Greengarden, a safe house near Upperville, Fauquier County

Greengarden, a safe house near Upperville, Fauquier County

John Singleton Mosby knew that if his raiders had a camp, sooner or later federal troops would find it and capture his men. Instead, Mosby requested that patriotic Virginians board his men in their houses. At a time when most of their menfolk were away in the Confederate Army, and when slaves were often running away, having the charm, brains, and brawn of young Mosby Rangers in the household was a distinct blessing. To the teenage girls of these households, it also meant a considerable improvement in their flagging social lives—dances, card games, entertainments, moonlit walks and sleigh rides, and always, tales of bravery and bravado right out of Ivanhoe would now be their regular fare. Mosby’s young Rangers loved to show off their simultaneous riding and shooting skills for the young ladies, who, desperately fanning themselves, felt young hearts go pitterpat.

Window writing at Oakham, between Aldie and Middleburg

Window writing at Oakham, between Aldie and Middleburg

Yet there was great risk in hiding Mosby’s men in your house. Harboring “partisan guerillas” was more than enough legal cause to have you arrested by federal troops. Houses in “Mosby’s Confederacy”—from the Snickersville Pike to the Manassas Gap Railroad, from the Blue Ridge to the Bull Run Mountains--were searched again and again as the war dragged on. Amanda Virginia Edmonds of Belle Grove in Fauquier wrote the following:

"Much to our surprise, mortification and sorrow the slumbers of the house-hold were aroused by the rattling of swords and the clatter of horses, which fortunately made known to our dear soldiers that something was wrong. Bud jumped from his bed and there to his utter surprise were Yankees dash-ing up. Bud with Mr. Alexander and George dashed down the stairs where Ma and I met them nearly frightened to death. They dashed to their secret hiding place followed by overcoats, pistols and everything I could grab up . . ."


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