CONFEDERATE (C.S.A.) COLONEL JOHN SINGLETON MOSBY (1833-1916) OWNED DOUBLE-BARREL SHOTGUN, approximately 12 gauge percussion, stamped "REAL TWIST" on barrel strap, walnut stock, wooden ramrod. Rear finial of trigger guard engraved "W. J. Robertson to Master / John S. Mosby". Collection label in John Mosby's handwriting, dated 1911, affixed to right side of stock. Reserve. Circa 1860. 48" LOA, 32" L barrel.
Catalogue Note: This present shotgun, likely Civil War-used, was given to Col. Mosby by William J. Robertson (1817-1898), who was the prosecuting attorney in the trial of John Mosby for shooting George R. Turpin, another student at the University of Virginia in 1853. The case resulted in a hung jury, but he was convicted for a lesser offense and served time in jail. The Governor of Virginia, Joseph Johnson, later pardoned Mosby by the end of 1853. Robertson would become Mosby's mentor post-trial and purportedly Mosby's inspiration to become a lawyer. With the help of Robertson's personal law library, Mosby passed the bar in 1855. After the Civil War, Robertson later represented the Lee family for the recovery of their Arlington estate, which was captured by the Union Army.
John Singleton Mosby was born in Powhatan Co., Virginia to parents Alfred Daniel Mosby (1809-1880) and Virginia Jackson McLaurine (1815-1897). He enrolled at Hampden-Sydney in 1847 and, after two years, entered the University of Virginia. During the Civil War, Mosby commanded the 43rd Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, also known as Mosby's Rangers or Mosby's Raiders. Mosby's nickname was "Gray Ghost" due to his quick raids and ability to elude the Union Army, blending in with local farmers and townsmen. After the war, Mosby became a Republican and worked as an attorney. He served as the American consul to Hong Kong and in the U.S. Department of Justice. He died in 1916 and is buried at Warrenton, Fauquier Co., VA. Known as a collector of Civil War artifacts in the later stages of his life, Mosby often labeled the objects in his collection in a manner similar to that found on the stock of the present gun.
The currently offered John Singleton Mosby-owned shotgun was reportedly used in the first year of the Civil War, when officers often carried their own personal firearms in the period between the beginning of hostilities and the issuance of regulation arms by the Confederate governing authority sometime later in 1861.
Very good overall condition, loss of forend finial, minor crack at rear of lockplate.
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From a Charles Town, WV private collection.