Partisan Rangers

Grant's Tomb

Corporal
Joined
Apr 4, 2020
In his 20s after the War of 1812, Turner Ashby organized an informal company of cavalry called the Mountain Rangers that became part of the 7th Virginia Cavalry. When the war began, Ashby and his troopers were assigned to the Virginia Militia under Jackson's command. The success of the Valley campaign was due to Ashby's reconnaissance and screening, but Jackson criticized him for the lax training and discipline of his men
 

Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
In his 20s after the War of 1812, Turner Ashby organized an informal company of cavalry called the Mountain Rangers that became part of the 7th Virginia Cavalry. When the war began, Ashby and his troopers were assigned to the Virginia Militia under Jackson's command. The success of the Valley campaign was due to Ashby's reconnaissance and screening, but Jackson criticized him for the lax training and discipline of his men
This is pretty interesting and it's all new to me. I have not studied Virginia history in any depth.
 

Stone in the wall

2nd Lieutenant
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Location
Blue Ridge Mountains, Jefferson County WV
In his 20s after the War of 1812, Turner Ashby organized an informal company of cavalry called the Mountain Rangers that became part of the 7th Virginia Cavalry. When the war began, Ashby and his troopers were assigned to the Virginia Militia under Jackson's command. The success of the Valley campaign was due to Ashby's reconnaissance and screening, but Jackson criticized him for the lax training and discipline of his men
Jackson on Ashby's death; As a partisan officer I never knew his superior, his daring was proverbial.......
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
The linked article is a fun read, but there are quite a few inaccuracies in it. It should be read for entertainment, but not for historical facts. The most glaring error I saw stated that Anderson was killed in Centralia. Actually, Centralia is where he committed his most notorious group murder. He executed a number of unarmed union soldiers on the railroad platform there. He was, indeed, ambushed using his own tactics against him, but that happened near present day Orrick, Missouri--then known as Albany.

The theory that he was traveling to Washington to assassinate Lincoln always gets repeated. Anyone who actually knew the truth has long since died. Most historians believe he was working his way east in hopes of surrendering with Lee. He knew he would not be permitted to surrender in Missouri. I feel pretty confident that Frank James would have backed up the surrender theory. He was with Q. in Kentucky.

Yeah I don't think the writer is a student of CW history, but inaccuracies and speculations it still hits home some facts. Mainly how much Quantrill and other true colors showed, and it wasn't gray or soldiers of the Stars & Bars. And the theory of Quantrill out to assassinate Lincoln has always been a curious one.

I've always been frustrated by so many Missourians, and Southerners in general really, being in awe of Missouri Bushwhackers when they were nothing but a disgrace when taken as a whole. Sure there were some bona fide patriots of the cause in the ranks, but the evidence is overwhelming that the majority were bandits. The true CW Missouri heroes were Jo Shelby, John Marmaduke, and many, many others, yet a bunch of bandits with many in the ranks who didn't care what side someone was on if they had something they wanted, and had a scalping and mutilation fetish get all the glory when they shouldn't.

Here's a couple better researched articles on the matter. Though the Quantrill-Lincoln stuff does creep back in.



On a side note, you can't tell me the Bushwhackers didn't enjoy hunting down moonshiners, and sample their products....
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
In his 20s after the War of 1812, Turner Ashby organized an informal company of cavalry called the Mountain Rangers that became part of the 7th Virginia Cavalry. When the war began, Ashby and his troopers were assigned to the Virginia Militia under Jackson's command. The success of the Valley campaign was due to Ashby's reconnaissance and screening, but Jackson criticized him for the lax training and discipline of his men
Excellent point. If memory serves me right the early 12 th Va cavalry were also under Ashby.
Ol’ Jack was a hard man to please for sure! Lol
 

Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Yeah I don't think the writer is a student of CW history, but inaccuracies and speculations it still hits home some facts. Mainly how much Quantrill and other true colors showed, and it wasn't gray or soldiers of the Stars & Bars. And the theory of Quantrill out to assassinate Lincoln has always been a curious one.

I've always been frustrated by so many Missourians, and Southerners in general really, being in awe of Missouri Bushwhackers when they were nothing but a disgrace when taken as a whole. Sure there were some bona fide patriots of the cause in the ranks, but the evidence is overwhelming that the majority were bandits. The true CW Missouri heroes were Jo Shelby, John Marmaduke, and many, many others, yet a bunch of bandits with many in the ranks who didn't care what side someone was on if they had something they wanted, and had a scalping and mutilation fetish get all the glory when they shouldn't.

Here's a couple better researched articles on the matter. Though the Quantrill-Lincoln stuff does creep back in.



On a side note, you can't tell me the Bushwhackers didn't enjoy hunting down moonshiners, and sample their products....
I wouldn't agree that "so many Missourians, and Southerners in general" are in awe of Missouri Bushwhackers. However, the bushwhackers are very interesting characters to study. They were all individuals, just like you and me. Some of them were very, very bad players.

Your response suggests to me that you have bought into a number of generalizations and characterizations that have been too broadly applied. For example the "scalping and mutilation fetish" applies to Anderson's band of guerrilla fighters, and should not be universally applied to every bushwhacker. Nor has it ever been glorified. In fact, everyone except Anderson's band was appalled by it. I write from a spot about three blocks away from where Anderson came to meet Price. Anderson's men had the scalps of Centralia militia men decorating their horse trappings that day. No one glorified that. Several of Anderson's victims from the Rawlings Lane ambush are buried in our city cemetery. No one glorified that ambush. However, I will give plenty of honor to the guys who fought such an effective fighting retreat towards Boonville, even after their captain had abandoned them. They held Anderson's much larger force off until they could be reinforced.

The James brothers are examples of characters who are interesting to me. Jesse was full of blood lust, and a follower of Little Archie Clements. Frank Went to Kentucky with Quantrill near the end of the war while Jesse went to Texas. Jesse was a punk criminal, but with a talent for self promotion. Frank eventually turned away from the outlaw life and tried hard to become a respectable citizen. Whether or not he ever truly achieved respectability is questionable, but he did become something of a celebrity. There were dozens--maybe hundreds-- of guerrillas and they were all individuals. They were certainly divisive characters, but they weren't all evil. The real history is much more complicated, and it's much more interesting than most people realize.
 

Booner

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
May 4, 2015
Location
Boonville, MO.
Yeah I don't think the writer is a student of CW history, but inaccuracies and speculations it still hits home some facts. Mainly how much Quantrill and other true colors showed, and it wasn't gray or soldiers of the Stars & Bars. And the theory of Quantrill out to assassinate Lincoln has always been a curious one.

I've always been frustrated by so many Missourians, and Southerners in general really, being in awe of Missouri Bushwhackers when they were nothing but a disgrace when taken as a whole. Sure there were some bona fide patriots of the cause in the ranks, but the evidence is overwhelming that the majority were bandits. The true CW Missouri heroes were Jo Shelby, John Marmaduke, and many, many others, yet a bunch of bandits with many in the ranks who didn't care what side someone was on if they had something they wanted, and had a scalping and mutilation fetish get all the glory when they shouldn't.

Here's a couple better researched articles on the matter. Though the Quantrill-Lincoln stuff does creep back in.



On a side note, you can't tell me the Bushwhackers didn't enjoy hunting down moonshiners, and sample their products....
With all due respect, I think you need a better understanding of what the war was like in Missouri before you make your judgements. If the South had won the war, there would be schools here named after Wm. Quantrell. For the Missourians of the southern persuasion, he and his men were their only hope against the outrages heeped upon them by the Kansas Jayhawkers and other Union troops. I've got a pretty lengthy database of the men who rode with Quantrell and overwhelmingly they joined up with him to revenge things that happened to their families by Union raiders. The famed Lawrence Raid was one of revenge for what the Union had done to some of the guerrilla women. Many of these men were from very good Missouri families, that were interrelated, (better than 40 percent ), so in a very real sense the men who rode with Quantrell were family, trying to protect their homes and kinfolk. The problem is, most people don't understand this about how the war was conducted here in Missouri. It was a war that was fought at the most primitive level by both sides. The state lost a third of it's population; whole counties were laid waste that makes Shermans March to the Sea look like a romp in the park.

I read the two links you provided, and found there to be a number of factual errors in both of them, so I consider them a rather poor choice as to how they handled their subjects. If you want to read a well written history regarding Quantrell, read Edward Leslie's book, "The Devil Knows How To Ride." So many histories written about the guerilla war in Missouri are strongly biased one way or another. In my opinion, and I've read everything I could get my hands on on the topic, Leslie's book is probably the closest thing to the truth written so far. And if you want a better understanding of the motivations of the bushwhackers, read "Bushwhackers: Guerrilla Warfare, Manhood, and the Household in Civil War Missouri" by Joseph Beilein.

I don't consider myself to be pro-guerrila. All of my direct ancestors fought for the Union, although my gg grandfather, who was a Union man, had his farm burned out by KS Jayhawkers. I'm also distantly related to the James family (yes, that James family), and I have a first cousin who's gg Uncle was Moses Huffacker who rode with Capt. Anderson. But I do find the bushwhacker to be fascinating.
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
With all due respect, I think you need a better understanding of what the war was like in Missouri before you make your judgements. If the South had won the war, there would be schools here named after Wm. Quantrell. For the Missourians of the southern persuasion, he and his men were their only hope against the outrages heeped upon them by the Kansas Jayhawkers and other Union troops. I've got a pretty lengthy database of the men who rode with Quantrell and overwhelmingly they joined up with him to revenge things that happened to their families by Union raiders. The famed Lawrence Raid was one of revenge for what the Union had done to some of the guerrilla women. Many of these men were from very good Missouri families, that were interrelated, (better than 40 percent ), so in a very real sense the men who rode with Quantrell were family, trying to protect their homes and kinfolk. The problem is, most people don't understand this about how the war was conducted here in Missouri. It was a war that was fought at the most primitive level by both sides. The state lost a third of it's population; whole counties were laid waste that makes Shermans March to the Sea look like a romp in the park.

I read the two links you provided, and found there to be a number of factual errors in both of them, so I consider them a rather poor choice as to how they handled their subjects. If you want to read a well written history regarding Quantrell, read Edward Leslie's book, "The Devil Knows How To Ride." So many histories written about the guerilla war in Missouri are strongly biased one way or another. In my opinion, and I've read everything I could get my hands on on the topic, Leslie's book is probably the closest thing to the truth written so far. And if you want a better understanding of the motivations of the bushwhackers, read "Bushwhackers: Guerrilla Warfare, Manhood, and the Household in Civil War Missouri" by Joseph Beilein.

I don't consider myself to be pro-guerrila. All of my direct ancestors fought for the Union, although my gg grandfather, who was a Union man, had his farm burned out by KS Jayhawkers. I'm also distantly related to the James family (yes, that James family), and I have a first cousin who's gg Uncle was Moses Huffacker who rode with Capt. Anderson. But I do find the bushwhacker to be fascinating.

Yeah I ain't got nothing wrong with my perception of them.

Here's what Missouri could've done to avoid Union wrath, which at the end of the pro-Southern Missourians brought it on themselves.
1. Failed to recognize they were a minority compared to the pro-Union Missourians not counting German immigrants.

2. "Bleeding Kansas." Whole thing could've been avoided, along with the hatred born on both sides of the border because of it. Both sides plenty guilty of atrocity, but yeah Missouri kind of started it, which is why you had nutcases like Jim Lane being glorified and followed into places to burn like Osceola as well as being elected to office. Missouri bit off more than it could chew politically before the war, then walked off a cliff in 1861. Never would've had such vicious Kansas hatred of Missouri if "Bleeding Kansas" never happened along with them Union raiders.

Being surrounded on three sides by Northern States, and so far removed from any possible serious Confederate attempt to help them, if Missouri had had any sense they would've declared neutrality like Kentucky and stayed out of it. Even after the St. Louis Crisis, and Bleeding Kansas it could've been done just to have Federal troops keep Kansas Jayhawkers in line.

That's Missouri getting involved causing the bloody mess in the first place, as for all the Bushwhackers joining up and roaming the countryside in revenge for wrongs against their families, all those hundreds of men, would've been a WAY better service in the Confederate Army in Missouri regiments. Missouri produced some of the best cavalry officers of the war, but the only thing that hampered them more than lack of ammunition, was lack of Missouri men. Marmaduke and Shelby's commands could have produced superior results if those hundreds, sometimes near thousands, of Bushwhackers joined up in the army instead of going around making fools of themselves. And I'm not talking about Bushwhackers side by side with Confederate troops as what happened a couple of times, I mean as disciplined soldiers.

But they insisted on being a dang rabble doing more damage to Missouri and the Confederacy, giving the Yankees all the propaganda ammunition they could dream off. One band of Bushwhackers did more damage to the Confederacy than any large lost battle.

But I'd be happy to read the book you suggested.
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
Noted the entire confederacy.brought it upon themselves by not noticing they were a minority to the north. Missouri bit off no more then could chew then the entire Confederacy did....


They were idolized in their day, because they were often the only ones fighting back. It remains they were probably the most effective troops of the war, in essentially company sized bodies continually held down regiment sized bodies. I find any notion that a force that probably never exceeded 1000 men at any one time would have been more effective in conventional service as rather dubious......as it would have freed up many times that number for the Union army.

It also marks the transition from the outdated sensibilities of the south to modern warfare where terms such as unrestricted warfare, total war, insurgency and counter insurgency have become accepted. Though to degree that southern sensibility was a myth, as it had been little different in the ARW, and certainly we had little qualms in engaging previously in total war against Native Americans.
 

Tom Hughes

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2019
Location
Mississippi
The group I've researched, the 9th Louisiana Battalion of Partisan Rangers, commanded by Col. James Wingfield, fought at the Battle of Baton Rouge and was successful on several fronts agitating the Union army. Their men were from picked up from veterans of infantry from various Louisiana units.
This is a great topic.
With depleting men in the ranks, Partisan Rangers were seen as a means to at least cause disruption and agitation among an overwhelming force of Union soldiers. It was the best way to slow their progression and disrupt supply.
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
The group I've researched, the 9th Louisiana Battalion of Partisan Rangers, commanded by Col. James Wingfield, fought at the Battle of Baton Rouge and was successful on several fronts agitating the Union army. Their men were from picked up from veterans of infantry from various Louisiana units.
This is a great topic.
With depleting men in the ranks, Partisan Rangers were seen as a means to at least cause disruption and agitation among an overwhelming force of Union soldiers. It was the best way to slow their progression and disrupt supply.
It was the most effective use of manpower possible. A band of highly mobile men ranging over an area, forces the opposition to have to garrison anything of value over the same size area.
 

bayouace

Corporal
Joined
Nov 22, 2020
Location
Louisiana
I have tried to research, rather unsuccessfully, Nelson Fennel's Morgan County Partisan Rangers out of Decatur, Alabama. Can anyone give me more fruitful research direction for that unit my GGF served in? Thanks.
 

ucvrelics

Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama
I have tried to research, rather unsuccessfully, Nelson Fennel's Morgan County Partisan Rangers out of Decatur, Alabama. Can anyone give me more fruitful research direction for that unit my GGF served in? Thanks.
A lot of these AL were rolled in to PR regiments. What was your GG grandfathers name?
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
Thank you.
Simon B. (Sikes) Miller
DOB: May 3, 1843
Born: Decatur, Alabama
All Alabama Archives could give me was a pay authorization dated Nov.22, 1863, signed by Nelson Fennel, for Sept and Oct service. I appreciate your help.
Great research project for the experts here to look at. I am sure someone will come up with new clues. Thanks
 
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