Front: Laura Ratcliffe, May 28, 1836, August 8, 1923, Confederate Spy, Mosbys Rock, Near Laura’s home was a large rock where she and Col. John S. Mosby would hide message. He seeking intelligence and she providing same concerning troop movements & etc.
Back: Laura Ratcliffe was born in Fairfax City, Virginia. After her father’s death the family moved to the Frying Pan area of Fairfax County.
During the winter of 1861-62 she met Gen. “JEB” Stuart while nursing wounded Confederates in his camp. Laura and Stuart became friends exchanging several letters thereafter.
Laura is credited with having saved the life of Col. John Singleton Mosby. On February 7, 1863 a trap was set near Laura’s home to catch the famous Ranger. A young Union officer boasted, “I know you would give Mosby any information in your possession; but, as you have no horses and mud is too deep for women folk to walk, you can’t tell him. The next you hear of your ‘pet’ he will be either dead or our prisoner.”
The officer underestimated Laura. She went out across the muddy fields in the cold confident she was not being observed. Her path finally crossed Mosby’s, thus providing the warning that most likely saved his life.
Laura provided intelligence for the duration of the war and was never arrested or charged with a crime. She passed away on August 8, 1923 at her home “Merrybrook” and is buried nearby in a small, almost hidden family cemetery which is now on the ground of a Marriott Hotel property.