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James W. (James William) Head.

History and comprehensive description of Loudoun County, Virginia [electronic resource] online

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knows how sweet sleep is but a soldier. I wanted to use and consume
the Northern cavalry in hard work. I have often thought that their
fierce hostility to me was more on account of the sleep I made them
lose than the number we killed and captured."

*'My purpose was to weaken the armies invading Virginia, by
harassing their rear. As a line is only as strong as its weakest point, it
was necessary for it to be stronger than I was at every point, in order to
resist my attacks. . . . It is just as legitimate to fight an enemy in
the rear as in front. The only difference is in the danger. Now, to
prevent all these things from being done, heavy detachments must be
made to guard against them."

"The line that connects an army with its base of supplies is the heel
of Achilles — its most vital and vulnerable point. It is a great achieve-
ment in war to compel an enemy to make heavy detachments to
guard it. . . ."

"Having no fixed lines to guard or defined territory to hold, it was
always my policy to elude the enemy when they came in search of me,
and carry the war into their own camps."

"These operations were erratic simply in not being in accordance
with the fixed rules taught by the academies; but in all that I did there
was a unity of purpose, and a plan which my commanding general
understood and approved. ' '

". . . while I conducted war on the theory that the end of it is
to secure peace by the destruction of the resources of the enemy, with
as small a loss as possible to my own side, there is no authenticated act
of mine which is not perfectly in accordance with approved military
usage. Grant, Sherman, and Stonewall Jackson had about the same
ideas that I had on the subject of war."

Though all his engagements were reported to Stuart till the
death of that great cavalry leader, in May, 1864, and after-
ward to General Robert E. I^ee, Mosby was allowed the free-



LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA. 157

dom of untrammeled action in the sense that the operations of
his command were left to his individual discretion.

The following militant verses were published in a Southern
magazine, soon after the war, and won immediate popularity:

Mosby at Hamilton.
By Madison Cawein.

Down Loudoun lanes, with swinging reins

And clash of spur and sabre,
And bugling of battle horn.
Six score and eight we rode at morn
Six score and eight of Southern born,

All tried in love and labor. ,

Full in the sun at Hamilton,

We met the South 's invaders;
Who, over fifteen hundred strong,
'Mid blazing homes had marched along
All night, with Northern shout and song,

To crush the rebel raiders.

Down Loudoun lanes with streaming manes

We spurred in wild March weather;
And all along our war-scarred way
The graves of Southern heroes lay,
Our guide posts to revenge that day.

As we rode grim together.

Old tales still tell some miracle

Of saints in holy writing —
But who shall say why hundreds fled
Before the few chat Mosby led.
Unless the noblest of our dead

Charged with us then when fighting.

While Yankee cheers still stunned our ears,

Of troops at Harper's Ferry,
While Sheridan led on his Huns,
And Richmond rocked to roaring guns.
We felt the South still had some sons,

She would not scorn to bury.



158 HISTORY OF

Battle of Leesburg^ {"'BalVs Bluf f)-

"After the first battle of Manassas, Col. Bppa Hunton had
been ordered to reoccupy Leesburg with his regiment, the
Eighth Virginia. A little later Col. William Barksdale's
Thirteenth Mississippi, CoL W. S. Featherstone's Seventeenth
Mississippi, a battery, and four companies of cavalry under
Col. W. H. Jenifer were sent to the same place, and these
were organized into the Seventh Brigade of the Confederate
Army of the Potomac, which, early in August, was put under
command of Brig. -Gen. Nathan G. Evans, who had been
promoted for his brave conduct July 21st. General Beaure-
gard's object in locating this strong force at Leesburg was to
guard his left flank from a Federal attack by way of several
good roads that led from the fords of the upper Potomac, near
that town, directly to his Bull Run encampment; to watch
the large Federal force that McClellan had located on the
opposite side of the Potomac; to keep up a connection with
the Confederate force in the lower Shenandoah Valley by a
good turnpike that led from Ivcesburg across the Blue Ridge,
and to save for his army the abundant supplies of the fertile
County of I


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Online LibraryJames W. (James William) HeadHistory and comprehensive description of Loudoun County, Virginia [electronic resource] → online text (page 13 of 15)