Essay on Guerrilla Warfare and Violence in Thomas Goodrich's "Black Flag"

Essay on Guerrilla Warfare and Violence in Thomas Goodrich's "Black Flag"

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Thomas Goodrich is an author that focuses most of his writings about the American Civil War. This book “Black Flag Guerrilla Warfare on the Western Border, 1861-1865” depicts some of the most violent guerrilla fighting that took place along the Kansas and Missouri border. He is very objective about presenting this sinister side of the Civil War. Mr. Goodrich’s book portrays the horrific death, destruction, merciless killings, rapes, and the millions of dollars worth of property seized or destroyed by the guerrillas on both the Union and Confederate side. This book tells about the brutality of what happened to men when they surrendered. They were told they would be treated as prisoners of war only to be executed, and their bodies mutilated by the guerrillas. It is written from first hand accounts of what went on from information collected through newspaper articles, diaries, and letters written by the eye-witnesses themselves, townspeople, family members, slaves, northern jayhawkers and pro-south bushwhackers. “Black Flag” concentrates on several of the Kansas jayhawkers and the Rebel guerrillas loyal to their cause. The brutality of the way both sides killed one another and mutilated the bodies of their victims is unbelievable.
Two of the most notorious savages were jayhawkers’ Charles “Doc” Jennison and James Lane. They would invade houses and farms in their path and shoot the men and older boys and have their way with the women and girls, destroy or steal anything in their path. Lane shattered the town of Osceola, Missouri, shot the men, and burned down most of the town. It suffered over a million dollars worth of damage and Lane’s gang even destroyed belongings of citizens that were pro-union.
On the confede...

... middle of paper ...

...heir loyalty to the Confederates.
This was one of the few civil war books that did not center on either Ulysses Grant or Robert Lee. It told a story about the Jayhawker and pro-South Bushwhacker guerrillas, who by the end of the civil war were just plain outlaws and would kill and rob anyone from the Union or the Confederate side. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about this part of the war. This book can be shocking at times, violent and very descriptive of what the innocent citizens had to endure.
The book concludes with a newspaper article from the Liberty, Missouri, Tribune dated ten months after the Civil War ended. It states that Clay County Savings Bank was robbed and the bank clerk was killed. As eighteen-year-old Jesse James career as a rebel bushwhacker guerrilla ended, his new career as a bank robber was just beginning.

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