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[180] still others were troopers whose mounts were worn out, and whose principal object was to secure Northern horses. The Union cavalry always claimed that among Mosby's men were a number who performed acts for which they were given short shrift when caught. Of course, the nature of the service performed by these rangers was subversive of discipline, and it is quite possible that many deeds were committed which the leader himself had absolutely nothing to do with and would not have sanctioned. But this is true with all warfare.

Mosby's expeditions often led him far within the Union lines, and the command was often nearly surrounded. On such occasions Mosby would give the word and the detachment would suddenly disintegrate, each trooper making his way back to his own lines through forests and over mountains as best he could. Frequently his men were captured. But Mosby seemed to bear a charmed life, and in spite of rewards for his capture and all manner of plans to entrap him, he continued his operations as a valuable ally to the main Confederate army.

Of course much of his success was due to the fact that he was ever operating in a friendly country. He could always be assured of authentic information, and wherever he went was certain of food, fresh horses, and means of concealment.

In 1864, Mosby was shot during one of his forays, and was left, apparently dying, by the Union troops, who failed to recognize him, in the house where he had been surprised. Learning soon after that the wounded Confederate was the famous leader of Mosby's rangers, the troops hastily returned to capture him or secure his dead body. But in the meantime, Mosby's men had spirited him away, and within a short time he and his men were again raiding Federal trains and outposts.

Until the very end of the war he kept up his indefatigable border warfare, and it was not until after the surrender at Appomattox, that Mosby gathered his men about him for the last time, and telling them that the war was over, pronounced his command disbanded for all time.

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