June 3, 2023
During the Civil War, the Clay County, Missouri branch of the Bushwhackers called their fearless leader the "Old Man." Bloody Bill Anderson was all of 23 (some claim 24 but, still). Many of his troops were mere teenagers, like Jesse James who was only 16. As T.J. Stiles points out in his stalwart book, the most dangerous of the male species is an American boy 17 to 19 years-old.
How Dangerous Were These Youngsters?
They caught two troopers on the road, cut their throats ear to ear and then scalped them, tying the bloody scraps to their saddles. "Drunk on blood," as someone described them, they crushed faces with rifle butts, carved noses off, sliced off ears, or sawed off heads and switched their bodies for comic effect. One of them pulled the trousers off one of their victims and then cut off his penis and shoved it in the dead man's mouth. The teenager, Jesse James, had matriculated and completed his education in this culture of atrocity.
On March 2, 1864, Bloody Bill married Bush Smith, a woman from Sherman, Texas.
Bloody Bill's Old Lady
Daily Whip Out: "Bush Smith"
(her full name was Mary Erwin Bush Smith
and some called her "Molly")
The Trap That Bagged Bloody Bill
After the massacres at Centralia, Missouri, the Federalists gave chase and then they got a lucky break. On October 26, 1864, At Richmond, a woman came into their camp and asked to speak to the commander, Lt. Col. Samuel P. Cox. The woman told him the guerillas were camped in the timber just west of the village of Albany. Early on the morning of the 27th Cox moved out with his men and set up a trap. Setting up in a grove of trees on the edge of Albany, Cox sent out a decoy patrol to attack Anderson's encampment, then turn tail and bring them back to the trees, which is exactly what Anderson and his men did, mounting up and giving chase. With Anderson and another rider in the lead, the Union soldiers opened up and as Bloody Bill broke through the lines, he suddenly slumped forward and fell from his horse.
Confederate Partisan Rangers
Memorial near Albany, Missouri
The King of Terror in Missouri was dead, shot behind the left ear he died almost instantly. They rounded up his horse with two fresh scalps still swinging from the bridle and carried Bill back to Richmond where they rounded up a photographer to show off their bloody booty.
The Map of The Trap
Yesterday's quote bears repeating because it is a premonition for another trap just down the road in Saint Joseph, Missouri. It would take 16 years but Jesse James would end up just like his leader, Bloody Bill, with a bullet behind his ear.
"You spit in the sky, it comes back."
—Old Vaquero Saying