The Missouri in the Civil War Message Board

Prelude to the Lawrence KS Raid

I had seen excerpts of this article in Starr's book on Jennison, wanted to see the entire article, and recently obtianed a copy. Thought it might be of wider interest. Here it is.

The Daily Conservative (Leavenworth, Kansas)
Tuesday Morning, August 4, 1863.

The Very Latest From Lawrence
(From the Conservative’s own)
Lawrence, August 1, 1863

Lawrence is safe. The beleaguered City Of Martyrs, at last, thanks to the exuberant energy of its people, is in such a condition of defense that we only fear the cowardly guerilla will not penetrate even to the suburbs.

Barber, Shombre, Hoyt, - sleep in peace on the lofty crest of Oread! For these, your old comrades and brethren are still awake. The old Missouri foe will never enter Lawrence save to be welcomed to an “inhospitable grave.”

You can rest assured no “six hundred light brigade” of bushwhackers can scare Lawrence. We are accustomed to these things.

Mac and I are on a tour of observation. Sixteen Malakoffs guard the city on the easterly approaches. Four Redans stand ready to belch their flamely terrors on the South. Oread, with its ancient earthworks, is on the west. The subtle Kaw runs between us and the north, and, in awful silence, the iron-clads of Lawrence float upon its waters.

Who fears for the safety of our northern Vicksburg? Like the impudent boy of old, I say, “Go up, Baldhead!”

It is proper to add that these formidable defenses were made for two reasons:
First, To save us from surprise by Quant(rill)
Secondly, To prevent Jennison and Hoyt from coming to our rescue.

In the sudden terror of the first news of Quantrile’s meditated advance, a messenger came to us and reported that twelve Red Legs headed by the two Jayhawkers, would reach and reinforce us by midnight. The Red Legs were happy. I am sorry to say that a few of this celebrated “Order” yet live here.

They demanded of the Mayor that the freedom of the city and a fine contraband mule be presented Jennnison on his arrival, and that a procession of young and comely virgins present the youthful Hoyt with sprigs of the graceful sunflower.

This ostentatious and impudent idea met with the contempt it merited. The “spokesman” of the Red Legs was instantly arrested and fined “fifty dollars and costs, sir” for “carrying concealed weapons;” and three more were sentenced to be transported to Leavenworth, to be tried by Mayor Anthony for being “vagrants.”

A meeting of property holders and all those opposed to martial law was called.

It was decided that although great danger to the city existed, still, a just regard to the insecurity of property, especially stick, demanded that Jennison and Hoyt be excluded. Besides, it would give a radical character to the militia called out, many of whom were conservative men and opposed to anything like “harsh” methods!

The anti-Red Legs triumphed, and the gates were closed upon the valiant out-loyalists.

It is generally understood that Hoyt and Sam Wood came in by different roads perfectly disguised. Hoyt played “Anthony man” and Sam, “Jim Lane man” upon the people. Of course their true character was not suspected under these atrocious pretences.

Among the various companies of minute men turned out under arms none attracted so much attention as the Bridge Corps,” organized and commanded by Capt. C. W. Babcock.

It is said that Judge Miller, Ed Thompson and Mark Parrott are “high privates” in this efficient company. An example was set to the rest of the volunteers by Babcock’s corps. Every man of which signed the “pledge” before enrolling. It is understood that the obligation binds them as long as the city is in danger. Lager beer is the sole exception. This company all sing “John Brown” and bid regularly for the “contracts” at Forts Leavenworth and Scott. They are said to believe in the “rights of man” and beef contracts. This I do not state on my own authority, but derive from the Lawrence signers of the remonstrance against martial law. Sam Wood says this “whole thing” is a Jim Lane dodge. He had just heard a company of minute men singing to the air of “John Brown”:

“We’ll make Jim Lane the next President,

We’ll make Jim Lane the next President,

We’ll make Jim Lane the next President,

And all get commissions from him.”

Sam’s soul revolted against the joke!

I visited the “outposts” this evening. The confidence and audacity of the Picket Guard was surprising. “Let ‘em come,” says a jolly little fellow with a canteen, “all us has to do is fall back on the town.”

12 P.M. – I was just awakened by an alarm. Babcock called out the Bridge Corps, who were in line in precisely thirty seconds. It was stated hat the Pickets had been driven in. Subsequent investigation developed into the fact that they came in for a drink.

August 2d – 2 A.M. – The town is quiet. The three companies under arms at the Court House have again returned to their blankets, firmly resolved to lynch the man who doubts the danger of Lawrence. I forgot to mention that Hoyt was captured by the Bridge Corps. Babcock recognized him for his good behavior, and became securing for the safety of all the stock in town.