“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Front Royal in Warren County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Execution of Mosby’s Rangers

“The ‘dark day’ of 1864”


—Mosby’s Confederacy —

Execution of Mosby’s Rangers Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, September 29, 2006
1. Execution of Mosby’s Rangers Marker
Inscription. "Mosby will hang ten of you for every one of us!" were William Thomas Overby’s last words to his executioners before the rope tightened around his neck here on Richardson’s Hill. This was the final scene of a tragedy that began less than two hours earlier when Union cavalrymen captured six of Lt. Col. John S. Mosby’s Rangers a few miles south of Front Royal on September 23, 1864. Believing that Mosby’s men had killed a Union officer after he surrendered, the Federals executed them in retaliation.

Capt. Samuel F. Chapman, commanding a detachment of the Rangers, had split his force in two to attack what he thought was an unguarded ambulance train. On discovering that in fact two Union cavalry divisions trailed the train, Chapman tried to call off the attack, but it was too late. The Federals quickly encircled the Rangers; most of them cut their way out and escaped (allegedly killing the captured Union officer in the process), but six were ridden down and taken to front Royal. Gen. Alfred T. A. Torbert, the senior Union officer, probably approved the executions, although Mosby blamed Gen. George A. Custer and promised vengeance on Custer’s men.

Four of Mosby’s men were shot, but two including Overby were hanged, having refused to reveal the location of Mosby’s headquarters. Near Berryville a month and
Two Markers in Front of Richardson's Hill image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, September 29, 2006
2. Two Markers in Front of Richardson's Hill
a half later, on November 7, Mosby ordered the execution of seven captured Federals, most of them from Custer’s command, in retribution.

(sidebar) One of the men executed, 17-year-old Henry Rhodes, was not a Ranger but a Front Royal boy who had long dreamed of joining them. When Chapman led his men through town that morning, Rhodes resisted no longer but rode a neighbor’s horse into battle. He was captured when his mount collapsed, brought to a field just south of here, and shot down in sight of his mother.
Erected by Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 38° 56.198′ N, 78° 11.681′ W. Marker is in Front Royal, Virginia, in Warren County. Marker is on North Royal Avenue north of West 14th Street (U.S. 340), on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Three routes converge on North Royal Avenue on their way out of town: U.S. 340 north, Virginia 55 west, and U.S. 522 north. The three routes turn left onto West 14th Street, and North Royal Avenue continues straight ahead as a narrow residential lane. The marker is just north of the intersection of Royal and 15th Street. Marker is in this post office area: Front Royal VA 22630, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Richardson’s Hill (here, next to this marker); The Bridges (approx. 0.4 miles away); Rose Hill (approx. 0.4 miles away); Guard Hill (approx. 0.9 miles away); Battle of Front Royal (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Front Royal.
Regarding Execution of Mosby’s Rangers. This marker is one of several from a driving tour of the Front Royal Battlefield. The markers are listed in sequence on the Battle of Front Royal Virtual Tour by Markers link below.
Also see . . .
1. Mosby’s Men Executed. Page from the Battle of Front Royal Website. (Submitted on January 6, 2007.) 

2. Battle of Front Royal Virtual Tour by Markers. (Submitted on November 18, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 6, 2007, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 3,174 times since then and 124 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 6, 2007, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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