Geary and Kansas by John H. Gihon, M.D.



Atchison and Stringfellow call on Missourians for assistance.--Mr. Hoppe and a teamster scalped.--A German murdered at Leavenworth.--Outrages upon a young female.--Shannon removed, and Woodson acting governor.--Atchison concentrates an army at Little Santa Fe.--General L. A. Maclean his commissary.--He robs the settlers and the United States mails.--Reid attacks Brown at Osawattomie, who retreats and the town is sacked and destroyed.--Murder of Frederick Brown and insanity of his brother John.--Lane drives Atchison into Missouri.--Outrages at the Quaker Mission.--Burning of free-state houses.--Lane threatens Lecompton.--Dead bodies found and buried.--Captain Emory murders Philips, and drives free-state residents from Leavenworth.

    INFORMATION of the occurrences related in the foregoing chapter, soon reached the prominent leaders of the slavery faction, who lost no time in spreading them out before the people of Missouri, with any amount of exaggeration. On the 16th of August, Atchison and Stringfellow issued a circular at Westport, stating that Lane had entered Kansas at the head of a large army, had taken Lecompton, conquered the dragoons, liberated the treason prisoners, and committed other great and daring deeds; and concluding by calling upon the border ruffians for men and arms to drive the invaders from the territory.

    On the 17th, a shocking affair occurred in the neighborhood of Leavenworth. Two ruffians sat at a table in a low groggery, imbibing potations of bad whiskey. One of them, named Fugert, belonging to Atchison's band, bet his companion six dollars against a pair of boots, that he would go out, and in less than two hours bring in the scalp of an abolitionist. He went into the road, and meeting a Mr. Hoppe, who was in his carriage just returning to Leavenworth from a visit to Lawrence, where he had conveyed his wife, Fugert deliberately shot him; then taking out his bowie-knife whilst his victim was still alive, he cut and tore off the scalp from his quivering head. Leaving the body of Hoppe lying in the road, he elevated his bloody trophy upon a pole, and paraded it through the streets of Leavenworth, amid the shouts of the "law and order" militia, and the plaudits of some who are denominated the noblest specimens of "southern chivalry," and regarded as men of respectability. On the same day, a teamster, who was approaching Leavenworth, was murdered and scalped by another human monster.

    A poor German, when the scalp of Hoppe was brought into Leavenworth, was imprudent enough to express his horror of the shocking deed, when he was ordered to run for his life, in attempting which a number of bullets sped after him, and he fell dead in the street. The pro-slavery men aided Fugert to escape from the territory by sending him down the river, and furnishing him with money. He wore, upon his departure, the boots he so nobly won.

    On the following day, a young lady of Bloomington was dragged from her home by a party of merciless wretches, and carried a mile or more into the country, when her tongue was pulled as far as possible from her mouth and tied with a cord. Her arms were then securely pinioned, and, despite her violent and convulsive struggles-----but let the reader imagine, if possible, the savage brutality that followed. She had been guilty of the terrible offence of speaking adversely of the institution of slavery.

    August 21st.--Governor Shannon receiving official notice of his removal, Secretary Woodson took charge of the government. This was a signal for great rejoicing among the pro-slavery people. Woodson was a creature of their own, and they felt assured that they would now be endowed with legal authority to continue the acts of rapine that had previously been committed without the shadow of law. The acting Governor came up to all their expectations. He forthwith issued a proclamation, declaring the territory in a state of rebellion and insurrection, and called for help from Missouri, to drive out and exterminate the destroyers of the public peace. Atchison and Stringfellow soon responded to this call, and concentrated an army of eleven hundred men at Little Santa Fe, on the Missouri border.

    General L. A. Maclean, chief clerk of Surveyor-General Calhoun, who subsequently served as adjutant-general under Brigadier-General Heiskell in the contemplated attack upon Lawrence, of September 1856, was the commissary of this invading army. He delights to boast of the skilful manner in which he performed his duties.

    In the office of Governor Geary, on the morning of February 24th, 1857, Maclean, who was disposed at certain times to be loquacious, was in one of his vaporing moods, and the governor's private secretary, who appeared to be pursuing his usual avocation, took notes of a conversation, of which the following is a part:--

    MACLEAN.--I was lying in my tent, one night, on the broad of my back, smoking my pipe, and enjoying myself over a bottle of good whiskey, when Generals Reid and Strickler, and several other officers, entered, apparently in great distress. They said they had over a thousand men to feed, and not a d---d ounce of rations for the next day. After much talk, I consented to act as commissary. They wanted me to get up and go to work, but I kept my place, as though utterly unconcerned, and continued to whiff away at my pipe; telling them that the rations would all be ready at an appointed hour in the morning. They didn't know what to make of my coolness--thought I was either drunk or crazy, and went off somewhat disappointed and evidently vexed.
    GOV. GEARY.--Well, were the rations ready?
    MACLEAN.--Yes, by G-d! Ready that morning, and every other, so long as we were in camp, about two weeks.
    GOV. GEARY.--But how did you manage it?
    MACLEAN.--That was d---d easy. I was up before daylight; got out a number of wagons, and started parties in every direction, with orders to go to the stores and dwellings, get all the provisions they could find, and drive in all the cattle; and they returned with a pretty generous supply.
    GOV. GEARY.--How did you raise the funds to pay for all this?
    MACLEAN.--Funds! by G-d, we didn't pay a d---d cent! We "pressed" it all! In these expeditions, which were continued every day, we got some useful information, too. We seized the mails going to and from Osawattomie, and more than a half bushel of letters fell into my hands, in examining which, I found many of them directed to, and others written by, some of the most wealthy and influential citizens of Boston and other parts of the northern and eastern states.

    Maclean is a Scotchman, and has been but a short time in America. He is over six feet high, and proportionately stout; is the constant companion of Sheriff Jones, General Clarke, and others of that class, and is among the most prominent of the Kansas mischief-makers. He may always be found in the Lecompton post-office, at the opening and closing of the mails, and generally manages to acquaint himself with their contents, for the benefit of his party. He makes inflammatory speeches at pro-slavery meetings; is extremely violent in denunciations of free-state men; always urging others to unlawful and atrocious acts; but never venturing to place his own person in the place of danger.

    A detachment of Atchison's army, under General Reid, numbering about three hundred men, with one piece of artillery, attacked Osawattomie on the 30th of August. Brown was in command at the time, and, having only between thirty and forty men, he retreated to the timber on the river or creek known as the Marais Des Cygnes. The battle which ensued lasted about three hours, Brown having a decided advantage. He was overpowered, however, by superior numbers and driven to the river, in crossing which he suffered some loss from the enemy. Two free-state men were killed in this fight; but the loss of the other party was much greater, though its precise amount has never been ascertained. It has been stated that more than thirty men were killed and as many wounded, but this is probably an exaggeration. It was the most disastrous battle during the Kansas war.

    After the retreat of Brown, Reid's forces burned some twenty or thirty houses, robbed the post-office and stores, took possession of all the horses, cattle and wagons in the town, and committed many other depredations. They found a man named Garrison concealed in the woods, whom they killed, and wounded another by the name of Cutter, whom they supposed to be dead, but who has since recovered. A Mr. Williams, a pro-slavery man, was murdered by them in mistake.

    Early in the morning, about 6 o'clock, of the same day, Frederick Brown, a half-witted young man, and son of old Captain Brown, was killed in the road near his father's house, by Martin White, a member from Lykens county of the Kansas Legislature, and formerly a clergyman. White's own account of this transaction, is, that sometime previous, Captain Brown had stolen some of his horses, and on the morning of his death, Frederick was seen by him, riding one of these stolen horses and leading another; that he ordered young Brown not to approach or he would shoot him. This warning was unheeded, but Brown came on, apparently feeling in his breast for a weapon, when he, White, raised his gun, fired, and shot him.

    Captain John Brown, Jr., is a maniac in consequence of the cruel treatment he received while a prisoner of Pate. His arms were so firmly bound with cords as to cut into the flesh, in which condition he was compelled to travel in front of the horses for a number of miles under a burning sun, and often forced to run to keep from under the horses' feet. He was also kept without food and water. During these sufferings and privations, his reason forsook him and has never been restored.

    On the same day of the battle at Osawattomie, Lane, with about three hundred men, marched in pursuit of Atchison, who was encamped with the main body of his army on Bull Creek. Atchison would not stop to fight, but retreated into Missouri, and Lane on the following day returned to Lawrence.

    Whilst these things were occurring, a party of pro-slavery men entered the Quaker Mission, on the Lawrence road, near Westport, plundered it of everything worth carrying away, and brutally treated the occupants. At the same time, Woodson's "territorial militia" were amusing themselves by burning the houses of the free-state settlers between Lecompton and Lawrence. Seven buildings were destroyed, among which were the dwellings of Captain Walker and Judge Wakefield. The deputy marshal, Cramer, whose features are almost as hard as his heart, was one of the most active of these incendiaries.

    Because of these outrages, and the seizure of some free-state prisoners, Lane, with a large force, proceeded to Lecompton, on September 4th, and before any intimation was received by the citizens, his cannon were frowning upon their houses from the summit of Court House Hill. General Richardson, who was in command of the pro-slavery forces, refused to defend the town, having no confidence in the courage of the inhabitants, who were flying in all directions, in confusion and alarm, and he therefore resigned his commission. General Marshall being next in command, held a parley with Lane, who demanded the liberation of the free-state prisoners. This was agreed to. Lane returned to Lawrence, and the next day, the prisoners came down with an escort of United States dragoons.

    At Leavenworth and vicinity, outrages had been renewed, and were being committed, if possible, with increased ferocity. As Governor Shannon afterward remarked, "the roads were literally strewn with dead bodies." A United States officer discovered a number of slaughtered men, thirteen, it is stated, lying unburied, who had been seized and brained, some of them being shot in the forehead, and others down through the top of the skull, whilst some were cut with hatchets and their bodies shockingly and disgustingly mutilated.

    On the first of September, Captain Frederick Emory, a United States Mail Contractor, rendered himself conspicuous in Leavenworth, at the head of a band of ruffians, mostly from western Missouri. They entered houses, stores, and dwellings of free-state people, and, in the name of "law and order," abused and robbed the occupants, and drove them out into the roads, irrespective of age, sex or condition. Under pretence of searching for arms, they approached the house of William Phillips, the lawyer who had previously been tarred and feathered and carried to Missouri. Phillips, supposing he was to be subjected to a similar outrage, and resolved not to submit to the indignity, stood upon his defence. In repelling the assaults of the mob, he killed two of them, when the others burst into the house, and poured a volley of balls into his body, killing him instantly in the presence of his wife and another lady. His brother, who was also present, had an arm badly broken with bullets, and was compelled to submit to an amputation. Fifty of the free-state prisoners were then driven on board the Polar Star, bound for St. Louis. On the next day a hundred more were embarked by Emory and his men, on the steamboat Emma. During these proceedings, an election was held for Mayor, and William E. Murphy, since appointed Indian agent by the President, was elected "without opposition."

    At this time civil war raged in all the populous districts. Women and children had fled from the territory. The roads were impassable. No man's life was safe, and every person, when he lay down to rest at night, bolted and barred his doors, and fell asleep grasping firmly his pistol, gun or knife.


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