Brigands: Criminals or Patriots?
The author examines Southern activists’ claims that the brigands who engaged in guerrilla warfare against the Northern troops were patriots fighting for their beloved king. The author demonstrates that this attempt to elevate the brigands to “freedom fighters” ignores overwhelming factual evidence to the contrary. Actually most brigands were hardened criminals fleeing from justice, and others were lured by the promise of wages and plunder. DiMaria argues that they were instruments in the hands of Bourbon loyalists, who supported them with money and shelter. For their part, the brigands’ cause was not to restore the Bourbons, but to survive. To get by in the mountains, they extorted, killed, plundered, and, at times, laid waste entire communities. Hardly “patriots,” they were mostly felons who never abandoned their criminal trade.