frightened horse. Two trembled, and trembling is the first step towards kneeling. They had not talked any save among themselves up to this time, but when they saw Blunt busy with some ropes, one spoke up to Quantrell: “Captain, just a word: the pistol before the rope; a soldier’s before a dog’s death. As for me, I’m92 ready.” Of all the seven this was the youngest—how brave he was. The prisoners were arranged in line, the Guerrillas opposite to them. They had confessed to belonging to Jennison, but denied the charge of killing and burning. Quantrell hesitated a
moment. His blue eyes searched each face from left to right and back again, and then he ordered: “Take six men, Blunt, and do the work. Shoot the young man and hang the balance.” The oldest man there, some white hair was in his beard, prayed audibly. Some embraced. Silence and twilight, as twin ghosts, crept up the river bank together. Blunt made haste, and before Quantrell had ridden far he heard a pistol shot. He did not even look up; it affected him no more than the t
apping of a woodpecker. At daylight the next morning a wood-chopper going early to work saw six stark figures swaying in the river breeze. At the foot of another tree was a dead man and in his forehead a bullet hole—the old mark. QUANTRELL HANGS SIX MEN ON THE SNI “After Quantrell hanged these men, the only time I was ever scared during
the war,” relates Captain Trow, “I had left camp one night to visit a lady friend of mine, and a company of Federals got after me, and in the chase I took to the woods and it was at the place where Quantrell had hanged these men. My saddle93 girth broke right there, but I held on to my horse. I thought the devil and all his angels were after me, but I made it to the camp.” The March South in 1862 WINTER had come and some snow had fallen. There were no longer any leaves; nature had nothing more to do with the ambuscades. Bitter nights, with a foretaste of more b
itter nights to follow, reminded Quantrell that it was time to migrate. Most of the wounded men were well again. All the dismounted had found serviceable horses. On October 22, 1862, a quiet muster on the banks of the Little Blue revealed at inspection nearly all the old faces and forms, with a sprinkling here and there of new ones. Quantrell counted them two by two as the Guerrillas dressed in line, and in front rank and rear rank there were just seventy-eight men. On the morrow they were moving southward. That old road running between Harrisonville and Warrensburg was
always to the Guerrilas a road of fire, and here again on their march toward Arkansas, and eight miles east of Harrisonville, did Todd in the advance strike a Federal scout of thirty militia cavalrymen. They were Missourians and led by a Lieutenant Satterlee. To say Todd is to say Charge. To associate him with something that will illustrate him is to put torch and powder magazine together. It was the old, old story. On one side a furious rush, on the other panic and imbecile flight. After a four-mile race it ended with this for a score: Todd, killed, six; Boon Schull,
five;98 Fletch Taylor, three; George Shepherd, two; John Coger, one; Sim Whitsett, one; James Little, one; George Maddox, one; total, twenty; wounded, none. Even in leaving, what sinister farewells these Guerrillas were taking! The second night out Quantrell stopped over beyond Dayton, in Cass County, and ordered a bivouac for the evening. There came to his camp here a good looking man, clad like a citizen, who had business to transact, and who knew how to state it. He was not fat, he was not heavy. He laughed a good deal, and when he laughed he showed a perfect set of
faultlessly white teeth. He was young. An aged man is a thinking ruin; this one did not appear to think—he felt and enjoyed. He was tired of dodging about in the brush, he said, and he believed he would fight a little. Here, there and everywhere the Federals had hunted him and shot at him, and he was weary of so much persecution. “Would Quantrell let him become a Guerrilla?” “Your name?” asked the chief. The recruit winced under the abrupt question slightly, and Quantrell saw the start. Attracted by something of novelty in the whole performance, a crowd collected.