Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border


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Donald L. Gilmore

Many historians only emphasize that Lawrence, Kansas, an abolitionist bastion, was burned during the Civil War.

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Destruction in Missouri has been brushed aside. Lawrence was the hub of anti-CSA agitation and pro-Union forces. Guerrilla Lt. William Gregg in his memoir said that rough structures constructed of straw were erected by the Red Legs in a ravine west of Massachusetts Avenue, and stolen goods were piled high: Furniture, pianos, sideboards, dressers, anything valuable. This loot was sold at periodic auctions conducted in the town.

Treasures of the Steamboat Arabia - Kansas city, Missouri

The raid covered more than 50 miles and Quantrill gathered his forces east of the Kansas state line and entered Kansas in the darkness. He attacked with approximately men, and killed an estimated civilians between 14 and 90 years of age. Regular Union Army troops later devastated the whole area by burning down villages, farms, and appropriating cattle, horses, etc.

But to properly discuss these para-military units — often described as uniformed thugs - we should identify them more exactly: Who these Red Legs were, why they operated, when they did so, and where, and who paid them and gave them the freedom to act. But at first, we need to know precisely who these desperadoes were, and what crimes they committed, because they were a specific group of armed, many of them named volunteers, killers who swarmed over the western counties of Missouri and eastern counties of Kansas, fully backed by the Union Army and paid by them.

They acted officially as border guards fighting Confederate insurgents, but were in fact part-time guerrillas with a high percentage of men which we would today identify as terrorists or criminals but also elite fighters, who burned down villages, stole the money of Missourians, robbed their farms of equipment and livestock, stripped their homes of furniture, crockery, gold, jewelry, and often killed the ones who tried to stop them, in a number of cases even hanging or torturing them to learn where their money and valuables were hidden or were just killing them outright.

George W.

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Army authorized the Red Legs to wear Union uniforms, and they received the salary of commissioned officers. Army] pay rolls at seven dollars each per day. Sturgis, on April 17, , had Jennison and his second in command, George Hoyt, arrested and placed in chains by Lt. John E. Martin and eleven soldiers.


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Louis and placed them under the custody of B. Jennison spent this time in Squiresville, Kansas, but was later on waging war on his own again. By July 14, , George Hoyt was charged for stealing during his operations in the South, actions like those he had conducted earlier in Missouri, and he was forced to resign his commission and to return to Kansas. In addition, the Red Legs were assigned to burn Missouri homes, barns, and crops, intimidate and disorient the people in general, and assassinate wealthy, elite Missourians, because they were considered as pro-CSA and largely were.

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The Red Legs ordinarily wore a blue Union military tunic and trousers extending to their knees. George Hoyt, their field leader, dressed more casually and flashily. At his waist was an embossed morocco belt carrying a pair of ivory mounted revolvers.

Two other men wearing plumed hats, an exclusive Red Leg practice, are shown in the same scene. A fourth Red Leg, wearing also red leggings, loads loot on a wagon behind the third-mentioned Red Leg. All such persons found prowling over the country, without a legitimate purpose, must be disarmed; and if they shall be caught in the act of thieving or other lawlessness, or in the possession of stolen property, for which they cannot give a good and sufficient reason, they shall be shot upon the spot. And as there is reason to believe that officers in the military service are implicated directly or indirectly in the offenses committed by Red Legs and other lawless bands, therefore, upon the evidence that any officer who has failed or neglected to carry out the foregoing instructions in reference to such Red Leg offenders, they will be dishonorably dismissed from the service of the United States Army.

Thomas J. In this message, General Blunt disavowed any affiliation with the Red Legs. In a famous photograph of Tough, he is shown wearing Red Leggings. This memo to headquarters by Blunt was rubbish.

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How tough were the Red Legs? A fellow soldier named Bill Gardner, an aggressive fellow, had a difficulty with Captain Tough. One day, Tough was grooming his horse after a scout and had taken off his revolvers and placed them on a peg. Unionist newspaperman C. By many, Tuft [Tough] is regarded as a pure horse-thief and murderer; others of a rabid, lawless nature, incline to wink at his crimes as long as his avowed purpose [was] to rob and murder rebels.

Will, later called Buffalo Bill Cody, worked for Captain Tough, a pursuit that was his baptismal of fire into a life of violence, and it prepared him well for his later life as a scout in the U. Army in the dangerous Indian Wars, where cunning, marksmanship, stealth, skilled horsemanship, and quick responses were imperative. We were the biggest gang of thieves on record. Be the first to write a review. Add to Wishlist. Ships in 5 to 6 business days. Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Description Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book!

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MAD MONEY: THE STEAMBOAT ERA ON THE KANSAS-MISSOURI BORDER

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Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border
Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border
Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border
Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border
Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border
Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border
Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border
Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border Mad Money: The Steamboat Era on the Kansas-Missouri Border

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