Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)

Degree Level





Daniel Sutherland

Committee Member

Patrick Williams

Second Committee Member

James Gigantino


Civil War, Fauquier County, Mosby's Rangers, Virginia


“The Cruel Consequences of War” describes how the American Civil War came to Fauquier County, Virginia, a border area in northern Virginia, and examines the effects of the conflict on the county’s black and white residents from 1861 – 1863. Scholars have been writing community studies since the 1960s, but few have examined the region of northern Virginia. While the “traditional” war in Virginia has been studied extensively, the home front has not received as much focus. “The Cruel Consequences of War” helps to fill this void by detailing the wartime experiences of civilians, and the soldiers who occupied the county, in Fauquier. The county was also home to the partisan fighter John Mosby and his Rangers, one of the only meaningfully effective and successful Confederate guerrilla units of the war. The Rangers’ exploits directly affected the daily lives of Fauquier’s inhabitants, to the point that traditional demarcations between home front and battlefield should no longer exist in the historiography since war on the border was not that distinct. Whether struggling to survive under the control of a hostile army or aiding and abetting Mosby’s Rangers, Fauquier residents were actively engaged in acts of warfare instead of passive civilians.

Due to its proximity to both nations’ capitals, and its relative wealth, both the Union and Confederate armies invaded and occupied Fauquier throughout the war. “The Cruel Consequences of War” specifically examines the effects of this near-constant occupation at the grassroots level. This harrowing experience shifted gender roles, as white women were thrust into the public sphere and became actively engaged in wartime exploits while men were miles away or hiding out at home to evade detection (either way unable to protect their families); altered race relations as the enslaved residents of the county learned to operate in a world where they had more options and agency to achieve freedom than ever before; and challenged the fate of Confederate support in the state as many families struggled to maintain loyalty to a government that could not protect them.

Available for download on Wednesday, August 09, 2023