The Life and Times of John Singleton Mosby

Kevin H. Siepel
Foreword by Senator Eugene McCarthy
New introductions by Peter A. Brown and Benjamin Franklin Cooling

384 pages
43 photos, 1 map


July 2008


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Rebel is the first complete biography of the Confederacy’s best-known partisan commander, John Singleton Mosby, the “Gray Ghost.” A practicing attorney in Virginia and at first a reluctant soldier, in 1861 Mosby took to soldiering with a vengeance, becoming one of the Confederate army’s highest-profile officers, known especially for his cavalry battalion’s continued and effective harassment of Union armies in northern Virginia. Although hunted after the war and regarded, in fact, as the last Confederate officer to surrender, he later became anathema to former Confederates for his willingness to forget the past and his desire to heal the nation’s wounds. Appointed U.S. consul in Hong Kong, he soon initiated an anticorruption campaign that ruined careers in the Far East and Washington. Then, following a stint as a railroad attorney in California, he surfaced again as a government investigator sent by President Theodore Roosevelt to tear down cattlemen’s fences on public lands in the West. Ironically, he ended his career as an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Author Bio

Kevin H. Siepel is also the author of Joseph Bennett of Evans and the Growing of New York’s Niagara Frontier.
Eugene McCarthy (1916–2005) represented Minnesota in both House and Senate and played a key role in the presidential race of 1968.
Peter A. Brown is the editor of Take Sides with the Truth: The Postwar Letters of John Singleton Mosby to Samuel F. Chapman.
Benjamin Franklin Cooling is the author of a number of books on the Civil War, most recently Counter-Thrust: From the Peninsula to the Antietam (Nebraska 2007).


“To see a pure example of audacity and enterprise turn to Rebel. . . . It is a dramatic account of the extraordinary life of one of the most colorful and controversial figures on the Confederate side. . . . Rebel is a memorable account of a memorable maverick.”—Edmund Fuller, Wall Street Journal

“The guerrilla warfare that radiated from ‘Mosby’s Confederacy’ . . . is recounted here skillfully and without overdramatization. What Siepel has achieved in addition is the documentation of Mosby’s long, colorful, and often paradoxical postwar career.”—Stephen W. Sears, Washington Post Book World

“Kevin H. Siepel’s biography of John S. Mosby, the famous Confederate guerrilla leader, is a welcome addition to the long shelf of Civil War biographies. Aimed at the general reader rather than at scholars, it gallops along with a vigorous prose style. By devoting half of his pages to Mosby’s post-war career as a diplomat, civil servant, and lawyer, the author makes a worthy addition to our knowledge of ‘the gray ghost of the Confederacy.’”—Dallas Morning News

“[Siepel] has created a truly great historical work on Mosby, a most colorful individual. The book is very well-written and factual, and it easily holds the attention of the reader. Relatively little has been written about Mosby, the man; Siepel has finally given us a comprehensive work that will stand alongside works of other great leaders. Rebel is recommended for both the student of war and politics and for the casual reader.”—Military Review

“Siepel’s research—especially into manuscripts and newspapers—is impressive. His coverage of the war years is fast-paced and colorful, befitting the subject. . . . High marks.”—Richmond News Leader

“The text is descriptive, illustrated, and detailed—as lively in its own way as Mosby’s Civil War raids themselves.”—Choice

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Bison Books Edition by Peter A. Brown
Introduction to the Bison Books Edition by Benjamin Franklin Cooling
1. Shifting Sands
2. In the Forge
3. Manassas
4. Sunrise
5. Fox in the Henhouse
6. Firestorm
7. Survivor
8. Pariah
9. The China Coast
10. On the Shoals
11. Guttering Candle
12. The Defense Rests
Selected Bibliography

Also of Interest