Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Jayhawkers

I've talked about bushwhackers a lot on this blog. These rebel guerrillas were the terror of Missouri and Arkansas, but they weren't the only terror. Their Union counterparts were called Jayhawkers. Many were based in Kansas and raided across the state line into Missouri and Arkansas.

Like the bushwhackers, some were ardent if somewhat lawless supporters of their cause. Jim Lane, for example, stole slaves from Missouri and Arkansas and created the First Kansas Colored Volunteers, the first black regiment in the U.S. army to see combat. Others were little more than bandits. Charles "Doc" Jennison, pictured above in a very dapper frontier outfit, leaned more toward the bandit side. While he did fight bushwhackers and Confederate regulars, he also ransacked secessionist and proslavery homes, mostly for personal gain.

The Jayhawkers and bushwhackers personified the bitter border war that helped lead to the start of the Civil War. The hatred had grown so great that mercy was in short supply and thieves and killers rode beside patriots. The downward spiral of brutality and bloodshed has left animosities that are still felt by some in the region today.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


  1. That is definitely a new 'J' word for me!
    I'm stopping by from the A to Z Challenge. I'm looking forward to reading your posts.
    Giggle, Laugh, Cry

  2. Thanks for giving us the other side as well.
    And mentioned your book today.

  3. I have heard of Jayhawkers, although I didn't remember any details.

  4. Hi...I'm hopping over from the A to Z Challenge. Lovely blog...good luck with the challenge! I am fascinated by the Civil War era...I'm also a new follower!

    Donna L Martin


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