The Bandit of Des Arc – 1854 – Arkansaw Traveler

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The Bandit of Des Arc – 1854

Posted by drew - October 25th, 2012 Comments 0

Howell-A-Rayburn

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Photo via Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photography Collection, at SMU Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library

“In the small northern Arkansas town of Des Arc, dozens of local boys in the fall of 1862 came under the influence of a young Confederate recruiter named Howell A. Rayburn. His delicate physique and long tawny hair made him look innocent, like a child. But a streak of darkness lurked in his wild blue eyes, which, as one historian noted, “seemed at times to have lost every vestige of tenderness, compassion and mercy, especially for those who differed with his views.”

..Rayburn’s irregular company of partisan rangers would go down in history as the “Phantom Unit,” which had a reputation for lightning-quick raids into Union-occupied Arkansas near the White and Mississippi Rivers. ..They called him “Yellow Doc” or simply “Doc,” perhaps a reference to his hair color or the illness that had sickened him. His enemies labeled him a bandit, or “banditti.”

– via “The Yellow Doc Raiders” By RONALD S. CODDINGTON – New York Times

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