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“It was my habit either to go myself,with one or two men, or to send scouts, to find out some weak and exposed place in the enemy’s lines. I rarely rested for more than one day at a time. As soon as I knew of a point offering a chance for a successful attack, I gathered my men together and stuck a blow. From the rapidity with which these attacks were delivered and repeated, and the distant points at which they were made, a most exaggerated estimate of the number of my force was made… John S. Mosby

Mosby’s Rangers    New York : Simon and Schuster, c 1990  Jeffry D. Wert Confederate States of America. Army. Virginia Cavalry Battalion, 43rd History Hardcover. 384 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 357-369) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

A young Major John S. Mosby, C.S.A. as denoted by the single gold star on his collar – from the Library of Congress.

No single battalion was more feared during the Civil War than the 43rd Battalion of Virginia Cavalry. Better known as Mosby’s Rangers, tbey were an elite guerrilla unit that operated with stunning success in northern Virginia and Mary­land from 1863 to the last days of the war. Seldom numbering more than a few dozen men on an operation, the Rangers struck supply wagons and railroads, harassed and pinned down union troops that sometimes vastly outnumbered them, and on one memorable occasion even kidnapped a union general from his own headquarters. They obtained valuable intelligence for General Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy;

Ulysses S. Grant so hated them that he ordered the immediate execution without trial of any cap­tured Ranger. A union partisan unit dispatched to combat them under the command of Richard Blazer was later known as Blazer’s Scouts.

Portrait of Col. John S. Mosby, 43rd Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, C.S.A. while he commanded the most feared battalion of the Confederacy – from the Library of Congress

The success of the Rangers reflected the iron discipline of their remarkable commander, John Singleton Mosby, a ferocious warrior and bril­liant tactician whose achievements earned him the praise of Generals J. E. B. Stuart and Robert E. Lee. In this vivid account of Mosby’s famous command and of the officers who served under him, Jeffry D. Wert draws on contemporary doc­uments, including letters and diaries, to describe the Rangers’ daring raids and exploits. He gives us colorful profiles of the more famous Rangers and explains their organization and methods of operation.

As testament to their effectiveness, a section of northern Virginia became known as “Mosby’s Confederacy,” where civilians shel­tered the Rangers. Even in the final year of the war, as the Confederacy collapsed, Mosby’s Rangers eluded capture by such  union generals as Philip Sheridan and George Armstrong Custer. They disbanded without surrendering at the end of the war. Mosby and his men have long been celebrated and Mosby’s Rangers is their most authoritative biography to date.

Colonel Mosby’s men on courthouse steps, Warrenton, Virginia – Group portrait of Civil War veterans who served with Mosby taken between 1920 and 1930 – from the Library of Congress

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