Col. John Singleton Mosby, the feisty Confederate officer who 117 years ago taunted Union troops in Northern Virginia, has finally been honored for his bravery by having part of a highway running through his old stomping grounds named after him.
The Virginia General Asembly unanimously approved a bill this month renaming part of Rte. 50 between Fairfax City and Winchester as the John S. Mosby Highway. In approving the bill, the assembly gave Mosby precedence over Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Stonewall Jackson, whose names previously had graced the highway.
Beverly Coleman, the 80-year-old grandson of Mosby, and historian Virgil Carrington Jones have been urging the name change for more than 20 years. Their plan originally asked that the Little River Turnpike, which runs between Alexandria and Fairfax City, be renamed.Citizen opposition, however, stymied that idea.
Mosby was praised by both Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant for his courage and intelligence while leading his troops in raids behind Union lines. cThroughout the Civil War, Mosby managed to elude the 6,000 Union soldiers under orders to hang him.
After the war, Mosby campaigned for Grant for the presidency and was rewarded by being appointed U.S. consul to Hong Kong. Later, Mosby returned to the practice of law. He died in Washington on May 30, 1916, at the age of 82, and was buried in Warrenton.