Lew Rockwell’s Bushwhackers

[Hat Tip to John Schwarz]

Looks like Missouri’s Bushwhackers are the latest heroes over at the Lew Rockwell blog.  According to Karen de Coster:

Guerrilla forces tend to attract the worst sorts, as well as those who honorably serve the greater cause of independence. As time went on, the focus of the Bushwhackers tended to become more self-serving. This is the natural response to aggressive war, especially a war as evil and crushing as Lincoln’s bloody War Against Southern Independence.  Many of the actions of these guerrilla fighters — even the misplaced behaviors — originated in response to the endless brutalities suffered at the hands of the Union Army and federal authorities.

The video offers us the standard Lew Rockwell line (though there is no official connection between the two) that white Southerners perceived the war as one of encroaching federal power.  However, as I’ve pointed out before, it completely ignores the fact that the Confederate government went further than the United States in its push toward centralization.  Unfortunately, such a description, along with the video, tell us next to nothing about the Bushwhackers, Guerilla warfare or the war in Missouri.  It does show that Lew Rockwell will never shy away from distorting the past to make a political point.

Guerilla warfare is one of those areas of Civil War history that has grown in leaps and bounds over the past 15 years.  If you are truly interested in this subject you will want to check out books by Daniel Sutherland, Michael Fellman, Ken Noe, Noel Fisher, John Inscoe, John McKinney, to name just a few.

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5 comments… add one

  • margaretdblough Nov 30, 2009

    In the first place, who ever put this together has a heck of a copyright infringement issue going since they are using Bon Jovi's “Wanted: Dead or Alive” in the background. Furthermore, the Bushwackers did not come out of nowhere once the Civil War started. They were the successors (some used the names interchangeably) to the Border Ruffians of the Bleeding Kansas period. It also says Union troops killed “Bloody Bill” Anderson's sister, implying cold blooded murder. She, another sister who was permanently injured, and other women from Confederate sympathizing families were imprisoned in a building that was known to be substandard and which collapsed, killing 5 women including one of the Anderson sisters. According to Nichole Etcheson's “Bleeding Kansas”, Quantrill was planning the attack on Lawrence, KS before the building collapse.

    I must assume that the murder of up to two hundred defenseless men and boys in Lawrence, KS, was what the video meant when it described the bushwackers as “flawed.”

    • Kevin Levin Nov 30, 2009

      I thought about pointing out the mistakes in the video, but then I realized how long it would take and I decided against it. :)

  • toby Dec 1, 2009

    8% of Confederate soldiers were black? Mmm, McPherson says that 800,000 men served in the Confederate army…. that is 64,000 black soldiers… about the size of the Army of Northern Virginia at any one time. That implies whole regiments of blacks soldiers, possibly whole brigades and divisions as in the Union army.

    I was going to ask “where is the evidence?” but I know there is none. Confederate official records may be gone, but diaries and letters are not. You would expect Union soliders would have recorded encountering large numbers of black troops. Kevin is right … it gets tiresome slaying the slain over and and over again.

  • toby Dec 1, 2009

    8% of Confederate soldiers were black? Mmm, McPherson says that 800,000 men served in the Confederate army…. that is 64,000 black soldiers… about the size of the Army of Northern Virginia at any one time. That implies whole regiments of blacks soldiers, possibly whole brigades and divisions as in the Union army.

    I was going to ask “where is the evidence?” but I know there is none. Confederate official records may be gone, but diaries and letters are not. You would expect Union soliders would have recorded encountering large numbers of black troops. Kevin is right … it gets tiresome slaying the slain over and and over again.

  • Arleigh Birchler Jun 25, 2011

    Kevin,

    If you have not read Tom A Rafiner’s book “Caught Between Three Fires”, you might find it interesting. It is an attempt to piece together the history of Cass County, Missouri, between 1860 and 1865. Very little is known about what happened to the families that were there in the 1860 census until they show up again, usually far away. Mr Rafiner high-lighted some of the brother’s and sister’s of my direct ancestors who were there in 1860.

    Margaret,

    If you haven’t seen the movie “Ride With the Devil”, I think it is worth watching. That is where Rockwell stole most of the footage in this short video. Since I have spent time studying the events of that time and place, I did notice that the movie tends to stick closely to historical fact, even though the characters are fictional. Another group of my ancestors lived near Eudora, not far from Lawrence.

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