Turner Ashby, born in Fauquier County in 1828, was a Confederate cavalry general during the Civil War. He achieved prominence as Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s cavalry commander in the Shenandoah Valley. Born at Rose Bank Plantation in Fauquier, as a child Ashby often played in the waters of nearby Goose Creek.
He was also known throughout the Shenandoah Valley for his strict adherence to a Code of Chivalry. An accomplished horseman at an early age, Ashby in his 20s organized a cavalry company of his friends known as the Mountain Rangers. The Mountain Rangers were absorbed into the Virginia Militia in 1859 following John Brown‘s raid at Harpers Ferry; they performed guard duty at Charles Town during Brown’s trial and execution.
Ashby cut a striking figure, called by many the “Black Knight of the Confederacy”. He generally rode horses that were pure white or pure black. A civilian in the Valley named Thomas A. Ashby (no relation) wrote about an encounter with him:
He was just entering upon a career that soon made him an heroic character in the history of the Civil War. Dressed now in Confederate gray, with gilt lace on his sleeves and collar, wearing high top-boots with spurs and a broad-brimmed black felt hat with a long black feather streaming behind, his appearance was striking and attractive. He stood about five feet eight inches in height and probably weighed from 150 to 160 pounds (68 to 73 kg). He was muscular and wiry, rather thin than robust or rugged. His hair and beard were as black as a raven’s wing; his eyes were soft and mahogany brown; a long, sweeping mustache concealed his mouth, and a heavy and long beard completely covered his breast. His complexion was dark in keeping with his other colorings. Altogether, he resembled the pictures I have seen of the early Crusaders,—a type unusual among the many men in the army, a type so distinctive that, once observed, it cannot soon be forgotten.
For more information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turner_Ashby