Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Terrorism In The South

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 6, 2016


Reunion of Quantrill’s Raiders, circa 1924, Oak Grove, Missouri. The first official reunion occurred in 1898, more than 30 years after Quantrill’s death and the end of the Civil War. The circled figure is Jesse James. Image from the Jackson County Historical Society and the Truman Library.


The 1901 reunion of Quantrill’s Raiders in Blue Springs, MO. Note the tag in the upper LEFT corner of the image. Sim Whitsett was at this reunion and is probably in this picture. Also in the picture is Frank James (center front, named). The first picture of the Quantrill veterans (Sim Whitsett was in attendance) was taken at the 1900 reunion. The picture is of a parade of the attendees on horseback. The 1901 is the first group photo in which the faces of individuals can be (barely) distinguished.

In response to a post expressing justifiable criticism of terrorism at home and abroad, it occurred to me that terrorism itself is nothing new… not even in the United States. So, I thought to share a brief overview of it, which appears as follows.


You forgot all about the War Between the States.

The Southern rebellion, of course, was often comprised of loosely associated rag-tag bands of incompetents and criminals, which thrived and often deserted formal association with the Confederate Army, and ransacked their way throughout the countryside.


John Singleton Mosby, image from his memoir. His note reads: “This picture is a copy of the one taken in Richmond in January 1863: The uniform is the one I wore on March 8th 1863 on the night of General Staughton’s capture. John S Mosby”

The rebels were known for such terroristic activities as burning down barns, houses, towns, destroying crops and livestock – not to mention wanton theft, murder, rape, and robbery – if someone didn’t support their cause. Most typically, such acts were executed by criminals who became known as marauders, perhaps the most infamous of which was Quantrill’s Raiders, among whom were the criminally-minded Younger Brothers. Also known for such terroristic activity was William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson, a known murderer who had killed a judge. Jesse James was also among the outlaws who comprised that criminal cabal.


William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson

Rebel Colonel John Singleton Mosby was nicknamed “The Gray Ghost” for his genuinely guerrilla-style of warfare in which he & his men would attack Union outfits, destroy rail lines & bridges, then blend into the local civilian population. In a particularly infamous raid in Fairfax County, Virginia, “Mosby’s Rangers” crept around Union defenses and captured 30 soldiers, 50 horses, and several officers without firing a shot. He was particularly renown for his personal capture of Union General Edwin H. Staughton, whom he awakened with a slap on his backsides. Inside Union lines at Fairfax County Courthouse in March 1863, Mosby found Stoughton asleep in bed. With a slap to his backsides, Mosby awakened Brigadier General Edwin H. Stoughton, and asked loudly, “Do you know Mosby, General?” In response, he said, “Yes! Have you got the rascal?” “No,” replied Mosby. “He’s got you!” Following Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, like many others, he returned to civilian life – though he proved quite a consternation to Southerners by his appointment to become President Ulysses Grant’s administration as a Republican, and subsequent diplomatic appointment to become United States consul to Hong Kong.


R.J. Pastore uncovered evidence of Jesse James attending a rebel reunion meeting in the Western Historical Manuscripts Collection archives at Mizzou. This roster was kept by the official Sargent of Arms at the annual Quantrill reunions. The meeting of CSA partisan rangers who served with Captain William Clark Quantrill was held in Oak Grove, MO. Jesse James’ name is clearly listed on the roster of 1924 attendees. 1924 Quantrill’s Raiders Reunion Roster Western Historical manuscript Collection, University of Missouri – Columbia

Though Charles Jennison was an abolitionist, he earned a well-deserved nasty reputation for his indiscriminate murders of Union and Rebel forces – including civilians – as part of Quantrill’s Raiders. Following the war, he became a Kansas State Legislator.

Huntsville, Alabama born John Hunt Morgan moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where he became a successful hemp grower and manufacturer, and privately outfitted “The Lexington Rifles.” He threw his lot in with General Buckner, was promoted to Colonel, and later transferred into Joseph Wheeler’s division in General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee. He earned his nickname as the “Thunderbolt of the Confederacy” when he embarked upon a thousand-mile raid through Kentucky where he and his men destroyed railroad and telegraph lines, seized supplies, and took prisoners in the Union rear. He determined to attack Knoxville, Tennessee because the citizens there were largely pro-Union, but was caught in a surprise attack in Greenville, Tennessee, and shot and killed by a Union private who had once served under him.

Not all were Southern rebels, however. James H. Lane’s “Jayhawkers” were infamous for their attack upon Osceola, Missouri in which “The Grim Chieftan” participated in the execution of nine individuals, and burned the town. Formerly a US Senator from Kansas, the Union Army disavowed his unauthorized actions, rescinded his commission.


For those who want to know more, please see:

Professor of History William G. Thomas III  at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is a subject expert on the Civil War, among other topics, and has written extensively on the matter. His June 2008 blog entry On Terrorism, Guerrillas, and the American Civil War provides some background and historical perspective on Terrorism in the South during the War Between the States.

Professor Thomas is also the John and Catherine Angle Professor in the Humanities, and Chair of History, and teaches digital humanities and digital history, 19th century U.S. history, the Civil War, and the history of slavery.

Additional reading:
[NOTE: Links vary, some are specifically about terrorism in the American Civil War, while others are on terrorism during civil war in general terms.]
The Long History of Southern Terror, by

White Terror: The Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy and Southern Reconstruction
Reprint Edition, by Allen W. Trelease
Available via Amazon Books: https://www.amazon.com/White-Terror-Conspiracy-Southern-Reconstruction/dp/031321168X

(Allen W. Trelease‘s “White Terror,” originally published in 1971, was the first scholarly history of the Ku Klux Klan in the South during the Reconstruction period, and based as it is on massive research in primary sources, it remains the most comprehensive treatment of the subject. In addition to the Klan, Trelease discusses other night-riding groups, including the Ghouls, the White Brotherhood, and the Knights of the White Camellia. He treats the entire South state by state, details the close link between the Klan and the Democratic party, and recounts Republican efforts to resist the Klan.)

Home Grown Terrorists
, by Beth Rowland

John Brown: America’s First Terrorist?, by Paul Finkelman
Cached site: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:N3r13wt4MeUJ:https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2011/spring/brown.html+&cd=11&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
(Paul Finkelman received his B.A. from Syracuse University and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. He is the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy at Albany Law School. He is the author or editor of more than 25 books and over 150 scholarly articles. His legal history scholarship has been cited by numerous courts, including the United States Supreme Court.)

A Hundred Years of Terror, A special report prepared by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, AL 36104

Terrorism and Civil War: A Spatial and Temporal Approach to a Conceptual Problem, by Michael G. Findley and Joseph K. Young


The Paradox of Terrorism in Civil War, by Stathis N. Kalyvas

Guerrilla warfare in the American Civil War

5 Responses to “Terrorism In The South”

  1. […] a much earlier entry entitled “Terrorism In the South,” and dated October 6, 2016, I wrote about some survivors of the American Civil War, whom now […]


  2. […] written – were every one confirmed, hardened criminals, rapists, robbers, and murderers – terrorists, as we would call them today – and all who at one time, or another, collaborated with Confederatesas guerrilla fighters, […]


  3. […] I have written about some of them in an entry entitled “Terrorism in the South.” […]


  4. […] casual examination of the “actors” in the Confederacy shows that the Confederacy incorpo… […]


  5. […] casual examination of the “actors” in the Confederacy shows that the Confederacy incorpo… […]


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