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Re: "Bushwackers" by Trotter

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  • Mike Vanderboegh
    It was this kind of war in the mountains: The killers had names, their victims had kin, and everybody owned a gun. Bushwhackers, William R. Trotter, p. 5.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 25, 2003
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      "It was this kind of war in the mountains:  The killers had names, their victims had kin, and everybody owned a gun."  Bushwhackers, William R. Trotter, p. 5.
      Trotter's work is outstanding at capturing the substance and texture of the war in the NC mountains.
      Having done my own original research on the fratricidal guerrilla war in North Alabama, 1862-1866, I can only say that Trotter's characterization of the North Carolina/East Tennessee "low intensity conflict" (to use the modern sanitization) was duplicated in Alabama, sometimes in spades.
      Mike Vanderboegh
      Pinson, AL
      Here's Trotter's description:
      "It was a personal kind of war, up in the mountains.  It produced its share of heroes and more than its share of bloody-handed villains.  The fighting took place in a different dimension than the organized battles on the main fronts, where huge formations of uniformed men fired massed volleys at other huge formations of distant, faceless, uniformed men.  In the mountains there was little of that long-range, impersonal killing.  In the mountains, the target in your gunsight was not a nameless figure a thousand yards away, positioned at the other end of a smoke-obscured battlefield crowded with regiments.  Instead he was an individual human being with a clear and unique face, and he was, all too many times, a man whose identity and home you had known since childhood.  When you pulled the trigger on such a man, you did not leave a heap of distant bones-- one more swollen, powder-blackened piece of carrion among hundreds, heaped on the same acreage.  You left a dead MAN whose wife and children you probably knew by name.
      The war in the mountains may not have been large, but it was vicious, and it took place on an all-too-human scale.  There were vast regions of the mountain country that were more dangerous for an outsider who did not know the score than the areas near the front lines in northern Virginia.  Someone who lived, for instance, in Ashe County, would have a pretty good idea of where it was safe to travel in the neighboring counties of Wilkes or Watauga.  But if duty or business called him to Caldwell or Madison counties, he'd have to be extremely careful about who he spoke to and where he spent the night.  Many men took the wrong fork in a road, went a mile too far down an unfamiliar cove, and were never heard from again.
      It was this kind of war in the mountains:  The killers had names, their victims had kin, and everybody owned a gun."
      I highly recommend Bushwhackers. MBV
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2003 3:11 PM
      Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] Re: "Guerilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri, 1 862"

      Speaking of guerilla warfare, I was given a book last week called "BUSHWACKERS - The Civil War in the North Carolina Mountains." by William R. Trotter.  Have any of you read this book yet and what was your opinion of it.    Thanks much/.


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