Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Red Legs and the "Buckskin" or "Red Legged" Scouts

There is one person on Connelley’s list of Kansas Red Legs that should not be there. Although he certainly knew many individuals associated with the Red Legs, James Butler Hickok, “Wild Bill,” was never a Red Leg. I will discuss this at length in a later blog and hopefully my friend Joe Rosa will provide his thoughts on the matter. As we shall see, however, there were many men who were left off of Connelley’s list.
The individuals included in Connelley’s Kansas Red Leg list fall into two separate and distinct categories. One group of men, more or less, coalesced around “The Chief of the Red Legs,” George H. Hoyt. (Photo on left) Without doubt, Hoyt was instrumental in forming the original “unofficial” organization. From time to time, these men were employed in an official capacity as scouts, spies and detectives, sometimes under the direct leadership of Hoyt. As an example, Hoyt commanded the following group of men during the summer of 1863:


[Names in bold denote individuals from Connelley’s list of Red Legs]

Albott, Edward, P., Guide & Scout, 5-28 Aug. 1863
Atchison, John, Detective, 6 July-29 Aug.
Bender, John C., Detective, 20 May-10 Aug.
Blachly, John W., Detective, 18 June-28 Aug.
Bliss, J.F., Detective, 20 July-19 Aug.
Bridges, John L., Detective, 18 June-17 Aug.
Carpenter, Samuel W., Detective, 8 July-31 Aug.
Hook, Dawson A., Detective, 16 June-31 Aug.
Hoyt, George H., Chief Detective, 16 June-31 Aug.
Johnson, David, Detective, 6 Aug [Johnson was killed on his first day of employment. I will have the complete story of Johnson’s termination later on in the blog]
Johnson, William Henry Harrison, Detective, 18 June-18 Aug.
Kelsey, Thomas C., Detective, 1 July-16 Aug.
Kingsley, Richard, Detective, 25 July-31 Aug.
Kinsley, George, Detective, 16 June-31 Aug.
Logan, William, Detective, 19 July-18 Aug.
Raynard, Asa, Detective, 26 June-31 Aug.
Shelton, John, Detective, 19 June-31 Aug.
Speer, John L., Detective, 19 July-15 Aug.
Spui, C., [full name missing from document] Scout, 8-29 Aug.
Suley, R., Detective, 14 July-5 Aug.
Tinter, John R., Detective, 12-31 Aug.
Wilson, David, Detective, 1 June-31 Aug.

In my next blog post I will discuss the second group of men to whom the term Red Leg was applied, William Sloan Tough and his "Buckskin" or "Red Legged" scouts.


  1. This is really helpful stuff, Matt, thanks again for doing it.

    Here's a bigger and brighter copy of that same pic if you'd like it, compliments of the KSHS.

    You know what would make a really cool heading for this blog in light of your Cleveland "gravestone" posts? The wording just like you had on the original pic, but instead of all of Marshall, you could just have a rectangular cutout of his guns. It would be the right shape and would make a bold statement, I think.

  2. If I can figure out how to do it I will! Also, let me know when you will be up in this neck of the woods.


  3. Well, here's a pic that might work, though I suspect we have someone on here who can do better than that. Art is really not my thing...

    I'll let you know next time I head up there - it'll probably be late September. Worst case I will be at the Ozarks Roundtable, though probably just for Saturday afternoon. I'll certainly pigeonhole you then, if possible.

    There are two people here I'm surprised to see not on the scout list - Jeff Denton and Andy Hammond. If I'm jumping the gun with those names that's fine, I can wait. But if you don't have them they will prove rather interesting additions, I think.

  4. There are a lot of people not listed yet. I am more surprised that Swain is not on the Hoyt list. However, keep in mind that this list is for a very narrow period of time. Most of these men stopped working on 31 August. Not long after this, Jennison, Hoyt and others would form the 15th Kansas. A unit I like to call "Jennison's Red Leg Regiment.

  5. Another 1st KCV connection on this list; Asa Reynard was 2nd LT in Co. F, 1st KCV (Ethan Earle was Capt. of this company and Joseph Gardner was also a Lt. in same company). Note: Both Reynard and Gardner were very active in UGRR. Asa resigned his commission on May 2, 1863 (around the time the command moved south to Baxter Springs... Here is some more on Asa from my files... would appreciate any additional info on his activities after leaving 1st KCV:
    OBIT: Greenleaf Independent
    Died in this city at the residence of his son, John Reynard, Esq., on Saturday April 21st, at the age of 66 years, 1 month and 21 days, Capt. Asa Reynard.

    Capt Reynard came to Kansas in the fall of 1856 from Ohio, and settled in Topeka, from where he removed to Jackson county, and laid off the town of Holton in the spring of 1857, where he resided for several years, and was elected as a representative from that county to the territorial legislature in 1857, being the first representative from Jackson county.

    During the war he assisted in recruiting the 1st Kansas Colored Regiment, and was a lieutenant of Company F.; he afterwards served with the Kansas 7th, (Col. D, R, Anthony's regiment), in Missouri, and was also Capt. of a Company of scouts, under the direct orders of Gen. Tom Ewing, and also served in the same capacity under Gen. H. H. Heath. After serving during the entire period of the war, and being by great exposure somewhat broken down in health, he settled in the northern part of this state, and has for several years made it his home with his children, the most of whom live in this state, our townsman, Mr. John Reynard being the oldest of the five children now living, and all being married except one. The Capt's health had been failing him for the past three years, and finally death came to him as stated above.
    Asa was part of the Kansas Emancipation League in early 1862

    February 13, 1862, Leavenworth Daily Times

    A number of gentlemen have lately organized and Anti-Slavery Society, under the name of the Kansas Emancipation League. The special purpose of this organization is to provide employment for and aid in education, temperance, morality, &c., in behalf of the large number of contrabands so constantly arriving in our State. This is certainly a laudable object; for these people are among us, and at this time cannot be removed, while common humanity will prevent us refusing them a refuge. Our State has been almost denuded of labor, in consequence of the glorious patriotism which caused our young men to enlist for the defence of the Union.
    The League proposes to organize an Intelligence Office, which will keep a register of help wanting employment, and at which those needing help can procure the same by the payment of a small fee. Asa Reynard, of this city, has been appointed General Agent, and will take charge of this office, which will be temporarily at the Drug Store of Dr. R. C. Anderson, Shawnee street. All who want servants and laborers should apply there.—The farmers need hands, and the people in the city desire to prevent their streets from being overflowed with the black "element."—The press of the State will benefit the objects by noticing this movement.

  6. Better late, than never! You are exactly right. James Butler Hickock was not a Kansas Redleg. He did know some of them during the Civil War, such as Walt St. Clair and Jack Harvey. Wild Bill Hickock was a wagon-master, scout, detective and spy primarily in Missouri and Arkansas. I have only found one reference to him being near or on the way to Kansas during the war, other than anecdotes and obscure references. The Jefferson City, MO, newspaper reference a Tom Martin and his partner "Wild Bill" at Jeff City during Price's abortive attempt to take the city foray out and killed some of Prices men. So, while he may have brushed up with Red Legs from time to time, Wild Bill wasn't one.