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Mosby's Rangers Paperback – September 15, 1991


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Mosby's Rangers + Gray Ghost: The Life of Col. John Singleton Mosby + Mosby's Raids in Civil War Northern Virginia (Civil War Sesquicentennial)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (September 15, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671747452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671747459
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Confederate cavalry leader John Mosby is among the most romantic characters in the Civil War, and with good reason. From 1863 to the end of the conflict, Mosby's raiders were a constant headache for the North. Although more than 1,000 men served under Mosby, they usually acted in small detachments of several dozen, sacking supply depots, attacking railroads, and harassing federal troops. They seemed to move behind enemy lines almost at will, and in what is perhaps their most celebrated exploit, a handful of them led by Mosby himself rode into Fairfax Station, Virginia, in the dead of the night and kidnapped a Union general. When they were not on missions, Mosby's riders simply melted into the countryside, finding safe haven in the homes of sympathetic civilians. Theirs was a guerilla war. The frustrated North eventually assigned a special contingent of cavalry to combat them, and a price was ultimately put on Mosby's head. Nobody reined him in, however, and his command enjoyed the proud distinction of never having formally surrendered to the bluecoats. Shortly after Appomattox, Mosby simply disbanded his unit. This is another fine book from the prolific Civil War historian Jeffry D. Wert, who hardly could have picked a more intriguing subject. --John J. Miller

From Publishers Weekly

In 1863, John Singleton Mosby and his band of irregulars, recruited in Union-occupied northern Virginia, began raiding Yankee outposts, wagon trains, troop detachments, headquarters and railroad lines. Their most celebrated exploit: capturing a Union general behind enemy lines without firing a shot. After each sortie, the Confederate guerrillas would hide in "safe houses" provided by the citizens of two northern Virginia counties. Mosby was captured once (and exchanged) and wounded several times, but continued to plan and personally lead guerrilla raids throughout the final two years of the war. Wert ( From Winchester to Cedar Creek ) has written the first comprehensive study of Mosby's Rangers and offers new material about its organization, membership and tactics, plus biographical information about Mosby himself. He reveals that the partisan band rarely exceeded 200, that a large percentage of them were teenagers, that the civilians who sheltered them paid a high price in Yankee retribution. Well-researched, objectively written, this is a first-class history. Photos. First serial to Civil War Times Illustrated; History Book Club main selection.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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I read this book in the 1990s, and would gladly read it again.
Amazon Customer
As long as Union soldiers were fighting against him, Mosby - and his men - did not hesitate to kill - and they did it very well indeed!
V. Protopapas
Jeffry Wert's book on John Mosby's adventures reads like a great novel.
Dan McCown

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jared Orth on May 17, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are interested in Mosby's Rangers, this is a great book. This is NOT a biography of John S. Mosby, though. It is a biography of the unit, with special attention towards the leader. The depth with which Wert has researched the individuals in the group provides a clear picture into the inner workings of the Rangers, and the civilians living within Mosby's Confederacy. The book was gripping, especially for someone who grew up and lives on the edge of Mosby's Confederacy.
I would warn others, though, that the lack of maps (Only one at the beginning of the book that charts all of Northern Virginia), can lead to confusion about the whereabouts of the Rangers, their adversaries, or allies, as well as the general positions of the people when in conflict. This is a let down to me since Wert included many maps in "Longstreet" to help transplant people to the Tennessee and Virginia battlefields, but I had to rely on my own knowledge of the area for Mosby's Rangers.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By V. Protopapas on October 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Jeffry Wert came to his subject about as objectively as is possible in such matters. He was not afraid to point out Mosby's weaknesses - and he had them - but neither was he afraid to trumpet his strengths which were considerably more numerous and important than his weaknesses.

John Mosby - in Wert's own words - was the 'most lethal man' about whom the author had ever written and yet, Mosby's 'lethality' is not that of other 'notorious guerrillas and bushwhackers' who fought for the Confederacy, men like Quantrill, Anderson and Ferguson. Rather, his was constrained, premeditated and intellectual in nature; Mosby was no bestial monster who killed in the red rage of sectional hatred. As long as Union soldiers were fighting against him, Mosby - and his men - did not hesitate to kill - and they did it very well indeed! However, once a soldier or a command had surrendered, he immediately embraced that behavior considered honorable in wartime - so much so, in fact,that some of his best friends after the war were officers whom he had captured. Only in two instances did Mosby fight 'under the black flag' - that is, with no prisoners being taken. The first involved the understanding by Mosby's command that they were to kill all troops involved in the destruction of civilian property. The second occurred when Mosby was forced (very much against his will) to engage in retaliation for the hanging and shooting of six of his men at Front Royal and the later hanging of another of his men who had been captured. Mosby believed that unless he responded in kind ('measure for measure' as he himself said) his men would be treated as outlaws and not soldiers when captured.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By General Pete VINE VOICE on January 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I love books about Mosby especially since I grew up in Prince William County Virginia, this is and was an area that in the civil war was known as Mosby's Confederacy because of the help the commander of the guerrilla unit had from the locals and the fact that one ths one unit almost single-handedly kept this part of Virginia in Confederate hands throughout the war.
Two points
One-More accurately it is a story about the UNIT with an emphasize on Mosby and while there are some elements that could be considered part of a biography on John Mosby that's not the whole purpose of this book. So if you are looking for a biography there are probably better books you could pick.
Two-While I loved the book I can certainly see where some others may have a problem, it suffers from a big problem in some historical accounts of all times, namely it is dry and at times it rambles. That's fine by me I like blow-by-blow accounts of operations and battles but someone who is looking for something different might want to try something else.
Overall-This book is sort of a like it or hate it book. I happen to like it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 1997
Format: Paperback
Jeffry Wert has committed to words an excellent tale of the South's most successful guerilla leader and his troops. Whether you are a serious student of the Civil War or someone reading your first historical writing, this book will be most enjoyable. The author has skillfully woven personal accounts with narrative so that the military operations and tactical moves of Mosby and his Rangers come alive in the reader's mind. This book will put you in the saddle with the 43rd Battalion of the Virginia Calvary and let you ride along on their guerilla raids and attacks. When you have finished with this superb account of Mosby and his command, you will fully understand why Grant ordered that any Ranger who was captured should be immediately executed without benefit of a trial. For those looking for studious detail, Wert's research is extensive, using memiors, newspaper accounts, and other resources in his well-developed bibliography and notes. Mr. Wert also includes a roster of all soldiers
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Pershing (pridenprej@aol.com) on June 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
I found Mosby's Rangers to be a very interesting book and it is now one of my all-time favorites, Wersh gave very a detailed history of Mosby's life and his actions as a guerilla raider in the Civil War.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Warren on July 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book for those who enjoy immersing themselves in the life and mindset of Civil War times. It places you in the midst of the Rangers' forays, the hardships they endured, and their daring and determination. So much of what was central to their lives--for example, their reliance on and mastery of horsemanship--has disappeared forever. A personal connection led me to this book, after I learned that my great-great-grandfather fought with Mosby's Rangers--and I was thrilled to find his name listed in the appendix. But anyone who is interested in gaining a whole understanding of the Civil War should read this book, as it looks into a kind of fighting other than the movements of mass armies, that nevertheless played a vital role in the overall conflict.
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