Texas Time-Quantrill in Texas-A Book Review

In 2007, a new book about Confederate partisan leader, William Clarke Quantrill, was published. The book "Quantrill in Texas, The Forgotten Campaign" was written by Paul R. Petersen.                                                                 

This is Petersen’s second Quantrill book and it focuses on the little-known actions of Quantrill and his men while camped during a winter spent in North Texas. Previous books that mention Quantrill’s time in Texas, suggested that he accomplished little for the Southern Cause. Petersen has done extensive research in Texas and has found that Quantrill and his daring men were actively combating cattle thieves, Indian raiders and riots while in Texas. Quantrill’s men gave a strong defense to several Federal invasion attempts into North Texas.

The author, Paul R. Petersen, is a life-long resident of Jackson County, Missouri. The towns of Independence, Kansas City, and Westport in Jackson County were places that were well-known by the followers of Quantrill. Petersen is a retired United States Marine and resides in Raytown, Missouri. Peterson’s first book about Quantrill is entitled "Quantrill of Missouri, The Making of A Guerrilla Warrior." A third book is being planned and it will cover Quantrill’s time in Kentucky in 1865.

According to the author, in early 1861, Quantrill was used as an escort for the Marcus Gill family from Missouri to North Texas. This Southern family was trying to escape from the dangerous situation that existed in Missouri. The author details how badly Southern sympathizers in Missouri were treated by Kansas Jayhawkers and Federal troops before and during the War for Southern Independence. These were desperate times and required extreme measures to combat the assaults upon entire families and even entire towns. The following description will explain why young and old men were anxious to join up with Quantrill’s Confederate independent command.

On Page 19: “From October 27 to November 27, 1861, Jayhawkers systematically marched through Jackson County. From Kansas City to Independence, they burned fields and sacked and destroyed homes. In the Crackerneck area of Jackson County, a short distance south of Independence, 12 homes were burned. Upon reaching Brooking Township, another 26 homes were put to the torch. In late November, Jennison’s men swung south into Bates County and burned 30 homes in West Point and killed twelve Southern sympathizers. Some Jayhawker attacks in Missouri were so devastating that entire towns were wiped out. On January 1, 1862, Jayhawkers commanded by Charles Jennison burned all 47 houses in Dayton in Cass County. A week later, Jennison’s men sacked and burned Columbus in Johnson County, Missouri, then ventured back into Cass County and plundered Pleasant Hill. In nearby Kingsville, eyewitnesses counted more than 160 houses on fire. Later that month, Jennison’s men again struck Cass County, burning 150 homes in Chapel Hill. In July 1862, Jennison sacked Morristown in Cass County, killing several civilians. On September 17, Jayhawker James Montgomery returned and burned Morristown to the ground and killed three of the townspeople.”

Yanks have always used Quantrill as their kicking boy due to his attack upon the abolitionist-occupied town of Lawrence, Kansas. Let’s not heed those odious comments about the “outrageous burning of Lawrence.” The only really unfortunate occurrence during the sack of Lawrence was the failure to capture and hang “beast” James Lane. He managed to skedaddle out of town in his skivvies!

The 1861 trip to Texas paved the way for Quantrill to return with his men to North Texas to find safety for the winter of 1863-1864. The guerrillas were unable to secure safe hiding places in Missouri after the leaves had fallen from the trees. Federal scouting parties were always on the lookout for guerrilla hideouts and their capture usually meant death for no quarter was given by the Union troops.Quantrill set up camp at Mineral Springs Creek about fifteen miles northwest of Sherman, Texas. The Confederate Governor of Missouri made his headquarters at Marshall and Gen. Henry Eustace McCulloch had his base in Bonham.

Most of the Southern folks in North Texas were glad to have Quantrill in the area as he protected them from various outrages committed by Indians and deserters. Unfortunately, General McCulloch had a long-standing animosity toward Missouri soldiers which ultimately required a quick exodus of Quantrill and some of his men in the spring of 1864. Petersen records the names of surviving men who settled down in North Texas after the War ended. These former guerrillas realized they would be hunted down and murdered if they tried to resume peaceful lives back in Missouri
Many of these men had nothing left to return to in Missouri as their homes had been destroyed and their family members forced to evacuate the state.

The hard bound copy of "Quantrill in Texas, The Forgotten Campaign" is 267 pages with eight pages of photographs and five maps. The book was published in 2007 by Cumberland House Publishing. It lists for $24.95 and the ISBN number is 978-1-58182-582-4.

This is an excellent work about Quantrill and his men. It covers various military actions in Louisiana, Kansas, and Missouri in addition to Texas. Quantrill and his men gave military assistance to Gen. Sterling Price during several battles within Missouri. Capt.William Clarke Quantrill, CSA led a band of brave Confederate soldiers. They operated independently with little regular Confederate support. These men fought hard to defend Southern families and the sovereign state of Missouri.

Yankee “backsides” were all that the folks in North Texas saw of Union forces in the winter of 1863-1864, because Quantrill’s forces were doing Texas time!

©Nancy Hitt quantrillsguerrillas.com 2008."Permission should be requested and agreed to before using this copyrighted essay and or image."

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