A Yankees Description Of How The Guerrillas Dressed

Next is a description of how the guerrillas were dressed and equipped found in William Elsey Connelley's "Quantrill and The Border Wars."  It is credited to Theodore Bartle, longtime  friend and associate of Connelley's. Bartle was described as "a famous Union scout and a Red Leg, whom claimed he often scouted with Wild Bill Hickock, while defeating 'Wild Bill' in many contests of marksmanship." His brother Jacob H. Bartles, served in the Sixth Kansas.

"The dress of the guerrillas was peculiar to themselves. It was entirely original. It was in a sense a uniform. Its distinguishing piece was an over-shirt-called the guerrilla shirt. This was the garment of all times, purposes, and occasions. It was to the guerrilla what the tartan is to the Highlander. It was cut low in front, the slit narrowing to a point above the belt, and ending in a ruffle-bunch or rosette. This slit was was usually bound or faced with some fabric of light weight and brilliant color, as were the pockets and sometimes the tail. The tails may are may not be tucked into the trousers. Of pockets there were usually four of generous capacity----one on each breast and one on each side below like those in a coat, but there was no strict rule on this point, the matter being determined by the whim of the owner or the fancy of the maker. The shirt was made from any cloth of sufficient weight that the guerrilla could lay his hand upon.  Their style admitted some variety in cut, and in color they ranged from the brilliant scarlet of red flannel to the somber, subdued, and discouraging hues of the homespun butternut. They were usually made for the guerrillas by their wife's or sweethearts, and some of them were elaborately ornamented with fine needle work and otherwise. At the Lawrence Massacre, Quantrill wore a guerrilla shirt made of brown woolen goods.

The arms of the guerrillas consisted principally of Colt's navy revolvers of forty-four caliber. Some carried cavalry carbines which they had captured, and a few had Sharp's rifles, and there were even shot-guns and old musket among them. The main reliance of the guerrilla, however was upon the revolver. And the guerrilla was usually a dead-shot while either afoot or on horseback.......Every guerrilla carried two revolvers, most of them carried four, and many carried six, some even eight. They could fire a revolver in each hand at the same time.....But the ball rarely missed the mark---the center. Many a guerrilla could hit a mark to both the right and left with shots fired at the same instant from each hand. No more terrifying object ever came down a street than a mounted querrilla wild for blood, the bridle-reins between his teeth or over the saddle-horn, the horse running recklessly, the rider yelling like a Comanche, his long unkempt hair flying wildly beyond the brim of his broad hat, and firing both to the right and left with deadly accuracy. When a town was filled with such men bent on death, terror ensued, reason and judgment fled, and hell yawned."

Description ©Connelley,Quantrill and the Border Wars, pgs 316-317  Presentation Patrick Marquis © quantrillsguerrillas.com "Permission should be requested and agreed to before using this copyrighted essay and/or image.  Below is an image of an unknown Missouri guerrilla, wearing his beloved guerrilla shirt close to his heart.    



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