Adolph Vogel — The slayer of Bloody Bill Anderson

Adolph Vogel, Civil war veteran to whom the death of “Bill” Anderson, noted guerilla, is attributed by those most familiar with the circumstances, died of heart disease Monday of last week at his home north of Jameson. He was a brother-in-law of James Nelson of Bethany, and was 85 years old.

Adolph Vogel, Civil war veteran to whom the death of Wm “Bloody Bill” Anderson, noted guerrilla, is attributed by those most familiar with the circumstances, died of heart disease Monday of last week at his home north of Jameson, MO. He was a brother-in-law of James Nelson of Bethany, and was 85 years old.

Mr. Vogel had been in poor health for some time, but had been able to up and about the house. He was out in the yard at his home when stricken, and was found a few minutes before he died.

A little more than three years ago it came to public light that the Daviess County man probably was the one who shot as a soldier among Missouri troops during the Civil war was the one which brought the death of Anderson, the guerrilla, and the perpetrator of the Centralia Massacre. Until that time, the fact was known only to members of his family and a few others.

Then, and presumably now, papers taken from the body of the guerrilla when he was killed reposed in Mr. Vogel’s safety deposit box at a Coffey bank,, and the flashy hat which Anderson wore when he was killed was given only a few year ago by Mr. Vogel to a sister, who also lives In Daviess County.

Although Samuel Cox was widely acclaimed for the slaying of Bushwacker “Bloody Bill” Anderson, the bullet that actually killed the Confederate guerrilla probably came from the gun of Adolph Vogel.

It is possible that the fact Mr. Vogel fired the shot that killed Anderson was kept quiet for fear of revenge on the part of Anderson’s friends, among whom were the James boys and the Youngers. Publicly, the killing was attributed to Major Cox of Gallatin, and Captain Sheets of that town was slain presumably by members of the James gang in mistaken identity for Major Cox; the story goes, Vogel was a member Major Cox’s command. Missouri guerrillas held an intense hatred for Germans who fought in the Union army, anyhow, in the belief that the Civil war was not in any sense their fight.

In the late summer of 1924, however, it came to public notice that it was Mr. Vogel who, in all probability, fired the shot that brought Bill Anderson’s end. It came about through the claim of a man at Brownwood, Texas, that he was Bill Anderson; that he had escaped the warring scenes of Missouri of that day, gone to Texas and lived quietly while the public believed him to be dead. His claim was proved false not only by Vogel’s discourses, but also by the fact that the real Bill Anderson would have been much older than the Texas man.

The claim of the Texas man was refuted after Mr. Vogel had told his story to the editor of the Republican, and it was sent out to many newspapers up and down the Mississippi valley and printed by them. Until that time the Texan was getting lots of publicity.

William T. Anderson (1840 – Oct. 26, 1864) — known as “Bloody Bill” Anderson — was one of the deadliest and most brutal pro-Confederate guerrilla leaders in the American Civil War. Anderson led a band that targeted Union loyalists and Federal soldiers in Missouri and Kansas. He was killed in a Union ambush near Richmond, MO.

Mr. Vogel would not say he was the man who actually killed Anderson in battle, but made this statement: “It is likely that I was the man who killed him, but you can’t be about such things when they happen in a fight of that kind.”

His story of the affair is as follows:

“It happened south of Richmond, Mo., in some heavily timbered bottom land. I was in the Missouri militia, and we were hunting a force of men who were said to be commanded by Anderson. I was under Major Cox of Gallatin.

“We found out that the other fel1ows were near, and we got off our horses and left them behind our lines. You know the guerrillas had always had always attacked the militia when they were on horses and because the horses were not used to gunfire they would stampede, and their riders would be routed. I suspect that is what would have happened to us if we had not known the fight was about to happen. There were not more than a few hundred men on a side.

“The fight didn’t last very long. As I was a bugler, I was the only other man in our battalion, besides Major Cox, who was horseback. We were attacked, but, kept our ground, and in a little bit the other fe1lows were running, routed.

“I saw the body of a man in front at me who looked like he was an officer. He was dressed well, and in his big wide brimmed hat there was a long feather.

“I told Major Cox about him, an he ordered me to take everything off him. We took his pistols, his hat and papers he had on him that told who he was. The hat was just what I wanted and I took it.”

That it actually was Anderson who was killed at that time is shown by the word of a man who now lives at Bethany, but whose family lived near the scene of the fight. They knew the guerrilla by sight, saw him the evening before he was killed, and knew how he was dressed.

Mr. Vogel was born in Germany, but I came to the United States when three years old. He is survived by widow, and 1 daughter — Bethany Republican.

— Taken from the Gallatin Democrat, 1927; researched by Ron McNeely