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Encyclopedia > Quantrill's Raiders

Quantrill's Raiders were a loosely organized force of pro-Confederate bushwhackers who fought under the leadership of William Clarke Quantrill. The name "Quantrill's Raiders" seems to have been attached to them long after the war, when the veterans would hold reunions. Motto Deo Vindice (Latin: Under God, Our Vindicator) Anthem (none official) God Save the South (unofficial) The Bonnie Blue Flag (unofficial) Dixie (unofficial) Capital Montgomery, Alabama (until May 29, 1861) Richmond, Virginia (May 29, 1861–April 2, 1865) Danville, Virginia (from April 3, 1865) Language(s) English (de facto) Religion... Bushwhacking was a form of guerrilla warfare during the American Civil War that was particularly prevalent in rural areas where there were sharp divisions between those favoring the Union and Confederacy in the conflict. ... William Clark Quantrill of Quantrills Raiders William Clark Quantrill (July 31, 1837–June 6, 1865) was a pro-Confederate States of America guerrilla fighter during the American Civil War. ...



Missouri was fertile ground for the outbreak of guerrilla warfare in late 1861. Secessionists had already been organized to some extent by the proslavery "Border Ruffian" movement of the 1850s, in which Missourians crossed the border into the Kansas Territory in an effort to make it a slave state. Unionists were less well organized, but the populace was nevertheless deeply divided.

In 1861, the campaign between Union and pro-Confederate forces rolled back and forth across the southern half of the state, until finally the governor, Claiborne F. Jackson, and the [[[Missouri State Guard]], under the command of General Sterling Price, were largely forced into Arkansas before the end of the year. Across the countryside, however, skirmishes erupted between Unionist and secessionist Missourians, and between secessionists and Union irregulars from Kansas who entered the state to plunder. Claiborne Fox Jackson (1806 - 1862) was the governor of Missouri from 1860 to 1861. ... General Price Sterling Old Pap Price (September 20, 1809 – September 29, 1867) was an antebellum politician from the U.S. state of Missouri and a Confederate major general during the American Civil War. ... Official language(s) English Capital Little Rock Largest city Little Rock Area  Ranked 29th  - Total 53,179 sq mi (137,002 km²)  - Width 239 miles (385 km)  - Length 261 miles (420 km)  - % water 2. ...

The insurgency flared in those areas where Union forces were weakest. As Union soldiers concentrated to fight against Price's State Guard and regular Confederate forces under General Ben McCulloch, few were available to occupy the territory to the rear. It was only in late 1861, as garrisons were established in important towns, that the weaker and more poorly organized Confederate guerrillas were defeated, and stronger, more capable units came together. The most notorious of these was that led by William Clarke Quantrill. Benjamin McCulloch was a soldier in the Texas Revolution, Texas Ranger, U.S. marshal, and brigadier general in the army of the Confederate States during the American Civil War. ...

Methods and legal status

Quantrill was not the only Confederate guerrilla operating in Missouri, but he rapidly won the greatest renown. He and his men ambushed Union patrols and supply convoys, seized the mail, and occasionally struck at undefended towns on either side of the Kansas-Missouri border. Reflecting the internecine nature of the guerrilla conflict in Missouri, Quantrill directed much of his effort against Unionist civilians, attempting to drive them from of the territory where he operated.

Quantrill claimed sanction under the Confederate Partisan Ranger Act, which authorized certain guerrilla activities, and apparently he had received a regular Confederate commission as a captain. However, like almost all of the Missouri bushwhackers, he operated outside of the Confederate chain of command. Some of his activities, most notably his massacre of some 200 men and boys in Lawrence, Kansas, in August 1863, appalled the Confederate authorities. In the winter of 1862-63, when Quantrill led his men behind Confederate lines into Texas, their often lawless presence proved an embarrassment to the Confederate command. Yet the generals appreciated his effectiveness against Union forces, which never gained the upper hand over Quantrill. On April 21, 1862, the Confederate Congress passed the Partisan Ranger Act. ... In the United States, on August 21, 1863, bushwacker, pro-slavery and possibly bandit elements led by William Quantrill invaded the town of Lawrence, Kansas, burned it to the ground, and murdered more than 150 to 200 people. ... Lawrence is a river city in Douglas County, Kansas, United States, 41 miles (66 km) west of Kansas City, along the banks of both the Kansas (Kaw) and Wakarusa Rivers. ...

Dissolution and aftermath

During that winter, Quantrill lost his hold over his men. In early 1864, the guerrillas that he had led through the streets of Lawrence returned to Missouri from Texas in separate bands, none of them led by Quantrill himself. Though Quantrill would gather some of his men again at the very end of 1864, the days of Quantrill's Raiders were over.

Quantrill died at the hands of Union forces in Kentucky in May 1865, but his legacy would live on. Many of his men, including Frank James, rode in 1864 under one of his former lieutenants, "Bloody Bill" Anderson, who was killed in October 1864. Much of that group remained together under the leadership of Archie Clement, who kept the gang together after the war, and harassed the Republican state government of Missouri during the tumultuous year of 1866. In December 1866, state militiamen killed Clement in Lexington, Missouri, but his men continued on as outlaws, emerging in time as the James-Younger Gang. Official language(s) English[1] Capital Frankfort Largest city Louisville Area  Ranked 37th  - Total 40,444 sq mi (104,749 km²)  - Width 140 miles (225 km)  - Length 379 miles (610 km)  - % water 1. ... Alexander Franklin James (January 10, 1843 – February 18, 1915) was an American outlaw and older brother of Jesse James. ... William T. Anderson a. ... Lexington is a city located in Lafayette County, Missouri, United States. ... Jesse and Frank James, 1872 The James-Younger Gang was a legendary 19th century gang of American outlaws that included Jesse James. ...




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