I would like to introduce Mr. Koran Saines (D-Sterling) and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (“County considers renaming two primary highways,” Loudoun Times-Mirror, December 15, 2020, p. 10) to something that seems to be missing in all of the racially divisive and senseless recriminations that are rampant these days: a history book. Specifically, a book authored by a Fairfax County author, V.C. (Pat) Jones, entitled “Ranger Mosby” (Chapel Hill, N.C., University of North Carolina Press, 1944.)
While it is true that Mosby fought for the Confederacy as a partisan ranger (with a never-collected bounty on his head), he also received a parole from General Grant after the war and even supported Grant for President in 1872 — an unpopular action that caused him to leave his native Virginia. In addition, Mosby was named U.S. Consul to Hong Kong by President Rutherford B. Hayes and served several other U.S. presidents, including duties as assistant U.S. attorney in the Department of Justice, appointed by President Teddy Roosevelt.
I would encourage Mr. Saines and the Board to be as generous as General/President Grant, along with several other presidents, and reconsider the plan to strip John Singleton Mosby’s name from highway markers. After all, he and his wife are buried in Warrenton, Virginia, and his name still brings lots of tourism dollars to the many communities of “Mosby’s Confederacy” (of which Loudoun County is a part). Besides, equating Mosby with the egregious Jim Crow restrictions of Harry Byrd would not only be intellectually dishonest but the equivalent of disqualifying senior members of the incoming Biden administration because their ancestors may have had connections to slavery.
Evan H. Parrott