Fairfax: Mosby was wounded in the side and thigh in a skirmish at Gooding’s Tavern near Fairfax on August 24, 1863. He was out of action for a month.

Warrenton: Some considered Mosby’s post-war support of President Grant and the Republican Party a betrayal of the Confederate cause. Receiving death threats and after being shot at near the Warrenton train depot in 1877, he moved his family from Warrenton to Washington, DC.

Fairfax: Following General J. E. B. Stuart’s Christmas 1862 cavalry raid on Burke Station near Fairfax, Stuart detached Mosby with nine men for partisan operations harassing Union forces and supply lines in Northern Virginia. Mosby’s command grew to number about 400 men, and perhaps 2,000 or so served under him by the end of the war.

Fairfax: About midnight on March 9, 1863, Mosby with 29 men slipped past Union pickets into Fairfax. Without firing a shot, they captured the local commander, Brigadier General Edward Stoughton, 30 other prisoners and 58 horses. There was no pursuit as they marched their captives first to Warrenton, then to Brigadier General Fitzhugh Lee’s headquarters at Brandy Station, and turned over custody.

Fairfax: On August 1, 1863, Mosby captured a number of sutler wagons in Fairfax and proceeded to drive them to his home base in the countryside. Intercepted by the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry, the wagons were abandoned and Mosby’s men escaped. Among the captured supplies was a wagon containing ice cream, inspiring the name The Ice Cream Raid.

Warrenton: Mosby, his wife Pauline, and their then four children, in the summer of 1865, moved to Warrenton where he resumed his law practice.

Warrenton: On June 26, 1920, four years after he died, a monument to Mosby was erected in Warrenton on the Fauquier County Courthouse grounds. Fairfax has a monument to John Quincy Marr of Warrenton, which stands in front of the Historic Fairfax Courthouse. The first Confederate officer killed in the Civil War, Marr was found dead near the courthouse the morning after a June 1, 1861 nighttime Union cavalry raid. Marr was the leader of the 17th Va. Infantry, Co. K (Warrenton Rifles)

Warrenton: Mosby is buried in the Warrenton Cemetery with Pauline and their children.

Trick question: It was Buckland, 10 miles northeast of Warrenton on the Fauquier and Alexandria Turnpike (today’s US-29/15). Mosby’s challenged opponent, Alexander Payne, chose the site - he a former Confederate commander of Warrenton’s noted Black Horse Cavalry. The duel, which was illegal in Virginia, did not occur. Authorities in Washington, DC restrained Mosby, whose temper soon cooled. Neither man won the election for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District. Buckland resident, school teacher turned lawyer, and former Confederate brigadier general Eppa Hunton won, and served many years in the US Congress.


John Singleton Mosby rose from private to colonel in command of the 44th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry in the Civil War. The unit became known as Mosby’s Raiders and he as the renowned Gray Ghost, for their quick-strike guerrilla tactics, often against superior forces. Tactics Mosby developed continue to be taught today at the U.S. Army War College.

Fairfax and Warrenton, 30 miles apart in Northern Virginia, are the county seats of Fairfax and Fauquier counties respectively. Both were occupied by Union and Confederate forces in the Civil War as the armies struggled back and forth. Fairfax changed hands 5 times, Warrenton 67 times. Both reserve a central place for Mosby in their histories.


1. Mosby was shot at many times and severely wounded twice. In which town was he wounded, Fairfax or Warrenton?

2. Not all shots fired at Mosby were in wartime. In which town was an attempt made on his life in 1877, Fairfax or Warrenton?

3. Where did Mosby’s independent partisan command begin, Fairfax or Warrenton?

4. In perhaps Mosby’s most daring action he captured a Union general in his bed. Was this in Fairfax or Warrenton?

5. Mosby’s Ice Cream Raid captured a trove of sweets and other supplies destined for Union troops in which town, Fairfax or Warrenton?

6. Where did Mosby settle immediately after the war, in Fairfax or Warrenton?

7. Which town erected a monument to Mosby on its county courthouse grounds, Fairfax or Warrenton?

8. Mosby died on May 30, 1916 in Washington, DC. Where is he buried, Fairfax or Warrenton?

9 (extra credit). In an 1873 election campaign, Mosby countered an opponent’s charge with a challenge to meet him in a duel. Which town was chosen as the site for the duel?