Stuart-Mosby Civil War Cavalry Museum
The Stuart-Mosby Civil War Cavalry Museum, located in the historic district of Centreville, Virginia, is a local museum dedicated to Confederate raiders General James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart and Colonel John Singleton Mosby. During the Civil War, Mosby’s Rangers turned most of northern Virginia into what is known as “Mosby’s Confederacy.” Stuart and Mosby were legendary figures in the Confederacy during the Civil War. Their stories illuminate not only the history of the Confederate cause, but also the sophisticated tactics the rebel army used during the war. The Stuart-Mosby Civil War Cavalry Museum features artifacts and educational exhibits that tell the stories of these two men as well as the role of Virginia in the Civil War. Admission to the museum is free.
Backstory and Context
Major General James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart
Born at “Laurel Hill” in Patrick County, Virginia, Jeb Stuart graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and spent most of the 1850s on the Kansas frontier with the US Army. At the outset of the Civil War, Stuart joined the Confederate Army as a Colonel and quickly gained recognition for his ability and daring, being promoted to Brigadier General later in 1861. A year later, he was promoted again to Major General and commander of the Cavalry Corps for the entire Army of Northern Virginia. During the war, Stuart and his cavalry and "horse artillery" fought in some of the most infamous battles in Virginia, as well as in their own raids and reconnaissance actions. He was mortally wounded at the Yellow Tavern on May 11th, 1864, and died a day later in Richmond.
Colonel John Singleton Mosby, the "Gray Ghost" of the Confederacy
Born in 1833 in Edgemont, Virginia, Mosby was once told he wouldn’t live to be six, but he surpassed the doctor’s warnings and went on to attend the University of Virginia. He settled on studying the law after shooting another student at the University and becoming friends with his prosecutor during his one-year jail term. He practiced law in Bristol, Virginia, until the Civil War started, when he enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army. In February 1862, he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned as a scout under General Jeb Stuart. In January 1863, Mosby was given his own small band of nine men. These raiders operated like pirates behind Union lines, stealing provisions and splitting the bounty; they were derided by Union forces as criminals. In June 1863, Mosby organized his own full unit. Though known officially as Company A of the 43rd Battalion of Virginia Cavalry, it was better known as “Mosby’s Rangers” (and was eventually the size of a full battalion). Mosby and his Rangers' groundbreaking guerrilla warfare tactics were incredibly effective. They destroyed federal supply trains and railroad bridges, captured soldiers and provisions, and forced the Union to keep more troops stationed in the capital region - most likely lengthening the war. Mosby, ultimately promoted to Colonel, survived the war and returned to the law. He was also famous for his post-war friendship with Ulysses S. Grant and efforts to restore the country.
The Stuart-Mosby Civil War Cavalry Museum
The museum is located in a former gas station building and is operated by the Stuart-Mosby Historical Society. It displays artifacts from and information about Civil War cavalry generally and Stuart and Mosby more specifically.
Colonel John Singleton Mosby, Stuart-Mosby Historical Society. January 3rd 2011. Accessed June 28th 2020. http://www.stuart-mosby.com/john-mosby.
Golden, Kathleen. Meet John S. Mosby, "Gray Ghost" of the Confederacy, O Say Can You See: Stories from the Museum (National Museum of American History: Behring Center). December 6th 2013. Accessed June 28th 2020. https://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/2013/12/meet-john-s-mosby-the-gray-ghost-of-the-confederacy.html.
Major General J.E.B. Stuart, Stuart-Mosby Historical Society. January 3rd 2011. Accessed June 28th 2020. http://www.stuart-mosby.com/general-jeb-stuart.
Stuart-Mosby Civil War Cavalry Museum, Stuart-Mosby Historical Society. January 3rd 2011. Accessed June 28th 2020. http://www.stuart-mosby.com/stuart-mosby-cavalry-museum.
Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JohnSMosby%26men.jpg)
Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ColonelJohnSMosbyPortrait.jpg)
Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_S._Mosby_-_Brady-Handy.jpg)
Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:General_%22Jeb%22_Stuart,_Confederate_States_of_America,_1863,_1961_-_1986_-_NARA_-_518135.tif)
Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JEBStuart.jpg)