Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Bloody Bill's Bloody Scalps Puts The Apaches In The Shade

 June 20, 2023

    It's hard to imagine anyone being more of a deadly sociopath than William Anderson, better known as "Bloody Bill." Often donning the uniforms of their opponents, Bill and his men, including Jesse James, spread fear throughout Missouri during the Civil War. They were all known for decorating their saddles with the scalps of slaughtered foes. His men called him the Old Man, but Bloody Bill was 23-years-old.

Daily Whip Out:

"Bloody Bill's Bloody Scalps"

   When Union troops finally brought him down in an ambush and they rounded up his horse they discovered "two fresh scalps on his bridle."

  So, here is a touchy—to say the least— subject: where on the bloody Bushwhacker's bridle might he have hung human scalps? To me, it seems like it would freak out the horse. I have asked several cowboys and horsemen I know and they all agreed, most horses would not like the proximity of bloody human hair to be remotely near their face. When I asked Mark Lee Gardner this burning question, he sent me these two ledger drawings, by Lakota warriors illustrating where they displayed their scalps.

Lakota Scalps Horseback Placement

   I have a hunch, hanging scalps from the bridle bit might be an option (as an extension of the scalp dangling in the above illustration shows). I'm curious, anyone know of any specific description of this brutal custom?

   And yes, I must say, this gruesome and brutal tradition during the war in Missouri puts the Apaches in the shade.

"The bodies of the dead, even of a savage enemy shall not be subjected to indignities by civilized and Christian men."

—Colonel H. S. Jarrett


  1. Anonymous3:04 PM

    BBB - ALL is FAIR in LOVE & WAR
    The subject matter @ discussion & debate here is two fold, i.e. -
    1.) The fact that Bloody Bill had actually hung fresh cropped & bloodied human scalps from his horse's bridle.
    2.) That a/any horse would allow such gruesome & rotting adornments to be dangling alongside their sensitive head, face & nostrils.
    Since the very beginning of mankind's developments in warring, intimidation in battle has always been a very effective & persuasive asset.
    One would have to believe that a/any horse would become submissive to the quirky peculiar traits & habits of a maniacal warrior the likes of Bloody Bill even straddling their backs. Thus stringing an array of blood dripping scalp locks anywhere near the horse's head would eventually become just another narcissistic abuse inflicted by the horse's owner/rider. I could see the horse being rewarded with an apple or a sweet juicy Georgia peach & the equine would most likely begin to look forward to each & every scalp or for that matter any other battle intimidating article Bloody Bill would fancy adding. Noting again that the plains Indians had no qualms about decorating & adding feathers &/or scalps to their horses warring battle adornments.
    Lastly - like the Northern guerilla "Red Legs" were any less indifferent in having no particular interest or sympathy toward their Southern opponents & Dixieland civilian farmers & residents.
    On May 21, 1856, about 800 “border ruffians,” as pro-slavery forces were often called, struck the abolitionist town of Lawrence, Kansas. The raiders, including a contingent led by former Missouri Senator David Rice Atchison, contented themselves with looting and property damage. Three days later, abolitionist John Brown and his sons avenged the raid by murdering and mutilating five pro-slavery men at Potawatomie, Kansas. “Bleeding Kansas,” as it quickly became known, made the western Missouri border a war zone where tough young men, armed to the teeth, indulged in raids for both principle and profit.


  2. Anonymous3:07 PM

    BBB - ALL is FAIR in LOVE & WAR(Continued)

    The onset of the Civil War in 1861 only intensified the conflict. Anti-slavery Jayhawkers and Red Legs, so called because of the red leggings they often wore, led by James Montgomery, Charles R. “Doc” Jennison, and Senator James Lane, exploited the war as a pretext for plundering and murdering their way across Missouri. Confederate General Sterling Price’s September 1861 victory at Lexington, Missouri, provided a perfect opportunity for them. Still smarting from being brushed aside by Price at the Battle of Dry Wood Creek, Lane and Montgomery sought revenge against any Missourians who might have aided the Rebels. On September 22, Lane and Montgomery sacked Osceola, Missouri. After looting the town, the Jayhawkers shot five men down in the streets, burned all but three houses, and torched the St. Clair County courthouse along with many of its records. After nailing a U.S. flag to a tree to remind the residents where their sympathies should lie, Lane loaded 300 of his drunken men into wagons and departed. As the horizon swallowed up the Jayhawkers, unrepentant Missourians tore down the Stars and Stripes and trampled the flag in the dirt.
    If anything, Jennison’s Jayhawkers behaved worse than those in Lane’s command. Jennison’s 7th Kansas Cavalry attacked pro-Union Independence, Missouri, in November 1861 after pillaging and burning all along the way to their target. Once in town they stole anything of value, including quilts and blankets off the residents’ beds. The fact that Jennison’s regiment included a black company officered by a liberated slave further angered the Missourians. Always fearful that another Nat Turner might lead a bloody slave insurrection in their state, the sight of armed runaway slaves looting Missouri towns confirmed many Missourians’ worst fears.
    Murderous & Thieving Ways - Organized and equipped as U.S. military units, the Jayhawkers in practice recognized no higher authority. Not only did they often prove militarily useless to the Union cause, their murderous and thieving ways increased sympathy for the Confederacy among Missourians. Jennison’s and Lane’s commands spent the fall months in Missouri’s Jackson, Lafayette, and Pettis Counties, looting and killing indiscriminately. In short order, the new commander of the Department of Missouri, Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck, had had enough. “These men do not belong to this department, and have no business to come within this State,” he wrote Washington in January 1862. “I have directed General Pope to drive them out, or, if they resist to disarm them and hold them prisoners. They are no better than a band of robbers. They are driving good Union men into the ranks of the secession army.” Summing up the damage the Jayhawkers were doing, Halleck warned that if the Federal government allowed men such as Lane and Jennison to operate with its approval, “it may resign all hopes of a pacification of Missouri.”
    Halleck underscored his point by including a letter from Colonel Frederick Steele in command of Federal forces at Sedalia, which condemned the Jayhawkers’ random attacks on Missourians. The people of the state, he said, “except for the strongest Union men, are going to Price’s army for protection.” Price had indeed promised to protect his fellow Missourians from the Federal invaders but soon found it impossible to do so. After Price’s victory at Lexington, Union Maj. Gen. John C. Fremont cautiously nudged the Rebels out of Missouri with an army of 38,000 men.


  3. Anonymous3:12 PM

    BBB - ALL is FAIR in LOVE & WAR(Conclusion)

    Myth & Bias Cloud Quantrill’s Contribution.
    The troops Price led to victory at Lexington were Missouri State Guardsmen, not Confederate soldiers, and their enlistments steadily expired. In November 1861, Price issued an impassioned plea calling for 50,000 Missouri men to take up arms and drive the Federal invaders from the state. Few responded. Price complained that the Union military’s occupation of most of the state effectively kept recruits from reaching him. In December, he appealed to Brig. Gen. Ben McCulloch, his co-victor at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, to join him in an expedition to the Missouri River. There, said Price, “Predatory bands of the enemy, under such men as Lane, Montgomery, and Jennison, supported by the United States forces, are not only desolating the country but are committing the most barbarous outrages.” If only their combined forces could reach the Missouri, he argued, thousands would flock to the Confederate standard, but McCulloch, who harbored a low opinion of “Old Pap’s” military skills, declined to join him.
    Without active support from the Confederate government and with his Missouri guardsmen returning to their homes to prepare for the coming winter, Price’s command dwindled to about 7,000 men. These he led into Arkansas, where he shared Maj. Gen. Earl van Dorn’s defeat at the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862. For all practical purposes, Pea Ridge ensured Federal control of Missouri. Never again would a major Confederate army realistically threaten to retrieve Missouri for the South. Despite the victory, Union commanders faced military threats far more troublesome than invasions by large-scale, conventional enemy armies. None would prove more troublesome or persistent than William Clarke Quantrill.


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