Or Warfare Of The Border
By John N Edwards
WARFARE OF THE BORDER.
BEING A HISTORY OF THE LIVES AND ADVENTURES OF
QUANTRELL, BILL ANDERSON, GEORGE TODD, DAVE POOLE.
I"LETCHER TAYLOR, PEYTON LONG, OLL SHEPHERD,
ARCH CLEMENTS, JOHN MAUPIN, TUCK AND
WOOT HILL, WM. GREGG, THOMAS MAUPIN,
THE JAMES BROTHERS, THE YOUNGER BROTHERS,
AND NUMEROUS OTHER WELL KNOWN
GUERRIIIAS OF THE WEST.
JOHN N. EDWARDS,
AUTHOR OF "Shelby And His Men," "Shelby's Expedition to Mexico," etc.
ST. LOUIS, MO.
BRYAN~BRAND & COMPANY
CHICAGO, ILL., THOMPSON & WAKEFlELD.
San Francisco, Cal., A. L. Bancroft Co.
CHARLES WILLIAM QUANTRELL
THE WARFARE OF THE BORDER
COLE YOUNGER PAYS A DEBT
E. P. DE HART
T. F. MAUPIN
"The standing side by side till death.
The dying for some wounded friend,
The faith that failed not to the end,
The strong endurance ttl1 the breath,
And body took their ways apart,,
I only know. I keep my trust,
Their vices! earth has them by hear
Their virtues I they are with their dust."
THE CAUSES THAT PRODUCED THE GUERRILLA.
AMERICAN GUERRILLAS COMPARED WITH THOSE OF OTHER COUNTRIES.
QUANTRELL AND THE KANSAS JAYHAWKERS.
QUANTRELL'S FIRST BATTLES OF THE CIVIL WAR.
BATTLES AND SURPRISES.
THE MARCH SOUTH.
QUANTRELL VISITS RICHMOND.
PREPARING FOR PRICE'S RAID.
THE DEATH OF QUANTRELL.
AFTER THE WAR.
I WRITE of an organization whose history might well have massacre put over against it as an epitome. I do not say epitaph, because only the u perhaps, are entitled to epitaphs. He who wore the blue or the gray-if starred, or barred, or epauletted-needed simply the recognition of a monument to become a martyr.
But the Guerrilla had no graveyard. 'What mutilation spared, the potter's field finished. No cortege followed the corpse; beneath the folds of the black flag there
was no funeral. Neither prayer, nor plaint of priest, nor penitential pleading went up for the wild beast dead by his lair, hard hunted yet splendid at last in the hopeless equanimity of accepted death. But the wild beast was human. The sky was just as blue for him; in the east the dawn was just as strange for him; the tenderness of woman was just as soft for him; the trysting by the gate was just as clear to him; the cottage hearth was as warm for him, and the fields beyond the swelling flood were just as green for him, as though upon the crest of the blithe battle he had ridden clown to the guns as Cardigan did, impatient bugles blowing all about him-or, scarfed and plumed, he had died as Pelham died, the boy cannoneer. Just as the spring came laughing through the strife With all its gorgeous cheer."
Some of the offspring of civil war are monstrous. The priest who slays, the church which becomes a fortress, the fusillade that finishes a capitulation, the father who fires at his son, the child who denies sepulcher to its parent, the tiger instinct that slays the unresisting, the forgetfulness of age, and the cruel blindness that cannot see the pitifulness of women-these sprang from the loins of civil war, as did also the Guerrilla-full-armed-full-statured, terrible! his mission was not to kill, alone, but to terrify. At times he mingled with the purr of the tiger the silkiness of the kitten. Hilarity was a stage in the march he made his victim take to the scaffold. Now and then before a fusillade there was a frolic. Harsh words were heard only when from the midst of some savage melee a timid comrade broke away or bent to the bullet blast. The softer the caress the surer the punishment. The science of killing seemed to bring a solace with it, and to purl' also meant to he amiable. Sharing his blanket like Rhoderick Dhu shared his plaid, on the morrow his Coliantogle Ford was the contents of his revolver.
It is not easy to analyze this species of murder, all the more certain because of its calculation. The time to refuse quarter is in actual conflict. Conscience then-a sleepy thing in civil war at best-is rarely aroused in time to become aggressive.
Through the smoke and the dust it is difficult to see the white, set face and the haunting eyes of the early doomed. In the rain of the rifle-balls, what matters the patter of a prayer or two? Discrimination and desperation are not apt to ride in the same squadrons together, and yet the Guerrilla, with a full revolver, has been known to take possession of his victim and spare him afterwards. Something, no matter what-some memory of other days, some wayward freak, some passing fancy, some gentle mood, some tender influence in earth, or air, or sky-made him merciful when he meant to be a murderer.
The warfare of the Guerrilla was the warfare of the fox joined to that of the lion. He crept from the rear, and he dashed from the front. If the ambuscade hid him, as at Lone Jack, the noonday sun shone down full upon the open prairie slaughter of Centralia. In either extreme there was extermination. Death, made familiar by association, merged its constraint into comradeship, and hid at the bivouac at night the sword-blade that was to be so fatal in the morning. Hence all the roystering in the face of the inevitable-all that recklessness and boisterousness which came often to its last horse, saddle and bridle, but never to its last gallop or stratagem. There are things and men one recognizes without ever having seen them. The Guerrilla in ambush is one of these. Before a battle a Guerrilla takes every portion of his revolver apart and lays it upon a white shirt, if he has one, as carefully as a surgeon places his instruments on a white towel. In addition, he touches each piece as a man might touch the thing that he loves. The words of command arc given in low tones, as if in the silence there might be found something in mitigation of the assassination. Again, he is noisy or indifferent to his purposes.
He acts then upon the belief that doomed men, whose sense of hearing is generally developed to the greatest acuteness, lose effect in this advance upon the unknown.
And how patient they were-these Guerrillas. One day, two, three-a couple of weeks at a stretch-they have been known to watch a road-cold it may be, hungry most generally, inexorable, alert as the red deer and crouching as the panther. At last a sudden ring of rifles, a sudden uprearing of helpless steeds with dead men down under their feet, and the long vigil was over, the long ambuscade broken by a holocaust.
Much horse-craft was also theirs. Born as it were to the bare-back, the saddle only made it the more difficult to unseat them. Create a Centaur out of a Bucephalus, and the illea is fixed of their swiftness and prowess. Something also of Rarey's system must have been theirs, us a matter of course, for the Guerrilla was always good to his horse. He would often go unfed himself that his horse might have corn, and frequently take all the chances of being shot himself that his horse might come out of a close place unhurt. In situations where a neigh would amount almost to annihilation, even St' much as a whinny was absolutely unknown. Danger blended the instinct of the one with the intelligence of the other. For each there was the same intuition. Well authenticated instances are on record of a Guerrilla's horse standing guard for his master, and on more than one occasion, when cut off from his steed and forced to take shelter from pursuit in fastnesses well nigh inaccessible, the Guerrilla has been surprised at the sudden appearance of his horse, no more desirous than himself of unconditional captivity.
Much, therefore, of humanity must have entered into the relationship of the rider with his steed. He had to blanket him of nights when the frost was falling and the north wind cut as a knife; he had to talk low to him, rest him when he was tired, feed him when he was hungry, spare the spur when there was no need for it, slacken the girth when the column was at rest, cast aside as inhuman the accursed Spanish bit, and do generally unto him as the Guerrilla would have been done by had nature reversed the order of the animals and put a crupper in lieu of a coat. Kindness makes cavalry. Murat said once that the best among the cuirassiers were those who embraced their horses before they did their mistresses. He found a trooper walking, one day, who was leading a horse. Both were wounded", the dragoon a little the worst. " Why do you not ride?" asked the Prince. The soldier saluted and answered: "Because my horse has been shot." "And you? " " I have been shot, too, hut I can talk and my horse cannot. If he could, maybe he would say that he is harder hit than l am." Murat made the cuirassier a captain.
The Guerrilla also had a dialect. In challenging au advancing enemy the cry of the regular was: "Who goes there?" That of the Guerrilla: "Who are you" The regular repeated the question thrice before firing; the Guerrilla only once. No higher appreciation had ever desperate courage, or devoted comradeship, or swift work in pitiless conflict, or furious gallop, or marvelous endurance, than the Guerrilla's favorite summing up: "Good boy to the last." If upon a monument he had leave to write a folio, not a word more would be added to the epitaph.
Sometimes the Guerrilla's dialect was picturesque; at other times monosyllabic. After Lawrence, and when Lane was pressing hard in pursuit, a courier from the rear rode hurriedly up to Quantrell and reported the situation. "How do they look?" enquired the chief. "Like thirsty buffaloes making for a water course." "Can't the rear guard check them:" "Can a grasshopper throw a locomotive off the track, Captain Quantrell ?"
"Once," relates a Lieutenant of a Kansas regiment, "I was shot down by a Guerrilla and captured. I knew it was touch and go with me, and so I said what prayers I remembered and made what Masonic signs I was master of. The fellow who rode up to me first was stalwart and swarthy, cool, devilish-looking and
evil-eyed. Our dialogue was probably one of the briefest on record, and certainly to me one of the most satisfactory. 'Are you a Mason?' he asked. 'Yes.' 'Are you a Kansas man?' 'Yes.' 'G-d damn you!' This did not. require an answer, it appeared to me, and so I neither said one thing nor another.
He took hold of his pistol and I shut my eyes. Something began to burn my throat. Presently he said again, as if he had been debating the question of life and death rapidly in his own mind: 'You are young, ain't you?' 'About twenty-five.'
''Married?' 'Yes.' 'Hate to die, I reckon?' "Yes." 'You are free!' I tried to thank him, although I did not at first realize his actions or understand his words. He got mad in a moment, and his wicked eyes fairly blazed. 'You are free, I told you! D-n your thanks and d-n you!' "From that day to this," the Lieutenant continued, "I am at a loss to know whether my wife saved me or the Masons."
Neither; and yet the Guerrilla himself might not have been able to tell. Perhaps it was fate, or a passing tenderness, or something in the prisoner's face that recalled a near one or a dear one. Some few among them, but only a few, believed that retaliation should be a punishment, not a vengeance; and these, when an execution was unavoidable, gave to it the solemnity of the law and the condonement of civilization. The majority, however, killed always and without ado. They had passwords that only the initiated understood, and signs which meant everything or nothing. A night bird was a messenger; a day bird a courier. To their dialect they had added woodscraft, and to the caution of the proscribed men the cunning of the Infill. They knew the names or the numbers of the pursuing regiments from the shoes of their horses, and told the nationality of troops by the manner in which twigs were broken along the. line of march. They could see in the night like other beasts of prey, and hunted most when it was darkest. No matter for a road so only there was a trail, and no matter for a trail so only there was a direction. When there was no wind, and when the clouds hid the sun or the stars, they traveled by the moss on the trees. In the day time they looked for this moss with their eyes, in the night time with their hands.
Living much in fastnesses, they were rarely surprised, while solitude developed and made more acute every instinct of self-preservation. By degrees a caste began to be established. Men stood forth as leaders by the unmistakable right of superior address and undaunted courage. There was a kind of an aristocracy of daring wherein the humblest might win a crown or establish a dynasty. Respect for personal prowess begat discipline, Bad discipline-strengthened by the terrible pressure of outside circumstances-kept peace in the midst of an organization ostensibly without a government and without a flag. Internal feuds came rarely to blows, and individual quarrels went scarcely ever beyond the interests of the contending principals.
Free to come and go; bound by no enlistment and dependent upon no bounty; hunted by one nation and apologized for by the other; prodigal of life and property; foremost in every foray and last in every rout; content to die savagely and at bay when from under the dead steed the wounded rider could not extricate himself; merciful rarely and merciless often; loving liberty in a blind, idolatrous fashion, half reality and half superstition; holding no crime as bad as that of cowardice; courteous to women amid all the wild license of pillage and slaughter; steadfast as faith to comradeship or friend; too serious for boastfulness and too near the unknown to deceive themselves with vanity; eminently practical because constantly environed; starved to-day and feasted to-morrow; victorious in this combat or decimated in thatĚ; receiving no quarter and giving none; astonishing pursuers by the swiftness of a retreat, or shocking humanity by the completeness of a massacre; a sable fringe on the blood-red garments of civil war, or a perpetual cut-throat in ambush in the midst of contending Christians, is it any wonder that in time the Guerrilla organization came to have captains, and leaders, and discipline, and a language, and fastnesses, and hiding places, and a terrible banner unknown to the winds, and a terrible name .that still lives as a wrathful and accusing thing from the Iowa line to the Pacific Ocean?
CAUSES THAT PRODUCED THE GUERRILLA.
IT IS the province of history to deal with results, not to condemn the phenomena which produce them. Nor has it the right to decry the instruments Providence always raises up in the midst of great catastrophes to restore the equilibrium of eternal justice. Civil war might well have made the Guerrilla, but only the excesses of civil war could have made him the untamable and unmerciful creature that history finds him. When he first went into the war he was somehow imbued with the old fashioned belief that soldiering meant fighting and that fighting meant killing. He had his own ideas of soldiering, however, and desired nothing so much as to remain at home and meet its despoilers upon his own premises. Not naturally cruel, and averse to invading the territory of any other people, he could not understand the patriotism of those who invaded his own territory.
Patriotism, such as he was required to profess, could not spring all in the market-place at the bidding of Red Leg or Jayhawker.
He believed, indeed, that the patriotism of Jim Lane and Jennison was merely a highway robbery transferred from the darkness to the dawn, and he believed the truth. Neither did the Guerrilla become merciless all of a sudden. Pastoral in many cases by profession, and reared among the bashful and timid surroundings of agricultural life, he knew nothing of the tiger that was in him until death had been dashed against his eyes in numberless and brutal ways. and until the blood of his own kith and kin had been sprinkled plentifully upon things that his hands touched, and things that entered into his daily existence. And that fury of ideas also came to him slowly which is more implacable than the fury of men, for men have heart. and opinion has none. It took him likewise some time to learn that the Jayhawk's system of saving the Union was a system of brutal force, which bewailed not even that which it trusted; that it belied its doctrine by its tyranny; stained its arrogated right by its violence, and dishonored its vaunted struggles by its executions. But blood is as contagious as air.
The fever of civil war has its delirium. When the Guerrilla spoke he was a giant! He took in, as it were, all at a single glance, all the immensity of the struggle. He saw that he was hunted and proscribed; that he hall neither a flag nor a government; that the' rights and the amenities of civilized warfare were not to be his; that a dog's death was certain if he surrendered even in the extremist agony of battle j that the house which sheltered him had to be burnt; the father who succored him had to be butchered; the mother who prayed for him had to be insulted; the sister who carried food to him had to he imprisoned; the neighborhood which witnessed his combats had to be laid waste; the comrade shot down by his side had to be put to death as a wild beast-and he lifted up the black flag in self defense and fought as became a free man and a hero.
Much obloquy has been cast upon the Guerrilla organization because in its name bad men plundered the helpless, pillaged friend and foe alike, assaulted non-combatants and murdered the unresisting and the innocent. Such devil's work was not Guerrilla work. It fitted all too well the hands of those cowards crouching in the rear of either army and courageous only where women defended what remained to themselves and their children.
Desperate and remorseless as he undoubtedly was, the Guerrilla saw shining down upon his pathway a luminous patriotism, and he followed it eagerly that he might kill in the name of God and his country. The nature of his warfare made him responsible of course for many monstrous things he had no personal share in bringing about. Denied a hearing at the bar of public opinion, the bete noir of all the loyal journalists, painted blacker than ten devils, and given a countenance that was made to retain some shadow of all the death agonies he had seen, is it strange in the least that his fiendishness became omnipresent as well as omnipotent? To justify one crime on the part of a Federal soldier, five crimes more cruel still were laid at the floor of the Guerrilla. His long gallop not only tired but infuriated his hunters. That savage standing at bay and dying always as a wolf dies when barked at by hounds and bludgeoned by countrymen, made his enemies fear him and hate him. Hence from all their bomb-proofs his slanderers fired silly lies at long range, and put afloat unnatural stories that hurt him only as it deepened the savage intensity of an already savage strife. Save rare and memorable instances, the Guerrilla murdered only when fortune in open and honorable battle gave into his hands some victims who were denied that death in combat which they afterward found by ditch or lonesome roadside. Man for man, he put his life fairly on the cast of the war dice, and when the need came as the red Indian dies, stoical and grim as a stone.
As strange as it may seem the perilous fascination of fighting under a black flag-where the wounded could have neither surgeon nor hospital, and where all that remained to the prisoners was the absolute certainty of speedy death attracted a number of young men to the various Guerrilla bands, gently nurtured, born to higher destinies, capable of sustained exertion in any scheme or enterprise, and fit for callings high up in the scale of science or philosophy. Others came who had deadly wrongs to avenge, and these gave to all their combats that sanguinary hue which still remains a part of the Guerrilla's legacy.
Almost from the first a large majority of Quantrell's original command had over them the shadow of some terrible crime. This one recalled a father murdered, this one a brother waylaid and shot, this one a house pillaged and burnt, this one a relative assassinated, this one a grievous insult while at peace at home, this one a robbery of all his earthly possessions, this one the force which compelled him to witness the brutal treatment of a mother or sister, this one was driven away from his own like a thief in the night, this one was threatened with death for opinion's sake, this one was proscribed at the instance of some designing neighbor, this one was arrested wantonly and forced to do the degrading work of a menial; while all had more or less of wrath laid up against the day when they were to meet face to face and h:md to hand those whom they had good cause to regard as the living embodiment of unnumbered wrongs. Honorable soldiers in the Confederate army-amenable to every generous impulse and exit in the performance of every manly duty-deserted even the ranks which they had adorned and became desperate Guerrillas because the home they had left had been given to the flames, or a gray-haired father shot upon his own hearth-stone.
They wanted to avoid the uncertainty of regular battle and know by actual results how many died as a propitiation or a sacrifice. Every other passion became subsidiary to that of revenge. They sought personal encounters that their own handiwork might become unmistakably manifest. Those who died by other agencies than their own were not counted in the general summing up of a fight, nor were the solacements of any victory sweet to them unless they had the knowledge of being important factors in its achievement. As this class of Guerrillas increased, the warfare of the border became necessarily more cruel and unsparing. Where at first there was only killing in ordinary battle, there became to be no quarter shown. The wounded of the enemy next felt the might of this individual vengeance-acting through a community of bitter memories and from every stricken field there began, by and by, to come up the substance of this awful bulletin: Dead such and such a number-wounded none. The war had then passed into its fever heat, and thereafter the gentle and the merciful, equally with the bush and the revengeful, spared nothing clad in blue that could be captured.
AMERICAN GUERRILLAS COMPARED WITH THOSE OF OTHER COUNTRIES.
THERE, have been Guerrillas in other countries, notably in France, Spain, Italy and Mexico. Before the days of breech-loaders and revolvers, and in fields of operation almost wholly unfit for cavalry, it was easy warfare for irregular bands to lie along mountainous roads, or hide themselves from ordinary pursuit in tangled thickets and stretches of larger timber.
They fought when they felt like it, and were more formidable in reputation than in prowess. The American's capacity for war can be estimated in a great degree by the enterprising nature of his individual efforts. If, as a Guerrilla, he can guard defiles, surprise cantonments, capture convoys, disappear in the mountains, make at times and before superior numbers the difficulty not so much in fighting him as in finding him, discover and hold his own passes, learn the secrets of nature so that the rain or the snow storm will be his ally and the fog his friend-be sure the seeds are there for a harvest of armed men-no matter whether regular or irregular-that need only the cultivation of sensible discipline to become the most remarkable on earth.
Essentially a nation of shop-keepers, trades-people and farmers Before the great civil struggle began, the rapidity with which armies were mobilized and made into veterans, was marvelous. Nothing like a Guerrilla organization had ever before existed in the history of the country, and yet the strife was scarcely two
months old before prominent in the field were leaders of Guerrilla bands more desperate than those of La Vendee, and organizers and fighters more to be relied upon and more blood-thirsty than the Fra Diavolas of Italy, or the El Empecinados of Spain.
La Vendee, among other things, was the war of a republic upon a religion of Marat, which meant pandemonium, upon the Pope, who meant Christ. The cities fought the country, the forests were attacked by the plains. In the gloom of the fastnesses giants were developed. Beneath the mask of the executioner was the cowl of the monk, and behind the judge of a court martial sat the implacable embodiment of Jacobin surveillance.
On one side cynicism, on the other ferocity, on one side blind fury buttressed upon fanaticism, on the other the airiness of a skepticism which denied the priesthood that it might succeed to its possessions. From amid this chaos of contending devils-preying alike upon the province which held to the town, or the city which had adoration for the Directory, La Rochejacquelin was born. He w:tS an inferior Quantrell wearing a short sword instead of a six-shooter. He went often to Mass, and on the eve of every battle he took the sacrament.
Sometimes he fought well and sometimes badly. A word unknown to border warfare belonged to his vocabulary, and history has repeated it often when writing of Hoche and Houchard.
It was Panic. Victory was near to La Rochejacquelin often, but just as his hands opened wide as it were to lay hold thereon and close again in exultation, Panic dashed them aside as though smitten by a sudden sword-blade. It was so at Martigne Briant, and Vibiers, at Vue and at Bonquenay. These desperate Guerrillas of La Vendee-these monks in harness and high priests in uniform-made bonnets rouge out of buckskin, and fled from imaginary grenadiers who were only shocks of wheat. It was also a war of proclamations. In the charges and counter-charges, the appeals on the one side to the good God and on the other to the omnipotent Committee of Public Safety, many a forlorn Frenchman, given over to contemplated death, slipped through everybody's fingers; another evidence of palpable weakness which was as foreign to the Missourian's executive economy as the word panic to his vocabulary.
Michael Pezza, surnamed Fra Diavolo, from his diabolic cunning in escaping all pursuit, was an Italian. half patriot and balf brigand. Much of his reputation is legendary. but for all that it has inspired one or two operas and a dozen romances.
He was to Italy what El Empecinado was to Spain, Canaris to Greece, and Abd-el-Kader to Africa. Born amid the mountains, he knew the crags by their sinister faces, and the precipices from the roar of their cataracts. Before he fought Napoleon he had stopped travelers upon the highway. When he had use for the robber, however, Ferdinand IV. made him a colonel and a duke and set him to guard the passes of the Apennines.
A dozen audacious deeds will cover the space of his whole career-one which was unquestionably void hut scrcc1y enterprising. All who spoke his language were his friends. He had eyes like the eagle, and fought fights where, when he was shot at, it was declared to be like shooting at the sky. Beyond a convoy or two made to lose their property, and a struggling hand or two cut to pieces, he did no devil's work in a twelve month of splendid opportunity for all who hated the insiders and saw from their mountain fortresses the very blackness of darkness overshadow a laud that wore perpetually the garments of Paradise. Finally a French detachment-especially charged to look after the much dreaded Guerrilla struck his trail and followed it to the end. The French numbered eight hundred, the Italians fifteen. Take Quantrell, or Todd, or Anderson, or Pool, or Coleman Younger, or Jesse James, or Haller, or Frank James, with fifteen hundred men, and put to catch them eight hundred Federals! What analyst now, in the light of past history, will say that out of the eight hundred six might safely return alive to tell the story of the slaughter.
The hunt went on, the hunted having every advantage over the hunters. They saw him, touched him, had him, suddenly nobody was there. He did not fight; he only hid himself and ran away. Nothing stopped the pursuit, however. Neither mountain torrent, nor full-fed river, nor perpendicular rock, nor tempests by night, nor hurricanes by day. 'When brought to bay at last, Fra Diavola did what never Guerrilla did yet of Anglo Saxon birth or raising, he disguised himself as a charcoal -dealer, mounted an ass, deserted his followers, and sought to creep out of the environment as best he could. He did not succeed, but the effort exhibited the standard of the man.
The list is a long one to choose from, but apposite selections are difficult to handle. At every step taken toward~ a contrast between a Missouri Guerrilla and a Guerrilla of foreign reputation, there is an obstacle. Nowhere exists the same civilization.
In no single instance are the surroundings and the institutions the same. One common bond, however, ill the fiery crucible of civil war, and by this and from out this must they come to judgment, standing or falling.
There was EI Empecinaclo, the Spaniard. He did in the Pyrenees what Fra Diavolo did in the Apennines. Each system was the -same-perpetual skirmishes, mostly unimportant, and sudden disappearance. Both fought the French. The nobility were for Napoleon, the peasants against him, and this added intensity to the strife. But to beat EI Empecinado was to accomplish nothing. His band scattered on all sides into fastnesses where it was impossible to find them, and reorganized at some place in the mountains which they had intrenched, provisioned l, and made inaccessible. He was the creature of the Junta, and the Junta was the hunted mother of liberty In Spain.
Hurled from village to village, threatened hourly, attacked at all times, having the chief seat of its administration in some ruined chapel, some hovel in the shrubbery, or some hole in the ground, it decreed, notwithstanding it all, the independence of Spain. But in fight after fight EI Empecinado was so badly worsted that he began to be accused of treason by his own men and suspected by the Junta. Finally, and after many races, and chases. and ambuscades, he was brought to his last assurance and stratagem at Cifuentes. The war of the thickets and the ravines was over. Having in his favor the enormous advantage of four men to his adversary's one, he stood forth in battle against General Hugo, of the French grenadiers, and was destroyed. At Centralia, and with the odds reversed and largely on the other side, George Todd rode over and shot clown a superior column of Federal infantry massed upon open ground and standing in line, shoulder to shoulder, with fixed bayonets and loaded muskets.
There were the bands of Mina and EI Pastor, who instead of being Guerrillas were barbarians. By these neither age nor sex was spared. Not content with killing women and children, they tortured them; they burned them alive. The elder Mina had carried before him in battle a flag bearing the device of vae victisk As he was more formidable and unsparing than either EI Empccinatlo or Fra Diavolo, he was to the same extent more popular. Success, however unsatisfactory, made him dangerous in more ways than one to the invaders. Germans, English, Italians, and even French, deserted to him. In the course of the days fifteen hussars, twenty artillerymen, a company of British sappers, and fourteen French foot soldiers came over to his banner. Of course none of these could ever surrender, and became in time the most ferocious of this ferocious band. Underneath all the terrible vigilance taken by these Guerrillas there was the undying consciousness of terrible wrongs. Fra Diavola had been tied up in a public market place and scourged brutally by the public executioner; El Empecinallo had his ears slit; the younger Mina,'s mistress had been outraged before his eyes. her piercing cries haunting his sleep for months thereafter; EI Pastor's old father, in returning late from a country town, had been first robbed and then beaten to death j and Xavier, the youngest of the Junta's bloody instruments and the most chivalrous, knew scarcely anything of the war until he had barely escaped assassination with his life. Does not history repeat itself?
From the brooding vision of Quantrell there was never absent the white, set face of a murdered brother. To make tense the nerves and steel the heart of Coleman Younger, there, wet with his life's blood, were the white hairs of a hallowed father slain upon the highway. Anderson remembered to his dying day his beautiful sister buried beneath the falling walls of the prison house, and another so disfigured that when those dearest to her dug her out from the wreck they did not know her.
Of the Minas there were two-uncle and nephew. It was the strange destiny of the elder to have to encounter in his own field of operations a woman. Unnatural as it may appear the most ferocious hand which infested Biscay was commanded by a woman named 1\1artina. So indiscriminating and unrelenting was this female monster in her murder of friends and foes alike, that Mina felt himself compelled to resort to extermination.
Surprised with the greater part of her following, not a soul escaped to tell the story of the massacre. One wild beast had devoured another, and that was all! Treachery of comrades is a somewhat pr6minent feature in all these records of' Spanish Guerrilla warfare, but in Missouri it was absolutely unknown. Mina himself had a sergeant named Malcarado who attempted to betray him to the enemy. He succeeded so far as to lead a French patrol to the room in which his chief was still sleeping in bed. But suddenly aroused, 1\1ina defended himself desperately with the bar of the door and kept the attacking party at bay until Gustra, his chosen comrade, assisted him to escape. Taking Malcarado afterwards he shot him instantly, together with the village cure and three alcaldes implicated in the effort at kidnapping. In Mexico, under Maximilian, the French had an organization known to the army of occupation as the Contre Guerrillas, that is to say Imperial Guerrillas, who fought when they could and exterminated where they could the Republican Mexican Guerrillas.
Colonel Dupin, who commanded them, more nearly assimilated Quantrell in his manner of fighting than any other leader of Guerrillas history has yet passed in review. He was desperately cruel, but he fought fast und hard. Distance was nothing to him, nor fatigue, nor odds, nor the difficulties of a position necc8sary to assault, nor any terra incognita the tropics could array to ride into. He had the flexibility of the panther and the grip of the bull-dog. Nothing uniformed and allied to Juarez ever lived after he once laid hold upon it. Past sixty, bronzed brown as a bag of leather, a school girl's face, covered with decorations, straight as Tecumseh, he led his squadrons through ambuscades sixty miles long, and made the court martial bring up eternally the rear of the combat. Any weapon fitted his hand, just as any weapon fitted the hand of Quantrell.
Ruse, stratagem, disguise, ambushment, sudden attack, furious charge, unquestioned prowess, desperate resolve in extremity, unerring rapidity of thought-all these elements belonged to him by the inexorable right of his profession, and he used them all to terrify and to exterminate.
With Dupin also in Mexico was Captain Ney, Duke of Elchingen, and grandson of that other Ney who, when thrones were tumbling and fugitive kings flitting through the smoke of Waterloo, cried out to D'Erlon: "Come and see how a Marshal of France dies on the field of battle."
Ney had under him au American squadron, swart, stalwart fellows, scarred in many a border battle and bronzed by many a. day of sunshiny and stormy weather. Names went for naught there. Hiding themselves in the unknown beyond the Rio Grande, those cool, calm men asked one of another no question of the past. Nothing of retrospect remained. Content to march and fight and be prodigal of everything save brag or boast, they carried no black flag and they often ga.ve quarter.
And how they fought! Dupin-taking note of many other things besides-took note also of this. Once when a day of battles opened ominously, and when from the fur front the story came back of repulses savoring strongly of disaster, he chose this little band alone for a desperate charge and patched with it swiftly the riven ranks of his routed soldiery. When the hot work was over and done, and when not anywhere in street, or town, or chapparal beyond the town, an enemy struggled save in the last sure agonies of death, he bade the balance of the regiment defile past their guidon and salute it with sloping standards and victorious music. In that day's fierce melee rode some of Quantrell's best and bravest. Their comrades knew them not, for they made no sign; and yet thrice was the sword of Captain Ney put out to save the foremost back-it being a point of honor with a French cavalry officer to permit no subaltern to pass him in a charge-and thrice d:d he cry aloul1. and warn the boldest that if they went by him they went by at their peril.
One of these pressing thus hard behind the gallant Ney was John C. Moore, once a member of Marmaduke's staff, and later a trained athlete in the arena where Shelby's giants struggled only for renown and glory. War found him an enthusiast and left him a philosopher. He drifted into Mexico a little behind the tide which bore his chieftain out, and for want of other things to do joined the Contre Guerrillas. He was always merciful in combat, and fought in the reckless old style just because it was fashionable to fight so, and because he gave so little thought to-day whether the morrow would be peaceful in bivouacs or stormy with sudden ambuscades. He was the centre of a group of dauntless spirits who dreamed of empire in the land of the Aztecs, and who never for a moment lost faith in the future or saw need for despair in the present until imbecility rose upon and mastered resolution and forced Maximilian from a throne to a dead-wall.
There were no Guerrillas in the days of the revolution, for in no sense of the word could General Marion and his men be considered as such. Strictly partisan in some respects, and fighting here, there, and everywhere as occasion or opportunity permitted, he never for a moment severed communication with the government his patriotism defended, nor relied for a day upon other resources than those of the departments regularly org:ll1izcd for military supremacy. As part of the national army, he entered as an important factor in the plans of every contiguous campaign. His swamp warfare made him formidable but never ferocious. He rarely killed save in open battle, and being seldom retaliated upon, he did nothing to retaliate for in the way of an equilibrium. It required, indeed, all the excesses of the civil war of 1861-5 to produce the genuine American Guerrilla-more enterprising by far, more deadly, more capable of immense physical endurance, more fitted by nature for deeds of reckless hardihood, and given over to less of penitence or pleading when face to face with the final end, than any French or Spanish, Italian or Mexican Guerrilla notorious in song or story. He simply lived the life that was in him, and took the worst or best as it came and as fate decreed it. Circumstances made him unsparing, and not any predisposition in race or rearing. Fought first with fire, he fought back with the torch; and branded as an outlaw first in despite of all reason, he made of the infamous badge a birthright and boasted of it as a blood-red inheritance while flaunting it in the face of a civilization which denounced the criminals while condoning the crimes that made them such.
ONE-HALF the country believes Quantrell to have been a highway robber crossed upon the tiger; the other half that he was the gallant defender of his native South. One-half believes him to have been an avenging Nemesis of the right j the other a forbidding monster of assassination. History cannot hesitate over him, however, nor abandon him to the imagination of the romancers-those cosmopolitan people who personify him as the type of a race which reappears in every country that is a prey to the foreigner-the legitimate bandit in conflict with conquest. He was a living, breathing, aggressive, all-powerful reality-riding through the midnight, laying ambuscades by lonesome roadsides, catching marching columns by the throat, breaking in upon the flanks and tearing a suddenly surprised rear to pieces; vigilant, merciless, a terror by day and a superhuman if not a supernatural thing when there was upon the earth blackness and darkness.
Charles William Quantrell was to the Guerrillas their voice in tumult, their beacon in a crisis, and their hand in action. From him sprang all the other Guerrilla leaders and bands which belong largely to Missouri and the part :Missouri took in the civil war. Todd owed primary allegiance to him, and so did Scott. Haller, Anderson, Blunt, Poole, Younger, Maddox, Jarrette, the two James brothers-Jesse and Frank-Shepherd, Yager, Hulse, Gregg-all in fact who became noted afterwards as enterprising soldiers and fighters. His was the central figure, and it towered aloft amid all the wreck and overthrow and massacre that went on continually around and about him until it fell at last as the pine falls, uprooted by Omnipotence or shivered by its thunderbolt.
The early life of Quantrell was obscure and uneventful. Born in Hagerstown, Maryland, July 20, 1836, and raised there until he was sixteen years of age, he remained always an obedient and an affectionate son. His mother had been left a widow when he was only a few years old, and had struggled bravely and with true maternal devotion to keep a home for her children and her children in it.
Inheriting self-reliance in an eminent degree, and something of that sadness which is the rightful offspring of early poverty, the boy Quantrell was taken
in his sixteenth year to Cleveland, Ohio, by an old friend of his family, a Colonel Toler, and there given an excellent English education. He never saw his mother again. His first separation was his final one.
As early as 1855 Missouri and Kansas had been at war, Seward's Irrepressible Conflict began then-passed from its quiescent to its aggressive stage then. and opened the crevasse in the embankment then which was to let through all the floods of sectional bitterness and strife and deluge the whole land with the horrors of civil war. Men were baptized then who were to become later notorious apostles of plunder and invasion, Old John Brown was a creature of that abolition madness which began at Osawatomie Creek and ended at Harper's Ferry.
Jim Lane killed his first man in that war; :Montgomery came first to the front after the adoption of the Lecompton Constitution, and learned too well the uses of the torch that later he burned Rome, Georgia, wantonly, and hung a dozen or so of its non-combatants; Jennison gave something of the robber promise that was in him; General John W. Reid added greener laurels to his Mexican wreath; Jo. Shelby, that eagle of the foray, first, changed his down for his feathers; there were fierce sectional fires lit all along the border j the two States hated each other and harried each other's accessible lands; from Leavenworth south to Fort Scott dragon's teeth were sown broadcast as wheat is sown in the fall, and so then the first drum beat was heard in 1861, and when the first bugle note was sounded, the throat-cutting had already begun.
For some time preceding 1855, Quantrell's only brother had been living in Kansas. He was older by several years than Charles, had been more of a father to him than a playmate, and was then the mainstay of the struggling widow, still fighting the uncertain battles of life heroically and alone. The strife along the border had somewhat subsided, and something of comparative peace had succeeded to the armed irruption, when the elder Quantrell wrote to the younger and urged him to come at once to his home in the disputed Territory. A trip to California was contemplated, and the one in Kansas would not go without the one in Ohio.
About the middle of the summer of 1856 both brothers began their overland journey, each having a wagon loaded with provisions, four good mules each, and more or less money between them. One negro man was also carried along-a sort of general utility person-part hostler and part cook. In addition he was also free.
The three were together when that unprovoked tragedy occurred which was to darken and blacken the whole subsequent current of the younger brother's life, and link his name forever with some of the savagest episodes of some of the most savage Guerrilla history ever recorded. Although there was comparative peace at that time, armed bands still maintained their organization throughout the entire State. Some were legitimate and some illegitimate. A few lived by patriotism, such as it was, and a good many by plunder. Here and there worse things than stealing were done, and more than one belated traveler saw the sun set never to rise again, and more than one suspected or obnoxious settler disappeared so quietly as scarcely to cause a ripple of comment upon the placid surface of neighborhood events. Especially implacable were one or two companies owing allegiance to Lane. In the name of Abolitionism they took to the highway, and for the sake of freedom in Kansas great freedom was taken with other people's lives and property. Camped one night on the Little Cottonwood River, en route to California, thirty armed men rode deliberately up to the wagons where the Quantrells were and opened fire at point-blank range upon the occupants. The elder Quantrell was killed instantly, while the younger wounded badly in the left leg and right breast-was left upon the bank of the stream to die.
The negro was not harmed. Scared so dreadfully at first as to be unable to articulate, he yet found his speech when the robbers began to hitch up the teams and drive off the wagons, and pleaded eloquently that food and shelter might be left for the wounded man. " Of what use? " the leader of the Jayhawkers sneered, "he will die at best, and if we did not think that he would die, we would be sure to finish him." And so they drove away, taking not only the wagons and teams, but the tent and the negro, leaving Quantrell alone with his murdered brother, the wide wilderness of prairie and sky above and about him everywhere and death's door so close to his own hands that for the stretching out he might have laid bold thereon and entered in. Not content, however, with being robbers and cut-throats, they added petty thieving to cowardly assassination. The pockets of both were rifled, every dollar was taken from each, a ring from a finger of the living and a watch from the person of the dead.
It was two days before the wounded brother was found-two days of agony, retrospects, and dreams it may be of a stormy future. Something of the man's wonderful fortitude abode with him to the end. He heard the clangor of ominous pinions and the flapping of mysterious wings that splotched the prairie grass with hateful splotches of beak and claw. He dragged himself to the inanimate heap lying there festering in the summer's sun, and fought a desperate double fight against the talons that would mutilate and the torments of fever and thirst that were burning him up alive. And in the darkness came other sounds than the rising of the night wind. A long, low howl at first that had the subdued defiance of hunger in it, and then the shuffling of creeping feet and the mingling of gray and darkness in the nearest cover. The wolves were abroad coming ever closer and closer, and crouching there in the prairie grass, knowing scarcely aught of any difference between the living and the dead. He did not cry out, neither did he make moan. All night long by the corpse he watched and defended-seeing on the morrow the sun rise red out of a sea of verdure, and hearing agf1.in on the morrow the clangor of ominous pinions and the flapping of mysterious wings.
From the road to the stream it was fifty good steps, and between the two an abundance of luxuriant grass. The descent to the water was very steep, and broken here and there by gullies the rains had cut. Until an intolerable thirst drove him to quit his watch by his brother's corpse, and quit his uncomplaining fight against buzzard and prairie wolf, he never moved from the dead man's side. In the two nights and days of this mournful vigil he did not sleep. He could not walk, and yet he rolled himself down to the river and back again to the road-dragging his crippled body over the broken places and staunching his wounds with the rankest grass. He would live! He has never thought how necessary life could become to him. There was mncl1 to do. The dead had to be buried, the murder had to be avenged, and that demand-fixed as fate and as inexorable had to be made wl1ich required sooner or later an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. What he suffered during the two days and nights, when the mutilated brother watched by the murdered one, he would never tell. Indeed, he rarely referred to his past, and spoke so little of himself that those who knew him longest knew the least of his history, and those who questioned him the most assiduously got less satisfaction than those who questioned him not at all.
Early in the morning of the third day, and just after Quantrell had dragged himself back from the river to the road, suffering more and more of agony from his already swollen and inflamed wounds, an old Shawnee Indian, Golightly Spiebuck, happened to pass along, and became at once the rough but kindly Samaritan of the Plains. The dead man was buried, and the wounded one placed gently in the Indian's wagon and carried by easy stages to his home, a few miles south of Leavenworth.
Spiebuck died in 1868, but he often told the story of the rescue. It took him four hours to dig the grave deep enough for the dead man, There was neither coffin, nor shroud, nor funeral rite. Dry-eyed and so ghastly white that he looked to Spiebuck like the ghost of the departed come back to claim the due of decent sepulchre, Quantrell watched the corpse until the earth covered it, and then he hobbled to his knees and turned his dry eyes up to where he believed a God to be. Did he pray? Yes. like Caligula, perhaps, and that the whole Jayhawking fraternity had but Ii single neck, capable of being severed by a single blow.
QUANTRELL AND THE KANSAS JAYHAWKERS.
QUANTRELL recovered slowly. He had youth, a fine physique, great energy and determination of character; but his mind appeared to dominate over and hold his body in subjection.
He would by for hours at a time with his hands over his eyes-his pale cheeks lit up with a kind of hectic flush, and his respiration so noiseless and imperceptible that Spiebuck's old Indian wife and nurse more than once declared him dying. But he was not dying; he was thinking. Afterwards there came weary weeks of the stick and crutch. Summer was dead on the hills, and autumn had already begun to frighten the timid leaves with the white ghost of the snow. The cripple had come to he a convalescent, the convalescent had become to be a man-a little pale, it may be, but cured of his wounds and his injuries. If any knew of the murder and the robbery upon the Cottonwood, they had forgotten both. Either was so familiar and so matter of fact that the law regarded the their complacently, and public opinion took sides with the murderer-thus making for each an equal justification. One man remembered, how everyone calm, grave man, something of a set sadness always about his features, and now and then an eager, questioning look that seemed to appeal to the future while recalling and reestablishing the past.
Quantrell was very patient. Sometimes tigers lick the crucifix; sometimes sheep become wolves. He took a school; taught the balance of the year 1856; got into his possession all the money he needed; paid Mr. and Mrs.Spielmek literally for every care and attention; shook hands cordially with the good old Indians on the 15th day of August, 1857, and went to Leavenworth. As he had never permitted confidences, he had no need of a disguise. The simple Charley Quantrell had become to be the simple Charley Hart, and that was all. The Nemesis was about to put on the national uniform. The lone grave by the Cottonwood river had begun to have grass upon it, and there was need that it should be watered.
Leavenworth City belonged at that time to the Jayhawkers, and the Jayhawkers to all intents and purposes belonged to Jim Lane. The original Jayhawker was a growth indig0nous to the soil of Kansas. There belonged to him as things of course a pre-emption, a chronic case of chills ann. fever, one starved cow 3.nd seven dogs, a longing for his neighbor's goods and chattel, a Sharpe's rifle, when he could get it, and something of a Bible for hypocrisy's sake-something that savored of the real presence of the book to give backbone to his canting and snuffling. In some respects a mountebank, in others a scoundrel, and in all a thief-he was a character eminently adapted for civil war which produces more adventurers than heroes. His hands were large, hairy and red-proof of inherited laziness-and a slouching gait added to the ungainliness of his figure when he walked.
The type was as of a kind. The mouth generally wore a calculating smile-the only distinguishable gift remaining of a Puritan ancestry-bat when he felt that he was looked at the calculating smile became sanctimonious. Slavery concerned him only as the slave-holder was supposed to be rich; and just so long as Beecher presided over emigration aid societies, preached highway robbery, defended political murder, and sent something to the Jayhawkers in the way of real fruits and funds, there surely was a God in Israel and Beecher was his great high priest. Otherwise they all might go to the devil together. The Jayhawker was not brave. He would fight when he had to fight, but he would not stand in the last ditch and shoot away his last cartridge. Born to nothing, and eternally out at elbows, what else could he do but laugh and be glad when chance kicked a country into war and gave purple and fine linen to a whole lot of bummers and beggars? In the saddle he rode like a sand bag or a sack of meal. The eternal "ager cake" made a trotting horse his abomination, and he had no use for a thoroughbred, save to steal him. When he abandoned John Brown and rallied to the standard of Jim Lane -when he gave up the fanatic and clove unto the thief-he simply changed his leader without changing his principles.
General James H. Lane, for some time previous to the breaking out of the war and for sometime afterwards, was omnipotent in Kansas. Immense bonhommie, joined to immense vitality, made him a political giant. Of infinite humor, rarely skilled in the arts of judging human nature, passably brave, though always from selfish impulses, brilliant in speech, exaggerated in sentiment, vivid in expression, and full of that intangible yet all-mastering pathos which has ever and will ever find in the West its most profitable employment, he soon became the Melchisedec of the Kansas militia and the founder of a line of Jayhawkers. Blood had already stained his hands. The civilization to which his principles owned origin permitted him the wives of other people if he could win them, and he went about with the quest of a procuress and the encompassment of Solomon.
Reversing the alphabet in the spelling out of his morals, he made v the first letter of the new dispensation, because it stood for virility. The mantle of John Brown had fallen upon his shoulders, and yet it did not fit him. John Brown was the inflexible partisan; Jim Lane the ambitious man of talent. One would have given everything to the cause which he espoused did give his life; the other stipulated for commissions, senatorial robes, and political power. John Brown could never have passed from the character of destructive to that of statesman; but Jim Lane, equal to either extreme, put readily aside with one hand the business of making raids, and took up with the other the less difficult though more complicated business of making laws.
Jennison was of inferior breed and mettle. None of his ideas ever rose above a corral of rebel cattle, and he made war like a brigand, and with a cold brutality which he imagined gave to his unsoldierly greed the mask of patriotism.
Montgomery, dying by inches of consumption, and feeling a craving for military fame without having received from society or nature the means of acquiring it, was content to become infamous in order to become notorious. He was the patron of the assassin and the incendiary.
These three embryonic embodiments of all that was to be forbidding and implacable in border warfare carne in and out of Leavenworth a great deal in those brief yet momentous months preceding that mighty drama which from a small Kansas prologue was to overshadow and envelop a continent. Quantrell, known now as Charles Hart, became intimate with Lane, and ostensibly attached himself to the fortunes of the anti-slavery party. If, in order to advance an object or to get a step nearer to the goal of his ambition, it became necessary to speak of John Brown, he always spoke of him as of one for whom he had great admiration. General Lane, at that time a Colonel, was in command of a regiment whose headquarters were at Lawrence. Thither from Leavenworth went Quantrell, and soon became enrolled in a company to which belonged all but two of the men who did the deadly work at the Cottonwood river. If the whole Quantrell episode had not been forgotten, however, certainly there was nothing to recall it in the sad face, slender figure, drooping blue eyes and courteous behavior of the new recruit. He talked little and communed witl1 l1imself a great deal.
While others amused themselves with cards, or women, or wine, Quantrell rode over the country in every direction, and made himself thoroughly acquainted with its geography and topography.
Who knows but what even then the coming events of that terrible sack and pillage were beginning to cast their shadows before.
First a private and then an orderly sergeant, Quantrell soon won the esteem of his officers and the confidence of his men. It was getting along pretty well through 1858, and what with brushes with the Border Ruffians, as the Missourians were called, also scouting after depredating Indians, Lane's command was kept comparatively active. It was required also to furnish covering parties for trains running on the Underground Railroad, and scouts along the whole line of the border from Kaw River to the Boston Mountains. One day Quantrell and three men were sent down to the neighborhood of Wyandotte to meet a wagon loan of negroes coming out of Missouri under the pilotage of Jack Winn, a somewhat noted horse-thief and abolitionist. One of the three men failed to return when Quantrell and his comrade did, nor could any account be given of his absence until a body was found near a creek several days afterward. In the centre of the forehead was the round, smooth hole of a navy revolver bullet.
Those who looked for Jack Winn's safe arrival were also disappointed. He had been shot just inside the fence of a cornfield, and in falling had fallen face foremost in some rank weeds and briars which completely covered him. People traveling the road passed and repassed the corpse almost hourly, but the buzzards found it first and afterwards the curious. There was the same round hole in the forehead, and the same sure mark of the navy revolver bullet.
Somebody's hand-writing was becoming to be legible; next, four companies received marching orders for service down about Fort Scott, and Quantrell's was among the four.
The Missourians of late had been swarming over the border thick in that direction, and Lane wanted to know more of what they were doing. Some skirmishing ensued, and now and then there was a sudden combat. Quantrell was the first in every adventurous enterprise and the last to leave upon every skirmish line. Of the four companies detailed to do duty in the vicinity of Fort Scott, all the members of each returned except sixty. The death of forty-two of these was attributed to the enemy, of the other eighteen to the manifold calamities of war. Two of the eighteen bodies were recovered, however, and there was the same round, smooth hole in the middle of the forehead. Evidently the Border Ruffians had navy revolvers and knew just where to shoot a man when it was intended to shoot him only once.
Things went on thus for several months. Scarcely a week passed that some sentinel was not found dead at his post, some advanced picquet surprised and shot at the outermost watch station. The men began to whisper one to another and to cast about for the cavalry Jonah who was in the midst of them.
One company alone, that of Captain Pickens-the company to which Quantrell belonged-had lost thirteen men between October, 1857, and March, 1858. Another company ha\d lost two, and three one each. A second Underground Railroad conductor named Rogers had been shot through the forehead, and two scouts from Montgomery's command named Stephens and Tarwater.
From the privates this talk about a Jonah went to the Captains, and from the Captains to the Colonel. Just as Lane began to busy himself with this story of an epidemic whose single symptom was a puncture in the forehead the size of a navy revolver bullet, Quantrell was made a Lieutenant in Pickens' company. Therefore if this Jonah was in the line of promotion, it certainly was not in contemplation to cast him overboard to the fishes.
Quantrell and Pickens became intimate-as a Captain and Lieutenant of the same company should-and confided many things to each other. One night the story of the Cottonwood River was told, and Pickens dwelt with just a little of relish upon the long ride made to strike the camp of the unsuspecting emigrants, and the artistic execution of the raid which left neither the dead man a shroud nor the wounded man a blanket.
The Lieutenant turned his f.tce away from the light of the bivouac fire and essayed to ask a question or two. Could Pickens just then have seen his eyes-scintillate, and dilated about the pupils as the eyes of a lion in the \light-he might have been tempted to try over again the argument of the Cottonwood crossing-place. He did not see them, however, and so he told allow the plunder was divided, the mules sold, the money put all together in one pile and gambled for, the kind of report made to headquarters, and the general drunk which succeeded the return and ushered in forgetfulness. Three days thereafter Pickens and two of his most reliable men were found dead on Bull Creek, shot like the balance in the middle of the forehead.
This time there was a genuine panic. Equally with the rest, Quantrell exercised himself actively over the mysterious murders, and left no conjecture unexpressed that might suggest a solution of the implacable fatality. Who was safe? What protection had Colonel Lane in his tent, or Lieutenant-Colonel Jennison in his cabin? The regiment must trap and shy this hidden monster perpetually in ambush in the midst of its operations, or the regiment would be decimated. It could not fight the unknown and the superhuman.
For a time after Pickens' death there was a lull in the constant conscription demanded by the Nemesis. Mutterings of the coming storm were beginning to be heard in every direction, while all over the political sky there were portents and perturbations. Those who believed that the nation's life was at hazard had no time to think of men. The new Lieutenant bought himself a splendid uniform, owned the best horse in the Territory, and instead of one navy revolver now had two.
It is not believed that at this time Quantrell was suspected, for in a long conversation held with him by Lane, the full particulars of the plan adopted to discover and arrest the mysterious murderer were discussed in every detail. He waited several weeks to see what would become of the exertions made to trace the handwriting on the foreheads of the victims, and then apparently dismissed the subject from his mind. At all events he no longer referred to it in conversation, or expressed an opinion upon it one way or the other. He had his duties to perform as an officer of cavalry, and he had no inclination to help on the work of the detectives. Probably two months after his conversation with L:llle, Quantrell was ordered to take his own company and details from three others-amounting in the aggregate to one hundred and fourteen men-and make a scout out towards the extreme western border of the Territory.
Although the expedition saw neither a hostile Indian nor a Missourian, thirteen of the Jayhawkers never again answered at roll-call. The old clamor broke out again in all its fury, and the old suspicions were extravagantly aroused. Quantrell was called upon to explain the absence of his men, and reported calmly all that he knew in the premises. Detached from the main body and ordered out on special duty, they had not returned when their comrades did. The bodies of three of them ha been found shot through the forehead, and although he had tried every art known to his ingenuity to learn more of the causes which produced this mysterious fatality, he was no nearer the truth than his commanding officer. Not long after this report two men from another company were missing, and then an orderly attached to the immediate protection of Colonel Lane. This orderly had been killed under peculiar circumstances.
The citizens of Lawrence gave a supper one night to some distinguished Eastern people, and Colonel Lane presided at the table. His orderly was with him, and as the night deepened he drank freely and boasted a great deal. Among the things which he described with particular minuteness was an attack upon a couple of emigrants nearly two years before and the confiscation of their property. Quantrell was not at the banquet, but somehow he heard of the orderly's boast and questioned him fully concerning the whole circumstance. After this dialogue there was a dead man.
There came also from the East about this time some sort of a disease known as the club mania. Those afflicted with it-and it attacked well nigh tile entire population-had a hot fever described as the enrollment fever. Organizations of all sorts sprang up-Free Soil Clubs, Avengers, Men of Equal Rights, Sons of Liberty, John Brown's Body Guard, Destroying Angels, Lane's Loyal Leaguers, and what not--and every one made haste to get his name signed to both constitution and by-laws. Lawrence especially affected from the Liberator Club, whose undivided mission was to find freedom for all the slaves in Missouri. Quantrell took its latitude and longitude with the calm, cold eyes of a political philosopher and joined it among the first. As it well might have been, he soon became its vitalizing influence and its master. The immense energy of the man-making fertile with resources a mind bent to the accomplishment of a certain fixed purpose-suggested at once to the Club the necessity of practical work if it meant to make any negroes face or punish any slaveholders. He knew how an entire family of negroes might be rescued. The risk was not much. The distance was not great.
The time was opportune. now many would volunteer for the enterprise? At first the Club argued indirectly that it was a Club sentimental-not a Club militant. It would pray devoutly for the liberation of all the slaves in all the world, but it would not fight for them. What profit would the individual members receive if, after gaining all Africa, they lost their own scalps? Quantrell persevered, however, and finally induced seven of the Liberators to co-operate with him. His plan was to enter Jackson county, Missouri, with three clays' cooked rations, and ride the first night to within striking distance of the premises it was intended to plunder. There-hidden completely in the brush and vigilant without being seen or heard-wait again for the darkness of the second night. This delay of a day would also enable the horses to get a good rest and the negroes to prepare for their hurried journey. Afterwards a bold push and a steady gallop must bring them all hack safe to the harbor of Lawrence. Perhaps the plan really was a daring one, and the execution extremely dangerous; but seven Liberators out of eighty-four volunteered to accompany Quantrell, and in a week everything was ready for the enterprise.
Morgan Walker was an old citizen of Jackson county-a veritable pioneer. He had settled there when buffalo grazed on the prairies beyond Westport, and when in the soft sands along the inland streams there were wolf and moccasin tracks. Stalwart, hospitable, broad across the back, old-fashioned in his courtesies and his hospitalities, he fed the poor, helped the needy, prayed regularly to the good God, did right by his neighbors and his friends, and only swore occasionally at the Jayhawkers and the Abolitionists. His hands might have been rough and sun-browned, but they were always open. None were ever turned away from his door hungry. Under the old roof of the homestead-no matter what the pressure was nor how large the demand had been-the last wayfarer got the same comfort as the first-and altogether they got the best. This man Morgan Walker was the man Quantrell had proposed to rob. Living some five or six miles from Independence, and owning about twenty negroes of various ages and sizes, the probabilities were that a skillfully conducted raid might leave him without a servant.
Between the time the Liberators had made every preparation for the foray and the time the eight men actually started for Morgan Walker's house, there was the space of a week. Afterwards those most interested remembered that Quantrell had not been seen during all that period either in Lawrence or at the headquarters of his regiment.
Everything opened auspiciously. Well mounted and armed, the little detachment left Lawrence quietly, rode two by two and far apart until the point of the first rendezvous was reached, a clump of timber at a ford on Indian Creek. It was the evening of the second day when they arrived, and they tarried long enough to rest their horses and eat a hearty supper/
Before daylight the next morning the entire party were hidden, in some heavy timber two miles to the west of Walker's house.. From this safe retreat none of them stirred except Quantrell. Several times during the day, however, he went backwards and forwards ostensibly to the fields where the negroes were at work, and whenever he returned he always brought something either for the horses or the men to eat.
Morgan Walker hall two sons-true scions of the same stock -and before it was yet night these two boys and also the father might have been seen cleaning up and putting in excellent order their double-barrel shot-guns. A little latter three neighbors, likewise carrying double-barrel shot-guns, rode up to the house, dismounted, and entered in. Quantrell, who brought note of many other things to his comrades, brought no note of this. If Ile saw it he made no sign.
The night was dark. It had rained a little during the day, and the most of the light of the stars had been put out by the clouds, when Quantrell arranged his men for the dangerous venture. They were to proceed first to the house, gain possession of it, capture the male members of the family, put them under guard, assemble the negroes, bid them hitch up all the wagons and teams possible, and then make a rapid gallop for Kansas.
Fifty yards from the main gate the eight men dismounted and fastened their horses. Arms were looked to, and the stealthy march to the house began. Quantrell led. He was very cool, and seemed to see everything. The balance of the marauders had their revolvers in their hands; his were in his belt. Not a dog barked. If any there had been aught save city bred, this, together with the ominous silence, would have demanded a reconnaissance. None heeded the surroundings. however, and Quantrell knocked loudly and boldly at the oaken pal.els of Morgan Walker's door. No answer. He knocked again and stood perceptibly to one side. Suddenly, and as though it had neither bolts nor bars, locks nor hinges, the door flared open and Quantrell leaped into the hall with a bound like a red deer.
'Twas best so. A livid sheet of flame bur t out from the darkness where he had disappeared-us though au explosion had happened there-followed by another as the second barrels of the gun were discharged, and the tragedy was over. Six fell where they stood, riddled with buckshot. One staggered to the garden, bleeding fearfully, and died there. The seventh, hard hit and unable to mount his horse, drugged his crippled limbs to a patch of timber and waited for the dawn. They tracked him by his blood upon the leaves and found him early.
Would he surrender? No! Another volley, and the last Liberator was liberated. Walker and his two sons, assisted by three of his stalwart and obliging neighbors, had done a clean night's work and a righteous one. Those who had taken the sword had perished by it.
Events traveled rapidly those fiery and impatient days, and soon all the county was up and exercised over the attack made upon Morgan Walker's house, and the deadly work which followed it. Crowds congregated to look upon the seven dead men, laid one alongside of another, all to see what manner of a man remained a prisoner. Thus was Quantrell first introduced to the citizens of Jackson county, but little could any tell then of what iron nettle that young stripling had, what grim endurance, what inexorable purpose to make war practical and unforgiving.
Morgan Walker kept his own counsel. Quantrell was arrai6ued before a grand jury summoned especially for the occasion of his trial, and honorably acquitted. The dead were buried, the living was let go free, and the night attack soon became to be a nine days' wonder. Men had their suspicions and that was all. Some asked why seven should be taken and the eighth one spared, but as no answer came in reply, the question was not repeated. Little by little public interest in the event died out, and Quantrell went back to Lawrence.
There, however, the hunt was up, and he saw at a glance and instinctively that the desperate game he had been playing had to be played, if played any longer, on the edge of a precipice.
Salvation depended alone upon something speedy and sure. His intention at this time was undoubtedly to have killed Lane before he abandoned Lawrence forever, and he went deliberately to his quarters for that purpose. Called away in the forenoon. to some point thirty miles distant, Lane had not returned when Quantrell's blood-thirsty preparations had all been finished.
Time pressed, and he could not wait. Associating with himself two desperate frontiersmen from Colorado, and openly defying the Jayhawkers and the Abolitionists, Quantrell simply changed the mode of his warfare without mitigating aught of its effectiveness. Infuriated at the intrepid actions of the man, and learning more and more of that terrible disease whose single symptom has already been described, Lane offered heavy rewards for the Guerrilla's head.
Quantrell laughed at these and fought on in his own avenging fashion all through the balance of the year 1860 and up to within a few months of the fall of Fort Sumter in 1861. He probably told but twice in his career the true story of his life in Kansas-once to George Todd, and once to Jesse and Frank James. Each time he dwelt upon the fact that out of the thirty-two men who killed his brother and wounded him, two only escaped the final punishment, and these because they left the Jayhawkers and moved to California. Every .Jayhawker shot in the forehead hall been shot by his own hand, and every sentinel killed at his post, and every picquet left dead at the outermost station, was but another victim offered up as a sacrifice to appease the unquiet spirit of the elder Quantrell. The younger never made an official estimate of the number slain in this manner, but the evidence is almost indisputable that a few over a hundred fell by his hand and the hands of the two Colorado trappers who joined him about nine months before the war commenced.
The raid upon Morgan Walker was the work of Quantrell's contriving. Understanding in a moment that only through their fanaticism could three of the original thirty-two who murdered his brother and who belonged to the Liberator Club-be made to get far enough away from Lawrence for an ambuscade, he set the Jackson county trap for them, baited it with the rescue of a negro family, and they fell into it. His week's absence preceding the attack was spent in arranging its preliminaries. Neither Walker nor his friends were to fire until he had abandoned the balance of the party to their fate, and each time that he had left the camp in the woods the day that was to usher in the bloody night, he had been to Walker's house and gone through with him, as it were, and carefully a rehearsal of all the more important parts of the sanguinary play.
No consuming passion for revenge-no matter how constantly fed and persistently kept alive-was ade1uate to the part Quantrell played in Kansas from 1857 to 1861. Something his character had-some elements of nerve, cunning, and intellect belonging to it by the inherent right of training and development that carried him successfully through the terrible work and left his head without a single gray hail', his face without a single altered feature. The attitude must have been superb, the daily equanimity royal. The march was towards ruin or deification, but yet day after day he anointed himself, made awry things smooth before a mirror, put perfume upon his person, and a rose in his button-hole. Under waning moons of nights, by lonesome roadsides and haunted hollows, he took kid gloves from his hands as he writ legibly the writing of the revolver.
Women turned back upon him as he passed them on the streets, and felt to stir within their hearts-as the blue eyes lit up in courtly recognition and the pale face flushed a little in glad surprise-the girls' romantic hunger for the men. He never boasted. So young, and yet he was a Sphinx. Eternally on guard when he was not in ambush, he no more mispronounced a word than he permitted rust to appear upon his revolver barrels, If it could be said that he ever put on a mask, the name for it was gravity. He never endeavored to make death ridiculous, for he knew that in the final summing up death had never been known to laugh. He ate with those doomed by his vengeance, touched them, knee to knee, as they rode in column, talked with them of love, and war, and politics, lifted his hand to his hat in salute as he bade the stationed guards of the night be vigilant, and returned in an hour to shoot them through the forehead. Dead men were brought in, slain undoubtedly by the unerring hand of that awful yet impalpable Nemesis, and he turned them nonchalantly over in the sunlight, recognized them by name, spoke something of eulogy or comradeship by the wet blankets whereon they lay, and wrote in his dairy, as the summing up of a day's labor: "Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off."
If any-thinking strange things of the plausible, reticent, elegant man going his way and keeping his peace-shot some swift, furtive glance at him as he stood by the dead of his own handicraft, the marble face moved not under the scrutiny. He had mastered all human emotion, and sat superbly waiting the denouement as though he felt to the uttermost that
"The play was the tragedy Man,
And its hero the Conqueror Worm."
There are those who will denounce him for his treachery and seek to blacken his name because of the merciless manner in which he fought. He reeks not now of either extreme-the comradeship that would build him a monument durable as patriotism-or the condemnation which falsified his motives in order to lessen his heroism. For Ql1antreII the war commenced in 1856. Fate ordered it so, and transformed the ambitious yet innocent boy into a Guerrilla. without a. rival and without a peer. It was the work of Providence-that halt by the river, that murderous onslaught, that two days' battle with things which mutilated, those hours given for the revenge of a lifetime to be concentrated within a single span of suffering-anrl Providence might well cause this for epitaph to be written over against the tomb of Quantrell:
"The standing side by side till death,
The dying for some wounded friend,
The faith that failed not to the end,
The strong endurance till the breath
And body took their ways apart
I only know. I keep my trust.
Their vices I earth has them by heart;
Their virtues I they are with their dust."
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