Action and excitement were meat and drink to him. He had offered a bodyguard of Kansas men when Lincoln was ready to start for Washington to be inaugurated, but the offer was declined.  Conditions were different now, and a guard might be useful. Because of the inauguration of a new administration and the approaching session of congress, Washington was more heavily populated than usual with office-seekers. Many were from Northern and Western states, and Kansas had her full share. Senators Lane and Pomeroy, arriving in Washington on April 13, took rooms at Willard's hotel, and in the evening began to make speeches. Pom-
eroy, recalling these events many years later-and none too accurately, said they spoke from a dry goods box in the street in front of the hotel, himself first and then Lane. When Lane climbed up on the box there came a great shout from the mob, which consisted chiefly of Southern sympathizers: "Mob him! Mob him! Hang him!" Lane, naturally passionate and excitable, was terribly aroused, said Pomeroy. His eyes flashed, and his tremendous voice was elevated to its highest pitch. "Mob and be damned!" he shouted, "mob and be damned! I have a hundred men from Kansas in this crowd, all armed, all fighting men, just from the victorious fields of Kansas! They will shoot every damned man of you who again cries `Mob,' `Mob.' " Then the other side cheered him heartily, and the click of cocking pistols was heard all through the crowd. Order was restored, and men stood deathly still, for no one seemed to know who stood next to him. 
Lane and Cassius M. Clay, of Kentucky, the United States minister to Russia, "after an evening or two of flaming speech-making,"  organized some of this excess population into two companies, the Clay Battalion and the Frontier Guard, the latter commanded by Lane. Enrollment in the Guard took place on April 14, and organization was completed within a day or two.  There are said to have been 120 men in the Guard, but only fifty-one of the names are now known. 
Because the Frontier Guard was a voluntary and unofficial organization, serving without pay, they were not mustered into regular army service and their names were never placed on the army rolls.  D. H. Bailey, a member of the Guard and later con-sul-general to China, said in an interview many years afterwards that about the time the Sixth Massachusetts regiment was attacked by a rebel mob in Baltimore, Maj. David Hunter of General Scott's staff called on Lane at the Willard hotel. He explained that because of the turbulent condition of the citizenry and the few troops in Washington, as well as because of secret information that an attempt was to be made to seize the President and overturn the gov-
ernment, General Scott and Secretary of War Simon Cameron wished Lane to use his company of Kansas men for the especial protection of the President. Runners were sent out immediately to call the Kansans to Lane's rooms. On the night of April 18 at nine o'clock they marched to the White House and bivouacked in the East Room.  This account is born out in general by a contemporaneous report in the Leavenworth Times which was reprinted in the Lawrence Republican on May 2, 1861, and in the Council Grove Press on May 11.
Arrived at the White House, the company was furnished with arms and ammunition. It was a strange scene. A gleaming sword was presented to Lane by Major Hunter. Well-fed Senator Pomeroy, enrolled as a private, could not find a belt long enough. 
An account by "One Who Was There" gives the following description of the scene in the East Room:
The New York Tribune's Washington correspondent wrote that "'Jim Lane,' the well-known," and his company had bivouacked in
the East Room, which presented, "on the occasion, anything but a full dress appearance, but in the event of fighting the guests would show they were meant rather for use than for ornament. . . ."  Not even Mr. Lincoln, said "One Who Was There," was allowed to come into the room. "Even the President, when he attempted to enter the hall, accompanied by his lady and some members of the Cabinet, was pricked with the sharp steel of the sentinel, and told,-- perhaps jocosely-that he could not possibly come in!"  The formation of the Frontier Guard was noted, usually enthusiastically, by most of the Kansas Press. Brief notices first appeared in their telegraphic dispatches: "The Kansas men in Washington have formed a company of 75 men called the Frontier Guard. They have been given the post of honor of the East room of the President's House!"  A similar note had been printed in the New York Daily Tribune on April 19. The Leavenworth Conservative, in a paragraph headed "Old `Jim' Guards the Flag," said:
The Lawrence Republican wrote in the same vein:
The Council Grove Press of April 27, 1861, reprinted from the Leavenworth Times this somewhat skeptical comment:
Sol. Miller, the acid-tongued editor of the White Cloud Kansas Chief, who was seldom friendly to Lane and had no respect whatever for Pomeroy, the other senator, remarked:
Other Kansas newspapers printing reports of Lane's military activities included The Kansas State Journal, Lawrence, April 18; the Daily State Record, Topeka, April 19; the Topeka Tribune and Leavenworth Conservative on April 20.
The Frontier Guard remained in service until May 3, 1861. By that time Washington was filled with union troops and danger of a Southern attack was removed. The Sixth Massachusetts regiment, the first of the relief, had entered the city on April 19, and the New York Seventh arrived on April 25. Thereafter other regiments came in, communication with the North was assured, and the volunteers were no longer needed. As it proved, no very decisive action was required of the Guard at any time, its chief function being to assist in protecting the White House and other important points.
One "engagement" with the enemy, however, has been recorded. A few days after the Guard was mustered into service, while they were on duty at the Long bridge over the Potomac between Washington and Virginia, it was reported that a company of rebels was at Falls Church cross roads, about seven miles from Alexandria, Va. Lt. J. B. Stockton, with a detachment of men, was ordered by Captain Lane to make a reconnaissance in that direction. "Upon their approach the rebels fled, leaving their flag, which was captured and brought back, being the first flag taken [by the union forces in the Civil War]. . . ." 
A more descriptive account of this incident is given by D. H. Bailey as follows:
Kansas papers carried only brief mention of this adventure, and that gleaned second-hand from Eastern publications. The Emporia News, for example, said on May 4, 1861: "A dispatch to the N. Y. Herald says that Gen. Jim Lane is guarding the navy yard against rumored resigned incendiary naval officers, and has made several scouting expeditions into Virginia, during one of which he captured a secession flag. . . ." Another account took for its source a Washington paper:
For its services the Guard received the personal thanks of President Lincoln.
The Frontier Guard, under the command of Gen. Lane, of Kansas, who have for the last week been stationed in and around the White House, by invitation of President Lincoln, waited upon him yesterday afternoon [April 26], at the Executive Mansion.
This Dickensian description marks the last appearance of the Frontier Guard as a unit. Lane had written under date of April 27 to Secretary Cameron that, "in consequence of the arrival of large numbers of troops in this city, I am satisfied the emergency has ceased that called our company into service. If you concur in this opinion, I should be pleased to receive authority from you to disband said company, and to honorably discharge the members thereof from the service." Cameron replied, on the same date, that he agreed with Lane, and gave him the requested authority. In doing so, he said, "I beg to extend to you, and through you to the men under your command, the assurance of my high appreciation of the very prompt and patriotic manner in which your company was organized for the defence of the Capital, and the very efficient services rendered by it during the time of its existence." 
Lane left for the West on April 28. Newspaper reports said that he was dispatched to assist in organizing volunteers west of the Mississippi river, and would doubtless take an important command.  On his way home he made a speech in Chicago, where he "showed a secession flag which he had captured in Virginia, and endeavoring to wind up with a devout peroration, rather mixed things, saying-'Great God, grant us success in this our righteous cause, and may we-may we-take all the starch out of these d----d rebels. Amen.'" 
He came back to Kansas less than a month after he had left it. On Thursday, May 9, he spoke to a crowded house in the Congregational church at Topeka. Said the Topeka Tribune:
The editor, having thus summarized Lane's remarks, made a few of his own:
This editor, John P. Greer, was opposed to Lane's meddling in state matters, both political and military, and lost no opportunity to attack him. In the same issue he wrote:
In another column he added: "Genl. Lane did not appear in his native garb Thursday night, viz: Suspenders and socks. He only doffed his overcoat and neckerchief."
Old Jim had an enemy in Lawrence, too. When he spoke there
on Saturday, May 11, the editor of The Kansas State Journal reported the event as follows:
This editor also stated in another paragraph: "Lane, in his Saturday night's speech remarked that the man who told the biggest lies now-a-days served his country best, and that God would pardon him of his sins! This accounts for Lane's political elevation. He claims the people have rewarded him for past service."  Newspapermen friendly to Lane said little in his defense at this period. The Lawrence Republican, quoting a dispatch on the organization of the Frontier Guard, prefaced it with some commendatory remarks:
Several members of the Guard received discharges immediately after the company was disbanded. These are dated May 3, 1861, at the Executive Mansion, and include the correspondence between Lane and Cameron on April 27. The original discharge of Sidney Clarke, a private, later a member of the house of representatives from Kansas, is in the possession of the Kansas State Historical So ciety, and is reproduced in its Collections.  The Society also has a photostatic copy of the discharge issued to L. Holtslander, third sergeant, and John Speer, in his biography of Lane, printed a copy
of still another, issued to Clark J. Hanks of Leavenworth. However, others of the company never received discharges, and some of those who did lost them.
Accordingly, several bills were introduced in congress in later years for an act to authorize the Secretary of War to issue formal discharges, and to place on file in the War Department the names of the officers and men of the company. During the first session of the 49th Congress, in April, 1886, Sen. Preston B. Plumb, of Kansas, introduced such a bill, which apparently died in the senate's committee on military affairs.  In the first session of the 51st Congress he tried a second time. On December 10, 1889, he introduced Senate bill No. 1005, which was eventually passed, with amendments, on April 5, 1890, and sent to the house, where it died in committee.  A third and last attempt was made in 1894 by Sen. John Martin who, on December 10, introduced Senate bill No. 2372, presenting with it the favorable report made by the senate committee on military affairs in 1890. In this congress, again, the bill was passed by the senate and sent to the house of representatives, where the record ends.  Why congress failed to pass this bill, which seems to have encountered little specific opposition, is something of a mystery. Perhaps the failure was owing to lack of political pressure on the part of the bill's sponsors, or perhaps to a desire to cut down the number of prospective military pensioners. Still another possible reason may have been the irregularity connected with the enlistment of the Guard, since it was never mustered in. Officially, it would seem, the company never existed.
The whole story of Jim Lane and the Frontier Guard is a strange mixture of fantasy and fact. These American "beefeaters" seem, in the light of actual happening, like a corps in a comic opera, but there was nothing comic about them to their contemporaries. Jim Lane himself, as great a scapegrace as Kansas ever sent to congress, made himself a national hero by pure heroics. John Speer, his friend and most enthusiastic biographer, said that "this was the beginning of that intimate friendship" between Lincoln and Lane "which was never broken . . . except by the dissevering chords of death."  A somewhat more objective student of Lane's career, basing his view in part on Speer, remarks that although the contribution made by Lane and his Guard was a small one "it marked the beginning of
an intimate friendship with the President . . . which gave him a prestige and influence that continued throughout the war." 
Whether the relationship between Lincoln and Lane can truthfully be described as an "intimate friendship," or even a friendship at all, seems doubtful. The characters and ideals of the two men were so wholly disparate that any close bond appears unlikely. The truth would seem to be that Lincoln was a practical politician, accustomed to work with whatever tools came to hand, and that Lane was an opportunist who could be used. Lane made every possible use of his position in Washington to work his way into Lincoln's graces, and by his importunities secured concessions which made it appear that Lincoln recognized obligations to him.  From the time he offered Lincoln a bodyguard, early in 1861, he was constantly on the President's heels. Lincoln himself is reported to have given this explanation to Gov. Thomas Carney of Kansas in 1864: "'He knocks at my door every morning. You know he is a very persistent fellow and hard to put off. I don't see you very often, and have to pay attention to him.'"  For those who are familiar with Lane's ambitions and moral qualities there is a temptation to sum up the incident of the Frontier Guard as a purely political maneuver, as Sol. Miller did, with the implication that it was no more than a selfish and personal raid on the glory box. Unquestionably there was a large element of the political and the personal in it. A true appraisal of the incident must consider contemporaneous circumstances, however, and cannot be swayed by partisan interpretations either of that time or later. It must be remembered that Washington in 1861 was in a condition of hysteria, and the Guard was a psychological factor of real importance in helping to calm the city's nerves, no matter what its military value may have been. If Jim Lane realized the exigencies of the moment and seized the opportunity to improve his personal fortunes thereby, the historian may at least credit him with common sense and a nose for political stratagem.
1. New York Daily Tribune, April 16, 1861.
2. ibid., April 26, 1861.
3. John Speer, Life of Gen. James H. Lane, 2d ed. (Garden City, 1897), pp. 284, 255.
4. "The Times of War and Reconstruction: Reminiscences by Hon. S. C. Pomeroy," in "Kansas Biographical Scrap Book," "P," v. VI, pp. 144, 145. Hereafter cited Reminiscences." These reminiscences were written in 1886-1887 and printed in an unidentified newspaper. They are frequently unreliable, especially in points of detail.
5. John G. Nicolay and John Hay, Abraham Lincoln, a History (New York, The Century Co., 1890), v. IV, p. 106.
6. Senate Report No. 357, February 20, 1890, 51 Cong., 1 Sess., Ser. No. 2704.
7. Kansas Historical Collections, v. X, p. 419.
8. Statement of Richard C. Drum, adjutant general of the United States, in 1882, in MSS. division, Kansas state Historical Society.
9. Emporia Daily News, November 20, 1882; also in the Weekly News, November 23. See, also, Speer, op. cit., p. 238; Nicolay and Hay, op. cit., v. IV, p. 106; New York Daily Tribune, April 19, 1861.
10. Emporia Daily News, November 20, 1882. Pomeroy himself said later that because he could not find an army uniform belt long enough to go around him, he had to cut a hole in one end of the strap and splice it with string-to the great amusement of those present."Reminiscences," v. VI, p. 143.
11. Nicolay and Hay, op. cit., v. IV, p. 107.
12. The Kansas State Journal, Lawrence, May 9, 1861.
13. New York Daily Tribune, April 25, 1861.
14. The Kansas State Journal, Lawrence, May 9, 1861. Cf. extract from Washington (D. C.) Evening Star, April 19, 1861, in Kansas Historical Collections, v. X, p. 420.
15. Council Grove Press, April 27, 1861. Few Western papers at the time had direct wire service, and Washington news was ordinarily copied from letters and exchanges. The Press, for example, frequently took its "flash" news from Leavenworth papers.
16. April 18, 1861. Reprinted in the Council Grove Press, April 27.
17. April 25, 1861.
18. May 2, 1861. The last statement is a reference to the surrender of the Free-State cannon and other arms to the mob under Sheriff Samuel Jones which sacked Lawrence on May 21, 1856. Pomeroy was acting as chairman of the Lawrence committee of safety which authorized the action.
19. Senate Report No. 337.
20. Henry C. Fields, of Leavenworth.
21. Emporia Daily News, November 20, 1882; Weekly News, November 28.
22. The Independent, Oskaloosa, May 8, 1861.
23. John C. Vaughan, of Leavenworth, was listed as a private in the company.
24. Lawrence Republican, May 9, 1861. Mentioned in Washington (D. C.) Evening Star, April 27, in Kansas Historical Collections, v. X, p. 420.
25. Copy of letters forwarded in 1882 to Kansas State Historical Society by R. C. Drum, adjutant general of the United States, in MSS. division.
26. Emporia News, May 11, 1861, citing a dispatch from Washington to the Cincinnati (Ohio) Commercial.
27. Council Grove Press, June 22, 1861, quoting from the Boston (Mass.) Post.
28. The Topeka Tribune, May 11, 1861.
29. The Kansas State Journal, Lawrence, May 16, 1861.
30. Lawrence Republican, May 2, 1861; reprinted in the Council Grove Press, May 11.
31. Kansas Historical Collections, v. X, p. 418.
32. Congressional Record, v. XVII, Pt. 4, pp. 3461, 3466.
33. ibid., v. XXI, Pt. 1, p. 136; Pt. 2, p. 1526; Pt. 4, pp. 3062, 3326,
34. ibid., v. XXVII, Pt. 1, p. 151; Pt. 2, p. 1669; Pt. 3, pp. 2086, 2176.
35. Speer, op. cit., p. 286.
36. Wendell H. Stephenson, "The Political Career of General James H. Lane," Publications of the Kansas State Historical Society (Topeka, 1930), v. III, p. 105.
37. Cf. G. R. Gaeddert, "The Birth of Kansas," University of Kansas Publications, Social Science Studies (Lawrence, 1940), pp. 145, 151, 152, 156, 157.
38. L. W. Spring, Kansas (Boston, Houghton, Mifflin, 1890), p. 274. Charles Robinson, Lane's bitter rival, repeats Spring's statement in his The Kansas Conflict (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1892), p. 456.