|Posted by Jay Longley on May 8, 2015 at 7:25 PM|
Several years ago, I did a comparison of the many traditionalist accounts of the locations of and number of gunshot wounds they erroneously claim killed "Bloody Bill" Anderson during the ambush near Orrick, Missouri in late October, 1864. I'm re-posting the message where I detailed several of the accounts. I'm also adding a photo I just found that says it was taken of Bill Anderson's grave (at Richmond?) soon after 1900. Our group has long-called for an exhumation of this grave because we believe it would prove that "Bloody Bill" Anderson's body is not in it. I'm also attaching a photo of the gravestone that traditionalist Donald Hale and his father placed on the Richmond grave in 1969. [Members can view these photos in this website's Photos section]
Gunshots they claim killed Bloody Bill
One of the most disturbing aspects about the way the Bloody Bill Anderson story has been presented by historians and writers for over 140 years, has been the many contradictory accounts of both the number of gunshots and the location of gunshot wounds these writers claim killed Bloody Bill Anderson in the ambush near Orrick, Missouri on October 26th or 27th depending on which story you believe. Going back through my notes on this event, I came across over a dozen different and contradictory stories of both the number of gunshots this guerrilla was said to have taken and their location on the body. The contradictions are quite obvious and the differences are as numerous as the writers who told about these very important gunshots. If one accepts that Bloody Bill Anderson was killed in this ambush, which I don't, then it must be amply certain that only one of these reports can possibly be the true account. I will give you all just a sampling of these accounts and will leave it up to those who have written and published these opposing versions to explain their positions and give their sources.
The following article was written, on October 8, 1989, by Lorene
Bishop who was a writer for the Brownwood Bulletin and President of
the Brown County Historical Society. Lorene Bishop, as almost every reputable Brown County historian believed firmly that Bloody Bill Anderson lived out his life in Brown County, Texas until his death in 1927. I am posting only the portion of Bishop's book that deals with the ambush below as told by James S. Hackley:
"... The existence of the Bill Anderson of Texas that became known to
Missourians in 1924 when a short article about him appeared in The
Houston Post and was copied in Missouri papers. At once Colonel
James S. Hackley, an early settler of Mobeby Missouri present his
knowledge of the facts preceeding the slaying. His story indicates
that the guerrilla's body was identified by his, Hackley's mother, a
cousin of the slain Confederate irregular...
Four weeks later we drove to Richmond to my mother's brother. When
my uncle came out to greet my mother, a boy ran up and said that Bill
Anderson had been killed and his body was at Tice's gallery.
We went to Tice's gallery. When my mother saw the blood on
Anderson's face, and his clotted hair, she pleaded that the picture
not be taken until she had washed his face and combed his hair. Her
plea was refused by Captain Cox, who was present and claimed to have
Anderson was buried in Richmond. The bullet that ended his life
struck him in the back of his head and came out through his
(This account says ONE bullet "struck him in the back of the head and came out through his forehead.")
This next account is from the War of the Rebellion Records and comes from no other that Lt. Colonel S.P. Cox himself.
"Report of Lieut. Col. Samuel P. Cox, Thirty-third Infanty Enrolled
Richmond, Mo., October 27, 1864.
DEAR SIR: We have the honor to report the result of our expedition on
yesterday against the notorious bushwhacker, William T. Anderson and
his forces, near Albany, in the soutwest corner of this county (Ray).
Learning his whereabouts we struck camp on yesterday morning
and made a forced march and came in contact with their pickets about
a mile this side of Albany; drove them in and through Albany and into
the woods beyond. We dismounted our men in the town, threw our
infantry force into the woods beyond, sending a cavalry advance who
engaged the enemy and fell back, when Anderson and his fiendish gang,
about 300 strong, raised the Indian yell and came in full speed upon
our lines, shooting and yelling as they came. Our lines held their
position without a break.The notorious bushwhacker, Anderson, and one
of his men, supposed to be Captain Rains, son of General Rains,
charged through our lines. Anderson was killed and fell some fifty
steps in our rear, receiving two balls in the side of the head. Rains
made his escape and their forces retreated in full speed, being
completely routed; our cavalry pursued them some ten miles, finding
the road strewn with blood for miles. We hear of them scattered in
various directions, some considerable force of them making thier way
toward Richfield, in Clay County. We capured on Anderson private
papers and orders from General Price that identify him beyond a doubt.
I have the honor to report that my officers and me conducted
themselves well and fought bravely on the field. We had 4 men
wounded; lost none. The forces of my command consisted of a portion
of Major Grimes, of Ray County, Fifty first Regiment Enrolled
Missouri Militia, and a portion of the Thirty-Third Enrolled Missouri
Militia, from Daviess and Caldwell Counties.
Lieut. Col., Comdg. Thirty-third Regt. Enrolled Missouri
(This one claims Anderson was hit with "two balls in the side of the head." Quite a feat of markmanship I would say.)
The next is from a message by one of the members of our Bloody Bill Anderson Mystery group, Laura Anderson Way, in which she quotes Paul Petersen.
"The following is from the book "Quantrill of Missouri" by Paul Petersen, page 392 and 393."
"In late October, in Ray County, Anderson saw the report that Price had been defeated and that George Todd had been killed. On October 24 he determined to punish the Federals for the Southern defeat at Westport."
"Harrison Trow recalled that William Smith, a veteran guerrilla with four years' experience, rode next to Anderson. Trow claimed that five bullets struck Smith and three struck Anderson, and at the end of the fight, both men were dead."
(Here Trow is quoted as saying "three (bullets) struck Anderson. Another strange fact is that, while this report claims William Smith was killed in this ambush, Smith's name appears nowhere on the monument erected to the guerrillas killed that day.)
"...Anderson went to Texas that winter, got married, and returned to
Missouri in 1864 with a band of about 50 fighters. Anderson embarked
on a summer of violence, leading his group on a campaign that killed
hundreds and caused extensive damage. The climax came on September 27
when Anderson's gang joined with several others to pillage the town
of Centralia, Missouri. When more than 100 Union soldiers pursued
them, the guerillas ambushed and massacred the entire detachment.
Just a month later, Anderson's band was caught in a Union ambush
outside of Albany, Missouri, and Anderson was killed by two bullets
to his head. The body of the "blood-drenched savage," as he became
known in the area, was placed on public display. Anderson kept a rope
to record his killings, and there were 54 knots in it at the time of
name=Reviews& file=viewarticle &id=291
Adult language is used on that site.
"...After completely decimating the town, he moved his men to the
south of town and set up an ambush for 150 Union Calvary men moving
in after him. They killed 116 of them. They shot them through the
head, then scalped them and thrust them with bayonets. They even
chopped of ears and noses.
On October 27th 1864, Anderson was ambushed by Captain S.P.Cox and
his Union troops. He and one other man charged the line guns blazing.
His horse was shot and he bit the dust, he was then shot in the back
of the head 2 times. His body was taken to Richmond, Missouri where
they decapitated his corpse and stuck his head on a telegraph pole.
His body was then dragged through the streets and dumped in an
Bloody Bill was passionate, angry and ruthless ~ described by Jim
Cummins as "The most desperate man I ever met." "
(This one seems to be saying Anderson's horse "bit the dust" and then Anderson was executed with two shots in the back of the head.)
"While leading his guerilla band near Orrick, Missouri on October
27th 1864, Anderson was ambushed by Captain S.P.Cox and his Union
troops. Anderson was caught completely unaware and was riddled with
bullets then left for dead in his saddle. His loyal followers put up
a fight to try and recover Anderson's corpse, but they were driven
back by superior firepower.
Anderson's body was taken to Richmond, Missouri where it was propped
up in a chair and a pistol was placed in the dead man's hand then
photographs were taken. A short while later, the Union troopers, full
of loathing for the dead man, decapitated Anderson and impaled his
head on a telegraph pole at the entrance to the town as a signature
to all that the infamous killer was indeed dead. Anderson's torso was
roped and tied to a horse then dragged along the streets of Richmond
before being dumped in an unmarked grave outside of town."
(This is just one of many accounts that claim that Bill Anderson's body was "riddled with bullets".)
Carl W. Breihan tells the story a little different in his account from page 78 of his "Killer Legions of Quantrill", 1971, by saying the following:
"...Anderson was the first to fall, his body caught in a crossfire and riddled as he toppled from the saddle..."
If it weren't for the seriousness of this historical event, all of these different and contradictory accounts would be laughable. To say the least, EVERY writer who has made money selling books containing a version of this ambush story owes the American public an explanation for writing whatever tale he/she chose to tell in the book(s), regarding the way they claim Bloody Bill Anderson was killed that day. They should step forward and give their sources for this misinformation.