An excerpt from
Gun and the Gospel: Early Kansas and Chaplain Fisher
-- Rev. H.D. Fisher, D.D.
Published by Medical Century Company, 1897; 2nd edition.


Having returned to my regiment I was detailed in the early part of August to take charge of a large number of sick and wounded soldiers, with orders to take them to the hospital at St. Louis. There were nearly one hundred men, with sixteen nurses, Surgeon White and several assistant surgeons and hospital stewards to care for the sick and wounded. I was also ordered by Colonel Powell Clayton to proceed to Leavenworth and contract with a surgeon to join the regiment at once, as our regimental surgeon, Dr. A. J. Huntoon, was sick and on furlough in Pennsylvania.

After seeing that the party under my care were safely placed in the hospitals at St. Louis I proceeded to perform the second part of my duty. At Leavenworth I contracted with Dr. Carpenter to go South immediately and join the Fifth Kansas Cavalry for surgeon's duty at Helena. I was then ill, due to exposure on the trip, and having been seized with quinsy, to which I had long been subject, repaired to my family at Lawrence, a very sick man, reaching home about the middle of August. It thus happened that I was there, an invalid, at the time of the most fearful and barbarous occurrence of the War of the Rebellion, the massacre and pillage of Lawrence by Quantrell and his murderous band.

For a long time rumors had been afloat that it was


the intention of the Missouri guerrillas to sack Lawrcnce and slaughter her citizens. More than once guards had been placed on all the roads leading into town. The cry of "Wolf" had been raised too often. The people had served as pickets and had been frightened so many times, each time to learn that the alarm had been false, that they had come to look upon the danger of a raid upon their town as not even remotely possible, and had become accustomed and indifferent to alarms of this character. Thus it happened that when Quantrell came at last, with hellish and dire destruction, the guards had all been withdrawn and the town was asleep to danger.

The unnatural and barbarous state of affairs engendered by war was terribly emphasized on Kansas soil, where the anti-slavery people were exposed to the malignant hate of an enemy in the throes of defeat, whose schemes of revenge took form in arson, robbery, pillage and murder wherever defenceless bordertowns promised hope of success to these murderous marauders. How deadly their purpose, how sweeping in destruction were these guerrilla raids many a Kansas town was called upon to bear testimony to. But of them all none were made to suffer and mourn as Lawrence was made to suffer and mourn. The black cloud of darkest woe was her mantle. The citadel of free-state thought and sentiment, beautiful in situation, easy of approach, presenting avenues of escape to the hills of Missouri because of her contiguity to the border line, an object of supremest hate and fellest design to the desperate bandits who roamed the country and gloated in the opportunities which war afforded, their leader embittered toward the town for its ostracism of him for crimes he had committed within her limits, Lawrence easily fell a prey to the vicious products of a


fratricidal war and furnished the historian the records from which to pen the darkest deed inflicted upon a city and people during all the dark days of a needless conflict.

Quantrell was the chief of border murderers and leader of the most desperate band of highwaymen ever organized for pillage and death in all this country. In him were represented courage and cowardice; successful leadership, intrigue, cunning, desperation, revenge and hate, all to a marked degree. A brief retrospect of his life will bear testimony against him for the evils he accomplished.

Wm. C. Quantrell was born in Canal Dover, Ohio, in 1837. His father was a tinner by trade, a school teacher by profession. Under his direction the son was given a fairly good education. Quantrell junior came to Kansas in 1857, locating near Stanton, Miami County. In his new surroundings the baser motives of his character came quickly to light. He initiated himself into his new home by appropriatėng unto him self a yoke of oxen from a man who had befriended him. Concealing them in a deep, unfrequented ravine, and there lariating them with a log chain, he carried stolen fodder to them and in so doing betrayed himself-- the trail he made in going to and fro leading to the finding of the cattle. He made his escape to the mountains and was next heard of in Salt Lake City.

After a few months he returned from the West and located in Lawrence under the alias of Charley Hart. Here he taught school for a brief term, but his associates were low and he was shortly connected with them in an inter-state thievery of no small pretensions. This consisted in the liberation of slaves and mules from Missouri and horses from Kansas, to be returned


to their respective owners when reward of sufficient amount to justify the transaction was offered. The Lawrence officials at length became aware of this brigandage and broke it up, ordering the soi-disant Charley Hart and his associates out of the state. This so embittered him against the town that the enfevered guerrilla chief, as he afterwards became, was imbued with the spirit of revenge and the determination took possession of him to give vent to it in destruction and death when his moment should come.

Upon being driven from Lawrence he settled in the Sni Hills, in Missouri. This locality is perhaps the most picturesque and romantic in all that Southwestern section. Its geography is characterized by the Big and Little Blue rivers, as also by the Sni, by mountains and hills, dark ravines and impassable gulches, deep defiles and precipitous canyons, and open glades of limited extent, much of the country seldom if ever penetrated by man or domestic brute, almost unknown to the sunlight of heaven, a typical home for demons of darkness, destruction and death. It was here that Quantrell made his rendezvous and guerrilla headquarters.

His lieutenants embraced all the desperate characters who were Missouri's disgrace during the border-ruffian period, while the war between the states was going on, and for many years to follow. There were among them Bill Hickman, Joe Maddox, the Younger boys, the Jameses, Bill Anderson, Tuck Hill, Woot Hill, Bill Hulse, Jim Hinds, Ben Broomfield, Dick Yeager, Tom Maupin, Ben Morrow, Sid Creek, Fletch Taylor, Jim Little, Col. John Holt, Col. Boaz Roberts, and Sim Whitsett, all of whom were men after Quantrell's image, skilled in daring, cunnėng and murder, all men with grievances-- grievances against Kansas,


the United States and their fellow men. They all thirsted for revenge. And they all slaked their thirst in blood.

At a meeting of these chieftains and men on the banks of the Blackwater at the house of one sympathizer by the name of Pardee, the raid on Lawrence was determined upon, consummately planned and the details carefully worked out. In this council Dick Yeager made a speech, now passed into history, where he deftly outlined the massacre. Quantrell was on his feet in an instant to say that he had anticipated the plan and already had spies in the town, one of whom lived at the Eldridge House as a cattle-speculator and occasionally opened a bottle of wine at the same table with General Lane. When the motley conclave broke up Lawrence's doom had been sealed. The date for the raid had been settled upon as the 20th of August, 1863.

Meanwhile, as each setting sun brought the fateful day one step nearer life went hopefully on in Lawrence, where men passed to their daily occupations, unwitting of the fact that upon their heads prices had been set and that they, of all Kansas, would be called upon to bear the heaviest woe of the war.

The town in those days was spread over a fair site on the South side of the Kansas river and had held its own with growing beauty and prosperity since its founding in 1854 as the home of a New England colony, one of whose constituents, Amos Lawrence, had given it his name. Off to the West lay Mount Oread, in after years to be the home of the magnificent buildings comprising the University of Kansas, but in those eventful days covered with breastworks and rifle pits of freedom's defenders.


The beautiful streets, stretching away at right angles and parallel with the river on the North front, the substantial dwellings, the enterprising stores, the bustling little market, had all that long August day been alert with the sturdy life of the town, and when at last the twilight came it enfolded a weary people, who slept all too well despite the war and rumors of war which kept Kansas electric in those dark days. So that when the sun came up in his slow August grandeur on the morning of the 21st the people yet slept-- many of them for the last time on earth.

The destruction of Lawrence is directly attributable to two main reasons, with all their dependent chains of circumstances.

The first of these was to be found in the utterly unprotected condition of the town, as indeed of the whole border, because of the absence of all able-bodied men the state could spare at the seats of war, and because, too, of the censurable indifference of those in municipal authority in Lawrence to the dangers of the time. Warnings had been so frequent that the ears of the officials had grown deaf to threat or entreaty. They had no guards about the city, no pickets, no signals, no rallying point.

The second causative influence was in the method of guerrilla attack. Sure-footed, noiseless, quick, treacherous, these border fiends won many a victory before their dazed contestants recovered from the first bewildering alarm. Their spies were everywhere at work, and they kept themselves well posted on all weak and defenceless points in the enemies' ranks. An old Mrs. L--- ., of Kansas City, was the spy who furnished the necessary information and map of Lawrence. On her map she had marked all objectionable houses,


and this map Quantrell and his men had studied zealously in her parlor while Union men scoured the country for them. So that while the people slept on that fatal morning Quantrell and his men came upon them with a full and fiendish knowledge of their helplessness and an intimate conversance with their situation.

The line of march was up out of the Southeast across the line into Kansas between Aubury and Shawneetown, thence in orderly fashion over the open prairies and small streams toward the village of Franklin, four miles to the Southeast. As they came they floated over their column the stars and stripes of the United States, to avert the suspicion of any who might cross their path. They halted briefly in Franklin to await word from their scouting spies, who were to report a favorable opportunity for attack, emphasizing there their plan and determination to kill Jim Lane,Chaplain Fisher and Col. Eldridge. Favorable word being brought them out of Lawrence the column moved on. There were three hundred all told, one hundred and fifty of whom were Quantrell's tried and trusted guerrillas and one hundred and fifty of whom were picked from Price's most desperate Texas rangers.

As they neared the town the stars and stripes were lowered and out over the heads of the column shot the black folds of the Quantrell flag, flaunting the name of the leader, inwrought in red upon it by a woman's hand.

And where all this while were the out-lying troops? Why did not Fort Anthony send the warning? Why did not some early riser shout an alarm? Were people to be slaughtered like dogs? Was that awful holocaust to be permitted while the heavens smiled on and never a sound reached the ears of the


sleepers? Alas! the troops at Fort Aubury had been woefully intimidated and, bereft of their senses, could only wait in fear and trembling for the end to come. Three times men who happened to be already up and about attempted to give an alarm, but three times unerring bullets laid them low with death-groans on their lips.

Lawrence had a population of nearly twelve hundred people. It was accounted the loveliest town in the state. Mount Oread, Lying to the West, rose several hundred feet above the level of the main residence and business portion. Seven miles to the Southeast lay Blue Mound, plainly in view. Directly South lay the Waukarusa flats, or bottom lands. The river coursed directly Eastward on the North, the road to the Missouri line following close by its banks. To the Southeast, from which direction the guerrillas came, there lay a beautiful stretch of farming country, just being opened to cultivation. There was here and there a farm yielding a bountiful crop, but the settlements were scattered and few. The main wagon-travel to and from Lawrence was from the Northeast, from Leavenworth, and directly to the South, through Prairie City and Baldwin to the Southern part of the state. Hence the guerrillas were enabled to come in upon us undisturbed. Recruiting stations had been established at various points, among them one at Lawrence, and the cowardly ruffians were easily able to avert suspicion by floating the stars and stripes above them.

Entering the town from the Southeast they marched in regular order until the center of the residence portion had been reached. Here they broke into a main body and squads of four, six and eight, the larger body galloping furiously down Massaschusetts street to the


business section, the smaller squads riding as fast as their horses could carry them to the various parts of the town assigned them for individual action. Some flew to the extreme Western limit, the residence of General Lane and other prominent citizens. Others gallopecl swiftly to the Southwest, skirting Mount Oread and the Southern edge of town. The river front needed but little guarding, yet here, too, pickets were quickly stationed. As the affrighted people flew for safety, no matter what the direction, they were confronted by squads of guerrillas so stationed as to cut off escape. A cordon of death had been thrown around us while we slept.

Fairly within the city the work of death and destruction was begun. With demoniac yells the scoundrels flew hither and yon, wherever a man was to be seen, shooting him down like a dog. Men were called from their beds and murdered before the eyes of wives and children on their doorsteps. Tears, entreaties, prayers availed nothing. The fiends of hell were among us and under the demands of their revengeful black leader they satiated their thirst for blood with fiendish delight.

The lurid glare of burning houses joined with the oncoming sun to shed more light upon the awful scene. The torch was applied to every house that had been marked on the traitoress' map. Everything that could not be carried away as booty was doomed to destruction. Every business house on Massachusetts street save one was burned to the ground. No home that was picked out as the home of a soldier's family or that of a Union man was left if it could be burned.

Not only was the torch applied for the destruction of stores and homes, but in many instances the bullet-pierced bodies of their owners were consigned to the


flames, in individual instances before life was extinct. Such scenes of barbarity have never been witnessed, even in the days of war, in recent centuries, except among the most degraded tribes of earth.

Particularly atrocious were the murders of Senator Thorp, Dr. Griswold and Editor Trask. Together with Mr. Baker they, with their families, were boarding in the Northern part of the town. The guerrillas called them to the doorway, and assuring them and their wives that they were only to be taken down town to a rendezvous at which the citizens had been gathered, that the danger to the raiders might be lessened as they did their work of robbery and arson, they were marched to the front side-walk and as their wives bade them adieu were commanded to front face, and before the eyes of the women and children on the porch but thirty feet away they were shot in their tracks. The entreaties of wives and mothers and children went for naught. Shot after shot was fired into their prostrate forms until life was extinguished in all but Mr. Paker. Though pierced by seventeen bullets his splendid constitution saved him and he lives to-day.

Equally atrocious was the murder of Judge Carpenter. In delicate health he had not joined the army of the frontier, but he sympathized earnestly with the Union cause and served us nobly in many ways. His judicial utterances were always on the side of the right, and thus he became an object of hatred to the ruffian element. Called from his home in early morn he saw the danger and attempted to escape by running around his house, hoping to get out by a side gate and away to some place of safety. They chased him, and when his wife saw he was certain to be caught she flew to his side and threw her arms around him, enfolding him


in her skirts. The murderous guerrillas tried to wrest him away from her, failing in which they forcibly held her to one side and shot him down in her arms. She fell with him and again they tore her partially from him and finished their crime by repeatedly turning their revolvers upon him while still she clung to him and begged for mercy and his life.

Most terrible was the fate of a Mr. D. D. Palmer, an inoffensive man who happened to be in his gunshop when the murderous band came upon him. Having become satiated with ordinary blood-shed they shot him and an assistant, then fired the shop, tied the hands of the men and threw them into the burning building which, being of wood, burned fast and furiously. The wounded men arose and struggled to the door to be kicked back into the flames! When the fire had at last burned the cords from their wrists they again fought their way to the door and begged for mercy. Demoniac yells of revengeful delight came from their tormentors for an answer, and death, slow but awfully sure, was their release!

One hundred and fifty-four of the best business houses and dwellings of Lawrence were burned to the ground. The value of the property destroyed was estimated at one and one-half million dollars. Two-thirds of the people were homeless. Many of them had not a suit of clothing left and but few had a dollar in money. That night nearly an hundred widows and two hundred fatherless children sat wailing in the streets. One hundred and eighty-five men had been killed. Shorn of her pride and beauty and sons the city wept in sack-cloth and sat in ashes-- a Phoenix who should one day rise again. Desolation like a pall


hung over every home. There was nought doing but burial. The hearse was the only trafficker.

Many a good name and fair is on the list of the lamented dead who were left bleeding on the streets of Lawrence on that terrible day of the raid. A partial list of them is appended. These men and the others slain deserve to have their names inscribed upon the pages of the history of Kansas and the Union. They fell martyrs to a noble cause. Upon the sacred soil of Lawrence, whose individual history is more intimately interwoven with the history of the struggle for the emancipation of the Negro race than that of any other city in the Union, there should be erected a monument to these men, commemorative of the destruction of their town, the burning of their homes, and their murder, which shall tell the history of this awful crime to generations to come. Lawrence stands as the Thermopylae of Kansas and freedom.


Albach, George Allen, E. Alwes, George. Anderson, John. Allison, D. C. Argel, Jas. Allen, Clay (colored). Bell, Capt. Geo. W. Bowen Samuel. Brechteshaner, James. Brant, E. Burt, George. Burnes, Dennis. Burns, Michael. Carpenter, Judge Louis.

Coats, George. Collamore, G. W. Mayor. Crane, John L. Clona, Charles. Cooper, James. Coleman, L. D. Cornell, I. Dix, Ralph. Dix, Stephen. Dyer, Uncle Frank. Dulinsky, Sylvester. Eheles, August. Eldridge, Jas. Ellis Frank (colored). Evans, John.


Englar, Carl. Englesman, Samuel. Fitch, Edward P. Fillmore, Lemuel. Frawley, John. Frank, Joseph. Fritch, S. H. Giebal, Anthony. Gentry, Levy. Green, John. Gates, Levy. Gill, John. Griswold, Dr. J. P. Griswold, Watt. Gregg, Geo. Hay, Chester. Hoge, Calvin. Holmes, Nathan. Johnson, M. Johnson, Ben. Jones, Samuel. Kimball, Fred. Keefe, Pat. Klaus, Wen. Klaus, Fred. Kleffer, W. M. R. Lawrie, John. Lawrie, William. Leonard, Christopher. Lambert, Noe. Little, John. Limbach, Henry. Laner, Christian. Longley, Otis. Loomis, Rich.

Lowe, Joseph. McClelland, Amos. McFadden, J. Martin, Robt. Murphy, Dennis. Martha, Samuel. Martin, Michael. Meeky, M. McFarland Nathan, W. Oldham, Anthony (col'd). Oerhie, Jno. Oneil, Jas. Palmer, Charles. Palmer, Daniel W. Perine, James. Pope, Geo. Pollock, J. Purrington, David H. Roach, Jacob. Reedmiller, A. Reynolds, Samuel. Range, Geo. Range, Samuel. Speer, John M. Snyder, Rev. S. S. Stewart, Henry. Smith, Charles. Schwab, John. Sanger, Geo. H. Sargent, G. H. Stonestreet, Benj. Stone, Nathan. Swan, L. L. Thorp, S. M.


Trask, Josiah C. Turk, David. Wise, Louis. Williamson, John.

Zimmerman, John. Woods, James. Waugh, Addison.

The following were "Unmustered Recruits" who were killed in their tents unarmed: Anderson, C. Allen, Chas. R. Cooper, Jas. F. Green, John R. Griswold, Walter B. S. Walderman, Aaron. Markel, David. Markel, Lewis. Markel, Samuel.

Parker, Ashbury. Parker, Isaac. Riggs, Chas. F. Speer, Robt. Watson, John. Waugh, Wm. A. Wilson, Jas. Woods, Andrew.

Of a company of twenty-three recruits, of the ages of from eighteen to twenty years, only five escaped with their lives.

Note.-- There is some doubt about the orthography of Quantrell's name. So far as I am able to learn, it has always been spelled as I have spelled it. In later years an "i" has taken the place of the "e" in the last syllable. The pronunciation has always been "Quantrell.”

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