Keep Loudoun history alive

Dear Editor:

At a recent Loudoun County Board of Supervisors meeting earlier this month, a motion was passed to rename Rt. 50 John Singleton Mosby Highway to another name which does not celebrate a “traitor” as stated by Vice Chairman Koran T. Saines. It seems as though the members of the board have been “Cherry-picking” their version of history, or maybe they have neglected their constituents’ best interest by not completing a sufficient enough research on John Singleton Mosby before casting a vote. 

While leading many Loudoun County men through a difficult conflict, John S. Mosby did fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War, often operating in Loudoun as a Partisan Ranger.  For this latest fact, Saines calls Mosby a “traitor” and, in fact, displays a certain lack of research required by the Board when actively trying to erase Loudoun’s unique history. To be a “traitor,” one must be convicted of treason. Mosby was not only never tried on this charge, but was even offered a personal pardon from President Grant. 

Mosby persevered after the War and continued to serve the country as he helped to reunite both North and South as a campaign manager in Virginia for the Republican Grant. At the time, many Virginians remained staunch Democrats, which was trouble for Mosby. 

Some retaliatory acts included burning his boyhood house, and at least one assassination attempt on his life. Mosby then utilized his civilian career as a lawyer, and became a U.S. Consul to Hong Kong for the Grant Administration. Later in life, he served as a U.S. Government Attorney for President Roosevelt.

Mosby’s years of dedicated post-civil war Government service demonstrates his loyalty and service to the United States; more importantly, it serves as an example of reconciliation between North and South, which was needed during Reconstruction after the Civil War. 

It appears that this lesson is needed again in the present. To rename Rt. 50 solely because of Mosby’s association with the Confederacy, is to miss the opportunity to teach current and future generations that reconciliation is possible, even in regard to one of the most brutal conflicts of our nation which pit brother against brother.

Colin Wilson

Round Hill


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