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Red Legs

   In the later part of 1861, Generals James G. Blunt and Thomas Ewing Jr. organized a body of scouts to operate on the Missouri border, mainly to give warning of impending guerrilla raids into Kansas and if possible to fight them off. Led appropriately by  'Captain' William  S. Tough, they also immediately were to acquire an evil reputation that from all accounts was thoroughly deserved.
   Wearing sheepskin leggings dyed red, these men had become the offspring of the notorious 'Jay-hawkers', whose exploits as professional thieves, robbers, murders and arsonist, attacking anyone who had sympathy for the South and not just it's cause, had forced the Federal government to 'civilize' them by inscripting it's members into the ranks of the Union Army. Thus under General Order Number 3, Jennison's Jay-hawkers had  become the Seventh Kansas Volunteer Cavalry.  Charles Jennison and George Hoyt, the inspirational trio for the original Jay-hawkers, found it increasingly difficult to accept the ideology of Civility and thus resigned their commands. In a letter C.R. Jennison penned to the Leavenworth Conservative, explaining why he was no longer in the army, he wrote:

   "I am informed officially that Gen. R. B. Mitchell uses my regiment principally in the capacity as kidnappers... I do not enlist to return slaves or protect rebels but to crush slavery and to kill rebels, and while in the service, I gave a good deal of attention to these two points. When the Government adopts that policy, I shall be again a soldier; until that time, I shall be a citizen."

   With his zeal for plunder and free from any ties with the army, it is assumed that he would become a prime candidate for some form of involvement with the Red Legs, who were now practicing the same methods of dealing with rebels as he espoused. Not only Jennison but others who had deserted the Seventh would welcome a renewed association with their like-minded. Although no concrete evidence exists of his involvement, as it's members were not predisposed to writing letters or keeping diaries and as an organization, not the kind of military body that kept records or made reports, there can be little doubt that he had not only become a member but one the leaders of an organization often called, "The Forty Thieves".
 Take me back!