Author: Ruth Ann Coski

a special correspondent for publications at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond

John Singleton Mosby (1833–1916)

John Singleton Mosby was a Confederate colonel during the American Civil War (1861–1865). As a private in the 1st Virginia Cavalry, Mosby chose his commander, General J. E. B. Stuart, as his role model and mentor. Stuart and General Robert E. Lee came to value Mosby’s skills as a scout and raider. In June 1863 Confederate secretary of war James A. Seddon permitted Mosby to form and recruit soldiers for Company A, 43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry (Partisan Rangers). The battalion expanded steadily to the size of a regiment (approximately 1,900 men served in the command during its existence) and Mosby was accordingly promoted to colonel. The raids of “Mosby’s Men” helped to demoralize Union cavalry and rally Southern support for the war. Wounded seven times, the combative Mosby disbanded his troops, rather than surrender, on April 21, 1865. After the war he resumed his career as a lawyer and turned Republican. Mosby served as U.S. consul to Hong Kong, and from 1904 until 1910 worked as assistant attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department. An excellent writer, Mosby devoted his latter years to letters, articles, and books defending the actions and reputation of his own command, the reputations of J. E. B. Stuart and Ulysses S. Grant, and arguing that slavery was the main cause of the war. Mosby died in Washington, D.C., in 1916.


Dabney Herndon Maury (1822–1900)

Dabney Herndon Maury was a Confederate general during the American Civil War (1861–1865). The nephew of renowned scientist Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury, he fought in the Western Theater, rising quickly in the ranks after the battles of Pea Ridge, Iuka, and Corinth in 1862. As commander of the District of the Gulf in the war’s last two years, he became known for his tenacious defense of the port of Mobile, Alabama. After the war, however, he struggled with poverty. In 1869, he helped to found the Southern Historical Society, which became an important institution for advocates of the Lost Cause view of the war. His 1894 memoir, Recollections of a Virginian in the Mexican, Indian, and Civil Wars, was marked by Maury’s distinctively intelligent affability. In fact, he was rare among former Civil War officers on either side for his willingness to maintain an equitable view of the Civil War.