Quantrill's Cave.

This small cave in the attached pictures has been called “Quantrill’s Cave” and also “Jesse James’ Cave.” It is about an eighth mile south of West Pink Hill Road and three-fourths of a mile west of Highway 7 that runs through Blue Springs, Missouri. It is located along a hillside covered with thick brush. There is a line of rock outcroppings ringing the edge of the hillside.  Because its location is in dense woods makes it nearly impossible to find. A large rock almost hides the opening.

The cave has an interesting history. The first occurrence of Quantrill visiting the area was in the month of December, 1860 one year before the start of the Civil War. While living in Lawrence, Kansas Quantrill overheard a group of Kansas Jayhawkers making plans to make a raid on the Morgan Walker farm in Blue Springs. Walker was a wealthy farmer owning 2,000 acres. Walker also owned twenty-five slaves, a quantity of thoroughbred horses and mules and was known to keep large sums of money in his house. Quantrill alerted Walker of the Jayhawker’s intended attack and thus their criminal enterprise was thwarted. Quantrill remained in Missouri and became a leader of a small group of young men intent on guarding their homes and property from Jayhawker attacks.  
By August of 1862 Quantrill had over sixty men in his command. Southern recruiting officers converged in Jackson County, Missouri bringing with them a small bodyguard. By late summer they had over 700 to 800 recruits gathered together. Colonel John T. Hughes needed to get a brigade of new recruits from north of the Missouri River south to join General Sterling Price and the Missouri State Guards. Quantrill’s spies had alerted him that LtCol James T. Buel’s Federal forces stationed at Independence, Missouri were scattered around different parts of the town.  Thus, his command structure was fractured and his control over his forces would be impossible if attacked by a strong determined force.
Quantrill was given command of the lead forces. Quantrill himself would spearhead the assault on Buel’s headquarters and the office of the provost guards in town. In just a matter of hours the Federal garrison was overrun. The Federals had over 344 casualties. The Confederates captured 300 rifles, 170 pistols, 200,000 rounds of ammunition, 300 horses, 6 wagons, 1 ambulance and all the tents and garrison equipment of Buel’s command.  
Following the battle Quantrill divided his forces ordering half to camp on the Ingraham farm a few miles outside Lone Jack, Missouri while he took his remaining men and returned to Independence to gather up any military supplies that could be used by the Southern forces.  Besides the military supplies captured Quantrill found fifteen kegs of gunpowder which he had his men load in a captured wagon and took back to the Morgan Walker farm to the cave in the attached pictures. Prior to the Lawrence raid in August of 1863 Quantrill instructed his men to go back to Walker’s farm and bring enough gunpowder to their camp along the Blackwater River in Oak Grove in order to make an adequate amount of ammunition for an extended campaign.  

Following the Lawrence raid in September 1863 as Quantrill gathered up his forces to head south to Texas he instructed his men to ride to the cave and destroy the remaining kegs of gunpowder to keep it from being discovered and used by the enemy. One keg was opened and laid on its side and a trail of gunpowder was poured onto the ground. When ignited the explosion was so loud it could be heard in Independence over seven miles away. The effect of the explosion shifted the boulders of the roof of the cave slightly from its original location.  

It is also claimed that this same cave was used by Jesse James for a hiding place for himself and the money taken in a train holdup at Glendale just a short distance away. Of all the particulars surrounding Quantrill the location of this cave is one of the least known facts.

©Paul R. Paul R. Petersen Quantrillsguerrillas.com. "Permission should be requested and agreed to before using this copyrighted essay and/or image."


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