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John S. Mosby: The Man Behind our Hat

A couple of weeks ago on our course Facebook page, we asked if anyone could name which figure was the inspiration of our course logo. The correct answer is Confederate Colonel John Singleton Mosby.

Summarizing his Wikipedia page, Mosby was born on December 6, 1833 in Powhatan County, Virginia.

At age 24, Mosby married Pauline Clarke in Nashville. The couple settled in Bristol, Virginia. Prior to the Civil War, the Mosbys had two children, May and Beverley. During the war, John S. Mosby Jr. was born in 1863 and by 1870; the couple had five children (Lincoln and Victoria) and had moved to Warrenton, Virginia.

In 1861, Mosby joined the Confederate army, despite speaking out against secession. Mosby created the “Virginia Volunteers” which was two mounted companies and eight infantry companies. The group participated in the First Battle of Manassas in July 1861.

John S Mosby

By June 1862, Mosby was scouting for J.E.B. Stuart. The two helped lead raids behind Union lines in Prince William, Fairfax and Loudon counties seeking to disrupt communications and supplies between Washington D.C. and Fredricksburg. As the year ended, Mosby joined various horsemen who formed what became known as “Mosby’s Rangers”. 

Mosby was authorized to command the 43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry, which operated officially as a unit of the Army of Northern Virginia and was subject to commands of Stuart and Robert E. Lee.

In 1863 and 1864, Mosby and his men led raids and captured Union soldiers in various campaigns in Virginia and Maryland. By December 1864, Mosby had been promoted to colonel. In April 1865, Mosby had disbanded the rangers and was one of the last Confederate officers to surrender on June 17, 1865.

After the Civil War, Mosby resumed his law practice in Warrenton. He would also become a political figure in Virginia, by becoming Ulysses Grant’s campaign manager.

In the late 1870s, Mosby moved his family to Washington D.C. after the death of his wife and son. There he spent most of his time campaigning for Rutherford B. Hayes. In 1878, Mosby was confirmed by the Senate as U.S. consul to Hong Kong, he held that position until 1885.

Mosby died of complications after throat surgery in D.C. on May 30, 1916. He is buried at Warrenton Cemetery 13 miles from Prince William Golf Course.

The John Singleton Mosby Museum in Warrenton is located at the Brentmoor estate where Mosby lived from 1875 to 1877.

For the whole Wikipedia article visit the John S. Mosby page.