quantrill-william-portrait

Organized by William C. Quantrill, Quantrill’s Raiders was a band of Confederate irregulars that employed guerrilla tactics to ambush Union army patrols and terrorize Northern sympathizers, primarily in Kansas during the Civil War. [Wikimedia Commons]

Quantrill's Raiders - Facts

1861 - 1865

Key facts about Quantrill's Raiders.

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  • In December 1861, William C. Quantrill deserted from the Confederate Army and began assembling a band of irregulars that used guerilla tactics to ambush Yankee patrols and terrorize Northern sympathizers.
  • By 1862, William C. Quantrill’s feared band of followers was known as Quantrill’s Raiders.
  • On September 7, 1862, Quantrill’s Raiders stormed Olathe, Kansas. While holding the citizenry captive, they proceeded to loot the town’s businesses and homes, after killing six men.
  • On October 17, 1862, after killing thirteen Union soldiers, Quantrill’s Raiders rode unmolested into Shawneetown, Kansas where they murdered several citizens, pillaged and burned the community’s businesses and homes, and then rode out with seven prisoners who they later executed.
  • On August 21, 1863, as many as 450 of Quantrill’s Raiders plundered Lawrence, Kansas, burning nearly one-quarter of the town’s buildings (including all but two businesses), robbing the bank, and looting every home. Adding to the barbarity of their deeds, the raiders murdered between 160 and 190 men and boys, many of whom were unarmed.
  • On October 6, 1863, Quantrill’s Raiders murdered about 80 men accompanying a wagon train led by Major General James G. Blunt near Baxter Springs, Kansas.
  • In 1864, Quantrill’s Raiders dispersed into splinter gangs led by George Todd and “Bloody” Bill Anderson.
  • On September 27, 1864, former members of Quantrill’s Raiders participated in the Centralia Massacre that resulted in the execution of twenty-four unarmed Union soldiers, and the ensuing Battle of Centralia that culminated with the death of another 123 Federals.
  • Quantrill’s Raiders included infamous figures such as William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson and the James and Younger brothers who led a notorious gang of outlaws after the war.
  • As the Confederacy’s fortunes worsened in late 1864, William C. Quantrill reassembled some of his Raiders and reportedly hatched a plot to travel to Washington to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.
  • On May 10, 1865, a band of Federal irregulars surrounded William C. Quantrill and what was left of his Raiders in a barn in Spencer County, Kentucky. In the ensuing gun battle, Quantrill was shot and captured.
  • William C. Quantrill died in a Louisville hospital on June 6, 1865, at the age of twenty-seven.
  • Following the Civil War, some of Quantrill’s Raiders were captured, imprisoned, and later pardoned. Others continued their life of crime under the leadership of Archie Clement.
  • Following the Civil War, part of Quantrill’s Raiders morphed into the James-Younger gang, notorious for their high-profile bank and train robberies during the 1870s.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Quantrill's Raiders - Facts
  • Coverage 1861 - 1865
  • Author
  • Keywords quantrill's raiders
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 29, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 3, 2021
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