Aftermath

In the months following the surrender of the main Confederate armies, many people ached to settle scores before the rule of law was reestablished. Some could not convince themselves that the war was over, and many guerrillas did not want to give up their freebooting ways. This was especially true in more remote regions such as western Texas, the Indian Territory, Missouri, and Arkansas, which for months after the war were awash with former guerrillas, deserters, and also marauding Indians. Rural areas even in more populous states remained hazardous, and the Union occupation had trouble clamping down on the hordes of armed and experienced fighters wandering through the region, looking for food and shelter and not afraid to rob or kill to get them.

Partisan Rangers

Bridges were prize targets of Irregular fighters, since their destruction halted train traffic for days or even weeks until they could be rebuilt. In regions such as western Virginia and Missouri, with rough terrain and numerous streams, the Union army had to reserve a large number of personnel to protect the many bridges. [LoC)

This Missouri gravestone stands as mute testimony to the savagery of guerrilla warfare. The killing of under-aged civilians was rare, but not unknown; in this case, however, genealogical research revealed that the boy was actually 17 years old at his death, not ten. Stories of guerrilla exploits and atrocities alike became exaggerated in local folklore. (Courtesy State Historical Society of Missouri)

The Union command offered amnesty to all but the most notorious Southern guerrillas if they surrendered, although with the proviso that they were not free from civil prosecution. Many took the offer, but a few holdouts - either through loyalty to the Cause or for fear of civilian courts - refused. A few others actively helped to track down fellow guerrillas and encourage them to surrender; the very fact that these intermediaries themselves were still alive convinced their comrades to come in. They returned to an uneasy peace; most had had their farms burned and families driven away, and there was always the fear of vengeance at the hands of the Unionists who had once been their victims. Union guerrillas bad a rather easier prospect of settling into postwar life. The law considered them legitimate fighters, and only Southerners hated them. There were a few vengeance killings, but for the most parr Union guerrillas and Jayhawkers re-entered civilian life with no more difficulty than that which always faces returning soldiers prone to what we now call "post-traumatic stress disorder."

On both sides, however, and particularly in the Border States, some discovered that their acquired skills of hit-and-run raiding, hiding out in the woods, and robbing stagecoaches, trains, and banks had provided excellent training for later criminal careers. The most notorious outlaws of the immediate postwar period-Cole Younger, his brothers, and Frank and Jesse James - were all former guerrillas. There is little evidence that they were persecuted after the war, but years of merciless combat under the tutelage of Quantrill and Anderson had hardened them.

As after any civil war, animosities continued to divide the populace long after the fighting stopped, and flared up again on more than one occasion.

This Missouri gravestone stands as mute testimony to the savagery of guerrilla warfare. The killing of under-aged civilians was rare, but not unknown; in this case, however, genealogical research revealed that the boy was actually 17 years old at his death, not ten. Stories of guerrilla exploits and atrocities alike became exaggerated in local folklore. (Courtesy State Historical Society of Missouri)

Former Confederate officers organized the Ku Klux Klan in 1865 to keep control of the South in the hands of Southern whites by fighting both African Americans and Northern "carpetbaggers" moving to the South to invest and exploit. Assisted for a A time by Nathan Bedford Forrest, the KKK soon took on many aspects of a guerrilla campaign, threatening people with death if they did not leave and destroying homes and businesses. They also killed or injured more than 2,000 blacks in Louisiana during the weeks leading up to the 1868 presidential election, to keep African Americans from exercising their new right to vote. Forrest and other members of the South's gentee! society soon distanced themselves from the KKK, arguing that these attacks oniy made the occupation worse, and President Grant all but destroyed the first-generation Klan in the early 1870s.

The Civil War had allowed family and personal feuds to escalate to new levels of violence, and this bitterness was slow to heal. One of the last incidents that can be traced to the Civil War was the feud between the "Baidknobbers" and the

"antiBaldknobbers" in the 1880s. In the Ozark hill country of southern Missouri, returning Confederates found that they had lost their farms for failure to pay taxes and that Unionists now owned their land. A new state constitution forbade former Confederates from voting; they soon formed an angry underclass, and tensions ignited into violence in 1883. Former Unionists founded the Baldknobber vigilante organization, so named because they met atop treeless hills called bald knobs where they could keep an eye on the countryside and speak in secret. The Baidknobbers fought against criminals and former Rebels, rarely distinguishing between the two; dozens were killed and hundreds more injured or driven from the area. The Southerners soon formed the antiBaldknobbers, and fighting between the two factions continued until a crackdown on both sides by Governor Marmaduke (ironically, a former Confederate cavalry raider.) In 1889 the Christian County court hanged three Baidknobbers for the murder of two of their enemies. It might be said that they were the last casualties of the American Civil War.

Bloody Bill Anderson

Jesse James used skills learned while serving under "Bloody Bill" Anderson to become an accomplished outlaw after the war, claiming - like many ex-Confederates - that he was driven to lawlessness by Federal persecution. He became a hero among former secessionists for his attacks on banks and trains, which were widely seen as owned by the same rich Northerners who had caused the war. In this reversed image he has three Colt Navy pistols and a typical, although undecorated, 'guerrilla shirt." (LoC)

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