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Old South Military Antiques

Captain Mosby Writes to “My dearest Pauline”
Item #: OS-7579



  "Dearest Pauline"


The full two page eight by ten, framed letter shown here was written by the famed Partisan Ranger, Colonel John Singleton Mosby, but in this case, he is simply Jno. Mosby, writing to his wife Pauline. By all accounts he dearly loved her. Pauline Maria Clarke was the daughter of a prominent Kentucky lawyer. She was said to be a woman as spirited and intelligent as her husband. On December 30, 1857, Pauline married John Mosby at a Nashville hotel. After living for a year with Mosby’s parents, the couple moved to Bristol in southwest Virginia, near Pauline’s hometown. There Mosby practiced law, and drilled with the local militia in the wake of John Brown’s Raid. The couple had eight children, four boys and four girls. In the spring of 1876, after the birth of her ninth child, Pauline Mosby died; John Mosby never remarried. Forty years later at his last request, he was buried beside his beloved Pauline in Warrenton, Virginia.

In his letter, Mosby is justifiably proud of his military successes and is anxious to share them with Pauline, but doesn’t fail to show the concern of any father, and wants to hear from them and pass on his love to them.

His letter is dated December 9th, without year, but in the letter, he writes of Federal General Burnside replacing General McClellan, this would have been November of 1862, so the letter to Pauline was written December 9th, 1862. Like any gallant man, he makes no mention of personal danger of hardship. In fact, one almost thinks of a schoolboy on a lark when reading it due to his exuberance.

It is best I let Colonel Mosby speak for himself:

"Scout Manassas Dec 9th

My dearest Pauline,

We are now about 18 miles from Fredericksburg (which would place him in Culpeper County) in camp though the regiment goes on picket near their camp in a week. I have written you two letters directed to Pa’s as I did not know whether or not you had gone. Joe Owens told me you had gotten to Bristol. Enclosed I send you a copy of my report to General Stuart of my scout down to Manassas when with nine men I stampeded two or three thousand Yankees. I see the Richmond papers give Colonel (Tom) Rosser (5th VA Cavalry) the credit of it. He had nothing to do with it and was not in 25 miles of there. Rosser is a nephew of L. F. Johnson. The report is addressed, according to military form, to General Stuart’s adjutant genl- Genl. Stuart was so much pleased with it, that he forwarded it to the War Department. General Robert Lee sent me a message expressing his gratification at my success. I believe I have already written of my trip around McClellan at Catlett’s Station when I saw him leave his army at the time he was superseded by Burnside. The courier by whom I sent the dispatch to General Stuart announcing it passed five Yankee cavalry in the road. Not dreaming there was a rebel away there in their rear, they passed on by him merely saying ‘Good evening’ We did not go in disguise as spies, but in Confederate uniforms and with our arms. I had a slip from a Northern paper to send you which I lost, giving an account of a squad of rebel cavalry having been seen that day in their rear. Aaron (Mosby’s manservant) thinks himself quite a hero now though he does not want to come again in such disagreeable proximity to a bombshell. I have been over to see the Bristol Company. An old gentleman, named Keen, sent me word yesterday to come see him, said he had lately travelled with you. Some of my old company who have gone home promised to call on you. Write me all the news about Bristol. Be sure to hire a cook. The first chance I get I will send you some money. You must buy a few gallons of molasses for the children. In fact, you must get anything you need. Write me a great deal about Bev and May. (Their children) Make Delia (Pauline’s sister) write to me and give my love to her. Kiss Bev and May for me. My love to all at the Coffley

Yours affect’ly

Jno Mosby”


1st Va Cavalry

Gen’l Stuart’s Division

Fitz Lee’s Brigade

No need to put any P.O. as we are continually moving.

I rec’d your letter sent to Culpeper”

In this very interesting letter Colonel Mosby mentions the action at Manassas, three Confederate General’s, one future Confederate General, two Yankee General’s, his manservant and five members of his own family. This is quite a lot of content for one letter. Condition is excellent and is very nicely framed with U.V. protection. The letter is framed so that it swings out on hinges and page two, the back of the letter can be seen. The difference in color in the images shown here is because only the continually exposed side has U.V. protectant, the backside has no need of it, because it is only exposed when the frame is swung out on it's hinges.

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