Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 20, 1861 (Thursday): Jim Lane of Kansas

Senator James Lane of Kansas

                                                                                    EXECUTIVE MANSION,
                                                                                    June 20, 1861.
Hon. Secretary of War:
     MY DEAR SIR:  Since you spoke to me yesterday about General J. H. Lane of Kansas, I have been reflecting upon the subject, and have concluded that we need the services of such a man out there at once; that we better appoint him a brigadier-general of volunteers to-day, and send him off with such authority to raise a force (I think two regiments better than three, but as to this I am not particular) as you think will get him into actual work quickest.  Tell him when he starts to put it through.  Not be writing or telegraphing back here, but put it through.
     Yours, truly,
   General Lane has been authorized to raise two additional regiments of volunteers.
                                                                                       SIMON CAMERON
                                                                                       Secretary of War
During the “Bleeding Kansas” period, James Lane was known as “Liberator of Kansas”for his role in leading the Kansas militia.  Lane became a United States Senator from Kansas, and returned to lead a unit in a minor affair “The Battle of Dry Wood Creek” against Sterling Price.  He gained fame, and infamy, for his role in the sack of Osceola, Missouri in which the town of 3,000 was plundered and burned to the ground and nine civilians executed by Lane’s drunken troops.  Lane’s share of the looting was a piano and some silk dresses.  The sack of Osceola provided the historical basis of the movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales”.

Official Records, Series III, Vol. 1, Page 281          

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