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Civil War in Kansas

Reproduction Civil War uniforms on display at the Kansas Museum of History, TopekaThe nation is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Although Kansas has no Civil War commission, numerous resources and events will observe this sesquicentennial from 2011 to 2015.

Kansas committed regiments and soldiers to the Union cause. The Civil War touched the state in many ways including Quantrill's raid on Lawrence in 1863 and the Battle of Mine Creek in 1864.

 

 

 

Background

15th Kansas CavalryKansas entered the Union as the 34th state on January 29, 1861. Less than three months later, on April 12, Fort Sumter was attacked by Confederate troops and the Civil War began. In Washington rumors were afloat that President Abraham Lincoln was to be kidnapped or assassinated. James H. Lane, a senator from Kansas, recruited 120 Kansas men who were in the city and organized them into the "Frontier Guard." For nearly three weeks they were billeted in the White House to protect the president.

Most Kansans strongly favored the cause of the Union. Governor Charles Robinson at once began recruiting troops for the Union armies, and Senator Lane returned from Washington to do the same. Before the war ended the federal government issued several calls for troops, asking Kansas for a total of 16,654. More than 20,000 "Jayhawkers" enlisted, however, and the state contributed 19 regiments and four batteries to the Union forces. Although many of these volunteer soldiers hailed from states other than Kansas, this was a remarkable showing for an infant state with only 30,000 men of military age. Kansas soldiers suffered nearly 8,500 casualties.

Grand Army of the Republic in 1914In 1914 Memorial Hall was opened in downtown Topeka in memory of the state's members of the Grand Army of the Republic. Veterans participated in the transfer of the state's battle flag collections from the Kansas State Capitol to the new hall, which became the home of the Kansas Historical Society until 1995. more on Kansapedia

From Our Collections

Kansas Memory, online digital archives

Civil War battle flags

Civil War guidons

Civil War hat

Civil War saber and revolver

Civil War valentines

Quantrill flag

Educational materials

Bleeding Kansas and the Civil War, guided tour, Topeka

The Civil War Comes to Kansas: Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence, Read Kansas! lesson

The Civil War Comes to Kansas: The Battle of Mine Creek, Read Kansas! lesson

"War for the Union and for Freedom!": Recruitment of Civil War Volunteer Regiments, Read Kansas! lesson

Exhibits

Kansas Museum of History, Topeka

Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site, Pleasanton

Civil War-related sites

Online exhibits

Keep the Flag to the Front: Battle Flags of Kansas

Willing to Die for Freedom

Online articles

Civil War Valor in Concrete: David A Lester and the Kinsley Civil War Monument(PDF)

General Blunt's Account of His Civil War Experience

Kansas and the Centennial of the Civil War

Resources

Civil War military records

Civil War in Kansas bibliography