But, long before the “official” Civil War began, the people of Kansas had been fighting for seven years over the issue of slavery, beginning when the territory was opened in 1854. Referred to as “Bleeding Kansas“, or the Kansas-Missouri Border War, the conflict began to occur immediately after the signing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. This border war between the people of Kansas and Missouri was fought over the issue was whether or not Kansas would become a Free-State or a pro-slavery state, which resulted in years of electoral fraud, raids, assaults, and retributive murders carried out by pro-slavery “Border Ruffians” in Missouri and anti-slavery “Jayhawkers” and “Redlegs” in Kansas.
After President Abraham Lincoln called for troops on May 8, 1861, the first infantry was organized and mustered into the U.S. service at Leavenworth, Kansas on June 3. During the war, In proportion to population, Kansas furnished more troops to the Union army than any other loyal state. This is not surprising, as most of the pioneers were nurtured in an atmosphere that opposed slavery. Under all calls for volunteers from April 15, 1861, to December 19, 1864, the quota of Kansas was 16,654 men, while she furnished 20,097. These volunteers were divided into seven regiments of infantry, nine of cavalry, and three batteries of light artillery. In addition to these organizations, there were two regiments of colored infantry and an independent colored battery accredited to the state.
Wakarusa War – December 1855
Sacking of Lawrence – May 1856
Pottawatomie Massacre – May 1856
Battle of Black Jack – June 1856
Battle of Franklin – June 1856
Battle of Fort Saunders – August 1856
Battle of Fort Titus – August 1856
Battle of Osawatomie – August 1856
Battle of Middle Creek – August 1856
Battle of Slough Creek – September 1856
Battle of Hickory Point – September 1856
Marais des Cygnes Massacre – May 1858
Battle of the Spurs – December 1858
Battle of Paris – December 1859
More Border Troubles
Lawrence Massacre – August 1863
Fort Blair Massacre – October 1863
Battle of Mine Creek – October 1864
Battle of Trading Post/Marais des Cygnes – October 1864
Compiled by Kathy Weiser-Alexander, updated May 2020.