A greater percentage of Civil War soldiers were mobilized in Kansas than in any other state, according to historian Will Haynes. Haynes provided a vivid account of a difficult period of Kansas history.

Kansas had experienced a decade of border fighting prior to the war, and Kansans believed they were particularly vulnerable. Some 20,00 Kansans fought in the war despite being poorly armed and supplied. They fought bravely in numerous skirmishes and in battles at Wilson Creek and Westport. A black combat unit was raised by Jim Lane, the state’s controversial first senator. Although the war was hard on families left behind, some merchants profited from the war.

Haynes is Director of Engagement and Learning at Watkins Museum and holds a Masters and Doctorate in History from the University of Kansas.