“William T. Anderson (1840 – October 26, 1864), better known as Bloody Bill, was one of the deadliest and most brutal pro-Confederate guerrilla leaders in the American Civil War. Anderson led a band that targeted Union loyalists and Federal soldiers in Missouri and Kansas.
Bloody Bill Anderson
In late 1863, while Quantrill’s Raiders spent the winter in Texas, animosity developed between Anderson and Quantrill. Anderson, perhaps falsely, implicated Quantrill in a murder, leading to the latter’s arrest by Confederate authorities. Anderson subsequently returned to Missouri as the leader of a group of raiders and became the most feared guerrilla in the state, killing and robbing dozens of Union soldiers and civilian sympathizers throughout central Missouri. Although Union supporters viewed him as incorrigibly evil, Confederate sympathizers in Missouri saw his actions as justified, possibly owing to their mistreatment by Union forces. In September 1864, he led a raid on Centralia, Missouri. Unexpectedly, they were able to capture a passenger train, the first time Confederate guerrillas had done so. In what became known as the Centralia Massacre, possibly the war’s deadliest and most brutal guerrilla action, his men killed 24 Union soldiers on the train and set an ambush later that day that killed more than 100 Union militiamen. A month later, Anderson was killed in battle. Historians have made disparate appraisals of Anderson: some see him as a sadistic, psychopathic killer, but for others, his actions can not be separated from the general lawlessness of the time.”
This morning, Bloody Bill stepped into my developing manuscript, Breath of a Devil: the Untold Story of the Outlaw Jesse James.
My story’s narrator is a fictisious friend of Jesse James, Silas Thatch.
Me and Bloody Bill
I didn’t tell ya yet, but one fella that rode
with us and Quantrill was the meanest cuss
I ever did meet. He’d sooner cut some flesh
off your bones and fry it up for bacon
rather than walk an extra step and do the same
to a swine that born for bacon slicin’.
He came to me once askin’ ‘bout Jesse,
‘bout how good Jesse was at killin’.
By that time, most knew that Jesse
was Frank’s brother, but they didn’t
talk about it none. Bloody Bill didn’t care
what Jesse’s name was. He just liked
how Jesse’s bullet’s flew from his gun.
They always seemed to hit what they
was searchin’ for – every time.
That friend of yours, with the blue eyes.
He can shoot. Think he can shoot some more?
I got some ideas for him and me.
Quantrill’s goin ’soft and it’s time to fill
some Yanks up with holes and bullets, bullets and holes.
And I mean lots of bullets and holes.
I says I reckon he could do that, Mr. Anderson.
I called him mister cause he scared me
and sure enough I was smart to be scared.