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Wreak havoc on foes the Mosby way

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

During the Civil War, Confederate Col. John S. Mosby used aggressiveness and surprise to keep Union troops off balance.

Using commando-style tactics, Mosby would locate weak spots in enemy lines and then, concentrating superior forces against those vulnerable points, would break through, wreak havoc and disappear.

He tied up large numbers of Union troops assigned to chase him down.

Mosby used only 20 to 50 men— sometimes fewer—per raid. Once, he routed an entire Union regiment in bivouac with just nine commandos.

Another time, he wrecked the career of Brigadier Gen. Edwin Stoughton by rousting the general out of bed. Mosby then captured the general’s staff (also, presumably, in nightclothes) plus 40 horses, all practically in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol.

“That’s terrible!” President Lincoln is said to have remarked the next day. “It’s easy to promote and replace a general, but I don’t know how we’ll replace those 40 horses.”

— Adapted from Secrets of Special Ops Leadership, William A. Cohen, Amacom.

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