Thursday, November 29, 2012

Civil War on the Missouri-Kansas Border by Donald L. Gilmore

Civil War on the Missouri-Kansas Border 

By Donald Gilmore 

During the Civil War, the western front was the scene of some of that conflict's bloodiest and most barbaric encounters as Union raiders and Confederate guerrillas pursued each other from farm to farm with equal disregard for civilian casualties. Historical accounts of these events overwhelmingly favor the victorious Union standpoint, characterizing the Southern fighters as wanton, unprincipled savages. But in fact, as author Donald L. Gilmore, himself a descendant of Union soldiers, discovered, the bushwhackers' violent reactions were understandable, given the reign of terror they endured as a result of Lincoln's total war in the West. Lincoln's drastic measures included imposing martial law and finally deporting the border counties' entire population under General Orders Number 11 in September 1863. Rebels were also subject to the roughest frontier justice as they were executed on sight, without trial or jury. The author includes new assessments of the careers of Union major general James Lane, Missouri senator David Rice Atchison, Confederate guerrilla William Clarke Quantrill, and many more as he describes how the Missouri-Kansas border became "the burnt region."