Autobiography of Samuel S. Hildebrand
The Renowned Missouri Bushwhacker
Edited by Kirby Ross
1870 Edition Edited by James W. Evans and A. Wendell Keith, M.D.
Preface by Daniel E. Sutherland

The “true story” of one of the Confederate’s most notorious guerrillas

Most Civil War historians now agree that the guerrilla conflict shaped the entire war in significant ways. Some of these “bushwhackers”—Nathan Bedford Forrest, William Clarke Quantrill, John Singleton Mosby—have become quite infamous. Illiterate Sam Hildebrand, one of Missouri’s most notorious guerrillas—often compared to “Rob Roy,” and the subject of dime novels—was one of the few to survive the war and have his story taken down and published. Shortly after this he was killed in a barroom brawl.

Hildebrand’s reign of terror gave the Union army fits and kept much of the Trans-Mississippi, especially Missouri, roiling in the 1860s. Over seven years of fighting he and his men killed dozens of soldiers and civilians, whites and blacks; he claimed to have killed nearly one hundred himself. He was accused of many heinous acts.

The historical significance of Hildebrand’s story is substantial, but his bloody tale is eminently readable and stands quite well on its own as a cold-blooded portrait of a violent time in American history. Like the nightmarish and depraved world of the Kid in Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian, Hildebrand’s world is truly ruthless and his story is brutally descriptive in its coolly detached rendering of one man’s personal war.
Published in 1870, Hildebrand’s autobiography has long been out of print and has been a rare and highly prized acquisition among Civil War historians and enthusiasts.

“A superb modern edition of a rare 1870 imprint . . . a vivid impression of a boastfully murderous mentality unique in Civil War historiography.”
Michael Fellman, author of The Making of Robert E. Lee and Inside War: The Guerrilla Conflict in Missouri During the American Civil War

“This is a must book for all interested in separating the fact from fiction regarding Civil War guerrilla warfare and those who waged it.”
Albert Castel, author of William Clarke Quantrill: His Life and Times

“An exciting ‘read’ combined with the truth behind Hildebrand’s story.”
—Robert R. Mackey, author of The Uncivil War: Irregular Warfare in the Upper South, 1861–1865

Author/historian Kirby Ross is the recipient of a Kansas Governor’s Proclamation for his first book, The True Life Wild West Memoir of a Bush-popping Cow Waddy. He is a feature writer for the online magazine CivilWarStLouis.com and lives in Kirwin, Kansas.


280 pages, 8 illustrations, index
6" x 9"
$28.95 (s) Cloth
ISBN 978-1-55728-799-1 | 1-55728-799-6