Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, the Ozarks region, and surrounding area.

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I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written seventeen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History, and Murder and Mayhem in Southeast Kansas.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Quantrill's Lamar Attacks

There's one other episode pertaining to Quantrill's activities in the Ozarks that I want to mention, and then I'll move on to other topics besides Quantrill. Actually, though, the episode I'm talking about is two related episodes--the guerrilla leader's attacks on Lamar in the fall of 1862 and spring of 1864.
In early November of 1862, after a successful summer of raiding in the Kansas City area, Quantrill and his men were on the march south to spend the winter in Texas when they fell in with Colonel Warner Lewis of the Missouri State Guard. When Lewis proposed a coordinated attack on Lamar, Quantrill agreed and charged into the town, but Lewis failed to appear on schedule, leaving the guerrillas to blast away by themselves at the Federal troops ensconced in the Barton County courthouse. After a heated exchange in which each side lost only a handful of men in killed and injured, Quantrill set fire to the town and rode off in anger and frustration over Warner's failure to appear.
In the May of 1864, after spending the winter in Texas as they had the previous year, Quantrill and his men were headed back to northern Missouri. When they passed through Lamar, Quantrill decided to try to exact some revenge for the failed attack a year and a half earlier. The guerrillas charged the courthouse, which was now just a burned-out shell , but the small detachment of Union militia guarding the fortress repelled the assault with a well-aimed volley of fire. The guerrillas dropped back to regroup and then launched another attack. It, too, was turned away, but Quantrill and his men weren't easily dissuaded. In short order, they launched yet a third assault. When it, too, was repelled, the guerrillas finally gave up and continued their journey north, minus a few men that they had sacrified to their stubbornness.

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