Bloody Dawn, The Story of the Lawrence Massacre, by Thomas Goodrich, published by the Kent State University Press, was in the third printing when I bought it. It tells the story through detailed research of the raid on Lawrence, Kansas, in the 1860's during the Civil War. This raid was very uncivil and conducted by Quantrill with a force of 400 men. Arriving in Lawrence practically undetected, they proceeded to decimate the town with very little opposition.
This raid was the Missouri bushwhackers answer to all the raids by the Jayhawkers on the border with Missouri. The jayhawkers were regularly going into the border towns and killing, stealing, and setting fire to the buildings and crops of the Missourians, because the bushwhackers were doing the same to Kansas all in the name of slavery-anti-slavery. Kansas was determined not to become a slave State and helped the black people escape with the Underground Railroad. And the people of Missouri accepted slavery and were upset by the Kansas politicians freeing the slaves. So, the cross-border raids continued right up into the Civil War. Quantrill finally got together around 400 men and sneaked into Kansas and was going to put an end to the raids on Missouri.
The account in the book details the house-by-house slaughter and burning of the houses of the influential Kansans who were blamed most for the dastardly and cowardly attacks across the border.
It was a bloody and gory attack with the Lawrence men being shot, knifed, and burned to death, and some of the women were casualties, too. There was advance notice of Quantrill, but due to mix-ups and plain sloppiness of the men in charge, Lawrence didn't get the message until it was too late. There were about 150 casualties and about 50% of the houses burned. Of course, the people of Lawrence who were left in the militia and the Federal troops took off on the trail of Quantrill after the disaster but couldn't quite catch up with the main body due to the tactics of Quantrill, and he escaped, never to be heard of again, practically. There were bushwhackers who came back into Missouri later up the Sni Valley supposedly led by Quantrill after General Order No. 11 was put forth by General Ewing. This order had the troops clearing out all the people along the border in Missouri and they chased "Old Pap", General Price, and his Rebel troops out of Missouri, too, after having almost reached St. Louis.
Quantrill was wounded in one of the last battles of the Civil War in Kentucky, dying a month or so later at the age of twenty-seven.
I was a little bored by some of the book as the author enumerated the different men killed and how they died. It took several chapters to cover that. The narrative skips back and forth between the years that made it a little confusing in the beginning. Despite this, I enjoyed reading about the raid, even though it was bloody, and recommend it to those who are interested in Kansas and Missouri history and the Civil War, not to mention Quantrill. There was very little said about John Brown, but he was a little earlier, and I'm sure his anti-slavery stance may have carried over to the raid on Lawrence.