Mosby, John Singleton

Mosby, John Singleton môzˈbē [key], 1833–1916, Confederate partisan leader in the American Civil War, b. Edgemont, Va. He was practicing law in Bristol, Va., when the Civil War broke out. Mosby served brilliantly in the cavalry under J. E. B. Stuart until Jan., 1863, when he began his partisan operations in N Virginia—soon called “Mosby's Confederacy.” Moving swiftly and secretly, Mosby's men (who never numbered more than 200) continually routed Union cavalry, destroyed communications, appropriated supplies, and were, in general, a great nuisance to the Army of the Potomac. Perhaps Mosby's most famous exploit was the capture of a Union general, caught asleep in his bed, at Fairfax Courthouse in Mar., 1863. Protected by the people of the region, Mosby's partisan rangers eluded the strong forces sent to capture them and were active until Robert E. Lee surrendered. Mosby secured his parole only through the intercession of Ulysses S. Grant, of whom he became a great admirer. He joined the Republican party and later held various minor government positions. He wrote Mosby's War Reminiscences and Stuart's Cavalry Campaigns (1887) and Stuart's Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign (1908).

See C. W. Russell, ed., The Memoirs of Colonel John S. Mosby (1917, repr. 1969); biographies by V. C. Jones (1944), J. Daniels (1959), K. Seipel (1983), and J. A. Ramage (1999).

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