Guerilla Warfare

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Dr. Bob, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    The Continentals in the Revolution were masters of sniping and hit-and-run-and-melt-away tactics.

    We're seeing it again in Iraq.

    Question: Should this NOT have been a successful program of the CSA in the Late Great Unpleasantness? I'm not just saying after Appomattox, I'm saying THROUGHOUT the war.

    A few hundred Sioux kept 8 of the 9 Minnesota Regiments at home. Think what 30-40 companies (about 100 men each) of organized CSA guerilla units could have done.

    Lee would not allow it. Mistake?
     
  2. AVL1984

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    I think so, Dr. Bob &lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;shhhhh...don't tell anyone I'm a yankee! LOL&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;
    I wish he would have allowed it. I personally believe it would have changed the tide of the War of Northern Aggression in favor of the CSA.

    AVL1984 [​IMG]
     
  3. MNJacob

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    Great, Dr. Bob, they didn't call it bleeding Kansas for nothing. One Quantrill was bad enough. Can you imagine 100, and the type that follow such men, can you imagine 1000 James gangs after the war?

    The entire country bled enough, would you have had more? It would have been a much harder war. The amazing thing about it was that we became one country again as quickly as we did. Reconstruction was tough enough. One Sherman and one Sheridan was enough, there would have had to have been more.

    Besides there were more attempts at such partisan activity by Southern sympathizers than many realize. Morgan panicked Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky for six months. And there were several attempts at incursions based in Canada. But generally an armed and angry citizenry just dealt with it. It just didn't work in the North. There has to be some kind of sympathetic base, and there just wasn't in the North. The Copperheads talked about it, and even plotted and planned it with the active cooperation of authorized agents from the Conferate government and just didn't have the stomach for it.

    It happened all the time in the occupied south. The Federal armies generally only really possessed the land on which they were marching. Forrest, Mosby and others were masters of it. But they had the base to support it

    I don't think that it would have done anything but add more blood to the story.
     
  4. Stratiotes

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    Watchit-thar - you're referring to people like my great great grandad who rode quite proudly with "Bloody Bill" Anderson and thought him a great hero. ;) . Honestly though, what is one to do when their homeland is invaded and the occuppying force is not opposed to brutal methods to intimidate the locals? I would probably be one of "those types" who joined the guerrillas. Have you ever read the life stories of the members of the James gang and what the federals did to their families even before they joined the guerrilla bands? The Missouri-Kansas border dispute might have began as political differences dominated by slavery in 1854 but after the federals came, it was about vengeance.

    A great movie:
    _Ride With the Devil_

    A great book with a similar title but not the source of the movie:
    _The Devil Knows how to Ride_
    by Ed. Leslie

    Another good book:
    _Inside War: The Guerrilla Conflict in Missouri During the Civil War_ by M. Fellman

    The personal memoirs of guerrillas that are quite good as well: Cole Younger's and John McCorkle's.
     
  5. Johnv

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    I dunno, Dr Bob. Both the northern generals and southern generals knew the same tactics. You'd think that, if gurilla warfare were viable, one side or the other would have used it. But neither did. There's likely a reason that both sides independently decided against it.

    Of course, we can all second guess, but we're merely armchair generals who aren't privy to firsthand knowlege and experience of the mid-1800's military environment.
     
  6. Stratiotes

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    I read somewhere that Gen. Lee and Jefferson Davis were approached on several occassions to continue the war by instigating guerrilla warfare - both apparently put a damper on the plans as not a "christian" method of war. There was a dominant belief that it was not chivalrous and so many of the guerrillas were refused commissions by the armies of both sides. Quantrill often claimed a commission but there is little in the records about it and even some evidence that it was withdrawn at one point.
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    My grandfather (born 1880 in Ringstead, Iowa) was named Jesse James Griffin. We look at the James gang as outlaws; they were looked upon as folk heroes.

    War is not chivalrous and by the end of the un-Civil War I'd think that would have been clear. But Lee rejected letting his army melt away into guerilla tactics even at Appomattox.

    If he had STARTED that way (think Lexington and Concord) we might have a free nation now.
     
  8. MNJacob

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    It was primarily to Lee that the country owes the fact that the North and South were reconciled at all. Lee took an oath of allegiance. Davis never did. Davis wanted nothing so much as to be actually brought to trial after the war. The North was afraid that he would win. So it never happened.

    Stratiotes, I probably would have also resisted an invading force. I have had the privilege of living both in Corinth, Mississippi, 20 miles from the Shiloh battlefied, and in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, approximately 20 miles from Gettysburg. It really affects your view of both sides.
     
  9. AVL1984

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    I live here in Murfreesboro, TN, and go to Fort Rosecrans and other areas historical attractions on a regular basis. People here still call the "Civil War" the War of Northern Aggression, and they still call the Battle of Stones River the Battle of Murfreesboro. I have listened to many of the older folks tell me tales told to them by their great grandfathers, great grandmothers, etc., about the war. They talk of the many battles against the "Yankee's", and many here still hold a small bit of resentment. At first I found it strange, but after going with an older lady to one of the graves of one of her relatives from the Civil War and how it wasn't kept up like the graves of the "Yankee" soldiers, I could hear the bitterness in her voice. It was saddening. Seems many still believe there should be two separate countries and many still talk about it.

    AVL1984
     
  10. MNJacob

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    Dr. Bob,

    The James gang robbed a bank in Corinth during their escapades. The location where they stopped to divide up their loot was at the entrance to our housing development.
     
  11. Stratiotes

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    Some have conjectured that the James gang *was* that continuation of the war using guerrilla tactics - primarily against the railroads which represented, in the minds of western Jacksonian democrat farmers, the intrusion of the federal govt. It is no wonder they were heros with farmers who had paid taxes that went to make the railroad companies wealthy and gave them large tracts of land that farmers felt should be theirs to have.

    The bitterness is not as strong in Missouri as it once was but at one time the federals ordered all Missouri citizens to leave the counties bordering Kansas. The property they left behind was confiscated or burned and the area is still referred to by some as "the burnt district." Even thru the elections of Harry Truman's time this evil was touted by democrats to remind voters of the cruelty inflicted by republicans on Missouri.

    I think Dr. Bob is right that the results may have been quite different had there not been such a distaste for guerrilla tactics. Lee's sterling character (to borrow from one of his biographer's) is probably the primary reason our country was reconciled as has been said. It is also the federal officials who did not prosecute Davis as his trial would most assuredly brought out the legality of secession in my view ;) . And such a trial would have likely divided the country once again along political rather than geographical lines (as perhaps they are now?).

    AVL1984: There is a house near the Murfreesboro battlefield that was once owned by a distant cousin of mine - Hord House, it is called.
     
  12. rsr

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    William C. Davis in "An Honorable Defeat: The Last Days of the Confederate Government," argues that it was Lee and Breckenridge (and Johnston) were opposed to Jefferson Davis on the matter of continued guerrilla war in 1865 and essentially overruled him.
     
  13. Roy

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    General Sherridan ordered burning down of farm houses to discourage guerilla activity. Some of Mosby's men once disguised themselves in Union uniforms and kidnapped an unsuspecting sentry. They hanged him next to a road which Union troops used regularly just to try and scare them.

    Sherridan put out public notices that he would burn down a farm house in retalliation. The men responsible for the hanging happened upon a woman and her children, standing around their burning farm house, and the captain apologized to the woman. He told her that they would never have hung that Yankee if they had known that something like that would happen.

    The woman yelled at him, "Mister, I am just as much a Rebel as you are and I will be until the day I die! You don't have to apologize to me for anything!" The men were energized by those words and rode off to find those Union troops.

    Normally they wouldn't have attacked that many soldiers, especially in the open and during broad daylight, but the enemy troops were all on foot and so heavily loaded down with loot from the farm house that the Rebs knew that they wouldn't be able to reach their guns in time. The Rebs rode down hard on the Yanks, stopped in the middle of them and started blasting until they were all dead.

    When Sherridan found out, he ordered five more farm houses burned down. I am not sure if the southern citizenry would have had the heart to live in teepees and caves in support of guerilla war.

    Roy
     
  14. Roy

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    On second thought, maybe they would. Many of us live in trailer parks today and there's not any civil war going on.

    Roy
     
  15. AVL1984

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    I believe I've heard of the Hord House.
    Speaking of Missouri, my adoptive fathers family was from and still lives in Missouri to this day. They still look upon Jesse James as a folk hero. I too believe that if Davis had gone to trial that there would have been proof of the right of the Southern states to seceed.
    Many of my relatives fought on both sides of the war. My mothers side fought on the Union side with my grandfathers great grandfather being a Union soldier caught in or around Chattanooga, but escaping with 12 other soldiers. My grandmothers relatives on my birth-fathers side were from here in TN and fought with their regiments. We still have some records of the war in letters that are being "held captive" by my mother's cousin somewhere in Ohio. I've only seen them once.

    AVL1984
     
  16. AVL1984

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    On second thought, maybe they would. Many of us live in trailer parks today and there's not any civil war going on.

    Roy
    </font>[/QUOTE]LOL...Trailer trash, eh? I know about that and learned a lot about it from my Southern roots! ;)
    I believe, from what I've seen, read, and heard of the Southerners from that time, that they would have gladly endured guerilla warfare against the aggressors.

    AVL1984
     
  17. Dr. Bob

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    Why do we LAUD the minutemen, hiding behind fences and trees and sniping at the British all the way back from Lexington and Concord, bleeding and discouraging further forays into the countryside in 1775?

    These are icons and heroes in our history books. Logo of the New England Patriots (who won last night).

    But somehow this is evil?

    Ask Che Guevera or Ho Chi Minh or Menachem Begin . .
     
  18. AVL1984

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    Not evil to me, Dr. Bob. Not if it accomplishes what needs to be done. If it would have happened full scale during or after the Civil War what do you believe the outcome would have been? How would it have affected us today?

    AVL1984
     
  19. Roy

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    If the actions of our revolutionary forefathers are being touted as evil by educators and media outlets, then I suspect a type of mental conditioning is at work. Someone wants citizens to be content with everything that comes down the pike and not get any ideas like our nation's founders and the CSA founders did.

    Roy
     
  20. AVL1984

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    I truly believe this is the case, Roy. I know my nephews and neices are being conditioned every day in the public school to accept pacifism as the right way, and the War in Iraq as something that was unnecessary and unneeded. They also teach that the "Civil War" was necessary to bring the rebellious states back into line and end slavery. Guerilla tactics against the Union soldiers might have led to the CSA winning and we wouldn't be suffering from so much FEDERAL control right now.

    AVL1984
     

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