I am a Native of Mass – Have a wife & one child, Started June 1856. My object was to take a claim & assist in making it a Free State. Came at my own expence arrived about the 10th of July – The unsettled state of the country & the troubles prevailing were such that I had no opportunity of examining the Country, & have therefore taken no claim – Upon my arrival at Lawrence I was obliged to pay 10 dollars per week for Board for my Family until I could make arrangements for housekeeping – When the troubles which thickened so fast in Aug. occurred Myself & wife were sick with the ague & Fever. This prevented my taking an active part in the difficulties. Indeed if I had been well I could not procure a gun. I did not get one until the middle of Sept nearly – This was at the time Laurence was threatened by another invasion from Missouri – Which occurred on Sunday the 14th of Sept Every available man in & about town was summoned to bear arms in its defence.
Men were stationed at the different Fortifications & at such houses as were properly located to be ready for the assault. The whole force of citizens that could be mustered at this time did not exceed 300 – about 3 o’clock in the P.M. the excitement grew intense when the report reached town that a force of 2800 of the enemy were approaching & had reached within 4 miles at a place called Franklin.
And that a scout of 60 mounted men were in advance of the main body within a mile of the City – These were met & repulsed by a small force from our party. Leaving as reported 5 men of the enemy killed – Our men had Sharps rifles & only approached within about ½ mile of the enemy. During the day three expresses were sent for Gov Geary to interpose by sending
U. S. Troops to our assistance. About dusk this request was granted. Several Companies of Dragoons with three pieces of Cannon were stationed on the hill south west of the town in the Fort. Next day Gov Geary with an escort of U. S. Dragoons went to Franklin for the purpose of disbanding this Missouri Militia who seemed intent upon destroying the Town. The Gov by considerable persuasion & flattery succeded in making them give up their Mission. Some of them returned to Missouri the others went with the Gov to Lecompton.
During their journey they murdered David Buffum Soon after this occurrence Gov Geary proposed that Capt Walker organize from the Citizens of Laurence a Company of Militia for the protection of the Town. I having no opportunity to get employment enlisted. The Company served two months & were disbanded. By this arrangement I have managed to get along pretty comfortably. I served as a Commissary during my enlistment. I intend setting upon a Claim as soon as I can make the arrangements & with some assistance will be enabled to succeed satisfactorily. I like the Country much.
Experiences of N. W. Spicer in Kansas
I am a Native of Susquehanna Co. P.A. I am a Carpenter & Joiner by Trade. I was receiving $40. per month in Spring of 1856 when the news reached me of the Kansas difficulties & I determined to have a hand in the operation myself. I immediately went to Chicago where after some delay I joined a Company of Emigrants bound for the “Land of Promise” & on the 17th day of June we all started on the Car intending to take the river route for the Territory. At my exit from Chicago I had $60. The Company of which I was a member were promised, our passage free & $30 in money or its equivilent in provisions when we should have reached our destination. A Sharpe Rifle was also promised us. After reaching Alton we took passage on the Missouri River Steamer, “Star of the West”. In about 4 days we reached Levenworth City, on the borders of the territory. Before we reached this point we encountered considerable opposition, having our guns taken from us by a large force. But here the Spirit of mobbery & Ruffainism increased to such a degree that we were compelled to return on the same boat.
There were 75 men when we set out from Chicago. On our return from Levenworth & when we were ready to pursue the Overland Route there were about 30 of the original number left. These kept on their way through Iowa & Nebraska & after a tedious journey of many weeks on the 13th day of Aug we reached Topeka the Free State Capital of the Territory. Before we had time to pitch our tents a messenger arrived from Lawrence bringing information of the difficulties at Franklin that had occurred the day previous & bringing intelligence that the Enemy were assembling in large forces at Fort Saunders near Washington Creek. This was a strong hold occupied by the Enemy in harassing by plundering & robbing from the Free State settlers in the neighborhood. Large numbers had already assembled of
the Free State men within three miles of the Fort. And this messenger requested
all who could to repair to the spot to reinforce them. In less than half an
hour from the time the message arrived the Chicago Co were prepared & ready
to start. We traveled nearby all night & on the 14th at 2 o’clock
we reached the general Encampment of Free State men. During the day a Scouting
under Capt Shombree started from Camp to reconnoitre the ground of the Enemy & also find & bring in the murdered remains of Hoyt who we had been informed was assassinated by the gang in the Fort the day before. They returned late in the P.M. bringing in the mutilated remains of the Murdered man. When the corpse was exposed the men seemed indignant & swore revenge.
Next morning the men wished to be led to the Fort. But Lane deeming it imprudent (or rather I should say Capt Cook who had not yet undisguised himself) sent the same scouts out again who returned about 11 o’clock. Cook wished to postpone the attack until next morning. But the men becoming so enraged at the suggestion he changed the programme that he had made and arranged that the attack should be made in the P.M. At 2 o’clock the whole number of about 500 accordingly set out for the Fort. Before they had got in sight, the enemy fled leaving 40 guns, the horse of the murdered Hoyt & such other plunder in our possession. We returned to our Encampment and after dispatching a hasty supper started for Laurence. But before all of the men had left the Camp, intelligence reached us of new difficulties at Lecompton. We immediately changed our course & steered for this place. We marched until about midnight when we arrived in the vicinity of Judge Wakefield’s. Here we encountered a gang of Horse Thieves headed by a desperado under the appellation of Col Titus.
This gang finding themselves closely pressed by our advance scouts at once fired upon them which was returned with such success as to wound & kill two of their men. One of their number was taken Prisoner. Also two of their horses were left on the ground which were secured by our party. We stopped for the night about a mile from where this occurred. During the night Titus fearful that we would attack him in his house which was a mile south of Lecompton on the Laurence road, sent a dispatch & caused the whole force in town to come to his defence. They returned however early in the morning. At daybreak the horsemen under Shombree learning the state of affairs with the horsemen under his command started in advance of the Main body to surprise Titus & his men & take them prisoners. They rode so close to the house that they were fired upon unawares. Several men were badly wounded. Capt Shombree mortally. One of the men in the house was killed by a return fire. Soon the whole force came up. The Cannon was stationed in from about 50 rods from the house. The Chicago Sharp’s Riflemen diagonally from it below & covered by a rail fence. After a few discharges of the Cannon & rifles a white Flag was suspended from a window when the firing ceased. All who were in the house 19 in number were taken prisoners. Their horses, arms & munitions were also taken, when the whole force took up their march for Laurence. The reason why the Company did not pursue their journey to Lecompton was on account of the U. S. Troops interfering. Directly after Gov. Shannon came to town which was the Sunday following Col Eldredge addressed the men assembled numbering over 500. He stated that as they of Lawrence would probably be subject to an attempt on the part of our
Enemies to invade the Town again it would be necessary to have men for her defence & that if the Chicago Company would relinquish for the time being the project of locating thier Claims & remain & be ready against any emergency to fight if necessary, he as Agent of the Committee would be responsible for their support – The men on account of this promise, therefore remained – During our sojourn here we were constantly active. Some of the men of the Chicago Company went to Ossawatomie. Others assisted in bringing grain & hay in Lawrence. At one time we went to Topeka under Col Harvey’s Command to bring arms & other munitions that were in charge of Mr Moore to Lawrence. About this time as I had been a scout & was pretty active, when the Regiments were made up I was given the office of Adjutant – Prior to this I had been elected 1st Lieutenant of the Chicago Co. My father is a Millitary Officer & I had learned the dicipline under him—At one time during the Company’s stay at Lawrence, Assistance was called for from the people on little Stranger Creek toward Leavenworth – In this Campaign we took between 30 & 40 horses & mules & surprized & took a Company of Carolinans who were on thier way to reinforce a Company of Pro Slavery men at Atchison. We immediately released them & rturned on our horses to Lawrence – Two nights we ambushed in the woods about 100 in number. Nothing of importance however occurred at either time excepting a heavy Thunder Shower. we managed by rolling our guns up in our blankets to keep them dry – We had not been returned from this Expedition long enough to become rested before we we were summoned to March to Hickery Point. We were successful in our Mission until our return when we were all surprized & taken prisoners by the U. S. Troops
to Lecompton. After being detained about a week I, with some others, passed the guard & made our way to Lawrence. Soon after I escaped a Militia Co. was formed for its protection which I joined. Was elected orderly Seargeant. This officer receives for his services $20. per month. My time is now expired & I intend settling on a Claim. I have no means except what I draw for my services (two months in the Militia. During the Summer & Fall I was obliged to expend what means I brought with me for the necessaries of life such as food clothing &c. I am now destitute of clothing Bedding &c suitable & necessary for the winter – I am determined however to stay in Kansas & fulfill the object of my coming – which is to assist & if possible make Kansas a Free State.
Lawrence K. T. Dec 6th 1856
Kansas Experience of J. A. Harvey
Started for Kansas in a Company organized for this purpose [Jne?] 13th 1856, This Company left under the patronage of the Citizens of Chicago. The object in fitting out this expedition was to send permanent Settlers to Kansas to assist in making her a Free State. The Company were promised in a written agreement entered into by their Agent, Medill of the Tribune Office - $30 or its equivilent in provisions at our arrival in the Territory. They were also promised that if the difficulties continued that were then prevailing they would support us 12 months – We took the River Route for the Territory & after reaching Levenworth on the borders were compelled to return. We then took the overland route through Iowa & Nebraska arriving in the Territory on the 13th day of August – We were at once called to assist in the troubles which had just broken out afresh. We immediately repaired to the scene of action where were actively engaged in Marching & fighting from the time we arrived until the 18th Inst – It was the intention
of the Company to locate Claims immediately upon our arrival in the Territory. But we were requested when we reached Laurence to remain in that town & assist in its protection. also to be ready to assist at any other point where they might require such assistance – To this after some debate we consented. Before starting from Chicago I had been elected Commissary of the Company & had taken special pains to provide the Company with such cooking utensils & farming implements as they might require in a Pioneer life. I also purchaced provisons sufficiently for 30 days – but after we arrived in the Territory finding the Citizens mostly destitute we gave freely of all we had until it was consumed & afterward we were obliged to shift for ourselves. some of the time having scarcely enough to sustain life. In this last remark I have more particular refference to the time between the 1st of Sept. up to the time in which some of the men were taken prisoners & others joined the Militia – I had forgotton to state that at Iowa City while on our overland journey, I was elected Captain of the Company, at this time the Company numbered about 50. there had been a falling off from the original number 76 until it was diminished to the number above stated. About this number came with me to the Territory Some have returned to the States, while about 30 of the Company still remain – Many of the men had money ranging from $10. to $50. & as high as $300. which they were obliged to expend during the summers difficulties for food clothing etc. Others were without any money excepting as they borrowed from those who had it like the ones just mentioned. When I left home I had $892, which I have from time to time been obliged to pay out for myself & men, besides giving nearly all of my clothing etc etc – We were promised by a worthy member of the Aid Society or one claiming this position, when we were about to locate Claims that if we would remain to assist in the defence of Lawrence & the surrounding Country support would be furnished us. We at once consented. During this time up to the time of the organization of the Militia, my whole Company were actively employed. Part of the time fighting the remainder being occupied in bringing hay grain etc into town for its support. also assisting in fortifying etc
At this time, New Companies were orginized from the Citizens of the place & surrounding Country. Out of the various volunteer Companies that were Quartered in Lawrence 4 Regiments were formed. I was given the Command of the 1st. My first duty in this capacity was to go to Topeka to get arms & other munitions that were needed at this time which had just arrived from the States under the Superintendence of Mr Moore. My Command consisted of about 100 men & during the journey, both ways we were threatened by an attack from the Kickapoo Rangers thier numbers doubling ours. We met thier scouts several times on our way. We did not expect when we started in the morning to be obliged to go all of the way to Topeka as we had been informed that we would meet Stowell of the Mass - Co. with 80 men, whom we were to escort to Lawrence. They came as far as Tecumpseh or rather within a mile of this place & being frightened at the demonstrations of the enemy went back to town. We pursued our way unmolested & next day returned to Lawrence. Stowell remained at Topeka, being afraid to come through.
While on our journey to Topeka & opposite Lecompton I was waited on by a Messenger of Col Cook with a Co of Dragoons of the U. S. Army & asked what were the intentions of my expedition whether its Mission was hostile etc – I replied to these interrogatories, that our intentions were hostile toward any who might attempt to molest or interrupt us in our journey. To this he replied that he had fulfilled his Mission & that was all that he carred about. On our return, Scouts came in sight just before we came opposite Lecompton from a force under Stringfellow of over [200?] who started for the purpose of intercepting us & Cutting us off. We took a Circuitous route to avoid the Troops yet they still pursued until they came in sight, Seeing our prepparations to meet the assault they gave up thier intentions as a bad job & suffered us to pass unmolested. Another Incident that I forgot to mention in its propper place occurred in this Expedition while going up. On our arrival at Big Springs we met Judge Elmore with 40
men from Tecumpseh to intercept us, but finding us to strong attempted to evade us & pass to Lecompton for reinforcements. But he was foiled in this attempt, by my sending men out to cut him off. He was therefore obliged to return to Tecumpseh. Here he determined to make a stand & prevent our passing through. but losing his patriotism when we came up, he changed his mind, & swore that he would go to Lecompton for reinforcements if “he had to fight his arms off up to his elbows.” But after all he was obliged with his whole force to ford the river at that place & go down on the other side. We had not yet reached Laurence when a Messenger met us stating that Lane had sent a dispatch for every available man to hasten as rapidly as possible, to his aid, on Bull Creek, where he had planned an expedition during our absence. As soon therefore as we had delivered the munitions etc we set out to fulfill his request. We had not got more than 4 miles on our way when we met a Courier to herald a bloodless victory that had been gained, which proved to be nothing more or less than a retreat of both Armies. Lane, with his full force of 300 men had retreated ten miles to wait for reinforcements, during which time the enemy of about the same numbers fell back for some reason which if the truth was known would correspond with the true reasons of the part acted by the opposite party. We returned to town, & in the P. M. Went toward Lecompton as far as Judge Wakefield’s who had moved to town the day before on account of the threats of the enemy, to protect teams that had been sent to bring his effects to town also. At our return in the evening I recommended to Lane to send a Fresh Company as my men were tired out to protect & defend the house during the night & also protect the families in that neighborhood. To this Lane replied that it was of no use & disapproved of the suggestion until it was to late. The house of Judge W. was burned that night. 150 men belonging at Topeka started just at Evening for their homes. & arrived near the spot just as the fire was at it its full heighth. They were afraid to pass & sent back
to Lawrence for help. The messenger sent on this errand arrived at 12 o clock (midnight) & at this hour my men sleepy & fatigued were obliged through the order of Lane to march the distance of 7 miles on a fools errand. When we arrived at the place where the Messenger had left them it was ascertained that they had pursued thier course without danger to Topeka. The enemies Camp fires were distinguished in the course toward Lecompton by my scouts who went two miles in advance of the main body.
We reached Lawrence, the men so lame & sore that they could scarcely walk, at daylight. During our return journey, several of the men would have been obliged to have remained, if I & those few others who had horses had not dismounted letting them ride. Soon after this tramp rumors were afloat that the enemy were gathering at Lecompton. And that a large body of men from the Borders, were expected at a certain time to pass up the river on the opposite side from Lawrence. About this time Lane laid out a plan for attacking Lecompton. He authorized me with my Command, to cross the river at Laurence to lie in ambush for the force refferred to as they passed. We therefore according to arrangements, about 5 o clock in the P. M. crossed over where we lay all night, concealed in the bushes which hid us from the road. During this time we had only a few crackers to eat. We encountered nothing & at day light recrossed the river. After taking a poor & hasty breakfast we were ordered to cross over again and pass up on the other side opposite Lecompton for the purpose of cutting off the retreat of the enemy next morning, when Lane was to make the attack. We took a long winding route for the purpose of avoiding observation & at dusk secreted ourselves according to directions on the road where they would be obliged to pass in thier retreat. We took three men prisoners to avoid being exposed - During the night we were exposed to a severe thunder storm, during which the men became drenched but managed to keep thier
arms dry by rolling them up in thier blankets. We remained a long time in the morning expecting every moment to either hear or see some signs of an attack from the other side of the river. But we waited in vain. No food was taken with us as nothing portable of the kind was to carry when we left, & it would have been impossible to have made a fire to cook by without discovering our plot. So that every man considering thier long march was faint with hunger. I know that I have been censured for not remaining to await the tardy movements of Lane But I am willing to submit it to any impartial person, if I was not justifiable after remaining until after 9 o:clock considering every circumstance the hunger of the men etc. in adopting the course which I did of returning to Laurence. Some of the men were so fatigued that they were compelled to lie down by the side of the road & rest before they could finish the journey. Just before we reached the Ferry tidings were brought that Lane had finally got to Lecompton on the other side, requesting me to Countermarch nearly the whole distance to assist in the engagement that was to take place. But this like all of Lanes battles never came off - In a few days after this occurrence I was ordered with my Command to proceed to the Little Stranger a small stream in the vicinity of a Pro Slavery town called Easton & within 14 miles of Levenworth. This movement, was for the purpose of giving protection to the Free State people in that vicinity in which I was to have also the cooperation of the forces in Topeka, while Lane with what other forces could be mustered was to attack Levenworth after allowing me from his numbers a reinforcement. The whole of my force when I started from Laurence was only 75. Some of these in fact belonged on Little Stranger, and upon my arrival near thier homes they left, leaving me when I entered Easton only about 50 men. Thier reasons for this conduct was on account of thier delicacy in acting in thier own neighborhood – Our reasons for entering Easton was because it was reported that a Pro Slavery force was
was quartered here & also to procure horses, both those that had been pressed
from Free State men in the neighborhood & for the purpose of mounting my
men. We found that the two notorious leaders Miller & Dunn had left the
day before with 140 men But found Comstock & took him prisoner, before leaving
town however we released him. Nearly all of the horses had been taken out of
town by Dunn & Miller. We were not able to get but about a dozen & as
we started with an insufficiency of provisions we took 3 ½ sacks of flower.
1 barrel of meal & 50 lbs of sugar – We also took 1 keg of led, 1
keg of powder & about 30 stand of arms consisting of
Rifles shot guns & muskets. As many of the men were destitute of clothing we took 7 prs boots, 6 prs shoes, 5 coats, 5 flannel shirts & about 2 Doz prs Socks. we disturbed no mans property – except what has been mentioned & insulted no one. So strangly contrasted our conduct with the Pro Slavery party’s order similar circumstances that before we left town they brought out cigars & treated the whole Company Complimenting & thanking us for our generosity. Just before we left Easton a Free State man living a mile from the village stated that he had a horse that he had been obliged to secret all summer in order to keep him from being stolen by the Pro Slavery men. He wished me to take him & make use of him until there was a suspension of troubles & then return him. I accordingly took the horse and gave him to one of the men to ride. We marched 4 miles when we stopped for dinner. Here 9 pro Slavery men who were in search of a large party of thier Comrads & thinking this to be Millers or Duns rode unceremoniously into
Camp. This party was headed by Dr Tibbs who has since been created Deputy Marshal. They were disarmed & dismounted & thier horses & arms appropriated to my Company They were only armed with Revolvers & knives. They had been heard by a good woman in the neighborhood swearing vengence & threatening if they could only once meet Harvey and his men
to annihilate them etc. We encamped for the night about 9 miles from Easton. Next day we went back to a house that had been sacked by Dunns & Millers Party. & robbed of all that was valuable except some good wine & brandy in the Cellar that had been overlooked by the Party in thier haste. This house had the appearance of belonging to someone who had overstepped the Kansas Rule of living Carpets being upon the floor, & much splendid furniture in the house. We understand that this Claim belonged to a Gentleman in N. Y. City by the name of Miller another Claim adjoining belonged to Mr Kain from the same place.
I sent a detachment of 40 men under Adjutant Spicer in the P. M. to reconoiter for the enemy also to go to a Pro Slavery town called Alaxandria and take horses & such other things as might be of use to us in the war. This had been a grand resort & a sort of headquarters for the enemy. The town was owned chiefly by Major & Russel of Levenworth whom I owed a spite for making abstractions from Baggage belonging to the Chicago Co. when it was left in thier possession while we laid over at Weston waiting for the return of the “Star of the West.” 9 horses a drum, several muskets & considerable amt of Dry Goods were taken, also 1 barrel of crackers, 1. [Barrell] of Molasses some sugar & Coffee. They also destroyed three barrels of whisky.
The Gov passed the road near where we were & I sent out a Company to intercept him & his Escort not knowing who it was. But when it was discovered who it contained it was allowed to pass. The Gov also being equally interrested also sent an officer of his Escort to inquire who my party was, & the fellow to whom this inquiry was directed wishing to be shrewd in his reply answered that it was a lot of Free State Settler who had been driven from thier Claims & had to live around in the woods to prevent being killed –
The Gov remarked as he passed through Alaxandria that he thought the town must have been visited by a Free State party, else they would have taken the whisky with them, had they been pro Slavery.
In the P. M. (late) we left Millers & went about 6 miles toward Lecompton.
Here we Encamped
intending to remain all night But after we had finished our supper, a man came into Camp by the name of Newell living north about 10 miles at a place called Slew Creek, who informed me that a party of about 40 Georgians & Carolinians were encamped on this creek, on the road leading from Lecompton to Achison, bound for the latter place. I at once formed a resolution of imediately marching to the spot and take them by surprise at all hazzards. I immediately summoned my men some of whom had already stowed themselves away for the night, called in the guards, prepared & in less than half an hour after the intelligence came we were on our way. We arrived at a short time after midnight at a large Corn Field about 3/4ths of a mile from the Carolinans Camp. Each man fastened his horse to the fence. I then caused the men to form single file & be ready at the siginal to march. When all were ready the signal was given & we started making as little noise as possible in stepping, toward the Camp. Soon we came to a thick wood. Before the men entered, I went ahead in order to reconnoitre & see if there was any sentry. I went several rods until I came to a ravine & finding the coast clear returned & caused the men to come up to this place. I then went farther in advance for the same purpose as before creeping cautitiously on my hands & knees. I then returned as before causing the men to come up. By this time we had approached so nearly thier Camp that I certainly expected soon to meet the sentinal. In anticipation of this I took my knife & went, still catiously expecting every moment to meet him & determined to silence him before he should have time to give the signal. I went in sight of thier Camp & finding no sentry stationed returned to my men instructing the advance man in the File to encircle the Camp by passing round on the southern side while I went to the rear passing upon the north to meet those in advance making a circle.
After the circle was complete & the men had got close up I started to demand a surrender. When I had approached within about ten yards of one of thier wagons under which the men were lying they discovered me. The formost of these suddenly arose & gave the alarm that the enemy were upon them firing rapidly several shots at my men. This was answered by my men firing about 50 shots when they cried out we surrender!! At this the firing ceased, & the enemy all came forward & surrendered by giving up thier arms. About 20 of these fellows were mounted whose horses we took. They stated that the most of these belonged to Free State men who had given them up preferring that they should keep possession rather than have them fall into the hands of the opposite party. All of them had guns & many of them Revolvers. They had several ox teams to draw thier luggage which we let them keep. They at first seemed much frightened but as soon as they ascertained that they would be liberated they became impertinent & wanted to fight a duel etc others begged for whisky - & they gave the room such a perfume where they were guarded that one could have hung his hat on it. 5 of them were wounded one mortally. I caused my Surgeon to carfully dress thier wounds in the morning. None of my men were hurt although one of thier balls struck or rather grazed the skin off from my little finger. At daylight, after releasing the prisoners when we had taken thier arms Munitions etc. we left the place & travelled as far as Big Springs about three miles from this place where we breakfasted & then took up our line of march for Laurence. Travelling within about 8 miles of town when we encamped for the night. Early next morning we made our journey complete, making our grand entree into Lawrence at 12 o clock (noon) all of my men mounted & some extra horses & mules which were led.
On this expedition we took over a hundred guns. These I at once sent into the quartermasters hands. We also took a red Flag from the Carolinians which was afterward exhibited in Chicago
In this Campaign after our enter Easton until we reached Kansas river we were pursued by the enemy. Clark of Levenworth with his gang of 200. Territorial Militia came so close upon once as to surround our Camp fires which we left when we surprised the Carolinians. From this he pursued but did not know our Course. Dunn & Miller with a force of 160. hunted me at the same time. They took Mr Newell who was our pilot to Carolinians Camp out of his house, & put a rope around his neck threatening to hang him unless he gave them correct information of us.
He told them that he would go with them & show them to his best knowledge. At the same time avising them that they had better let out the job. But they persisted & he went with them. They followed us as far as Buck Creek the last that we encamped before reaching Laurence. But when they came within sight of our fires, they began to weigh the advice of Newell & backed out of thier enterprise. I rather think that Clark could have found us if he had wanted to.
In this Campaign the outlines of which I have already given, one can see like all of Lanes plans was never executed. He neither attacked Levenworth nor sent me the aid which he promised. It can be seen by my narration that I was liable at any moment to be cut to pieces & destroyed, & the strickt necessity under the circumstances of having reinforcements. The plan laid out if it had been acted upon properly might have been carried out & the after–clap which came upon would have been prevented. Lawrence would not have been jeopordized the second time, & we might have effected completely what they failed through the arrival of the Gov to accomplish. I supposed upon my return that both myself & men had done our duty well, but we had scarcly entered Lawrence before we heard curses & heaped upon Harvey & his 40 thieves. I couldn’t conceive at first what it all meant. Inddeed [sic] there was no cause assigned for the blame at first, & I remained in
utter ignorance until the following day, when a meeting of the dignitaries of the City convened for the purpose of disposing of the horses which we had taken. I had the privilege of attending but did not think proper until I learned that the man who was chiefly interrested in the purpose of the meeting was slandering & abusing me. This person was no more or less than that Celebrated character Dr Cutter. I was in my tent when Adjutant Spicer communicated to me the fact. I then concluded to go in & hear the discussion. When I entered the meeting this fellow was eloquently holding forth. Harvey the notorious horse thief & assassain was his theme. I remained behind the screen that I might not throw a damper upon his eloquence. He seemed to be laboring hard to carry a resolution which he had offered, the import of which was to have the horses equally divided among the citizens. Every member present opposed the resolution. Some ridiculed both the idea & its author & the meeting adjourned after complimenting me & my men. After this failure he attempted to incite his Company & others to go & take the horses from us by force. But this proposition was rejected with contempt. I wish that it was universally known how this man attempted from the time he first saw me in Iowa City up to the time of his leaving the Territory tried every scheme & machination to ruin me. I leave it to the impartial to judge which of us has acquitted himself the most honorably. I must not omit to mention what disposition I made of the plunder which I took upon this expedition. The Callicoe mostly was divided as was also most of the Dry Goods among the destitute on the Little Stranger. The boots, socks, shirts, etc were given to those men in my company who were needy. The guns were put into the Quarter Masters department The provisions were thrown into the Common Stock.
I justify myself in taking this plunder on account of the blockading of the roads leading to Levenworth & other points on the Missouri River. I had forgotten to state in its propper place that Lane the day that I left on this expedition instead of preparing to act his part
in the program - left Lawrence for Topeka on his way to Nebraska for the pretended purpose of meeting & escorting the Company which subsequently arrived under the Superintendance of Mr Redpath. (When he had arrived as far as Topeka he was induced to take the Command of a Company of about 140 men who had volunteered to go & take a Pro Slavery party who had about this time Sacked & plundered GrassHopper Falls. Upon hearing that Lane was in pursuit of them, they fled to a Stronghold at Hickery Pt. Lane followed them closely & attacked. He continued it about two hours & a half & finding that he could not dislodge them withdrew a short distance & dispatched a hasty messenger for me with my Command to hasten as rapidly as possible to the spot to assist in the attack. We had but just returned from the Little Stranger Expedition. The men not having recruted sufficiently for this tramp. The messenger arrived about 10 o clock night I summoned my men & about 2/3rds of the Chicago Company, most of the Company called the Stubs of Lawrence with other volunteers besides the artillery under Capt Beckerton, crossed the river at about 2 o clock took up our line of march for the place. My numbers when I started were less than a hundred but volunteers on the way increased it to 108. We did not stop excepting for refreshments a ½ hour until we reached the place where the enemy were. Thinking that Lane was near at hand & would be ready to cooperate with me I dispatched a messenger to let him know of my arrival. Concluding to begin the attack before the enemy could recover from their surprise, I formed my plan of attack by stationing the Cannon on the south side of the Fort & sending men on the east & west to cut off a retreat. On the north was a heavy timber & fearing that there might be a party secreted here I ordered the men who had been sent on the eastern side to keep a look out in this direction for fear of surprise. When these prepparations were complete firing began in earnest by both
parties & was kept up until about 5 o clock in the P. M. On the mean time Lane had left the ground in earnest - & was now on his way to Nebraska. In the commencement of the fight two men had been taken prisoners who were standing sentries before they could get to the house. They stated that many were in the house who were retained against thier will & that if they could escape they would be glad to do it. I gave them permission & they went in bearing a Flag with the message that permission would be given to those who desired to leave & those who wished to remain might. But that I should stick to them until Hell froze over & if that if they wanted to fight let them pitch in. During the armistice those within saw that I was taking a new position with the Cannon & making other prepparations to renew the attack. The prisoners who bore the Flag after delivering thier message started on thier return & had not proceeded more than 5 rods when some within began to follow & among the number Capt Lowe bearing a white Flag- He wanted to know of me if all in the house could surrender on the conditions offered. I stated to him as I had previously told the prisoners to communicate that all I required of them was to surrender, & that none of them should be molested nor thier property disturbed, I also told him that I wanted the Black Flag on the house I required to be taken down. He replied to this that it would have been taken down before if it could have been done safely & that the men would have surrendered before if they had not feared vengence would have been executed on them for fighting under a Black Flag – After the conditions of surrender had been drawn up & signed by myself & Lowe we mounted our horses & picked up our blankets etc such of them as we could find & rode about 6 miles toward Laurence where we made our Camp. 13 of the enemy were wounded & 7 killed. 3 of our men were wounded & one a boy of 16 was supposed to have been mortally but has since recovered so is to be beyond danger.
It was not my intention to have gone the way that we did take, as I learned from the Enemy that they had sent for Troops, also for reinforcements from another Quarter the day before. I had intended to go by the way of Topeka, but while I was detained in conversation before I had given orders, I learned when I was ready to start that Drs. Avery & Cutter had already started the teams & that they were already two miles on thier way. At 12 o clock perhaps as late as two o clock my whole Co were surprised by a Company of Dragoons & taken prisoners to Lecompton This Command was under Capt Wood. My Company would not have been taken if Lane the day before had not for reasons best explained by himself assumed my name & given an impression to the men in the Fort when he made the attack the day before that it was me instead of himself. In this way I was reported by the Messenger sent from Hickery Point to Lecompton. They supposed that they were in pursuit of the 1st Company that made the attack & this was the only party that had been reported & they therefore knew anything about. They would never found us had Cutter obeyed orders & remained until morning. I reluctantly, after he had petitioned several times, consented. They discovered him about two miles from Camp & from him ascertained where our Camp was.
I have been accused by my enemies of being careless in not stationing Sentries etc I took special pains to attend to this duty on account of the men being fatigued, & never closed my eyes but rode several miles to points where I could overlook the Country to see that no one approached without being seen to surprise us. The men had nearly all lost thier Blankets at Hickery Point & had to sleep upon this occasion without any thing to cover them, & I learned afterward that when they reached Lecompton they were obliged to lay in the cold & rain several nights in the same way.
I was requested to protect Newell who resided a half a mile from this place - where we were encamped, from the Ruffains who had threatened him. I was at Newell’s when the Troops were first discovered. I saw no chance for the Company to escape & seeing an opportunity for myself improved it by leaping the fence nearest me & escaped to the woods - In this leap my girt on the saddle broke & when I got a little way I was obliged to dismount & fix it - I reached Lawrence next day at sundown in Company with 9 others who had escaped similarly. There are some incidents in my experience that I forgot to mention in the early part of my arrival in the Territory. On my arrival at Camp, in the vicinity of Washington Creek before the march upon Fort Saunders. Capt. Walker & I were appointed next morning to plan the attack. We accordingly laid out the plan as follows after reconnoitering the enemy’s position. I learned that Capt Mawhiney could muster in his neighborhood about 8 miles south of this, 80 mounted men of which he had Command. I therefore assigned a position for him he promising to be ready at any moment to act his part. He was to take the Corn field on the southern side that he might be covered from the enemy which would bring him within 50 rods of the Fort. In order that he might get his position properly I procured a messenger to inform him of my plan showing him the ground that I wished him to occupy & also to act as his guide to the spot. I also requested the Messenger to tell Mawhinney not to collect or move his men until 12 o.clock at night as he would have ample time to get his position by daylight, having only 8 miles to march. The forces in Camp about 200 in number I divided into divisions, one to occupy the timber north of the Fort while the other with a piece of Artillery was to take thier –
position on the west. This would give the enemy a chance to retreat on open ground to the South which retreat would have been cut off by Mawhinney as he could not possibly have been discovered by the enemy.
The forces in Camp were to march at 12 o clock (night) to take the positions assigned them in order to begin the attack at daylight in the morning. But Capt Cook alias James Lane arriving just before these plans were to be executed saw propper to postpone the attack. In the mean time Mawhiney not getting word that the plan had been broken up as the Messenger which I sent could not find him, took his position according to directions & remained on the ground until after daylight but seeing no signs of an attack & fearing that he would be discovered by the enemy withdrew & took his position 2 miles south west of the Fort in the timber. He remained there till 12 o clock thinking that the attack might be made in the course of the P. M. He would have fell back to the Camp but he could not without being discovered by the enemy. He was discovered in this position by a party under Capt Shombrie who was sent for the remains of Maj Hoyt who had been murdered the day previous by the party in the Fort. Both parties supposing each to be enemies came near having a Collision. Shombrie to ascertain who the party was sent a man who called for one of them to meet him half way. In this way both parties were discovered to be friends to each other which doubtless saved many lives because if a fight had once commenced between them, both parties being Free State men and consequently brave men they would have fought desperately. Both parties returned in Camp together with the remains of Hoyt. This was about 4 o’clock in the P. M.
Maj Hoyt went on business the day before to the house of Saunders & being a Free Mason had been previously promised protection by the Pro Slavery party, went unarmed except that he carried a knife. He was found by the Party who brought him in a short distance from the fort in a shallow hole partally covered mangled by that which seemed to be the mark of an axe or knife four bullet holes were also found on his body & his head appeared to have been pounded with a club. A Chemical prepparation had been sprinkled upon his face with the apparent intent of destroying his features. When he was brought to Camp he was so mangled & distorted that his friends could scarcely recognize him.
Permission was given to the men to look at his remains, who were so indignant at the outrage that they begged to be led immediately to seek his revenge. But Lane refused to take any action until an account of the circumstances were sent to Gov Shannon with a request that he send Troops & disperse those assembled at the Fort. This occupied until 12 o, clock next day. The Gov refusing to take any action in the matter. At this juncture Lane was obliged to act in the matter himself it being impossible longer to restrain the men. After sending 80 horsemen in advance to reconnoitre the ground who returned about 2. o ‘clock reporting that the enemy still remained preparing actively for a defence. the whole force which had increased so that it now numbered about 500. took up thier line of march for the Fort. As so great a force would be likely to frighten the enemy giving them time to escape if we took a direct course, I proposed to Lane to take a circutious route by going 2 miles farther around the south point of the hill & up Washington Creek the timber of which would have kept us consealed from
view until we could have approached within 30 rods of them as my reonnoissence previously had assurred me that not more than 60 men could have defended themselves with any advantage in thier situation if we should take this position. To this he replied that the shortest way wast the best way & proceeded over the hill exposing our forces & Cannon when we reached the top to the full view of the enemy. The consequences were when we arrived on the ground the Fort was deserted leaving in thier haste about 40 guns three kegs of powder the horse of the murdered Hoyt a small quanty of provisions & much other plunder. After firing the Fort we returned to our Encampment. After dispatching a hasty supper all but about 200 returned to thier homes the rest taking up the line of march for Lecompton When we reached Judge Wakefields the horsemen who were in advance met a party of about 30 men headed by a desparado by the name of Titus plundering horses from the Free State men in that vicinity They at once commenced firing upon my scouts, fell back in order to give the alarm. I immediately formed my men in line of battle thinking at the time that it was a large force. As soon as they came in sight the formost of my men fired upon them, which when the enemy saw that we were to strong for them turned & fled toward Lecompton. The effect of our fire resulted in mortally wounding one of thier men who crept into a corn field adjoining where he was found dead the next day one other was wounded who managed to escape, another taken prisoner besides, two horses were captured belonging to the two men who were left on the ground. This occurrence took place about 1. 0 clock. (night) One pistol & several hats were found on the road next morning. After this occurrence we concluded to proceed no further until daylight & withdrew a short distance from the road when we Bivouiwacked for the remainder of the
night. Titus continued toward Lecompton until he reached his house, sending to town which was a mile distant for assistance expecting that we would attack him that night. Every available man coming to his aid & remaing until they supposed there would be no danger when they returned leaving him with about 25 men. This intelligence reached us before daylight. Early in the morning. The Command was given to Capt Walker who started in advance of the Main Body with 30 horsemen to surprise & take those in the house prisoners. The Command of the Horsemen I think belonged to Shombree but upon this occasion Walker assumed the Command. These thinking that that the inmates were asleep surrounded the house & tents riding close up when the men in the tents discovered them & ran after firing to the house. The men in the house also fired, wounding several Capt Shombree mortally who subsequently died. One of the men from the tents was killed as he reached the steps outside the house the ball hitting him over the eye. This shot was fired by a man belonging to the Chicago Company. The horsemen then retreated sending a messenger to hurry up the Cannon. I had set out long before the rest with my Company & was on the ground & within a quarter of a mile of the house when one of the Couriers passed, being obliged to wait a quarter of an hour before the Cannon came up. I stationed my men some of them behind a fence that enclosed a corn field within about 15 rods from the house while I sent others to a straw stack still nearer to gather straw for the purpose of setting it on fire. The cannon was stationed diagonally from where I posted my men about ten rods farther up. At this juncture I addressed my men telling them that there were our tents that were taken from us on the Missouri River & that we must have them if there was but one left to take them. To this they responded that they “wouldnt” leave the ground without them. The house by this time was completely surrounded & the firing had begun in earnest, occasionally reports being heard from the house. Several shots were fired from the Cannon 2 or 3 striking the house.
I ordered my men all of which had Sharps rifles to fire 3 shots in at the doors & windows, & at the 2nd discharge I discovered a white flag displayed from the windows. I then ordered them to surround the house as quickly as possible which order was instantly obeyed. One of my men immediately entered who inquired for Titus & was conducted to a bedroom where he saw upon the bed Titus wounded who rose as he entered extending his hand & saying that he hoped that he was in the hands of brave men & that he believed that he was in the hands of merciful men, that he was an old soldier & always treated with respect prisoners of war. He was taken from his bed & placed in a safe position outside, also with the rest of the prisoners 23 in number guarded by men. I inquired which Titus was when some one pointed him out. I remarked to him that he was the man I had been looking for that I believed those tents pointing in their direction were the ones taken from me on the Missouri River & that I had resolved to take them wherever I might find them at all hazzards. He replied that they were not but that Sheriff Jones procured them for him in St Louis. I answered. It makes no difference as long as we thought so. He then remarked I understand you were Capt of a Company in the Mexican war. I told him that I was. He replied, So was I & I shall put put [sic] myself under your protection as you know how prisoners of war ought to be treated. I assurred him that he should not be harmed while under my protection. For this he thanked me. about this time his house was set on fire. I saw while this was taking place a Negro woman standing a short distance from the house with a Carpet bag in her hands I asked her where she was going & if she knew any one in Lecompton She replied that she did. I told her that she had better go there & remain until Titus made some arrangments for her. She replied that she would. She then remarked that she guessed Major Titus had bout Free State men enough for breakfast this morning. said I why so? Cause Major tells me most every
evening to cook him ten Free State men for breakfast. In the excitement of surrounding the house after the surrender, one of the Companies coming in from toward Lecompton were taken by one of our men for the enemy who fired at them from an upper room in the house wounding one man severely in the arm. The man who had been wounded in the collision at Judge Wakefields was left unbeknown to us in an upper room in the house & was therefore burned up.
Before the Surrender a short time, the trumpet to summon the Dragoon was distinctly heard in the vicinity of Lecompton. This inconsideration of the prisoners & wounded determined us to give up the project of entering Lecompton this time. After hastily taking possession of the arms, munitions & horses, of which there was a large amt of each we took up our march for Lawrence. We took 4 kegs of powder, about 20 guns, & 7 horses. There were 5 of our men wounded one mortally. Thiers one killed & 2 wounded. We reached Lawrence at 12 o. clock. We had had noting to eat since leaving Camp on Washington Creek & then not half what we wanted. Neither had we any rest. We were hurried from Topeka so hastily that we took an insufficiency of provisions with us. After remaining here a few days I dispatched Teams for our things. Sending an escort to protect them. They returned savely two days after About this time which was near the 20th day of Aug. a meeting was held for the purpose of electing a Millitary Leader as war had actually begun & Lane had left for parts unknown after the destruction of Fort Titus. I was consequently elected Commander of all the forces, which consisted at that time of about 1400 men. The most of them were armed. It was the understanding when Lane returned there would be a new meeting called & he would be elected to the office of “Commander in Chief” of the Free State Forces. During my Command I was actively engaged in preparing for the defence of Lawrence & the surrounding country to the best of my ability.
I accordingly ordered Earth Works to be thrown up at the Waukarusa Creek at the Ford 6 miles south east of Lawrence on the road leading to Westport which was completed in two days by a Company under the Command of Cap Day. This work was capable of covering 250 men. I also ordered a similar one constructed on the same Creek at Blantons bridge 4 miles south of Lawrence. This was never completed on account of the return of Lane. When he returned a meeting was called & the men divided into five Regiments, which throwed the Company that I set to work on the Breastworks at Blantons Bridge in the third. I consequently lost the Command of them as I was elected Col of the 1st. During my Command of the whole of the Force I also had a Company stationed at the Works of the Santa Fe & Ossawattomie roads under the Command of Capt Hitchcock which consisted of about 60 men. At the same time the people being destitute of provisions & some of arms & there being a great need of Ammunition I planned an expedition to Levenworth as I had been informed that there were 600 stand of arms, 100 Kegs of Powder, large quanties of Provisions & also about 300 Free State men in that place. These had no arms & as they were surrounded by enemies had no chance to procure them as they were constantly watched & guarded. I thought by supplying them with means of defence which could have been easily done, as I had it properly arranged thier cooporation with the rest could not have failed of insuring success to the enterprise. By this movement which at one time could have been easily effected would have prevented what befell the Free State men of this place afterward which was the grand object of the expedition. In carrying out this plan I was obliged to send to Topeka for the Forces there as the Lawrence forces many of them would be required to stay in anticipation of an attack
from the south as the City had been threatened form this quarter. The men from Topeka were to pass down on the north side of the Kansas river while all that could be spared from Lawrence were to meet them at a point agreed upon within 15 miles of Levenworth. When this plan was about to be executed & the Topeka force were ready to start Lane arrived from Nebraska & ordered the men to come down on the south side to Lawrence, sending a Messenger to me to inform me of the arrangement. The reasons which he assigned for this interference was that he considered our numbers to weak to take Levenworth & defend Lawrence at the same time. Nearly every man in the Territory were displeased with breaking up of this plan, but as Lane said that it was merely a postponement & that it should be executed when things ripened for it in his inimical style all nearly were satisfied for the time being that these conclusions were wise & profound. But this ended like all of his momentous plans. It was never carried out. It was always my advise at the time we were blockaded to make an attempt to force our way out. To make an effort at least to cut our way to Levenworth or some other town on the borders where we could procure arms & provisions. The men of the Territory too almost universally advised & were willing to cooporate in an undertaking of this kind. At one time the men were so enraged at the tardiness of Lane in this respect that the often expressed a willingness to act whether Lane gave his consent or not. - I could never see the necessity of all of the men in the Territory sticking to Lawrence when the circumstances would have warranted us in annoying & cutting up the enemy wherever we might find them. By acting in this way we would have shown a disposition at least of trying to better our Conditions ourselves whereas in the way matters were conducted we showed more a disposition to depend on the mercy of our enemies, or the agency of some other power to effect a
a change in our conditions. In my opinion Levenworth could at one time have been easily taken. All that it required was a little enterprise. If we had failed we could have lost no more than we did lose, we would have got credit at least for making an effort to have accomplished something even if we had failed in its accomplishment. At the time that expedition was planned there were but about 20 soldiers in the Fort & scarcely any of the enemy’s forces in town as nearly all were scattered about the Territory intending to concentrate at Lecompton.
After my return from Hickery point I was advised to leave the Territory. But
I had watched the effect produced by other Leaders in the war leaving for trivial
reasons I made up my mind to stay let the consequences be what they might &
take care of my men & assist in the war till it ended. I reasoned that as
I had done nothing for which I was ashamed & for which I was guilty as a
Criminal I would not condemn myself by trying to escape without being accused.
I came to Kansas to procure me a farm & to assist in the troubles prevailing
at the time I entered into the project & I am still resolved not to leave
the Territory until I assist in accomplishing my mission. My age is 29. I have
a wife & one child who reside in Chicago. I am worth about $3000. but it
is principally in lots household goods etc. My time just expired for serving
two months in a Company of Militia. I served in the capacity of 1st Lieutenant.
I have omitted dates in the above account which I will now append. The whole
company of Emigrants of about 500 left camp 14 miles south of Nebraska City
on Monday, August 4th Reached the Nebraska-Kansas line Aug [5 th?] Topeka Aug
[15 th?] Burning of Fort Saunders Aug 15th Burning of Fort Titus Aug 16th Shannon
made a speech in Lawrence Aug [19?]. Capt Shombrie Died Aug 18th. Went Aug 30th
to bring arms from Topeka. Marched to Judge Wakefields at midnight. Sept 1st