PoP's<br><b> War Crimes Against Southern Soldiers & Civilians</b>: Blaming the Soldiers


Blaming the Soldiers

Many have written about partisan hero, Col. John S. Mosby who operated in northern Virginia (including the Shenandoah Valley), and made him the villain responsible for Sheridan's depredation in the Shenandoah and elsewhere. They point out that the citizens in the Valley and in the counties which became known as "Mosby's Confederacy" (Loudoun, Fauquier and parts of Fairfax and Prince William) suffered the burning of their homes and outbuildings because they sheltered Mosby and his command. Indeed, after Lee's surrender, in hopes of destroying the 43rd Battalion with it's thousand or so men still at large, the Yankees prepared to send 40,000 troops through "Mosby's Confederacy" and burn it to the ground. Only the assassination of Abraham Lincoln put those plans on hold.

Mosby received a letter from Gen. Hancock demanding that he surrender his battalion (for parole) and himself (to be hanged as an outlaw), but he wrote back that he had only learned of Lee's surrender from Northern sources and as his battalion was in no immanent danger, he requested a truce for some 10 days in order to find out where matters stood. On the way to meeting with Hancock with Mosby's request, the three Rangers who took the letter learned of Lincoln's death. They also learned from Hancock himself of the plan to destroy the civilian population if Mosby remained at large.

The truce, however, was granted and Mosby met twice with Union officers. He refused to surrender his command stating that he would join Joe Johnston if his army was still in the field but that he had given his permission for any of his men to go in and accept a parole if so desired. As for himself, he asked for nothing believing that everything he did was in accordance with the rules and custom of war even if he had been denied parole and declared an outlaw. At the second meeting, the Yankees refused to extend the truce and Mosby was told that the destruction of the civilians in "his" Confederacy would commence if he did not surrender. To prevent this outrage, Mosby returned to Salem and disbanded his command. Immediately thereafter, he took a few men and went south to see if he could join Johnston only to learn that he, too, had surrendered. At that point, John Mosby dismissed the rest of those with him and went into a several month period of outlawry which ended in late June, 1865 when he was offered a parole by Ulysses S. Grant.

But the idea that civilians were robbed, murdered, assaulted and burned out because of the presence of Mosby and other partisan groups is a lie. If John Mosby had been fighting in Arkansas, the same fate would have obtained to the unfortunate people of northern Virginia as it did in the rest of the South. It is the same nonsense which saw Confederates - soldiers and civilians - hanged for "murdering" a Yankee soldier! It isn't "murder" if you are at war, but that's not how the Yankees saw it.
PoP Aaron
The Southern American


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In 1866, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton reported that according to the Commisary General of Prisoners,
over 26,000 Confederate POWs died in prisons and hospitals.