Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Massacre At Baxter Springs

The Baxter Springs Massacre or Battle was fought on October 6th 1863 in Kansas.

Heading to Texas for a winter camp, William Quantrill’s Raiders; numbering about 400, were traveling south along the Texas Road in October 1863. The raiders captured two teamsters form the Union Fort Blair near Baxter Springs, and killed them. Quantrill ordered an attack on the Fort. He split his force in half, with part under his command and the other half under David Poole. Poole’s unit came across some Union soldiers, most of whom were African American. The Raiders gave chase and killed a number of them, before the Union men reached the fort.

The garrison in Fort Blair put up fight against Poole’s men. The other column of men under the command of Quantrill came at the fort from the other direction. They ran into the Union detachment of Major General James G Blunt who was moving his headquarters to Fort Smith. Most of Bunt’s detachment was killed, including members of a military band. Blunt and few men who were mounted managed to make it to Fort Blair.

Blunt had his command stripped for a time, for not staying with his men and protecting the column. Although considered a massacre by many, it was really a typical Battle for the warfare that occurred along the Kansas - Missouri border. The Confederates saw only a loss of three men. The Federal side lost 103.

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