May 23rd [1856 ]
Tired and worn I can only write you briefly, to assure you of my safety after the fearful disaster to which this unfortunate town has been subjected, rumors of which will undoubtedly reach you in advance of this.
I cannot enter into a detailed account, but will give you a sketch of the scene which unparalleled as it is in the history of this country, I am well aware will excite much feeling and indignation. Since the shooting of Jones, which proved to be no serious affair, as he has again
assumed the duties of the responsible post of “Sheriff of Douglas County”; and the attempt at arrest Gov Reeder, the U S Marshal and Shannon have been diligently engaged in assembling a posse of recent emigrants from the south also Missouri "for the enforcement of the laws." For days they were encamped (several hundred in number) in this vicinity engaged in robbery of every degree. Attended with some sacrifice of life.
After renewed threats on their part and every possible effort on ours to avert the impending catastrophe (not that we feared them but that we were anxious to save a colession & further to show the world that
we had no disposition to thwart the action of the U. S. Authorities).
Day before yesterday May the 21st; let the day be remembered in years to come, as the scene of the grossest outrage ever perpetrated under the cover of war. At daybreak a large force were in possession of a height that commands the town, which during the forenoon was augmented to some six or eight hundred in number armed with U S army furnished by Shannon, with banners upon which were inscribed “Slavery for Kansas” and such like [xxx]. Our citizens, for we had no others in town, having refused to accept the assistance of nearly 1000 men proffered
us from different parts of the Territory determined to make no show of resistance to the U S authorities, and thus give the lie to the base slanders of our disloyalty. About noon the Marshal came into town and made some arrests without disturbance, returning to camp the M___ informed the mob that his business was done And Sheriff Jones was in command, whereupon said Jones marched into town and demanded a surrender of all the arms public and private in town. Not waiting for a reply he ordered all the forces marched into town. D R Atchison made a speech. Four cannons were planted in the principal street and the “sack” commenced. The Free State Hotel and the printing presses having been “indicted as nuisances” by Judge Lecompte were made the first subject of their vengeance. The former
[written on left side of Page 4]
was first battered with the guns, that failing an attempt to “Blow it up” with like success. It was then fired. It cost twenty thousand dollars and was just finished. Both presses were thrown into the Kansas river. Every house in town was plundered and the women and children driven off.
[written on left side of Page 1]
I cannot enlarge further as I am entirely exhausted. We do not dispair of success indeed we are more confident than ever. We are making arrangements to redress our own wrongs.
[written on edge of Page 2]
I have been this day commissioned to an important work
[written across top of Page 2 & 3]
which when performed I think of paying a hasty visit to the States, perhaps to Vermont.
[written at bottom of Page 2 & 3]
You need have no concern for me as I am safe.
O. E. L