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William Hutchinson to Andrew Horatio Reeder

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Lawrence, Kansas

Sept. 7, 1856

Hon. A.H. Reeder

Dear Sir

Yours of Sept ult came a few days since and it gave me much satisfaction so learn so fully your present movements relative to Kansas affairs.  I will not  [XXX]  very faithful to you, as my writing movements are already chartered for the most urgent calls and “Randolph” chronics all that passes as public interest in Kansas.  If the ruffians did not get my letters you will see it all in the Times.  I have lost more than half of them the last month or two.  Everyday found a fresh chapter; glowing with great interest, and if we fail to present a record of “passing events” as they occur they will never be half written. Would that I had the leisure to picture Kansas as it is giving all her chivalric sons the merit they deserve.  But as all have a part to act, Our more active duties upon the battlefield must and will supercede all others.  Men we have “conquered a peace.”  We will devote the next and most quiet the era of our being


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to giving the public a history of our [crying] wrongs. The war continues. I can tell you but little that has not been sent the papers, and at this distance. I cannot yet tell how much is lost.  Both of my partners have been prisoners, but Geo. W. U. was released yesterday.  That was a part of the concessions they made us at Lecompton. When the surrounding [hills] [men] teaming with our gallant and we felt sure of a sudden victory.  Just as we men prepared to commence the attack the full force of the U.S. [Dragoons] numbering some 600 came out at [XXXX]  themselves as a left flank to our cavalry.  We could do no more – They [ran] there to present a collision, and owned [XXX]  lead “the game all our own [way] if we would only be moderate  and not act rashly.”  We got all we asked – all we went for but not their blood, our magnanimity was prepondered and such men as Jones & W. Wood still live.

Mr. Wilder [our] partner has not been heard from since [he] was seized near Leavenworth almost two weeks ago and


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we fear for safety. We shall make an effort in a day or two, to open the roads to Leavenworth for our teams. We have had not provisions from there, no teams of any kind for three weeks and we are in great need of supplies. We have applied to both the civil and military authorities for relief but we got no satisfaction. We are strong enough to go there at any time and shall go.  The people will no longer submit. We have ordered one regiment today to move through on the new route to Nebraska line to remove “obstructions” in the way as news has just reached us that the road was blockaded and twelve of our emigrant wagons and fifty emigrants.  We have nearly a thousand men in the field in all but they have never been brought together same is in command, but does not give full satisfaction.  There seemed a [XXXX]  until he arrived and in the absence of any other military men [by] [general] absent he was placed at the head.

Robinson and others will have their trial tomorrow, unless the cases are permitted by default or are by request by plaintiff continued.


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We shall several of us go there carrying small arms only, to watch the movements and aid them as [XXXX] or otherwise if required. They feel very hopeful for their release, and I am sure they are deserving the sympathy of all Christian People. Woodson is acting as Gov. and [his] men are odious to us than ever[.]  He impatiently uses his accidental power to Tantalize and provoke as to aggression. [He] will promise to [kind] of safety unless we will first pledge ourselves to obey the laws. While we [XXXX] repudiate them he is willing to look on with indifference and see us brutally sacrificed by a mob. It is only our physical strength that saves us our [honor]. If the preponderance should turn against us our whole people must be slain and the country desolated.  Congress does nothing for us. The North does nothing for present [perils]. Our salvation that of our cause – ( perhaps of the entire Union) rests alone in our own strong arms. We are ready to stand out awhile but not longer than a month, or until


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cold Winter creeps on and drives us from out camp life. The expense of this [XXXX]  under the strictest economy – is from three to four hundred dollars per day. Everybody is from and will be left from [XXXX]. What can feed us till another harvest? If we are left  [unenlisted] and employment furnished for our laborers all will soon be well. But such a siege is serious to our enterprise, our [manners], our morals, our National Character. Many are disheartened and would leave, had they had the means of returning to their friends – others prefer to live and die here if necessary to establish free institutions in Kansas. What do you know of Geary?  We knew but little of him, but have heard that he is in St. Louis. There is hope against hope that he may be able to disband the outlaws and restore harmony to that [XXXX] around us. Capt. Brown has just come in from Osawatomie and says he thinks about 30 Ruffians [XXX] at the fight then on 30th ult.


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The election of Fremont will be an epoch of Redemption to Kansas, we hope, still it will not relieve our present. We regard it as a distant [justice] State – a better World – that will have no power to atone for the giant wrongs that have brought to this dying condition.  You can never Legislate civilization or human Sympathy into a border ruffian.  What of those that are all ready here care for the edicts of a new President? We can shoot them; but humanize them never.  Gen. Richardson has resigned and placed as commander in consequence of the insubordination of their army. [Stringfellow] sustains the filibuster [Margin] and cheers on the [XXX] scalpers.  This has produced a division in their ranks and many have left in consequence for Missouri.  The last is all used and we are today moneyless. We have formed a mutual loan fund in which all our business men Subscribe and thus we shall buy our bread stuff on credit with the condition that the first money received by our Central Comm shall go to pay the same. We hope there is some near.

Yours &c Wm. Hutchinson


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