Bushwhacking was a form of guerrilla warfare common during the American Revolutionary War, American Civil War and other conflicts in which there were large areas of contested land and few governmental resources to control these tracts. This was particularly prevalent in rural areas during the Civil War where there were sharp divisions between those favoring the Union and Confederacy in the conflict. The perpetrators of the attacks were called bushwhackers.

Bushwhackers were generally part of the irregular military forces on both sides. While bushwhackers conducted a few well-organized raids in which they burned cities, most of the attacks involved ambushes of individuals or families in rural areas. In areas affected by bushwhacking the actions were particularly insidious since it amounted to a fight of neighbor against neighbor. Since the attacks were non-uniformed, the government response was complicated by trying to decide whether they were legitimate military attacks or criminal actions.

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American History

Military History

Political History

The Civil War and Reconstruction (1860-1877)

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