The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Civil War 150th

April 13, 2011

Part 1. To Suffer Mightily

   The war that spread to Fort Sumter in April 1861 and Bull Run in Virginia that July was, in many ways, a Western war.

   Violence had first erupted in the West when territories ripe for statehood provoked the question: Slave state or free?

   A war that would divide the young country over the next four years would first be won in the West. It was later won in the East, by Western generals employing a total-war philosophy learned on the frontier.

   And one of the American Civil War’s greatest heroes would be the country’s first Western president. Abraham Lincoln was the first commander-in-chief born in a state that wasn’t one of the original 13 colonies.

   Indeed, Kansas was bleeding long before an island in the harbor of Charleston, S.C., became part of the national consciousness.

   In 1856, pro-slavery raiders sacked the anti-slavery center in Lawrence, Kan. In retaliation, John Brown killed five pro-slavery men nearby.

   The violence escalated as hostilities erupted nationwide. Armed bands on both sides – the pro-Union Jayhawkers in Kansas and pro-slavery Bushwhackers in Missouri – saw in the war’s outbreak a license for their actions.

   In 1863, William Clarke Quantrill also sacked Lawrence, killing nearly 200 people. This time, retribution would be harsh and have the weight of the federal government.

   Union Gen. Thomas Ewing issued Order No. 11 – clearing Missouri counties along the Kansas border of everyone and everything. That put 20,000 people to flight, writes historian Thomas Goodrich.

   He quotes one refugee, Frances Twyman, who described “women walking with their babies in their arms, packs on their backs and four or five children following after them, some crying for bread, some crying to be taken back to their homes.”

   But there were no homes.

   The order left a burned-over country devoid of anything but brick chimneys. A Kansas officer bragged that his squad burned 110 houses, writes Goodrich, who described Order No. 11 as “perhaps the harshest act of the U.S. government against its own people in American history.”

   Twyman described a war widow, an ill infant in her arms. She sought the shade of a tree, where she rested as her baby died, while the column of refugees remained indifferent. “The crowd surged on, women and children dragging their weary limbs through the dust and heat,” he said.

   Violence unfolding in the West foretold one thing: What those Western generals would bring East would be severe. Historian James McPherson writes that Ewing, a brother-in-law of William Tecumseh Sherman, “had learned what Sherman was learning – this was a war between peoples, not between armies.”

   And the American people – from those living in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to those in Sherman’s eventual path in Georgia – would suffer mightily.

Quick Fact: ‘Crime Against Kansas’ 

   In 1856, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Charles Sumner of Massachusetts delivered a Philippic titled, “The Crime Against Kansas,” in which he condemned efforts by armed Missourians to cross the border and hijack Kansas elections. “It is the rape of a virgin territory, compelling it to the hateful embrace of slavery,” Sumner said.


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Civil War 150th
  • 082412newtonia.jpg Living history events will commemorate 1862 Newtonia battle

    One of the oldest and most historic homes in Southwest Missouri — the two-story brick mansion built by Matthew Ritchey about 160 years ago — will be the centerpiece for the 150th anniversary of the first Civil War battle at Newtonia.

    September 1, 2012 2 Photos

  • More Civil War events scheduled for this fall

    The 150th anniversary of the 1862 battle at Newtonia isn’t the only Civil War event slated for the region this fall. A site dedication and sesquicentennial celebration will take place in late October at the Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site near Butler.

    September 1, 2012

  • Confederate Gen. Price led 1864 campaign into Missouri to liberate state, disrupt election

    When former Missouri governor and Confederate Maj. Gen. Sterling Price led an invasion of the state in 1864, he hoped to liberate Missouri from what he believed was Union occupation that had been in place since the first year of the war.

    December 17, 2011

  • PrairieGrove BayonetorRetreat.jpg 'Angel of death'

    Maj. Henry Frisbie of the 37th Illinois — a Union veteran of the campaign that culminated near here in December 1862 — wondered after the Civil War why events in the East so often overshadowed events in the West.

    October 18, 2011 12 Photos

  • painting Civil War: Order No. 11 reduced border to a wasteland

    Solomon Young epitomized everything Americans admire in one of their own: self-made, a restless, westering soul hewing a life out of the wilderness with nothing but “a gun and an ax and two babies and a blanket,” according to family tradition.

    September 24, 2011 1 Photo

  • Battle of Baxter Springs William Quantrill’s legacy remains mixed 150 years after Civil War

    In the spring of 1881 — the American Civil War had been over for 16 years — a newspaper editor from Dover, Ohio, wrote an open letter to Joplin residents, asking them to tell their stories about William Clarke Quantrill.

    September 3, 2011 2 Photos

  • Ricky Dodson Battle of Wilson’s Creek played key role in Civil War

    The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, 150 years ago this week, was a victory for the Confederates. It also resulted in the first death of a Union commander, Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon.

    August 11, 2011 1 Photo

  • Ann Raab Battle of Island Mound marked first time blacks fought in Civil War combat

    In October 1862, Rufus Vann’s journey brought him to the farm of imprisoned bushwhacker John Toothman in Bates County.

    July 30, 2011 1 Photo

  • (8)EliWhitney.jpg Part 8. King Cotton 

    Slavery arrived in the New World before the Pilgrims, and it might not have survived to see Southern secession had it not been for Eli Whitney’s cotton gin.

    May 19, 2011 3 Photos

  • (7)Johnston.jpg Part 7. ‘Pavement of Dead Men’

    Having captured Forts Henry and Donelson in February 1862, Ulysses Grant and his Army of the Tennessee pushed up the river of the same name as spring came.

    May 19, 2011 2 Photos


Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

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