Mournful Reb employs a strategy that top level Army of the Potomac psychiatrists call "Depression-transfer technique" to disarm and demoralize Union soldiers to the point of being unable to fight. His method involves allowing himself to become captured by Federal troops, and then telling them repeated piteous stories about his impoverished, terminally-ill wife and starving children at home, his crippled mother and hard-scrabble farm, etc., playing upon the natural tender humanity of the Federal troops. He further tells them that the wicked Confederate government has conscripted him to his family's distress, and then craftily implies that Mr. Lincoln's government is also, and that his Federal friends are similarly betrayed. His motto, "It's a rich man's war and a poor man's fight," is repeated lamentably and eventually becomes adopted by his captors to the detriment of morale. Singing in a quavering, reedy voice, Mournful Reb has also been known to employ the songs "When This Cruel War is Over (Weeping Sad and Lonely)" and "The Empty Chair" to excellent effect, causing his captors to pity him to the point of allowing his apparently accidental escape. The compromised Federal soldiers are disciplined, and once within the safety of the Confederate lines Mournful Reb rejoins his command, where he meets his fellow operative "Dagger Reb" (sometimes known as "Reb the Ripper"), seen in the enclosed Alfred Waud sketch.

After Mournful Reb has softened up the Federals with whom he has been in contact, he informs Dagger Reb that the time is ripe for a surprise attack. Dagger Reb (who is 6'7" and 290 pounds) then spearheads a sudden, vicious attack upon the hapless Unionists (who have been led to believe that the Confederate army is as disheartened as Mournful Reb). The virile, frenzied assault of Dagger Reb so intimidates the Yanks that a rout ensues. Be warned: if Mournful Reb is sighted about to desert into your lines, report the fact to the Army of the Potomac Psychiatric Wellness Task Force immediately!