The Final Months

By 1865, many cavalry raiders were dead or leading tattered remnants of their earlier forces. Some of the best partisan ranger leaders had also been killed, and the guerrillas had descended into a stare of semi-savagery. In Virginia,

LtGen Jubal Early ordered Harry Gilnior to bring together all the guerrilla bands for an attack on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to stop Sheridan from transferring troops to Grant, but the other bands would not recognize Gilmor's authority; spies tracked him down, and he was captured on February 5.

On February 21, McNeill's rangers approached Cumberland, Maryland on the morning after a snowstorm; they overpowered three Union pickets and obtained the countersign, then moved into town and captured MajGens George Crook and Benjamin Kelley. On March 2, Sheridan mopped up the remains of Early's army and moved to join Grant. Mosby was now truly alone in northern and t western Virginia. He captured nearly all of the Loudon Rangers, a company of Virginia Unionists who had dogged him for two years, but on April 21 he resigned himself to the inevitable and disbanded his unit. As news of Fee's surrender spread others started doing the same; one by one the bands of guerrillas and partisans who had harried Union forces throughout the war broke up and went home.

The mercurial William Quantrill -a former schoolteacher, of all thing; - fought on both sides during "Bleeding Kansas" in order to increase his share of loot, but once the war started he became one of The South's most successful guerrillas. He would occasionally assist the Confederate army, but never subordinated himself to its command structure. He lost his authority over his own original band to one of his officers in May 1864, and thereafter led only a small following. (Courtesy State Historical Society of Missouri)

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