Raid On Lawrence

"The Pay Back"

As Appeared In Harper's Weekly - September 5, 1863
From : The Missouri Partisan Ranger Collection

Many events precipitated the raid on Lawrence. Without doubt the first and most cowardly act was the James Lane's Jayhawk led Massacre at Osceola on September 23, 1861. Lane's forces murdered at least nine men, then pillaged, looted, and then burned the town. According to reports many of the Kansans got so drunk that when it came time to leave they were unable to march and had to ride in wagons and carriages. They carried off with them a tremendous load of plunder, including as Lane's personal share a piano and a quantity of silk dresses.

Next, the premeditated deaths of several of the Partisan Rangers female relatives - their wives, sisters and children in the August 18, 1863 Jail Collapse in Kansas City (just a few days earlier) was the final straw.

It was such dastardly acts as the forgoing that mustered up the raid on Lawrence. And thus, the time for Partisan Ranger "Pay Back."

Captain Quantrill's raid against Lawrence occurred between 5 and 9 a.m. on August 21, 1863.

Approximately 400 Missouri Partisan Rangers came from the east and had been riding all night to make it there. Reconnaissance was done by Fletcher Taylor.

The Partisan Rangers carried with them a "death list" of criminals and murderers they were looking for. The list had the names of 12 prominent leaders from Kansas.

On the very top of the list was James Lane, who made his home in the Jayhawker headquarters of Lawrence.

The Missouri Partisan Rangers plan was not to kill Lane in Kansas. But they planned to capture Lane and bring him back to Missouri to hang for war crimes against Missouri & the Southern people.

Also included on the list was Charles Robinson, later the first governor of Kansas, who also lived in Lawrence.

As the raid commenced, and in fear for his miserable life, Jim Lane, was said to be hiding in the soiled pit of an outhouse. Hiding amongst the emptied bowels of a Lawrence family in order to save his feckless life.

A more proper hiding place for such a coward as the "Grim Chieftain" would be hard to imagine.

Also, another account says Jim Lane stole clothes from a nearby clothesline and ran like a coward and hid in a cornfield.

In any event, Jim Lane barely made it through the Lawrence Raid with his poltroon life...

Although the Missouri Partisan Rangers found none of the men on their list, they killed approximately 150 men.

Contrary to the Federal, Yankee, Redleg & Jayhawker accounts, the Missouri Partisan Rangers never harmed a woman or child. An estimated 85 widows and 250 children were left behind.

Lawrence, which had been founded nine years earlier, was extensively damaged. Over one hundred houses were destroyed and another 100 badly damaged while the downtown area was burned to the ground. The residents of Lawrence, Kansas would hear William Clarke Quantrill's Confederate guerrillas shouting "Remember Osceola!

The Pay Back had definitely went a long way to settle the score of crimes that the Federal occcupational troops had been committing for years prior against innocent men, women and children of Missouri.

And The Partisan Rangers had given back a taste of the pain, suffering and terror shown to Missourians by the Federal occcupational forces.

But, the Border War was far from over...

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