Warm Southern Breeze

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Southern Super Villain: William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 28, 2020

As I’ve pondered the often tragic events of the past several days, weeks, and months of news items concerning the deaths and abuses of men – mostly, but of women as well – of color in our country, from states as far south as Georgia, to as far north in Minnesota, I weep.

When I see, read, and hear of deaths which would otherwise be called “murder” and “assault” at the hands of law-enforcement officials, by every day citizens, retired law enforcement officers, and even mere civilians in public parks, I not only cringe, but throw up in my mouth just a little bit.

The not-so-subtle cheapening of human life, particularly of Black lives, is not merely disgusting, it is fully and completely immoral and entirely irreligious, for it is neither pietistic, and certainly not humanistic.

“The Lost Cause” title page, 1866

And when I think about how and why we got to this point, and wonder how the demonic deification of diabolical deeds, and grandiose glorification of such evil and treachery occurred, I consider “The Lost Cause” as the root cause. It is the single-most practical perpetuation of all such wickedness which continues to live and roam among us.

In 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 have been long dead.

While I confess to not being a student of the Civil War, I do take a modest passing interest in a backgrounder of some of its lesser-known facts, such as the romanticizing efforts of “The Lost Cause” which was, and remains, an attempt to ennoble the matter of slavery, its savageries, and the war by Southerners which sought to perpetuate it.

The Encyclopedia of Alabama writes this in part about The Lost Cause:

The term “Lost Cause” emerged at the end of the Civil War when Edward Pollard, editor of the Richmond Examiner, popularized it with his book The Lost Cause, which chronicled the Confederacy’s demise. The term swiftly came into common use as a reference not only to military defeat, but defeat of the “southern way of life”—a phrase that generally referred to the South of the antebellum period, when plantation slavery was still intact. Since the late nineteenth century, historians have used the term “Lost Cause” to describe a particular belief system as well as commemorative activities that occurred in the South for decades after the Civil War. Commonly held beliefs were that the war was fought over states’ rights and not slavery, that slavery was a benevolent institution that offered Christianity to African “savages,” and that the war was a just cause in the eyes of God. Commemorative activities included erecting Confederate monuments and celebrating Confederate Memorial Day.

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy; frontispiece to author Edward A. Pollard’s 1866 book The Lost Cause

When describing the Lost Cause, historians have employed the terms “myth,” “cult,” “civil religion,” “Confederate tradition,” and “celebration” to explain this southern phenomenon. Many of these terms are used interchangeably, but they all refer to a conservative movement in the postwar South that was steeped in the agrarian traditions of the Old South and that complicated efforts to create a “New South.” For diehard believers in the Lost Cause, the term New South was repugnant and implied that there was something wrong with the values and traditions of the antebellum past. For individuals devoted to the idea of the Lost Cause, the Old South still served as a model for race relations (blacks should be deferential to whites as under slavery), gender roles (women should be deferential to their fathers, brothers, and husbands), and class interactions (poor whites should defer to wealthier whites). Moreover, individuals believed that the Confederacy, which sought to preserve the southern way of life, should be respected and its heroes, as well as its heroines, should be revered. Indeed, white southerners, for whom the Lost Cause was sacred, argued that the members of the Confederate generation fought for a just cause—states’ rights—and were to be honored for their sacrifices in defense of constitutional principle.

One could think of The Lost Cause as a “We’ve always done it this way” kind of thinking – which ironically, are also “The Last Six Words of a Dying Organization.”

Nevertheless, as many historians note, photographs of individuals from that era are exceedingly rare, as are those of the more infamous individuals such as William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson, a notoriously wicked, savagely brutal, wantonly profligate, dissolutely treacherous guerilla terrorist gang leader of Confederate mercenaries who is widely thought to have personally killed at least 52 human beings, based upon a cord he kept in his pocket, which when found upon his corpse, is reputed to have had as many number of knots in its length.

You could think of “Bloody Bill” Anderson as the “MS-13 of the Civil War.”

To describe his actions and life as reprehensibly reprobate, cravenly pusillanimous, even proliferately profligate, ignominious and pervasive is not strong enough to convey the utter depths of depravity of his darkened soul.

As a young man aged 22, he quickly became a scumbag of the First Order by making money stealing and selling horses – a type of automobile theft of the antiquated day – all along the Santa Fe Trail, as far away as New Mexico.

After “Bloody Bill” Anderson’s father’s death – he was shot in self defense by A.I. Baker, a Confederate-sympathizing judge in the Council Grove, Kansas area, after being threatened by him because the judge had issued an arrest warrant for the son for horse theft after numerous complaints by area ranchers and farmers – he doubled down and became a murdering thief, wantonly hijacking and murdering travelers, stagecoaches, United States soldiers and civilians in and around Missouri.

His loyalty was to no one but himself, and was known to have remarked that he sought to fight as a Confederate mercenary – for money, rather than for principle, or fealty.

Bloody Bill shortly became mixed up with another ne’er-do-well guerilla leader named William Clarke Quantrill around May 1863, who headed the equally infamous guerilla terrorist group Quantrill’s Raiders, to which the equally infamous criminal brother duo of Frank and Jesse James briefly belonged. They, along with Cole Younger and his brothers Jim, John and Bob Younger, another notorious criminal cabal who were also part of Quantrill’s Raiders, and following the Civil War, joined with Jesse’s brother Frank James, to rob trains.

And, believe it, or not, perversely enough, there is a William Clarke Quantrill Society, which reveres the man, and his criminal cabal outlaws, and writes this about their organization: “The William Clarke Quantrill Society, Inc. is a Missouri Not-for-Profit corporation dedicated to the study of the Border War and the War of Northern Aggression on the Missouri-Kansas border with an emphasis on the lives of Quantrill, his men, his supporters, his adversaries, and the resulting historical record. We also collect and disseminate genealogical information about Quantrill, his men and their descendents [sic].”

Note the use of the peculiar term “War of Northern Aggression.” That is an operative phrase used by modern Confederate sympathizers referring to the Civil War, which is an attempt to “re-engineer,” or warp the savagely brutal tenor of slave history, and to couch it in much more palatable, even sympathetic tones postured as one of Southern victimization. Of course, as any observant, even perfunctorily casual student of American history knows, the South was the aggressor, and following the state’s secession from the Union in December 1860, amidst year-long threats to attack it beginning that December, and after first isolating it by surrounding, thereby cutting off much-needed food and supplies to the United States soldiers stationed there – upon Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard’s order – Confederate artillery fired the first shot upon the United States Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina shortly after 0430 in the morning, on April 12, 1861, which started the Civil War.

Again, such deliberate perversion is a direct result, and is part and parcel of the “Lost Cause” ideology. It is literally how the dead are kept alive – including their wickedly loathsome ideas of slavery, and racism. Cryonic preservation is utterly unnecessary, for that type hatred is kept very much warm and alive in the beating hearts of some, being fostered and fed by an equally bizarrely twisted and demented human imagination which denies the truth, despite the overwhelming abundance of evidence to the contrary.

As partial evidence of Anderson’s bloodthirst, he ordered his gang to kill every man, torch numerous buildings, and was known to have personally killed at least 14 in the Lawrence Kansas Massacre, August 21, 1863 as part of Quantrill’s Raiders. As roving terrorists whose numbers ranged between 75-300 in size, Anderson, Quantrill, and his gangsters – including Cole Younger and his brothers, and brothers Frank and Jesse James – regularly roamed, raped, looted, robbed, pillaged, and indiscriminately destroyed wherever they went, often using the guise of war to conceal their criminal deeds.

As partial illustration of Anderson’s brutality and savagery, not only was he known to have specially trained a horse to trample and kill, he and his gang members were also known to decorate their horses with human scalps from victims they had killed – a regular practice which was so abhorrently detestible to Confederate General Sterling Price that upon his October 6, 1864 meeting with Anderson to issue orders to him (having earlier commissioned Anderson as a Captain following Anderson’s brief skirmish with Quantrill’s loyalists), he refused to speak with him until after Anderson removed them. Anderson ignored Price’s directives, and instead, with his men proceeded to randomly ravage, rape, pillage, loot, and destroy throughout the Missouri countryside to their debauched hearts’ delight.

He and his wickedly perverted criminal cabal were also known to torture the living, and to even mutilate the corpses of those whom they killed, with the most opprobrious among them being an 18-year old named Archie Clement, who had “a predilection for torture and mutilation,” and whose loyalty was only to Anderson.

Some historians disagree on whether Anderson’s cruelly wicked and murderous nature was inherent, or if it was merely reflective of the general lawlessness of the era – the “nature versus nurture” argument – and cite as an example the quarrel Anderson had with Quantrill following Quantrill’s rebuke of William and his brother Jim for robbing Confederate sympathizers.

Following the cessation of Civil War hostilities, Cole Younger and the James’ brothers attempted a bank robbery in Northfield, Minnesota was foiled in which two townspeople were killed.

After his capture, and following a guilty plea to avoid a death sentence, Younger spent time in a Minnesota territorial prison, and with the warden’s assistance was later paroled, while Frank and Jesse James absconded to Nashville, Tennessee for three years. Because of the men’s Confederate sympathies, the James-Younger gang members avoided capture for several years.

Overall, there’s very little good to the Confederate side of the story.

The “Lost Cause” book, its effort, and movement which it engendered sought to change all that, to romanticize the evil and criminal acts and their perpetrators, and for many years, enjoyed some success, as evidenced by the numerous statues erected to Confederate soldiers and generals throughout the South.

Those marble and metal erections are nothing but practical edifices of evil, wretched glorifications of maleficence, and constant reminders of the pain, the misery, and villainy which occurred at the hands of deranged men.

It’s my hope that you don’t wear rose-colored glasses while considering that macabre, grotesque, and despicably vile portion of our nation’s history, and that you can see clearly the evil for what it was and is, and how the damage it wrought continues to wreak havoc to this very day throughout our nation.

Additional reading sources are found linked below, along with a post mortem image of William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson made the day of his death, October 26, 1864 by Robert B. Kice in Richmond, Missouri.










Origins of the Confederate Lost Cause


The True Account of William “Bloody Bill” Anderson


Post mortem photograph of William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson (1840-1864), a particularly wicked and infamously evil Confederate terrorist guerilla notorious for his merciless ruthlessness, and brutal savagery.

4 Responses to “Southern Super Villain: William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson”

  1. […] I had written about that malingering problem in an entry entitled “Southern Super Villain: William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson” and wrote in pertinent part […]


  2. […] the Kid” McCarty, Cole Younger and the Younger Brothers gang, Frank and Jesse James, William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson, and others – all about whom I’ve written – were every one confirmed, hardened criminals, […]


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


  4. […] the notoriously murderous villain William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson (1840-1864), a particularly wicked and infamously evil Confederate terrorist guerilla widely known, […]


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