Lawrence K.T. Feb 14 59
My dear friend,
Yours of Jan 27th & that of Feb 2 enclosing $10 are recd. & with much thankfulness-
Before this can reach you will have learned something of the disaster that befel the last expedition form this place with fugitives, But you are not likely to get the facts just as they were & I will give you those of most importance. The party consisted of 13 col’d people (11 fugitives & 2 free by birth) with 3 of our citizens, with two teams (horses & wagons) The col’d people were put across the river some 4 miles above this place about 2 oclock in the morning, the teams crossed the ferry about 2 hours later & took the river road, after taking in the passenger they took the road toward Oscaloosa & about an hour after entering a sort of defile between the bluffs & “the timber” found themselves surrounded by a party of armed & mounted men. They surrendered without a blow & were taken over into Missouri, the col’d people, both free & slaves, have been shipped for the New Orleans market, One of the white men was released & returned to Lawrence the others, Dr John Doy & son, are now in close confinement in Platte City Jail awaiting their trial in charge of stealing a share from Weston, (one of the 13)
This party of Kidnappers consisted mostly of men from Western Mo. But no less than 5 of our own citizens were among them. One of them the Postmaster of Lawrence Doct Garvin It is certain that the movement was betrayed by a professed friend, our suspicion is strongly fixed on several persons.
The whole affair was managed perhaps as well as it could be with the obstacles in the way. The great trouble was the want of funds. This hindered us from sending them forward as fast as they arrived, as before has been done, & so permitted such a large number to accumulate here; then too many persons were admitted to the councils & applied to for funs & other aid & wagons, horses, provisions, drivers for the teams, men to cut away the ice & get a skiff across the river etc etc
Great rewards were offered, spies sent out & men hired in this place to watch & aid in recovering the run away property We find that every movement was known to the enemy who were gathered at Lecompton the evening before the starting of the train.
The conclusion to be drawn from the whole occurrence is that this business must either be done in quite another way or abandoned! This last expedition has cost a few persons over $200 & there is further expense yet to be met.
Brown started about the same time as the other party & with about the same number of “chattels” He went via Topeka was surrounded by pursuers & besieged in a log cabin near Holton three days afterward – A party went from Topeka & a few persons from this place to his relief - By a strategem he made his escape with the live stock just as the enemy were about to reinforce the siege & the U.S troops were moving to their aid. Of his subsequent movements we are yet ignorant & in great anxiety, though confident that he will ultimately succeed.
Feb 17. Well three days of intense excitement have passed , two U.S. marshalls have been siezed in our city & their possee about 50 strong each here been disarmed & the chain broken from the links of their prisoners free-state men of Linn & Bourbon Co.
The Legislature having passed a bill of genl. amnesty peace is now expected
Ephraim Nute to unidentified, February 14, 1859, Kansas Memory, https://www.kansasmemory.org/item/4933