Custer hung civilians and rounded up families just north of here. Mosby did retaliate.
“In early August, Sheridan moved south with 36,000 men toward the section of Virginia known as ‘Mosby’s Confederacy,’ prepared to lay waste to the green Valley that had caused so many problems for the North. Advancing with Sheridan was one of his close friends, the commander of the Michigan Brigade, Brig. Gen. ‘Autie’ Custer.
Mosby did not wait long to greet the invaders. In the early morning mist of August 13, while a large Federal wagon train rested near Berryville, Va., a group of men approached out of the fog and started to set up two small cannon. None of the Northern guards paid much attention, figuring they must be friendly troops. Suddenly, the cannon blasted Federal wagons, decapitating a mule with one of the first shells and setting fire to a number of wagons. Mules still hitched to burning wagons ran in terror, dragging behind them roaring infernos.
In an instant, gray-clad cavalry swooped in, yelling and shooting as they charged. It was over in a matter of minutes, with Mosby’s victorious men capturing over 200 prisoners, 700 horses and mules, 200 cattle, and 100 supply wagons. In this manner, was Mosby serving notice that Federal troops had best be on guard in his personal territory.
Grant quickly responded to this stinging defeat by ordering Sheridan to send troops ‘through Loudoun County, to destroy and carry off the crops, animals, Negroes, and all men under fifty years of age capable of bearing arms. In this way, you will get many of Mosby’s men.’
He also ordered Sheridan to hunt down the families of Mosby’s men. ‘I think they should be taken and kept at Fort McHenry, or some other secure place, as hostages for the good conduct of Mosby’s men.’ Grant then ominously added ‘When any of Mosby’s men are caught, hang them without trial.’
Three days later, Grant’s orders were carried out when seven prisoners, thought to be Mosby’s Rangers, were executed.”