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Old South Military Antiques

Mosby Ranger Parole
Item #: OS-7627

Ranger Thomas J. Miller enlisted in Company A, Mosby’s Command on August 7th, 1863. The 43rd Battalion had just been formed on June, 10th, 1863, at Rector’s Crossroads and in two short years became one of the most feared and famous commands of the War Between the States.

Among the units joining Mosby were the Chinquapin Rangers, a partisan ranger company formed under the Confederate Partisan Ranger Act of April 21, 1862. This company was formed in May of 1862, in Prince William County, Virginia. Most of the men were from Fairfax County and Prince William County. Confederate regular forces had withdrawn from the area, and these men stayed to defend their own neighborhood.

The rangers took their name from the tree of the same name that produced an edible nut. This by wit, rather than plan. When a lady asked the name of his company, Private James E. Stone jokingly told her that they were the Chinquapin Rangers, and the name stuck. The Chinquapin Rangers disbanded on December 4, 1864, after the Confederate Government did away with most Partisan units.

Colonel’s Mosby and McNeil’s commands were not disbanded because of their extraordinary service. Mosby valued the homegrown talent within the Chinquapin ranks, and absorbed many of them into his own command as Company H, and the Rangers served him well until the bitter end.

Colonel Mosby refused to surrender his men to his enemies. Instead, on April 21, twelve days after Lee's surrender, Mosby gathered his battalion for the last time at Salem, in Fauquier County, Virginia. Here he read his farewell address to them and left it to each man to choose his course; to surrender, or fight to the death. Most eventually decided to surrender.

Thomas J. Miller rode the forty some odd miles to Winchester, Virginia and "swallowed the yeller dog”[i] He was paroled April 22nd, 1865 at Winchester. At the time he was a dark complexioned 20 year old six footer.

He then folded up his parole by four and went home to start again, only to be forced to face the battles of the so called Reconstruction.

This five by eight inch paper document is the silent witness to what must have been the most painful hour of his life. The document has two holes, eaten by a silverfish while folded. The seams are weak and partially separated, but only partially and in danger of coming apart. Both the printed text and the ink signature remain very strong.

The rarity of a Mosby Ranger Parole makes an Appomattox Parole look common.

I will be happy to de-acidify and mount this for the buyer at no charge should you wish it.

[i] The "yeller dog” was deemed equally hard to swallow as the surrender.