John Singleton Mosby was ackwledged as one of the legendary military geniuses of the War Between the States. Despite having military training, he excelled in hit and run guerilla tactics which constantly frustrated the enemy invaders of his native Virginia and earned him the nickname of The Grey Ghost. Wreaking havoc among the Federal supply lines and forcing field commanders to detach large numbers of troops to guard their communications, his forays even took his men within the lines guarding Washington, with Mosby himself often doing the advance scouting in disguise. In this book, Mosby relates the thrilling exploits which comprised his brief, but illustrious career as a Confederate partisan.
John Singleton Mosby was born in Powhatan, Virginia on December 6, 1833, the son of Alfred and Virginia (McLaurine) Mosby and descended from an old Virginia family of English origin. Throughout his school years, young Mosby was the victim of constant bullying due to his small stature and frail health. He always defended himself, but never won a fight. He enrolled in Hampton-Sydney College in 1847, but unable to keep up in mathematics, he left without graduating. Three years later, he enrolled in the University of Virginia and excelled in Classical Studies, but still struggled with mathematics. He was expelled from the institution after shooting a bully in self-defense, and was charged and convicted for the deed. During his incarceration, he studied law and after his release, he was admitted to the Virginia bar and opened his own practice in Howardsville. Though initially opposed to secession, Mosby joined the Confederate army as a private at the outbreak of the war, and participated in the First Battle of Manassas in July, 1861. His outstanding talent as a scout earned him promotion to first lieutenant and he was assigned to Stuart's cavalry. Mosby is best remembered for his daring exploits within enemy lines, particularly his night-time excursion into the Yankee camp at Fairfax Courthouse, during which he and his men captured a Union general, two captains, and 30 enlisted men without firing a shot. After the war, Mosby joined the Republican party, believing it necessary to help the country heal from its wounds. His support of Ulysses S. Grant's presidency made him a controversial figure with many Southerners. He died in Washington, D.C. on May 30, 1916 and was buried in Warrenton, Virginia.