June 18, 2024

LAWRENCE – Kansans all know about William Quantrill’s 1863 attack on Lawrence which killed more than 150 people in cold blood. Kansans don’t know as much about the aftermath of the raid. Kansas University archeology student Ann Raab is conducting research and digging at Missouri sites for evidence of the impact of General Order No. 11. In retaliation for the raid and to create a wasteland that would eliminate support and supply for Quantrill’s guerrillas, the Union army, full of angry Kansans, turned four counties in Missouri into a 2,500-square-mile zone of devastation that Missourians called “The Burnt District.” Raab said she’s found plenty of evidence that the Union army used the torch unsparingly. Deb Barker, Franklin County Historical Society, said General Order 11 that, resulted in one the largest forced movement of people – except for Indian deportations – in U.S. history. The counties, once among some of the more prosperous of Missouri’s counties, were so ruined that they never recovered. Raab’s research is featured in the March-April Archaeology magazine.

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