Editor: At a recent Loudoun County Board of Supervisors meeting, a motion was passed to rename Rt. 50 John Singleton Mosby Highway to another name which does not celebrate a “traitor,” as stated by Vice Chairman Saines.
It seems as though the members of the board have been cherry-picking their version of history. Or maybe they have neglected their constituents’ best interest by not completing a sufficient enough research on John Singleton Mosby before casting a vote.
While leading many Loudoun County men through a difficult conflict, John S. Mosby did fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War, operating often in Loudoun as a partisan ranger. For this latest fact, Vice Chairman Saines calls Mosby a “traitor,” displaying a certain lack of research required by the board when actively trying to erase Loudoun’s unique history. To be a “traitor” one must be convicted of treason, for which Mosby was never tried. Additionally, he received a personal pardon from President Grant in 1866.
Mosby persevered after the war and continued to serve the country as he helped to reunite the North and South as a campaign manager in Virginia for the Republican Grant. At the time, many Virginians remained staunch Democrats, which must have troubled for Mosbyconsidering some acts in retaliation included burning his boyhood house and at least one assassination attempt on his life. Mosby then used his civilian career as a lawyer and became a U.S. consul to Hong Kong for the Grant Administration, while also later in life serving as a U.S. government attorney for President Roosevelt.
Mosby’s years of dedicated post-civil war government service demonstrates his loyalty to the United States; more importantly it serves as an example of reconciliation between North and South that was needed during reconstruction after the Civil War.
It appears that this lesson is needed again in the present.
By renaming Rt. 50 where Mosby once patrolled and defended, during his association with the Confederacy would be a missed opportunity to use as a lesson to current and future generations that reconciliation is possible—even in regard to one of the hardest fought conflicts in America’s history.
Colin Wilson, Round Hill