The Civil War in Missouri

Quantrill's Company

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Quantrill's Raiders was a loosely organized force of pro-Confederate Partisan rangers, "bushwhackers", who fought in the American Civil War under the leadership of William Clarke Quantrill (often spelled Qunatrell). The name "Quantrill's Raiders" seems to have been attached to them long after the war, when the veterans would hold reunions.

Quantrill was not the only Confederate guerrilla operating in Missouri, but he rapidly gained the greatest notoriety. He and his men ambushed Union patrols and supply convoys, seized the mail, and occasionally struck towns on either side of the Kansas-Missouri border. Reflecting the internecine nature of the guerrilla conflict in Missouri, Quantrill directed much of his effort against pro-Union civilians, attempting to drive them from the territory where he operated.

Under his direction, Confederate partisans perfected military tactics such as coordinated and synchronized attacks, planned dispersal after an attack using pre-planned routes and relays of horses, and technical methods, including the use of the long-barreled revolvers that later became the preferred firearm of western lawmen and outlaws alike. The James-Younger Gang, many of whose members rode with Quantrill, applied these same techniques after the war to the robbery of trains and banks.

On 15 August 1862, Quantrill and his men were officially mustered into the Confederate army under the Confederate Partisan Ranger Act. Quantrill was designated as a captain and other officers were elected by the men. Quantrill often referred to himself as a General. Despite the legal responsibility assumed by the Confederate government, Quantrill often acted on his own with little concern for his government's policy or orders. His most notable operation was the Lawrence Massacre, a revenge raid on Lawrence, Kansas in August 1863.

Lawrence had historically been the base of operations of abolitionist organizations, and during the war, pro-Union irregular raids by Redlegs and Jayhawkers into Missouri. A month prior to the raid, family members of Quantrill's men held as hostages by Unionist forces in a dilapidated and overcrowded Kansas City prison, died when that building collapsed.

ROSTER: Quantrill's Company
Bibliography for Research:
Quantrill's Raiders Bibliography

Confederate Military History, Extended Edition. Vol. 12: Missouri. Powder Springs, GA 30127, SC Eastern Digital Resources. 2001. E484C65.1987v12. Contains numerous, scattered references to Missouri units.

Crute, Joseph H., Jr. Units of the Confederate States Army. Midlothian, VA: Derwent Books, 1987. Ref. Concise summary of the unit's service.

Sifakis, Stewart. Compendium of the Confederate Armies...Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, The Confederate Units and the Indian Units. Westminster, MD: Willow Bend Books, 1995. (2 photocopied pages). E547S53.

Southern Historical Society. The Southern Historical Society Papers Powder Springs, GA 30127, SC. Eastern Digital Resources. 1998 CD-ROM.

U. S. Govt. The Official Records of the American Civil War. Powder Springs, GA 30127, SC. Eastern Digital Resources. 1998 CD-ROM.


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