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    "The vision we cherished of a free and independent country has vanished . . . I disband your organization in preference to surrendering to our enemies."

    John Singleton Mosby's Farewell Address Signed "Jno. S. Mosby." Two weeks after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee, Col. Mosby, the Confederate cavalry commander known as the "Gray Ghost," disbanded his command (April 21, 1865) at Salem, Virginia, rather than surrender to the hated Yankees. Mosby travelled south to join General Joseph E. Johnston's army still in the field, but was dismayed to read that he too had surrendered (on April 26). Mosby went on the run with a $5,000 bounty for his capture. Federal authorities finally caught up with him in the summer of 1865. General Ulysses S. Grant took an interest in the matter and personally paroled him.

    After the war, Mosby became a Republican, angering many in the South. In addition, he became friends with his former adversary, Ulysses S. Grant, even chairing his presidential campaign in Virginia. For this, he received several death threats and his childhood home was burned down. After an attempt on his life, President Grant sent Mosby to Asia as a U.S. Consul to Hong Kong (1878-1885). He returned to the U.S. and worked as a lawyer in California before taking a job with the Department of the Interior. He later served six years (1904-1910) as assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice in Washington.

    Nearly forty years to the day later, Mosby sent this copy of his original farewell address written entirely in his hand (undated, but likely circa 1905) to Mary K. Pearson in Cleveland, Ohio, using a Justice Department envelope, postmarked May 4, 1905 (the original transmittal envelope is also included in this lot). The address itself is one page, 7.75"x 11.75", and reads, in full: "Fauquier County / April 21st 1865 / Soldiers - I have summoned you together for the last time. The vision we cherished of a free and independent country has vanished, and that country is now the spoil of a conqueror. I disband your organization in preference to surrendering to our enemies. I am no longer your commander. After an association of more than two eventful years, I part from you with a just pride in the fame of your achievements and grateful recollections of your generous kindness to myself. And now, at this moment of bidding you a final adieu, accept the assurance of my unchanging confidence & regard. Farewell! [signed] Jno. S. Mosby / Colonel."

    Small binding holes near the upper left corner. A small 2.5" x 2.25" patch of discoloration is visible in the upper left corner. The document shows the usual folds, with small separations at edges. The text is amazingly bright and Mosby's penmanship, even at 71 years of age, is superb.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2014
    8th-9th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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