Private John S. Mosby, First Virginia Cavalry: Picketing Fairfax County before Becoming the Confederacy's "Gray Ghost"

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9781517255855: Private John S. Mosby, First Virginia Cavalry: Picketing Fairfax County before Becoming the Confederacy's
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No study of the Civil War is complete without Private John S. Mosby, 1st Virginia Cavalry by Gregory P. Wilson. For fans of Mosby, this book is a unique perspective on the larger-than-life character as a young soldier picketing Northern Virginia. This work is a must-have for anyone learning about US history and the sociopolitical reality of its greatest armed conflict.

For those unfamiliar with Mosby, he was known as the Confederacy’s “Gray Ghost,” a nickname earned later in the war, but grounded in his initial duty in Fairfax County. He was just a green picket and scout, gathering intelligence at a time when the country was experiencing its most divisive, internal turmoil. The parallels between this era and modern times can be drawn easily—and they should be.

Through Private Mosby’s eyes, the reader will learn much about the development of tensions in the South throughout the years leading up to the rebellion. The stories of the war are utterly engaging, full of rare moments ignored by many historians. What makes this book so special is the wealth of first-person accounts, Mosby’s personal letters, a chapter about his slave and wartime companion, and the vivid stories retold by Wilson.

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About the Author:

Gregory P. Wilson’s great-great-grandfather, Fairfax Quaker Jonathan Roberts, served the Union as an army scout and Fairfax County (Virginia) sheriff. With his interest piqued in the study of this divisive war, Wilson majored in history and politics at Ohio Wesleyan University. Although he currently consults in the financial services industry, it is obvious his nascent interests have never waned.

Wilson is the author of two books about the Civil War. During his exhaustive research for his first book, he became increasingly intrigued with the Confederate partisan ranger most responsible for his ancestor’s life-crippling injury in the line of duty. This led to his second book on the topic, Private John S. Mosby, 1st Virginia Cavalry. Mosby is a well-documented character, but Wilson offers a fresh, new perspective about his first formative months as a rebel soldier picketing Fairfax County.

Wilson works and resides in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Review:

Wilson paints a portrait of a thoughtful man who was not afraid to change his mind on the culturally accepted practices of the South. Private John S. Mosby, a lawyer in civilian life, described himself as “an indifferent soldier,” but Gregory P. Wilson conveys his evolution into a valuable member of the Confederate forces in his book, Private John S. Mosby, First Virginia Cavalry. Most of the story is told through Mosby’s journal entries, memoirs published later in life, and correspondences with his wife, Pauline. Given the sheer number of Mosby’s writings, it is a wonder that he found the time to fight. His missives alternate between reporting the boredom of day-to-day inactivity, such as his success at foraging for food and other valuable commodities, with adrenaline-fueled action on the picket line. As the Civil War slogs on, each new letter expresses a building sense of excitement and urgency that modern-day readers can understand, even though Mosby could not have known what fate awaited him and the rebel army. He reports, in what some might consider cold-bloodedness, his abject disappointment over not being able to take a lethal shot at a Union officer. Later, he revels in his killing of a combatant. That is, of course, a soldier’s duty, but Mosby’s glee at causing the death of a fellow American is unnerving to the modern ear. Nevertheless, the author paints a portrait of a thoughtful man, one who was not afraid to change his mind on the culturally accepted practices of the South. Wilson writes about the mutual, almost familial, affection Mosby shared with Aaron Burton, a slave who traveled with his master to various locations during the campaigns. This offers a paradoxical look at relationships between oppressors and oppressed, with the former no doubt seeing themselves as benevolent parental figures. After the war, Mosby freed Burton and other slaves; years later, he reflects on the cruelty of the institution while continuing to support the cultural climate of pre-Reconstructionist America. Wilson, who majored in politics and history at Ohio Wesleyan University and who is also author of Jonathan Roberts: The Civil War’s Quaker Scout & Sheriff, helpfully provides modern-day geographic landmarks to give the audience—especially Civil War hobbyists who enjoy visiting battle sites—a better understanding of exactly where these adventures transpired. He supplements the text with maps, historic photographs, and other illustrations for additional perspective. The slim work concerns itself mostly with Mosby’s actions on picket duty for the Confederate army, charged with serving as forward guard for larger forces. Wilson seems to end the book rather abruptly, omitting further narrative as Mosby goes on to earn promotions and praise from his superiors. Perhaps that’s for a future volume. -RON KAPLAN

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Book Description Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. No study of the Civil War is complete without Private John S. Mosby, 1st Virginia Cavalry by Gregory P. Wilson. For fans of Mosby, this book is a unique perspective on the larger-than-life character as a young soldier picketing Northern Virginia. This work is a must-have for anyone learning about US history and the sociopolitical reality of its greatest armed conflict. For those unfamiliar with Mosby, he was known as the Confederacy s Gray Ghost, a nickname earned later in the war, but grounded in his initial duty in Fairfax County. He was just a green picket and scout, gathering intelligence at a time when the country was experiencing its most divisive, internal turmoil. The parallels between this era and modern times can be drawn easily-and they should be. Through Private Mosby s eyes, the reader will learn much about the development of tensions in the South throughout the years leading up to the rebellion. The stories of the war are utterly engaging, full of rare moments ignored by many historians. What makes this book so special is the wealth of first-person accounts, Mosby s personal letters, a chapter about his slave and wartime companion, and the vivid stories retold by Wilson. Seller Inventory # APC9781517255855

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Book Description Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.No study of the Civil War is complete without Private John S. Mosby, 1st Virginia Cavalry by Gregory P. Wilson. For fans of Mosby, this book is a unique perspective on the larger-than-life character as a young soldier picketing Northern Virginia. This work is a must-have for anyone learning about US history and the sociopolitical reality of its greatest armed conflict. For those unfamiliar with Mosby, he was known as the Confederacy s Gray Ghost, a nickname earned later in the war, but grounded in his initial duty in Fairfax County. He was just a green picket and scout, gathering intelligence at a time when the country was experiencing its most divisive, internal turmoil. The parallels between this era and modern times can be drawn easily-and they should be. Through Private Mosby s eyes, the reader will learn much about the development of tensions in the South throughout the years leading up to the rebellion. The stories of the war are utterly engaging, full of rare moments ignored by many historians. What makes this book so special is the wealth of first-person accounts, Mosby s personal letters, a chapter about his slave and wartime companion, and the vivid stories retold by Wilson. Seller Inventory # APC9781517255855

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