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Archive for Tuesday, August 21, 2012

100 years ago: 49 years since infamous raid

August 21, 2012

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Aug. 21, 1912:

"At daybreak forty-nine years ago this morning, Lawrence was as usual a quiet town. The day seemed to be beginning quite peacefully and the inhabitants felt no less secure than they had at other periods of the war. Miles of 'free-state' land lay between Lawrence and the nearest slave state and it seemed that a rebel band would almost certainly be discovered before it could reach this point. So, on August 21, 1863, the guns were stored away in the armory and little attention was being paid to the military protection of the town. Suddenly a company of horsemen dressed in coarse butternut clothes and heavily armed appeared on one of the heights east of Lawrence. The riders stopped here for a short time to take a survey of the doomed city. Then the signal, 'Rush onto the town,' was given and the guerrillas, led by the notorious Quantrell, swept down Rhode Island street shooting right and left. When the raiders reached the corner of Rhode Island and Henry, they turned west and rode up Massachusetts street to the Eldridge House. Here the firing stopped for a few minutes. After a brief parley the hotel was surrendered and the guests left. They were not harmed at that time, but were allowed to go to the City Hotel. The building was then ransacked. After this short stop, the band of about three hundred guerrillas separated into groups of about six or eight and, following a prearranged plan, scattered over the city, yelling and shooting as they went. For nearly four hours -- from about five to nine o'clock -- the rebels carried on their work.... The number killed and wounded on this memorable day has been variously estimated.... About 75 buildings were burned on Massachusetts street and about 100 houses."

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