About Quizzes

William Clarke Quantrill

William Quantrill was born in Canal Dover (now Dover), Ohio. Little is known of his youth, but he was a teacher for several years before moving west. Quantrill apparently made his living by gambling, but later moved to an area near Lawrence, Kansas and taught in the years 1859-60. At some point he fled to Missouri to escape arrest on charges of murder and horse theft. When war broke out, Quantrill joined the Confederate cause and by late 1861 was heading his own unit. The Quantrill Raiders operated in the border area between Kansas and Missouri, targeting Union forces and sympathizers. They also clashed frequently with the “Jayhawkers,” free-soil Kansas forces who staged attacks against their pro-Confederate opponents in the area. At dawn on August 21, 1863, Quantrill and a force of more than 300 men descended on the pro-Union town of Lawrence. At least 180 men and boys were shot or burned to death; executions were staged in front of wives and children. Homes and public buildings were set afire. Union forces countered this atrocity with their own by forcing the evacuation of four pro-Confederate villages, which were then looted and burned. In October 1863, Quantrill and his men, disguised in Union uniforms, attacked and killed 90 federal soldiers at Baxter Springs, Kansas. Eventually the Raiders were forced south where the group was divided into smaller units. Quantrill had a history of quarreling with his superiors and lost the support of some of his men. He was killed by Union forces in Kentucky in 1865. Quantrill’s Raiders may have been the most vicious fighting force in the Civil War. His use of lightning raids and withdrawals was later used to great effect by the James brothers and other notorious outlaws of the American West.