A Little More Jayhawker History Your School Books Inadvertently Forgot To Mention

by Al Benson Jr.

Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

I’ve found it interesting, over the years, as I have perused the internet out of curiosity to see what sites it might contain that deal with Yankee/Marxist atrocities in Missouri before and during the War of Northern Aggression, the first sites that usually pop up in search engines mostly seem to deal with Lawrence, Kansas.

Could you say there was Yankee/Marxist bias on the internet? Heavens to Abigail–who would ever have thunk it??? It seems that if you are going to discover what mayhem the Yankees committed in Missouri during and before the War, you are first going to have a bit of indoctrination as to what Quantrill is supposed to have done in Lawrence, Kansas in August of 1863.

The accounts of what happened in Lawrence vary in intensity, depending on which Yankee source is passing them along. This is not surprising. On a trip through Kansas several years ago, I chanced to run into a woman who was some sort of local “historian” (hysterian might be a more appropriate word). The minute I mentioned history she opened up with a barrage about the  virtues of terrorist John Brown, ignored the excesses of Jennison’s Jayhawkers, and then proceeded to inform me that people like Jeb Stuart were nothing but terrorists! Our discussion ceased shortly after that and I was more than glad to let her go her abolitionist way. Unfortunately, this seemed, at that time, to be rather typical of eastern Kansas. Friendly territory if you didn’t deify John Brown it was not. So why should the internet be any different?

James D. Horan, in his book Desperate Men announced of Quantrill’s men that they “…sacked Lawrence, Kansas on August 13, 1863, killing one hundred and forty men, women and children.” Although Mr. Horan may not realize it, the part about Quantrill’s men killing women and children is the grist from which cow chips are made, and as such, it belongs out in the cow pasture with the rest of the bovine fertilizer. However, Horan does tell us that Quantrill’s men burned 185 buildings and five stores. In the movie Ride With the Devil, which is amazingly accurate in many areas, the first building Quantrill’s men are shown burning down is the local government school seminary. Maybe the movie’s director, Ang Lee, who is from Taiwan, knew something about out history that most Americans don’t, and that might be why the movie was yanked from theaters after only about a three week run, never to appear again except in video form–and you couldn’t get them everywhere.

So, should you decide to hunt and peck around on the internet, you can learn an awful not about what happened in Lawrence, Kansas. This raid, battle, or whatever you choose to label it is one thing mentioned in most “history” books dealing with the War. However, these same “history” books (and I use that term loosely) almost never mention Osceola, Missouri.  In fact, most folks have probably never heard of that town unless they lived in close proximity to its location. It’s one of those supposed-to-be-forgotten places the Yankee/Marxists hope you never hear much about. Although the “history” books continue to give you grim accounts of all that supposedly happened in Lawrence, they will almost totally ignore what took place in Osceola, Missouri almost two years previous to Lawrence.

On September 23, 1861, Osceola, Missouri was attacked by Senator James H. Lane and his infamous “Lane’s Brigade.” This “brigade” was made up of Kansas cavalry and infantry, and was, according to one source, “…a ruthless band of Jayhawkers (plundering marauders) wearing United States uniforms. James H. Lane was known as the’Grim Chieftain’ for the death and destruction he brought on the people of Missouri.”

With Senator Lane, according to Paul Petersen, in Quantrill of Missouri, was the Fourth Kansas Jayhawker regiment and the Third Kansas Jayhawker regiment, the latter under the command of that plundering abolitionist preacher, “Colonel” James Montgomery. Although there were no Confederate soldiers anywhere near the town, and hence the town, as such, was no military threat, some of the local residents had the temerity to fire at the Union “soldiers” so Lane ordered the town to be shelled. After the town had pretty much been reduced to a mass of broken lumber and bricks, nine local  citizens were led to the town square, where they were given a “trial” by a Kangaroo Court of Jayhawkers, and they were then summarily shot. Petersen informed us that: “Banks were an easy target for the Jayhawkers, but the Osceola bank had prudently shipped its funds elsewhere. When Lane found little currency in the  bank, he ordered the stores, warehouses and homes ransacked. His men loaded the loot into government wagons and any other vehicles they could confiscate. Among Lane’s personal haul were a number of pianos for his home in Lawrence.” Just the spoils of war, folks. No doubt those Missouri pianos  would have given aid and comfort to any passing Confederates and so they had to be removed!

Then, in a typical Yankee/Marxist humanitarian gesture, Lane set what remained of the town on fire. Of the 800 building in town, only three are reported to have escaped the flames, and no consideration was given to the political leanings of any of the homeowners. Yankee or Secesh; if you had a home in Osceola, it got torched! One might wonder why Quantrill’s men, who supposedly burned 185 buildings in Lawrence, were given so much coverage while Lane’s men, who burned nearly 800 in Osceola, got almost none. You don’t suppose there was some historical bias involved here do you.

The loot these legalized thieves made off with from Osceola included over 300 horses, 400 head of cattle, and 200 kidnapped slaves, along with many sacks of flour, sugar, salt, and coffee. Petersen reported that: “Eyewitnesses noted that the plunder train of 150 wagons was at least a mile long. Property losses were estimated at more than a million dollars.” You have to understand, though, that all this is okay. As long as you are garbed in your new Yankee uniform it’s perfectly alright to rob, pillage, and rape (as Sherman’s men did in Georgia). It only becomes wrong when those nasty “racists” in the dirty gray uniforms do it.

Sound like a double standard? Of course, but how can you operate any other way when you have “racists” and various other “deplorables” to deal with and your mindset is avowedly Marxist? I mean, after all, what can people expect?

An interesting little sidelight to this horrific affair was the 200 “freed slaves.” Petersen has informed us that they “…were taken into Kansas and assigned to work in the fields. Their pay was anything they could steal and carry away from their former owners…” Such a deal! I’ll bet those Kansas farmers just loved to have those “freed” slaves working in their fields and it was even reported later that Senator Lane wanted payment from the farmers for providing them. If I didn’t know better I’d think that almost makes Jim Lane sound like some sort of slave trader! If one were not convinced of the utter truth, virtue and nobility of the Yankee cause such information might make him tend to think that Lane sounded slightly hypocritical. But you have to remember, Lane was a 19th century cultural Marxist and so the double standard is perfectly alright so long as his agenda is served.

You might even, should you have a suspicious mind, as I have been accused of having, be tempted to ask the question–when is slavery not slavery? The answer to that question is–when it is practiced in Kansas by abolitionists instead of in Missouri by ordinary farmers. But having been exposed to a certain amount of political correctness in our day you all how that drill goes–“War is peace; Less is more,” and so forth.

And to top off a grand day for the Jayhawkers, just before Lane’s brigade  left town, most of them got roaring drunk! But again, you have to realize, that’s okay–the Yankee uniform excuses anything–you know: “His truth is marching on” and all that! So should you be tempted to wonder, there were ample reasons for the raid on Lawrence. It was not just a random act of Southern terrorism as has been suggested. And we might well ask the question–if Lawrence was terrorism, then what, pray tell, was Osceola??? Answers anyone? I didn’t think so!