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Eye Witness account of the death of Capt. W.T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson

Discussion in 'The South & Western Theaters' started by Borderruffian, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 1st Lieutenant

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    Dear Sir:
    WE HAVE ALREADY FORWARDED TO YOU A HASTY OFFICIAL REPORT of “Cob” Cox’s expedition against the notorious and fiendish bushwhacker Wm. T. Anderson and his rebel crew, but feeling satisfied that there are facts and circumstances connected with the death and capture of Bill Anderson that would be more gratifying to you and perhaps to the public, I have determined to forward you a more detailed account of the expedition and its results which you can have published or not as you may think proper.
    The command left Hamilton on Monday the 24th with detailed portions of six companies of the 33rd Regiment Enrolled Missouri commanded by the following company officers to wit: Capts. J. Woodruff, Napoleon B. Brown and Leabo; Lieuts. Samuel Brown and Levi Cline, all of Daviess County, and Lieut. Orem of Caldwell County; also a portion of two other companies, one commanded by Capt. Jones of Cameron and Lieut. James Mylan commanding company of Caldwell home guards organized under Order No..107, in all some 175 men.
    We camped at Knoxville that night. Next morning learning that some 75 or 100 bushwhackers were in camp at or near Millville, six or seven miles southeast of us, we marched directly there, with our whole force, except a small guard sent with the wagon train directly from Knoxville to Richmond.
    Lieut. Baker commanding company of the 31st Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia whom we joined at Knoxville was sent by a different route to learn the whereabouts of the enemy and report to us at Millville. We had not. been there more than 30 minutes before a messenger came from Lieut. Baker with the information that he had engaged the enemy some three miles east of us. We joined him on the double quick with the whole force along and found him in possession of one prisoner, a blacksmith and his tools, two horses and two guns.
    The lieutenant had come upon them shoeing their horses in the woods near their late camp. They were in small force and f\ed, all making their escape except as before stated. Their camp had moved the evening before as we suppose joining Anderson’s camp near Albany in the southwest corner of Ray County, where we engaged them as hereinafter stated.
    WE THEN MOVED TO RICHMOND AND ENCAMPED FOR THE NIGHT and rested the next day and recruited men’ and horses. We learned the whereabouts of the enemy: 200 of them had passed up the river the night before we got to Richmond just south of town in the bottoms, 120 the night we got there, and others we learned had moved their camps from Hanesville in Clay County and other points, all concentrating near Albany in the Missouri River bottoms.
    The next morning, 27th October, the entire force above stated and some 150 more of the 51st Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia under Maj. Grimes of Ray County were marched directly to Albany under the command of S.P. “Cob” Cox of Daviess County.
    We came across the rebel pickets some mile east of Albany in the road, 10 or 15 strong. Our advance guard drove them in and through Albany, which is situated in the Missouri bottoms at the foot of the bluffs. The whole command followed up and were dismounted in and south of the town, leaving the 4th man to hold horses. Except that our advance guard of Calvary, consisting of one company of some 40 men under the command of Lt. Baker of Knoxville, Ray County, was sent forward to engage and draw out the enemy.
    Our infantry was formed into company lines and marched forthwith into the open woods beyond Albany some 400 yards, and thrown into line of battle extending from a field on the north to a field on the south. Scarcely had the lines been formed when the enemy, who had also been drawn up in line of battle in Calvary force from two to three hundred strong some five or six hundred yards from our line, were engaged by our advance under Lieut. Baker.
    And onward came Bloody Bill and his followers in hot pursuit of our advance guard with such hideous J shrieks and fiendish yells that made the very woods ring for miles. Such was Bloody Bill’s mode of warfare. ‘Our advance retired to the rear of the infantry line, which opened the way for them.
    The enemy came on in full charge, yelling like Indians without firing a shot until they were within 75 or 80 yards of our line. Then the firing commenced on both sides and was kept up with great fierceness until the enemy came within 40 or 50 yards of our line.
    BLOODY BILL AND SOME FIVE OR SIX OF HIS ASSOCIATES IN CRIME came dashing considerably in the advance of their line and their chieftain Anderson, with one other supposed to be Lieut. Rains, son of rebel Gen. Rains, charged fearlessly through our lines and were both unhorsed close in our rear.
    Anderson fell dead upon the ground within 20 yards of our men, having received two balls in the left side of his head near the ear. The other raised and scrambled off into a field to our left, where he was found dead next day.
    The enemy, seeing their leader fall, could stand no longer but fled in wild confusion and returned no more. Our infantry stood firm and fought bravely throughout the contest. Many of the men and officers there deserve especial praise for their gallantry and cool bravery. The retreat of the advance guard to our rear caused a stampede of our horses behind but it was soon checked and did us but little damage.
    When the firing ceased, which did not last over 10 minutes before the enemy fled, our advance under Lieut. Baker came in front again and pursued the enemy some two miles, but fell further behind the farther he went.
    So the enemy was completely routed. We had four men wounded, three slightly. One James Mulligan, Daviess County, very severely received four balls, one entering the forehead, one through the hips, one through the arm and two fingers shot off; dangerously ill but yet alive. A brave and good man and most excellent soldier. We lost one horse dead on the field, one wounded and since dead.
    The enemy lost seven dead men, as stated by a prisoner and young wounded man of theirs, young Miller of Clay County, and some 10 or 12 wounded. But one fell immediately on the field. That was Anderson. Two more were found the next day close by.
    The same enemy passed through Millville early that night 25 miles from the battlefield. The battle was fought between two and three o’clock in the evening.
    We captured two fine horses in the fight, one supposed to be young Rains’ and the other Anderson’s. The infamous bushwhacker Bill Anderson rode a fine Iron Grey mare with a human scalp tied to the head stall of his bridle on the left rear. He came yelling and shooting and shot until he fell dead and when he fell he was making towards Capt. Woodruff of Daviess County who is another large man and was riding a large gray horse close behind the infantry carrying a flag in his hand.

    BLOODY BILL HAD FOUR REVOLVERS BUCKLED AROUND HIM AND TWO very large ones across his saddle. He was well dressed with rich, clothing. He had on a white wool hat with a long fine black plume in it; wore a fine net undershirt and over it one of fine black cloth most elegantly embroidered on the sleeves and breast; a fine blue cloth vest, and a close-bodied frock coat of excellent drab colored cassimere and pants of same.
    He had on his person a fine gold watch and chain and a silver one; $323 in gold and $273 in paper money besides some silver change and small paper currency and $18 in Confederate money.
    He also had his own likeness and another supposed to be his wife’s and in his pocketbook was also found a short memorandum which we suppose is from his wife, though he. passed himself off through this country for a single man.
    After going on to mention certain articles such as a dashing woman would fancy for dress and ornament and some toys for her babe, she winds up thus: ‘Your ever loving and obedient wife until death’ (signed) ‘Bush Anderson, At home Friday evening, April 20th, 1864.’ On the back of same was written: ‘Wm. T. Anderson, Bush Anderson, Grason County, Texas, April 20th, 1864, in pencil mark. Enclosed in this note was a small lock of fine dark chestnut brown hair.
    In his pocket was also found a receipt thus: ‘reed, of W.T. Anderson $360. (Signed) Presley Garvis.’ Also two orders thus: ‘Head Quarters Army of Missouri, Boonville 11 October, 1864. Special Order: Capt. Anderson with his command will at once proceed to the north side of the Missouri River and permanently destroy the North Missouri Railroad going as’ far east as practicable. He will report his operations at least every two days. By order of Maj. Gen (Sterling) Price.’
    And again: ‘To the officer in charge of the ferry boat: Capt. Anderson and his command will be crossed to the other side of the river after which the ferry boat will await orders on this side of the river. By order of Maj. Gen. Price.’
    Both of which there can be no doubt given are genuine and directed by Price. What now can our chivalrous friends of the South say in vindication of their boasted Missouri chieftain General Price: coming into our state under the Confederate flag, leading Missourians and commissioning bushwhackers, yea the infamous, cruel, fiendish Bloody Bill Anderson, for a long time a terror to honest men and women of Missouri.
    IN HIS POCKETS WERE ALSO FOUND TWO REBEL FLAGS, ONE ABOUT two feet long and 10 inches wide, another a small but very fine one some foot long and four inches wide, 12 stars on one side and 11 on the other and made of fine silk ribbon. On the middle stripe of which was written on one side, ‘Presented to Capt. Wm. T. Anderson by his friend M.L.R.’ and on the other, ‘Don’t let it be contaminated by Fed. hands.’ As if anything from the hands of such a man as Anderson could be disgraced or be made worse by mortal man. To-the proof of which we need only refer to the cold blooded, heartless and unfeeling butchery of our fellow men at Centralia, unarmed and helpless.
     
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  3. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 1st Lieutenant

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    Cont:

    We brought his body off the battlefield and gave it a decent burial in a good coffin, deposited in the extreme south side of the public grave yard in Richmond, marking his resting, place with a head and foot board. Not that we had any respect for him, for God knows we are unable to see how an honest man or woman in Missouri could. But because we respected ourselves and felt that after death his body was but the lifeless remains of a human being and could no longer harm this world and feeling that our cause is a just Holy one we could not forget that we were American citizens and should be guided by feelings of humanity and civilization. God grant that our countrymen in this sanguinary struggle may remember and not disgrace our Anglo Saxon bloom.


    From this the Ray County Missouri Historical Society at:http://www.raycountyhistoricalsociety.com/?p=458
     
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  4. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 1st Lieutenant

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    After the "Honorable" Burial of Anderson described above. This was reported by the citizens of Richmond Missouri.

    The federal troops took Anderson’s body to Richmond where a series of ghoulish photographs were taken. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Richmond and in the evening federal troops were said to have been seen urinating on his grave. The federals found flowers on the grave a few days later and road their horses over and over the grave in an attempt to hide it. Just a few years ago, a simple marker was placed on his grave in what is now called the Pioneer Cemetery in Richmond, Missouri.


    From:http://www.raycountyhistoricalsociety.com/?p=71

    Ahhhhh the war in Missouri.
     
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  5. Glen_C

    Glen_C Corporal

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    Thanks for continuing to post up these accounts and especially more internet sources. More than just a few of these ring a bell. At one point I had stumbled on a sword presented to Cox regarding Anderson's demise. One link comes back quickly and there may be an archive of photos on another site. I think it migrated from PBS to auction and then sold through Civil War Presentations (dealer)

    http://www.ha.com/c/press-release.zx?releaseId=1686
    http://historical.ha.com/common/view_item.php?SaleNo=6024&LotIdNo=1008&txtSearch=&hdnSearch=true
    (registration is free for that auction house and a lot of neat stuff passes through the catalogs there)

    Made the Road Show at PBS as well
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/archive/200304A46.html


    Really, the whole war was a bloody affair and tensions ran high on both sides, especially in Missouri.

    Cheers

    GC
     
  6. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Borderruffin,

    I fully concur with Glen_C's post above.

    This portion of the Civil War needs to be explored and by doing the hard research and posting of such, you're giving that part of the war a significant boost.

    Keep up the good work.

    Sincerely,
    Unionblue
     
  7. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Borderruffian....this stuff gets better and better. Wow--Grayson County, Texas! Scary! I didn't realize he had any kind of Texas connection (and I'm pretty sure my family didn't--they would have skedaddled sooner for Comanche County!)
     
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  8. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 1st Lieutenant

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    Nate, his brother Jim Anderson had his throat cut on the Capitol lawn in Austin by George W. Shepard in revenge for Jims killing of Ike Flannery in Missouri.
     
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  9. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Oh well.

    I guess I'll never look at the Capitol the same way :smile: Wish I'd known that when I had all those 4-H'ers running around eating picnic lunches!

    I'm gonna have to do more research on Reconstruction......
     
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  10. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 1st Lieutenant

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  11. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Ahhhhh. That explains it....they showed up after we decamped (Obviously October 1862 at the time of the Great Hanging). Otherwise I suspect I'd know more. Thanks for all the info!
     
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  12. Blockaderunner

    Blockaderunner Sergeant

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    I like the line:

    BLOODY BILL AND SOME FIVE OR SIX OF HIS ASSOCIATES IN CRIME
     
  13. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 1st Lieutenant

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    If your folks decamped in October of 62 and took the Texas Road thru IT from southwest Missouri into Arkansas and towards Ft Gibson IT and then onto Texas, there is a chance that they may have traveled under the escort of William T. Greggs Company of Missouri Partisan Rangers as far as Kentuckytown Texas where Gregg wintered until returning to Missouri shortly after New Year to consolidate with Coleman (then called Bud) Younger's Company of stay behinds in Jackson County Missouri. Gregg escorted several Missouri Family's into Texas fall and early winter of 62.
     
  14. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 1st Lieutenant

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    If you read the OR's and the period accounts there are alot of amusing one liners. But in studying Missouri, everything needs to be viewed with jaundiced eye and taken with a grain of salt. There was no middle ground or neutral stance in Missouri, you were Unionist or Secessionist, alot of people straddling the fence ended up on the wrong end of a Colt or a rope.

    Each side accused the other of vile acts (in both cases alot of the accusations had some grounds for truth) and villiany. The Constitution was effectively suspended in Missouri from 1861-65 and the military ruled. Rights of freedom of the press, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly were moot and surpressed.

    One of Fremonts first acts was to put Secession supporting or Southern Sympathizing News Papers out of print, presses were burned or confiscated type broken and scattered, editors arrested and jailed. Missouri was a night mare.
     
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  15. Blockaderunner

    Blockaderunner Sergeant

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    The war in Missouri and Kansas is certainly a subject I want to read more about. Any good book suggestions?
     
  16. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Oh, sorry. Decamped from Gainesville, Texas to Comanche Co.--and from Gainesville to somewhere in Kansas to hide out. I'll have to check on where. We pretty much scattered like quail!
     
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  17. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 1st Lieutenant

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    I'd start with War on the Western Border by Monaghan, Civil War on the Missouri-Kansas Border by Gilmore, and Black Flag by Goodrich.
     
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  18. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 1st Lieutenant

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    Bill Anderson:

    bill 2.jpg

    Death Photo:

    bill.jpg

    Headstone made possible by Alexander Franklin (Frank) James and Coleman "Bud' Younger well after the war.

    BloodyBillGrave.jpg
     
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  19. Lnwlf

    Lnwlf Brigadier General Moderator

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  20. mofederal

    mofederal Captain

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    It is nice to read this, and an interesting subject. I write this, knowing of Anderson, but it is still good to be able to read it. Thank you for bumping this.
     
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