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Slaves did not really take Yankee scalps, right?

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by major bill, Oct 11, 2018 at 3:05 PM.

  1. major bill

    major bill Colonel Forum Host

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    This article was reprinted in a Kalamazoo Michigan newspaper. I am assuming "obtaining a Yankee scalp" was not intended to be taken literally.

    killing yank.jpg
     
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  3. Zella

    Zella Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    I've personally never heard that but am curious to see what others have to say.

    The only scalp-taking incident I have personally read about during the Civil War is sometimes disputed. But many sources say that Eastern Band Cherokee with Thomas' Legion took some Yankee scalps after one of their officers was killed.

    https://www.ncpedia.org/thomass-legion
    https://cwnc.omeka.chass.ncsu.edu/exhibits/show/thomas-legion/views-fears/views-and-fears
     
  4. CSA Today

    CSA Today Colonel

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    This incident occurred at Baptist Gap Tennessee in September 1862. A company of Cherokees led by 2nd Lieutenant was John Astoogatogeh was ambushed by company an Indiana company. Lt. Astoogatogeh was killed and to make matters worse he was the grandson of a former chief and the much beloved Junaluska This so enraged the Cherokees they charged headlong into the enemy company causing them to run, During the chase, a number of the enemy were killed and scalped.

    Colonel Thomas, who wasn't at the fight, later collected three of the scalps and returned them to the Indiana regiment under a flag of truce. This turned out for Thomas to be a big mistake, the three scalps turned into a large sackful and soon was all over the Northern newspapers.
     
  5. Zella

    Zella Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    Yes, that's the one! I don't recall reading any other instances with that being an issue for them.
     
  6. John Hartwell

    John Hartwell Major Forum Host

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    There were a lot of references to taking "Yankee scalps" in period newspapers. Usually, of course, it was simply euphemism for "killing Yankees," or else idle boasting by over-excited young rebels; or it was blatant propaganda by the Federals.

    Then there's this notice reprinted all across the North in the fall of 1861:
    S61.jpg one such reprint placed her in northwestern Mississippi, and another in "Eastern Virginia!"

    Of a different, perhaps more exact instance, from Leslie's Illustrated (8 Jan. 1862):
    LeslIll8Ja62.jpg
    Might be worthwhile looking up "Mr P. H. Donegan's" account, to see how reliable a witness he was.s.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018 at 10:17 AM
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  7. NedBaldwin

    NedBaldwin Major

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    It is said that Confederate troops of the Choctaw Brigade scalped the US dead at battle of Poison Springs Arkansas
     
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  8. Southern Volunteer

    Southern Volunteer Private

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    It seems like I've heard stories of Bill Anderson and some of the Missouri partisans literally scalping people. But for most instances I'd still take it as far more likely to be metaphorical. Still I'm sure that it probably happened in isolated instances here and there and just simply wasn't always recorded. I can also see some reasons as to why if men in your command were taking literal scalps why you may have wanted to suppress such information from getting published.
     
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  9. John Hartwell

    John Hartwell Major Forum Host

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    According to Wikipedia ("scalping"):
    Some scalping incidents even occurred during the American Civil War. For example, Confederate guerrillas led by "Bloody Bill" Anderson were well known for decorating their saddles with the scalps of Union soldiers they had killed. Archie Clement had the reputation of being Anderson’s “chief scalper”.
     
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  10. archieclement

    archieclement Sergeant Major

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    Indeed after discovering some of their own who had been scalped by Kansas troops, they did as well. The only person scalped at Lawrence was the lone guerrilla causality,Kansas troops continued to scalp dead during the pursuit, upon learning of this, the guerrillas started to return the favor

    1st Colorado Union troops also scalped the Indian dead at Sand Creek, probably the largest example during the war. Lt James D Cannon reported:

    "In going over the battle ground next day I did not see a body of a man, woman or child but was scalped, and in many cases their bodies were mutilated in the most horrible manner--men, women's, children's privates cut out ect. I heard one man say that he had cut out a womans private parts out, and had them for exhibition on a stick. I heard another say that he cut the fingers off a Indian to get the rings on the hand. According to the best of my knowledge and belief, these atrocities that were committed were with the knowledge of J M Chivington, and I do not know of him taking any measures to prevent them. I heard of one instance of a child a few months old being thrown in the feed box of a wagon, and after being carried some distance left on the ground to perish. I also heard of numberless instances in which men had the cut out the private parts of females and stretched them over their saddle bows, and wore them over their hats while riding in the ranks. All these matters were a topic of general conservation, and could not help being known to Col J M Chivington"
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018 at 8:28 PM
  11. Coonewah Creek

    Coonewah Creek Corporal

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    Supposedly the Confederates of Pike's Brigade at Pea Ridge too, primarily the 1st and 2nd Cherokee Mounted Rifles as the
    1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Regiment and 1st Creek Mounted Rifles were not engaged during the battle.
     
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  12. John Hartwell

    John Hartwell Major Forum Host

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    N.Y. Evening Post, May 25, 1861:
    sclpg.jpg
    Did English cutlery catalogs have a separate line of "Scalping Knives"?

    It's always a useful propaganda tool for creating fear on either side. In 1917, German newspapers were warning that now the Americans were coming, peaceful German towns would be threatened by "tomahawks, scalping knives, and savage massacre."
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018 at 10:10 AM
  13. Zella

    Zella Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    No trousseau is complete without a nice assortment of scalping cutlery. :wink:
     
  14. Northern Light

    Northern Light Major

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    Let's face it; war brings out the worst in some people, just as it brings out the best in others. Atrocities were committed on both sides. Finger-pointing serves no purpose, then or now.
     
  15. Southern Volunteer

    Southern Volunteer Private

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    Now what I would love to see is not if we can find a verifiable scalping account, but if we could find an account of someone being officially reprimanded, court-martialed, or what have you for taking a scalp. That would speak volumes on a variety of subjects.
     
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  16. archieclement

    archieclement Sergeant Major

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    Agree completely, after three examples all pointing to only one side, why I thought a little context should be added...…..and the largest example in the war surely would be that it wasn't one sided, but on both
     
  17. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

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    [​IMG]
    There are similar images, all from Northern papers or cartoonists. I think the "scalp" thing is Yankee propaganda.
     
  18. archieclement

    archieclement Sergeant Major

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    Not that I know of offhand, in the Sand Creek case, after a Joint Committee on the Conduct of the Wars recommendation of court martials, none ever occurred against any of the officers or men, Chivington had resigned.
     
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  19. DanSBHawk

    DanSBHawk Sergeant

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    Actually, the scalps were taken from federal soldiers already dead and lying on the field after the battle.
     
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  20. CSA Today

    CSA Today Colonel

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    Right, they had stopped running when they were scalped.
     
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  21. Will Carry

    Will Carry Sergeant

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    I can't say whether Thomas' Legion of the Eastern band of Cherokees ever scalped anyone but the Yankees sure believed it.
    The Legion was not allowed in the ANV but they were involved in the guerrilla fighting in Appalachia.
     
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