Senator and General James H. Lane.

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Aug 25, 2012
I thought we could use a soldier and politician in the Soldiers, Politicians, and Other Men forum. I will leave it to other forum members if James H, Lane should also be called an "Other Man". Regardless if you love Lane or hate Lane you will have to admit he was an interesting person. So Let us look a a quote from him. "It would not wound my feelings any day to find the dead bodies of rebel sympathizers pierced with bullet holes in every street and alley of Washington. Yes, I would regret this, for I would not like to witness all this waste of powder and lead. I would rather have them hung, and the ropes saved! Let them dangle until their stinking bodies rot and fall to the ground piece by piece." I take it Senator Lane was not overly fond of rebel sympathizers. I am not sure some rebel sympathizers did not feel the same way about Lane.

So was Senator Lane a political general or was he due to his experience during the Mexican-American War was Lane a general with at least some military experience? James Lane had been a Congressman from Indiana and was elated Senator from Kansas. So it would appear he was popular in both Indiana and Kansas. He was also termed the commander of the Free State Army during "Bloody Kansas". So between his experience during the the War in Mexico and his leadership of the Free State Army can we consider him a military man as well?

During the Civil War Lane was appointed a brigadier general of volunteers. We might have to discuss if he was an effective general. As a general some people believe he hurt the Union cause as much as helped it. Still it can not be disputed that he helped to spearhead the use of Black troops. Perhaps he should be best remembered for that. Lane did shoot himself in the head so we will never know how much impact he would have had in the years after the Civil War.

Some historians see Lane as a hero and others see Lane as a villain. Most would have to agree that he was a colorful gentleman. Perhaps a tainted hero?