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Smith’s Gorillas – Pt 2

In my previous post I began presenting the case for writing a book on the exploits of the detachment of the Army of the Tennessee known as A. J. Smith’s Gorillas (among other things). I argued that straight-forward, more-or-less traditional military history still has a valid place in the study of the past. This time I’d like to continue by presenting my reasons for considering the Gorillas a worthwhile topic for such a study.

The three-division detachment commanded by A. J. Smith had a knack for turning up in the midst of many of the key events of the last year of the war. Their presence helped saved Nathaniel P. Banks’s dismal Red River Campaign from ending in complete disaster with the possible loss of thousands of prisoners and even the bulk of the Mississippi River gunboat fleet, an outcome which might have at least temporarily reversed the flow of the war in the West. They dealt a rare check to Bedford Forrest in northern Mississippi in the summer of 1864, helping to keep the Wizard of the Saddle off of Sherman’s vulnerable supply lines during the Atlanta Campaign. Later that year they helped repel Sterling Price’s Missouri raid and then traveled to Nashville, where they were first to break Hood’s line, beginning the rout of the Confederacy’s only major army west of the Appalachians. In the closing weeks of the war, they became a key element in the campaign to take Mobile, Alabama, the Confederacy’s last remaining strategic port. Thus a history of the Gorillas provides an opportunity to discuss some of the important, if peripheral, events of the closing year of the Civil War.

However, it is more than that. It was not simply coincidence that put the Gorillas in all of those key points. Rather it was the fact that they had become, quite unintentionally, Grant’s main strategic reserve. For this insight I am indebted to my friend and colleague Steven H. Newton of Delaware State University. A central feature of Grant’s grand strategy during 1864 and 1865 was the focusing of Union strength by having all Union forces advance and engage the enemy more or less simultaneously — in Lincoln’s homey phraseology Union efforts would no longer be like a balky team, with no two horses pulling at one time. This cured some of the problems that had plagued Federal high command previously in the war, and it might have brought even more favorable results if it could have been more thoroughly implemented. However, Grant’s program, as was typical of his planning, did not leave much margin for error, much provision for dealing with what the enemy might do if the enemy got the chance to do anything. Specifically, it did not provide for a strategic reserve.

One reason that Grant’s program was not more thoroughly implemented was the blundering of N. P. Banks. His gross mismanagement of the Red River Campaign meant that when the main spring offensives got started in 1864, they would not include a campaign against Mobile on the part of Banks’s Thirteenth and Nineteenth corps, and they would not include A. J. Smith’s three divisions as part of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth corps of the Army of the Tennessee, marching as part of Sherman’s campaign against Atlanta. Had Banks done as ordered and gotten back from the Red River on time, a spring 1864 offensive against Mobile would have pinned down Leonidas Polk’s 20,000 Confederates, preventing them from reinforcing Joe Johnston at Resaca. Meanwhile, McPherson’s flanking maneuver through Snake Creek Gap would have been stronger by the 10,000 or so members of Smith’s detachment. The result might (though it might not) have been that Sherman would have trapped Johnston’s army between Dalton and Resaca, captured it, and taken Atlanta within a few weeks. The war might have ended before the end of 1864, and thousands of lives might have been saved.

Of course, that is not what happened, nor can we be certain that it would have in any event. What did happen, of course, is that not only did Banks muff the Red River Campaign, but Benjamin Butler and Franz Sigel also failed to carry out their parts of Grant’s coordinated offensive. The war did not end in the summer of 1864, and its prolongation into the following year gave the Confederacy at least a few limited opportunities to seize the initiative and attempt to break Grant’s grip and turn the momentum of the war. In countering this series of Confederate threats (some of which were of course much more serious than others) Grant made extensive use of a strategic reserve he had not planned on having.

That reserve consisted of Smith’s corps-sized formation of veteran troops. Smith’s men had seen a fair bit of hard combat, but not too much of it. So they were veterans without being skittish and fearful like the bled-white units of the Army of the Potomac had become by mid-June. Smith’s detachment was composed of Midwestern recruits who were tough and resourceful, and they had learned the craft of warfare under Grant and the officers whom he had promoted and cultivated—men like Smith himself as well John MacArthur, T. Kilby Smith, and especially Joseph A. Mower. They had been under arms for at least a year and half by the beginning of the 1864 campaign, and they were inured to heat, dust, cold, rain, hard marching, and rough living. Hours of tedious drill assured that battlefield evolutions would come more or less automatically even under the pressure of combat. During that last year of the war they were probably as formidable a fighting force as any unit of similar size on the continent.

Finally, Smith’s men gained a reputation for destructiveness—the source of the “gorillas” nickname. I’d like to try to find out if they really were that destructive, or if their reputation was exaggerated. Did they differ from other Civil War soldiers in this respect? If so, why? What did they think of their reputation? And how did they feel about whatever destruction they actually did wreak on southern property?

So I’m looking forward to plunging into this study to answer a number of questions—about Grant’s strategy and the significance of some of the events of the last year of the Civil War, as well as about what factors made a Civil War unit particularly effective, and, possibly, particularly destructive.

Part 1 – Part 2

Comments (23) to “Smith’s Gorillas – Pt 2”

  1. The blame-it-all-on-Banks narrative reminds me of the blog entry from two months ago called ‘Think Anew, Write Anew’: “One of the characteristics of much (although not all) writing on the American Civil War is the tendency to rehash the same old arguments and repeat the same old narrative lines. …. I fear that at times we’ve lost the ability to look at sources with fresh eyes, to read them or look at them freed of as much baggage as we bring to our work.” Blaming it all on Banks is a convenient way to avoid actual analysis.

    You state that Smith’s force helped save the Red River Campaign. True, but Smith’s force also helped make the campaign happen and contributed to the dismalness of it. The sending of a force from Sherman’s command was an essential condition of the campaign. Without Smith’s force there would have been no campaign in the first place.

    You also state that alleged mismanagment by Banks is what kept a move againt Mobile from happening at the same time as Sherman set out against Atlanta. But consider that:
    - the first time Grant wrote orders to Banks about Mobile was March 31
    - that while these orders stated that Banks was to move as soon as possible and that his movement would be co-operative with movements elsewhere, no specific timetable was stated
    - these order only reached Banks on April 18
    - that Banks was then at Grand Ecore, far up the Red River, in the middle of a campaign
    So are you seriously claiming that Banks (or any other general) should have been able to move his command from Grand Ecore to New Orleans, organize a completely new expedition against Mobile, and advance on that place all within 15 days?

    Consider that Sherman had discussed the spring campaing in mid-March in person with Grant, that the concept of advancing from Chattanooga and Huntsville toward Atlanta was the expected spring campaign from even earlier than that, that Sheman had begun preparing in late March as soon as he got back from meeting with Grant, that his forces were not involved in active operations in the meantime, and yet even given all that Sherman was barely ready on time. Yet Banks is expected to extract himself from the Red River Campaign, restructure his command, and get an amphibious operation against Mobile underway in a two week span.

    Also, the idea that Smith’s raids into Mississippi kept Forrest from raiding Sherman’s supply line sounds great but I find myself wondering if this is post hoc rationalization. Would Forrest really have made a raid on Sherman if Smith had not been there? And while Smith’s first raid in July did have tactical success in that Forrest and Lee wasted men attacking him at Tupelo, he suffered from supply problems and retreated back to Tennessee. Sherman was not ahppy about this outcome, so Smith had to try again in August whereupon Forrest dodged him and raided Memphis causing Smith to retreat again.

  2. Another point I forgot to mention relates to the way Sherman’s plan for the Atlanta campaign evolved. The decision to move McPherson through Snake Creek Gap was a late decision motivated by the fact that McPherson’s force was smaller than originally planned due in part to the absence of Smith. Thus, if a counterfactual is considered whereby Smith’s command was present, I dont think you can assume that the plan of movement would have been the same.

  3. Will,

    Good points all. But I’m afraid the characterization of Banks as the root of all
    failure in whatever endeavor with which he was involved is far too ingrained. To re-
    consider that basic assumption, that “historical fact”, would require a whole heck
    of a lot of uncomfortable reevaluation elsewhere.

  4. While “Gorillas” may have attached due to their destructiveness, how did the other title “Israelites” attach?

    In addition to Smith’s absence, Sherman did not provide Cavalry enough for the success of McPherson’s strike.

    Don

  5. Major General Andrew Jackson Smith may very well be the least studied, and understood, important military figure in the American Civil War. (Note that even James McPhearson’s fine one-volume history doesn’t even mention Smith by name!)

    A J Smith was to Mississippi what Sheridan was to the Shenandoah Valley and Sherman to Georgia. Each used detructive methods that were approved from above — definitely Grant, with Lincoln’s probable silent nod. “Taking the gloves off,” as they said, was seen as the only way to win the war.

    Read Sherman’s memoirs. There’s only one Southern commander who he is overly concerned about: Nathan Bedford Forrest. A J Smith’s handling of Forrest merits high praise from those favoring Lincoln’s program. “The Man Who Whipped Forrest” cut the “Wizard of the Saddle” down to manageble size. The Tupelo fight ended the myth of the invinsible Forrest.

    My guess is that Smith has never been forgiven by Delta Dixie because he spanked their hero and dashed their hopes.

    Clearly, A J Smith’s men were as capable as you say. (One of my ancestor’s fought under him so I’ve read about their many exploits.) Recall that at Pleasantville Smith’s men rolled up the entire rebel force with their spirited flanking movement. “Mr.” Banks later pumped Smith’s arm and exclaimed that he and his men had saved the Union army from destruction — Kirby Smith later admitted that the Confederates were finished had Banks followed up the victory for a day or two — which he didn’t. AJ was so angry he approached Franklin and suggested that they take over the army from the incompetent Banks — and Franklin talked Smith out of the “mutiny”.

    Note that Forrest’s raid on Memphis, which is usually portrayed as a defeat for Smith, was greeted by Sherman as welcome news. AJ was keeping Forrest in Mississippi and away from Sherman’s supply line and that’s what he wanted. Even the “gorilla’s” destructive ways served the purpose of making Mississippi howl — and keeping political pressure on authorities to keep their local hero, Forrest, at home to repell Smith.

    George Thomas was said to have given A J Smith a huge bear hug when Smith arrived just before the Nashville battle. Thomas admired his friend, another old cavalry trooper, and knew that his “Isrealites” would make a huge difference in the coming fight. They did. It was primarily Smith’s men who staved in the line at Shy’s Hill and started the stampede — so says Stanley Horn and others.

    A solid, indepth, impartial review of A J Smith’s contribution is way, way overdue.

  6. An impartial review of Smith would be a good thing. A hagiography would not.

  7. Hagiography. Wait a second while I look that up … Hey!

    A.J. Smith, it seems to me, is about as demonized a figure as there is from that war. How many times does Shelby Foote, for instance, call Smith’s men “gorilla guerillas”? A little hagiography might balance the picture a bit.

  8. I’m enjoying all these thought-provoking posts. I quite agree with the last two: I don’t want to do a hagiography or a hatchet job, just a fair and balanced history. Of course, it has been my experience that hagiographies and hatchet jobs are sometimes, though not always, in the eyes of the beholders. It’s possible for a scholar to have a more favorable view of a historical figure than I do, without being guilty of hagiography. For example, William Cooper takes a more favorable view of Jefferson Davis than I do, but that does not mean that Cooper’s biography of Davis is a hagiography. On the other hand, Felicity Allen’s biography of Jefferson Davis is indeed a hagiography. It’s a matter of degrees, or, as I might say in that case, of orders of magnitude.

    Regarding Banks, you can be sure that before going to press I will check out the details of the Red River Campaign to see which interpretation of his actions squares best with the facts. I appreciate you calling this issue to my attention.

    Keep the comments coming.

  9. Can you recommend an existing history or two about A.J. Smith and his corps?

    I recall reading an interesting account of Smith’s short command of the Mormon Battallion in the Mexican War. Bernard DeVoto handles sympathetically Smith’s run-ins with the Later Day Saints as they march from Missouri to California. They didn’t like that “Gentile” one bit — and he recipricated their feelings in spades.

    Here’s some trivia: Who had George Custer court martialed after the war? Answer: A.J. Smith. On 6 counts, I believe, including disobeying Smith’s orders — Custer left his men in the field and went to visit with his wife, then lied saying that Smith had given him permission. Custer was convicted but only sat out 7 months because his pals in high places (Sheridan et. al.) brought him back. Old timers like Smith were forced into retirement in a youth movement. Let the record show that A.J. Smith was exactly right about Custer. Is there any record of Smith’s reaction to the Little Big Horn news? He must have had a few choice words to say.

  10. Steve and Don,

    I can appreciate that attitudes about intrepretation can be in the ‘eyes of the beholders’. But it seems to me that there are times when it extends beyond simply a debate on intepretation of evidence. For example, it seems to me, that calling Forrest’s raid on Memphis a success for Smith is a huge stretch.

    Furthermore, I have never seen Smith as a demonized figure, rather in my opinion he gets way way too much praise.

    - Will

  11. Steve,

    I would certainly appreciate any fresh analysis of the Red River campaign, since in my opinion so much of the existing efforts fall far short. But at the moment I’d like to reiterate a concern that led me to write the first comment on this post.

    You set up a causation: “His gross mismanagement of the Red River Campaign meant that when the main spring offensives got started in 1864, they would not include a campaign against Mobile.” For this to be the case, I think it is necessary to show through analysis that different management of the campaign could have led to an effective Mobile campaign being included at the START of the spring offensives. Unless that an be done, how can it be claimed that the management of the campaign (whether good, bad or indifferent) was the causative factor?

    - Will

  12. Commissary Banks opposed the Red River campaign as did Grant — blame Lincoln for wanting to plant a flag or two in Texas because of France’s Mexican adventure.

    As for Smith’s Guerrillas: Gen. J.R. Charlmers took part in Forrest’s Northern Mississippi fights including those with Smith. He gave a speech in Richmond (1879) and said, “The affair at Abberville and the affair at Town Creek, where Forrest’s command was so quickly cut to pieces and himself severely wounded in a similar trap, led me to believe that A.J. Smith had studied Forrest more closely than any other Federal general who met him.”

    After the Sturgis mess, Sherman looked over the roster of commanders at his disposal to do, what he called a “big job,” and came down to two men: “A.J. Smith and Joseph Mower. They’ll fight you all the time.” High praise. Smith proved his worth to Sherman during the Vicksburg campaign, if not before.

    Go to Brice’s Crossroads and check out the battlefield museum there. It is little more than a shrine to Forrest, right? Any Yankee who faced Forrest, like Smith, will have their reputation sullied, in inverse proportion, to the extent that Forrest’s is burnished.

    I seems to me that Smith accomplished his mission against Forrest. The big picture was Sherman’s Georgia movement, as he wrote: “There was great danger, always in my mind, that Forrest would collect a heavy cavalry command in Mississippi, cross the Tennessee River and break up our railroad below Nashville.” To prevent that danger he was willing to lose “10,000 men” even if it “breaks to treasury.” Clearly, Smith’s mission was seen as very important to the success of Sherman’s plans.

    Sherman credits Smith for the victory at Tupelo and notes, “He so stirred up matters in North Mississippi that Forrest could not leave for Tennessee.”

    Mission accomplished. Give Smith the credit due him.

  13. Lincoln’s desire to have the flag planted in Texas had nothing to do with the Red River campaign. This is a myth perpetuated by poor historians. The reason why it had nothing to do with it is that Banks had already planted the flag in Texas by means of coastal operations which had satisfied Lincoln with respect to the French in Mexico. See ‘The Yankee Invasion of Texas’ by Steven Townsend, Texas A&M University Press (2006) for some quality work on this subject.

    Chalmers did say what you quoted, but it was an odd thing to say, since Forrest was not at “the affair at Abbeville” or “the affair at Town Creek”. Forrest was on his way to Memphisand the commander that Forrest left behind facing Smith was … Chalmers!

    Sherman did give high praise to Smith and Mower when picking them to go after Forrest. He seemed to have a fondness for the two of them. In his memoirs, many years later, Sherman certainly gave Smith the credit as you quoted. But in 1864 he was less glowing. He was disappointed in Smith’s results, telling Washburne after Tupelo that “General Smith was required after his fight to pursue and continue to follow Forrest. He must keep after him untill recalled by me or General Grant.”

    Sherman’s purpose had been to “follow Forrest to the death” and the orders for Smith stated that Forrest should be “defeated at any and all cost” and that “Forrest should be followed until brought to bay somewhere and then whipped”. Smith failed, twice, to achieve this. In neither of his efforts to defeat Forrest, do I see anything which deserves special praise.

  14. I meant to add another point that I accidently left off:

    Saying that Smith was brilliant and triumphant because he keept Forrest from Shermn’a supply line is to me like saying that Sturgis was victorious at Brice’s Crossroads becuase he kept Forrest busy.

  15. A.J. Smith’s background and training seems almost Southern, coming from a Yankee military family — his father a captain at Yorktown during the Revolution and later commander of a brigade in the War of 1812. And AJ heading California’s cavalry, then Halleck’s, once the Civil War began. An experienced, blue-chip cavalry officer was a rare Yankee that first year or two.

    He was built like a jockey: small and tough. Words like brusque, abrupt in manner, irascible, profane are used to describe him. Smith didn’t suffer fools gladly, yet his troops clearly liked their general. I recall one quote that went something like, “We’ve been to Vicksburg, Red River, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennesse and Alabama and we’ll march all the way to Hades if old A.J. tells us to.”

    Like Grant, Smith had no pomp and would rough it with his men. One note that I like explains why he wasn’t better known: “Shifted from place to place to meet emergencies, he did not remain long enough with any one army to become identified with it, and the confidence his superiors had in him did nothing to enhance his popular reputation.” That sounds about right. I understand there was something like 19 generals named Smith on the Union side alone. That fact alone, having the most common name, most likely didn’t help anyone distinguish him from all the others — the curse of the Smiths.

    After his use of black troops in Mississippi, Smith said about himself, “They reversed a prejudice of 20 years standing.” That says something about him: a free admission of racism, a willingness of an old dog to learn new tricks, a frank handing out of praise to those who earn it.

    I’ve read a certain joke in many forms, often unattributed to its source: A.J. Smith. I believe a general complained to Smith that 4 of 6 turkeys had been stolen from him and he blamed Smith’s Guerillas. Smith replied, “Couldn’t have been my men, not my men, they would have taken them all!” A dark sense of humor there. The “Lost Tribes of Israel” name probably came from Smith himself — a feeling that his corps was wondering in the wilderness chasing trouble from hither and yon.

    I’d like to see a complete treatment of all the nasty politics going one before the Battle of Nashville. Schofield sending those damaging telegrams to Washington to undercut Thomas; Thomas getting treated “like a boy” and being almost fired. Then, before the final assault, Schofield delaying all morning and Thomas telling him that “the battle must be fought, though men will be lost!” And who shows up at that point to support his pal Thomas? A.J. Smith: “Smith is going without you!” Thomas tells Schofield and gets him to move. John MacArthur and Smith must have known about Schofield’s ugly dealings — MacArthur tells Smith that he is going if he isn’t told not to, and Smith lets him go.

    It’s a great thing to take on this subject. Why write the 10,000 book on Lincoln, Lee or Forrest? Be about the only one to handle Smith’s Israelites — it will be your book Civil War buffs will turn to. Congrats.

  16. General JOHN McArthur was my great great grand father. I would like to hear any comments .

  17. MacArthur had a distinguished career as a Brigade and Division commander in the Army of the Tennessee.

    The fact that MacArthur was at Nashville but not on the Red River indicates that AJ Smith’s command was not fixed but rather had been reshuffled.

  18. Yes, A J Smith’s command was shuffled around for just about every new assignment — and he made use of each configuration without bitching and moaning like some other generals were prone to do. It took months before his corp-sized army was given a corps number. Recall that Sturgis, after the Brice Crossroads disgrace, was hauled before a military commission and required to testify about his (lack of) decision-making. His first complaint was that he was “entirely unfamiliar with” the men in his command — that, apparently, unnerved him from the start. It was hard for him to put his faith in complete strangers.

    Smith, on the other hand, during his Tupelo success, expertly employed many of his “gorillas” as well as quite a few who had been on the Sturgis mission the month before. Smith was an older, more experienced (and smarter) leader and handled that independent command like a true professional. Soldiers who had been with both Sturgis and Smith in their fights against Forrest et. al. commented favorably on Smith’s handling of their army. Like night and day.

    As for John MacArthur, I recall reading about him in a short history of some Minnesota regiments who were at Nashville. They recalled seeing him on a rise, mounted on his horse next to Thomas and Smith. MacArthur had a beet-red face and was all decked out in his tartans and cap looking like some fabled Scottish chief — an old war horse.

  19. I DONT FEEL THAT MOST HISTORIANS KNOW OF GENERAL McARTHURS ACTIONS AT NASHVILLE THAT LED TO HOODS DESTRUCTION

  20. Thanks for all the informative info. on A.J. Smith He is my great, great grandfather. Do you have any personal or family info about him?

  21. To all you who would like to know more about A. J. Smith, forget it!

    We have no history writers capable of writing the history of the complete Civil War. Their too engrossed with cranking out the 5456th, 5457th, 5458th . . . etc. iteration of Grant’s story or the ‘ . . . 6045th, 6046th, 6048th, reiteration of the battle of Gettysburg. Not that those two topics don’t need at least several thousand more variations on each other. I look for the day when some enterprising, starving young historian, say Brooks Simpson or Mark Grimsley combine the two and title it “How Grant won Gettysburg” which will entitle them to write variations on that title for the next 142 years

    It appears to me that “Grant” and “Gettysburg” must be the only moneymakers for these starving historians. Else why the void in histories about A. J. Smith, T. J. Wood, Emerson Opdike, John Wilder, Robert H. G. Minty, Abel Streight, Absalom Baird, William Stake Rosecrans, Braxton Bragg, Don Carlos Buell, Patrick Cleburne, William J. Hardee, Joe Hooker, Lovell H. Rousseau, Horatio P. Van Cleve, George H. Thomas and James H. Wilson.

    Why else a void of such battles (Campaigns) as Snake Creek Gap, Nashville, The Atlanta Campaign, Mill Springs, Stone River, Thomas’ fight on Snodgrass Hill, Thomas’ charge up Missionary Ridge, Thomas’ development of the Cavalry and use by Wilson after Grant hamstrung Thomas after Nashville, Grant’s series of missives to attack Hood while Thomas was trying to build, organize and train an army of castoffs left by Sherman.

    Instead we have Marie Antoinette statements like:

    Ken Noe wrote:

    “With the exception of Tullahoma, where a good treatment really is needed, “the great battles of the west, Nashville, Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Tullahoma, Murfreesborough” all have been covered by one or more excellent recent studies, notably those of Cozzens, McDonough, and Sword. This also is true of the battles Brooks references. There’s a half-decent Perryville book as well. Indeed, didn’t we reach a point in the mid-1990s that the west was attracting so much attention that folks like Gary Gallagher had to step in to argue that the east really was important after all?”

    Or:

    Marie (AKA) Brooks D. Simpson wrote:

    “I don’t think Don’s really aware of recent scholarship per se. For example, we have studies of the Army of the Tennessee, the (first) Army of the Ohio, and the Army of the Cumberland (the previous army’s successor) out recently. We’ve had several books on Chickamauga and Chattanooga, and even a pair on Perryville (I wonder whether Don knows of your work, Ken). He appears not to have heard of Cozzens, McDonough, Woodworth, Daniels, or Sword.”

    These supercilious comments implying that we should be happy with the crumbs and leavings certainly doesn’t address the problem, but implies that crumbs are all we need.

    Of course this may be a cover-up for ignorance of other than Grant or Gettysburg.

    Don

  22. Just more of that “Let’s get George H. Thomas” stuff. :)

  23. The subject of AJ Smith’s destructiveness is hard to quantify. I recall the many characterizations of Sherman’s March as “total war” — and then read that few houses were burned in Georgia. Huh? Note that Henry Steele Commanger, a man who raked the Civil War coals as much as anyone, wrote that cases of rape were, apparently, rare — nothing like, say, Darfur today. Smith’s men didn’t go around killing civilians either. They were, at times, free with a torch — like Sheridan and Sherman, pretty much. Too much of that conduct was cruel and a mistake. Causing any more damage than was necessary to get the job done only complicated the peace to follow.

    In Smith’s case, when he was sent by Sherman into Mississippi to kill/stop Forrest, this was after the Fort Pillow incident and other fights in which Forrest showed that he tended to fight with a mighty loose regard to the rules of war. Smith’s black soldiers, in particular, swore vengence for those men killed after surrendering at Fort Pillow. Many of those men expected “no quarter” whenever they faced Forrest — and Forrest himself would come to complain about it. At Brice’s Crossroads, confederates reported many cornered Yankees fighting to the death “like wild beasts.”

    The village of Ripley, for instance, was burned by Smith’s men. It’s citizens harrassed the retreating Yankees following the Brice’s Crossroads mess. Many of the captured black soldiers were never heard from again. Unhappily for Ripley, AJ Smith returned soon and some of the same men, with angry memories, took out their matches. Nasty all around.