Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department


Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Paul Christopher Anderson

Committee Member

Dr. Rod Andrew, Jr.

Committee Member

Dr. Richard Saunders


During the American Civil War, Colonel John S. Mosby launched one of the most successful guerilla campaigns for the Confederate war effort. 'Mosby's Confederacy,' a section of northern Virginia that encompassed four counties, came under the control of Mosby, and what would eventually become the Forty-third Battalion Virginia Cavalry, from 1863 through the end of the war. One county in particular, Fauquier, Virginia, served as the base of Mosby's operations. The partisan style of warfare, that Mosby employed, demanded a significant amount of participation and collaboration from the local citizenry. The majority of Fauquier's white community embraced Mosby's Rangers and the objectives of the unit. The civilian population provided Mosby and his men with protection, resources, and intelligence. Symptomatic of their active participation in the war effort, a fervent Confederate 'patriotism' became intimately woven into the fabric of Fauquier's society. When the Confederacy fell and Mosby dissolved his band of rangers, the extremist sentiments of Confederate nationalism that remained entrenched in Fauquier's white citizenry would have profound implications for Reconstruction in the county. The nature of partisan warfare instilled a guerilla mentality in the local citizenry that had supported Mosby during the war. This mindset survived the war, and continued to unite the majority of the white community in the defense of the county. During Reconstruction, former Unionists and African Americans were socially ostracized and violently rebuked for their sentiments. By castigating the 'others,' the white community hoped to defy their conqueror, and regain control of the county economically, and politically. In a subtle manner, African Americans and the minority pro-Union white population resisted the harsh persecution they were subjected too. The unique wartime circumstances that the civilian population in Fauquier County endured created a unique situation in the postbellum period. The Reconstruction experience of the people residing in Fauquier was uncharacteristic of northern Virginia. The nature of guerilla warfare altered the course of the Civil War and Reconstruction for the inhabitants of Fauquier County, Virginia.

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