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BOOK REVIEWS Bloody Dawn: The Story of the Lawrence Massacre. By Thomas Goodrich . (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1991. Pp. 198. $26.00.) William Clarke QuantrilPs murderous raid on Lawrence, Kansas, August 21, 1863—"Black Friday"—is a twice-told tale. William Connelley in 1910 and Albert Castel in 1962 penned good accounts of the infamous affair. Thomas Goodrich's Bloody Dawn surpasses the earlier studies in its richness of detail and narrative power. An astonishing amount of source material has accumulated over the years, including eyewitness accounts and journalists' reports, supplemented by scholarly studies. The advantage Connelley enjoyed in interviewing some participants is balanced against that of Goodrich in additional sources and perspective. Goodrich has effectively drawn on this storehouse to relate the narrative of Civil War barbarism that perhaps touched bottom in the killing and plundering at Lawrence. In war we expect the killing of soldiers by soldiers; in Lawrence we have wanton brutality feebly resisted by surprised victims—civilian against civilian. The Missouri raiders killed an inexact number of town residents, stole an incalculable amount of property , and burned numerous houses and stores. The background for this atrocity extends to "Bleeding Kansas" of the mid-1850s when there occurred the famous "Sack of Lawrence" and more recently to the border strife inspired by the outbreak of the Civil War. Kansas "jayhawkers," led by Charles Jennison, invaded western Missouri, stealing and burning, provoking retaliation by Missouri "bushwhackers ." Both Missouri and Kansas, especially the former, suffered from guerrilla warfare and continuing reciprocal raids, as the nation focused attention on the war east of the Mississippi. William Quantrill, born in Ohio in 1837, migrated West in 1857, living in Lawrence as "Charley Hart," finding a home in Missouri, serving in the Confederate army, and relishing a spirit of lawlessness and violence he saw on the frontier. By 1862 he headed a predatory group that raided the border country and invaded Kansas. Following the collapse of a Federal prison in Kansas City, killing five girls, Quantrill, saying, "Vengeance is in my heart," organized a raid on Lawrence, heart of abolitionism , haven of fugitive slaves. BOOK REVIEWS243 With a villainous band of more than four hundred Missourians, Quantrill arrived at Lawrence, sixty miles into Kansas, at dawn and swiftly and skillfully deployed his men through the hapless, sleeping city. For nearly half a day the marauders terrorized the city—robbing, shooting indiscriminately, burning, destroying, killing. Goodrich is at his best here, detailing often person-by-person the atrocities suffered by Lawrentians . What emerges in these pages is the savagery in human nature and the valor of the women who often withstood the invaders' threats. The cold killers often spared the women, but were unsparing of the Germans, linked with antislavery. Goodrich's vivid descriptions of pointless death and willful destruction, attempted escape, female heroism, point-blank assassinations, and roasted corpses provide the grisly drama of today's TV and movies. Before noon, the raiders, heavy with loot, departed the wasted city, leaving 150 dead, homes in cinders, stores pillaged, survivors in trauma. As early as 12:30 a.m., Federal forces in Kansas City had learned that a large number of men had passed through Olathe, Kansas. A full-scale mobilization did not take place until after eight a.m. The chase led by Gen. Thomas Ewing, Jr., foster brother of William T. Sherman, failed to prevent the raiders from returning to Missouri by the route they had used to enter Kansas. Ewing desperately sought to end border warfare with his notorious Order No. U, clearing a cluster of Missouri border counties of citizens, food, and forage. Kansans threatened retaliation, and Lawrence began to rebuild. The Civil War dragged to an end, and in June the destroyer of Lawrence died in Kentucky. Bloody Dawn is thrilling history told with verve, drama, and a sense of people and place. Goodrich has carefully grounded his work in the sources and provided a fine bibliography and ample illustrations, though the maps are imperfectly reproduced. The book is essentially narrative, and it is perhaps beside the point to say it lacks the sophistication of Phillip Paludan's Victims or Michael Fellman's Inside War. Readers...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 242-243
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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