Cover image for Gray Ghost : the life of Col. John Singleton Mosby
Gray Ghost : the life of Col. John Singleton Mosby
Ramage, James A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, [1999]

Physical Description:
428 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
General Note:
Map of Mosby's confederacy on end papers.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E467.1.M87 R36 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A biography of Confederate raider John Mosby, who for more than 27 months led daring overnight raids behind Union pickets and created false alarms up and down the Potomac. This book provides an analysis of his impact on the Civil war from the Union viewpoint.

Author Notes

James A. Ramage, Regents Professor of History at Northern Kentucky University

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ramage can reasonably claim to have produced the first full-scale biography of legendary Confederate raider John Singleton Mosby. And a readable, comprehensive portrait of the 80-year life of a gifted, thoroughly combative man it certainly is. Before the war, Mosby shot a fellow student at the University of Virginia. During the war, he was an extraordinarily effective master of guerrilla tactics. Leading comparative handfuls of men, he did far more damage to the Union than the Union did to him. Only regular antiguerrilla measures were effective against him. After the war, Mosby's adherence to the Republican party made him persona non grata in the South, and he had to spend the rest of his career as a diplomat and federal attorney. Ramage has researched thoroughly--including interviewing one of Mosby's surviving grandchildren--and written clearly, making the book accessible to a wide range of readers. Slight pro-Confederate and psychobiographical elements do not seriously weaken this valuable addition to Civil War literature. --Roland Green

Library Journal Review

The extraordinary life of Confederate guerrilla John Singleton Mosby defies belief. Ramage (Northern Kentucky Univ.; Rebel Raider: The Life of General John Hunt Morgan) casts Mosby, whose raiders harassed Union rear columns and supply trains in the Shenandoah Valley, as the stoic icon of the Lost Cause who never hesitated to employ stealth, terror, and pillage against an equally resolute foe. Mosby never had more than 400 irregulars under his command, yet his raids occupied an enemy force many times that number. As an attorney in postwar Virginia, Mosby attempted to unite state conservatives behind Republican presidents Grant and Hayes and was spurned as a turncoat. He then took a number of Republican appointments, including U.S. consul in Hong Kong and assistant attorney in the Justice Department. In his later years, he lectured and wrote about his wartime experiences before passing away in 1916 at 82, fully redeemed on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. Painstaking research, dramatic illustrations, and a useful bibliographic essay add to this absorbing biography. Highly recommended.ÄJohn Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Ramage (Northern Kentucky Univ.), author of Rebel Raider: The Life of John Hunt Morgan (CH, Dec'86), has written what is likely to be the best biography of the Confederate partisan leader John S. Mosby for a long time to come. Based on wide and deep research and informed by the latest scholarship on the Civil War in the eastern theater, this account follows Mosby from his earliest days in central Virginia, to his stormy student days at the University of Virginia, through the Civil War, and on to his postwar career as a political outcast, diplomat, and famous curmudgeon in Washington, DC. Appropriately, 15 of the book's 23 chapters examine Mosby's wartime career; three chapters cover his early life and five his postwar years. Ramage is fair in his assessments and gives the partisan leader more credit for disrupting federal operations than some recent writers have acknowledged. The detailed chapters on Mosby's postwar life are especially useful and add significantly to an understanding of his personality. The book is clearly written and well researched. Endnotes rather than footnotes, good index, photographs, short bibliographic essay. All levels. R. G. Lowe; University of North Texas

Table of Contents

1 Mosby's Weapon of Fearp. 1
2 The Weakling and the Bulliesp. 11
3 "Virginia is my mother."p. 28
4 Scouting behind Enemy Linesp. 36
5 Capturing a Yankee General in Bedp. 58
6 Miskel's Farmp. 77
7 Featherbed Guerrillasp. 96
8 Unguarded Sutler Wagonsp. 105
9 Masquerading as the Enemyp. 120
10 Seddon's Partisansp. 131
11 Mosby's Clones in the Valleyp. 147
12 Th. Night Belonged to Mosbyp. 165
13 Blue Hen's Chickens and Custer's Wolverinesp. 184
14 The Lotteryp. 201
15 Sheridan's Mosby Huntp. 216
16 Sheridan's Burning Raidp. 228
17 Apache Ambuscades, Stockades, and Prisonsp. 243
18 "All that the proud can feel of pain"p. 262
19 Grant's Partisan in Virginiap. 271
20 Hayes's Reformer in Hong Kongp. 285
21 Stuart and Gettysburgp. 300
22 Roosevelt's Land Agent in the Sand Hillsp. 318
23 The Gray Ghost of Television and Filmp. 333
Conclusionp. 344
Notesp. 349
Bibliographic Essayp. 401
Acknowledgmentsp. 407
Indexp. 411