DescriptionWilliam "Bloody Bill" Anderson and Jo Shelby: An Important Large Original Tintype Photograph. This image clearly dates from around the outset of the Civil War. There seems to be a universal agreement that the clean-shaven man is Anderson, those intense eyes and expression are hard to mistake. Wilbur Zink identified the other man as General Joseph Orville Shelby. This photo was published in the Carl Breihan book The Killer Legions of Quantrill (Seattle: Superior Publishing, 1971, page 60) also with the identification as Anderson and Shelby.
We note that the archives of the State Historical Society of Missouri, which has a copy image of the photo, while concurring in the identification of Anderson, identifies the other man as Fletch Taylor, an early Quantrill recruit under whose command Jesse and Frank James would later ride. While images of both Taylor and Shelby are few and far between, comparison with a portrait of Shelby reproduced in T.J. Stiles' Jesse James Last Rebel of the Civil War (photo section between pp. 142 and 149) convinces us that this is Shelby.
"Bloody Bill" Anderson was of course the most famous, and infamous, of Quantrill's lieutenants. He is best known for his role in the August 1863 raid on Lawrence, Kansas. Anderson was placed in charge of forty men, including Frank James and Archie Clement, and his force was outstanding in its brutality even in the context of Lawrence. During the carnage it is said that Anderson himself killed fourteen men.
By 1864 Quantrill himself had become less active, and "Bloody Bill" Anderson had emerged as the best known and most feared Confederate guerilla in Missouri, and his actions became increasingly outrageous. In September, Confederate General Price sent Anderson with eighty men on a mission to disrupt railroad traffic in the Union-held part of Missouri. However, the men abandoned their mission in favor of looting. Reaching a Confederate army camp, Anderson attempted to kill a number of injured Union prisoners and was only prevented from doing so by the camp's doctors. After Confederate forces under General Jo Shelby took control of the town of Glasgow, Anderson came there to loot, notoriously visiting the home of a well-known Union sympathizer whom he particularly despised for having freed his slaves. Anderson beat the man and trampled him with his horse and raped his twelve or thirteen year old servant girl.
Union Lieutenant Colonel Samuel P. Cox was ordered to find and kill Anderson, and on October 26 with 150 men he caught up to Anderson and his men and engaged in a pitched battle. To all accounts Anderson fought with his typical bravado, but was cut down by Union bullets. While his cadre continued to function briefly under Archie Clement, the group had splintered by mid-November.
Jo Shelby was probably the most important Confederate military figure in Missouri. After the war the unreconstructed Confederate led a number of expatriates in immigrating to Mexico, where they established a briefly-thriving colony under the auspices of Emperor Maximilian. However, as the Juaristas gained control, the embattled Southerners were forced to leave Mexico and return to the United States.
On his return Shelby was introduced to the James Brothers by John Edwards and became their longtime protector and apologist, testifying on Frank's behalf at his 1883 trial.
This large tintype of the two men measures 4.875" x 3.75" and is in excellent condition. One minor black mark below Anderson's left ear is noted for accuracy.
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