Around mid August 1856, the Missouri-Kansas militia began aggressive attacks and killings around the area of Osawatomie. About 150 Missourians camped not far from the town expecting to capture it by surprise. While they were very quick, the Free-State men were quicker, and the camp was captured after total defeat of the Missourians. It was not anticipated that another attack would soon be made, but on the night of August 29th a band of about 400 Missourians started from Bull Creek for Osawatomie. Commanded by General John William Reid, they intended to reach the town about midnight and make and strike in the daylight.
On the morning of August 30th Frederick Brown, son of abolitionist John Brown, left Osawatomie before sunrise to return to Lawrence. While on his way he ran into Reid and a