Guerrilla Warfare in the Civil War

Authored by: Clay Mountcastle

The Routledge Handbook of American Military and Diplomatic History

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533805
eBook ISBN: 9781315817347
Adobe ISBN: 9781317813354


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Much of the deadly fighting that occurred during the American Civil War was conducted away from conventional battlefields. Beginning in the war’s first months, a portion of the Southern population chose to fight the war on their own terms, not as part of the Confederate Army, but as guerrillas. Not only did this present a complex, and often deadly, problem for the Union Army but it also had a profound impact on the role that Southern civilians played in the war. Guerrilla warfare irreparably blurred the dividing line between combatants and noncombatants and forced Union commanders and their soldiers to change their attitudes toward the Southern people and the boundaries of war. As such, guerrilla warfare played a significant role in shaping the course and character of the Civil War.

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