What is a “bushwhacker?

atm-logoWhat is a “bushwhacker?”

Doug Riley
Phoenix, Arizona

“Bushwhacker” was a Civil War term that designated the lowest and meanest type of guerrilla fighter, particularly the Confederates, who often hid in inaccessible places and ambushed lone or small groups of Union troops. The name lived on in the Old West to describe an assassin who killed from a hiding spot.


Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone.  If you have a question, write:

Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu