Quantrill's Raid

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QUANTRILL'S RAID. William Clarke Quantrill, leading a band of 448 Missouri guerrillas, raided and plundered the undefended town of Lawrence, Kansas,in the early dawn of 21 August 1863. The raiders killed more than 150 and burned all the business buildings and most of the dwellings. Pursued by federal troops, they escaped to Missouri.

Justified as revenge for an earlier raid on Osceola, Missouri, this was less a border raid than a general massacre, prompted by the old bitterness against Lawrence for its part in the Kansas conflict and the persistent contest between proslavery and abolitionist forces. Quantrill, who had lived in Lawrence under the name of Charlie Hart and had been driven out as an undesirable, was probably motivated by a personal grudge.


Connelley, William E. Quantrill and the Border Wars. Cedar Rapids, Iowa.: Torch Press, 1910.

Goodrich, Thomas. Bloody Dawn: The Story of the Lawrence Massacre. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1991.

Schultz, Duane P. Quantrill's War: The Life and Times of William Clarke Quantrill, 1837–1865. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996.

Samuel A.Johnson/a. r.

See alsoBorder Wars ; Civil War ; Kansas Free-State Party ; Kansas-Nebraska Act ; Lawrence, Sack of ; Popular Sovereignty ; Slavery ; Topeka Constitution .