James Henry Lane (Union general)

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For the Confederate general with the same name, see James Henry Lane (Confederate general).
James Henry Lane
James Henry Lane.jpg
United States Senator
from Kansas
In office
April 4, 1861 – July 11, 1866
Preceded by (none)
Succeeded by Edmund G. Ross
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1853 – March 3, 1855
Preceded by Samuel W. Parker
Succeeded by William Cumback
Personal details
Born (1814-06-22)June 22, 1814
Lawrenceburg, Indiana, US
Died July 11, 1866(1866-07-11) (aged 52)
Leavenworth, Kansas, US
Spouse(s) Mary E. Lane
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1846 - 1848, 1861 - 1862
Rank Union army brig gen rank insignia.jpg Brigadier General
Battles/wars Mexican-American War
American Civil War

James Henry Lane also known as Jim Lane (June 22, 1814 – July 11, 1866) was a partisan during the Bleeding Kansas period that immediately preceded the American Civil War. During the war, Lane served as a United States Senator and as a general who fought for the Union. Although reelected as a Senator in 1865, Lane committed suicide the following year.

Biography[edit]

The son of Amos Lane, Lane was born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana,[1] where he practiced law when he was admitted to the bar in 1840. During the Mexican-American War, he successively commanded the 3rd and 5th Indiana Regiments. He was a U.S. congressman from Indiana (1853–1855) where he voted for the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

He moved to the Kansas Territory in 1855. He immediately became involved in the abolitionist movement in Kansas, and was often called the leader of the Jayhawkers, a leading Free Soil militant group. After the Free Soilers succeeded in getting Kansas admitted to the Union in 1861 as a free state, Lane was elected as one of the new state's first U.S. Senators, and reelected in 1865. During that time he presided over the Topeka convention.

Civil War[edit]

During the American Civil War, in addition to his Senate service, Lane raised a brigade of "Jayhawkers" known as the "Kansas Brigade", or "Lane's Brigade", composed of the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Kansas Volunteers. He led this mixed force into action against pro-Southern General Sterling Price of Missouri in the Battle of Dry Wood Creek as Price began an offensive early in the War to retake Missouri for the pro-Confederate state government that had been deposed by pro-Union forces around St. Louis. Lane lost the battle but stayed behind and attacked pro-South pockets in Missouri behind Price. His raids culminated in the Sacking of Osceola, in which Lane's forces killed at least nine men, then pillaged, looted, and then burned the town; these events inspired the novel "Gone to Texas" by Forrest Carter, which was the basis for the 1976 Clint Eastwood movie "The Outlaw Josey Wales". Lane was severely criticized for his actions in Osceola, most severely by General Henry Halleck, then Commander of the Department of Missouri. Of their actions, he would state: "The course pursued by those under Lane and Jennison has turned against us many thousands who were formerly Union men. A few more such raids will make this State unanimous against us." Thus, Lane's Brigade was ended.[2]

On December 18, 1861 Lane was appointed brigadier general of volunteers. On Mar 21, 1862, his commission was canceled in culmination of an argument over whether a sitting U.S. Senator could concurrently hold the rank of General.[3] However on April 11, 1862, he was reinstated as brigadier general of volunteers with the confirmation of the U.S. Senate. During 1862–1863, he served as recruiting commissioner for the State of Kansas.

On October 27–29, 1862, U.S. Senator Jim Lane recruited the 1st Regiment Kansas Volunteer Infantry (Colored) who debuted at the Skirmish at Island Mound. They are the first African-American troops to fight in the war, a year before the 54th Massachusetts. In their first action, 30 of their members defeated 130 mounted Confederate guerrillas.[4]

Lane was the target of the event that became the Lawrence Massacre (or Quantrill's Raid) on August 21, 1863. Confederate guerillas could be heard shouting, "Remember Osceola!" Though Lane was in residence in Lawrence at the time, he was able to escape the attack by racing through a cornfield in his nightshirt.

In 1864 when Sterling Price invaded Missouri, Lane served as a volunteer aide-de-camp to Samuel R. Curtis, commander of the Army of the Border. Lane was with the victorious Union forces at the battle of Westport.

Death and legacy[edit]

Lane had survived many hardships in his life, including fighting in the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. But on July 1, 1866 he shot himself[5] in the head as he jumped from his carriage in Leavenworth, Kansas. He was allegedly deranged, depressed, had been charged with abandoning his fellow Radical Republicans and had been accused of financial irregularities. He died ten days later near Leavenworth, Kansas, a result of the self-inflicted gunshot. Edmund G. Ross was appointed to succeed him in the Senate.

The following places were named in honor of the late senator:

In Popular Culture[edit]

  • Jim Lane appears as a character in Wildwood Boys (William Morrow, New York; 2000), a biographical novel of Bloody Bill Anderson by James Carlos Blake.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "James Henry Lane". NNB. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  2. ^ James H. Lane - Grim Leader in the Free-State Fight
  3. ^ Eicher p.338
  4. ^ Border War Timeline, 1861 - 1865: The Civil War
  5. ^ "OBITUARY.; James H. Lane, United States Senator from Kansas.". The New York Times. July 4, 1866. Retrieved 13 June 2009. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Samuel W. Parker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 4th congressional district

March 4, 1853 – March 3, 1855
Succeeded by
William Cumback
United States Senate
Preceded by
(none)
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Kansas
March 4, 1861 – July 11, 1866
Served alongside: Samuel C. Pomeroy
Succeeded by
Edmund G. Ross