|General George Crook, His Autobiography
Summerville, Fall 1861
"This country was the home of counterfeiters and cutthroats before the war, and it was the headquarters of the bushwhackers.
It is well adapted for their operations, for, with the exception of a small clearing here and there for the cabins of the poor people, who inhabited it, it was heavily timbered, with thick underbrush, rocky and broken with dense laurel thickets here and there. The thorough fares and country roads that traversed this country were like traveling through a box canyon with the forest and underbrush for walls.
|It was here that the cowardly bushwhackers would waylay the unsuspecting traveler, and shoot him down with impunity. Their suppression became a military necessity, as they caused us to detach much of our active force for escorts, and even then no one was safe. It was an impossibility for them to be caught after shooting into a body of men, no difference its size. The question was how to get rid of them.
Being fresh from Indian country where I had more or less experience with that kind of warfare, I set to work organizing for the task. I selected some of the most apt officers, and scattered them through the country to learn it and all the people in it, and particularly the bushwhackers, their haunts, etc.
|Very soon they commenced catching them, and bringing them in as prisoners. I would forward them to Camp Chase for confinement, by order of Gen. Rosecrans. It was not long before they commenced coming back, fat, saucy, with good clothes, and returned to their old occupations with renewed vigor. As a matter of course, we were disgusted at having our hard work set at naught, and them back in a different manner, as much as to say “Well, what you going to do about it?”
In a short time no more prisoners were brought in. By this time every bushwhacker in the country was known, and when an officer returned from a scout he would report that they had caught so-and-so, but in bringing him in he slipped off a log while crossing a stream and broke his neck, or that he was killed by an accidental discharge of one of the men's guns, and many like reports. But they never brought back any prisoners.
"General Averill had a lot of bummers, whom he called scouts and spies, who were thoroughly unreliable and worthless."
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