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The gray ghost and Gen. George S. Patton

Posted April. 30, 2019 09:01,   

Updated April. 30, 2019 09:01


Cavalry regiments of the Confederate States in the South exceled in the American Civil War. The one led by J.E.B. Stuart, who was generously supported by Gen. Robert Lee, beat up cavalry forces of the North with their incredible fighting skills and competence. However, the North improved on its combat capacity over time, later crashing down Stuart to death. With the South at a disadvantage, forces cut out for guerrilla battles came on the scene from the remaining South cavalry forces. John Mosby, nicknamed “Gray Ghost” by the North, and his Ranger battalion exceled the North to the end of the war, writing a new chapter of mobile and unconventional warfare in history. Even North Commander Grant acclaimed his competence and leadership.

When Gen. George S. Patton was a child, he used to enjoy listening to war stories from Mosby who turned old. Patton later became one of the heroes thanks to his bold armored forces tactics during the Second World War. Military historians speculated that Mosby had great impact on Patton’s tactics regarding armored forces.

Their relationship is a good example of a student outdoing his mentor. However, it only reflects half the reality. It is not always the case where blue comes from indigo. Many guerrilla units of the North were established, inspired by Stuart and Mosby. William Quantrill in his 20s was one of the leaders who made up a guerrilla unit, which was not within military control. It is more of a group of outlaws. The unit even carried out a massacre on 100 villagers or so.

Quantrill was caught with a gun shot by chasing forces after the war was over, then ending up dead in prison due to complications of injuries. Well-known but notorious gangers during the Wild West, including Jesse James and his brother, were among several survivors and they robbed trains and banks using their skills they learned in guerilla units.

If virtue and vice gave birth to themselves, respectively, we humans would have been able to distinguish what’s good and bad and could have made the world a better place. However, it has not been the case, which thus requires us to ponder upon the rights and wrongs and look around to make a better choice.