Loudoun County Civil War Timeline
1861- 1865 - A County Divided
A Civil War Chronology of Loudoun County, Virginia
From The Loudoun Times Mirror - Civil
War and Historical Edition - Vol 162, No. 46, dated November 16, 1961.
This is a timeline of Loudoun County Virginia during the Civil War. At the time of secession, the eastern and southern sections were predominately Southern in their views, while to the north and west the people were equally strong in their pro-Union sympathies.
- February 13 - Secession Convention meets at Richmond; Loudoun send
John Janney and John A. Carter as delegates, and Janney is elected
- April 12—Fort Sumter (SC) is fired upon, setting off war.
- April 15—President Lincoln calls for 75,000 volunteer troops,
and this swings Loudoun and Virginia public opinion toward secession.
- April 17—Richmond convention passes Ordinance of Secession
by 85 to 55, with Janney and Carter voting against.
- May 23—-Loudoun's division is sharply illustrated as County'
votes l,626 to 726 to ratify secession. Lovettsville and Waterford
areas vote heavily against secession,
- June 9—-Colonel Thomas Jonathan (later "Stonewall") Jackson
orders Potomac bridges burned at
Point of Rocks, Berlin (now Brunswick), and Harper's Ferry, to
prevent approach by Northern troops. Earthworks are: started around
Leesburg (Forts Johnston, Beauregard, Evans), and Loudoun militia
is called up for Confederate service.
- July—Samuel C. Means, prosperous miller with Northern sentiments,
is forced by neighbors to flee to Maryland, and his property is confiscated.
- October 20—-Union Gen. McClellan tells Brigadier General
Charles P. Stone to keep a good look-out on Leesburg from across
the Potomac, and suggests that "a slight demonstration" might move
the Southern defenders of the town.
- October 21—Federal troops try to move into Loudoun and spark
the Battle of Ball's Bluff. The Northern
troops are roundly defeated.
General D. H. Hill replaces the victor
of Ball's Bluff, Nathan G. "Shanks" Evans, as commander of Confederate
forces in Loudoun with headquarters at Leesburg. Elijah V. White
Leesburg, a hero of Ball's Bluff, starts recruiting a company of
Confederate cavalry in Loudoun, calls them his "Comanches."
- February 24—Union Colonel
John W. Geary starts moving his
infantry across the river from Harper's Ferry, establishes headquarters
at Lovettsville. At Leesburg, County Clerk George
K. Fox, Jr. packs the Loudoun County court records into a wagon, heads south.
- March— Union General Hill abandons Loudoun as his forces
are depleted by demands of the Peninsula Campaign. Confederate troops
burn non-portable stores, and plan to burn Unison-sympathizing Waterford
and Wheatland, but Geary's troops press hard and the villages are
saved. Northern troops spread, over County, and Samuel C. Means returns
with Geary, is commissioned captain of cavalry, organizes from Union
sympathizers his partisan Loudoun Rangers, the only Virginia unit
to serve in Northern army.
- August 26—The Loudoun Rangers hole up at Waterford, are attacked there by White's Comanches and besieged in Baptist Church. Truce finally
declared, with casualties two dead on each side and many wounded.
An authentic action in which friend fought friend and brothers fought
- September—Confederate Army crosses Loudoun en route to Antietam.
Sharp cavalry engagement near Big Spring. General Lee,injured by a
fall from his horse, enters Leesburg in an ambulance. Lee, Longstreet,
Stuart and Jackson confer at Harrison House on King Street, and Lee
visits John Janney at his home on Cornwall Street.
Skirmish at Leesburg.
- October 10 — J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry, having ridden completely
around McClellan, crosses into Loudoun at White's Ford (three miles
above present White's Ferry), passes through Leesburg and Snicker's
Gap en route to Shenandoah Valley.
- October 27- Union Army of the Potomac leaving Antietam, crosses
into Loudoun at Harper's Ferry and Berlin (Brunswick) moves south
into Faquier. McClennan establishes successive headquarters at Wheatland,
Purcellville, and Union (Unison). After the Battle of Union, Lincoln removes McClellan from command. December - Confederate John S.
is given authority to organize partisan detachment. He sets up his
headquarters in Middleburg, and raids into Clark, Faquier, Loudoun,
and Fairfax Counties. Starts establishing Mosby's Free State.
- June 17-28 - Union General Hooker moves entire Army of the Potomac
north through Loudoun in largest troop maneuver seen by Loudoun citizens
during the war. (Trivia note: Hooker inadvertently gave his name to
the ladies who comprised the oldest profession in the world by virtue
of his responsibility for overseeing the army of prostitutes (known
jokingly as "Hooker's Brigade") that flocked to the Union camps in
- June 17-28 - At Aldie, cavalry of Fitzhugh Lee and Judson Kilpatrick
fight the war's stiffest small cavalry engagement, ending in Lee's
withdrawal. Further cavalry fighting follows at Middleburg and Upperville,
and Confederates are forced back. Stuart, attempting to follow Lee
to Pennsylvania, crosses Potomac at extreme eastern tip of Loudoun;
the wide and deep river delays his crossing, resulting in trouble
for Lee at Gettysburg. White's Comanches, helping screen Lee in Pennsylvania,
are the first Confederates in Gettysburg.
- July 17-19.—Lee retreats south and General Mead, now commanding
the Union Army of the Potomac, crosses into Loudoun from Berlin (Brunswick)
and Harper's Ferry in pursuit, headquartering briefly at Lovettsville,
moves through Waterford, Hamilton, Purcellville,
Union (Unison), Hillsboro, Woodsgrove, and Snickersville (Bluemont).
- April—Union Captain Daniel M. Keys takes over command of Loudoun
Rangers from Samuel C. Means.
- June—Confederate General Jubal A. Early, grading Washington DC,
retreats through Loudoun with his cavalry, crosses at White's Ford,
rests two days at Leesburg. Union forces converge on him via Harper's
Ferry, Edward's Ferry, and White's Ford, shell Confederates at Leesburg.
Early retreats through Snicker's Gap, leaving 200 wagons and 150
men captured at Purcellville after a battle. Union forces return
- August 16—Loudoun County Burning
Raid. Grant orders Union
General Sheridan to retaliate against Mosby's raids, tells him to
slaves and all men under 50, burn fields and barns (but not houses).
- November 27—Somewhat belatedly, Sheridan sends Union General
Wesley Merritt to comply with Grant's order. Merritt's horsemen cover
most of County in five-day "burning raid," slaughter 1,000 "tatted
hogs," drive off 6,000 cattle, 4,000 sheep, 700 horses, burn 230 barns,
eight mills, a distillery, 10,000 tons of hay and 25,000 bushels of
- December—Mosby is badly wounded and nearly captured at the
Ludwell Lake house near Middleburg, but escapes and recovers.
- January-—White's Comanches accompany General Early on a raid
into West Virginia to capture cattle.
- April 6—Mosby attacks, defeats and breaks up the Loudoun Rangers
at Halltown, W.Va. April 9—Lee surrenders at Appomattox. E.
V. White, now commanding the Laurel Brigade, is among those at the
- June 1—County holds its first post-war election, re-establishes
- August—County Clerk George A. Fox, who has protected the county
court records hidden in southern Virginia since 1862, returns the
public records to the Court House. Colonel
Mosby, having dispersed
his men, settles in Warrenton and begins practice of law in Loudoun
court. Owners of 81 Loudoun farms and estates, all Southern sympathizers,
get a scare when their properties are listed for distribution in 40
acre tracts to former slaves. But in November the order is rescinded.
- Virginia is readmitted to the Union.
- Congress reimburses Loudoun Union sympathizers, mainly Quakers,
with $61,821, for property losses suffered during the war
- November 12—President Ulysses S. Grant visits County, gets
warm reception at Leesburg train deport, and visits Loudoun Fair.