Massacre at Baxter Springs The true-life adventures of a cavalry trooper who finds himself in the middle of a guerilla war. Caught between Quantrill's guerillas and James Blunt, Union general who unwittingly leads his cavalry into a deadly ambush. The narrative describing the battle is based on previously unpublished Wisconsin archival material.
After conducting many raids in Kansas, including the massacre at Lawrence, Quantrill decided to winter in Texas.
Along with other partisans, he headed south on the Texas Road and captured and killed two Union teamsters who had come from a post called Baxter Springs. Quantrill decided to attack the post and divided his force into two columns, one under him and the other commanded by a subordinate, David Poole.
Poole and his men proceeded down the Texas Road, where they encountered Union soldiers, most of whom were African Americans. They chased and attacked the Union troops, killing some of them before they reached the earth and log fort.
After the Union survivors reached the fort, the Rebels attacked, but the garrison, with the help of a howitzer, fought them off.
Quantrill's column moved on the post from another direction and chanced on a Union detachment escorting Major General James G. Blunt and wagons transporting his personal items from his former headquarters of the Department of the Frontier at Fort Scott to his new one at Fort Smith.
Most of this detachment, including the band and Major Henry Z. Curtis (son of Major General Samuel R. Curtis), was murdered, but Blunt and a few mounted men returned to Fort Scott.
Blunt was removed from command for failing to protect his column, but he was soon restored. Touted as a massacre by some, Baxter Springs was another of the events that characterized the vicious Kansas-Missouri border warfare.
Result(s): Confederate victory
Location: Cherokee County
Campaign: Occupation of Indian Territory North of the Arkansas River (1863)
Date(s): October 6, 1863
Principal Commanders: Lieutenant James B. Pond and Major General James G. Blunt [US]; Lieutenant Colonel William C. Quantrill [CS]
Forces Engaged: Detachments from three regiments and an escort [US]; Quantrill's Raiders (approx. 400) [CS]
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