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Military Reminiscences of the Civil War- Jacob Cox
"A good deal of obscurity still hangs about the subject of guerilla warfare, and the relation of the Confederate government to it. There was, no doubt, a good deal of loose talk that found its way into print and helped form a popular opinion, which treated almost every scouting party as if it were a lawless organization of "bush-whackers."

But there was an authoritative and systematic effort of the Richmond government to keep up partisan bodies within our lines which should be soldiers when they had a chance to do us a mischief, and citizens when they were in danger of capture and punishment.
The bands which were organized by the Confederate Government under authority of law, but which were free from the control of army commanders and unrestrained by the checks upon lawlessness which are found in subordination to the operations of organized armies, were called "Partisan Rangers," and protection as legitimate soldiers was promised them. They were not required to camp with the army, or to remain together as troops or regiments. They wore uniforms or not, as the whim might take them. They remained, as much as they dared, in their home region, and assembled, usually at night, at a preconcerted signal from their leaders, to make a "raid." They were not paid as the more regular troops were, but were allowed to keep the horses which they captured or "lifted." They were nominally required to turn over the beef-cattle and army stores to the Confederate commissariat, but after a captured wagon-train had been looted by them, not much of value would be found in it. Their raids were made by such numbers as might chance to be got together.
In the first two winters of the war, these organizations were in the height of their pernicious activity, and the loyal West Virginians were their favorite victims. We knew almost nothing of their organization, except that they claimed some Confederate law for their being. We seldom found them in uniform, and had no means of distinguishing them from any other armed horse-stealers and "bush-whackers."

We were, however, made unpleasantly certain of the fact that in every neighborhood where secession sentiments were rife, our messengers were waylaid and killed, small parties were ambushed, and all the exasperating forms of guerilla warfare were abundant.
Besides all this, the Confederate authorities assumed to call out the militia of counties into which they were intending to make an expedition, so that they might have the temporary co-operation of local troops. They claimed the right to do this because they had not recognized the separation of West Virginia, and insisted that the whole was subject to the laws of Virginia.

The result was that the Union men formed companies of
"Home Guards" for self-protection, and the conflict of arms was carried into every settlement in the mountain nooks and along the valleys. In this kind of fighting there was no quarter given, or if prisoners were taken, they were too often reported as having met with fatal accidents before they could be handed over to the regular authorities. As all this could have no effect upon the progress of the war, the more cool and intelligent heads of both sides opposed it, and gradually diminished it. Severe measures against it were in fact merciful, for the horrors of war are always least when the fighting is left to the armies of responsible belligerents, unprovoked by the petty but exasperating hostilities of irregulars. The trouble from this source was less during the winter of 1862-63 than it had been the year before, but it still gave occupation to small movable columns of our troops from time to time."
Amicks Rangers was one of the few ranger companies recognized by Richmond to continue after abolishment of Partisan Ranger Act, due to its military record.
Amick Horse Liftin'
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