Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Topeka Kansas, November 13th 1864; Finally Home
On November 13th, the remainder of the 2nd Kansas Militia returned to Topeka, a little over two weeks since they had been paroled in Newtonia Missouri. The citizens of Topeka had lived through a series of emotional highs and lows over the course of the last month: the threat of the Confederate invasion of Kansas, the enthusiastic response to Governor Carney's call to arms, the interminable wait to see if the Rebel Army would break through Federal Forces at Westport. The joy and utter relief of finding out the Rebels had been defeated and Shawnee County was saved, only to find out that their brave boys and men had been savaged at the Big Blue River. The slow passing of the hours waiting for word of who lived and who died, the tears of happiness and sorrow as the facts of war slowly trickled in.
The mood was somber as the wagons came into view, family and friends nervously awaiting the arrival of their loved ones. Questions would be hard to ask, and the answers would be harder yet. Most of the men had suffered injuries that could be seen, and many were to feel their effects the rest of their lives; but the events they had witnessed would be little discussed or even thought of. The best thing would be to try and fall back into the patterns of their old lives as quickly as possible, preparing the fields for the upcoming season or getting caught up on the work that had been neglected while they were absent.
Shawnee County was now safe from the threat of encroaching slavery and the unsavory elements that came along with it. As its citizens quickly got back to the business of living, it would only be slowly and painfully that the stories of the men who fought to preserve it would emerge, for in their minds there could be no glory in their sorrowful tales, only pity.