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Take Sides with the Truth

Take Sides with the Truth: The Postwar Letters of John Singleton Mosby to Samuel F. Chapman

Edited by Peter A. Brown
With a Foreword by Jeffry D. Wert
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    Take Sides with the Truth
    Book Description:

    During the Civil War, John Singleton Mosby led the Forty-third Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, better known as Mosby's Rangers, in bold and daring operations behind Union lines. Throughout the course of the war, more than 2000 men were members of Mosby's command, some for only a short time. Mosby had few confidants (he was described by one acquaintance as "a disturbing companion") but became close friends with one of his finest officers, Samuel Forrer Chapman. Chapman served with Mosby for more than two years, and their friendship continued in the decades after the war. Take Sides with the Truth is a collection of more than eighty letters, published for the first time in their entirety, written by Mosby to Chapman from 1880, when Mosby was made U.S. consul to Hong Kong, until his death in a Washington, D.C., hospital in 1916. These letters reveal much about Mosby's character and present his innermost thoughts on many subjects. At times, Mosby's letters show a man with a sensitive nature; however, he could also be sarcastic and freely derided individuals he did not like. His letters are critical of General Robert E. Lee's staff officers ("there was a lying concert between them") and trace his decades-long crusade to clear the name of his friend and mentor J. E. B. Stuart in the Gettysburg campaign. Mosby also continuously asserts his belief that slavery was the cause of the Civil War -- a view completely contrary to a major portion of the Lost Cause ideology. For him, it was more important to "take sides with the Truth" than to hold popular opinions. Peter A. Brown has brought together a valuable collection of correspondence that adds a new dimension to our understanding of a significant Civil War figure.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-2712-5
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Jeffry D. Wert

    John Singleton Mosby was, in the words of an acquaintance, “a disturbing companion.” Mosby could be ill-tempered, cantankerous, obstinate, and brusque. He did not welcome disagreement with his views and glared with an icy look at men with whom he was displeased or who had failed him. There was a sharp edge and hard realism to him.

    It was such a man who organized and commanded the Forty-third Battalion of Virginia Cavalry or Mosby’s Rangers. With a keen intellect, an absolute fearlessness, and an unbending will, Mosby molded and disciplined hundreds of young bloods into the most effective partisan ranger...

  4. Preface
    (pp. 1-6)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 7-8)
  6. Forged in Fire: The Friendship of John Mosby and Sam Chapman
    (pp. 9-18)

    Samuel Chapman was a former infantry private and artillery officer when he was assigned to enrollment duties in Fauquier County. And it was here, in January 1863, that the twenty-four-year-old lieutenant first saw John Mosby. Chapman had heard talk about Mosby and his daring exploits—or his foolhardy exploits, depending upon who was doing the talking—behind the Union lines, and he would hear more in the weeks to come. Less than two months after first seeing Mosby in Warrenton and hearing the stories being told in and around the courthouse, Chapman joined Mosby and his young, still-developing band of...

  7. The Letters
    (pp. 19-154)
  8. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 155-156)

    It is not known if there were more letters from John Mosby to Sam Chapman following the one of April 10, 1916. Seven weeks later, on May 30, Mosby died in Garfield Hospital, Washington, D.C. He was eighty-two years, six months old. The cause of death has been attributed to several different maladies, from an enlarged and inflamed prostate, to a toxicity of the urinary tract, to a general debility. The old veteran probably suffered from them all, however his certificate of death, only recently located after having been “missing” for years, gives the official cause of death as a...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 157-160)
  11. Index
    (pp. 161-166)