Jim Erwin spoke about Guerillas and Guerilla Hunters in Civil War Missouri. Federal troops fought more than 1,000 engagements with Confederates in Missouri during the Civil War – most of them with guerrillas throughout the state. It was left to the armies in other theaters to provide the dramatic charges and the heroic defenses. In the guerrilla war, a seemingly peaceful countryside could turn into a bloody ambush without warning. Civilians, regardless of their allegiance or attempts to remain neutral, were caught in a war where they had to choose a side.
Mr. Erwin is the author of two books on the subject. Guerrillas in Civil War Missouri tells the stories of guerrillas led by William Quantrill, Bill Anderson, and others (including future Missouri bank and train robbers Jesse and Frank James) who carried on hit-and-run warfare against soldiers and civilians. Guerrilla Hunters in Civil War Missouri covers the Union troops recruited to fight the guerrillas. In over three years of the war, these boys for most were in their teens and early twenties, were engaged in what one of them called “hard service,” and they became hard men. Combat, when it came, was often short, sharp, brutal, and unforgiving. In Missouri neither side showed mercy for defeated foes.