Date that birth: sources variety from 1837 to 1839Place that birth: Hopkins County, KentuckyClaim come fame: Confederate guerrilla; Captain that Quantrill"s Raiders, 1863-1864Nickname: "Bloody Bill" AndersonPlace the death: Albany, MissouriCause of death: eliminated by Union soldiers in the fight of AlbanyFinal resting place: Pioneer Cemetery, Richmond, Missouri

William T. Anderson was among the most infamous Confederate guerrillas of the civil War. Operating versus Unionists in the midst of the guerrilla battle in Missouri and Kansas, he to be a leading figure in the well known Lawrence Massacre and also the Centralia Massacre, acquiring the nickname “Bloody Bill” for the regarded savagery the his exploits. Like other Confederate irregulars william Clarke Quantrill and Jesse James, segment of Anderson’s life room shrouded in doubt, giving rise to a romantic guerrilla mythology.

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Anderson to be born sometime in between 1837 and 1839 in Hopkins County, Kentucky, to william C. And also Martha Anderson. His family moved to Huntsville, Missouri, together a child, and in 1857 the Andersons relocated again, to Kansas, and worked out near the supervisory board Grove. Despite not owning any kind of slaves, the Andersons to be deeply proslavery. Besides befriending a local proslavery judge, I. A. Baker, the household personally competent the “Bleeding Kansas” dispute over enslavement that had embroiled the territory.

By 1860 Anderson had become a building owner and also went right into the freight shipping service with his father and began steed trading. The outbreak of the Civil war saw one increased demand for horses, and also Anderson started stealing horses and selling them follow me the Santa Fe Trail. In so late 1861, he and Baker test to join the Confederate Army, yet they were struck by the sixth Kansas mounties in Vernon County, Missouri. After being captured, Baker distanced self from the Anderson family, issuing a warrant because that the arrest that William’s brother, Griffith. When William seek to have the warrant suspended, a quarrel ensued in i beg your pardon Baker shot and killed the Anderson patriarch. On July 2, 1862, william murdered Baker, melted his home, and also fled come Missouri.

Anderson’s sisters, having actually operated as Confederate spies, to be arrested through Union authorities under the command that the hated Union basic Thomas Ewing Jr.

In Missouri William and Jim Anderson created a gang v Bill Reed, robbing and attacking Union soldiers, prior to joining Quantrill’s ranking in early on 1863. ~ a robbery near Council Grove in might 1863, Quantrill’s males were ambushed by commonwealth troops and forced to split up. Anderson was soon promoted to lieutenant, achieving a quasi-independent command, and also partook in raids in Westport, the state the Kansas, and also Lafayette County, Missouri.

On the home front, meanwhile, Anderson’s sisters, having actually operated as Confederate spies, were arrested through Union authorities under the command the the hated Union general Thomas Ewing Jr. After ~ arresting and also confining a number of suspected female spies to a makeshift jail in Kansas City, the structure collapsed, killing one of Anderson’s sisters among other victims. Confederate sympathizers, including Anderson, believed the collapse intentional. Back motivations are complicated to determine, historians Albert Castel and Thomas Goodrich argue the Anderson’s an ideas shifted at that point, together wanton killing became an finish in itself. “Bloody Bill” Anderson and his associates went on to earn ignominious reputations because that torture and mutilation.

Anderson soon became the most well known guerrilla in Missouri, raising his regional support network and attracting bloodthirsty recruits, consisting of Jesse James.

Fueled at least in part by revenge against Ewing, Quantrill led around 450 Confederate raiders right into pro-Union Lawrence, Kansas, on respectable 21, 1863, killing between 160-190 male citizens and also burning and looting much of the town. Anderson and also his men, consisting of George M. Todd, Archie Clement, and also Frank James, purportedly carried out themselves with excessive brutality. As Unionist retaliation increased, many notably by means of Ewing’s order No. 11, plenty of of Quantrill’s men, including Anderson, made for Texas. In Texas, tensions mounted between Anderson and also Quantrill, causing Anderson having his command arrested because that murdering a Confederate officer. This break through Quantrill collection the stage for the next phase of Anderson’s guerrilla career.

Returning come Missouri in the feather of 1864 and free of Quantrill’s oversight, Anderson’s guys disguised themselves together Union soldiers and staged a collection of raids in which they ambushed commonwealth troops and murdered or also scalped civilians. Anderson soon became the most infamous guerrilla in Missouri, enhancing his regional support network and attracting bloodthirsty recruits, consisting of Jesse James.


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Operating in central and northwest Missouri, along the Missouri river in the state’s “Little Dixie” region, Anderson staged a raid near Centralia top top September 27, 1864. Having robbed Unionist Congressman James S. Collins, captured a Union passenger train, and also murdered 22 furloughed Union soldiers who had surrendered, Anderson’s males were gone after by 39th Missouri Volunteer (Union) Infantry. After a separate skirmish the took place later in the day, sometimes known as the battle of Centralia, Anderson’s males ambushed the outgunned Unionist pursuers, and his guys mutilated and tortured the federal survivors of the battle. The early stage murders and the consequences became known as the Centralia Massacre.

Pursued by Union authorities, Anderson’s escape from Centralia associated the looting and torturing the Union sympathizers and several instances of report rape, particularly in a raid top top Glasgow, Missouri. Union forces under sublieutenant Colonel Samuel P. Cox, a former military scout, finally recorded up v Anderson and also his roughly 150 men on October 27, 1864. A brief battle ensued in i beg your pardon Anderson to be shot in the head and died instantly. Union soldiers photographed Anderson’s body and paraded it v the streets of Richmond, Missouri, burying it adjacent (it was later on reinterred). Cox came to be a Union hero, and also Anderson’s fatality later ended up being the motivation for Jesse james’s 1869 bank robbery in Gallatin, Missouri, in i m sorry he wrongly shot someone who he believed to be Cox.

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For an ext information around the atrocities committed in the Centralia Massacre and also the adhering to skirmish, review this PBS American Experience discussion from a dashboard of Civil battle experts.

Like Quantrill and James, postwar histories cast Anderson as either a sadistic murderer or a dashing Confederate cavalier. Appraisals by current historians, however, have situated Anderson within the world of slavery politics, political violence, and wartime atrocity native which that arose. Most agree that his actions and also persona embodied some of the war’s most savage aspects. Greatly mythologized, Anderson has been featured in a variety of popular society media, including a character in the movie The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976).