Sacking & Massacre Of Osceola

Civilian Massacre In Osceola - September 23, 1861
Rare Lithograph Of Massacre In Oceola

The Sacking of Osceola was a Union Jayhawker initiative on September 23, 1861. Many years before the official "Civil War" that was recognized and waged in the east, Jayhawker bands waged numerous invasions into Missouri and also committed some of the most notorious atrocities of the Civil War. These atrocities escalated into the Lane-led massacre at Osceola, Missouri, in which the entire town was set aflame and at least 9 of the male residents killed.

Following the pro-South Missouri State Guard victory over Nathaniel Lyon in the Battle of Wilson's Creek by Sterling Price, Price began an initiative to retake the state of Missouri.

James H. Lane organized 1,200 troops to resist the Price invasion into Kansas. Price defeated Lane in the Battle of Dry Wood Creek near Fort Scott, Kansas. Lane retreated and Price continued his offensive going further into Missouri to the Battle of Lexington.

With Price preoccupied elsewhere Lane launched an attack behind him. After crossing the Missouri border at Trading Post, Kansas Lane began an offensive on Butler, Harrisonville, Clinton and Osceola, Missouri, which they burned and looted.

The climax of the campaign was in September of 1861 at Osceola where 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.

In an atrocity that received little national attention at the time and has been largely ignored by Civil War historians, Jayhawker Chieftain James Lane led a band of Kansans in a wanton attack on the town of Osceola, Missouri. In a two-day frenzy, nearly every structure in the town was burned, and nine citizens were executed on the public square.

The population of Osceola on Sept. 22, 1861 was between 2,000 and 2,500.

On Sept. 24, 1861, it was 183.

Lingering fury concerning Lane's raid stirred hatred that would help lead to Quantrill's raid on Lawrence, Kansas (August 21, 1863) and the illegal and cowardly depopulation of western Missouri in General Order No. 11 (August 25, 1863).

Two years after the Massacre Of Osceola, residents of Lawrence, Kansas would hear William Clarke Quantrill's Confederate guerrillas shouting "Remember Osceola!"

Lane was eventually to continue on to Kansas City, Missouri on September 29, 1861 and was to pursue Price as he retreated south through the state.

Nowadays, just as well as in 1860, it should come as absolutely no surprise, and actually should have been expected - that so many of Missouri farm boys and civilians joined up with Missouri Partisan Ranger groups to defend themselves and settle the score of tyrannical, murderous and criminal treatment of Missouri's innocent citizens.

One can only push another with this type of savage animal mentality, impropriety, barbarism and cruelty before the other decides to strike back at their oppressors with swift and vengeful retribution. To show these barbarous and feral invaders the true and unquestionable definition of No Quarter.

* * As a sidenote - the sacking of Osceola inspired the 1976 film "The Outlaw Josey Wales", directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. * *

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