Quantrell And The Kansas Jayhawkers


Colonel John Newman Edwards


The Jayhawkers to all intents and purposes belonged to Jim Lane. The original Jayhawker was a growth indigenous to the soil of Kansas. There belonged to him as things of course a pre-emption, a chronic case of chills and fevers, one starved cow and seven dogs, a longing for his neighbor's goods and chattels, a Sharpe's rifle, when he could get it, and something of a Bible for hypocrisy's sake - something that savored of the real presence of the book to give backbone to his canting and snuffling. In some respects a mountebank, in others a scoundrel, and in all a thief - he was a character eminently adapted for civil war which produces more adventurers than heroes. His hands were large, hairy, and red - proof of inherited laziness - and a slouching gait added to the ungainliness of his figure when he walked. The type was all of a kind. The mouth generally wore a calculating smile - the only distinguishable gift remaining of a Puritan ancestry - but when he felt that he was looked at the calculating smile became sanctimonious. Slavery concerned him only as the slaveholder was supposed to be rich; and just so long as Beecher presided over emigration aid societies, preached highway robbery, defended political murder, and sent something to the Jayhawkers in the way of real fruits and funds, there surely was a God in Israel and Beecher was his great high priest. Otherwise they all might go to the devil together. The Jayhawker was not brave. He would fight when he had to fight, but he would not stand in the last ditch and shoot away his last cartridge. Born to nothing, and eternally out at the elbows, what else could he do but laugh and be glad when chance kicked a country into war and gave purple and fine linen to a whole lot of bummers and beggars? In the saddle he rode like a sand bag or a sack of meal. The eternal "ager cake" made a trotting horse his abomination, and he had no use for a thoroughbred, save to steal him. When he abandoned John Brown and rallied to the standard of Jim Lane - when he gave up the fanatic and clove unto the thief - he simply changed his leader without changing his principles.



Excerpt From "Noted Guerrillas - Or The Warfare Of The Border." Authored by John N. Edwards. Published, 1877. From Chapter 5 - "Quantrell And The Kansas Jayhawkers."

Major John Newman Edwards, CSA, was General Jo Shelby's Adjutant during the War in Missouri. After the War, Colonel Edwards also founded the Kansas City Times and served as it's editor for many years.








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