Discussion Union vs CSA Guerrilla

leftyhunter

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Has we know both sides actively used guerrilla warfare during the CW. There are differences how ever.
For the purpose of discussion a guerrilla does not wear a uniform or has was often the case in Mo wore captured enemy uniforms. Therefore cavalry raiders such has Morgan, Marmaduke and Shelpy do not count has guerrillas has long has they are in uniform.
Arguably the CSA had the most guerrillas vs the Union mostly in but by no means limited to Mo. I have not read any figure that gives a round number estimate of X amount of CSA guerrillas vs Y amount of Union troops and militia. Has a general rule it has been argued that it takes ten conventional troops to counter one guerrilla.
Based on the number of Union cavalry and a few Infantry regiments that where assigned to Mo (although often rotated out of Mo) plus the 10k men of the Mo State Militia (the only Union militia that was full time and paid for by the federal govt and fought mostly but not always in Mo) there where quite a few CSA guerrillas or has often referred to has"bushwackers".

Both sides used guerrillas to cooperate with conventional troops. For example Quantril provided an escort for recruiting commands in Mo and in AL Unionist guerrillas from time to time would fight alongside convention Union troops.
The Union could supply at least some guerrillas on a regular basis for example Gen. Dodge in Al could supply Unionist guerrillas and the US Navy supplied Unionist guerrillas in Fl and Ga and even sent an officer to form and lead the 2nd Fl cavalry USV.
Unionist guerrillas where arguably more successful in that by the late summer of 1864 they could sieze and hold areas of the CSA vs CSA guerrillas who could not.
Many guerrillas on both sides became guerrillas due to resentment of being drafted or conscripted by the other side.
Questions.
1. What side really had the most?
2. Which side more effectively supported their guerrillas?
2. Which sides guerrillas ultimately achieved the most good for their side?
Leftyhunter
 
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Patrick H

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Hey Lefty,
These are good questions. I'm not familiar enough with Union guerrillas to give knowledgable answers, but it will be interesting to see what our other members have to say.

A couple of ironies associated with the support of Missouri guerrillas: It seems like they could almost always get a meal, feed for their horses, or even the use of a fresh horse from sympathetic civilians, but could not get any official support from many of the Confederate generals (Price and Shelby being exceptions). It seems that a number of Federal actions intended to remove their support base only served to strengthen it. One notable example was General Orders Number 11, which, as you know, depopulated nearly four Missouri counties. The irony is that it left no loyal civilians in the countryside to report on guerrilla movements and it left a LOT of free-roaming livestock out in the woods, so I don't think they had any trouble finding meat in that region. The only Union guerrilla I know anything about was Harry Truman (real name Termain, I believe). His official support turned out to be very short lived because he produced no real results in terms of capturing or killing pro-southern guerrillas (that was his mission) and his murder of civilians in Chariton County quickly got him recalled and arrested. He was tried, but I don't believe he ever suffered any consequences. If he did, I'm unaware of them, and I don't know what ultimately happened to him.

I'll be interested in the responses of other readers.
 

leftyhunter

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Hey Lefty,
These are good questions. I'm not familiar enough with Union guerrillas to give knowledgable answers, but it will be interesting to see what our other members have to say.

A couple of ironies associated with the support of Missouri guerrillas: It seems like they could almost always get a meal, feed for their horses, or even the use of a fresh horse from sympathetic civilians, but could not get any official support from many of the Confederate generals (Price and Shelby being exceptions). It seems that a number of Federal actions intended to remove their support base only served to strengthen it. One notable example was General Orders Number 11, which, as you know, depopulated nearly four Missouri counties. The irony is that it left no loyal civilians in the countryside to report on guerrilla movements and it left a LOT of free-roaming livestock out in the woods, so I don't think they had any trouble finding meat in that region. The only Union guerrilla I know anything about was Harry Truman (real name Termain, I believe). His official support turned out to be very short lived because he produced no real results in terms of capturing or killing pro-southern guerrillas (that was his mission) and his murder of civilians in Chariton County quickly got him recalled and arrested. He was tried, but I don't believe he ever suffered any consequences. If he did, I'm unaware of them, and I don't know what ultimately happened to him.

I'll be interested in the responses of other readers.
It was argued by the author of the book"Guerrilla hunters of the civil war" that order #11 was not given sufficient time to work and pro CSA civilians where allowed to resettle the area in less then a year. An example of a better way to depopulate hostile populations and replace them with a friendlier one was done by Col. Marcus La rue Harrison Colonel commanding the 1st Ark USV in Northern Ark. Truman was an abject failure a better example of a somewhat unorthodox pro- Union guerrilla hunter was Edwin Terril who was licensed by the gov of Ky to hunt down CSA guerrillas and Terril mortally wounded Quantrill when Quantrill fled to Ky.
Leftyhunter
 
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Patrick H

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It was argued by the author of the book"Guerrilla hunters o the civil war" that order #11 was not given sufficient time to work and pro CSA civilians where allowed to resettle the area in less then a year. An example of a better way to depopulate hostile populations and replace them with a friendlier one was done by Col. Marcus La rue Harrison Colonel commanding the 1st Ark USV in Northern Ark. Truman was an abject failure a better example of a somewhat unorthodox pro- Union guerrilla hunter was Edwin Terril who was licensed by the gov of Ky to hunt down CSA guerrillas and Terril mortally wounded Quantrill when Quantrill fled to Ky.
Leftyhunter
Yes, you are correct about Terril. I didn't think of him previously.
 

leftyhunter

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Yes, you are correct about Terril. I didn't think of him previously.
Hi Patrick H,
I did a little research on Edwin Terrell from the book" The devil knows how to ride the true story of William Clark Quantrill and his Confederate raiders by Edward E. Leslie Da Capo publishing . I was wrong in the sense that Terrel was morally better then Truman but to his credit he did actually kill at least one CSA guerrilla. Terrell joined Company D 37th Ky on Oct 7 1863 at the age of 18 . Terrell was mustered out Dec 29 1864. Terrell was arrested 7 weeks later charges unknown. Terrell claimed to have joined CSA home guards and served with Gen. Morgan although their is no evidence he did so.
On Jan 2nd 1865 Col. R.L. Fairleigh commander of the Lexington garrison hired several civilians including Terrell to hunt guerrillas. Terrell actually was playing both sides in the sense that on Jan 28 1865 in Nelson County Ky he led 19 members of the Spencer County Union Home guards in Confederate uniform to rob civilians then met a real CSA guerrilla and killed him. Terrell was an interesting character to say the least.
Leftyhunter
 

Patrick H

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Terrell seems to have been more duplicitous than I realized. In any event, he got his "Quantrill" assignment carried through. Makes me wonder how much time he spent looking over his shoulder for Frank James afterwards.
 

leftyhunter

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Good questions. I look forward to the answers.
Here's one difference from the first chapter of "Irregualr warfare in the South" by Robert Mckay a US Army Major and now policy analyst in the Pentagon. The CSA had to spend a fair amount of time fighting their own guerrillas in Ar by mid 1863. Both Col. Jo Shelby and the 7th Ark CSA Cavalry spent a lot of time in a sense killing the Frankenstein monster created by Gen.Hindman. Not to mention the 1st Ark USV had to do the same. I am not aware of US forces having to fight Unionist guerrillas perhaps some one else knows.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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Terrell seems to have been more duplicitous than I realized. In any event, he got his "Quantrill" assignment carried through. Makes me wonder how much time he spent looking over his shoulder for Frank James afterwards.
I think Frank had bigger fish to fry just staying alive vs looking for the killer of his one time commander. Gen Hindman tried to set up guerrilla forces in his dept when he was in command for something less then a year. Hindmans problem vs the USN in FL and Ga was he had no means of supplying guerrilla forces far afield.
Leftyhunter
 

DixieRifles

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The study of guerilla units must be an illusive topic. (no pun intended) I would not expect to find much on them. I have searched for info on a few named guerillas and haven't had much luck. Since they don't keep records---not only of recruitments but casualties--- it would be hard to estimate their strength.

During the holidays, I picked up a book off my shelf and discovered it had more details about guerilla fighting in West Tennessee than I thought it did.

"Fort Pillow, a Civil War Massacre, and Public Memory" by John Cimprich, LSU Press, 2005.

The chapter entitled "First Federal Garrison" (as I recall) goes into details of the operations by Union troops to capture both guerillas and Confederate irregulars, as well as the job of collecting Confederate conscripts who deserted because they were Unionists. The text reports on the numbers of prisoners and casualties for some engagements. These seem a little lop-sided to me. There are some engagements where they don't report any Union casualties, yet several captured or killed guerillas. Of course it also mentions the attacks and raids upon the Union troops.

This gets a little murky to me. Were they actually breaking up guerilla camps or exacting retribution on civilians who were just trying to protect their family and property from out-law raiders?

It might be worth picking up this book and reading that one chapter.
 

leftyhunter

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The study of guerilla units must be an illusive topic. (no pun intended) I would not expect to find much on them. I have searched for info on a few named guerillas and haven't had much luck. Since they don't keep records---not only of recruitments but casualties--- it would be hard to estimate their strength.

During the holidays, I picked up a book off my shelf and discovered it had more details about guerilla fighting in West Tennessee than I thought it did.

"Fort Pillow, a Civil War Massacre, and Public Memory" by John Cimprich, LSU Press, 2005.

The chapter entitled "First Federal Garrison" (as I recall) goes into details of the operations by Union troops to capture both guerillas and Confederate irregulars, as well as the job of collecting Confederate conscripts who deserted because they were Unionists. The text reports on the numbers of prisoners and casualties for some engagements. These seem a little lop-sided to me. There are some engagements where they don't report any Union casualties, yet several captured or killed guerillas. Of course it also mentions the attacks and raids upon the Union troops.

This gets a little murky to me. Were they actually breaking up guerilla camps or exacting retribution on civilians who were just trying to protect their family and property from out-law raiders?

It might be worth picking up this book and reading that one chapter.
I just bought a whole lot of books but I will keep this one in mind. Its very hard has a rule to know who did what to whom. If the accounts of both sides are similar that's the best we can do in getting the record straight. Guerrilla war can get murky but guerrilla/insurgent warfare was quite widespread in the CW so its important but challenging to study it. Unionism is quite interesting and until say 20 or so years ago was not given the attention it deserved. For many folks in the CW guerrilla war was the CW.
Leftyhunter
 

Lost Cause

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I just bought a whole lot of books but I will keep this one in mind. Its very hard has a rule to know who did what to whom. If the accounts of both sides are similar that's the best we can do in getting the record straight. Guerrilla war can get murky but guerrilla/insurgent warfare was quite widespread in the CW so its important but challenging to study it. Unionism is quite interesting and until say 20 or so years ago was not given the attention it deserved. For many folks in the CW guerrilla war was the CW.
Leftyhunter
Historians have often eluded the subject and written about more conventional warfare until recently. Partisan warfare at that time was of course more personal and brutal. Many on both sides became exceedingly vicious by the war while others used the war to demonstrate their viscousness. Right or wrong it was a war of retribution.
 

leftyhunter

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Historians have often eluded the subject and written about more conventional warfare until recently. Partisan warfare at that time was of course more personal and brutal. Many on both sides became exceedingly vicious by the war while others used the war to demonstrate their viscousness. Right or wrong it was a war of retribution.
True. After the CW the violence did not always stop. There was a fair amount of fighting after the CW between those who fought for the Union vs the CSA. Unlike a conventional battle in guerrilla/insurgent war both sides often fought those that they knew.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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Good questions. I look forward to the answers.
There are at least two major differences.
Gen.Kelly developed"ironclads" armored rail cars with small cannon that drove away guerrillas from the B&O RR in Va . These cars where so well made even Mosbey's men avoided it. The second was the use of the block house which worked against guerrilla bands but not against Mosby's men.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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Here you go my CSA Today. Did Unionist guerrillas control territory? Where they at least as serious a threat to the CSA has CSA guerrillas where to the Union? Lets find out.
From the book "War at every door Partisan politics&guerrilla violence in East Tennessee 1860-1869 Noel Fisher Univ of North Carolina Press
P.68 In early 1862 Unionist guerrillas in Scot and Morgan Counties killed a number of secessionists burned Confederate homes took over all county offices and caused secessionists to flee to Kingston, Tn. Gen. Kirby Smith sent one thousand troops to clear out the guerrillas but when they left the guerrillas simply reasserted control(p.69). In April 1862 Gen. Smith reported that organized bands of guerrillas existed in 25 of 32 Tn counties under his control. Unionist guerrillas also attacked CSA soldiers returning to east Tn after their failed invasion of Tn.
P.79 Captain Stringfield CSA provost Martial for Carter County wrote that the people where loyal to the Union and it was dangerous to travel outside the camps. P.71 the presidents of local RR's wrote to President Davis complaining of attacks on their RR's and demanding protection. Does this sound like Unionist guerrillas just held unoccupied ground?
Leftyhunter
 

War Horse

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Has we know both sides actively used guerrilla warfare during the CW. There are differences how ever.
For the purpose of discussion a guerrilla does not wear a uniform or has was often the case in Mo wore captured enemy uniforms. Therefore cavalry raiders such has Morgan, Marmaduke and Shelpy do not count has guerrillas has long has they are in uniform.
Arguably the CSA had the most guerrillas vs the Union mostly in but by no means limited to Mo. I have not read any figure that gives a round number estimate of X amount of CSA guerrillas vs Y amount of Union troops and militia. Has a general rule it has been argued that it takes ten conventional troops to counter one guerrilla.
Based on the number of Union cavalry and a few Infantry regiments that where assigned to Mo (although often rotated out of Mo) plus the 10k men of the Mo State Militia (the only Union militia that was full time and paid for by the federal govt and fought mostly but not always in Mo) there where quite a few CSA guerrillas or has often referred to has"bushwackers".

Both sides used guerrillas to cooperate with conventional troops. For example Quantril provided an escort for recruiting commands in Mo and in AL Unionist guerrillas from time to time would fight alongside convention Union troops.
The Union could supply at least some guerrillas on a regular basis for example Gen. Dodge in Al could supply Unionist guerrillas and the US Navy supplied Unionist guerrillas in Fl and Ga and even sent an officer to form and lead the 2nd Fl cavalry USV.
Unionist guerrillas where arguably more successful in that by the late summer of 1864 they could sieze and hold areas of the CSA vs CSA guerrillas who could not.
Many guerrillas on both sides became guerrillas due to resentment of being drafted or conscripted by the other side.
Questions.
1. What side really had the most?
2. Which side more effectively supported their guerrillas?
2. Which sides guerrillas ultimately achieved the most good for their side?
Leftyhunter
As do I
 

leftyhunter

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Lets look at Ms. and Al.
"A Savage Conflict the decisive role of guerrillas in the American Civil War by Professor Sutherland Univ of North Carolina Press p.260 "The Confederates lost their ability to collect taxs hold court and enforce the laws". "Rival sets of guerrillas and an explosion of deserter/outlaw gangs endangered lives and property". "Ms Confederates forgot about the war outside the state".
"BY the summer of 1864, thanks partly to the infiltration of deserter/outlaw bands from Ms and Fl much of Southern Al even without large pockets of Unionists resembled the Northern portion of the state".
Leftyhunter
 
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Technically a guerrilla is the old name for insurgent. A guerrilla could truly only exist in its own envioronment. Any force that ventures outside its area would not be considered as such.

We need to focus in specifics.

For instance:

How did union guerrillas perform in middle and west tennessee?

How did rebel guerrillas perform in East Tennessee?

Border states such as Kentucky and Missouri are a tough nut to crack.

It may be dependent on who controlled what and when.

This is a hard question indeed, but there is an answer.

Guerrillas are hard to operate against and still are. I think they may have been equally effective until the dominating side began to take control.

That being said, I would suppose the rebel guerrillas would be more effective simply base off the fact the had more time to be effective. The south rarely encroached on the north, but when they did they certainly paid in unconventional warfare.
 
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leftyhunter

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Technically a guerrilla is the modern name for insurgent. A guerrilla could truly only exist in its own envioronment. Any force that ventures outside its area would not be considered as such.

We need to focus in specifics.

For instance:

How did union guerrillas perform in middle and west tennessee?

How did rebel guerrillas perform in East Tennessee?

Border states such as Kentucky and Missouri are a tough nut to crack.

It may be dependent on who controlled what and when.

This is a hard question indeed, but there is an answer.

Guerrillas are hard to operate against and still are. I think they may have been equally effective until the dominating side began to take control.

That being said, I would suppose the rebel guerrillas would be more effective simply base off the fact the had more time to be effective. The south rarely encroached on the north, but when they did they certainly paid in unconventional warfare.
Good questions.
1. Has Mao Tse Tung said " a guerrilla is a fish that swims among the sea of people". Union guerrillas from what I have read did best in East Tn . I do not know if they conducted operations in the rest of Tn. It is possible their was some spill over from East Tn and Northern Al. I will keep my eyes open on that one. Their was spill over from Nc into East Tn.
2. per the Fisher book CSA guerrillas did well also in East Tn. East Tn was badly divided one could call it the Mo of the Confederacy.
3. I have not read as much about Ky vs other states. Ky is interesting in that both sides did resort to guerrilla warfare. T.J. Stiles in his book "Jesse James the last rebel of the Civil War" mentions that by mid 1864 the Union had the upper hand in the guerrilla conflict and of course as you know the Gov of Ky hired a rouge character (to put it mildly) Edwin Terril who along with his merry men fatally wounded Quantrill when he fled their. Fisher mentions has I pointed out above that Unionist guerrillas from Ky did attack CSA troops in East Tn.
Mo was indeed a tough nut to crack. For to long Mo was considered the only state in the minds of CW buffs which actually had guerrilla war but with professors such as Sutherland , Williams and others we now know guerrilla warfare was far more widespread.
Confederate guerrillas did best where they where the fish who swam among a sea of people which the Union did not quite get a handle on. Their was the burnt district but the Union failed to prevent the pro Confederate people from returning.
I would argue Col. Harrison of the 1st Ar US Cavalry "got" Mao's concept well before Mao was even born. Harrison established what in Vietnam we called protected villages and also so to speak drained the swamp of pro Confederate people and thus established Union control over Northern Ar and pushed out CSA guerrillas from Mo.
4. I can't speak for Professor Sutherland but I would bet a box of doughnuts that he would argue that Unionist guerrillas (as mentioned in "the Savage Conflict) where far more successful then CSA guerrillas because as the Confederacy collapsed by mid 1864 and in some sections even sooner that due to the lack of Confederate forces the Unionist guerrillas could seize and hold territory.
Leftyhunter
 


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