New book from ABA captures true story of early Civil War protectors

They were known in Kansas as the Frontier Guard and were led by James Lane, an attorney "free-state" advocate and U.S. senator.

To fellow "westerner" Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, they became indispensable as a group of 116 men who protected the new, quickly embattled, 16th U.S. president from a Confederate kidnapping and assassination plot in the early days of the country's tumultuous Civil War.

Now for the first time, the Frontier Guard's historic story is told in "The 116: The True Story of Abraham Lincoln's Lost Guard," a new book from Ankerwycke that will engage Civil War buffs and fascinate others who appreciate the rich and violent tapestry of this era of U.S. history.

Written by lawyer James P. Muehlberger of Kansas City, Mo., "The 116" is a definitive account of the Frontier Guard, which played a critical role in protecting Lincoln immediately following the successful April 1861 Confederate assault on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The group from Kansas, their stories lost to history, served as Lincoln's protectors for only a month, but they are largely credited for providing a line of defense for the White House until Union forces could mobilize and move to Washington, D.C.

Based on original sources discovered at the Library of Congress, "The 116" explores the lives of the 116 Kansans and particularly Lane, a charismatic leader of "free state" forces in Kansas. Beyond its narrative of Washington events, the book paints a bloody and provocative portrait of the "civil war" between free-state and pro-slavery forces that tore Missouri and the Kansas Territory apart in the years immediately preceding the Civil War - a precursor to the national conflict that was about to break out.

Muehlberger's first book, "The Lost Cause: The Trials of Frank and Jesse James," was praised by The New York Times as a story that is "equal parts violent melodrama and meticulous procedural, wrapped in vivid packages with enough bloody action to engage readers enthralled by tales of good versus evil." Muehlberger, a partner with Shook, Hardy & Bacon, has more than three decades of experience successfully defending class actions and complex litigation.

Ankerwycke, launched in December 2014, is the consumer-oriented imprint of the American Bar Association.

Published: Mon, Dec 21, 2015