Although guerrilla warfare did not ravage Virginia to the extent that it did some other Confederate states during the(1861–1865), nevertheless it did play a significant role in shaping the nature of the conflict. Guerrilla fighters, by definition, are combatants who operate outside the formal constraints of the military and, therefore, outside the laws of war. In Virginia, guerrillas took up arms as a natural response to Union invasion—especially where conventional Confederate troops were too few or too distant to oppose the enemy—and as a favored means of intimidating perceived enemies within small, usually rural, communities. What resulted, first in Unionist northwestern Virginia and then in Confederate Virginia, was often a “neighborhood” war, where residents brutally fought one another, rather than outsiders, for local control. Partisan leaders such as John D. Imboden and made names for themselves, the latter described as having “danced on the nerves of opponents where they were most vulnerable.” At times, however, the conflict’s violence, which sometimes included terrorist tactics directed at civilians, seemed to rage out of control and alarmed Confederate authorities. Where the authorities had once encouraged the guerrillas, by 1862 they sought to bring them under Confederate control, creating sanctioned “partisan rangers.” Efforts to rein in the guerrilla fighters were only partially successful.