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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 bitter 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. Quantrell, without looking at the newcomer, appeared yet to be analyzing him. Suddenly he spoke up: “I have seen you before.” “Where?” “Nowhere.” “Think again. I have seen you in Lawrence, Kansas.” The face was a murderer’s face now, softened by a woman’s99 blush. There came to it such a look of mingled fear, indignation and cruel eagerness that Gregg, standing next to him and nearest to him, laid his hand on his revolver. “Stop,” said Quantrell, motioning to Gregg; “do not harm him, but disarm him.” Two revolvers were taken from his person and a pocket pistol—a Derringer. While being searched the white teeth shone in a smile that was almost placid. “You suspect me,” he said, so calmly that his words sounded as if spoken under the vault of some echoing dome. “But I have never been in Lawrence in my life.”
Quantrell was lost in thought again, with the strange man—standing up smiling in the midst of the band—watching him with eyes that were blue at times and gray at times, and always gentle. More wood was put on the bivouac fire, and the flames grew ruddy. In their vivid light the young man did not seem quite so young. He had also a thick neck, great broad shoulders, and something of sensuality about the chin. The back of his skull was bulging and prominent. Here and there in his hair were little white streaks. Because there was such bloom and color in his cheeks, one could not remember these. Quantrell still tried to make out his face, to find a name for that Sphinx in front of him, to recall some time or circumstance, or place, that would make obscure things clear, and at last the past returned to him in the light of a swift revealment. “I have it all now,” he said,100 “and you are a Jayhawker. The name is immaterial. I have seen you at Lawrence; I have seen you at Lane’s headquarters; I have been a soldier myself with you; we have done duty together—but I have to hang you this hour, by G—d.” Unabashed, the threatened man drew his breath hard and strode a step nearer Quantrell. Gregg put a pistol to his head. “Keep back. Can’t you talk where you are? Do you mean to say anything?”
The old smile again; could anything ever drive away that smile—anything ever keep those teeth from shining? “You ask me if I want to talk, just as if I had anything to talk about. What can I say? I tell you that I have been hunted, proscribed, shot at, driven up and down, until I am tired. I want to kill somebody. I want to know what sleeping a sound night’s sleep means.” Quantrell’s grave voice broke calmly in: “Bring a rope.” Blunt brought it. “Make an end fast.” The end was made fast to a low lying limb. In the firelight the noose expanded. “Up with him, men.” Four stalwart hands seized hi............
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