publisher colophon
  • Forty Shirts and a Wagonload of WheatWomen, the Domestic Supply Line, and the Civil War on the Western Border

In late February 1916, Sue Mundy Womacks sat down with Fred Harris, a reporter from the Kansas City Post, to give her recollection of the stirring events on the Kansas-Missouri border during the Civil War some fifty years earlier. She had been a child at the time, not more than ten years of age. Yet she remembered distinctly the rap of a rifle butt on the door of her married sister's home on a farm in Jackson County, Missouri, where she and her orphaned sister and brother were living. It was the Kansas Union troops, which she variously referred to as the "Federals" or the dread "Red Legs," so named because of the red stripes down the legs of their uniforms. On this particular day in late July 1863, the Union troops came to her sister's house and arrested all the women and girls present, allegedly for smuggling arms and ammunition for the guerrillas, a charge that Womacks hotly denied in the 1916 interview. They were taken to Kansas City and placed in a hotel, as Kansas City had no suitable prison for women at the time; about a week later, they were moved to a building that had been hastily converted into a makeshift women's prison. This building collapsed shortly thereafter, killing four of the women inside and seriously wounding several others.1

According to Womacks's account, it was the death and wounding of these women that were the real impetus behind the most extreme act of guerrilla violence on the western border, an attack on the town of Lawrence, Kansas, on August 21, 1863, a raid (or, in Kansas parlance, a "massacre") that left more than 150 Lawrence men and boys dead and the town in ashes. Womacks's account states that this raid was prompted by the abusive treatment of the imprisoned women in Kansas City, who were guilty of nothing more than being related to men in the bush. Certainly by the time of her interview with the local press in 1916, the responsibility for the violent and protracted border wars that culminated in this raid on Lawrence had long been debated in terms of the valor or the infamy of the men on both sides of the conflict. Was it the fault of the abusive behavior of [End Page 56] the occupying Union army officers and the scandalous Kansas "Red Legs" whom they commanded? Or was it the fault of the Missouri "bushwhackers," especially the leaders, like William Clarke Quantrill, "Bloody" Bill Anderson, or George Todd, who were little more than robbers motivated almost entirely by their desire for fame and ill-gotten wealth? In her interview, Womacks suggested that a closer consideration of the wartime experience of the female kin of these guerrillas promised to shed new light on this long and apparently intractable debate.2

Historians' discussion of women in guerrilla warfare in the Kansas-Missouri conflict, insofar as it exists, has been ambivalent. On the one hand, stories of the courage and agency of individual women abound. There are many accounts of women who covered for their men in the bush, spied for them, and provided them with critical information. There is even evidence of women engaging in acts of violence in order to protect their homes and families. However, despite recognition of the contributions of individual women, the larger systemic understanding of the place of women in guerrilla action in the conflict is generally as abused victims of uncontrolled and apparently random male violence. Formal war, this thinking goes, at least affords some protection to women by attempting to limit violence to a defined field of battle, whereas guerrilla war, fought anywhere, on any terrain, and at any time, opens the prospect that women and children will be caught haplessly in the crossfire between competing groups of men—in this case, between the Union military and the Missouri guerrillas.3

At first glance, Womacks's account, particularly her insistence that the arrested women were guilty of nothing more than being related to the guerrillas and certainly not of providing them with guns, seems to reinforce the view of women as being innocent bystanders, the prime victims of guerrilla war. Deeper examination of the role that women actually played in the guerrilla war on the western border during the Civil War reveals that although the war certainly had its victims of both sexes, women, like men, played a critical, systemic part in the waging of that conflict. Men may have played the most visible role as the combatants, but women arguably played the most fundamental one, as the supply line. These differing roles were in fact in some ways simply extensions of the gender order of the antebellum household, drawing on men as protectors and on women as nurturers. Indeed, gender roles and relations mattered to all the key players in this story—the guerrillas, their female kin, the occupying Union military, and the Kansas "Red Legs"—and they structured not only the way these players fought but also the way they all remembered how and why they fought.4 [End Page 57]

Sue Mundy Womacks was not the only female involved in the Kansas City jail disaster to leave an account of women's role in the guerrilla war on the western border. Elizabeth Harris Deal, who was Eliza Harris in 1863, published a recollection in the same issue of the Kansas City Post in 1916. She was the younger sister of Nannie Harris, another of the women in the Kansas City jail when it collapsed in early August 1863. According to her account, her sister, Nannie, was arrested with their cousin, Charity McCorkle Kerr, while on a trip to Kansas City to have a wagonload of wheat ground into flour. Like Womacks, Deal claimed that the women were charged with "smuggling arms and ammunition" for the bushwhackers, a charge she likewise vehemently denied. She surmised that her sister and cousin were actually arrested because they had encountered their uncle, Harry Younger, a notorious guerrilla, on the road into Kansas City. Shortly thereafter a group of ten mounted "Red Legs" rode by, and the women heard shots and wondered if their uncle had been wounded. "We never knew what the [real] charge was against my sister and Charity," Deal concluded, "but I guess those horsemen were afraid they knew who killed Harry Younger." Nannie Harris would die in the collapse of the prison, another apparently innocent victim guilty only, according to her sister, of being related to men in the bush—an innocent bystander, or perhaps an inconvenient witness, as Eliza Deal recounted, of Kansas Union soldier violence.5

This way of telling the story, with women presented as innocent victims, had the effect of placing the weight of immoral behavior on the Union military rather than on the guerrillas. Women were important here, as Womacks in fact claimed, but their importance was grounded in their dependent relationship to their men—and, one might say, the more dependent, that is, the more potentially vulnerable to violation by the Union forces, the better. From this perspective on the Lawrence Raid and on guerrilla war more generally, agency rested entirely with men, but it was not the guerrillas who were the men running afoul of conventional norms of decent male behavior, as Union sympathizers claimed; instead, the guerrillas were the men who took their role as protectors of their households the most seriously.

As Womacks went on to explain in her interview in the Post, it was not just the Mundys who were arrested that day in her sister's house; it was also Mary, Josie, and Jennie Anderson, sisters of the already notorious Bill Anderson, Quantrill's captain. Indeed, the "Federals" were very busy in the last week of July, arresting nearly a dozen of the sisters and wives of the region's leading guerrillas, not just the Mundys and the Andersons but also Nannie Harris, Charity McCorkle Kerr, Armenia Crawford Selvey, [End Page 58] and Susan Crawford Van Dever, all of whom were related to other notorious men in the bush, among them the Youngers, the Crawfords, and the McCorkles. According to Womacks, it was after the jail collapsed that Anderson (and presumably the other men whose sisters were imprisoned) was transformed, from plain Bill into Bloody Bill, out for murder and revenge for the death of his fourteen-year-old sister, Josie, and the crippling of his ten-year-old sister, Jenny. Womacks further claimed that it was at the retaliatory Lawrence Raid that Anderson began to tie knots in his neckerchief, one for every man he killed. By the time the Union military killed him in October 1864, he had fifty-four knots in his scarf to register his payback for the violation of his female kin in that Union prison collapse.7

No description available
Click for larger view
View full resolution

Line drawings of Nannie Harris and Charity Kerr from William Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars (Torch Press Publishers, 1910).

This story fueled resentment among descendants of these southern sympathizers for at least another generation after the raid. The irony is that while it served to justify the behavior of the guerrillas as men who were, after all, honor bound to defend their female kin, it also reinforced the basic interpretation of guerrilla war as a matter of individual male [End Page 59] abuse, rather than a war of self-defense mounted by a people too outmanned and too outgunned to fight in a conventional fashion. It served to shift the responsibility for the outrage onto the Union occupiers, but did so by grounding that defense in an individualized argument over who the manly men were and who the real violators of innocent women and children had been, at the expense of a defense of guerrilla war as a whole.8

In order to defend guerrilla war as a whole, that is, as a people's war, the women, that is, the bulk of the "civilians," would have needed to be recognized as having played an integral part in the conflict. In presenting the female kin of guerrillas as nothing more than innocent and abused bystanders, the Womacks and Deal accounts obscure the fundamental role that these women also played in the waging of guerrilla warfare itself. Concrete evidence of the role these women actually played exists in the form of a Union provost marshal's case file regarding one of the women arrested at Womacks's sister's house that day in late July 1863. The information contained in the file, the arrest record of one Mollie Grandstaff, stands in stark contrast to the stories that the female descendants of the imprisoned women told to Kansas City reporters some fifty years later. Although Grandstaff is only mentioned in passing in Womacks's 1916 account, as a neighbor who just happened to be visiting when the Union officers arrived, according to the Union military records Grandstaff was in fact the only person the Union cavalry went out to arrest on that fateful day.9

The charges brought against Grandstaff by the Union military were those of holding stolen property and aiding and abetting the guerrillas—not, as Womacks and Deal recalled, the charge of supplying arms and ammunition to the men. The Union had good reason to think that Grandstaff was the recipient of a large cache of cloth stolen by guerrillas from a merchant in Shawnee, Kansas, on June 5, 1862. At first Grandstaff tried to claim that she was not Mollie Grandstaff at all but instead one of the Mundy sisters. Unfortunately for her, one of the Union officers recognized her from a picture he had taken from a guerrilla. Probably because the charge against her was primarily that of receiving stolen goods, the soldiers proceeded to search the house for the missing cloth. They found it, although not in the unprocessed form they were probably expecting. What they found instead was forty shirts. It would appear that it was at this point that the officers decided to arrest all of the women and girls present, because they had apparently stumbled upon an entire group of women employed in outfitting men in the bush. Although the record does not clearly indicate the details of the decision, it seems likely that when the arresting officers discovered the shirts they were certain that these were intended for the guerrillas, who wore a distinctive style of shirt, a style, as [End Page 60] one historian has noted, "peculiar to themselves. It was entirely original. It was in a sense a uniform."10

Through this lens, southern-sympathizing women appear, not as the innocent, devoted, and violated female relations of the guerrillas but instead as critical components of the guerrilla war itself. They present as the domestic supply line, providing clothing in the Mundy/Anderson case and, in the Nannie Harris and Charity McCorkle Kerr case, providing food, most particularly in their case, biscuit. Rather than being innocent bystanders who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, overhearing (as Deal claimed in her recollection) their uncle's murder by Union troops, Nannie Harris and Charity McCorkle Kerr were actually on their way into Kansas City to have a wagonload of wheat ground into flour. Their own mill out on the Little Blue had been destroyed by Union soldiers seeking to undermine what was known to be a hotbed of guerrilla support. Although burning down the mill did not put an end to their activities, it did succeed in forcing the women to go into town to have the wheat ground, where they were promptly recognized as guerrilla women and turned into the Union military authority.11

In both cases, the arrests of the women who ended up in the Kansas City jail collapse were based on their own active role in supplying the guerrillas. In light of this evidence, the separate but similar early twentieth-century recollections by Womacks and Deal suggesting that the charge against their sisters was for supplying guns would seem a sort of red herring. Womacks and Deal attempted to suggest that the charge of supplying guns and ammunition was ridiculous, simply because these provisions were so gender inappropriate: as both accounts note, "Our men could provide their own arms." What the men could not and apparently did not supply, in what was after all a household-based war, was the business of the female half of the household supply line, namely, food and clothing.12

So if there is hard evidence of the agency of women in support of the guerrilla war, why did Womacks and Deal disregard it in retrospect? Why did they insist on their role as being that of the victim? Although it is perhaps surprising that they would tell their own stories in this fashion, these narratives are, after all, a remembrance that comports well with the gender convention of defenseless women and protective men on the one hand and with the image of an abusive war by unmanly Union soldiers on the other. From this standpoint, their recollections of the events of the summer of 1863 are understandable in the light of their desire to justify their men within the frame of the gender conventions through which they were empowered to speak. It is perhaps more surprising to learn that the commanding Union officer, General Thomas Ewing, who took the brunt [End Page 61] of the criticism for the alleged abuse of these supposedly innocent women, would present them as victims as well. Indeed, Ewing would, until the end of his life decades later, continue to claim that what he did with regard to these women he did in order to protect them against the abuse of the guerrillas, who according to his account were robbing and pillaging these poor women without mercy.13

Like the recollections of southern-sympathizing women, however, Ewing's memory of events in the war's aftermath is contradicted by his own military records kept at the time, which clearly indicate that he was well aware of the actual role of the women in the Missouri counties under his command, as willing suppliers of the guerrilla war on the border. Indeed, Ewing carefully kept in his personal papers after the war a handwritten list that he, or more likely one of his officers, had collected of households in and around the town of Independence, Missouri, known to be heavily populated with guerrilla supporters. Most of the more than eighty households on the list consisted entirely of women and were listed by location and many times by the householders' relation to guerrillas, as in the case of "Mrs. Cussenberry, Mrs. Savere, Mrs. Hope, Mrs. O'Donnel, Mrs. Yancy," all of Independence, who were listed with the notation "husband in the bush" to the right of their names. A sizable minority, approaching 20 percent of all households, were headed by men, but it is apparent from the way these men are listed that many were elderly, unfit for formal military service or guerrilla war: for example, "Old Billy Shepard and all his women and children" or "Old man Hope and Edward Walker." By far the most common reference was to entire female kin groups, such as "Old Man Jarman's Women" or "All of the Morgan Women," "the whole Hampton stock," or "The Widow Cobb and daughters." Some households were identified simply by location, as in "at Bushes farm there is several bushwhackers wives and daughters—at Edward Wood's farm another gange [sic] of women—at the head of Cedar Creek live six or eight bushwhackers."14

What this list seems to be is a detailed notation of all the known households associated with the guerrillas in and around the town of Independence in Jackson County. Even if this area was a hotbed of guerrilla support, that record would have served to indicate the probable extent, in sheer numbers, of female civilian support for men in the bush in the wider three-and-one-half-county area that not many days after the Lawrence Raid would be banished en masse under General Order no. 11—female civilian support that the Union military was well aware of and was closely monitoring in the summer of 1863. In a household war like this one, military victories could even revolve around kitchens, as when officer J. T. Black wrote to General Ewing noting that the guerrillas "do not eat [End Page 62] as much in the houses as they did last summer but take their rations to the woods," presumably indicating that the Union military had sufficient surveillance to keep the men out of the houses at that point, unlike in the previous summer.15

On August 13, 1863, the Daily Journal of Western Commerce, a Kansas City newspaper, published an editorial article that discussed at some length the contribution that these households were making to the guerrilla war and indicated why the Union military was so busy trying to identify them. The article reported that no matter how many times the Union troops were able to drive the guerrillas out of the area, they were always able to return, because "their families remain, and raise provisions ready to feed and assist them on their return." On top of these households' ready willingness to supply their men, one of the "greatest difficulties" the military authorities encountered in their efforts to put down the guerrillas was the "constant and correct information which the families of bushwhackers give of every movement the troops make." Thus when women like Nannie Harris and Charity McCorkle Kerr drove their wagonload of wheat into town, they not only were very likely getting flour to make biscuits for their men in the bush but also served as the eyes and ears of the guerrilla war: they were scouts. These women's houses were also key outposts in the war, "almost universally situated on the edges of the timber," the article continued, "where the guerrillas would lie in wait, totally concealed, but should the Union troops appear, a boy, or a girl, or woman slips out into the thicket and gives the alarm."16

Indeed, Ewing kept in his papers a line drawing of the region that clearly showed the location of what Union military intelligence had identified as a guerrilla road into the timbered highlands; this was also a main road into Independence, presumably much traveled by the Union troops. Households that lined that road were presumably excellently located, as the Western Commerce article noted, for spying on military traffic on the road and reporting to the men hiding in the timber. The careful records compiled on these households would indicate that the military was well aware of their role in the guerrilla attacks. As the article explained: "So perfect is this spy system, that a squad of troops may march and counter march all over the country, and not find a single bushwhacker, and yet hundreds of them lie concealed, within twenty rods of the column. With the aid of these spies, dotted all over the country and living in perfect security, a hundred bushwhackers may defy the utmost efforts of five hundred soldiers to exterminate them."17 The article concluded that the only way really to end the guerrilla war was to cut these households out of the community wholesale, that is, to banish the families. Ewing, who had [End Page 63] been sent out to the newly created District of the Border to put down guerrilla activity in June 1863, was at first hesitant to carry out such an action. No fool, he well understood mid-nineteenth-century gender conventions. He knew that any direct action against southern-sympathizing women was fraught with problems. He certainly did not head out to his newly created command early that June intending to arrest women like Mollie Grandstaff or Nannie Harris, or ultimately to issue General Order no. 11, which banished the entire, overwhelmingly female civilian population. He initially tried his best to fight the war on the border in a more conventional way. To this end, his first efforts were directed toward organizing more Kansas men into Union cavalry companies in order to build up a sufficient military force to put down the guerrillas by outmanning them. He wrote to his commanding officer, John Schofield, requesting that he allocate more regular cavalry to the defense of the border, while Ewing simultaneously attempted to organize new volunteer cavalry companies from the Kansas side of the border. Between the regular cavalry received from Schofield and the newly organized Kansas volunteers, Ewing was able to cobble together a force of 94 officers and 1,755 men.18

Ewing also attempted to end the "Red Leg" abuse of southern-sympathizing Missouri civilians, which he recognized was serving to fuel guerrilla activity. On July 19, he even went so far as to put Leavenworth, Kansas, under martial law, in order to give his men the power to confiscate goods stolen by Union troops from Missourians, which were by then passing through the Leavenworth markets. This action was met with howls of rage by some Kansans, who had expected that Ewing, himself a resident of Kansas City before the war and a member of the Kansas State Supreme Court, would promptly direct military action against disloyal Missourians and not against loyal Kansans. Whatever his prewar loyalties might have been, Ewing hewed to his mission to bring the border under some control. What he came pretty quickly to realize, however, was that he was confronting a crisis in household protection that made it difficult to fight the war in a conventional fashion and that pulled him as if magnetically toward an endpoint in the polar opposite direction: direct action against not just civilians, but against female civilians.19

Indeed Ewing's efforts to work only through the male population on the border were frustrated by the very nature of the crisis he hoped to avert. Kansas men certainly wanted more defense for their own households and communities against guerrilla raids, and they were happy to serve in the local militia, and to be better armed and mounted and even paid by the Union military. But they balked at being recruited if it entailed leaving home, even if that meant merely leaving home within the same military [End Page 64] district. Even if all the available loyal Kansas men had been willing to serve, by this point in the war many of them were already long enlisted in the regular Union army and were far from home. Kansas communities looked then to the newly appointed commanding officer, Ewing, to provide them with the protection of their homes that the sacrifice of their prime men of fighting age to the war effort certainly warranted—and not vice versa.20

Nevertheless, the Missouri guerrillas arguably had the edge in the recruiting war. As Ewing himself explained in a report on conditions on the border written in June 1863, several thousand Confederate soldiers had returned to the district under his command in the previous months, drawn by their own desire to protect their households. But unlike the Union men in Kansas, they were unable to return to their homes without consequences. They were, after all, returning enemy soldiers, and the loyal citizenry in their neighborhoods were sure to report them to Union authorities. Even if they were disinclined to join the guerrilla war, as many of them apparently were, they really had little choice as the situation stood. It was their increased presence among the guerrilla forces, according to Ewing, that was heating up the conflict and threatened to drive out loyal households that stood in the way of the returning soldiers' safe return to their homes and to their family's security.21

Basically, Ewing found himself, and the Union cavalry he could hope to raise, increasingly on the taking end of this household war. And despite his best efforts to recruit new Kansas troops, the odds seemed likely only to become worse. The border was like a ticking bomb, priming to go off with each returning Confederate soldier and every younger brother that came of age ready to join him in the bush. The Union cavalry forces were spread too thin over a hundred-mile-long border territory, doing their best to man their posts and ride out against the unpredictable massing of guerrillas. The Lawrence Raid, although wild and risky, was also in the cards, or something like it, and Ewing knew that. It was only a matter of time before the guerrillas got through the weakly held Union border corridor and struck the defenseless citizenry of Kansas, and there simply was not anything more he could do about it—he was outmanned.22

Even so, Ewing developed a plan, and he wrote to headquarters in St. Louis on August 3 for permission to carry it out. He explained that between the men who were absent in the military and the men who had taken to the bush, the resident population of the counties in question was comprised basically of women and children. As long as these families remained in residence, their men in the bush would stand fast and even increase in number. As he put it, "About 2/3rds of the families on the [End Page 65] occupied farms of the region are kind to the guerrillas and are actively and heartily engaged in feeding, clothing and sustaining them. The presence of these families is the cause of the presence there of the guerrillas." Ewing proposed to round up the women associated with the most prominent of these men in the bush and resettle them in northern Arkansas. Because many of these women were already nearly destitute, he noted that the Union military would need to assist their move financially. Still, it would be worth the investment, he explained; he was convinced that once the women were removed, their men would follow. He recommended that once these men were out of the area, they should be forgiven their Confederate military service or their role in the Missouri guerrilla war and be rehabilitated to their households.23

Shortly after sending this letter on August 3, Ewing went to St. Louis to discuss this plan personally with Schofield. It is hard to discern what role the apparently unexpected arrest of so many guerrilla women during the previous week may have played in Ewing's finally biting the bullet and formally proposing to Schofield on August 3 to round up and banish the known southern-sympathizing women in the border counties under his command. Certainly the arrest of these women late in July must have put the issue of the female-sustained rebel supply line front and center before his eyes. In any case, the women's blatant activity, riding into town in broad daylight for supplies for their men, not to mention running a virtual guerrilla clothing factory, was surely a sign of the rising swell of the guerrilla activity right outside Ewing's own Kansas City post. His trip out of the district, to discuss the matter personally with Schofield in St. Louis, certainly also reflects the seriousness he attached to the matter. The very notion of banishing so many civilians in what was, after all, formally Union territory, as well as the pressure he felt to deal with the matter promptly, signals an unmistakable urgency.24

By August 13, Ewing had returned to the District of the Border with his commanding officer's approval to issue Order no. 10, which authorized rounding up the female kin of leading guerrillas and banishing them south across the Confederate lines. He would almost have had this project in hand, if only the underlying logic of the guerrilla war as a household war had not suddenly ripped the foundations from beneath his command: on August 14 came the collapse of the female prison and the death and injury to the incarcerated women. Ewing went on to issue Order no. 10 on August 18, but it was too late. The guerrillas met to discuss strategy on that very day, and they were riding on Lawrence by the next, August 19, and Ewing could only reverse his policy and issue the much broader Order no. 11 in the aftermath of the Lawrence Raid—and face the consequences.25 [End Page 66]

Ewing would drag this sorry story with him for the rest of his life. He certainly was the man most directly responsible for ordering the arrest of the guerrilla women and for having them placed in what was later alleged to be an unsafe building that promptly collapsed. And then, his detractors would suggest, he had gone on callously, their bodies hardly cold, to issue General Order no. 10 on August 18. We will never know exactly what the outcome of Order no. 10 would have been, because Quantrill and his men decided that this was the moment for bold action: on August 21 they invaded and burned the town of Lawrence to the ground. Ewing had little choice, or so he plausibly suggested at the time and in later years as well, but to evacuate three and a half of the Missouri border counties most dominated by the guerrillas and their kin, according to provisions in his General Order no. 11. The alternative, he argued, was the immediate invasion and wholesale destruction of those counties by hastily organized and infuriated Kansas citizens mobilized by the Lawrence Raid.26

Southern sympathizers at the time and for generations afterward heaped their blame and resentment upon Thomas Ewing for this wholesale violence against Missouri civilians. The effect on his reputation would dog him most vividly in the form of the most famous painting of the war on the western border, Order no. 11 (1868) by George Caleb Bingham, himself a Union army officer who had been stationed on the border during the early years of the Civil War. Bingham was furious at what he saw as Ewing's mismanagement of his command, and especially at the violation of the rights of civilians in Union territory that the mass evacuation created under Order no. 11. Bingham is said to have confronted Ewing at the time he issued the order and to have begged him to reconsider. When Ewing refused, Bingham rebuked him: "If God spares my life, with pen and pencil, I will make this order infamous"—which he more or less did with his painting, a graphic description of the victimization of innocent civilians by mounted "Red Leg" Union cavalry. In the 1870s, Ewing went on to run for the U.S. Congress and for governor of Ohio, but each time the notorious painting undermined the campaign, in no small part because Bingham commissioned a steel engraving of it and distributed the print liberally in Ohio among Ewing's potential voters. It basically ruined Ewing's political career.27

Ewing would repeatedly try to defend his wholesale action against the civilians of those three and a half counties. When called to task for it in his repeated efforts to establish his political career in Ohio in the 1870s, he would solicit testimony from the officers who had served with him on the border during the war. In 1877, when Ewing made his last unsuccessful effort to run for political office in Ohio, Bingham was himself a [End Page 67] member of the Missouri state government. In that capacity he joined with the state representatives from the western border of Missouri to attack Ewing once again for his persecution of innocent women and children under General Order no. 11. At that point, Ewing called out his best defense, a letter from Schofield, who had been his commanding officer, explaining for the benefit of the general reading public that not only had Ewing's order been reasonable and responsible, but it was actually merciful. According to Schofield (and Ewing himself), the border counties were sparsely populated by 1863. All self-respecting women and children had long before moved into the Union-controlled posts. Those who remained on the outlying farms were a few depraved and miserable women and children, too beaten down by the persistent raids and abuses of the guerrillas to move themselves out. General Order no. 11 had merely helped them to do for themselves what they were unable to do on their own account, escape the violence of the guerrillas.28

Of course Ewing knew better. He knew the real reason for the issuance of the order, and it was not because of the abuse of female civilians by guerrillas. He knew that the critical problem was in fact just the opposite. The guerrillas were the husbands and brothers of many of the women who resided on the Missouri side of the border; those women were the guerrillas' willing line of supply. And yet he never attempted to defend having acted against these women, in his mass banishment of them, by pointing out that they had acted en masse as a critical component of the guerrilla war on the border, really forcing his hand at the time. Instead he contributed to the picture of the women as victims, indeed attempted to make a case that he was actually trying to rescue them from their degraded and victimized position in the border war.29

Why did Ewing contribute to this story of the women as innocent victims, when he knew that this was not the true motive behind his treatment of the disloyal civilian population on the border? One reason might be that while failing to assert women's systemic role in the war undermined his best defense for the necessity of Order no. 11 (or Order no. 10 before it), it preserved the integrity of the Union army's reasons for making war on the border more generally. After all, if the women (that is, the civilians) were in fact actively supplying the guerrillas, it became hard to argue, as the Union army did, and as many histories would in the war's aftermath, that the guerrillas were just a minority of the male population who went wrong in the course of the war and took advantage of the power vacuum on the border to rob and pillage for their own self-aggrandizement. Far easier to fall back on, and play on, gender conventions to condemn the actions of [End Page 68] individual men and blame the guerrillas for victimizing the "civilians"; far easier to present even the mass evacuation of these women and children as a chivalrous act of rescue on the part of the Union military. Thus Ewing and the various other Union officers involved in the decision to issue Order no. 11 were almost to a man much more inclined to remember southern-sympathizing women as victimized by the guerrillas than they were to remember the women's agency as key players in the guerrilla supply line and their kin relations to these men after the war.30

But what about the guerrillas themselves? How did they remember the role of their female kin? One of the best sources for the recollections of the guerrillas is the first professional history written concerning them, Quantrill and the Border Wars (1910), by William E. Connelley. The author, a Kansan, was not particularly positive in his evaluation of the guerrillas and their war, especially their leader, William Clarke Quantrill. Nonetheless, after interviewing many of the surviving guerrillas early in the twentieth century, he was sufficiently impressed by their statements, so many decades after the fact, to acknowledge in his book the importance of the undying devotion of southern-sympathizing women for their men in the bush.31

Among Connelley's main sources of information for his seminal work on the guerrillas was William Gregg, one of Quantrill's lieutenants. Gregg actually left his own written account, which comes even closer than Connelley's to acknowledging not just the devotion and individual acts of bravery on the part of the female kin of the guerrillas, but the systemic role that the female supply line played in fighting the war. In his memoir, "A Little Dab of Unembellished History," Gregg gives an account of the meeting of the guerrillas on August 19, 1863, near Blue Springs to discuss the Lawrence Raid. Apparently there was a lively debate in response to Quantrill's proposal that they ride on Lawrence. According to Gregg, Quantrill argued that they should undertake the long and dangerous ride into enemy territory in order to acquire goods for the people who would, as Quantrill himself allegedly put it, "divide their last biscuit with us"—presumably referring to the lengths to which their supporters had gone and would go in order to supply them. Perhaps the arrest of Nannie Harris and Charity McCorkle Kerr, in town to get the wheat ground for those biscuits, or the even more dramatic collapse of the Kansas City women's jail and the death and injury of its new inmates, was the understood context of that comment. Certainly Gregg explicitly noted in his recollection that although the "wholesale killing [at Lawrence] was repugnant to many of the officers, forebearance had ceased to be a virtue.… Anderson's sisters [End Page 69] had been murdered, Crawford's sisters had been murdered, and, any day, any of our sisters were liable to be murdered."32

Connelley, a professional historian, had encouraged Gregg to write his own account of the Lawrence Raid, and it is fairly transparent in Gregg's account that Connelley must have impressed upon him that while Gregg might have heard Quantrill say that they should ride on Lawrence to compensate those who had fed them, that did not mean that this was the reason why others rode. After all, this issue was the point at which Connelley and Gregg parted company. Connelley had no problem with tipping his hat to the individual acts of feminine devotion on the part of southern-sympathizing women, but to attribute systemic agency to them, as Gregg had, by holding that the Lawrence Raid was at least in part prompted by their role as zealous providers, undercut Connelley's own interpretation of the guerrillas as men gone very, very bad. He very likely pointed out to Gregg that it made little sense to suggest that the guerrillas' motivation for the Lawrence Raid was to support their female supply line, as in fact their supporters never received any of the goods they allegedly stole for them, because Gregg clearly attempted to rebut that criticism in his memoir. He explained that the goods did not end up with their intended recipients because of the traitorous behavior of one guerrilla, Charlie Higbee, who rode off with the money from the bank, which constituted the largest source of wealth from the raid. Instead of taking the money back to Missouri, Higbee absconded with it to Fort Worth, set up his own bank, and became a rich and respected man in the aftermath of the war.33

The truth of the matter regarding the stolen goods (or the rest of them) perhaps speaks to why only this one guerrilla account, by Gregg, recalls the reason for the Lawrence Raid in terms of the domestic supply line. In fact the guerrillas did return from Lawrence and did distribute the goods taken from Lawrence among their civilian supporters. But Union soldiers were apparently successful in tracking down these goods, and wherever they found them, they burned the recipients' households to the ground in retaliation. Lawrence was apparently a great victory for the guerrillas. They had permeated the Union defenses, devastated an entire town, and escaped with virtually no losses. But if their aim was to assist those who assisted them, they failed utterly. Rather than contributing to the larders of their hard-pressed supporters, they were forced to hide in the bush while their homes were destroyed for containing stolen goods. If they were responding either to the Kansas City jail collapse or the proposed banishment of their women, the response of the Union military, first in burning the homes where the goods were found, and second in the issuance of [End Page 70] Order no. 11, indicated that the guerrillas very literally could not win for losing—as long as Ewing and his men were willing to continue to target the civilian supply line openly, even if that meant arresting and banishing ever more women, which Ewing indicated, with his issuance of Order no. 11, was their intention.34

So no one, not the guerrillas, not the Union army officers, and not even southern-sympathizing women themselves, wanted to remember in later years what they all knew only too well about the conflict at the time: the critical dependence of the border wars on the active participation of women. Instead the battle for the memory of the war became locked in an ever-escalating argument that appeared to have nothing whatsoever to do with women and their shirts and their biscuits, except as they were unfortunately and tragically caught in the vortex of a terrifying story of male violence run amok. Despite her claim that women were important in the conflict, Sue Mundy Womacks and other women who themselves had participated in the border wars would only go as far as to point to the abuse of guerrilla women at the hands of Union officers. The picture they would leave us with is that of a collapsing jail with all those women crushed, pinned, killed, or crippled. Womacks may have wished to gain recognition for the role of women in the guerrilla war, but it was a recognition that still deferred to the need to validate their men.

It is in that sense that Womacks's story is one with the iconic portrait of the border war, Order no. 11, that Bingham painted shortly after the war and used so effectively to discredit Ewing for issuing the order. Women are indeed present in Bingham's painting depicting the execution of Order no. 11, especially in the background. Looking closely, one can discern that the long line of wagons evacuating the county's civilians are mostly being driven by women and full of children and the elderly, as would actually have been the case. But the viewer of the painting rarely notices this backdrop, focusing instead on the foregrounded story of one household with Union soldiers on the balcony throwing rugs and other household valuables down to their mounted comrades; and, at the center of the painting, a man in his prime has fallen to the ground, shot by the Union officer, perhaps for resisting the pillaging of his household—his wife clings to his dying body, while another woman begs the officer not to shoot the elderly grandfather. Of course, prime-aged, southern-sympathizing men were in short supply in the evacuation of the border. This is not to suggest that such scenes did not occur, but rather to note that the more typical encounter would have been a woman left to face the Union military alone or with her children. In Bingham's painting, as in Womacks's story, the critical encounter nonetheless revolves around the men.35 [End Page 71]

Indeed, Womacks's version of the jail collapse and Bingham's rendition of the effects of Order no. 11 constitute two sides of the same coin, a coin that privileges guerrilla war as a male war, even in the face of the acknowledged fact, or particularly because of the fact, that what made this particular form of war possible was the emergence of independent action on the part of women. There is one last, forgotten piece to this story of how gender mattered in the war on the western border. It has to do with the fate of Bingham's own household. During the war, Bingham and his family moved from Kansas City to Jefferson City, the capital of the state, so that he could serve in the state government. In the summer of 1863, when the Union military was looking for a suitable building to convert into a barracks and, more pressingly, a women's prison to confine the guerrilla women it had stumbled upon, it found that Bingham's house in Kansas City was empty and acquired the house for these purposes. Bingham had some years earlier added a third-floor artist's loft to his row house; it is likely that the removal of supports to open the space on the first floor for the army barracks, combined with the weight of the studio on the third floor, caused the building to collapse, killing and maiming all the women incarcerated there, whose guerrilla kin then rode on Lawrence, causing Ewing to issue Order no. 11, evacuate the most contentious counties, and create the impetus for Bingham's most famous painting.36

Perhaps like most respectable men of the border, regardless of their position on the Union and its war, Bingham felt the weight of his own actions in the conflict. He had joined the Union military, believing the assurances of the federal government that it offered the best guarantee of the rights of men to their own households, only to witness in the course of the war the violation of those rights by the Union military even to the point of his own commandeered house falling like a deck of cards upon a dozen "innocent" women. Whatever their activities during the war, Bingham surely must have felt as most men at the time did that women had a right to be protected in their households and certainly that women, whatever their role in the war, should not have died in that way in what had been his own home. But Bingham did not choose to paint a picture of the Kansas City jail collapse, that is, the collapse of his own house, any more than Womacks chose to relate the story of the making of those forty guerrilla shirts by members of her own household. Instead Bingham's Order no. 11 shows as the central violated figure a male citizen like himself, falsely stripped of his rights to protect his household, shot to his heart by the policies of the Union and its officers, most notably in this case General Thomas Ewing.37 [End Page 72]

Now perhaps it is time for a new story about the role gender relations played in the waging of war on the western border, a new story based on the recognition of the systemic role that women played as the supply line in the conflict. This new story could generate a new picture, not that of the mangled forms of guerrilla women from the Kansas City jail or of women down on their knees begging for mercy from the Union military, as in Bingham's famous painting, but instead a scene of two women driving a wagonload of wheat across a lonely stretch of rural road. That picture, however faithful to historical events, can gain no real traction if the telling of the story is still driven by an understanding of gender relations that assumes that men will protect and women will suffer and beg, even in the face of wartime circumstances that turned the gender order on its head, and even when that way of remembering comes at the expense of the recognition of the extent to which the Civil War as it was waged on the western border was a war of an entire people, rather than being a war of a few disorderly and violative men.

LeeAnn Whites

Leeann Whites is professor of history at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her most recent book is Occupied Women: Gender, Military Occupation, and the American Civil War (Louisiana State University Press, 2009).

Notes

1. Kansas City Post, February 27, 1916. By the time of the Civil War, children like Sue Mundy, who grew up on the Kansas-Missouri border, must have been very familiar with the violence that had begun in the 1850s with the struggle to admit Kansas into the Union as either slave or free and provided the critical backdrop for the intensity of the violence between the two sides during the war. See Jeremy Neely, The Border between Them: Violence and Reconciliation on the Kansas-Missouri Line (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2007), and Nicole Etcheson, Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004), for further discussion of these antebellum roots.

2. The first published history, Noted Guerrillas: or, The Warfare of the Border (St. Louis: Bryan, Brand, 1877), by John N. Edwards, an officer in the Missouri Confederate regiment during the Civil War, was highly favorable to the guerrillas. This work was followed by that of William Elsey Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Torch Press, 1910), which was highly critical of the guerrillas. By the 1950s, when professional historians began to take up the treatment of the border war, the frame for discussion had already been set by Edwards and Connelley. See Richard S. Brownlee, Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy: Guerrilla Warfare in the West, 1861–1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1958); Albert Castel, William Clarke Quantrill: His Life and Times (New York: F. Fell, 1962); and Jay Monaghan, Civil War on the Western Border, 1854–1865 (Boston: Little, Brown, 1955).

3. On the place of women and/or "civilians" in guerrilla war, see Michael Fellman, Inside War: The Guerrilla Conflict in Missouri during the American Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989); Stephen V. Ash, When the Yankees Came: Conflict and Chaos in the Occupied South, 1861–1865 (Chapel Hill: University of [End Page 73] North Carolina Press, 1995); Mark Grimsley, The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy toward Southern Civilians, 1861–1865 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995); and Robert R. Mackey, The Uncivil War: Irregular Warfare in the Upper South, 1861–1865 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004).

4. For one of the first discussions of women's systemic role in guerrilla warfare during the Civil War, see Victoria Bynum, Unruly Women: The Politics of Social and Sexual Control in the Old South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992), 130–51, and for a more recent discussion, see LeeAnn Whites and Alecia P. Long, eds., Occupied Women: Gender, Military Occupation, and the American Civil War (Baton Rouge: Louisiana University Press, 2009).

5. Kansas City Star, November 19, 1911. As Harry Younger was killed in 1862, this explanation for why the women were arrested in the summer of 1863 appears highly unlikely. See Charles F. Harris, "Catalyst for Terror: The Collapse of the Women's Prison in Kansas City," Missouri Historical Review 89, no. 3 (April 1995): 297. For another, similar account by Mrs. Flora Stevens, also a sister of one of the other imprisoned women, see Kansas City Star, May 2, 1912.

6. On Lawrence, see Thomas Goodrich, Bloody Dawn: The Story of the Lawrence Massacre (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1991). Discussion of the Lawrence Raid is generally informed by writings on the life of William Quantrill of the Missouri bushwhackers; see, e.g., Albert Castel, William Clarke Quantrill: His Life and Times (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999); Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars; and Edward E. Leslie, The Devil Knows How to Ride: The True Story of William Clarke Quantrill and His Confederate Raiders (New York: Random House, 1996). Order no. 11 has received considerably less attention: see Albert Castel, "Order no. 11 and the Civil War on the Border," Missouri Historical Review 57, no. 4 (July 1963): 357–68, and Ann D. Niepman, "General Orders no. 11 and Border Warfare during the Civil War," Missouri Historical Review 66, no. 2 (January 1972): 185–210.

7. Other accounts support the fact that the prison collapse marks the beginning of Anderson's knot tying: see O. S. Barton, Three Years with Quantrill: A True Story Told by His Scout, John McCorkle (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992), 122; Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars, 303; and Goodrich, Bloody Dawn, 180. Only his fellow guerrilla John McCorkle likewise suggested that the prison collapse was the pivotal event behind the Lawrence Raid; some historians suggest that it was one of a number of factors (e.g., Brownlee, Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy, 119), whereas Connelley (Quantrill and the Border Wars, 310) holds that it was all about the desire for loot or for revenge for earlier border war encounters with the Kansans.

8. Descendants of southern sympathizers have continued to make their ancestors' case even unto the present generation: see, e.g., Joanne Chiles Eakin, Tears and Turmoil: Order no. 11 (Shawnee Mission, Kans.: Two Trails Genealogy Shop, 1996), and Harris, "Catalyst for Terror." Both Eakin and Harris are descendants of Jackson County Civil War guerrillas.

9. Mollie Grandstaff Case File, reel 1331, Missouri's Union Provost Marshal Papers: 1861–1866, Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City. [End Page 74]

10. Ibid.; Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars, 317. There is also a provost marshal record for Mollie Anderson, one of Bill Anderson's sisters, from the date that she posted bail and was released in December 1863, but no military commission was held in her case, which would seem to indicate that Grandstaff was the linchpin. See Mollie Anderson Case File, reel 1217, Missouri's Union Provost Marshal Papers: 1861–1866. There are no provost marshal records for any of the other women confined in the Kansas City prison in the summer of 1863.

11. John McCorkle, brother of Charity McCorkle Kerr, suggests that she was recognized when she came into town and that this was what led to her arrest (Barton, Three Years with Quantrill, 120).

12. Although Womacks suggested that the women were arrested simply for being related to men in the bush, historians have generally taken the position that southern-sympathizing women were also arrested for assisting guerrilla forces with food, clothing, and, Connelley even suggests, for the acquisition of percussion caps. See Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars, 299–307, 311; Brownlee, Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy, 116–18; and Harris, "Catalyst for Terror," 297–99. Nonetheless, prior to the Union military's turn to "hard war" in April 1863, there seem to have been very few arrests of women on the border. The provost marshal files indicate only one incident, that of Cox, Haller and Severe, which took place on October 13, 1862, when three women were so unfortunate as to get caught in crossfire between guerrillas and Union troops while delivering supplies, arguably, as with the Anderson case, leaving the Union military with little choice but to arrest them. Cox, Haller and Severe Case File, reel 1337, Missouri's Union Provost Marshal Papers: 1861–1866. See Grimsley, Hard Hand of War, 142–51, on the issuance of Order no. 100 in the spring of 1863 and the turn to "hard war," which included the arrest of women.

13. Historians have viewed this deference to men more generally as part of women's efforts to reconstruct their men in the face of their defeat in the war. See Karen L. Cox, Dixie's Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003); John M. Coski and Amy R. Feely, "A Monument to Southern Womanhood: The Founding Generation of the Confederate Museum," in A Woman's War: Southern Women, Civil War, and the Confederate Legacy, edited by Edward D. C. Campbell Jr. and Kym S. Rice (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996), 131–63; and LeeAnn Whites, The Civil War as a Crisis in Gender: Augusta, Georgia, 1860–1890 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995), 161–98. Certainly the recollections of women in Missouri who lived through the war frequently reinforce this deference to the story of the guerrilla war as primarily a male narrative: see Reminiscences of the Women of Missouri during the Sixties (Jefferson City: Missouri Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1912).

14. List of names, box 212, Thomas Ewing Family Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

15. On the strength of the guerrilla presence in the county, see Don R. Bowen, "Guerrilla War in Western Missouri, 1862–1865: Historical Extensions of the Relative Deprivation Hypothesis," Comparative Studies in Society and History 19, [End Page 75] no. 1 (January 1977): 30–51. On Lawrence, see Thomas Goodrich, Bloody Dawn: The Story of the Lawrence Massacre (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1991). Discussion of the Lawrence Raid is generally informed by writings on the life of William Quantrill of the Missouri bushwhackers; see, e.g., Albert Castel, William Clarke Quantrill: His Life and Times (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999); Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars; and Edward E. Leslie, The Devil Knows How to Ride: The True Story of William Clarke Quantrill and His Confederate Raiders (New York: Random House, 1996). Order no. 11 has received considerably less attention: see Albert Castel, "Order no. 11 and the Civil War on the Border," Missouri Historical Review 57, no. 4 (July 1963): 357–68, and Ann D. Niepman, "General Orders no. 11 and Border Warfare during the Civil War," Missouri Historical Review 66, no. 2 (January 1972): 185–210.

16. Kansas City Daily Journal of Western Commerce, August 13, 1863.

17. Military line drawing, box 212, Ewing Family Papers; Journal of Western Commerce, August 13, 1863.

18. See Ewing to Schofield, June 17, 19, 23, 1863, Letters Sent, District of the Border, RG 393, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Md.

19. Thomas Ewing Jr. Scrapbook, box 212, Ewing Family Papers.

20. Upon taking up his command, Ewing was peppered with requests for more cavalry protection from the Kansas civilian population. See D. P. Lowe to Ewing, June 18; Petition, Independence, Missouri, June 16; and Abraham Ellis to Ewing, July 14, 1863, Letters Received, District of the Border, RG 393, NARA. At the same time, he received petitions from newly recruited Kansas volunteers protesting having been stationed too far from their homes to protect them personally: see Petition, Company A, 4th, as well as, Kansas Volunteers, to Ewing, June 15, and Petition, Company K, 11th Regiment, Kansas Volunteers, to Ewing, n.d., ibid. In the wake of the Lawrence Raid, a desperate letter from Lowe to Ewing, September 3, 1863, appears particularly telling: "We have sent nearly all our fighting men into the army. Will you not see that their families do not share the same fate as Lawrence?" (Letters Received, NARA).

21. Ewing to Col. Marsh, AAG, June 30, 1863, Letters Sent, NARA.

22. Ewing to Marsh, August 3, 1863, ibid.

23. Ibid.

24. After his visit to Schofield, Ewing received formal approval on August 14 for his proposed policy of banishing the female relations of leading guerrillas. See Wm M Wherry, Maj and ADC, to Ewing, August 14, 1863, Letters Received, NARA.

25. On August 13, the local newspaper announced Ewing's return and his intent to begin his new policy of banishment. Kansas City Daily Journal of Commerce, August 13, 1863.

26. See Ewing to Schofield, August 25, 1863, Letters Sent, NARA, wherein Ewing explains his reasoning for why he had to issue the order without consulting Schofield.

27. Nancy Rash, The Painting and Politics of George Caleb Bingham (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991), 191. [End Page 76]

28. "A Scorcher. General Bingham on Order no. 11," Missouri Republican, February 22, 1877, and Schofield's reply, Major General John Schofield to General Thomas Ewing, January 25, 1877, box 212, Ewing Family Papers.

29. In the 1870s, Ewing collected many other accounts in his effort to exonerate his policies on the border, mostly from other Union army officers who served there. See, for example, P. B. Plumb to General Thomas Ewing, May 26, 1871; W C Ransom to General Ewing, May 30, June 1, 1871; January 10, 1874; and Charles Blair to General Thomas Ewing, May 23, 1871; January 12, 1877, box 212, Ewing Family Papers.

30. Some of the letters that Ewing collected from his officers were edited before being published in a way that appears to indicate Ewing's desire to erase the evidence of the guerrilla war as a wing of the Confederate war effort with local roots, while using the letters to support his own policy of evacuation. Thus in a letter Ewing solicited from P. B. Plumb, Ewing cut the passage stating that "details were left entirely in the hands of the local commanders yet the general plan of operations were supervised and arranged by the War Department of the Confederate government." He also excised Plumb's discussion of how the local social structure supported this guerrilla war, cutting, for example, "The retainers along the streams supplied the men, while their wealthier patrons back on the edge of the timber furnished the sinews of war." P. B. Plumb to Thomas Ewing Jr., May 30, 1871, box 212, Ewing Family Papers.

31. Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars, 299–300.

32. William Gregg, "A Little Dab of Unembellished History," 77–78, Western Historical Manuscript Collection, University of Missouri, Columbia.

33. Several other guerrilla memoirs have been published, but Gregg's account never was, apparently because he sold it for $90 with the agreement that he never publish it or write another account. See statement by William E. Connelley, Quantrill Research Collection, box 1, Folder 34, M243, University of Southern Mississippi Libraries Special Collections, Hattiesburg. Obviously Gregg's interpretation of the border wars differed substantially from that of Connelley, but Gregg was also indebted to Connelley for his assistance in finding him age-appropriate work toward the end of his life. See Wm H. Gregg to William E. Connelley, May 13, 1905, box 1, folder 10, ibid.

34. Ewing wrote to Schofield explaining his policy on the recovery of the Lawrence goods, reporting that "all the houses in which Lawrence goods have been found, have been destroyed as well as all the houses of known guerrillas wherever our troops have gone" (August 27, 1863, Letters Sent, NARA). He also informed Schofield that "this raid has made it impossible to save any families in those counties away from the stations for they are all practically the servants and supporters of the guerrillas" (August 26, 1863, ibid.).

35. According to Rash, Bingham supported the Union and joined the military early in the war in Kansas City because he believed it would support civil liberties, which ultimately the policies of the Union military betrayed, especially in Order no. 11. Had the Union only respected the civil liberties of men on the border, as Bingham assumed it would, men would have been able to protect their households, and women and children would not have been victimized. See Rash, The Painting and Politics of [End Page 77] George Caleb Bingham, 184–215. Indeed, one might suggest that the prime-aged man who has been shot in the portrait is an expression of Bingham's sentiments about his own maltreatment under the Union occupation of the border.

36. Harris, "Catalyst for Terror."

37. Bingham did, however, file for reimbursement for his property loss from the Southern Union Claims Commission and even went so far as to testify personally for his case in Washington in the spring of 1876. "Letters of George Caleb Bingham to James S. Rollins," edited by C. B. Rollins, Missouri Historical Review 33, no. 3 (April 1939): 356–65. [End Page 78]

Additional Information

ISSN
2159-9807
Print ISSN
2154-4727
Pages
56-78
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-11
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.