Talk about Southern pride. Australians apparently care as much as Virginians, if not more, about details of Confederate lineages.
Style unwittingly fell into an acrimonious debate between Aussies with a recent story about a one-legged man named Edward "Yankee Ned" Mosby, who settled on an Australian island after the Civil War and died in 1911 after making his fortune trading in sea cucumbers and pearls.
James Gray, an American historian living in Queensland, wrote Style about his search for the distant Virginia relatives of Mosby. He believes "Yankee Ned" was a Confederate veteran and possibly a relation of John Singleton Mosby, the feisty "Gray Ghost," whose Partisan Rangers' guerilla tactics vexed Union troops.
Shortly after Style published a story Nov. 30 detailing Gray's quest, Terry Foenander of Toowoomba, Queensland, wrote in to say that "Yankee Ned" was not a Confederate veteran, nor was he related to John Singleton Mosby. Foenander writes that Mosby descendant James Anderson "has stated categorically that they have no evidence of any of this information, whatsoever, and is now in the process of drafting a signed statement, to be sent to the president of the Brisbane branch of the American Civil War Round Table of Australia, to indicate that these assumptions were only based on the fact of the surname being the same, and nothing else."
Gray defends his research, which is based on oral and written histories, saying Foenander has harassed him in the past without reason. The National Library of Australia, which has archived Gray's Civil War Web site, has decided to ignore Foenander's accusations and keep the Web site archived, Gray says, and adds that the Australian Civil War Round Table supports his side as well.
The John Singleton Mosby Museum in Warrenton, Va., does not list Edward Mosby among his known relatives. The Sons of Confederate Veterans have heard about the debate, says SCV Membership Coordinator Bryan Sharp, and cannot settle it.
"I believe [Gray] would probably have to come up with a little more concrete information proving that lineage," Sharp says, such as service records in state archives.
It is true, however, that a good number of Confederate veterans ended up in South America, Europe and even Australia after the war, Sharp says, because jobs were scarce in the United States during Reconstruction.
Interest in the Civil War remains high Down Under, says SCV Executive Director Ben C. Sewell III. "We almost have enough fellows there to start a camp," he says. Melissa Scott Sinclair
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