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Re: [civilwarwest] Jayhawkers

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  • Tony Brown
    I do have a feeling that more attention is going to be paid to the Trans-Mississippi theatre in the future. There is a thesis, which I respect but do not
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 20, 2001
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      I do have a feeling that more attention is going to be paid to the Trans-Mississippi theatre in the future.   There is a thesis, which I respect but do not fully hold, that the Civil War contains precedents for future wars.   For example, the Siege of Petersburg can equate with the Western front;  The march through Georgia can equate with taking a German conquest of Western Russia etc.   Taking a line from that there is an argument to be made that much of the war in the Trans-Mississippi presaged the "small" wars of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.   I suspect that Russian commanders in Chechneya would have emphasized with Steele's problems during the Camden campaign.  
      In Arkansas after the capture of Helena you have a situation where a larger and more sophisticated force found it impossible to subdue a smaller and less sophisticated force that had access to decent weapons, used irregular warfare methods, and operated in an inhospitable terrain.   There are parallels with Chechneya and Somalia which can be drawn.   The Civil war of moonlight and magnolias did not exist in some regions - Southern Missouri, Arkansas, parts of Louisiana were places where war descended into uncontrolled violence and even organized forces pursued their  objectives without restraint.  Does sound modern when put like that.
      The tri-racial element in the Trans-Mississippi is a complex matter.   Not only were their Union Indians and Confederate Indians, but in Texas the Confederates lost frontier areas to Apache incursions, while the Union had to deploy a major army to defend Minnesota and adjacent regions from the Plains Indians.   It was a major sign of the chaos and depopulation in Northwester Arkansas that the Sioux war band of Santanta was able to winter in the Ozarks during 1863 without either federal or Confederate permission!
      In the Far West atrocities were perpetrated by both sides - but this was geographically the largest theatre of the war, and what went on there must be seen as part of the greater whole.
      Tony Brown

      At 22:29 19/04/01 +0000, you wrote:
      Speaking of events in the Trans-Mississippi, it may be that we should
      also include Louisiana and Texas in the category of "bloody, vicious,
      and less documented" along with Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and
      Oklahoma.  According to THE CIVIL WAR IN LOUISIANA by John D. Winters,
      "Jayhawkers" were a big problem for the Confederacy throughout the war
      clear down into this state as well as Texas. Often the Rebs had to
      quit fighting the Yanks in Louisiana to clear these rascals out of
      their areas for a while. Supposedly Jayhawkers were the pro-union
      counterpart to rebel guerillas such as Quantrill, and as part of their
      trepidations would often try to free and arm slaves, enlisting them in
      their particular hell-raising. But it is clear in reading this book
      that in actuality, what you had west of the Mississippi were lots of
      armed factions that operated with various degrees of loyalty to a
      side, sometimes being complete opportunists looking for plunder
      without any loyalty to anyone but themselves. I am sure whenever local
      militias or confederates had to do the dirty work of clearing these
      types out, they would term them Jayhawkers whether it was really a
      fact that they were pro-union or not. From Tony's recent posts, it
      would seem that there is some new stuff coming out to bring more out
      about the racial and "tri-racial" aspects of the conflict in the wild,
      wild west.

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