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.