Discussion Union vs CSA Guerrilla

Berry Canote

Private
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Location
Huntsville, Randolph County, Missouri
No doubt bad or corrupt COIN personnel are a real problem in that they push people to the other side. I have done a fair amount of reading on Missouri and with a gun to my head I have no idea how many guerrillas their were in Missouri. By listing all the Union COIN regiments maybe we can make a reasonable guess.
Leftyhunter

I know there were a lot of COIN units in my part of Missouri alone, and counterinsurgency took a lot of time and manpower. I was just reading the reports leading up to and after the Centralia Massacre. Even before the Massacre, the Union commanders were throwing a lot at Anderson, and they almost had him at Huntsville two days before. If he had just lingered a little longer he would have been caught between a dedicated COIN unit and the militia in town and the 9th Cav MSM that just happened to be in town at the time. It would have been a bloody mess, and a major battle for this area, but the Massacre probably would not have happened. But just reading the reports you get the idea there were only two types of units in Central Missouri. First there were the local garrisons like the 46th EMM, and then there were the MSM which seemed to be dedicated COIN units. That is a bit of an exaggeration as you did have regular army units also, but they were being use for counterinsurgency too.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
I know there were a lot of COIN units in my part of Missouri alone, and counterinsurgency took a lot of time and manpower. I was just reading the reports leading up to and after the Centralia Massacre. Even before the Massacre, the Union commanders were throwing a lot at Anderson, and they almost had him at Huntsville two days before. If he had just lingered a little longer he would have been caught between a dedicated COIN unit and the militia in town and the 9th Cav MSM that just happened to be in town at the time. It would have been a bloody mess, and a major battle for this area, but the Massacre probably would not have happened. But just reading the reports you get the idea there were only two types of units in Central Missouri. First there were the local garrisons like the 46th EMM, and then there were the MSM which seemed to be dedicated COIN units. That is a bit of an exaggeration as you did have regular army units also, but they were being use for counterinsurgency too.
MSM regiments may of been theoretically better the USV regiments since the MSM stayed put vs USV regiments rotating out.Quantrill would have his men be chased by USVs and then ambush them at the same old killing ground . Not to say it always worked out that way and not to say some out of state USVs like the 2nd Colorado didn't rack up good kill scores. Civil War COIN is not about catch and release . While the Missouri COIN conflict has been studied as a example for othe COIN conflicts including recently Iraq ; by no means was the Union COIN campaign textbook perfect. On the other hand a win is a win.
Leftyhunter
 

Berry Canote

Private
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Location
Huntsville, Randolph County, Missouri
MSM regiments may of been theoretically better the USV regiments since the MSM stayed put vs USV regiments rotating out.Quantrill would have his men be chased by USVs and then ambush them at the same old killing ground . Not to say it always worked out that way and not to say some out of state USVs like the 2nd Colorado didn't rack up good kill scores. Civil War COIN is not about catch and release . While the Missouri COIN conflict has been studied as a example for othe COIN conflicts including recently Iraq ; by no means was the Union COIN campaign textbook perfect. On the other hand a win is a win.
Leftyhunter

That was one of the Quantrill band's favorite tactics. Anderson seemed to be a master at it, and used it quite effectively at the Battle of Centralia. Get the unit to chase his band. Stop, hide, send a small group out to be chased again, and then boom. Sort of ironic that very tactic was used against him. I do not recall an MSM unit falling for the trick though. Of course, I may be wrong. I think you are entirely correct though. The MSM stayed put, and if I am interpreting what you are saying right, were therefore more accustomed to the bushwhackers' tactics.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
That was one of the Quantrill band's favorite tactics. Anderson seemed to be a master at it, and used it quite effectively at the Battle of Centralia. Get the unit to chase his band. Stop, hide, send a small group out to be chased again, and then boom. Sort of ironic that very tactic was used against him. I do not recall an MSM unit falling for the trick though. Of course, I may be wrong. I think you are entirely correct though. The MSM stayed put, and if I am interpreting what you are saying right, were therefore more accustomed to the bushwhackers' tactics.
Just conjecture on my part but it makes sense that the MSM is a bit lees gullible then out of state USVs. In Vietnam their was some statistic that most GIs who were killed were killed in the first few months of service. Not to say Missouri COIN wasn't always dangerous but old hands would have an edge on survival.
Leftyhunter
 

Berry Canote

Private
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Location
Huntsville, Randolph County, Missouri
Just conjecture on my part but it makes sense that the MSM is a bit lees gullible then out of state USVs. In Vietnam their was some statistic that most GIs who were killed were killed in the first few months of service. Not to say Missouri COIN wasn't always dangerous but old hands would have an edge on survival.
Leftyhunter

It definitely makes sense that the old hands would. I have to wonder, since the MSM was a regular military unit if they had any special training, perhaps at least drilling? I haven't read anywhere they did or did not, so I am wondering.
 

Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
A quick question, do you all consider the Jayhawkers and Redlegs Union guerrillas? I have done some research on their activities during the war.
The Redlegs were a paramilitary organization that was never officially sanctioned by the Union. I think you could safely think of them as freebooting raiders--something akin to a guerrilla. Buffalo Bill Cody was a Redleg and he is supposed to have said "a bigger gang of thieves never existed". Kansas militias led by Lane, Jennison and Montgomery were notorious Jayhawkers. There really wasn't a lot of difference between them and Redlegs except the militias were officially sanctioned by the Union. They were considered legitimate military forces. They raided, robbed, burned and sometimes murdered. I think they were often a thorn in Lincoln's side, and an ongoing problem for the regular army commanders along the border.
They were said to have done more for the Confederate recruiting cause than any southern officer on a recruiting mission.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
The Redlegs were a paramilitary organization that was never officially sanctioned by the Union. I think you could safely think of them as freebooting raiders--something akin to a guerrilla. Buffalo Bill Cody was a Redleg and he is supposed to have said "a bigger gang of thieves never existed". Kansas militias led by Lane, Jennison and Montgomery were notorious Jayhawkers. There really wasn't a lot of difference between them and Redlegs except the militias were officially sanctioned by the Union. They were considered legitimate military forces. They raided, robbed, burned and sometimes murdered. I think they were often a thorn in Lincoln's side, and an ongoing problem for the regular army commanders along the border.
They were said to have done more for the Confederate recruiting cause than any southern officer on a recruiting mission.
Very true. The Kansas units were banned for a while and transfered out of state. The 7th Kansas was transfered to Mississippi where the locals where less then happy with them. There is even an order in the OR where Union forces could shoot Kansas troops on sight if they crossed into Missouri.
On the other hand the governor of Missouri begged for Kansas troops when Price invaded. The Kansas troops did help beat Price.
It's a complicated relationship between the good people of Kansas and Missouri. Not always a lot of love.
Leftyhunter
 

Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Lefty has reminded me that Col. James Montgomery was transferred to the south, where he conducted poorly disciplined operations in S. Carolina, Georgia and Florida. He raised a large force of black troops but did not train them properly. A memorable scene in the movie "Glory" shows Montgomery's raid on Darien, Geogia, during which his men were encouraged to loot and burn. This was very much akin to a typical Jayhawking raid in Missouri.
 

Borderruffian

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Location
Marshfield Missouri
@leftyhunter I thought they would be classed regulars during the war, but was unsure.


The Redlegs were a paramilitary organization that was never officially sanctioned by the Union. I think you could safely think of them as freebooting raiders--something akin to a guerrilla. Buffalo Bill Cody was a Redleg and he is supposed to have said "a bigger gang of thieves never existed". Kansas militias led by Lane, Jennison and Montgomery were notorious Jayhawkers. There really wasn't a lot of difference between them and Redlegs except the militias were officially sanctioned by the Union. They were considered legitimate military forces. They raided, robbed, burned and sometimes murdered. I think they were often a thorn in Lincoln's side, and an ongoing problem for the regular army commanders along the border.
They were said to have done more for the Confederate recruiting cause than any southern officer on a recruiting mission.

As the 5th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, the Red Legs were mustered into federal service, Cody was actually a member of the 7th Kansas "Jennison's Jayhawkers" also regularly musterd in to Yankee service. There is some evidence that both played fast and loose encourging unmustered men to ride with them for a share of the plunder, and since these noble "COIN" warriors, usually avoided areas where partisan's were active, amd resistance was minimal they usually got away with a good bit of plunder .The donning of Yankee Blue was a means to an end for many of them.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
As the 5th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, the Red Legs were mustered into federal service, Cody was actually a member of the 7th Kansas "Jennison's Jayhawkers" also regularly musterd in to Yankee service. There is some evidence that both played fast and loose encourging unmustered men to ride with them for a share of the plunder, and since these noble "COIN" warriors, usually avoided areas where partisan's were active, amd resistance was minimal they usually got away with a good bit of plunder .The donning of Yankee Blue was a means to an end for many of them.
Nobody said the boys from Kansas were angeles but some times they did their duty in terms of killing Confederate soldiers and guerrillas. They certainly were no less noble then their opposition.
Leftyhunter
 

Berry Canote

Private
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Location
Huntsville, Randolph County, Missouri
Nobody said the boys from Kansas were angeles but some times they did their duty in terms of killing Confederate soldiers and guerrillas. They certainly were no less noble then their opposition.
Leftyhunter

I think when looking at the war in Missouri it would be hard to find a unit that was noble whether guerrilla or regular. The more I study, it seems like every unit had its share of abusing non-combatants in some way. Now that is not to say all units engaged in plundering the goods of the common citizens, or that all engaged in summary executions, but I think for each and every unit one can find examples of intimidation, requisitioning more than what was needed, and other things that you would not have seen in other areas or in previous wars. The best you can do is look at what level of dishonorable acts did a unit engage in? Did the unit burn a town to the ground? Did the unit execute non-combatants for no good cause? Were trials given to those accused of crimes, or did the unit just mete out punishment with a mere accusation of wrong doing?
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
I think when looking at the war in Missouri it would be hard to find a unit that was noble whether guerrilla or regular. The more I study, it seems like every unit had its share of abusing non-combatants in some way. Now that is not to say all units engaged in plundering the goods of the common citizens, or that all engaged in summary executions, but I think for each and every unit one can find examples of intimidation, requisitioning more than what was needed, and other things that you would not have seen in other areas or in previous wars. The best you can do is look at what level of dishonorable acts did a unit engage in? Did the unit burn a town to the ground? Did the unit execute non-combatants for no good cause? Were trials given to those accused of crimes, or did the unit just mete out punishment with a mere accusation of wrong doing?
It would be very difficult to catalog which each and every regiment did or did not do in terms of violating military law in Missouri and or other states. Has you know I am slowly complying a reasonably accurate list of all regiments on all sides involved in COIN duty at some point in their regimental duties.
Other posters have pointed out that French forces in Spain at the turn of the nineteenth century were far more brutal fighting Spanish guerrillas the Union forces 60 odd years later.
Compared to future COIN conflicts including those of the U.S. the mistreatment of civilians by the Union is mild. One could argue that the COIN war against the American Indians was also more brutal.
Leftyhunter
 

Berry Canote

Private
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Location
Huntsville, Randolph County, Missouri
It would be very difficult to catalog which each and every regiment did or did not do in terms of violating military law in Missouri and or other states. Has you know I am slowly complying a reasonably accurate list of all regiments on all sides involved in COIN duty at some point in their regimental duties.
Other posters have pointed out that French forces in Spain at the turn of the nineteenth century were far more brutal fighting Spanish guerrillas the Union forces 60 odd years later.
Compared to future COIN conflicts including those of the U.S. the mistreatment of civilians by the Union is mild. One could argue that the COIN war against the American Indians was also more brutal.
Leftyhunter

I think you are right. Looking at COIN conflicts as a whole, the Civil War in Missouri was not that bad. I definitely think that the COIN war against the American Indians was more brutal.
 

Borderruffian

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Location
Marshfield Missouri
I know there were a lot of COIN units in my part of Missouri alone, and counterinsurgency took a lot of time and manpower. I was just reading the reports leading up to and after the Centralia Massacre. Even before the Massacre, the Union commanders were throwing a lot at Anderson, and they almost had him at Huntsville two days before. If he had just lingered a little longer he would have been caught between a dedicated COIN unit and the militia in town and the 9th Cav MSM that just happened to be in town at the time. It would have been a bloody mess, and a major battle for this area, but the Massacre probably would not have happened. But just reading the reports you get the idea there were only two types of units in Central Missouri. First there were the local garrisons like the 46th EMM, and then there were the MSM which seemed to be dedicated COIN units. That is a bit of an exaggeration as you did have regular army units also, but they were being use for counterinsurgency too.

There were other Commanders at Centralia, besides Bill Anderson, Thrailkil, George Todd, Tom Todd, Sy Gordon and Dave Poole all commanded elements of the Partisan force. While Anderson and some of his men did raid the actual town, the "massacre took place outside of town, Johnston rode his green troops trained as Infantry armed with P52 Enfield muskets into a force of 200 to 250 Partisans armed with revolvers ,. As they were infantry , they were trained to fight afoot and Johnston dismounted them.When charged by mounted Partisams they discharged one ragged volley and weree riden through and over and killed to man.

The theory that the 9thMSM catching up to Anderson really holds water if you then say the others didn't marry up near Centralia and that Todd or Poole wouldn't go into what they considered a Yankee Hamlet, or that Jonston who was closer than Drapper was and on the trail of one of the bands, who isn't known and Johnston didn't live to tell us.

The 9th could have caught up with some of the bands when they dispersed west and towards Rocheport but they didn't , oh they killed some but never a large band,
 

Berry Canote

Private
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Location
Huntsville, Randolph County, Missouri
There were other Commanders at Centralia, besides Bill Anderson, Thrailkil, George Todd, Tom Todd, Sy Gordon and Dave Poole all commanded elements of the Partisan force. While Anderson and some of his men did raid the actual town, the "massacre took place outside of town, Johnston rode his green troops trained as Infantry armed with P52 Enfield muskets into a force of 200 to 250 Partisans armed with revolvers ,. As they were infantry , they were trained to fight afoot and Johnston dismounted them.When charged by mounted Partisams they discharged one ragged volley and weree riden through and over and killed to man.

The theory that the 9thMSM catching up to Anderson really holds water if you then say the others didn't marry up near Centralia and that Todd or Poole wouldn't go into what they considered a Yankee Hamlet, or that Jonston who was closer than Drapper was and on the trail of one of the bands, who isn't known and Johnston didn't live to tell us.

The 9th could have caught up with some of the bands when they dispersed west and towards Rocheport but they didn't , oh they killed some but never a large band,

I think the Battle of Centralia may have taken place, as you say there were other commanders there besides Todd and Anderson. However, I have to question whether the killing of the unarmed soldiers on the train would have? That seems, according to accounts rested on Anderson and his men. Of course, it is all a what if anyway. Anderson did not try to take the garrison at Huntsville by force so we will never know.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
I know there were a lot of COIN units in my part of Missouri alone, and counterinsurgency took a lot of time and manpower. I was just reading the reports leading up to and after the Centralia Massacre. Even before the Massacre, the Union commanders were throwing a lot at Anderson, and they almost had him at Huntsville two days before. If he had just lingered a little longer he would have been caught between a dedicated COIN unit and the militia in town and the 9th Cav MSM that just happened to be in town at the time. It would have been a bloody mess, and a major battle for this area, but the Massacre probably would not have happened. But just reading the reports you get the idea there were only two types of units in Central Missouri. First there were the local garrisons like the 46th EMM, and then there were the MSM which seemed to be dedicated COIN units. That is a bit of an exaggeration as you did have regular army units also, but they were being use for counterinsurgency too.
MSM and USV units perform the same function as far as COIN is concerned. They are both full time soldiers and both are under the command of the Union Army . MSM officers are selected or serve at the pleasure of the governor of Missouri. Both MSM and USV fought in conventional operations out of state. Both crossed state lines mostly in Arkansas sometimes in the Indian Territory. One MSM regiment somehow ended up for a period of time in Alabama.
The main difference between the two is that MSM units as a rule concentrate on
COIN with of course exceptions.
Leftyhunter
 
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