Page:Wearing of the Gray.djvu/368

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III.


MOSBY'S RAID INTO FAIRFAX.




I.


Among the daring partisans of the war, few have rendered such valuable services to the cause as Captain John S. Mosby.

His exploits would furnish material for a volume which would resemble rather a romance than a true statement of actual occurrences. He has been the chief actor in so many raids, encounters, and adventures, that his memoirs, if he committed them to paper, would be regarded as the efforts of fancy. Fortunately, there is very little fancy about "official reports," which deal with naked facts and figures, and those reports of these occurrences are on record.

It is only necessary to glance at the Captain to understand that he was cut out for a partisan leader. His figure is slight, muscular, supple, and vigorous; his eye is keen, penetrating, ever on the alert; he wears his sabre and pistol with the air of a man who sleeps with them buckled around his waist; and handles them habitually, almost unconsciously. The Captain is a determined man in a charge, dangerous on a scout, hard to outwit, and prone to "turn up" suddenly where he is least expected, and bang away with pistol and carbine.

His knowledge of the enemy's character is extensive and profound; his devices to deceive them are rarely unsuccessful. Take in proof of this a trifling occurrence some time since, in the neighbourhood of Warrenton. The enemy's cavalry, in strong force, occupied a position in front of the command which Captain