William Quantrill, the man who gave Frank and Jesse James their first education in killing, dies from wounds sustained in a skirmish with Union soldiers in Kentucky.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, the 24-year-old Quantrill became the leader of an irregular force of Confederate soldiers known as Quantrill’s Raiders.
By 1862, Union forces had established control over Missouri, but Quantrill’s Raiders continued to harass the northern army and unguarded pro-Union towns over the next three years. Quantrill and other guerrilla leaders recruited their soldiers from Confederate sympathizers who resented what they saw as the unfairly harsh Union rule of their state. Among those who joined him was a 20-year-old farm kid named Frank James. His younger brother, Jesse, joined the guerrilla force.
In May 1865, Quantrill was badly wounded in a skirmish with Union forces, and he died on this day in 1865.