John S. Mosby was a Confederate partisan who wore the gray uniform along with his regiment, and they were recognized by the Confederate government as being part of the army. In his early twenties, this man became a commander of a group of Virginians who mainly worked behind Union lines.
Originally from northwest Virginia, he had many relatives and friends in that area who helped hide him and his men. The ability of Mosby and his partisans to appear and disappear quickly earned him the nickname “Gray Ghost.” Mosby achieved great success in diverting Union forces from other campaigns due to his perceived threat to the capital, supply lines, and communications. The Confederate leadership loved what he was doing and encouraged him to continue.
After the Civil War, Mosby worked for and supported Republican presidents Grant, Garfield, Hayes and McKinley. This did not go over too well with other Southerners, but Mosby ignored such criticism. He wanted to reconcile the South with the North and move things forward for the good of the country. With his war reputation, few were willing to mess with him.
While living and working in Kentucky as a lawyer, Mosby married Mariah L. Pauline Clarke, a Catholic woman with whom he had several children who were raised in the Catholic faith. He always supported his wife and children’s faith by sending them to Catholic schools even after his wife’s death and supposedly converted to Catholicism himself on his deathbed.
Author James A. Ramage’s wonderful biography of Mosby’s life, originally published in 1999, mainly concerns Mosby’s Civil War days, but Ramage also provides a great deal of material dealing with his life both before and after the Civil War, providing quotes from Mosby’s own diaries and from other primary sources. Also included are maps and a centerfold of photos.
Gray Ghost is a joy to read and hard to put down. Highly recommended to Civil War enthusiasts.