John Brown 1856

A Statement by Capt Brown concerning the Battle of Osawatomie

Source: Kansas Memory Archives
Copy Left: this work is free of copyright;
Transcribed: by ObscureAudioHistory

Sept. 7, 1856

Early in the morning of 30th Aug /56 the enemys scouts approached Osawatomie from the West within one mile and a half. At this place my son Frederick (who was not attached to my force) had lodged with some four other young men from Lawrence, and a young Mr Garrison from Middle Creek. The scouts led by a pro-Slavery preacher named White shot my son dead in the road while he supposed them to be friends (by what I can learn). At the same time they butchered Mr Garrison, and badly mangled one of the young men from Lawrence who came with my son leaveing him for dead. This was not far from Sunrise. I had stopped over night about 2 1/2 miles off and about one mile from Osawatomie. I had no organized force with me, but had some 12 to 15 new recruits with me who were called to leave prepareing their breakfast and follow me into Osawatomie when this news was brought me. As I had no means of knowing (correctly) the force of the enemy I placed 12 of those recruits in a log house hoping we might be able to defend the town. I then gathered up some fifteen more scattering men who had guns, and started in the direction of the enemy. After going a few rods I could see the enemy approaching the town in line of battle about 1/2 a mile off on a hill West of the village. I then gave up all idea of doing more than to anoy them from the timber near the town which was filled with a thick undergrowth; but had no time to recall the 12 men placed in the log house and so lost their assistance in the fight. At the point above named I met with Capt Cline a very active young man) who had with him some 12 or 15 mounted men and persuaded him to go with me and the scattering men I had with me into the timber; on the South shore of the Osage or Meridsien a little to the North West from the village. Here the men numbering not over thirty in all were directed to scatter, and secrete themselves as well as they could; and await the approach of the enemy. This was done in full view of the enemy who saw the whole movement, and had to be done with the utmost haste. I believe Capt Cline and some of his men were not even dismounted in the fight; but cannot say positively. When the left wing of the enemy had approached to within common riffle shot we commenced firing; and very soon threw the Northern branch of the enemys line into disorder. This continued some 15 or 20 minnets which gave us an uncommon opportunity to anoy them. Capt Cline and men soon got out of amunition; and retired across the river. After the enemy rallied we kept up our fire untill by the [illegible] of one and another we had were dwindled down to seven or eight. We then retired across the river; and hid ourselves; or left for a distance. We had one man killed from Capt Clines Co in the fight; a Mr Powers. One of my men a Mr Patridge was killed in crossing the river. Two or three of the thirty who took part in the fight are yet missing; and may be lost or prisoners. Two were wounded in the fight vis Dr Updegraff, and a Mr Collis. I cannot speak in too high terms of them; and of many others I have not now time to name. I with one of my best men were each of us struck by partially spent shot from the enemy in the comencement of the fight; but were only bruised. The one I mention is one of the missing men. The loss of the enemy as we learn by all the different statements of their own; as well as our people; was some 31 or 32 killed; and from 40 to 50 wounded. After burning the town to ashes and killing a Mr Williams they had taken; whom neither party claimed; they took a hastey leave; carrying off their dead piled in 3 waggon. They did not attempt to cross the river nor to search for us; and have not since returned to look over their work. I give this in great haste; and in the midst of constant interruptions. My 2nd son was with me in the fight and got off unharmed with me; after it was over. This I mention for the benefit of his friends. Old preacher White I hear boasts of having killed my son. Of course he is a Lion.

Lawrence K T 7th Sept 1856