Frontier Guard.Just before Abraham Lincoln started for Washington to assume the duties of the presidency in 1861, Gen. James H. Lane, then a United States senator from Kansas, offered him a body-guard of Kansas men. Lane's plan was to have the men get on the train at various stations along the line as ordinary passengers. None was to carry arms, but arms were to be within easy reach if any emergency arose where they would be necessary. Mr. Lincoln declined Lane's offer, saying he had not yet lost faith in the honor of the American people. Nevertheless, Lane's men went on to Washington, where the organization of the company was completed, or at least made public. The company was known as the "Frontier Guard," with headquarters at the Willard hotel. Speer, in his "Life of Lane," says that on April 16, 1861, four days after Fort Sumter was fired upon by the Confederate batteries at Charleston, Maj. Hunter (afterward major-general) was sent to the Willard with a request from the secretary of war that Lane report with his company at the White House, and that within half an hour the company was quartered in the great room, with pickets thrown out in all directions.
Adjt.-Gen. R. C. Drum, when asked for information regarding the company, made the following statement: "After April 19, 1861, when the Sixth Massachusetts regiment was attacked by a mob in Baltimore, there being but few troops in the city of Washington, the government accepted the services of a number of organizations in the District of Columbia. All of these companies were mustered in except the 'Clay Guards' commanded by Cassins M. Clay of Kentucky and the 'Frontier Guard' commanded by Gen. James H. Lane of Kansas, United States senator."
Clay's company was assigned to the duty of guarding the long bridge, and Lane's was stationed at the Executive Mansion, where it remained on duty for several weeks, the men never receiving or asking for compensation, though Lane, according to Speer, saw that they were honorably discharged. Speer also says that Charles H. Holmes, a member of the company, told him that he was sent by Gen. Lane with a squad of men to capture Gen. Robert E. Lee at Arlington, but Lee, whether warned or not, made his escape to Richmond before the detachment arrived.
Eugene F. Ware, while pension commissioner, sent to the Kansas Historical Society on Aug. 4, 1902, a partial list of the members of the Frontier guard. This list shows the following officers: Captain, James H. Lane; first lieutenant, Mark Delahay; second lieutenant, J. B. Stockton; first sergeant, D. S. Gordon; second sergeant, John T. Burns; third sergeant, L. Holtslander; first corporal, John P. Hatterscheidt; second corporal, J. W. Jenkins. In the list of 51 privates furnished by Mr. Ware are the names of a number of men who were intimately connected with Kansas affairs in an early day. Among them may be mentioned Thomas Ewing Jr., D. R. Anthony, Sidney Clarke, Marcus J. Parrott, A. C. Wilder, Henry J. Adams, Robert McBratney, Samuel F. Tappan, Charles F. De Vivaldi, Samuel C. Pomeroy, W. W. Ross, P. C. Schuyler, William Hutchinson, Charles Howells, M. H. Insley and Clarke J. Hanks, the last named a nephew of President Lincoln. The Kansas Historical Society has the original discharge of Sidney Clarke, and copies of the discharges of Cunningham Hazlett and L. Holtslander.
A complete list of those who served in the Frontier Guard will probably never be obtained. Speer says that the original company numbered 200 men, other authorities equally as reliable place the number at 120. But whatever the number, all were men who did not swerve from duty in the hour of the nation's peril, and it is to be regretted that their names cannot be obtained, in order that a deserving tribute might he paid to their promptness and efficiency in defense of the nation's capital in the opening days of the great Civil war.Pages 700-701 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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