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John Mosby


Reviled by the North and beloved by the South, John Singleton Mosby and his band of rangers reigned in the tenuous stretch of land that sat between the two halves of a nation divided - the land we know as Fairfax County and Northern Virginia.

Called the Gray Ghost for his ability to repeatedly elude Union detection and capture, Mosby's most notable moment came on the night of March 9th, 1863. During a raid on the Fairfax Courthouse, he and five rangers showed up at the Dr. Gunnell House where Union Gen. Edwin H. Stoughton was sleeping. Mosby marched upstairs, awakened Stoughton with a slap on the rear, and commanded, "Get up, general, and come with me!"

That night Mosby's band of six also captured two officers, 30 soldiers, 58 horses, and the attention of both sides of the Civil War - without firing a single shot. The following week he led a successful St. Patrick's Day raid on Herndon, cementing his reputation as a hero of the South and the bane of the North.

Through the rest of the war, Mosby so tightly controlled the Route 50 corridor of Northern Virginia that it became known as Mosby's Confederacy. The Mosby Heritage Area features a number of significant sites forever touched by his spirit.

After the war, Mosby became an active Republican, saying it was the best way to help the South. Mosby went on to become a campaign manager in Virginia for President Ulysses S. Grant. Mosby's friendship with Grant, and his work with those whom many Southerners considered the enemy, made Mosby a highly controversial figure in Virginia.

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