After such bloody encounters as Pottawatomie Creek,
John Brown returned
east and began to amass arms, making battle plans in earnest for a
full-fledged invasion of the South. This plan was to culminate in
the raid on Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. However, once John Brown
and his followers had captured the arsenal, they found themselves trapped.
They were then captured and turned over to state authorities.
John Brown was found
guilty, sentenced to death and hanged in Charles Town, West Virginia
on December 2, 1859.
In 1860, Charles R. "Doc" Jennison, leader
of a Jayhawker band headed a posse that hanged two Missourians caught
trying to return fugitive slaves to their masters.
On January 29, 1861
Kansas was finally admitted
Union as a
Her struggle over the still unsettled slavery issue came at a terrible
cost and provided a last ominous warning of the peril that awaited the
Topeka became the state capital with Charles Robinson as the
first governor and James H. Lane, an active
Free-Stater, one of the U.S. Senators.
The toll was
only a foretaste of the suffering that the
Civil War was to bring to
these two states, the war was fought with the special ferocity that
comes when kinsmen and close neighbors fall out. The five-year
border conflict had brought the nation, month by month, inexorably to
the brink of
Civil War. This brutal and bloody struggle between Free-State and pro-slavery factions in
Kansas Territory served both
as a warning and a chilling prelude for the controversy that soon
would engulf the entire country. Before long the entire nation would
know its dreadful fate when, in April, 1861, the
Kansas had suffered terribly
in the years preceding the
Civil War and would continue to be a
battleground for partisan bands on both sides, the war would extol an
appalling price for Missouri. While Missouri was officially a Union state, never declaring to
join the Confederacy, the majority of its population was pro-slavery. This resulted in a state of war within its own borders between the
U.S. Army and Missouri citizens. Because of this, the State of
Missouri never officially joined the Civil War due
to its own internal struggles.
While the various political
arguments that led to the war developed, the
Missouri people at
first tried to maintain neutrality. As, one by one, the southern
states seceded, Missouri and
held to the Union. Finally their position became impossible when
President Lincoln ordered
Missouri and Arkansas to raise a quota of men to help force the rebel states back in line.
Unwilling to fight old friends, neighbors, and families, both states
refused, with Arkansas
seceding May 6, 1861.
Missouri was now faced
with a difficult choice. Hamilton R. Gamble, future provisional
Governor had to say of the situation, "Our sympathies are with the
South, but our best interests are with the North."
six days after the President’s call for troops,
seized the federal arsenal at Liberty Missouri on April 20, 1861.
With the official declaration of the Civil War, anti-Union
Missourians, who had formerly been content to terrorize abolitionists in
Kansas, now extended their
operations into their native state, raiding pro-Union towns, ambushing
Army columns and generally scourging the countryside, looting and killing. Meanwhile, the
Jayhawkers increased their presence in Missouri and their
crimes became more ruthless.
Attempts by Missourians to get the government to control
the destruction went unheeded and many Missourians joined Partisan Groups,
secretly pledging their loyalty to the Confederacy, but retaining their
civilian status. They aided the Confederacy in supplying them with food,
shelter, clothing and revealing troop movements. The joining of the
Partisan group was not always with the intent to support the southern
cause but, rather, in retaliation against the crimes that had been
committed against them by the Federals.
Missouri Partisan Rangers formed their own army
to fight the
Union troops, supporting the Confederacy because they shared
the same enemy, but not necessarily the same cause.
The next internal battle in
Missouri occurred on May 10, 1861 in St.
Louis, which became known as the "Camp Jackson Massacre.”
Missouri's pro-southern governor, Claiborne Fox Jackson, attempted to force secession
with a secret plan to obtain control of the guns and ammunition stored at
the U.S. Arsenal in St. Louis. He ordered the State Guard to meet at Camp
Jackson, planning to then march on the arsenal. However, the "Home Guard"
of German troops led by Captain Nathaniel Lyon, descended upon Camp
Jackson from several directions.