Wounded-Lions-A-Book Review of-"Guerrillas and Other Curiosities."

July of 1864, Richard “Dick” Yeager was in hiding with a head wound received during his attack upon the enemy at Arrowrock, Mo. The Yanks discovered him and quickly ended his chances of a recovery. Yeager, my distant cousin, was one of those young lions who fought against the house burning, looting, murdering Unionists of Missouri.  Below is an image of Dick Yeager.            

A new book is available that details some of the provocations that led young Missouri men to stake their lives against the vast power of the US government. Guerrillas and Other Curiosities, Bud, Donnie & Me by Samuel Anderson Pence was edited by my friend Harold Dellinger. The author of the book was a blood relative to Bud and Donnie Pence who both served under Quantrill. Sam Pence also personally knew some of the survivors of those dark days during our War for Southern Independence.

The Pence family lived near to the James family in Kearney, Clay County, Missouri. Bud and Donnie were the author’s great uncles. They were close in age to Frank and Jesse James. There are dozens of interlocking family connections between those men who chose to ride with Quantrill. These complex relationships were often formed first in the state of Kentucky. In the early 1800s Kentuckians moved into Missouri and their blood fertilized the soil of Missouri during and even after the War ended.

The author wrote his manuscript on a manual typewriter during the 1950s and completed it about 1960. We are fortunate that the author’s own grandson, Daniel M. Pence, was willing to take the time and effort to get the manuscript published.

The first part of the book describes various events and outrages which occurred and led the Southerners to rise up against their oppressors and become guerrillas or young lions. There is naturally valuable material in this book about the Pence boys that only a relative would know. The last part of the book is a biography of some of Quantrill’s men.

Bob, Joseph and Ike Hall joined up with Quantrill and this quote from the book may explain why young men chose to struggle for freedom due to these outrages against Southern families. On Page 209: “The parents, Joseph Hall and wife, of these three guerrillas were living in Cass County, Mo., 15 miles south of Kansas City, Mo. when Red Legs under Jennison forced Mrs. Hall to set fire to her own home.”

On Page 32: “These Southern guerrillas had the uniqueness in their military structure in that an individual could withdraw at any time they pleased, even a group could separate and elect a leader and start on their own. The organization was under no obligation as to furnishing food, clothing, arms, horses or medical aid whatsoever. Your bitterness toward the bigoted Northerner oppressors was such that the opportunity to fight them repaid everything.” Below is an image of Bud Pence.                                                 

Also on Page 32: “If you were wounded and incapacitated, a guerrilla friend, if available, would take you to a Guerilla Hospital which was no building built by human hands but by Mother Nature….There would be near where you were placed a spring or brook which enabled you to obtain a dip of water when your feverish condition particularly demanded.  You were concealed as cleverly as experienced hands were able to do. You were left with some food, your guns and ammunition were handy and woe to the enemy who came within shooting distance.”

Abe Haller experienced the savagery of the Feds. On Page 210: “He is also said to have been shot from ambush on the Sni-a-bar river in Eastern Jackson County, Mo. and while wounded and in hiding on the Texas prairie also in the same part of Jackson county, he was found by 72 Feds who shot him 11 times, then scalped him and cut off his ears. Haller wounded 5 of his attackers.”

My cousin Richard Yeager was not the first wounded lion to be hunted down in a hospital in the bush while sleeping upon the damp earth without a doctor or nurse to aid him. On Page 93: “It was not permitted at that time to bury dead Guerrillas.”For proof of black participation, read the biographical data on Page 232: “Probably the Negro John Noland who was a faithful message carrier for members of Quantrill’s force.”

The book, Guerrillas and Other Curiosities contains 302 pages with two pages of illustrations. It was published by Two Trails Publishing, Independence, Missouri, in 2008.  The ISBN number is 13978192931132. Copies are available from Harold Dellinger for $26.00 which includes postage. His telephone number is (816) 241-5315 and his website is www.HaroldsBookStore.com.

Bud and Donnie Pence lived their lives as both outlaws and lawmen. After the War ended they married Samuels sisters and lived the balance of their lives in the village of Samuels, Kentucky, as productive citizens. Today their graves are located not far from that village. Their markers are in need of repair and I plan to organize a work day this spring to repair and right their markers.

Due to 140 years of maligned reporting by the victors, these young men who took a stand continue to be thought of as common thieves and criminals. Most of the guerrillas who followed the banner of Quantrill had little choice, because the Confederate forces in Missouri were scarce and greatly outnumbered. The majority of these youngsters would have become farmers, merchants, blacksmiths or preachers given their heritage, but spilling blood became the only work open to a Southerner in Missouri during the War.

When I first saw a photograph of that magnificent statue of the Wounded Lion of Lucerne at Higginsville, Missouri, in the Confederate cemetery I could not understand the true meaning, but now it is obvious. Missouri’s wounded lions were not given a chance to recover from their battle wounds and even simple humanitarians were not allowed to bury them. This reign of terror was directed by the “war criminals” in Washington City.  © Nancy Hitt©-2009 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  ©Quantrillsguerrillas.com. "Permission should be requested and agreed to before using this copyrighted essay." Our final image is of Donnie Pence.




                                          MEMBERS ONLY SECTION

Text Size