We all know about John Singleton Mosby, right? Yes indeed – the storied “Gray Ghost” commanded the 43rd Battalion, 1st Virginia Cavalry – aka Mosby’s Raiders. He was known for lightning raids and quick getaways…in other words he drove the Yankees nuts.
Mosby fancied himself a straight shooter (in more ways than one) and after the war had no problem speaking his mind – even on the controversial subject of slavery.
In a 1907 letter to Samuel Chapman, he wrote:
People must be judged by the standard of their own age. If it was right to own slaves as property it was right to fight for it. The South went to war on account of slavery. South Carolina went to war – as she said in her Secession proclamation – because slavery wd. not be secure under Lincoln. South Carolina ought to know what was the cause for her seceding.
Now if that is not straight to the point I do not know what is. And this from a former Confederate! Now the good people of the South (the white ones, anyway) for the most part looked down on this kind of talk. Mosby had some other problems, too. He supported Ulysses S. Grant for President. This audacious move earned him the title “alien” in at least one southern state – as he informed a Charlottesville acquaintance. I am sure he was called much worse.
Anyway – I’ll admit that Mosby was the exception not the rule when it came to former Confederates and their stance on the “slavery as a cause” argument. I just wanted to point out that not all Rebels thought alike.