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Hunting the Gray Ghost, Tour 3: A Different Kind of War

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Transcript of Hunting the Gray Ghost, Tour 3: A Different Kind of War

In tour 2, we'll explore two key aspects of the Mosby story: civilian involvement with the Gray Ghost, and efforts by the federal government to capture the Confederate government-sanctioned partisan Rangers.

Mosby, meanwhile, as the Confederate States Provost-Marshal of Loudoun and Fauquier Counties late in the Civil War, had duties to protect civilians and keep the laws of Virginia and the Southern government in force. Here, you will truly get out on the back roads of Mosby’s Confederacy. The villages and lanes are the quintessential image of Northern Virginia.
in Northern Virginia's Mosby Heritage Area
{a sesquicentennial virtual guide}
Born in Powhatan County, Virginia and raised within view of Jefferson’s Monticello, John Singleton Mosby was the ultimate Virginia citizen-soldier. University of Virginia-trained, he was a small town Virginia lawyer opposed to secession when the War broke out in 1861. But when his state called for her patriotic sons to respond, he enlisted, joining the 1st Virginia Cavalry.

He showed extra-ordinary ability as a cavalry scout. At the end of 1862 when Mosby was detached from General J.E.B. Stuart’s headquarters to operate behind enemy lines, he was a 29-year-old lieutenant raised on stories of Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox” of the American Revolution. Stuart’s chief scout, he was given the chance of a lifetime, the chance to prove a pet theory formed through years of studying military history, such as Napoleon’s Maxims. He believed that a minimal number of men staying at safe houses over a large rural area could launch surprise cavalry attacks by day or night when a signal for a rendezvous was given--with devastating impact. Attacks on outposts of the Union cavalry screen around Washington, guard stations, U.S. Military Railroad junctions, depots, trains, and supply wagon trains could not only weaken the morale of the enemy invader—fear is a powerful weapon--but tie up thousands of his troops much needed for operations against the main Confederate forces.

Mosby’s operations over 28 months proved he was right. He became known as “the Gray Ghost” by fearful federal forces, his raids became the stuff of legend, and nearly 14,000 Union troops were tied up by his operations. Some 1,911 men joined Mosby’s Rangers. In Mosby’s Confederacy, he was the law. After the War, stories of Colonel Mosby and his Rangers’ exploits were balm to a defeated South.

Mosby moved on after the Civil War, returning to the practice of law, with his office at No. 1 Wall Street, Warrenton. There he lived first outside of town at a house known as “Road Island” then moved in to town to “Brentmoor” at 173 Main Street. Brentmoor sits next to the Warrenton-Fauquier Visitor Center and can be viewed nicely from the outside. There are hopes it may yet be open to the public.
Mosby befriended Union General Ulysses S. Grant after the Civil War, and grew close to Grant when he was President. He became an active supporter of Grant when he ran for re-election in 1872, an unpopular thing to do in postwar Virginia, where Republicans were blamed for the “War of Northern Aggression,” Reconstruction, corruption, and, of course, being anti-Southern white. When someone shot at him one day in Warrenton because he had become a Republican, Mosby decided it was time to leave Virginia for his safety and that of his children. He took an appointment from President Hayes as U.S. Consul to Hong Kong, serving from 1879-1885. Later, he was an attorney for the Southern Pacific Railroad in San Francisco, working for Leland Stanford until 1901. After that, he worked again in federal service for both the Interior and Justice Departments, being forced to retire in 1910. In his last years, he visited the sites of his many exploits in the new-fangled motorcar (sometimes driven by Henry C. Stuart, J.E.B. Stuart’s nephew and Governor of Virginia 1914-18), starred in a movie about himself, and was generally his irascible, maverick old self. He died on Memorial Day 1916 in Washington, and after a funeral attended by 3000, was buried with his wife and children at Warrenton, Virginia. His grave is the last stop on Tour four.

In retrospect, we certainly do know this of Mosby: a regular Confederate colonel by the end of the Civil War, he was certainly no horse thief but a master of legalized guerilla tactics. Mosby’s understanding of cavalry, of reconnaissance and its value, and of the psychological aspects of war are among the most extraordinary ever to be seen in American military history. Himself inspired by the American Revolution’s “Swamp Fox”—Francis Marion—Mosby went on to be the inspiration for the Second World War’s General George S. Patton. In California, Mosby used to visit Patton’s family and take young Georgie down to the beach below the house to re-enact some of his exploits beside the Pacific. Today, he still inspires Army Rangers with his “outside the box” thinking.
Gray Ghost
Current Status:
Conserved, Park
Before we get started,
you really
Tour 3:
Created in 1995, this 1600-square-mile heritage area encompasses parts of the Virginia counties of Loudoun, Fauquier, Prince William, Clarke, and Warren. John Singleton Mosby was chosen as the figurehead of the heritage area due to the recognition of “Mosby’s Confederacy” nationwide in television, documentaries, books and magazine articles, and his importance to Civil War and post-Civil War American history. Here the story of “the Gray Ghost” played out.

Yet the Mosby Heritage Area encompasses more than just the story of Mosby. With numerous Civil War battlefields, including First and Second Manassas, Ball’s Bluff, Philomont and Unison, Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville, Bristoe Station, the Buckland Races, and Auburn, it is a wonderful place to understand the cost of Civil War. Here was the slave belt terrified before the war by John Brown’s nearby Harpers Ferry Raid of 1859. Here African-Americans toiled in slavery, escaped to fight in the Civil War, and built new schools, churches, and communities afterwards. Here Quakers quietly resisted slavery and supported the wartime Union. Still standing are some of Virginia’s finest historic homes that define the very image of Virginia. The Mosby Heritage Area features heart-catching “lay of the land”, indigenous architecture, handsome farms, distinctive speech, historical villages and small towns, miles of small country roads, the Shenandoah River and the world-famous gentle Blue Ridge and its misty foothills. These provide the backdrop to the Mosby Heritage Area’s distinction as “hallowed ground” for the many who fought and died here in the crucible of Civil War. The Mosby Heritage Area Association promotes and supports the preservation of the historic, cultural, and scenic resources of the Mosby Heritage Area. Our heritage outreach education program is crucial to this mission.

Visit us at www.mosbyheritagearea.org.
Welcome to the
Mosby Heritage Area
photo from the National Archives collection
Painting: "Guerilla Warfare" by Albert Bierstadt
One hundred and fifty years ago on the winding back roads in Northern Virginia’s Mosby Heritage Area, America’s ultimate cat and mouse game was acted out during the last two years of the Civil War.

Determined to defend their beloved Virginia from federal invasion, John Singleton Mosby and his high-spirited militarily-talented band of Rangers waged psychological warfare on Union troops assigned to defend Washington and control the northern Shenandoah Valley. In the shadow of the Blue Ridge, legends were created both by the special operations of Mosby’s Rangers and by their gallant federal pursuers.

Mosby came to be remembered as “the Gray Ghost”—the man impossible to capture, but most likely to appear when least expected. Today, the region Mosby dominated is largely intact and may be the best preserved antebellum landscape left in America. Here you can hunt “the Gray Ghost” in the places that defined his lair.

In Tour 3, A Different Kind of War, you'll explore the brutal change in the nature of War in northern Virginia as federal forces lost patience with Mosby’s guerilla operation and began to take extreme measures. These were returned by Mosby’s command, “measure for measure.” This tour is not for the faint of heart. Tour 3 is one of two options that might be taken after Tour B, beginning in Delaplane in 1864. Also look ahead to Tour D. You can also consider Tour 5, which begins back at Rector's Crossroads, Atoka, by continuing north on Delaplane Grade Road to Upperville, then turning right (east) on Route 50 and heading four miles to Atoka.
Stop 1:
Piedmont Station,
now Delaplane, a village traversed by
the Manassas Gap Railroad, frequently
visited by the Rangers, & site of the
rail embarkation of Jackson’s forces for
the great battle at Manassas in 1861
This original station was the site of the loading of the Confederate forces of Stonewall Jackson on the Manassas Gap Railroad to be taken to Manassas Junction on July 19-21, 1861 just before the huge fight known as First Manassas (or First Bull Run). The station saw many a Ranger raid or “reconnaissance” pass by, and often, their federal pursuers. This railroad was destroyed early in the War, but Union General Philip Sheridan wanted the Manassas Gap Railroad repaired through Manassas Gap in the Blue Ridge to bring supplies to his Army of the Shenandoah invading the Valley in the early fall of 1864. The Rangers’ attempt to derail these repairs led to brutal reprisals against civilians. Jamieson Ashby of nearby Oakwood was strapped to the front of a Union train in October 1864 to dissuade the Rangers from attacking. They attacked anyway, and Mr. Ashby was killed. The village of Piedmont Station (Delaplane) grew from these still-standing 1852 railroad buildings. A Virginia Civil War Trails sign sits on the east side of these building--we recommend you view it.
Directions: Head down the hill from Tour 2’s Ashland 0.4 mile. Back at Delaplane, the best parking is by the Virginia Civil War Trails sign at the far (east) side of the village’s “island” where the railroad station sits between Delaplane Grade and Rokeby Roads.
Mosby's final
The handsome home of John R. Holland, Brookside once included a woolen factory, which was ultimately burned in early September 1864 by the 8th Illinois Cavalry. The Holland family soon departed for Alexandria. With the burning of nearby Heartland on September 26, Mosby took over the empty Holland house as his intermittent and final headquarters.
Directions: Take Rokeby Road away from Route 17 and Piedmont Station. It is a lovely dirt road seldom travelled by federal forces. Brookside is 1.3 miles beyond the Rokeby Road/Black Pond Lane intersection on the left. This private white brick dwelling sits right beside the road.
maps provided by the
Stop 3:
Woodward's Store
Ranger hangout
The “brick store” was a common meeting place for Mosby’s men. Mosby hid out in the 4th story room of this well-placed store on several occasions and often at the adjoining Pierce home. With its bust of George Washington long in the 2nd floor window, it is still a well-known local landmark. The Union soldiers who would participate in the Mosby “Lottery” (see STOP 4) were brought here first, then to the site following for the lot drawing of who would be chosen to die.
Directions: Continue north on Rokeby Road to Rectortown Road, Route 710. Turn right and head southeast over a spectacular hunt country landscape approximately 3 miles into the village of Rectortown. The brick store sits on the north (left) side of the first intersection in the village, with Maidstone Road (Route 713). This is private property. Look for the bust of George in the window.
Stop 4:
The Lottery Site
To this hidden swale Mosby’s Rangers led 27 captured Union men of Custer’s command to draw lots for execution on the morning of November 6, 1864, in retaliation for executions of seven of Mosby’s men in incidents at Front Royal in September and at Flint Hill in October. [These executions of Mosby’s men may have been themselves a result of the executions of nine Michiganders engaged in house burning in Clarke County by Rangers led by Mosby’s second-in-command, William Chapman, on August 19th; see STOP 11 of this tour.] When a drummer boy drew a paper slip signaling the dire fate of execution, lots were redrawn. The unlucky chosen were subsequently marched over the Blue Ridge at Snicker’s Gap to Berryville. Of the seven ultimately chosen, three were hanged, two were shot—both, though badly wounded, would survive — and two escaped from their somewhat reluctant executioners. These executions ended the retaliatory game in the region.
Directions: You will need to reverse direction on Rectortown road. The Lottery site sits immediately west of Rectortown on Rt. 710, in a ravine on farmland several hundred yards south of the highway. There is a place you can pull off on the south side of Route 710 west of the village at a bend in the road—then walk back towards the village, looking for the “V” in the landscape you see at the arrow in the photograph above. Below that “V” is a swale with the lovely Goose Creek running through it; there the deadly lots were drawn by the prisoners in this remarkable incident.
Stop 5:

where Mosby was conveyed after being
gunned down without warning at Lakeland
(You may recall the shooting of Colonel Mosby a few days before Christmas, December 21, 1864, at Ludwell Lake’s home Lakeland near Atoka. See Tour 1, STOP 9.)

Fearful that the federal cavalry would rapidly realize their mistake and return, Mr. Lake had Mosby placed in an ox cart. It was then conducted overland through a storm by a slave boy, Daniel Strother, who took Mosby to Aquilla Glascock’s “Rockburn,” a mile to the west. Fearing for his life, Mosby pleaded that the slave boy would turn him over to the federals. Instead, the enslaved boy saved Mosby, telling of his feat for years. The subsequent federal search once they learned of their mistake proved fruitless. Mosby in time was able to be shipped to family in Amherst County near Lynchburg in order to recover.
Mosby’s ability to elude capture at Lakeland contributed to his mythical status as “the Gray Ghost.” As Rockburn had been badly damaged by a chimney fire in 1862, the night Mosby was saved, he was taken to a tenant house where the Glascock family now resided. Alfred, Aquilla Glascock’s son, had just been appointed Captain of Mosby’s Company D following the death of Captain Richard Montjoy in a skirmish at Goresville north of Leesburg on November 27. The area around Rockburn had seen most of its fields, barns, stables, and sheds burned and its livestock and horses run off by federal troops under General Wesley Merritt just three weeks before Mosby’s clandestine arrival. Federal cavalry 5,000 strong had sought to burn Mosby out of the Loudoun Valley. Mosby did not stay at Rockburn long before being moved.
Directions: Head back in to Rectortown and take the first left beyond the brick Woodward’s store onto Crenshaw Road, Route 624. Approximately a mile out, you will see Five Points Road coming in from the right. Rockburn, a lovely stone home, is the next house on the left past this intersection.
Stop 6:
Mount Carmel Church,
where bitterness is
brutally played out
A Union foray from Winchester into the Loudoun Valley by the 14th Pennsylvania and 21st New York Cavalry tried to snatch Mosby Rangers from about Upperville and Paris on the frigid night of February 18-19, 1865. Ranger Major Dolly Richards' home Greengarden, just north of Upperville, was surrounded and ransacked. [See Tour 2 STOP 3.] Richards escaped with several other Rangers from this safe house and organized a counterstrike. The 21st New York detachment crossed back over Ashby Gap just before dawn, followed by the 14th Pennsylvania men under Major Thomas Gibson just after sunrise. The federal cavalry formed a rear guard of 40 men at Mount Carmel Church as a wary defense during their slow progress down the snowy west slope of the Blue Ridge to Shepherd’s Ford on the Shenandoah.
Partway through this exit of the Unionists from Mosby’s Confederacy, Richards’ force of 50 slammed into the 14th Pennsylvania at the church, and chased them to the ford, leaving the snow bloody. The Rangers killed 13 federal soldiers, some of whom may have been buried in unmarked graves in the cemetery at Mount Carmel Church. They also wounded a number, captured 63, took 90 horses, and freed all 16 captured Rangers. Stand just northeast (uphill) from the church where the Ranger attack came--you’ll get a shiver down your back.
Directions: Take Crenshaw Road some 3 miles through pristine 1860s countryside to Route 50. Turn left on Route 50 and head west through Upperville and past Paris through Ashby’s Gap over the Blue Ridge into Clarke County. Largely, modern-day Route 50 follows the route of the 1860s Ashby’s Gap Turnpike into the Shenandoah Valley. Mount Carmel Church is located just off Route 50 between the top of Ashby’s Gap and the Shenandoah River below. Turn right on to Route 606 as you are coming down the mountain (1.6 miles beyond the Route 17 stoplight at Paris) and head north from Route 50 up the hill for 0.1 mile; the simple white wooden church sits on the right. You can still see the church cemetery as well. Except on Sunday morning, there is parking.
Stop 7:
Site of the
The 1914 stone marker along the road into Millwood, posted when many veterans of the War were still alive, locates the site of one of the fiercest actions between Mosby’s Rangers and federal cavalry. During a 125- Ranger scout into the Shenandoah Valley on December 16, 1864, Clarke County’s Lieutenant John Russell was left with a detachment of 60 Rangers to watch the Millwood to Berry’s Ferry Road on which this stone sits. [Berry’s Ferry was in the general area of today’s Route 50 Bridge; the main turnpike from Winchester to Ashby’s Gap in1864 passed through the village of Millwood on its way to Berry’s Ferry, then connected with the Ashby’s Gap Turnpike.] Russell placed most of his men some 250 yards off the turnpike. About noon the Rangers espied some 100 troopers of the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry under Captain William Miles slowly approaching from the direction of Millwood, ahead of you. Obviously outnumbered, Russell told the Rangers “they could not attempt to cross the river without being butchered and must whip the enemy,” Ranger James Williamson remembered. Russell then ordered, “Charge them with a yell . . . don’t fire a shot until you are within 40 paces and we will whip them!”
They followed orders and slammed into the federals near this granite-markered site. Most of the federals fled, but about a dozen fought to the death. Captain Miles was mortally wounded, 9 others were killed, 20 Union troopers were wounded, and 68 were captured. One wounded Union soldier escaped. Ranger Andrew “Hard Knot” Nott looted the dying Captain Miles, but was forced to re-clothe him and take him for burial by Battalion Major Adolphus E. “Dolly” Richards—and dig the grave. Historian Horace Mewborn notes that “several of the men present volunteered to blow Nott’s brains out for such an act of vandalism . . .” Despite the growing violence of the Civil War in Northern Virginia, there were still standards.
Directions: Return to Route 50 from Mount Carmel Church, turning right and continuing west on the divided highway. You will soon descend to the Shenandoah Valley floor and the famed river itself. Take the second right past the River, Route 723, and go 0.4 mile to a granite marker on the east (right) side of the road commemorating the Vineyard Fight. This is private property.

Stop 8:
(Avenel or

Confederate General Jubal Early crossed the Opequon Creek on September 3, 1864 and headed east toward Berryville at a time when Sheridan’s main force was just north of the Clarke County seat. Torbert’s Union cavalry, sent south of Berryville during the day, was ordered to return, and federal artillery on Grindstone Hill at the west end of town began firing on Early’s approaching troops. Meanwhile, a mission under Captain Sam Chapman with Companies C & E of Mosby’s command was proceeding north towards Berryville along the Millwood-Berryville Road. At Gold’s Farm, Chapman espied men of the 6th New York deployed in a field on the west side of the road, having been fired upon by a lone Rebel rifleman. In two wings, the two companies of Mosby’s command charged, and despite a withering fire and heavy losses at a fence gate, the Rangers prevailed. In historian Jeffrey Wert’s words, they “engulfed the federals.” It was a devastating defeat for Major William E. Beardsley’s troopers of the 6th New York, with 42 dead, wounded, or missing. Rangers Ben Iden and Robert Jarman were killed, Rangers Henry Clay Adams and Frank Fox were mortally wounded, and one other Ranger was wounded. Many sources say that the federal captured, wounded, and dead were looted here—which contrasts with the popularly told story of “Dolly” Richards anger with Ranger Nott at the Vineyard Fight site.
Directions: Continue approximately 2.0 miles from the Vineyard Fight marker on Route 723 in to Millwood. Just after the intersection with Route 255, as you continue you will see the large green Burwell-Morgan Mill built as a partnership by Revolutionary War General Daniel Morgan and Nathaniel Burwell of nearby Carter Hall in the 1780s. It is open seasonally on weekends and still grinds grain. Just ahead as the road forks, bear slightly left to continue on Route 723. A lovely piece of road, it continues two miles past Daniel Morgan’s “Saratoga” (not visible from the road) to the railroad village of Boyce. At the stoplight at Route 340, turn right, heading 5.0 miles north to Senseny Road (Route 657) on your left. Turn there. Immediately on the right are the fields of the Gold Farm. The brick farmhouse (“Avenel”), is 0.9 mile further.
Stop 9:
The Bonham Farm,
Medal of Honor site,
Eugene Ferris vs. Mosby’s Rangers
Mosby Rangers Charles Wiltshire, George Gill, Bartlett Bolling, John Orrick, and Robert (“Bob Ridley”) Eastham stopped to see the lovely daughter of Colonel Daniel Bonham (Emma, 20) at this farm on March 30, 1865. On a scout towards Stephenson’s Depot north of Winchester, Charlie Wiltshire told the others he just had to see Miss Emma. But a federal officer, Lieutenant Eugene Ferris of the 30th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, together with his orderly, had arrived here first, likely also to visit the fetching Miss Emma. Upon the Rangers’ approach, Ferris and his orderly ran for the barn behind the house. Despite being out-numbered five to two, in the firefight that followed, Ferris managed to mortally wound Charley Wiltshire and Princeton-educated George Gill, while injuring John Orrick.
Ferris and his orderly were able to remount, and although the orderly was captured, Ferris additionally wounded Bartlett Bolling during the ensuing chase. Slightly wounded himself, Ferris got away. For his superb bravery against Mosby’s command, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Ranger Charlie Grogan later commented on Ferris’ incredible feat, saying that he should be “invited to join the battalion.” Ironically, the simple farm still sits with no marking or recognition, despite Lieutenant Eugene Ferris’ amazing Medal of Honor feat. But perhaps you should know!
Directions: From Avenel, continue another 0.3 mile on Senseny Road to Westwood Road (Route 636), turning right. Take Westwood Road 1.4 miles to Business Route 7, turning left. In approximately 0.5 mile, Business Route 7 returns to the main highway Route 7 at a stoplight. Turn left onto the divided highway, and head west on Route 7 for 1.6 miles to Russell Road (Route 660), turning right. At 0.9 miles on the east (right) side of Russell Road, you will see the Bonham Farm, white with black roof and shutters and a red barn. This is private property.
Wagon Train
Attack Site
Stop 10:
On August 13, 1864, in one of his most famous actions, Mosby launched a pre-dawn attack on a part of Union General Philip Sheridan’s invasion of the Shenandoah Valley. Pulled over to the west side of the road on the pike north of Buck Marsh Church just north of Berryville (U.S. 340 today), the supply train of 500-600 wagons of Sheridan’s cavalry corps had stopped to water the mules, make coffee, and perhaps catch just a bit of shut-eye. They were just re-hitching the mules when two howitzer shots from nearby Barnett’s Hill on the east side of the turnpike signaled the onslaught from Mosby’s men. The first shot beheaded a mule. Numbering between 250-300 men, Mosby’s men charged into the wagon train, and despite a volley from the accompanying 144th and 149th Ohio National Guard, chaos ensued.
As drivers whipped their mule-drawn wagons into Berryville to turn west on the road to Winchester—today’s main street of town—local boys encouraged by the Rangers came running from the town’s houses with lit pine-knots to throw at the tented wagons, bursting them into flame. [Obviously, the boys of Berryville would remember this night for years to come!] About 100 wagons were seized and some 75 destroyed; 500 mules were seized, along with 30 horses, 200 cattle, and 200 Union prisoners.

As Mosby returned over the Blue Ridge, a number of his men were playing untuned instruments taken from the wagons and even wearing captured Union uniforms from the Michigan cavalry brigade—such fun! But there would be a wave of retaliation after this raid, back and forth, ending in the infamous lottery incident you encountered earlier in this tour, the denouement coming at Berryville in November 1864.
Directions: Return to Route 7, cross the divided highway to turn left, and head east 3.5 miles to U.S. Route 340. You will want to take the exit ramp and head north on Route 340 towards Charles Town. The raid site sits immediately north of Route 7, so look left (west) across the fields to see where the federal wagon train was pulled off. Mosby attacked from a hillock on the east side of the highway. Fighting was particularly heavy at Buck Marsh Church at the northeast corner of Routes 7 Bypass and 340; this Baptist church was abandoned then and is no longer standing. You will want to reverse direction and return to Berryville on Route 340; you may wish to pull off onto the west side of Route 340 looking north to better see the site where the wagon train had pulled off to water the mules and coffee the teamsters. NOTE: In the middle of Berryville just to the south at the 340/Business 7 stoplight, wagons had to turn right (west) to continue on the Valley Pike of that time, and the fighting and burning was intense.
Stop 11:
the Benjamin Morgan Farm Executions
Here occurred perhaps the most grisly of all Mosby stories. General Custer was angry about Mosby’s attack on his wagon train at Berryville on August 13th. He was furious that Mosby’s scouts had attacked a Michigan cavalry brigade picket post at Castleman’s Ferry east of Berryville on the night of August 18th, killing one, wounding one, and capturing two. Accordingly, he ordered the homes of nearby secessionists burned. A 30-man detail of the 5th Michigan Cavalry (Custer’s brigade) began burning homes of alleged Mosby supporters east of Berryville on the night of Friday August 19th. They had burned the homes of Province McCormick and William Sowers north of modern-day Route 7 when they reached Hill and Dale Farm, the home of Colonel Benjamin Morgan. The Morgan family was removed, and just as a thunder-storm hit, torches were put to the house. Meanwhile, Captain William Chapman (Sam’s brother) with Companies C, D, and E of Mosby’s Command were east of Berryville. Seeing the fires and getting a report of just what was going on, they high-tailed it after the Michiganders, catching up to them at the Morgan Farm.
Captain Chapman’s famous order at the top of the lane where you see a marker today was: “Wipe them from the face of the earth! No quarter! No quarter! Take no prisoners!” The Rangers did just that, killing twenty and capturing ten. The captured were made to kneel along the lane into the farm still visible today. A simple bullet to the back of the head completed the work, save for two unfortunates who suffered their throats to be cut. However, Trooper Samuel K. Davis, bullet in head, survived to tell the tale. This would lead to retaliatory executions of captured Rangers at Front Royal on September 23, 1864 and ultimately, to the Lottery at Rectortown. Only Colonel Josiah Ware’s home “Springfield,” slated to be burned, survived the events of August 19th. [Note: Grindstone Hill, site of the Lottery executions at Berryville, was destroyed for a subdivision early in the 21st century; it sat opposite Rosemont Manor on Business Route 7 on the west end of Berryville.]
Directions: Return to Bypass Route 7, and head east toward Leesburg on the divided highway. You will come to a stoplight where Business Route 7 joins the highway on the east side of Berryville; take the next right, Parshall Road (Route 608) 0.4 mile later. Go 1.7 miles to Hill and Dale Farm on the right. You will see a granite marker where the driveway meets Parshall Road. The house, burned that night but now rebuilt, sits down the lane, and is visible only in the winter. The executions took place just up from the burning house along the lane. This is private property; please do not drive down the lane.
Stop 12:
Virginia in miniature
Built in 1793, Old Chapel is one of the oldest Episcopal churches west of the Blue Ridge, but it replaces an even older chapel built in 1738, which gives the site its name. The graveyard behind the chapel is also very old, started by the Burwell family who owned Carter Hall Plantation at Millwood. In the 1780s and 90s, this section of Virginia--now the Mosby Heritage Area--became the magnet for the First Families of Virginia as their Tidewater plantations waned with over-cultivation of tobacco. There are many Confederate soldiers and many people from famous Clarke County families buried here at Old Chapel; this was THE place to be buried in Clarke County. Go around the chapel to the back, and you will see a door.
Follow in a straight line back into the graveyard from that door, and under the second big spruce tree, you will come to the grave of Edmund Randolph, the first Attorney General of the United States, appointed by President George Washington. He served on Washington’s first “cabinet” (his advisors) with Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and Henry Knox. J.E.B. Stuart’s aide and famed Southern writer John Esten Cooke is also here. Cooke said Mosby had “one of the most active, daring, and penetrating minds of an epoch fruitful in such.” It is this ancient ground that Mosby’s Rangers were so desperately fighting for; in many ways, it was the very cultural heart of Virginia.
Directions: Continue on Parshall Road 1.4 miles to Locke’s Mill Road (Route 621). Turn right here and go 0.5 mile to Locke’s Landing--you can park and view the Shenandoah if you choose-- then continue on another 0.4 mile past the ancient slumping Locke’s Mill on your left to a fork in the road. Bear right at the fork to stay on Locke’s Mill Road, now becoming Route 618. Go another 1.5 miles through lovely countryside to Briggs Road, Route 617. Turn right here, going one full mile to Bishop Meade Road (Route 255). Turn right here, and the stone Old Chapel will appear on your left just before 255 hits Route 340.
Stop 13:
Clarke's Hotel,
Here on April 20, 1865, eleven days after Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Mosby sat in surrender negotiations with General Winfield S. Hancock’s staff, led by General Gibson. During the negotiations in the parlor, banter outside between Rangers and Union cavalrymen led Ranger John Hearn and a federal trooper to race. On the outskirts of Millwood, they met a large column of Union cavalry. Suspecting a trap, Hearn wheeled, and racing into the parlor at the hotel, told Mosby of what he had seen. Mosby had just reaffirmed his intention to disband rather than surrender, although a temporary truce had expired. Rising to his feet and backing out of the room, he said, “Sir, if we are no longer under the protection of our truce, we are, of course, at the mercy of your men. We shall protect ourselves.” They mounted and rode away, with federal cavalry trailing but not opening fire. Mosby crossed the Shenandoah at Berry’s Ferry and went over the mountain at Ashby’s Gap. The Rangers would meet the next day to disband as promised at Salem (now Marshall), which you can visit in Tour 4 at stop 2.
Directions: Return south down Route 255 for 3.2 miles to the stop sign at the village of Millwood. You will see Clarke’s Hotel directly across the street at this Routes 255/723 intersection. Now a private dwelling, the former Clarke’s Hotel is painted white with black shutters.

To return to Route 50, thus accessing your starting points to the east, head south past the Burwell-Morgan Mill and at the fork just beyond, take the right fork to stay on Bishop Meade Road, Route 255, providing a handsome one-mile drive out to Route 50. Turning left onto the divided highway will take you east across the Shenandoah and the Blue Ridge beyond to Paris, Upperville, Middleburg, Aldie, and on towards Fairfax and Washington. A right on Route 50 will take you west to historic Winchester.
press the right arrow on your
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Thank you for joining the Mosby Heritage Area Association in Hunting the Gray Ghost.
We welcome you to continue virtually exploring more of Northern Virginia's Mosby Heritage Area in four other exciting journeys, available on our website (www.mosbyheritagearea.org).
better yet,

come for a visit!
request a hard copy of
Hunting the Gray Ghost
from MHAA &
before we head out, here's a quick
Many of these sites are private properties and homes. Please mind these symbols along your way.
Private Property
. Be respectful. Have a look but do not trespass.
Public or public access.
Have a look around!
Mosby's surrender failed
where negotiations for
music: "Hard Times, Come Again No More,"
courtesy of the 2nd Carolina String Band
Full transcript