Civil War Talk Radio: May 30, 2008

Air Date: 053008
Subject: Confederate Bushwhacker Sam Hildebrand
Books: Autobiography of Samuel S. Hildebrand (Civil War in the West) (edited by Kirby Ross)
Guest: Kirby Ross

Summary: Newspaper editor Kirby Ross discusses the autobiography of Missouri bushwhacker Samuel S. Hildebrand, the latest version of which he edited.

Brett’s Summary: Little known today, Confederate bushwhacker Samuel S. Hildebrand’s name was quite well known in eastern Missouri late in the Civil War. Kirby Ross discusses this interesting individual. Ross immediately brought up William Quantrill and compares his popularity today with the lack thereof for Hildebrand. Gerry notes the maps are very well done in the book, something regular readers of TOCWOC know I’m very fond of.

Hildebrand operated mainly in southeastern Missouri during the war. Gerry mentions he was one of the most cold-blooded men in the entire war, and Ross agrees. Hildebrand claimed in his autobiography that the murder of his brothers led him to his deeds. Ross points out that Hildebrand operated essentially alone with only a few other individuals, something notable among the Confederate guerrillas in Missouri. Hildebrand himself admitted his grudge was against his personal enemies more than the Union as a whole, though he killed many people he had no grudge against as well.

Hildebrand’s autobiography was released in 1870, shortly before his death. Many different opinions on the book exist, says Ross. Due to this, Ross has included almost 100 pages of annotations to help the reader discern exactly where Hildebrand is lying and where he is closer to the truth.

Ross believes southeastern Missouri has been neglected in the study of the Civil War. He says some have referred to this area as an historical black hole. He believes, however, that better writing on the area has come out in the last decade.

Civil War Talk Radio airs most Fridays at 12 PM Pacific on World Talk Radio Studio A. Host Gerry Prokopowicz, the History Chair at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, interviews a guest each week and discusses their interest in the Civil War. Most interviews center around a book or books if the guest is an author. Other guests over the years have included public Historians such as park rangers and museum curators, wargamers, bloggers, and even a member of an American Civil War Round Table located in London, England.

In this series of blog entries, I will be posting air dates, subjects, and guests, and if I have time, I’ll provide a brief summary of the program. You can find all of the past episodes I’ve entered into the blog by clicking on the Civil War Talk Radio category. Each program should appear either on or near the date it was first broadcast.


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