Atrocities at Lawrence, Kansas


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 5, 1863

Harper's Weekly was the most read newspaper of the Civil War era. To help you develop a better understanding of the War, we have posted our complete collection of the paper to this WEB site. We are hopeful that you find this resource useful in your research and study.

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Mosby's Raiders

Mosby Raid

Copperhead Poem

Sioux War

Sioux Indian War

Morris Island

Pictures of Morris Island

Lawrence Atrocities

Quantrill's Atrocities in Lawrence Kansas

Mosby's Guerrillas

Mosby's Guerrillas

Draft Resumes in New York

Draft Resumes

Resumption of the Draft

William Quantrill's Raid of Lawrence Kansas

Cavalry Skirmish

Cavalry Skirmish

Attack on Fort Wagner

Attack on Fort Wagner

Draft Riot Cartoon

Draft Riot Cartoon





[SEPTEMBER 5, 1863.



[NATIONAL CEMETERY AT GETTYSBURG.—Harrisburg, July 31. Arrangements have been made to purchase a part of the battlefield at Gettysburg for a cemetery, in which it is proposed to gather the remains of our dead. The ground embraces the point of the desperate attack made upon the left centre of our army. Eight other States have already united with Pennsylvania in this project.]

LET us lay them where they fell,

When their work was done so well! Dumb and stricken—leaving others

All the glorious news to tell.

All the yellow harvest-field,

Cursed with a crimson yield,

'Neath the thrusting in of sickles,

As the battle waxed or reeled!


They, with faces to the foe,

Lost to pain, and peace, and woe; Armored in the inspiration

Of the old heroic glow:


Rushing grandly unto death!—

Eyes ablaze and 'bated breath—

Second-sighted for the future—

Here they piled the trampled heath!


Here for Liberty they stood,

Writ their records in their blood,

On the forehead of the epoch,

In a grand historic mood!


Let us lay them side by side,

In their awful martyr-pride:

They will slumber well and sweetly,

Spite of wailings far and wide.


And their story shall be told

When this Present, gray and old,

Loses each distinctive feature

In the Future's ample fold.


Well, the work was fitly done!

Well, the day was proudly won!

But—this nook that bloomed with battle—

There's no rarer 'neath the sun!


Let us lay them where they fell,

When their work was done so well!

In the martyr's noble silence,

Leaving us the tale to tell.



"There's a blue flower in my garden

The bee loves more than all—

The bee and I, we love it both,

Though it is frail and small."

"OH, jolly, jolly !"

That was Aggie French's way of expressing satisfaction, and her companion looked up, expectant of news.

"My letter is from Georgina Ash," she explained. "You must have heard of her—the handsomest blonde you ever saw; eyes half blue, half amber; and hair neither brown, nor yellow, nor red. but just exactly gold. The fun is, Thorne used to be in love with her before he knew little Alice Devon, and they said she jilted him—it was before he came to his fortune—for a richer suitor. Any way she isn't married, and it will be curious to see how Thorne will take her presence, here in this house, where there are so few of us that we can't help being intimate. Of course he can't run away and leave Alice, and we shall see what we shall see when my Lady Magnificent comes. For my part, I never did believe first love a disease quite so easy to get over as mumps and measles. I'm told Thorne had it hard. I like stories in real life a great deal better than out of books—they're twice as spicy. I promise myself rare fun in watching the romance."

Quiet Mary Everett sighed, a little sadly, but did not answer. She loved Alice Devon, though their friendship had been of weeks only, and the prospect of the coming "fun" was far from exhilarating.

Just then Alice came in, so radiantly happy. Her brown hair tossed about her primrose cheeks, her soft, innocent brown eyes sparkling with pleasure, and a few rare wild flowers in her hand. Thorne was behind her, looking on as she exhibited her treasures with a smile and an eye-glance which revealed more than he was aware of love and pride.

"See," cried the soft, clear tones, "you've been hunting in vain for these little beauties all summer and we've found them. Do you smell the sea-breath in them? We got them among the rocks, where they look forever out toward the waves, and at high tide the water comes up among, the roots. How blue they are, just like a bit of the summer sky! I'm going for them often, and since they are mine by right of discovery, I'll call them treasure-trove, for I don't like those poly-syllable botany names."

She was a pretty picture, in her delicate morning dress, with her young, innocent girl's face, the round hat, with its bunch of wild roses and meadow grass swinging from her arm, and the blue flowers in her hand.

She and Thorne were happy enough, both of them, to have moved any tender heart to let them dream on. But Aggie French's heart was not tender. Not that she was so very cruel, only thoughtless, fond of fun, and a little careless what wounds her self-indulgence might inflict. She looked wickedly into Thorne's eyes and said—

"I had a letter from an old friend of yours this morning—Miss Georgina Ash. She is coming here to-clay or to-morrow. She does not know she will meet you. What a pleasant surprise it will be!"

It was fortunate that Alice Devon was busy just then with Mary Everett, who was asking her some question about their morning ramble. She was spared from reading the signs which revealed so much to Aggie French—the sudden quiver of Thorne's mustached lip, the bronzed face a few shades paler, the smile that tried to be careless and failed. Little Alice only heard the cool answer:

"Ah, I haven't seen her for five years. She used to be a stylish, handsome girl. I wonder if she's faded?"

She thought to herself that, for old friends, her lover seemed to take very slight interest in the prospective new-comer.

When they came in together again from their afternoon walk, Thorne and Alice, some trunks were in the hall, with G. A. painted in black letters upon their covers.

"The new guest, I suspect," Alice said, lightly. Thorne was too self-conscious to reply. He bit his lip and was silent.

When Aggie French heard him going by her door, after he had left Alice, she put her head out with a malicious whisper:

"She's come—been with me a couple of hours. Now she's in her own room, dressing for tea."

It was just at sunset when all the party before-mentioned and a half dozen more were gathered in the low, old-fashioned parlor ready to go in to supper. Mary Everett, who had never before met Miss Ash, looked at her critically as she stood beside little Alice Devon; the two having just been introduced to each other by Thorne, who, whatever he might have betrayed when taken by surprise, was perfectly self-possessed now.

There was no disputing that the new-comer was the handsomest woman at "The Shoals." It was a grand, regal style which swayed a power of its own. The tall, full figure; the matchless complexion, with its coloring clear and bright as dawn; the great, magnetic eyes; the tawny gold hair, filling the silken net full; the mouth so ripe and tempting—all these, with the self understanding, the aplomb of twenty-five years. In that stately presence little Alice Devon, with her seventeen years and her primrose face, looked unformed and childish. But there was something about her most sweet and tender and touching, which made Mary Everett think of a rose-bud with the morning-dew still on; and glancing back to the other she hummed, half under her breath, a snatch of an old nursery song:

"The sunflower with her brilliant crown

Looked lovely and tempting to the bee;

Yet not one drop of honey he found

In her wonder cup of gold and brown—

She was false at heart, though fair to see."

Aggie French had not arrived at the entire truth about the separation between Miss Ash and Howard Thorne. She had not jilted him. They had given each other up mutually. It was the fortieth lover's quarrel, perhaps; for Miss Ash was of a tempestuous temperament, and Thorne not over-patient. It was the one too many, at any rate; for they had never made it up, and five years had passed without their seeing each other. In the mean time some of Thorne's relations had died and left him a fortune, making him better worth winning. Miss Aggie was mistaken, too, in thinking that her friend came to "The Shoals" without knowing that her old lover was there. No allusion to the knowledge had escaped her in her letter; but the certainty of meeting him had been her sole motive. To do her justice, she did not know of his engagement. She learned that for the first time in her two hours with Miss French before tea. It dismayed her not a little. It was an obstacle she had not foreseen, and she did not feel entire faith now in the success which had seemed so certain before.

When they were introduced she had looked at Alice anxiously. She was not blind to the youth and freshness against which she must contend. She acknowledged to herself that the girlish face, with the bunch of blue flowers (the treasure-trove) in the soft hair, had a sweet charm of its own. She almost despaired—not quite.

For some days she held herself rather aloof from Howard Thorne and his little betrothed. When any thing brought her in contact with them she was playful sometimes, sometimes a little reserved and sad, though kind always. There was so much variety in her moods that Thorne grew interested before he knew it in watching them. He began to realize, now he observed her more closely, how royally beautiful she was. She had been far less so in the old days when he had thought the whole universe bounded by her smile. Her manner had changed too. She had been imperious then—she was so still at times; but oftener there was a tender, half pathetic softness in words and ways which made him think she had grown sadder with the sad years. Had her life missed him? There was a subtle flattery in the thought against which his vanity was not proof.

He was not untrue toward his little love in all these speculations, at least not consciously; but they were dangerous. Very dangerous when, one day, he suffered himself, sitting idly and alone on the piazza, to wonder what would have been the result of his meeting again with Miss Ash if he had never seen Alice.

Just then she cause up the walk in her loveliest mood. Tenderness in a person to whom Nature has given the seal of sovereignty moves us far more than in those gentler persons to whom it seems indigenous. She looked sad, this Lady Magnificent, as Aggie French had dubbed her. She was simply dressed, in a robe of fleecy white, with a few flowers stuck for sole ornament in belt and bosom. Her eyes were downcast. There was a stain as of tears on her cheek. Some impulse he should have resisted drew Thorne to her side. Are there moments in all lives when our good angel forsakes us? Half unconsciously he said to her,

"Miss Ashe—Georgina, we were friends once —I do not like to see you sad."

The great amber eyes turned on him a look of

mute reproach. After a moment she said, with a trifle of the old petulance,

"I do not like to have my moods noticed. It is not generous of you, with all you want in life, to look out from the safe shelter of your happiness and watch how I bear loneliness and heartache."

"All I want in life!"

He repeated the words after her dreamily, as if he were questioning himself whether indeed he had what he most wanted in life. The past seemed to throb again in his heart—tingle in his pulses. Were the days dead in which he had been this woman's lover? They had turned, mechanically as it were, and were passing down the shaded path which she had walked up alone. For a while neither spoke. What subtle magnetism was in her presence that made it thrill him so just to walk by her side? He stole a look at her at length. She was pale to the lips, and slow tears were stealing from under drooping lids. A sudden mad impulse swayed him--a wild longing to read her heart. He put out his hand and touched hers. He spoke with a tone that would be obeyed.

"What is it ? I will know. Is it any thought of the past, of me, which moves you?"

"She turned her eyes full of reproach upon him.

"What right have you, Alice Devon's lover, to the past or me? Be content with your own joy. It should be piquant enough without the zest of enhancing it by contrast with my misery."

The mention of Alice Devon struck a pang, sword-keen, to his heart. He was not a bad man; nay, he was perhaps better than most men. He respected his plighted word—he loved Alice. Still he had not strength enough to escape from the baleful spell which was closing round him.

"Your misery!" he cried. "Do you, whom all the world envies, know what misery means? Tell me. I will know."

Again that long, reproachful look from out those amber eyes.

"Howard, for shame! You must not, you shall not torture use, now when all ties between us are over. Do you think I would have parted with you in anger that last time if I had not thought your love was strong enough to bring you back? We were both wrong—we ought to have forgiven each other. But why talk of it? You are better off; and I—perhaps I am not punished too severely for the share of blame that was mine."

Thoughts swam through his brain deliriously. She, his youth's love, loved him—was suffering for him—had loved him all the while. He looked at her, more beautiful than ever in her sorrow, her tenderness. After all, was not the old love the true love?

"If I were free—" he began.

"Of what use would be freedom?" she interrupted him, passionately. "You were free five years."

"But I did not see you. Oh, Georgie! this is cruel. You should have come before, or not at all."

Just then steps crushed the sand near them. Around a sudden turn in the winding path came Mary Everett, with Alice, his Alice, clinging to her arm.

"We heard a few words—we could not help it," Miss Everett said, with eyes of stern rebuke, leading her friend by.

Howard Thorne cursed his fate as he saw his little love's pale face, with the heart-break settling over it, almost like the shadow of death. He knew now where his heart was—saw what brief madness had possessed him. He would have given half the universe to be able to go to Alice's side and tell her the truth. But he dared not approach her. For the first time in his life he felt like a coward. He stood and watched her, silently, as she moved away—his darling, whom he had been mad enough to lose. Then he turned, with a look in his eyes that made Georgina Ash tremble.

"I am free now; and, as you said, of what use is freedom?"

Neither spoke again until his cool good-by, when he had gone up the path with her to the house-door.

Then he rushed back into the thick shrubbery, among the rocks, across to the sea. He was almost wild enough to bury all, wrong, sorrow, shame, in those treacherous waters. He knew his fate was sealed. There would be no hope for him. Alice was not unforgiving; but she was true, and claimed truth—a woman, and would accept no divided heart. Explain as he would he knew she would never believe him or understand him. She never could know how it all came; and if he offered explanations she would believe that only honor, only sorrow for her, held him; and those mad moments could never be atoned for.

Just then he turned. He was standing in the very nook where they had gathered the blue flowers. Some others, their sisters, were nodding in the cleft. He gathered a bunch and laid them carefully in a pocket-book, which he carried in his breast.

"They shall go with me into other scenes," he said, his sad eves kindling again with the gleam of a new resolve. "I have held back from giving my life to my country because Alice's love made the offering too costly. Now I will go. It will be better for her if I die."

He found a note on his table when he went home, and in it these words only:

"Be merciful enough not to write to me, or ask to see me. It would be of no use. What I heard, what I saw, can never be explained out of memory. I forgive you. I. do not think you meant to be false. When you told me you loved me I believe you thought so. I shall go away to-night, and leave you to the love you have found again."

He obeyed her—made no useless attempts at explanation; and watched from his window to see her go away with a calmness more terrible and despairing than any passion of agony.

Later in the evening came another note; from Miss Ash this time. It was worded, oh! so skillfully; begging his pardon; telling him how innocent she was of wrong design; blameless of every thing but the love and sorrow she could not help, and the letting him speak to her at all.

Howard Thorne smiled grimly as he twisted her

soft words and lighted his cigar with them. All her blandishments were powerless now. No device of hers could move him, steeled to vindictiveness by the look of white pain he had seen on Alice Devon's face. He made no response. The next morning he too went away.

Somehow even Aggie French's heart was touched by his hopeless, dreary smile as he bade her good-by. Certainly the Lady Magnificent's visit had not been productive of the expected "fun." Miss Everett had gone away the night before with Alice; and "The Shoals" bade fair to be presently deserted.

All that was last year—the summer of '62. It was September when Howard Thorne found himself a soldier, with the commission, urged upon him half against his will, of First Lieutenant. He was with the Army of the Potomac, and before the summer came again he had seen hard fighting, and held a Colonel's rank by virtue of his cool courage. Courage, did I say? Recklessness, perhaps, would have told the truth more nearly. He wanted to die, and so took every possible opportunity to throw away the life of which he was weary. For that reason, perhaps, shot and shell passed him by. Ever in the front, and no ball hit him. They began to say that he bore a charmed life when they saw him with no scar on his bronzed handsome face.

At last came Gettysburg and the bullet which sought his heart! It was turned aside a little by a book he wore—the book which held the blue treasure-trove—so that, ghastly and terrible as was his wound, it was not instantly mortal. There was small hope for him, however; and one who loved him as a brother asked, when there was leisure after the fight, if there was any one for whom he would wish to send. All his pale face brightened gloriously. This was the hour for which he had longed and waited. He dictated only these words:

"Come to me before I die. You will believe what I have to say when you know it is my last words."

This, with the address of Alice Devon on the cover.

Then he waited.

Five days were the least possible time in which, allowing for no delays, she could get the letter and come to him. He thought his strong will would keep him alive so long.

On the evening of the fifth day he lay with his face toward the wall. Wrapped in thought, and tortured with searching pain, he heard no footfall, heard nothing, until a low, remembered voice said,

"I am here."

Then he turned his face and saw Alice Devon at his pillow.

He waited for no greeting, no inquiries, but spoke the uppermost thought first:

"Alice, I did love you—only you. That scene which you could not understand was a momentary madness. She touched me with her misery—hints of the long, hopeless love she had cherished for me all those years. I was moved on the surface only. I tell you, as a dying man, that my heart never wavered. It was yours then, as it is now—as it will be when I go back whence I came, to darkness and mystery."

"I believe you," said the low, sweet tones. "I began to believe it when I heard of her marriage, six months after. I knew she had been disappointed, and I had been wrong and hasty."

"No, not wrong; you had reason enough. You shall not blame yourself. I never blamed you. But are you free? Is this my Alice at my side?"

"Your Alice; yours, and none other's."

"Then I shall die content."

Through all the hours of that night she sat beside him, holding his hand in hers, charming away his pain by her voice and her touch. When the dawn crept softly up the slopes, and kindled the eastern sky to flame, he was sleeping a calm, restful sleep, for the first time in all those days since he was wounded; and the surgeon coming in, and standing watchfully beside him for a while, said, as he turned away,

"I dare not give you much hope; but I begin to think it just possible that he may live."

A little later he awoke, and still Alice's hand was in his. He turned to look at her clear face, and saw a new light in the tender brown eyes. She bent over him and kissed him, in the morning twilight through which the stet had not yet broken, and wish her kiss she whispered,

"The surgeon has been here, and he says it is possible you may live. Will you try, for me?"

"Ay, that I will," answered his deep tones, fervently. "Life, that I was so ready to throw away, is dear enough now. It must be that I shall get well now I have Alice to live for. Pray for it, my darling! God will hear such lips as yours."

Last week an invalid came hack. His face was thin and pale, but his eyes were bright; and on that worn face was a look of hard-won peace. By easy stages he journeyed—he and the one friend with him—to the sea-coast, and took his old room at "The Shoals" once more. He found there old friends and new ones, all ready to give Colonel Ash glad welcome. It was Alice's care which had won him back from death. He was all hers now, and between them could never again come any shadow.

To-morrow at "The Shoals" will be a wedding, and the bride will wear a wreath of little blue flowers.


THE city of Lawrence was, on the evening of August 20, 1863, one of the most thriving towns between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains. At daybreak on the next day it was a heap of ruins. A gang of guerrillas, 500 strong, under Quantrill, crossed the Missouri River on the evening of the 20th, and pushed forward to Lawrence, where they arrived just before daybreak. Guards (Next Page)




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