Guerrillas.The word guerrilla comes from the Spanish "guerra," which means war, and a guerrilla is one who indulges in a little war or an irregular warfare. During the early years of the Civil war the border line between the Northern and the Confederate states was infested by guerrillas. In a few instances these irregular soldiers favored the Union cause, but in a large majority of cases they were secessionists, and sometimes they cared more for plunder than they did for principle. William C. Quantrill (q. v.) was the great guerrilla leader in western Missouri and Kansas, all the others in that section of the country acting under him or in conjunction with him. Among the most notorious guerrillas of the western border were Upton Hays, John Thrailkill, Coon Thornton, Bill Anderson, Archibald Clements, Jesse and Frank James, Cole Younger and his brother, Bill Todd, Si Porter, William C. Haller, George Todd, William H. Gregg, Cy Gordon, John Jarrette, Dave Poole, Lee McMurtry, George Shepherd, George and Dick Mattox, Dick Yeager (or Yager), Peyton Long and Fletcher Taylor.
Several of these men were only privates, but by their daring and blood-thirsty deed they won a notoriety that has carried their names into history, even though in a way that is unworthy of emulation. Frank James was never a leader among the guerrillas. He and the Youngers were at Lawrence in Aug., 1863. Jesse James had not yet joined Quantrill. After the war the James boys and the Youngers became noted outlaws.
Upton Hays went with Quantrill to Utah in 1858. He was in command of the "Partisan Rangers" in western Missouri until succeeded by Quantrill in 1862. He then left that part of the country for a time, but later in the year returned to Jackson county, Mo., to raise a regiment for the Confederate service. Quantrill made a raid to attract attention while Hays was recruiting. Hays joined Col. John T. Hughes for an attack on Independence in August, and in the action was wounded in the foot. He succeeded, however, in capturing enough arms and ammunition to equip his 300 men.
A number of raids were made by guerrilla gangs into Kansas. In Oct., 1861, the town of Humboldt was raided by "Cols." Williams and Matthews, who sacked nearly every house and store in the place. About the same time the little town of Gardner, Johnson county, was plundered. On March 7, 1862, Quantrill raided Aubrey, a little town in the southeast corner of Johnson county, where he killed 3 men and destroyed considerable property. In June Bill Anderson made a foray as far west as Council Grove, killing 2 men and burning at least one house. On Sept. 6 and 7 Quantrill visited Olathe, where he destroyed or carried off a lot of property, and in October he made a descent upon Shawnee, Johnson county, and killed 7 citizens. Just before visiting the town he attacked the camp of a Santa Fe wagon train and killed 15 members of the escort. Humboldt was again visited in 1862this time by "Col." Talbot, who burned several buildings, plundered right and left, and killed 4 or 5 citizens who tried to defend their homes.
On Aug. 15, 1862, Quantrill was commissioned captain in the Confederate service and placed in command of a company of 150 men. William C. Haller was made first lieutenant; George Todd, second lieutenant, and William H. Gregg, third lieutenant. Whatever the acts of these men had been prior to that time, after that date they were supposed to be acting under the authority of a power that was engaged in warfare according to the rules adopted by civilized nations. In May, 1863, Jarrette, Younger, Clifton, and some other minor guerrilla leaders united their gangs with Quantrill's command for the big raid on Lawrence in August. (See Quantrill's Raid.)
In May, 1863, Dick Yeager left Missouri on the Santa Fe trail, crossed over into Kansas, and on the 4th encamped near Council Grove. That night he raided the little village of Diamond Springs, where he killed one man and wounded a woman. On the return trip he stopped at Rock Springs, a stage station near the line of Osage and Douglas counties, where he met and killed George N. Sabin, a soldier of Company K, Eleventh Kansas, who had been at his home in Pottawatomie county on furlough and was on his way to rejoin his regiment. Seven miles farther on Yeager's men shot and seriously wounded David Hubbard, then passed through Baldwin and Black Jack, where they robbed the stage, and then returned to Missouri, via Gardner.
Just after the raid on Lawrence, Quantrill passed through the old town of Brooklyn, where he did some damage, and on Oct. 6, 1863, his men ruthlessly massacred some Federal troops at Baxter Springs (q. v.). Other depredations by guerrillas were in the vicinity of Mine creek, where a number of settlers were driven from their homes, and at the towns of Potosi and Spring Hill. By the fall of 1863 the Union troops were so well organized along the eastern border of the state that guerrilla raids practically ceased.Pages 797-799 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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