Archie Clement – Confederate Guerilla and Outlaw

Archie Clement

Archie Clement

Archibald J. Clement, also known as “Little Arch” or “Little Archie,” was a Confederate guerrilla leader during the Civil War known for his brutality towards Union soldiers and pro-Union civilians in Missouri.

Archie Clement was born in Moniteau County, Missouri, on January 1, 1846. He joined the Confederate guerillas under Captain William “Bloody Bill” Anderson in 1861 and had already become a lieutenant by the time he was 17. A very small man, weighing just about 130 pounds and standing just over five feet tall, he made up for it with his fearlessness and as an expert pistol shot. He quickly took a prominent role in Anderson’s military operations, including the raid on Lawrence, Kansas, where some 150 men were killed and the town was burned. He also participated in the Centralia, Missouri massacre, where 23 Union soldiers were robbed and shot. When Union forces killed “Bloody Bill” Anderson on October 26, 1864, Clement took command of the unit until the war ended.

Though the Civil War was officially over, an embittered Clements continued to create problems for the government by intimidating voters in elections and becoming part of a gang that would later be referred to as the James-Younger Gang. Thought to have been the initial leader, he led them in their first robbery on February 13, 1866. The first daylight-armed bank robbery in the U.S., the men stormed the County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri, taking over $60,000 in cash and bonds. As the outlaws were making their escape, gunfire erupted, and an innocent 17-year-old boy was killed. Missouri authorities suspected Clements as the leader, and a price was quickly put on his head. However, the fearless little man next led the gang in robbing the Alexander Mitchell and Company Bank in Lexington, Missouri, on October 30, 1866, making off about $2,000. In Lexington, Missouri, he was finally killed by the Missouri State Militia on December 13, 1866. He was buried in the Arnold Cemetery in Wellington, Missouri.

© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated June 2023.

Also See:

Bushwhackers of Missouri

James-Younger Gang

Missouri Main Page

Outlaws on the Frontier