"The Fairfax Raid"
by Mort Kunstler

John S. Mosby
March 9, 1863

As long as I have painted scenes from the Civil War, I have been asked when I would depict John Singleton Mosby, the "Gray Ghost" of the Confederacy. Finally I've done it. And the event I chose to paint is the action that made Mosby famous: the 1863 Fairfax Raid.

I especially enjoy painting a historical subject that includes an existing object, so people can go to the site and compare the historical image with the contemporary scene. The historic Fairfax County Courthouse still exists in Fairfax, Virginia today, and is a picturesque centerpiece to this painting of Mosby's most daring exploit. Historian Brian Conley of the Fairfax County Public Library obtained period photographs of the old court house which enabled me to faithfully depict the setting - which was far more rural looking in 1863 than many people would suppose. In fact, from the angle I present in this painting no other buildings would have been in sight during the war.

Mosby appears in the center of the painting, framed by the light of the court house. He wears the captain's uniform he wore during the raid (even though he was still a lieutenant). Mosby was photographed in this uniform, verified by a handwritten note on the image describing the uniform as "the one I wore on March 8th, 1863 on the night of General Stoughton's capture." The original photograph is owned by the Library of Virginia in Richmond, Va.

The raid occurred at about 2:00 am, when Fairfax was covered in snow. When I discovered Mosby's daring raid occurred in the snow I was delighted. I love painting snow scenes and I receive so many requests for them. After all these years of waiting to paint John S. Mosby, I hope this scene of the "Gray Ghost" during one his greatest feats proves popular with his many admirers.   ~Mort Kunstler

Release Date 1996

 H" x W"
Image Size

 Edition size


Signed & Numbered 19.5" x 23.5" 2750 Inquire
Artist Proof 19.5" x 23.5" 100 Inquire
Patron's Edition S/N 19.5" x 23.5" 250 Inquire


GALLERY  228-324-5022