John S Mosby: Confederate Guerilla Raider, Post-War Republican Campaign Manager for President Grant, US Ambassador to Hong Kong, and Boyhood Playmate of World War II General George S. Patton
Interesting characters fall into two categories:
- You read their biography and say "What an interesting character!"
- You read the outline of their biography and say "What an interesting character!"
Mosby falls into the second category. From the absolutely terrific Son of the South website:
During George's childhood, one of the best friends of the Patton family was none-other-than Colonel John S. Mosby, the fabled "Grey Ghost" of J.E.B. Stuart's legendary cavalry. Patton grew up hearing tales of daring raids and stunning cavalry attacks from the Grey Ghost himself. During visits to the Patton Ranch in Southern California, Colonel Mosby would re-enact the Civil War with George; playing himself, he let George play the part of General Lee as they would recount the battles of the war, astride their horses.
These firsthand stories, and horseback re-enactments, directed by one of the greatest Guerilla fighters of all time no doubt had a huge influence on Patton. Both his sense of bravery and duty, and his Guerilla like tactics were no doubt heavily influenced by his early exploits with John S. Mosby.
It's interesting to contemplate that with all his other accomplishments, Mosby's most lasting legacy might be those hours spent playing with a young boy. And it's as true today as it was back then: You Just Never Know. (H/T: My Brother Tim)