Depending upon ones sympathies, John Singleton
Mosby was either a guerrilla or a cavalry hero.
This native Virginian was by profession a lawyer,
but when the Civil War began, he joined the Confederate
cavalry in time to fight at the First Battle of
Manassas. Placed under the command of General J.
E. B. Stuart, Mosby fought with such distinction
in the Peninsular Campaign and at Antietam that
in 1863 he was authorized to organize a group of
rangers. They were to operate behind enemy lines,
striking without warning and then dispersing to
meet later at a prearranged spot.
For the remainder of the war, Mosby harassed
the Union forces throughout Northern Virginia
and Maryland. Among his exploits was the capture
behind Union lines of General Edwin Stoughton
and his cavalry garrison of some thirty men, with
all their horses in March 1863. The next year,
his hit-and-run raids proved especially annoying
to General Philip Sheridans campaign in
the Shenandoah Valley.
Richmond sculptor Edward Valentine took Mosbys
measurements on December 5, 1865, but did not
complete a bust of the ex-Confederate until November
of the following year. On seeing the finished
piece, a reporter from the Richmond Dispatch
declared it a triumph of art.