Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Civil War Photo Friday: Jesse James the Confederate guerrilla

Welcome to Civil War Photo Friday! This weekly series will highlight interesting photos from the Civil War era.

You’ve almost certainly seen this image of Jesse James. It was taken in during a guerrilla raid on Platte City, Missouri, on 10 July 1864, when Jesse was only sixteen. This is the gun-toting youth Jimmy Rawlins and his friends meet in an early chapter of A Fine Likeness.

While Jesse and his brother Frank weren’t famous yet, they were members of the guerrilla band of Bloody Bill Anderson and therefore I couldn’t ignore them in my book! I wanted to use Bloody Bill, who needs no fictional embellishment to make him a good character for a horror novel, and so I got the James boys too. Interestingly, although they only have a minor role in the first book, they have begun to take over my series. Something about fame. . .

Jesse James is shown in typical bushwhacker gear. He’s carrying at least three pistols and wears a loose “bushwhacker shirt” modeled on the garb of the Western plainsmen. It has deep pockets for holding spare cylinders for the revolvers. Although this one is rather plain, many were elaborately embroidered by female relatives or sweethearts.

Like other bushwhackers, Jimmy and his friends all vie with one another to have the nicest guerrilla shirt. Sadly Jimmy’s girlfriend isn’t very good at embroidery. He’s a bit touchy on the subject and a crack shot so don’t make fun of his shirt.

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