Sunday, December 19, 2010

Early Report on Scouts in Red Leggins

The newspaper clipping below can be found in the Jennison Scrapbook at the Kansas Historical Society. There is no date or other identification with the clipping. The Jennison Scrapbook contains a host of interesting articles. It would appear that Charles Jennison's wife, Mrs. Mary Jennison, assembled the scrapbook. After interviewing Mrs. Mary Jennison in 1905, William E. Connelley reported that, "She had many scrap books containing clippings of accounts of Jennison, but she sold them in San Francisco. She said she would borrow them for me."


The "Republican" says that the "Red Legs" never fought Quantrile [Quantrill], thereby intimating a collusion between them. The writer lies, and knows it, in the statements thus made. Let us give a fact. In the winter of '61 and '62, Captain (now Col.) Oliver, Seventh Missouri Volunteers, was in command of a battalion at Independence. Oliver had been educated under Jennison, and knew how to deal with bushwhackers.
Quantrile was ranging in that section. Boorn Swaine [Joseph Bloomington Swain], (better known as Jeff Davis) John Bridges [Jack Bridges], (Beauregard) and eleven other Federal scouts were empowered by Oliver to hunt Quantrile down, receiving as compensation the horses and arms they might capture from the guerrillas, not belonging to Union men. One or two men in the party wore red leather leggins. This was adopted as an insignia by the scouts. Within two weeks they had nine fights with Quantrile, shooting three horses from under him, and reducing band to twelve or fifteen men.
A change occurred. It didn't suit officers of the Gamble-Republican stripe to destroy him entirely. He might have a vote when the rebellion was over. His friends would be offended. So [,] Lieut Col. Brown (now General) of the Seventh Missouri, an officer of conservative opinions, relieved Capt. Oliver, who was sent under arrest to Lexington on charges of Jayhawking. The "Red Leg" scouts were all arrested and kept in the Independence Guard House for forty days. The only charge was irregular warfare. The real offence was exterminating bushwhackers. The "Republican" and its set have not changed a bit. To-day they would rather that Quantrile and his friends should escape, than that the martyred dead of Lawrence should be avenged.

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