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Untitled Document Osawatomie K T 16th Dec 1855 Sabbath Evening

Dear Wife & Children every one

I improve the first Mail since my return from the camp of volunteers who lately turned out for the defence of the town of Lawrence in this Territory; & not withstanding I suppose you have learned the result before this (possibly) will give a brief account of the invasion in my own way. About Three of the Four Weeks ago news came that a Free State man by the name of Dow had murdered by a pro-Slavery man by the name of Coleman; who had gone & given himself up for trial to pro Slavery Gov Shannon. This was soon followed by further news that a Free State man who was the only reliable witness against the murderer had been seized by a Missourian appointed Sheriff by the Bogus Legislature of Kansas upon false pretexts examined, & held to Bail under such heavy bonds to answer to those false charges as he could not give; & that while on his way to jail in charge of the Bogus Sheriff; he was rescued by some men belonging to a company near Lawrence; & that in consequence of the rescue Gov Shannon had ordered out all the pro Slavery force he could muster in the Territory; & called on Missouri for further help; that about two thousand had collected demanding a surrender of the rescued witness, & of the rescuers; the destruction of several buildings & printing presses & giving up of the Sharp’s Rifles by the Free State men; some threatening to destroy the Town with Cannon with which they were provided etc & that about an equal number of Free State men had turned out to resist them, & that a Battle was hourly expected; or supposed to have been already fought. These reports appeared to be well authenticated; but we could get no further account of matters; & I left this for the place where the Boys are settled at Evening intending to go to Lawrence to learn the facts the next day. John was however started on Horseback; but before he had gone many rods word came that our help was immediately wanted. On getting this last news it was at once agreed to break up at Johns Camp, & take Wealthy, & Jonny to Jasons Camp, (some Two Miles off); & that all the men but Henry, Jason, & Oliver, should at once set off for Lawrence under Arms, those Three being wholly unfit for duty. We then set about providing a little Corn Bread; & Meat, Blankets, Cooking Utensils, running Bullets, loading all our Guns Pistols etc. The Five set off in the Afternoon, & after a short rest in the Night (which was quite dark) continued our march untill after daylight next Morning when we got our Breakfast, started again; & reached Lawrence in the Forenoon all of us more or less lamed by our tramp. In reaching the place we found that negotiations had commenced between Gov Shannon(having a force of some Fifteen or Sixteen Hundred men) & the principal leaders of the Free State men; they having a force of some Five Hundred men at that time. These were busy night & day fortifying the Town with Embankments; & circular Earthworks up to the time of the Treaty with the Gov; as an attack was constant looked for; not withstanding the negociations then pending; This state of things continued from Friday until Sunday Evening. On the Evening we left a company of the invaders of from Fifteen to Twenty attacked some Three or Four Free State men mostly un-

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armed killing a Mr Barber from Ohio wholly unarmed. His boddy was afterward brought in; & lay for some days in the room afterward occupied by a part the company to which belong; (it being organized after we reached Lawrence) The building was a large unfinished Stone Hotel; in which a great part of the volunteers were quartered; & who witnessed the scene of bringing in the Wife & other friends of the murdered man. I will only say of this scene that it was Heart rending; & calculated to exasperate the men exceedingly; & one of the sure results of Civil War. After frequently calling on the leaders of the Free State men to come & have an interview with him, by Gov Shannon; & after as often getting for answer that if we had any business to transact with any one in Lawrence to come, & attend to it; he signified his wish to come into the Town; & an escort was sent to the invaders Camp to conduct him in. When there the leading Free State men finding out his weakness, frailty, and conciousness of the awkward circumstances into which he had really got himself; took advantage of his Cowardice, & Folly; & by means of that; & the free use of Whiskey; & some Trickery; succeeded in getting a written arrangement with him much to their own liking. He stipulated with them to order the pro Slavery men of Kansas home; & to proclaim to the Missouri invaders that they must quit the Territory without delay; & also give up Gen Pomeroy a prisoner on their Camp; which was all done; he also recognizing the volunteers as the Militia of Kansas; & empowering their Officers to call them out whenever in their discretion the safety of Lawrence or other portions of the territory might require it to be done He Gov Shannon gave up all pretention of further attempt to enforce the enactments of the Bogus Legislature, & retired subject to the derision & scoffs of the Free State men (into whose hands he had commited the welfare & protection of Kansas); & to the pity of some; & the curses of others of the invading force So ended this last Kansas invasion the Missourians returning with flying colors after incuring heavy expences; suffering great exposure, hardships & privations; not having fought any Battles, Burned or destroyed any infant Towns, or Abolition Presses; leaving the Free Statemen organized, & armed; & in full possession of Territory; not having fulfilled any of all their dreadful threatenings, except to murder One unarmed man; & to commit some Roberies, & waste of property uppon defenceless families unfortunately in their power. We learn by their papers they boast of a great victory over the Abolitionists; & well they may. Free State men have only hereafter to retain the footing they have gained; And Kansas is Free. Yesterday the people passed uppon the Free State Constitution. The result though not yet known; no one doubts. One little circumstance connected with our own number showing a little of the true character of those invaders. On our way about Three Miles from Lawrence we had to pass a Bridge (with Arms and Amunition) of which the invaders held possession; but as the Five had each a gun, with two large Revolvers in a Belt (exposed to view) with a Third in his Pocket; & as we moved directly on to the bridge without making any halt, they for some reason suffered us to pass without interruption; notwithstanding there were some Fifteen toTwenty Five (as variously reported) stationed in a Log House at one end of the Bridge. We could not count them. A Boy on our approach ran & gave them notice. Five others of our Company well armed; who followed us some Miles behind met with equally civil treatment the same day. After we left to go to Lawrence until we returned when disbanded; I did not see the last sign of cowardice or want of self possession exhibited by any volunteer of the Eleven Companies who

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constituted the Free State force & I never expect again to see an equal number of such well behaved, cool, determined men; fully as I believe sustaining the high character of the Revolutionary Fathers; but enough of this as we intend to send you a paper giving a more full account of the affair. We have cause for gratitude in that we all returned safe, & well; with the exception of hard Colds; & found those left behind rather improving. We have received Fifty Dollars from Father, & learn from him that he has sent you the same amount for which we ought to be grateful; as we are much relieved both as respects ourselves; & you. The mails have been kept back during the invasion; but we hope to hear from you again soon. Mr. Adairs folks are well; or nearly so. Weather mostly pleasant but sometimes quite severe. No snow of account as yet. Can think of but little more tonight. Monday Morning 17th Dec. The ground for the first time is barely Whitened with snow & it is quite cold but we have before had a good deal of cold weather with heavy Rains. Henry & Oliver & I may Jason were disappointed in not being able to go to war. The disposition at both our Camps to turn out was uniform I believe I have before acknowledged the receipt of a letter from you & Watson. Have just taken one from the Office for Henry that I think to be from Ruth. Do write often & let me know all about how you get along through the Winter. May God abundantly bless you all; & make you faithful.

Yours Affectionate Husband & Father

John Brown

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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