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John P. Gatewood: Confederate Bushwhacker Hardcover – November 9, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing; First Edition edition (November 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455617113
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455617111
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,354,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

John P. Gatewood was one of the South's most controversial and feared guerrilla fighters. He grew into adulthood against the backdrop of Southern neighbors with opposing views, as Confederate loyalists and Union supporters began to distinguish themselves. These conflicts shattered longstanding friendships, creating some of the most vicious blood feuds in American history. During the turbulent Civil War era, the mutual paranoia that permeated entire communities fueled the retribution, pitting neighbor against neighbor. The Gatewood family controlled extensive property in the East Tennessee Mountains in a region known as Lincoln Country-an area filled with Union sympathizers. His family, however, were loyal Confederates; they hailed from a long line of prosperous Virginia tobacco farmers and slave-holders. Once the war began and Tennessee split its allegiance, a fiercely loyal sixteen-year-old John enlisted, leaving his parents and younger sister behind. When he snuck away from camp to visit his family almost two years later, disaster had already struck. His beloved sister had been raped and killed by Yankee soldiers. Gatewood's vow to revenge his sister by punishing both Yankees and Yankee sympathizers would take his life on a terrifying path. He became a formidable bushwhacker, standing at six feet tall with wild red hair and cold blue eyes. A leader of guerilla soldiers, he hunted, robbed, and viciously killed anyone perceived as a Yankee supporter. His brutal journey of revenge and his mysterious post-war years are chronicled here in fascinating detail. Larry D. Stephens is a reference librarian at Georgia Highlands College in Rome, Georgia. Born and reared in Marietta, Georgia, he grew up within a stone's throw of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. His close proximity to the battlefields sparked his life-long interest in the American Civil War. He attended Georgia Southern University, where he earned a BA in history, and the University of West Georgia, where he earned a MEd in social studies education. He taught high school history for a number of years in Decatur, Georgia, before returning to college to earn a MS in library and information studies from Clark Atlanta University. He has written several other books on the Civil War and is a Civil War reenactor. Stephens lives in Rome, Georgia.

From the Back Cover

John Pemberton Gatewood of Fentress County, Tennessee, evolved into one of the deadliest guerrilla leaders of the Confederacy. Exploits attributed to Gatewood have painted him as both a vicious, unprincipled killer and a soldier fiercely loyal to his family and to those who shared his commitment to the Confederacy. His descent into what many considered barbaric behavior began after family tragedy drove him to join Champ Ferguson as a bushwhacker. Personally murdering more than sixty people, he and his men cut a swath of destruction through east Tennessee, northwest Georgia, and northeast Alabama. Gatewood even garnered the attention of Gen. William T. Sherman, who put a bounty on his head. Now, for the first time, Gatewood's riveting, full-length biography has been told by Civil War author Larry D. Stephens. The man who would become revered and reviled as the "Red-Headed Beast" was still a long-haired adolescent at the outbreak of hostilities in 1861. Stephens builds a compelling narrative, capturing Gatewood's life from his early days as a prosperous farmer's son in the Wolf River Valley to his enlistment in the Confederate cavalry and eventual career as a blood-thirsty bushwhacker. The story ends with Gatewood's mysterious post-war life as a Texas outlaw. Author Larry D. Stephens became interested in the American Civil War as a boy, growing up in the shadow of Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield. His background as a high school history teacher and subsequent work as a research librarian have given him a unique ability to craft the facts he uncovers into a compelling narrative. His meticulous research has uncovered, at long last, John P. Gatewood's true history.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By oldlawman on April 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before this book, the information about John P. Gatewood that was readily available to the casual reader would probably not have filled a single-spaced page. The author has not only exhaustivey researched his subject, but has also woven the information into a very readable book. Living in the southeast Tennessee area near many of the locations where Gatewood plied his deadly trade, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the established details of many incidents which had previously been only rumors, stories, or legends about bushwhacker outrages in the South.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By genws on February 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best work that will ever appear on this dark and too little known chapter of the Civil War where a guerilla created his own fiefdom on the Alabama-Georgia border.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Poole on January 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the civil war history of guerrilla warfare or of the Southern Appalachian region (NE AL, N GA, SE TN, SW NC) in general. Irregular "scouts" like Gatewood operated extensively in this region and seemed to have split their time between harassing invading union forces, rounding up deserters, intimidating & killing the region's Union sympathizers, and, unfortunately, simple robbery of even ardent confederate supporters. Gatewood is personally credited with killing upwards of 60 people.

I first learned of John P Gatewood while researching the Civil War history of Cherokee County, AL. This county, like most of the ones in the region mentioned, had many citizens that were bitterly opposed to the South's secession. In numerous statements taken from these people after the war, it was clear that they feared Gatewood like the Bogey Man. Simply stating that they were threatened by "the desperado Gatewood" was often enough to establish their bona fides as good Union men during the war.

The author does an excellent job of weaving the relatively few facts of John P Gatewood's shadowy life into a very readable story. The author obviously has to make some assumptions at a few points during the book, but he is very transparent as to what is historically documented versus just speculation. I found the book well-researched, entertaining, & informative.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fascinating read if you're a student of little known War Between the States history. Well researched and well written. Highly recommended.
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