About 800 pro-slavery men attacked the antislavery town of Lawrence, Kansas on May 21, 1856. The invaders aimed to destroy the buildings of Lawrence, not to get into a fight with the citizens.
The people of Lawrence did not resist, and much of their town was blown up or torched. The main target was the Free State Hotel, a center of antislavery actions in the region. Ironically, it was the source of the only casualty of the day. One of the attackers was hit on the head by falling debris from the hotel and died on the spot.