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Attack on Osceola, Missouri


150 years ago on September 22, 1861, the town of Osceola, Missouri was attacked. At the time, the event didn’t draw much national attention and was later ignored by Civil War historians.

James Lane, a Jayhawker Chieftain, led a band of Kansans in an attack on the town. Over two days, most of the town’s structures were burned, and in the public square nine citizens were executed.

On September 22, 1861, Osceola’s population was between 2,000 and 2,500. Two days later, it was down to 183.

Fury over the event—over time—led to Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, Kansas on August 21, 1863. “Remember Osceola!” was shouted by William Clark Quantrill’s Confederate guerrillas during the attack.

After the event, Missouri farm boys and civilians joined the Missouri Partisan Rangers in order to defend themselves from the “tyrannical, murderous and criminal treatment” of innocent citizens.

The sacking of Osceola was the inspiration for the 1976 film “The Outlaw Josey Wales”, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood.

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  1. I have seen that movie but had no idea the history behind it. A lot of misjudgement happened in those days. 😦

  2. I think a lot of civilians were unwillingly put in harm’s way during the war. In the movie ‘Glory’, the colored Union soldiers were ordered to burn Southerners homes just because they were Southerners. It must have been terrifying.

  3. Thanks for sharing your research. Very interesting.

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