Thanks for joining us here at Edwards Productions, llc as we explore the exciting TRUE story of the Missouri / Kansas border war! William Clark Quantrill, “Bloody” Bill Anderson and the many other Missouri bushwhackers who fought during the war continue to be controversial in the history of Kansas and Missouri. Quantrill himself was born in Canal Dover, Ohio, but left home to go out west in the hopes of making a fortune. He arrived in the Kansas Territory in 1857, and began teaching school in the town of Stanton. Finding himself involved in the turmoil of “Bleeding Kansas”, Quantrill ended up supporting the South as a private in Missouri’s pro-Confederate State Guard under the command of Maj. Gen. Sterling Price (a former governor of Missouri). Having fought at the Battles of Wilson’s Creek, Drywood Creek and Lexington, Quantrill found himself leading a group of Missouri guerrillas, who waged a vicious war against Union authorities.
Although the Union army had succeeded in driving the Confederate army out of Missouri by the end of 1862, they struggled to contain the guerrilla war that ensued, particularly along the border between Kansas and Missouri, where Quantrill operated. Quantrill led a number of raids into Kansas, but his signature event was the August 21, 1863 raid of Lawrence, Kansas.
Four days after the raid, Union Brig. Gen. Thomas Ewing, Jr. issued General Orders, No. 11 in the District of the Border. The order required the citizens of Jackson, Cass and Bates Counties and a portion of northern Vernon County, Missouri to vacate their homes and farms within 15 days. Order Number 11 was a direct result of Quantrill’s success as a guerrilla leader and his raid on Lawrence. Historian Albert Castell called Ewing’s order, “the most drastic and repressive military measure directed against civilians by the Union Army during the Civil War.”
Through the powerful mediums of country rock and folk music, books, this blog and more, we hope to share the dramatic and profound true stories of people who lived – and died – during this difficult time in our state and national history. It’s our goal that perhaps young and old will come away with a new interest and deeper understanding of that important and often-times complicated tapestry known as history.
Check out the video below, which includes an interview from Chris Edwards, a Missouri historian, musician and writer (with a MA History from the University of Missouri) as he discusses the Battle of Centralia, and why it’s important to remember, study and learn from the people and events of this time. Enjoy!