With the failure of [Confederate general Sterling] Price's conventional campaign to win Missouri, McNeill turned his attention to unconventional means to win Confederate independence. Along with his son Jesse, he made his way across the country back to their ancestral home in Hardy County, Virginia, in July 1862 with the outline of a plan to wage guerrilla war against the Union. Under the terms of the Confederate Congress's Partisan Ranger Act of 28 April 1862, McNeill and a number of other officers were authorized to raise independent commands to raid Union army supply trains and pocket the proceeds. From August 1862 until March 1863 McNeill and his band, recruited from Hardy County, operated under the overall command of Colonel John Imboden, engaging in a series of minor raids that infuriated local Union commanders and eventually provoked stern countermeasures.
James K. Hogue, "McNeill, John Hanson," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00692.html.