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    John Mosby Autograph Letter Signed "Jno. S. Mosby." Two pages, front and back, 4.75" x 7.75", Fauquier Co.; February 4, 1863. In a letter to "Messrs F.W. Powell, S.A. Chancellor, J.G. Gray, W.B. Nolan & others", Mosby responds to a petition by the townspeople of Middleburg. In full:

    "I have just recd your petition requesting me to discontinue my warfare on the Yankees, because they have threatened to burn your town & destroy your property in retaliation for my acts. Not being yet prepared for any such degrading compromises with the Yankees, I unhesitatingly refuse to comply. My attacks on scouts, patrols & pickets, which have provoked this threat, are conditioned by both the custom of war & the practice of the enemy; & you are at liberty to inform them that no such clamor shall deter me from employing whatever legitimate weapon I can most efficiently use for their annoyance. I will say this much to you, however, that it was through a misunderstanding of my orders that the prisoners were brought - The ones to your town to be paroled - I was myself sever at misbehaved the guard that had them - As my men have never occupied your town I cannot see what possible complicity there can be between my acts & you." On verso the letter is addressed to Mosby's wife, Pauline. Also with docketing in pencil on verso.

    In response to Mosby's raids behind Federal lines, Union Col. Sir Percy Wyndham rode to Middleburg with a force of 200 cavalry in order to put a stop to the raids and hopefully capture Mosby. Despite setting a well-executed trap for the Confederate Captain, Wyndham was unsuccessful and instead had twelve of his men captured in the process. As a result, he instead turned his frustrations upon the townspeople of Middleburg, who he also suspected were aiding Mosby and his Raiders. As Mosby did not hold a commission from the Confederate Army, he was effectively enacting guerilla warfare and had no right to be treated as a prisoner of war if captured. Mosby's unconventional tactics were such that Wyndham resorted to like threats in turn (hence the threat against the Middleburg townspeople). Ultimately, however, Wyndham did not go through with carrying out his promised retaliation.

    The area around Middleburg, Virginia was where Mosby and his Rangers conducted most of their raids behind Northern lines. Mosby would go on to win enduring fame by raiding deeply into Federal-held territory from early 1863 until war's end. From 1863 to 1865, the 43rd Virginia Cavalry conducted daring guerilla raids behind Union lines in northern Virginia, sabotaging railroads, telegraph lines and supply trains. Their ability to attack without warning and then melt into the countryside earned their commander the nickname "The Grey Ghost." He would evade capture and remained active until the end of the war. Rather than surrender his command to the Union after Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Mosby chose to formally disband the regiment.

    Condition: Flattened folds, with toning throughout. Small amounts of soiling on verso, as well as ink smudges throughout. It appears that the letter separated horizontally along the folds and was repaired with pieces of tape on verso. Some bleed through soiling from the tape strips on recto.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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