In 1971 a book titled “The Killer Legions of Quantrill” was written by Carl Breihan, in the book a previously unpublished (see below) photo of William “Bloody Bill” Anderson, the famous Missouri Partisan, and a man identified tentatively as Confederate General Joseph Orville (Jo) Shelby. The photograph immediately stirred controversy, as many felt the photo depicted niether man.

Anderson, Shelby

Bloody Bill Anderson (left) and a mystery man circa 1862, Missouri- The mystery man has been identified as General Jo Shelby or Fletch Taylor

Professional analysis of the photo confirmed that the taller man with the light eyes was, in fact, Bloody Bill Anderson without his signature long hair and beard, around 1861 or 1862. However, positive identification could not be made of the made on the right of the photo. The Missouri State Historical Society which has a copy of the photo identified the man not as General Jo Shelby, but as another famous Missouri Partisan- Fletch Taylor. Both Taylor and Anderson being noted members of Quantrill’s Raiders. But this identification of the man as Fletch Taylor resulted in more argument, as many felt it clearly was not Taylor.

While researching the history of the Confederate underground and secessionist movement in Colorado Territory 1858-1865, I stumbled across the only known photograph of Colonel John Hiffner in an obscure history book chronicling the influential people of Jackson County, Missouri. Colonel John Hiffner had funded and raised a regiment of Confederate sympathizers numbering 600 to 1000 men in southern Colorado in 1861 and 1862. Following the Confederate retreat from Glorieta Pass in early 1862, and the subsequent Union dragnet of Colorado Territory to weed out Southern sympathizers in the spring and summer of 1862, Colonel Hiffner’s Mace’s Hole regiment disbanded and “scatterred to the four winds” with many of the recruits heading to Missouri, including Colonel Hiffner himself, who had family in Clay County, Missouri. Hiffner’s brother and other relatives were continously hounded by Union authorities throughout the war for aiding and abetting Confederate partisan units in Clay County, and John Hiffner never enlisted in any regular Confederate unit, though his biography does claim he served the length of the war in Missouri under General Stirling Price and General Jo Shelby, which lends credibility to the theory that John Hiffner was attached to a lesser-known Missouri Partisan unit.

The only known photograph of Hiffner (below) taken around 1900, shows a gray man, who strikes an uncanny resemblance to the unidentified mystery man in the Bloody Bill Anderson photo. Hiffner’s timeline places him in Missouri, in the same locale as Bloody Bill Anderson in 1862,  and it is my opinion that the mystery man in the photo is Colorado’s John Hiffner.

JLHiffner

The only known photograph of Colorado’s Confederate Partisan leader Colonel John L. Hiffner, taken later in his life, circa 1900, while living in Jackson County, Missouri

A comparison photo of the Bloody Bill Anderson image and the Hiffner image as well as those of Jo Shelby and Fletch Taylor are provided below for comparison to the Bloody Bill Anderson and mystery man photo. To me, the man clearly resembles Hiffner the most based off of facial structure, eyes, hairline and hairstyle, eyebrows, and the long, slender nose, features which are considerably different on Shelby and Taylor.

hiffneranderson

Is the mystery man in the Bloody Bill Anderson photo John L. Hiffner?

general-shelby

Three images of General Jo Shelby- Note the substantial difference in the eyes, facial shape, and hair,  from the mystery man in the Bloody Bill Anderson photo.

Fletch

A wartime image of Fletch Taylor (left) with Jesse (standing, right) and Frank James (seated)- Taylor shows very little resemblance to the unidentified man in question.

fletch_taylor_400x400

Fletch Taylor, later in life, bears little resemblance to the man in the Anderson photo, or the Hiffner photo

Thank You for visiting! Check out my other blogs on the Civil War in Colorado!

Share these blogs with your friends!

Enlistment Records of “The Reynolds Gang”- Proof that Colorado’s Most Notorious Bandits Were in Fact Confederate Cavalrymen from Texas!

Exonerating “The Reynolds Gang”- Debunking Colorado’s Greatest Outlaw Legend

“Hoot Owl Trees” and Rock Pointers of the KGC- Evidence of the Confederate Underground in Colorado

The Gray Ghosts of Colorado Book $19.99 Order Here!

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  1. […] Civil War Mystery Man in Rare Bloody Bill Anderson Photo Identified Proving Colorado Connection to M… […]

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