Cass County Conservative
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General Ewing's Order #11 grew from guerilla warfare
In the early 1860's we were involved in the most devastating Civil ar this continent had ever seen. People argue even today that the issues were states rights, economics, political freedom, etc. But when those issues are boiled down, it settled on slavery.
The people of this country were a sturdy, hard-headed lot. They felt what was right was right and what was wrong was wrong. They also tended to think their side was right and any opposition was wrong. Sadly, the slavery issue split families, neighborhoods, towns, states and the country.
Missouri was split between the old settlers that came mostly from the southern "slave" states and the new-comers from the Northern "free" states and Europe, predominantly Germany. West Central Missouri citizens were mostly from southern states with a few "foreign" settlers. The state as a whole voted generally two-thirds to stay in the Union though they weren't any too keen on sending troops to help Lincoln fight those who wanted to leave the Union. After the Union Coup-de-tat and the expulsion of the legally elected legislature on the grounds they might go "South", the Union military took over the State. Guerilla warfare was the Southern Sympathizers' only option.
Guerilla warfare is very, very bad. Murder and torture are the order of the day.
Western Missouri had been embroiled in guerilla warfare since the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and every ruffian on the frontier came running to loot and pillage on one side or the other or in many cases switched back and forth.
With the opening of hostilities on a formal basis after Ft. Sumpter, the brigands from the Kansas side joined the Union forces and their depredations became quasi-legal. The actions were criticized and in a few instances teh predators were actually arrested, but then they were either released without punishment or escaped. The Confederate guerillas received no such legal benefit. The Union army declared them outlaws and subject to summary execution if and when caught. This resulted in an in kind reply with "no quarter" welfare.
In the East Grant had Sheridan shut John Mosby's irregulars down by destroying their supply sources.
Sheridan arrested all men in the area capable of fighting, confiscated all livestock, destroyed barns and fodder and deported the families and slaves of anyone capable of supporting the irregulars. General Schoefield issued a similar order in Missouri. But before that order was promulgated, General Ewing issued Order number 10 which allowed the confiscation of rebel property and the arrest of rebel female family members. While in custody some of those females were killed or injured when the building collapsed. Anger over this resulted in Quantrill combining several Bushwhacker units into one big fighting force of some 300 to 400 plus guerillas. They sacked Lawrence and presented the Union with a propaganda coup. They murdered 150 men and boys and looted the town. The Union papers didn't mention the sacking of Osceola, Dayton and other towns in Missouri by the Kansas guerillas. Nor did they mention the several thousand Union forces in and around Lawrence that were caught unprepared and gave a poor showing even though they had been forewarned of an impending attack.
Then came Order #11. General Ewing's order was not as severe as General Schoefield's which was not promulgated. Schoefield made no provision for Pro-Union folks to remain in the Military posts at Harrisonville and Pleasant Hill. Jim Lane who barely escaped the Lawrence raid with his life hustled over to General Ewing's Headquarters and demanded order #11 which depopulated the area of Southern Jackson, Cass, Bates and part of Vernon Counties and allowed him to send in his Kansas troops to supervise the evacuation, confiscation and destruction of the property and stores. These were the same troops that had raided Harrisonville ahead of Van Horn's troops early on in the war and sacked and looted Osceola and Dayton. Some of them also murdered Mr. Younger and sent the Younger boys from the Union side to the rebel side. Two thirds of those expelled never returned to Cass County.
it was CIVIL WAR. Dirty, nasty, vicious civil war. No rules. No quarter. Atrocities were the rule of the day.
They occurred over 140 years ago. There were acts of bravery and cowardice on both sides. The dead are dead. Let's honor them, learn the lessons that need to be learned, but leave them in the cemeteries.
By Bob Stein