Quantrill, William Clarke (1837–1865), a Confederate guerrilla leader. For his raiding and robbing along the Kansas-Missouri border during the Civil War, he earned the epithet “the bloodiest man in American history.” His most notorious action was a raid he led on Lawrence, Kansas, August 21, 1863, in which his men burned the town and killed some 150 townspeople. That same year, on October 6, his troops routed a Union detachment at Baxter Springs, Kansas, and executed all captives.
Quantrill was born in Canal Dover (now Dover), Ohio. He taught school briefly before moving to Kansas in 1857. He then went to Utah, where under the name Charley Hart he was a professional gambler. Quantrill returned to Kansas in 1859 and became a petty thief. At the start of the Civil War, he raised a company of Confederate irregulars that included Cole Younger and Frank James. He was declared an outlaw by Union authorities in 1862. Later that year, he and his men were accepted into the regular Confederate army, and he was commissioned a captain.
In 1864 Quantrill lost control of his band, and it split into several groups. He went to Kentucky, where in May 1865 he was wounded and captured while leading a raid near Taylorsville. He died of his wounds a month later.