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To walk through the ruined cities of the South is to feel an actual doubt about the continuity of civilization.

The work of union troops under Lincoln and Grant’s total war.

Headquarters in the brush : Blazer’s Independent Union Scouts    Athens : Ohio University Press, c 2001 Darl L. Stephenson ; foreward by Brian C. Pohanka United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Scouts and scouting, United States. Army. Blazer’s Independent Union Scouts (1863-1865) Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xxi, 355 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 337-342) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

The work of union troops under Lincoln and Grant’s total war.

Contrary to perception guerrilla tactics in the Civil War were not confined to the army of the Confederacy. In the fall of 1863, Union Colonel Carr B. White formed a group of scouts and sharpshooters, headed by Capt. Richard Blazer of the 91st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, to fight the Confederates in the mountains of West Virginia.

The work of union troops under Lincoln and Grant’s total war.

The unit was so successful that Gen. George Crook mounted the group on horses in 1864 to combat rebel guerrillas, make deep raids, and act as the front and rear guard of the army, giving them the most dangerous of missions. In the Shenandoah Valley, General Philip Sheridan gave them the mandate to take on the renowned Confederate partisan John S. Mosby and his rangers. Equipped with advanced Spencer repeating rifles they looted and burned their way through Loudon County as a regular cavalry could not.

The cost of Lincoln’s nationalistic monomania – at least 618,222 dead and half the nation in ruins. All photographs from Library of Congress collection

Until now the conflicts between Blazer’s Scouts and Mosby’s Rangers have been told only from the Confederate perspective and their terror campaigns have been ignored. Stephenson, a retired Middle East specialist for the Defense Intelligence Agency writing about an Ohio unit for the Ohio University Press, bring an amateur’s enthusiasm to providing a union perspective in the historical telling of these irregulars. Heavily illustrated and using exclusively union sources, Headquarters in the Brush presents an account of what may be the most overlooked group of union “special forces” in the American Civil War.


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