Confederate Vet to a friend: I am not ashamed of having fought on the side of slavery

Col. John S. Mosby.jpg

Col. John S. Mosby

June 4, 1907

I wrote you about my disgust at reading the Reunion speeches: It has since been increased by reading Christians report. I am certainly glad I wasn’t there. According to Christian the Virginia people were the abolitionists & the Northern people were pro-slavery. He says slavery was “a patriarchal” institution – So were polygamy & circumcision. Ask Hugh if he has been circumcised. Christian quotes what the Old Virginians – said against slavery. True; but why didn’t he quote what the modern Virginians said in favor of it – Mason, Hunter, Wise &c. Why didn’t he state that a Virginia Senator (Mason) was the author of the Fugitive Slave law – & why didn’t he quote The Virginia Code (1860) that made it a crime to speak against slavery, or to teach a negro to read the Lord’s prayer.

Now while I think as badly of slavery as Horace Greeley did I am not ashamed that my family were slaveholders. It was our inheritance – Neither am I ashamed that my ancestors were pirates & cattle thieves. People must be judged by the standard of their own age. If it was right to own slaves as property it was right to fight for it. The South went to war on account of Slavery. South Carolina went to war – as she said in her Secession proclamation – because slavery wd. not be secure under Lincoln. South Carolina ought to know what was the cause for her seceding. . . . I am not ashamed of having fought on the side of slavery – a soldier fights for his country – right or wrong – he is not responsible for the political merits of the cause he fights in. The South was my country.

3 thoughts on “Confederate Vet to a friend: I am not ashamed of having fought on the side of slavery

  1. Mosby gets points for honesty, I think. He had more integrity than the lying old Confederates who suddenly decided in 1865 that the war had really been about “states rights” all along.

    One additional bit of Mosby trivia — Mosby was a friend of the Patton family and, in his later years, visited them regularly in California, There he and the Patton’s son, George Smith Patton, Jr., spent time reenacting battles of the Civil War and sharing stories from that conflict.


  2. Mosby became very good friends with Grant after the war to help restore rights to former Confederates. He became a Republican and helped Grant win re election. Many Virginia Democrats disliked Mosby after this. After an assassination attempt, President Hayes appointed Mosby US Consul to Hong Kong a position he held till the Cleveland administration. He returned to the US and worked for the railroads where he met the Patton Family. in 1903 he returned to Washington and was an assistant Attorney General under Teddy Roosevelt. A sickly scrawny child not expected to live to be a teenager he was wounded 7 times during the war, kicked in the head by a horse in 1895 losing an eye. died May 30 1916 at age 83 in Garfield Hospital. Last person to see him alive was US Grant III who came to offer assistance to the family


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