Mosby's Rangers

 The 43rd Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, also known as Mosby's RangersMosby's Raiders or Mosby's Men, was a battalion of partisan cavalry in the Confederate army during the American Civil War. Noted for their lightning strikes onUnion targets and their ability to consistently elude pursuit, the Rangers disrupted Federal communications and supply lines.

The 43rd Battalion was formed on June 10, 1863, at Rector's Cross Roads, near Rectortown, Virginia, when John S. Mosby formed Company A of the battalion. Mosby was acting under the authority of General Robert E. Lee, who had granted him permission to raise a company in January 1863 under the Partisan Ranger Act of 1862, in which the Confederate Congress authorized the formation of such units. By the summer of 1864, Mosby's battalion had grown to six cavalry companies and one artillery company, comprising about 400 men. After February 1864, the Confederate Congress revoked the authority of all partisan units, except for two, one of which was the 43rd Battalion. The battalion never formally surrendered, but was disbanded on April 21, 1865, after General Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House, but not before attempting to negotiate surrender with Major General Winfield S. Hancock in Winchester, Virginia.

The rangers had some of the best horses in a region known for raising great horses.  Speed, surprise and shock were the true secret of the success of Mosby's command. A small, intrepid mounted force could charge a much larger one, and with the terrorizing advantage of surprise, rout them. If attacked themselves, the guerrillas would sometimes ride away a brief distance and then round on their attackers and charge back into them, panicking and scattering them in the melee. Or they would simply "skeedaddle", that is scatter to the four winds, and individually make their way back to the farms in Loudon and Fauquier counties where they were welcomed, hidden, and succored. Mosby would then send word telling chosen men when and where to assemble for the next raid.  Mosby's men each carried two .44 Colt army revolvers worn in belt holsters, and some carried an extra pair stuck in their boot tops.  Mosby and his men had a "poor opinion" of cavalry sabres, and did not use them.

According to the memoirs of former partisans, Mosby welcomed volunteers attracted by the glory of the fight and the allure of booty, and had an eye for intelligence, valor, resourcefulness, but "what Mosby liked best was youth.  He agreed with Napoleon, that boys make the best soldiers... mere boys, unmarried and hence without fear or anxiety for wives or children.

"My purpose was to weaken the armies invading Virginia, by harassing their rear... to destroy supply trains, to break up the means of conveying intelligence, and thus isolating an army from its base, as well as its different corps from each other, to confuse their plans by capturing their dispatches, are the objects of partisan war. It is just as legitimate to fight an enemy in the rear as in the front. The only difference is in the danger ..."

— Col. John S. Mosby, CSA