Baxter Springs (Baxter Springs Massacre )

Lt. James B. Pond and Maj. Gen. James G. Blunt, US

Lt. Col. William C. Quantrill, CSA

Quantrill had about 400 men; the Union had troops from three separate regiments.

Quantrill's men lost three, but killed 103.

After raiding in Kansas, including the massacre at Lawrence, Quantrill decided to winter in Texas. Supplies were easier to come by, and it was safer. Combining with other partisans, he moved south on the Texas Road. Along the way he captured and killed two Union teamsters who had come from a post called Baxter Springs. Quantrill decided to attack the small fort and split his men into two columns, leading one himself and leaving the other to a subordinate, David Poole.

Poole and his men proceeded down the Texas Road, where they encountered Union soldiers, most of whom were African-Americans. They gave chase, and attacked the Union troops, killing some before they got to the earth-and-log fort. After the Union survivors reached the fort, the Rebels attacked but the garrison, with the support of a single artillery piece, held them at bay. Quantrill's column circled the fort and chanced on Maj. Gen. James G. Blunt, his escort, and wagons transporting his personal items. (Blunt was changing the headquarters of the District of the Frontier from Fort Scott, Kansas to Fort Smith, Arkansas.) The escort didn't suspect anything was wrong, since most of Quantrill's men wore Union blue and it was too late to fight it out when the truth was revealed. Most of his escort, including the band and Maj. Henry Z. Curtis (son of Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis), were murdered even when trying to surrender, but Blunt and a few mounted men returned to Fort Scott. Blunt personally escaped because his horse was fresher than those of his Confederate pursuers.

Blunt was removed from command for failing to stay with his column, but he was soon restored. Some call it a massacre, but without minimizing the violence, Baxter Springs was simply another of the vicious moments of Kansas-Missouri border warfare.

Cherokee County, Kansas, United States
Confederate victory
Strife in Missouri
Start Date: 
Tuesday, October 6, 1863
Start Year: 
End Date: 
Tuesday, October 6, 1863
End Year: 
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