No single battalion was more feared during the Civil War than the 43rd Battalion of Virginia Cavalry. As one contemporary said, "They had...all the glamour of Robin Hood...all the courage and bravery of the ancient crusaders." Better known as Mosby's Rangers, they were an elite guerilla unit that operated with stunning success in northern Virginia and Maryland from 1863 to the last days of the war.
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....