Sunday, November 29, 2009

"The Widow's God Will Avenge The Wrong" The Strange Case of Albert E. Saviers, Alias Captain Kirk Part II

By August 1863, Albert Saviers was back in Wyandotte. He had spent most, if not all of July, under arrest at Fort Leavenworth. On 8 August, the Wyandotte Commerical Gazette reported that "Saviers was forced to hide in a field while his father, mother and a black man held off Confederate bushwhackers attacking the 'Junction House.'" On 12 September, the same newspaper wrote that, "Captain M. Saviers and Lieut Al Saviers [were] recruiting a company for the 15th Ks. Vol. Cav. It is unnecessary where they are known, to speak of the fighting qualities of Al or his father. The old gentleman, a few weeks ago, defended his own residence (the Junction House) and beat off twenty Bushwhackers, singlehanded and Al has slain more rebels than an active man could shake a stick at in a week."

On 23 Feburary, 1864, Saviers and several other men raided the home of Baptist Minister Reuben Alexander in Holt County, Missouri. The home was located near the town of Oregon. A few days after the assault on the Alexander home, United States Detective James A. Pickett captured Saviers and Charles Bradshaw in Brown County, Kansas.

In early March, Saviers and Bradshaw were brought before a military tribunal at St. Joseph, Missouri. They were charged with robbery, assault with intent to kill and arson, all in connection with the raid on Alexander's home. The minister's wife, Julia Alexander testified at the trial:

"Questioned by Judge Advocate [Colonel John Scott] Do you know them or either of them by name?"

"Answer: The one in the black whiskers, (pointing to defendant Saviers) called himself Capt. Kirk. (In his testimony Reuben Alexander stated that Saviers called himself "Lieut. Kirk)."

"Questioned by Judge Advocate: Were there any others concerned in the outrages spoken of except the two prisoners?"

"Answer: There was a third one present who did not say as much as the prisoners, but helped them and did all they told him and helped search the house. The red [-] whiskered prisoner (alluding to Charles Bradshaw), guarded Mr. Alexander while the other two went and searched the upper part of the house..."

More in Part III

The Strange Case of Albert E. Saviers, Alias Captain Kirk Part 1

In William E. Connelly's list of the original thirteen Kansas Red Legs the name Al Saviors appears. His real name was Albert E. Saviers. He was born in 1842 and in 1857 was living south of Argentine in Wyandotte County, Kansas. According to his own statement his "residence in Kansas, was Shawneetown or rather three miles from Shawneetown on the road leading from Kansas City to Shawneetown. That prior to my enlistment I resided with my father[,] Milton Saviers[,] a farmer and also a carpenter by trade and under him I learned my trade as carpenter." The Wyandotte Commercial Gazette reported on 18 July, 1861, on Fourth of July festivities held at Milton Saviers "at the junction of Shawnee, Wyandotte, and Kansas City roads..." When the war broke out Albert enlisted in Company G, Cass County Mounted Missouri Home Guards. This company was later attached to the 9th Kansas Volunteers. On 5 Febuary, 1862, Saviers was mustered out of Company H, 9th Kansas Volunteers.

On 30 November, 1861, the Leavenworth Conservative reported that "A captured bushwhacker named Fitzpatrick was accused of several crimes, including murder. One of the crimes was stealing a horse or mule from Milton Saviers, and then trying to shoot him. The pistol misfired and Saviers escaped." Fitzpatrick was apparently executed by a firing squad from the 7th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry.

In August 1862, Albert E. Saviers was identified as one of the men with Joseph B. Swain when Swain conducted a raid into Clay County, Missouri, to recruit slaves for the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers. During this raid, Albert was shot in the back. In his pension file Albert claimed that the "Ball entered in back[,] passing through right lung & still remain [s] in his body, lodged against brea[s]t Bone [.]

By May 1863, Albert had been commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers. However, monthly returns show the young lieutenant as "absent on leave since 24 May, 1863." Interestingly, Albert married Louisa Searl at Leavenworth on 10 April, 1863. Connelley reported that a "Pony" Searl "was said to have been a member " of the Kansas Red Legs.

On 13 June, 1863, the Kansas City newspaper The Western Journal of Commerce reported: "A Robber Caught - A bold robbery was lately committed near the Wyandot [te] Ferry, in the day time, on this side of the river. Captain Sears, commander of the post in this city, immediately set to work to ferret out the guilty parties. A man called 'Al Saviers,' an ex-member of the Red Leg organization, as he says, was apprehended in Wyandot[te], and another by the name Bill Jones. The robbery was clearly proven on Saviers by the testimony of the parties robbed, and by other parties and circumstances...The robbery was a very glaring and aggravated one. An old gentleman, over 60 years of age, accompanied by his niece, were coming from Wyandot[te], where they live, and were met by this scoundrel and deliberately robbed. He took from the old man about $350 in cash, and the horse, leaving the man and women to foot it into town. The horse was found a few days afterward in the timber of Kaw bottom. Saviers is said to be a desperate fellow."

The story will continue in Part II.