The Gray Ghost of the Confederacy was back. Major John S. Mosby commanding the 43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry, Partisan Rangers, had been seriously wounded in action a number of weeks earlier. Rumors in the North were that Mosby had been killed. No longer would Federal soldiers have to remove the planking from bridges leading into Washington to prevent Mosby from kidnapping the President. But they were wrong about his demise.
Earlier in the year of 1863 Major Mosby's fame grew with the successful raid at Fairfax City, capturing Brigadier General Edwin Stoughton. Now his new plans were to catch an even bigger prize, the Lincoln appointed Union Governor Francis H. Pierpoint. To highlight Mosby's audacity, a note was delivered to Pierpoint warning of impending danger. "You did not see the farmer who rode by your hotel on a hay wagon yesterday, did you Governor? My driver pointed out your window, and I marked it plain. It's just over the bay, and I'll get you some night, might easy." The note was signed by Mosby!
Major Mosby and a few Rangers of Company A began their raid to Alexandria in Fairfax County on September 27th with the intent to capture the Lincoln-appointed Governor. After passing quietly through the Federal lines during the night, the raiding party entered the governor's mansion and found that the Governor had been called to Washington. Changing his plans Mosby decided to capture the Governor's military aide, Colonel Daniel French Dulany, who was staying at the nearby Rose Hill Manor. Accompanying Mosby on the raid was D. French Dulany, who was the son of Colonel Dulany.
As the ghosts in gray entered the Rose Hill home they found Colonel Dulany in bed. Young French greeted his surprised father, "How do Pa-I'm very glad to see you." Bolting upright, his father replied, "Well sir, I'm d- sorry to see you." (Anne S. Frobel's diary) As they were about to leave the home, Colonel Dulany sarcastically remarked to his son that there was an old pair of shoes around the house that he had better take with him, "as he reckoned they were darned scarce in the Confederacy, whereupon the son, holding up his leg, which was encased in a fine pair of cavalry boots just captured from a sutler, asked the old man what he thought of that." (A letter from Mosby to his wife).
Now with their prize in tow the raiding party headed back into "Mosby's Confederacy," most likely traveling parallel to the Little River Turnpike. The raiders then gathered combustible materials and burned the railroad bridge crossing Cameron's Run. But Major Mosby wasn't finished in his quest to capture Governor Pierpoint. He would be back.
Photo: John Paul Strain Art...