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!

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Bushwhackers

It's the second day of the A to Z Challenge and so of course B is for bushwhackers!

Bushwhackers were Confederate guerrillas. They generally did not have an official position in the Confederate army and fought the war "on their own hook." They were especially rife in Missouri and Arkansas, where they burned bridges, tore down telegraph wire, ambushed Union patrols and supply wagons, and even attacked small towns.

One of the protagonists of my Civil War novel A Fine Likeness is teenaged bushwhacker Jimmy Rawlins. He and his friends cause trouble in Missouri until they meet up with the band of Bloody Bill Anderson, the most notorious bushwhacker of them all. Jimmy is fictional, but Bloody Bill was all too real.

This photo shows three of Bloody Bill's men, well equipped with Colt Navy revolvers and bottles of liquor. Number 2 is Dave Poole, who has a memorable scene in the novel at the Battle of Fayette.

B is also for the Battle of Boonville, the first battle in Civil War Missouri and one of the first anywhere in that war. While it only lasted twenty minutes, it had an important effect on the war west of the Mississippi. Hit the link to see an article I wrote about it.


Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

17 comments:

  1. great article on Boonville! I'd never even heard of that battle. So much information is geared toward "popular" battles like Antietam and Gettysburg that a lot of important events simply get lost. Great that you're highlighting the lesser known info!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're writing a book about a Bushwhacker? That's SERIOUSLY awesome. I love the Civil War (history major here), and think that sounds like a really awesome story!
    Happy A-Z blogging.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A FINE LIKENESS is already published. One of the protagonists is the leader of a small bushwhacker band. What's your historical focus? In university mine was the early Anglo-Saxon period. As you can see, I've wandered a bit away from that. :-)

      Delete
  3. Forgot to add, the only Civil War flash I wrote so far (and it needs expansion and rewrite) concerned the Allegeny Arsenal explosion.
    Arsenal Girls

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Once you've reworked it I'd be glad to give my two cents.

      Delete
  4. Ive heard the term bushwhacking before but I never knew where it came from. Thanks for sharing this!great A-Z post!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It appears to date to slightly before the war. It was a frontier term for ambush.

      Delete
  5. So they were more like rogue mercenaries? Without pay...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They got their pay from the locals! Many were simply bandits with a secondary political agenda.

      Delete
  6. The civil war era was amazing, but harsh. Wonderful post!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Can't wait to read the rest of your posts, I love learning about history :)

    Universal Gibberish

    ReplyDelete
  8. Interesting. I didn't realize how they operated. Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Who knew about the bushwhackers! I think I need to pick up A Fine Likeness for my dad. He loves Civil War books. Great post for B.
    A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

    ReplyDelete
  10. Again, I learned something new. I thought the word bushwhackers was coined in the old west.

    http://gail-baugniet.blogspot.com Theme: A World of Crime

    ReplyDelete
  11. always wondered where that word came from! thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great post! This kind of stuff really interests me. I love history and I served in the Army Reserve for eight years, so this is wonderful! Thank you for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi, I love stories about the Civil War. My dearly departed husband was a teacher of social studies in Middle School and we often talked about the War. Thank you for the interesting post.
    Best regards to you,
    Ruby

    ReplyDelete

Got something to say? Feel free! No anonymous comments allowed, though. Too many spammers and haters on the Internet.