On Sunday, September 22, 1861, Kansas Jayhawkers, led by James Lane, a radical abolitionist, raided the town of Osceola, Missouri. No military advantage was gained; it was a senseless two-day spree of looting, arson and drinking, just another chapter in the sordid guerrilla war along the Kansas-Missouri border. Several pro-Southern citizens were executed in the town square.
When the raid was over, Lane's jayhawkers looted the town of everything they could carry and burned the rest. The once prosperous town of 2500 was reduced to just 200 inhabitants and never again would have as many people as it did before the raid.