The New York Herald, August 24, 1863 - The massacre of Cawnpore, which so startled the world some few years since, and introduced the terrible scenes of the last East Indian war, has just had its counterpart on our own soil. The massacre of Lawrence will henceforth take rank beside it in history, and when the name of Nana Sahib awakens feelings of hate and indignation, that of Quantrell, the Missouri border ruffian, will be associated with it.
We are yet without the details of this last fearful episode. The telegraph conveys, however, a sufficient impression of its horrors. The massacre took place at the noon of night, and the started peaceful citizens were sent to their last account by the bullets of murderers in the glare of their burning houses, and in the agonized embraces of their wives and children. One hundred and eighty persons are said to have fallen victims. These comprise the principal citizens, with the Mayor and his son at the head of the list. There does not appear to have been any resistance whatever offered. It was a sudden incursion of fiendish guerillas - a repetition of the scenes that used to be enacted on our borders by the savage Indians, when villages were given to the flames by some Monster Brandt, with all his howling, desolated band.
One incident is related of twelve men having been driven into a building and there shot, and the house burned over them.
Another is reported where twenty-five negro recruits were shot dead.
The bodies of the murdered people were thrown into wells and cisterns.
There was but one hotel left standing, which was spared by Quantrell because he had been entertained there some years ago without expense. Its proprietor, however, was shot. The principal part of the city has been reduced to ashes, the loss being set down roughly at two millions of dollars. Two banks were robbed, and the third only escaped because the safes could not be forced quick enough. Of course, whatever valuables the guerillas could lay their hands on they carried off, and it is supposed that they are now safe with their plunder in their Missouri homes, where they assume the character of Union men, and whence they will be ready to start on a new marauding and murdering expedition whenever they are called upon by their leader.
Next to Leavenworth, Lawrence was the mot thriving town between the Missouri river and the Rocky Mountains. It is situated about thirty miles west from Leavenworth, on the right or western bank of the Kansas river, which is here about eighty yards wide. The ford has been known as the Delaware crossing. The river is crossed by means of a large flat bottomed ferry boat, operated by ropes that are suspended between the bluffs on each side. A substantial stone bridge was being built at this point, and a railroad was also in course of construction between Leavenworth and Lawrence - the first link of the Pacific road. The Kansas river was at first supposed to be navigable from its mouth as far up as Lawrence; but only one steamboat ever got up so far, and she could never get down again. And yet, a few months ago, the writer of this article saw a steamboat being built at Lawrence, which he was told, on inquiry, was to be used in the lumber business up the river.
The business street of the town extended for perhaps a mile at right angles to the course of the river. Its western end reached to near the foot of a high hill, which has been named Mount Oread, where in the winter of 1855 the citizens of Lawrence intrenched themselves to resist an army of some one thousand five hundred border ruffians under Sheriff Jones and other Missouri men, whose names were pretty famous in those times. The siege lasted about a fortnight, and was brought to a close by regular of negotiation and adjustment," signed by Wilson Shannon, regular Governor of the Territory, on behalf of the besiegers, and by C. Robinson, the irregularly elected free State Governor, and James H. Lane on behalf of the besieged. These articles recite that there has been misunderstanding between the people of Kansas, or a portion of them, and the Governor thereof, arising out of the rescue, near Hickory Point, of a citizen under arrest and some other matters."The citizens, on their part, agreed to disclaim consenting to the rescue, and to aid in the execution of legal process in the town or vicinity or Lawrence; while Governor Shannon, on his part, stipulated to use his influence to secure to the citizens remuneration for any damages sustained or unlawful depredation committed by the Sheriffposse in Douglas county, of which Lawrence is the capital.
The treaty being signed, Governor Shannon ordered the disbandment of the besieging army, and so the siege was raised.
But Lawrence did not continue to enjoy the blessings of peace. Its citizens were for the most part natives of New England, and, therefore, being prima facie as well as really abolitionists, they incurred a double share of the odium of their Missouri neighbors. The town had been founded under the auspices of the New England Emigrant Aid Society, in the fall of 1854, receiving its name in honor of Mr. A. A. Lawrence, of Boston, one of the organizers of that society.
On the morning of May 21, 1856, the inhabitants awoke to find Mount Oread occupied by an advance guard of two hundred horsemen, under the lead of the redoubtable Colonel Titus. There were no preparations made for defence, and the town was surrendered at discretion. Senator Pomeroy, who represented the citizens, conferred with Sheriff Jones, who demanded the surrender of all arms in the town, on penalty of bombardment, giving half an hour to have the arms stacked in the streets. Pomeroy represented that he had no power over the arms of individuals, which were private property that if Jones wanted them he must collect them himself, but that he was willing to surrender the artillery, which had been used in defence of the place during the siege. Jones acceded to the offer, and received a twelve pounder brass howitzer and four other small brass breech loading cannon, carrying a pound ball.
In the meantime the forces collected on Mount Oread - under the command of Atchison, Buford, Stringfellow and Titus - marched down to the town, where they were addressed by Atchison, who commenced the speech with "Boys, today Ia Kickapoo ranger, by God. This day we have entered Lawrence, and the abolitionists have not dared to fire a gun." At the winding up of a long speech he said, "And now we go on with our highly honorable Jones and test the strength of that damned Free State Hotel."
The Free State Hotel had been built as a sort of joint stock concern, and was then conducted by two brothers named Eldridge. They were ordered to remove the furniture out of it before it was demolished. There was little effort, however, made to do so. The wines, liquors and segars were sent round freely. The hotel was cleared and Senator Atchison insisted on the honor of firing the first gun at it. Cannon was drawn up on the opposite side of the street, and although some fifty rounds were fired it proved to be slow work. Gunpowder was then resorted to; two kegs exploded without much effect, except to communicate fire to the house, which was soon a mass of flames.
Two newspaper offices - that of the Herald of Freedom and of the Free State - were sacked and their printing materials destroyed. Governor Robinson dwelling house on Mount Oread was burned and plundered, and there was considerable pillage carried on in town. This event is known in history as the sacking of Lawrence. Finally, the federal troops under the late Major General Edwin V. Sumner interfered and put a stop to these atrocious outrages in Kansas, and established some sort of order under which it subsequently was admitted as a free State.
The Free State Hotel was replaced by large well built and commodious house, which was first known as the Lawrence House, and since then as the Eldridge House. It was kept by the same gentlemen who were proprietors of the Free State Hotel. Both of them, having fallen victims in the late massacre. One of them Mr. James Eldridge, is mentioned as among the killed, and the other, Mr. Joseph Eldridge, as among the mortally wounded. They were young, active, enterprising and highly estimable men; and their establishment was the best kept hotel to be found west of St. Louis. We hope that vengeance will be visited speedily on the heads of their murderers.
The only other victim of this massacre of whom we have any personal knowledge is Mr. Lemuel Fillmore. Some eight or ten years ago Mr. Fillmore, a graduate of an academy on the Hudson, came into our employment as a reporter, and served in that capacity with great credit to himself and satisfaction to us for several years. He accompanied General Johnston in his Mormon expedition as special correspondent of the HERALD, and endured all the hardships of that winter campaign. Soon after his return he joined his brother, Mr. Lawrence Fillmore, in a commercial enterprise, and established an extensive dry goods house in Lawrence. By their attention and industry they succeeded in drawing to themselves all the dry goods business of the vicinity, and were soon able to erect a large, substantial store, exactly opposite the Eldridge House.
Mr. Fillmore, with his mother, wife and two young children, owned and occupied a handsome cottage house in the outskirts of the town, where it is probable he was murdered.
The writer of this enjoyed his hospitality there last June, and left with a promise to see him again in a few weeks. He returned to St. Louis, however, by a different route, and will see him no more.
The names of prominent citizens reported by telegraph to be killed are as follows:
General G. W. Calmer, Mayor of the city, and his son; J. G. Low, Josiah Trask, S. P. Throop, Dr. Griswold, Jas. Eldridge, James Perrine, Colonel Stone and his two brothers, Gilbert A. W. Griswold, Frederick Kimball, Thomas Murphy, John Spear and his three brothers, Addison Waugh, Duncan Alleyson, George Bush, Judge Carpenter, Rev. Mr. Snyder, August Ellis, Lemuel Fillmore, Dwight Colman, Lewis Swan, R. Loomis, John Crane, Levi Yates, two brothers named Range, John Evans, G. W. Bell, Messrs. Kieth, Brown, Dale, Twitch, Palmer, Sargent, Delinski, Albock, Powers and Brant.
Among those reported mortally wounded are the following:
Joseph Eldridge, M. Baker, of the firm of Richardson & Baker; M. Williamson, George Holt, J. F. Hansom and W. S. R. Lickins.
It is reported that Colonel Jennison, formerly of the Sixth Kansas, we believe, has got command of a regiment, and has been sent after the murderers. If he should overtake them there would be a speedy reckoning with them. Jennison boasts that he carries six rebel bullets in his pocket and no mercy in his heart. He is, therefore, just the man to be set on the trail of Quantrell and his savages. He had been removed from command because of his showing too little regard for secessionists and their sympathizers, just as the Fifth Missouri cavalry was disbanded at St. Joseph last July, because they were too active and merciless in hunting out and extirpating bushwhackers. We only pray that Jennison and his jayhawkers may overtake Quantrell and his savages, and take summary vengeance upon them for this Lawrence massacre.
We may say, in conclusion, that Lawrence was a New England town, transferred to the Far West, with all its refinements of life and manners. On the sidewalks of its business street were to be seen as elegant and well dressed ladies as may be met with in New York or Philadelphia, and society was on a level far above what would be looked for in a frontier town. The massacre of Lawrence, we fear, will be the preface to a border warfare more terrible and relentless than any that history records.