After 97 years, the only memoir written by a Union guerrilla in the American Civil War is finally being reprinted thanks in large part to John F. Bradbury Jr., senior manuscript specialist at the University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection branch at the University of Missouri-Rolla.
Bradbury is co-editor of the book, titled A History of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas: Being an Account of the Early Settlements, the Civil War, the Ku-Klux, and Times of Peace.
William Monks, once a Union patriot and skilled guerrilla fighter, wrote his account in 1907, long after the Civil War had ended. During Bradbury’s research of Civil War material from Rolla, he stumbled across Monks’s manuscript. Bradbury and his co-editor, Lou Wehmer, chair of the South Central Missouri/North Central Arkansas Civil War Roundtable and chief telecommunications engineer for the Missouri Highway Patrol, took an immediate interest in the guerrilla and his life.
"Monks had such an unusual career," Bradbury says. "There were many people who wanted to shoot Monks. During the war, he was fighting even against people he knew. This memoir was, in a way, his last stand. His writing was intriguing, but since he wrote the memoir fairly late in life, some dates and chronological information needed to be changed and explained."
Bradbury and Wehmer worked for nearly three years editing Monks’ account, which will be published in October by the University of Arkansas Press.