of the war, Mosby
's raiders were a constant menace to the Union
troops, and the most constant vigilance was necessary to meet successfully his skilfully planned stratagems.
On March 8, 1863, Mosby
performed one of the most daring and effective feats of his career.
In this case, as well as in others, it was the supreme boldness of the act which alone made it possible.
Even with their knowledge of Mosby
's methods, the Union
officers could hardly conceive of such an apparently rash and unheard — of exploit being successful.
With a small band of carefully picked men, Mosby
rode safely through the Union
picket-lines, where the sentries believed the party to be Federal scouts returning from a raid.
Upon reaching the vicinity of Fairfax Court House, Mosby
entered the house used as headquarters by General Edwin H. Stoughton
, woke the general, and demanded his surrender.
Believing that the town had surrendered, the Union
leader made no resistance.
Meanwhile, each trooper in Mosby
's little command had quietly secured several prisoners.
was forced to mount a horse, and with their prisoners Mosby
and his cavalcade galloped safely back to their lines.
It was with similar strokes, original in conception and daring in execution, that Mosby
kept thousands of Federal cavalry and infantry away from much-needed service at the front.
After he became well established as a partisan ranger, his men were never organized as a tactical fighting body, and never had, as with other troops, an established camp.
Through his trusty lieutenants, the call would be sent out for a designated number of men “for Mosby
This was the most definite information as to their mission that these volunteers ever received.
In fact, they always moved out with sealed orders, but at the appointed time and place the rangers would assemble without fail.
wanted them was sufficient.
Many of these men were members of regular cavalry regiments home on furlough, others were farmers who had been duly enlisted in the rangers, and were always subject to call,