December 3, 1863
|Col. William Quantrill, guerilla of the western borders|
---The Richmond Daily Dispatch publishes an editorial on William Quantrill, the notorious and murderous Rebel irregular on the borders of Missouri, attributing his methods to the influence of the Yankees, and their behavior toward Southern people:
The humane and benevolent Abolitionists are grievously distressed and exasperated at the method of war adopted by the Missouri guerilla chieftain, Quantrell. That execrated warrior seems to have fashioned his campaigns after the Yankee system, to have infringed their patent right of barbarous and savage warfare. We can scarcely be expected to credit their accounts of the proceedings of any Confederate warrior, but, to some extent, believe it possible that Quantrell may have departed from the general Confederate custom of fighting wolves and hyenas according to the rules of the knightly tournament. Having to deal with Jim Lane and other incendiaries and murderers of that stamp, Quantrell fights them with their own weapons, exacts an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and pays the debt of retaliation with the most scrupulous sense of justice and to the last farthing. Whenever the Yankees hang a Confederate Quantrell hangs a Yankee, whenever a Confederate house is burned down a Yankee dwelling shares the same fate, and whenever a Yankee officer issues an order for Quantrell’s execution, as soon as caught, it is a lucky thing for the Yankee if he is not strangled by his own rope. . . . Of course this uncivil conduct of Quantrell must meet the reprobation of all civilized mankind. He ought to allow his people and himself to be strung up and shot down like dogs, and ask pardon of the Yankees for putting them to such an expenditure of rope and powder. But he is a peculiar man, with a strange, savage sense of tit for tat, and lives in a wild country, where every one executes justice with his own hands. He is said to have suffered grievous wrongs at the hand of the enemy at the beginning of this war, and to understand how to right his wrongs in the only manner that barbarians can appreciate. The Yankees hold him in wholesome awe. He is as secretive and cunning as themselves, and makes retribution the study and passion of his life. They would give a round sum for Quantrell’s scalp, but the brains under that scalp are too much for them, and the men that seek his life are apt to fall into his hands. We observe that Quantrell makes no speeches and utters no threats, but retaliation is the law of his existence. He does not seem to be ambitio[u]s in the least, nor to be at all covetous of glory; but, on the contrary, to hold the pomp and circumstance of war in low esteem. He is the Avenging Angel of the wild Western border, and is destined, we trust, to scourge to the death the outlaws and murderers who have made Missouri and Kansas shudder with their crimes.
|Quantrill and his men sack and burn Lawrence, Kansas|