The Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley
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Reports of Capt. John S. Mosby, Virginia Cavalry.

This page contains several of the ORs that Mosby (The Gray Ghost) made relating to his exploits in Northern Virginia. There are several of them contained here so just scroll down and enjoy.

JANUARY 26-27, 1863
Skirmishes near Fairfax Court-House and at Middleburg, Va.

FAUQUIER COUNTY, VA.,
February 4, 1863.

Maj. Gen. J. E. B. STUART.

        GENERAL: I arrived in this neighborhood about one week ago. Since then I have been, despite the bad weather, quite actively engaged with the enemy. The result up to this time has been the capture of 28 Yankee cavalry, together with all their horses, arms, &c. The evidence of parole I forward with this. I have also paroled a number of deserters. Col. Sir Percy Wyndham, with over 200 cavalry, came up to Middleburg last week to punish me, as he said, for my raids on his picket line. I had a slight skirmish with him, in which my loss was 3 men, captured by the falling of their horses; the enemy's loss, 1 man and 3 horses captured. He set a very nice trap a few days ago to catch me in. I went into it, but, contrary to the colonel's expectations, brought the trap off with me, killing 1: capturing 12, the balance running. The extent of the annoyance I have been to the Yankees may be judged of by the fact that, baffled in their attempts to capture me, they threaten to retaliate on citizens for my acts.
        I forward to you some correspondence I have had on the subject. The most of the infantry have left Fairfax and gone toward Fredericksburg. In Fairfax there are five or six regiments of cavalry; there are about 300 at Dranesville. They are so isolated from the rest of the command that nothing would be easier than their capture. I have harassed them so much that they do not keep their pickets over half a mile from camp. There is no artillery there. I start on another trip day after to-morrow.

I am, most respectfully, yours, &c.,
JNO. S. MOSBY.


FEBRUARY 26, 1863
Affair near Germantown, Va.

FAUQUIER COUNTY, VA., February 28, 1863.

Maj. Gen. J. E. B. STUART.

        GENERAL: I have the honor to report that at 4 o'clock on the morning of the 26th instant I attacked and routed, on the Ox road, in Fairfax, about 2 miles from Germantown, a cavalry outpost, consisting of a lieutenant and 50 men. The enemy's loss was 1 lieutenant and 3 men killed and 5 captured; number of wounded not known; also 39 horses, with all their accouterments, brought off. There were also 3 horses killed. I did not succeed in gaining the rear of the post, as I expected, having been discovered by a vedette when several hundred yards off, who fired and gave the alarm, which compelled me to charge them in front. In the terror and confusion occasioned by our terrific yells, the most of them saved themselves by taking refuge in a dense thicket, where the darkness effectually concealed them. There was also a reserve of 100 men half a mile off who might come to the rescue. Already encumbered with prisoners and horses, we were in no condition for fighting. I sustained no loss. The enemy made a small show of fight, but quickly yielded. They were in log-houses, with the chinking knocked out, and ought to have held it against a greatly superior force, as they all had carbines.
        My men behaved very gallantly, although mostly raw recruits. I had only 27 men with me. I am still receiving additions to my numbers. If you would let me have some of the dismounted men of the First Cavalry, I would undertake to mount them. I desire some written instructions from you with reference to exportation of products within the enemy's lines. I wish the bearer of this to bring back some ammunition, also some large-size envelopes and blank paroles.
        I have failed to mention the fact that the enemy pursued me as far as Middleburg without accomplishing anything.

I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. S. MOSBY.


MARCH 2, 1863
Skirmish near Aldie, Va

NEAR UPPERVILLE,
March 3, 1863.

Maj. Gen. J. E. B. STUART.

        GENERAL: Yesterday a Yankee cavalry force of about 400 men came up to Middleburg. As soon as I heard of it I hastily collected together 17 of my men and started in pursuit, having in the meantime ascertained that they had gone back. At Aldie I overtook their rear squadron, of 59 men, which I charged and routed, capturing 2 captains and 17 men, together with their arms; also 23 horses and accouterments. Two of my men were slightly wounded. I have sent all the prisoners but 2 on to Culpeper Court-House. A wounded captain was paroled.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. S. MOSBY.


MARCH 9, 1863
Affair at Fairfax Court-House, Va

NEAR CULPEPER COURT-HOUSE,
March 11, 1863.

Maj. Gen. J. E. B. STUART.

        GENERAL: I have the honor to report that having accurately ascertained the number and disposition of the troops in Fairfax County, I determined to make the attempt to reach Fairfax Court House, where the general headquarters of that portion of the army were established. Sunday night, the 8th instant, being dark and rainy, was deemed propitious. I proceeded down the Little River pike to within about 3 miles of Chantilly; then, turning to the right, crossed the road leading from Centreville to Frying Pan, about halt way between Centreville and the Little River pike; then proceeding on toward Fairfax Court House, came upon the Warrenton pike at a point about 4 miles distant from Fairfax Court-House. I then kept the pike until I got within about a mile and a half of the Court-House, when I turned to the right in order to avoid some infantry camps, and came into Fairfax Court-House from the direction of the railroad station. The few guards stationed around the town, unsuspecting danger, were easily captured. I then sent one party to the headquarters of Colonel Wyndham (acting brigadier), another party to Colonel Johnstone's, while with 6 men I went myself to Brigadier General Stoughton's. Unfortunately Colonel Wyndham had gone down to Washington, but his assistant adjutant-general and aide-de-camp were made prisoners. Colonel Johnstone, having received notice of our presence, made his escape. General Stoughton I found in bed asleep, as well as his staff and escort, whom we captured. Afterward, in the darkness and confusion, two officers of his staff made their escape.
        While these things were going on, other detachments of my men were busily engaged in clearing the stables of the fine horses with which they were filled. It was about 2 o'clock when I reached the CourtHouse, and I did not deem it safe to remain there over one hour and a half, as we were 10 miles within the enemy's lines, and it was necessary that we should get out before daylight, the close proximity of the enemy's forces rendering our situation one of great peril, there being three regiments of cavalry camped 1 mile distant, at. Germantown, two infantry regiments within a few hundred yards of the town, one infantry brigade in the vicinity of Fairfax Station, and another infantry brigade, with artillery and cavalry, at Centreville. About 3.30 o'clock, therefore, I left the place, going in the direction of Fairfax Station, in order to deceive the enemy as to my line of retreat should they attempt pursuit; then, wheeling to the right, took the pike to Centreville at a point about a mile and a half from Fairfax Court-House. When I came to within a half mile of Centreville I again turned to the right, passed so close to the fortifications there that the sentinels on the redoubts hailed us, while we could distinctly see the bristling cannon through the embrasures. We passed within a hundred yards of their infantry pickets without molestation, swam Cub Run, and again came into the Warrenton pike at Groveton.
        I have not yet heard whether the enemy pursued. It was my purpose to have reached the Court-House by 12 o'clock, but this was frustrated by our mistaking our road in the darkness, by which we were delayed two hours; but for this occurrence I should have had ample time not only to have made more captives, but also to have destroyed the large amount of quartermaster's, commissary, and sutlers' stores accumulated there. They were stored in the houses of the town, and it was impossible to have burned them without destroying the town.
        The fruits of this expedition are 1 brigadier-general (Stoughton), 2 captains, and 30 men prisoners. We also brought off 58 horses, most of them being very fine, belonging to officers; also a considerable number of arms. We left hundreds of horses in the stables and other places, having no way of bringing them off, as I was already encumbered with more prisoners and horses than I had men. I had 29 men with me; sustained no loss. They all behaved admirably.


I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. S. MOSBY,
Captain, Commanding.


MARCH 17, 1863
Affair at Herndon Station, Va.

NEAR PIEDMONT, VA.,
March 18, 1863.

        GENERAL: Yesterday I attacked a body of the enemy's cavalry at Herndon Station, in Fairfax County, completely routing them I brought off 25 prisoners--a major (Wells), 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, and 21 men, all their arms, 26 horses and equipments. One, severely wounded, was left on the ground. The enemy pursued me in force, but were checked by my rear guard, and gave up the pursuit. My loss was nothing.
        The enemy have moved their cavalry from Germantown back of Fairfax Court-House, on the Alexandria pike.
        In this affair my officers and men behaved splendidly.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. S. MOSBY,
Captain, Commanding.


MARCH 23, 1863
Skirmish on the Little River Turnpike, near Chantilly, Va.

FAUQUIER COUNTY, VA.
April 7, 1863.

Maj. Gen. J. E. B. STUART.

        GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the cavalry under my command since rendering my last report:
        On Monday, March 16, I proceeded down the Little River pike to capture two outposts of the enemy, each numbering 60 or 70 men. I did not succeed in gaining their rear, as I expected, and only captured 4 or 5 vedettes. It being late in the evening, and our horses very much jaded, I concluded to return. I had gone not over a mile back when we saw a large body of the enemy's cavalry, which, according to their own reports, numbered 200 men, rapidly pursuing. I reigned a retreat, desiring to draw them off from their camps. At a point where the enemy had blockaded the road with fallen trees I formed to receive them, for with my knowledge of the Yankee character I knew they would imagine themselves fallen into an ambuscade. When they had come within 100 yards of me, I ordered a charge, to which my men responded with a vim that swept everything before them. The Yankees broke when we got within 75 yards of them, and it was more of a chase than a fight for 4 or 5 miles. We killed 5, wounded a considerable number, and brought off 1 lieutenant and 35 men prisoners. I did not have over 50 men with me, some having gone back with the prisoners and others having gone on ahead when we started back, not anticipating any pursuit.
        On Monday, March 31, I went down in the direction of Dranesville to capture several strong outposts in the vicinity of that place. On reaching there, I discovered that they had fallen back about 10 miles down the Alexandria pike. I then returned 6 or 8 miles back, and stopped about 10 o'clock at night at a point about 2 miles from the pike.
        Early the next morning one of my men, whom I had left over on the Leesburg pike, came dashing in, and announced the rapid approach of the enemy. But he had scarcely given us the information when the enemy appeared a few hundred yards off, coming up at a gallop. At this time our horses were eating; all had their bridles off, and some even their saddles; they were all tied in a barn-yard. Throwing open the gate, I ordered a counter-charge, to which the men promptly responded. The Yankees, never dreaming of our assuming the offensive, terrified at the yells of the men as they dashed on, broke and fled in every direction. We drove them in confusion 7 or 8 miles down the pike. We left on the field 9 of them killed, among them a captain and lieutenant, and about 15 too badly wounded for removal; in this lot 2 lieutenants. We brought off 82 prisoners, many of these also wounded.
        I have since visited the scene of the fight. The enemy sent up a flag of truce for their dead and wounded, but many of them being severely wounded, they established a hospital on the ground. The surgeon who attended them informs me that a great number of those who escaped were wounded.
        The force of the enemy was six companies of the First Vermont Cavalry, one of their oldest and best regiments, and the prisoners inform me that they had every available man with them. There were certainly not less than 200; the prisoners say it was more than that. I had about 65 men in this affair. In addition to the prisoners, we took all their arms and about 100 horses and equipments.
        Privates Hart, Hurst, Keyes, and Davis were wounded. The latter has since died. Both on this and several other occasions they have borne themselves with conspicuous gallantry. In addition to those mentioned above, I desire to place on record the names of several others, whose promptitude and boldness in closing in with the enemy contributed much to the success of the fight; they are Lieutenant William H. Chapman (late of Dixie Artillery), Sergeant Hunter, and Privates Wellington and Harry Hatcher, Turner, Wild, Sowers, Ames, and Sibert. There are many others, I have no doubt, deserving of honorable mention, but the above are only those who came under my personal observation.
        I confess that on this occasion I had not taken sufficient precautions to guard against surprise. It was 10 [o'clock] at night when I reached the place where the fight came off on the succeeding day. We had ridden through snow and mud upward of 40 miles, and both men and horses were nearly broken down; besides, the enemy had fallen back a distance of about 18 miles.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. S. MOSBY,
Captain, commanding.


JUNE 10, 1863
Skirmish at Seneca Mills, Md.

MIDDLEBURG, VA.,
June 10, 1863.

Maj. Gen. J. E. B. STUART.

        General: I left our point of rendezvous yesterday for the purpose of making a night attack on two cavalry companies of the enemy on the Maryland shore.
        Had I succeeded in crossing the river at night, as I expected, I would have had no difficulty in capturing them; but, unfortunately, my guide mistook the road, and, instead of crossing by 11 o clock at night, I did not get over until after daylight.
        The enemy (between 80 and 100 strong), being apprised of my movement, were formed to receive me.
        A charge was ordered, the shock of which the enemy could not resist, and they were driven several miles in confusion, with the loss of 7 killed, a considerable number wounded, and 17 prisoners; also 20 odd horses or more. We burned their tents, stores, camp equipage, &c.
        I regret the loss of 2 brave officers killed--Captain Brawner and Lieutenant [George H.] Whitescarver. I also had 1 man wounded.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. S. MOSBY,
Major of Partisan Rangers.

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