Bloody Bill Anderson-His Impact on the Civil War in Johnson County, Missouri.
Guerilla Warfare in Johnson County
During the Civil War, Johnson County was a very bloody place. Confederate men who got mad when somebody disagreed with them would quickly join a gang of bushwackers to intimidate people into agreeing with them. These bushwackers would rob, burn and trash whole neighborhoods and towns. They would then proceed to rob, kill, mutilate and even scalp innocent men andwomen. Some bushwackers weren'tthat ferocious, but a couple of bushwackers stand out in history as being particularly blood-thirsty. One of those men was Bloody Bill Anderson.
Bloody Bill Anderson's Goal
Bloody bill Anderson's goal was to kill as many yankee's as possible. Anderson did everything he could to try to make his goal come true.
Not much is not known about Bill's mother, however we do know that he lived with his dad, brothers( Jim and Bob ), and his sisters( Josephine, Mary, and Jenny ).
The Anderson's before the war
In the early 20's, Bloody Bill was powerfully built, handsome and a native Missourian. He lived with his family nearCouncil Grove, Kansas before the war. Even before the war broke out, sources say the Anderson's were bandits, horse thieves, and responsible for at least one murder.
When the war broke out Bill, Bob, and Jim were quick to become bushwackers. Anderson's Gang soon had a reputation for murderous ferocity which was even worse than Quantrill's and Todd's Gang.Archie Clement was a notable member of Anderson's gang. Clement was a short, slender, blond-haired eigthteen-year-old boy who earned the nickname " Little Archie." Some say he was a born killer and it is even possible that he was even more blood-thirsty than Bloody Bill himself.Eventually, "Little Archie" became Anderson's second-in-command and triggerman. He even adopted the practice of scalping dead Union soldiers.
According to some accounts, Anderson married Bush Smith. He did so against Quantrill's wishes thereby causing a break up between the two. However, Frank Smith( no relation ) says that she was just Anderson's mistress and that he never heard of Anderson marrying her. Moreover, it seems rather unlikely that Quantrill would have cared one way or the other whether Anderson got married or to whom.
June 12, 1864
Bloody Bill Anderson's and Dick Yeager's gangs ran into Parman's patrol on open Prairie, easily killing all but Parman and two others. The pursuing Union troops discovered that Anderson's and Yeagers gangs had previously attacked a nearby stage. There they ransacked the mail and robbed passengers. Some of the twelve men murdered had obviously surrendered only to be shot. One of the corpse's had been scalped and others had been mutilated.One month later he sent a letter to Lexington newspapers giving his version of the account. He claimed that he would have spared the men if they had surrendered .He said that he heard that most of that company were southern men and he would have been more than willing to spare them. Anderson boasted that he and two of his his men had killed all twelve men. However, it is known that Anderson had more than 50 mounted guerillamen with him that day. He ridiculed their marksmenship and taunted Federal leaders by daring them to send their men out for him to train. Despite the many versions of what happened, it is well agreed upon that the Parman Massacre was one of the worst defeats of the war raging in Johnson County, Missouri.
June 13, 1864
Anderson's gang attacked a wagon escort of 30 men of the First Calvary 12 miles south of Lexington, Missouri. His men killed 8 Union men, Burned 2 ratron wagons and killed 15 mules. The Independence- Warrensburg stage was held up simultaneously. All of the telegraph wires in the area were pulled down.
August 13 or 14, 1864
Many of the women who were arrested for aiding guerillas were imprisoned in an old building on Grand Avenue in Kansas City. Regional bushwackers were outraged when the building collapsed, killing, crippling and disabling many of the women. One of Bloody Bill's sisters was killed and another was crippled for life.This tragedy greatly increased guerilla activity since most of the guerillas prided themselves on their courteous manners with the fair sex. Despite their sadistic life-style they meticulously avoided harming even Union women.
September 23, 1864
Andersons gang attacked a train of government wagons escorted by militiamen under Captain McFadin. The wagon train was attacked at nightfall only 7 miles from Rocheport. Anderson's gang robbed the wagon train and left 2 Federal soldiers shot dead.
Anderson, with 3 or 4 hundred guerillas, were going through Centralia, Mo. commiting various acts of cruelty and robbery. When Major Johnson charged Anderson's gang with an inferior force, the guerillas killed 140 of his men. They eventually shot and killed 23 more Federal soldiers that day.
Bloody Bill Anderson was killed on October 27, 1864. He was killed in a fight near Albany, a village about 10 miles from Richmond. He is currently buried in the Richmond, Missouri Cemetary.
Mudd, Joseph A. With porter in North Missouri
Washington DC: The National Publishing Co,1909
The History of Johnson County, Missouri,
Kansas City, Mo.: Kansas City Historical Copany, 1881
Michols, Bruce E. Civil War in Johnson County, Missouri
Johnson County Historical Museum, May 3 1974
Monument dedicated to the Confederate soldiers of Johnson County, Missouri found in Sunset Cemetery in Warrensburg, Missouri.