The Spiral Of Reprisals

By the end of 1862, Missouri and northern Arkansas had settled into a pattern of guerrilla attacks and Union reprisals that differed only in their ever-increasing viciousness. The Union command imprisoned the womenfolk of known Bushwhackers and pressured their families to move south into Confederate territory, in the hopes that the guerrillas would follow. When a Kansas City prison collapsed on August 14, 1863, and killed five such women, the Bushwhackers flew into a rage, convinced that the Federals had murdered them - an unthinkable crime in those days. Several members of William Quantrill's band lost relatives in the prison collapse, and on August 21 they descended on Lawrence, Kansas, a hotspot of abolitionism and home

William Quantrill

to Senator Lane. Shouting "Remember Osceola!" and the names of their dead relatives, they indulged in a drunken orgy of looting and kilting that left nearly 200 men and hoys dead in the streets and much of the town in flames. In response to this worst atrocity against civilians in the Civil War, four days later BrigGen Thomas Ewing issued General Order No.11; this removed virtually the entire population from three western Missouri counties and a portion of another. Union troops in charge of this mass eviction, including Jennison's Red legs, took the opportunity to pillage and burn, and for decades afterwards this region was known as the "Burnt District."

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