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Hunting the Gray Ghost, Tour 5: Northern Loudoun

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Transcript of Hunting the Gray Ghost, Tour 5: Northern Loudoun

Brothers'
In tour 2, we'll explore two key aspects of the Mosby story: civilian involvement with the Gray Ghost, and efforts by the federal government to capture the Confederate government-sanctioned partisan Rangers.

Mosby, meanwhile, as the Confederate States Provost-Marshal of Loudoun and Fauquier Counties late in the Civil War, had duties to protect civilians and keep the laws of Virginia and the Southern government in force. Here, you will truly get out on the back roads of Mosby’s Confederacy. The villages and lanes are the quintessential image of Northern Virginia.
in Northern Virginia's Mosby Heritage Area
Hunting
{a sesquicentennial virtual guide}
the
Meet
Born in Powhatan County, Virginia and raised within view of Jefferson’s Monticello, John Singleton Mosby was the ultimate Virginia citizen-soldier. University of Virginia-trained, he was a small town Virginia lawyer opposed to secession when the War broke out in 1861. But when his state called for her patriotic sons to respond, he enlisted, joining the 1st Virginia Cavalry.

He showed extra-ordinary ability as a cavalry scout. At the end of 1862 when Mosby was detached from General J.E.B. Stuart’s headquarters to operate behind enemy lines, he was a 29-year-old lieutenant raised on stories of Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox” of the American Revolution. Stuart’s chief scout, he was given the chance of a lifetime, the chance to prove a pet theory formed through years of studying military history, such as Napoleon’s Maxims. He believed that a minimal number of men staying at safe houses over a large rural area could launch surprise cavalry attacks by day or night when a signal for a rendezvous was given--with devastating impact. Attacks on outposts of the Union cavalry screen around Washington, guard stations, U.S. Military Railroad junctions, depots, trains, and supply wagon trains could not only weaken the morale of the enemy invader—fear is a powerful weapon--but tie up thousands of his troops much needed for operations against the main Confederate forces.

Mosby’s operations over 28 months proved he was right. He became known as “the Gray Ghost” by fearful federal forces, his raids became the stuff of legend, and nearly 14,000 Union troops were tied up by his operations. Some 1,911 men joined Mosby’s Rangers. In Mosby’s Confederacy, he was the law. After the War, stories of Colonel Mosby and his Rangers’ exploits were balm to a defeated South.

Mosby moved on after the Civil War, returning to the practice of law, with his office at No. 1 Wall Street, Warrenton. There he lived first outside of town at a house known as “Road Island” then moved in to town to “Brentmoor” at 173 Main Street. Brentmoor sits next to the Warrenton-Fauquier Visitor Center and can be viewed nicely from the outside. There are hopes it may yet be open to the public.
Mosby befriended Union General Ulysses S. Grant after the Civil War, and grew close to Grant when he was President. He became an active supporter of Grant when he ran for re-election in 1872, an unpopular thing to do in postwar Virginia, where Republicans were blamed for the “War of Northern Aggression,” Reconstruction, corruption, and, of course, being anti-Southern white. When someone shot at him one day in Warrenton because he had become a Republican, Mosby decided it was time to leave Virginia for his safety and that of his children. He took an appointment from President Hayes as U.S. Consul to Hong Kong, serving from 1879-1885. Later, he was an attorney for the Southern Pacific Railroad in San Francisco, working for Leland Stanford until 1901. After that, he worked again in federal service for both the Interior and Justice Departments, being forced to retire in 1910. In his last years, he visited the sites of his many exploits in the new-fangled motorcar (sometimes driven by Henry C. Stuart, J.E.B. Stuart’s nephew and Governor of Virginia 1914-18), starred in a movie about himself, and was generally his irascible, maverick old self. He died on Memorial Day 1916 in Washington, and after a funeral attended by 3000, was buried with his wife and children at Warrenton, Virginia. His grave is the last stop on Tour four.

In retrospect, we certainly do know this of Mosby: a regular Confederate colonel by the end of the Civil War, he was certainly no horse thief but a master of legalized guerilla tactics. Mosby’s understanding of cavalry, of reconnaissance and its value, and of the psychological aspects of war are among the most extraordinary ever to be seen in American military history. Himself inspired by the American Revolution’s “Swamp Fox”—Francis Marion—Mosby went on to be the inspiration for the Second World War’s General George S. Patton. In California, Mosby used to visit Patton’s family and take young Georgie down to the beach below the house to re-enact some of his exploits beside the Pacific. Today, he still inspires Army Rangers with his “outside the box” thinking.
Gray Ghost
Mosby.
Current Status:
Conserved, Park
Before we get started,
you really
must
Thank you for joining the Mosby Heritage Area Association in Hunting the Gray Ghost.
Tour 5:
Created in 1995, this 1600-square-mile heritage area encompasses parts of the Virginia counties of Loudoun, Fauquier, Prince William, Clarke, and Warren. John Singleton Mosby was chosen as the figurehead of the heritage area due to the recognition of “Mosby’s Confederacy” nationwide in television, documentaries, books and magazine articles, and his importance to Civil War and post-Civil War American history. Here the story of “the Gray Ghost” played out.

Yet the Mosby Heritage Area encompasses more than just the story of Mosby. With numerous Civil War battlefields, including First and Second Manassas, Ball’s Bluff, Philomont and Unison, Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville, Bristoe Station, the Buckland Races, and Auburn, it is a wonderful place to understand the cost of Civil War. Here was the slave belt terrified before the war by John Brown’s nearby Harpers Ferry Raid of 1859. Here African-Americans toiled in slavery, escaped to fight in the Civil War, and built new schools, churches, and communities afterwards. Here Quakers quietly resisted slavery and supported the wartime Union. Still standing are some of Virginia’s finest historic homes that define the very image of Virginia. The Mosby Heritage Area features heart-catching “lay of the land”, indigenous architecture, handsome farms, distinctive speech, historical villages and small towns, miles of small country roads, the Shenandoah River and the world-famous gentle Blue Ridge and its misty foothills. These provide the backdrop to the Mosby Heritage Area’s distinction as “hallowed ground” for the many who fought and died here in the crucible of Civil War. The Mosby Heritage Area Association promotes and supports the preservation of the historic, cultural, and scenic resources of the Mosby Heritage Area. Our heritage outreach education program is crucial to this mission.

Visit us at www.mosbyheritagearea.org.
Welcome to the
Mosby Heritage Area
photo from the National Archives collection
press the right arrow on your
computer keyboard to begin the tour
touch the right side of the screen
on your ipad to begin tour
OR
The
W
ar
Stop 3:
W
Stop
Potts-Neer
Stop 7:
Stop 11:
McKimmey's Landing,
Stop 12:
The Catoctin Mill
Stop
13:

Stop 15:
Site of
Flemon B. Anderson House,
Stop 1:
Bellfield,
Stop
Stop 5:
Mobberly's
Stop 6:
St Paul's
Stop 8:
Berlin Bridge
Stop 9:
Linden
Stop 10:
Stop 14:
maps provided by the
Music: "Amorous Cello" by Rick Dickert
One hundred and fifty years ago on the winding back roads in Northern Virginia’s Mosby Heritage Area, America’s ultimate cat and mouse game was acted out during the last two years of the Civil War. Determined to defend their beloved Virginia from federal invasion, John Singleton Mosby and his high-spirited militarily-talented band of Rangers waged psychological warfare on Union troops assigned to defend Washington and control the northern Shenandoah Valley. In the shadow of the Blue Ridge, legends were created both by the special operations of Mosby’s Rangers and by their gallant federal pursuers. Mosby came to be remembered as “the Gray Ghost”—the man impossible to capture, but most likely to appear when least expected. Today, the region Mosby dominated is largely intact and may be the best preserved antebellum landscape left in America. Here you can hunt “the Gray Ghost” in the places that defined his lair.
In Tour 5, you'll begin in Mosby’s Confederacy at Atoka and travel up into adjacent Unionist country in the northern part of Loudoun County. Here, Quakers and German-Virginians tried to keep their heads down and endure the War, but many harbored Union sympathies. They seldom held truck with slavery. Mosby saw northern Loudoun as a ready source of forage for his command. Some in northern Loudoun were not so meek, actually signing up with the Union to fight— with Cole’s Cavalry over in Maryland, or the Loudoun Rangers, formed in 1862 in Loudoun. Federal forces ultimately made these farmers and villagers caught between North and South pay a high price by bringing the wrath of fire upon their countryside in November and December of 1864. The tour ends at the Civil War village of Goose Creek, now Lincoln, deep in the heart of Quaker country, who paid mightily during this scourge of civil war. You’ll see fine views of a lovely Virginia landscape and admirable examples of historic preservation.
:
Mosby
Unionists
the

&
home of Kate Powell Carter,
avid supporter of Mosby's Rangers
A part of the allure of the Mosby story has always been the wonderful support of patriotic Virginians for Mosby’s Rangers in the field, either by housing, providing social diversion, or by providing supplies. At Bellfield, a classic Southern plantation, you’ll see the dramatic entry drive and a distant view of the pillared house. Here, young Kate Powell held court with her family, and became mistress of the house upon marriage to George Carter of Oatlands. Kate Powell Carter provided entertainments for the Rangers—food, music, and dancing—and went out of her way to provide forage from both Bellfield and Oatlands for the Rangers’ many horses. She was often joined by Elizabeth Carter, mistress of Oatlands, her mother-in law. This family would provide Mosby with his beloved horse Coquette when he failed to partake in the spoils from the Greenback Raid. The road leading to Bellfield and the entry lane are stereotypically evocative of the stone-walled landscape Mosby and his Rangers knew.
Directions: From Atoka (Rector’s Crossroads), turn left onto Route 50, the John Mosby Highway, and continue about two miles to Route 623, Willisville Road on the right. Travel 1.6 miles on Route 623 to its merger with Route 743, Millville Road. Continue on 1.2 miles to the intersection with Route 719 where Millville Road continues as a gravel route and so should you. The first significant driveway on the right with white fence and tree-lined lane is your stop, the entry to Bellfield. The home and drive are private property.
The Ebenezer Baptist Churches sit side by side beside the old Bloomfield Road, and were well-known landmarks to Mosby’s Rangers. The 1765 one-story stone “Butcher’s Church” was built by some of Virginia’s first Baptists a decade before the American Revolution. A doctrinal dispute split the congregation a century later, and in 1855, the handsome Greek Revival Church was built beside it. Slaves attended both churches, although neither church disputed the propriety of owning slaves by the time of the Civil War as their colonial cousins had. Here in the churchyard, Mosby’s Rangers returned on Saturday October 15, 1864 from a raid the night before on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad west of Harpers Ferry with a tremendous haul of loot.
Directions: Retrace your steps to the paved Route 719 (Airmont Road), turning left. Head north 3.6 miles through the small village of Bloomfield to the Ebenezer Churches set back from the highway on your left.
Or,
We welcome you to continue virtually exploring more of Northern Virginia's Mosby Heritage Area in four more exciting journeys, available on our website (www.mosbyheritagearea.org).
better yet,


come for a visit!

request a hard copy of
Hunting the Gray Ghost
from MHAA &
oodgrove,
famed stop on the way to
where Mosby’s Men
2:
Ebenezer
The
Churches,
“greenbacks”
from the
Greenback Raid
dispersed the
Mosby’s Loudoun Heights Raid
Following a federal incursion into Mosby’s Confederacy on January 1, 1864 by Cole’s Cavalry and the unionist Loudoun Rangers—the morning after New Year’s Eve!--an annoyed Mosby planned a retaliatory attack on Cole. Cole’s 1st Potomac Home Brigade was made up of Unionist Marylanders and some Virginians. It was based a mile from Harpers Ferry in northern Loudoun County on a bluff over the Potomac just east of the Loudoun Heights of the Blue Ridge. A snowstorm that week delayed implementation of the raid, but Rangers gathered at Upperville on a frigid Saturday January 9, 1864 to head north on the hardened snow to attack Cole. Between eight and ten o’clock that evening, the Rangers made it to the tiny crossroads village of Woodgrove. Here the commodious stone family seat of Ranger Henry Heaton hosted the raiders. They were defrosted before a roaring fire, fed well, and given encouragement before departing. Just north of here, the Rangers would divide in two for their famed two-pronged attack on Cole’s camp near Loudoun Heights. Heaton’s father was a well-known Virginia politician and state senator. The nearly hidden imposing stone house still gives the name to the photogenic restored micro-village at the intersection.
Directions: From the Ebenezer Churches, continue north (a left out of the church driveway) on Route 719, Airmont Road. You will continue 2.5 miles to the intersection at Airmont where the Snickersville Pike crosses, then continue on another 3.5 miles to the town of Round Hill. At Business Route 7 at the stop sign, turn right and then immediate left to continue on Route 719 (a dogleg) through the town. Leaving the outskirts of Round Hill, approximately a half mile further on you will come to the tiny crossroads village of Woodgrove where Route 711, Williams Gap Road, comes in on the left. The Heaton House is behind trees on the right opposite the crossroads. You can walk for a view, but it is private property; please do not trespass.
the
Mill,
visible ruin of the Great Burning Raid
4:
After nearly two years of harassment from Mosby’s Rangers, federal forces had their fill. On November 27, 1864 General Philip Sheridan ordered Wesley Merritt’s cavalry to burn the Loudoun Valley—between the Blue Ridge on the west and the Bull Run-Mountains to the east, from the Manassas Gap Railroad on the south to the Potomac on the north. Beginning Monday November 28th, some 5,000 troopers carried out this directive, burning barns, mills, sheds, stables, corncribs, harvested crops, and farm machinery in order to destroy Mosby’s sources of forage as well as his civilian support base. Union cavalry gathered up all males between the ages of 15 and 50 as well as livestock and herded the lot of them towards Harpers Ferry. This mill ruin is a result of the raid.
The mill had been built in 1842—“E.D. Potts & Company, 1842” can still be made out on the mill’s upper left corner. On Thursday December 1, 1864, miller Nathan Neer was not at home when federal cavalry arrived. Tradition has it that Mrs. Neer fed the officers lunch from the Neer home immediately behind the mill, but it did not stop them burning. “Don’t bother with the dishes,” one can imagine was said, for with a prevailing breeze from the southwest, when the mill was torched, up went the house as well, although houses were not to be intentionally burned. The orange scorch marks on the stone walls inside the mill attest to the heat of the fire. The burning would continue through December 2nd and left Upper Fauquier and western Loudoun in ruins. In January 1865, one of Mosby’s two battalions was sent to winter on the Northern Neck of Virginia to reduce the strain on the supplies of food and forage here.
Directions: Continue 2.9 miles on Route 719, Woodgrove Road, to the “T” intersection at Cider Mill and Stony Point Roads. Turn right onto Route 719, Stony Point Road, and the stone mill ruins will appear shortly on your left. NOTE: Because the stability of the ruins is an issue, look but please do not trespass.
Grave
In the narrow valley northwest of Hillsboro between the Blue Ridge and Short Hill, the Harpers Ferry-Hillsborough Turnpike was created in the early 1850s. Along this turnpike, a swarthy young Confederate guerilla plied his trade against any federals willing to enter from nearby Harpers Ferry. John Mobberly, often portrayed as a cruel bully, had been a member of E.V. White’s 35th Virginia Cavalry, and is even listed among Mosby’s Command. However, he often acted independently with his own gang. He is known to have lured federal cavalry “Between the Hills” as it was called by standing on Loudoun Heights and shooting into Harpers Ferry--having set up a road block for an ambush several miles down the valley on a curve. His friend Magnus Thompson said that Mobberly was “reckless beyond all reason and fearless of danger; in fact, he courted it.” Some said that he had personally killed more Yankees than any man in Lee’s Army. Others noted his love of horses—and perhaps other men’s wives.
On April 5, 1865, he was lured into an ambush himself on the other side of Short Hill west of the village of Lovettsville where he had gone to see about a horse. He was gunned down by three marksmen hired by the Union Army and paid $1,000 a piece. His body was brought to Harpers Ferry and suspended by the heels before General Stevenson’s headquarters as a sort of lurid display. Souvenirs were taken from the body by Union soldiers.
Directions: Retrace your route from the mill to the Woodgrove Road/Cider Mill Road intersection and continue on Cider Mill Road about a mile to its end at Route 9, the Charles Town Turnpike. Turn left (west) on Route 9 and go approximately one mile to the stoplight, bearing right onto Route 671, Harpers Ferry Road. The tiny, unmarked Salem Church and cemetery will appear on the left just beyond the top of the long hill rising from Route 9. It is stone with dark green shutters. The cemetery is immediately beyond, with a tiny place carved out off the highway to nose in your vehicle. Turn in and out of this cemetery with great caution.
NOTE: Just north along Route 671 is a Virginia Civil War Trails marker indicated on the right. The sign tells about John Mobberly and sits a short way in on the entry lane to Breaux Vineyards.

Buried at the stone Salem Church not long after, his funeral was surprisingly large and featured a parade to Hillsboro and back. Look for the poem on the reverse of his tombstone claiming that “The stranger will say, as he lingers around, ‘tis the grave of a hero, 'tis liberty's mound . . .” Mobberly may be testimony that while Mosby had exacting standards for his men, on their own patrols in between rendezvous, some of his men may have operated in less restricted modes. Salem Church cemetery can be visited but the church is private.
Lutheran Church
at Neersville,
stopping point on the
Loudoun Heights Raid
This simple yet handsome stone church built in 1835 was a well-known landmark along the Harpers Ferry-Hillsborough Turnpike. It is Between-the-Hills lore that Mosby’s men stopped here briefly about midnight before making the final leg of their journey to attack Cole’s Cavalry four miles north early on January 10, 1864. They were a half-frozen lot, as it was one of the coldest nights in many months. Beyond the church, Mosby led his men east towards the lip of Short Hill—perhaps on today’s Snider’s Lane, Rout 684—and then north to the Potomac. From there, they could sneak along the river bank and up the bluff to Cole’s Camp on the plateau of Loudoun Heights overlooking the river. There are still services in historic St. Paul’s. The cemetery is open to the public. NOTE: Loudoun militia units from Leesburg marched by this church on October 18, 1859 to relieve Harpers Ferry from John Brown’s Raid. Also, artist Keith Rocco’s Civil War painting “Mosby’s Rangers” depicting the Loudoun Heights Raid has this picturesque church in the background.
Directions: Continue 2.7 miles north on Route 671 to the stone church on the left shortly past Sagle Road.
Cole’s headquarters
the Loudoun Heights Camp
&
On a plateau above the Potomac just east of the Harpers Ferry-Hillsborough Turnpike was encamped Major Henry Cole’s 1st Potomac Home Brigade early on the morning of January 10, 1864. They were to act as an early warning system and defense for the Union garrison at Harpers Ferry. Cole’s headquarters was across the turnpike, just on the lip of the towering Loudoun Heights, a part of the Blue Ridge. Mosby’s attack was not to come from the south although it originated there. Rather, it was to have slipped north around the camp to come from the direction of Harpers Ferry and the river in two prongs. One prong, led by Mosby, would be led against the camp—climbing up the bluff-like plateau from the river—and the other, led by scout Frank Stringfellow, was to come from the direction of Harpers Ferry on the Harpers Ferry-Hillsborough Turnpike against Cole’s headquarters. Thus, there was to be a strike from the northeast (Mosby) and a strike from the northwest (Stringfellow).
Shots of pickets on the Harpers Ferry-Hillsborough Turnpike aroused Cole, who escaped from his headquarters by the time Stringfellow reached them. Stringfellow thus turned east to attack the camp across the turnpike. But the camp was aroused by the time Mosby attacked from the northeast. The federal troopers could see the two attacking prongs on either side of them clearly against the snow, and quickly realized that just getting down and letting friendly fire between Stringfellow and Mosby do the work was the best tactic. The Loudoun Heights Raid was a Mosby disaster, but he never forgave Frank Stringfellow. Mosby lost the captain of Company B, Billy Smith, as well as his Company A lieutenant, Tom Turner. Turner had been appointed June 10, 1863 at Rector House, when that first company of Rangers was formed He was left at Levi Waters’ house along the turnpike where he was captured and died within a week.
Directions: Continue north on Route 671 approximately three miles to Butts’ Store on the left. As the highway heads up a slight rise from the store, the third house on the left past the store complex, white with overhanging two-story porches and stone chimney, was Cole’s headquarters. It is private property. Across the highway, a private dirt lane (closed to the public) heads several yards east and then north onto the plateau where Cole’s unit camped. It is still a field, now used to graze cattle. You will see a silver and black Department of Historic Resources sign on the Loudoun Heights raid just past Cole’s headquarters; a tiny piece of the old Harpers Ferry-Hillsborough Turnpike is also still visible near the sign.
the
over the
Potomac River
The brand spanking new 1859 turnpike bridge connecting Berlin (now Brunswick) Maryland and its Baltimore & Ohio Train Station to Virginia was destroyed under orders of General Thomas Jonathan Jackson in mid-June 1861, cutting Virginia from the Union. Accordingly, any federal attacks on Virginia thereafter would require fording the Potomac or building a pontoon bridge. This was done by the Union Army of the Potomac in October 1862 after Antietam and in July 1863 after Gettysburg, as shown. Mosby’s Rangers used the fords when they needed to cross, or quiet efforts in small boats to lonely places along the river. An old road they knew ran along the Virginia shore upriver (to the right in this photo) to Harpers Ferry. That road was used in their attack on Cole’s Cavalry at Loudoun Heights in January 1864.
Federal forces guarded the river crossings to Maryland, in effect making sure no goods from the Free State could reach the beleaguered “Mosby’s Confederacy” in Loudoun and Fauquier—even to aid Unionist families.

Directions: Take Maryland Route 478 through the small crossroads village of Knoxville, turning right there at the intersection to head to Brunswick, known as Berlin during the Civil War. When you come in to Brunswick, you will be on Potomac Street. Look up for the overpass; take the first left beyond it, Maryland Avenue, which goes out to a roundabout (rotary/circle). You will be coming in at five o’clock on the circle; go counterclockwise around the circle to leave at seven o’clock for the bridge over the Potomac to Virginia. Once up on the bridge, look left and right to see superb views of the storied Potomac. The 1859 bridge (in ruins in the photo) would have been just down river (left); the pontoon bridges just up river (right).
headquarters of General
Hall
Farm,
the “Waterford Union
Thomas Devin’s Union
cavalry brigade during the
winter of 1865, and home of
Linden Hall, started in the 1790s, straggles back from the Berlin Turnpike in a series of yellow red-roofed additions. It was the home of a prosperous cattle farmer, Armistead Filler, who waffled back and forth between Union and Confederate sentiments as it was useful, but mostly sided with the Union. It is said he was a busy smuggler of goods from across the river, a key piece of activity in Mosby’s Confederacy. From January 1st to February 24, 1865 General Thomas C. Devin’s 2nd Cavalry Brigade of six regiments (including the 1st New York Dragoons, the 6th and 9th New York Cavalry, and the 17th Pennsylvania cavalry) encamped in a circle about the village of Lovettsville just to the south, including on this farm. This was largely because it had been spared by the burning raid in November-December and thus had forage for cavalry horses. With the Mosby threat, 2,500 federal cavalrymen could be useful here in northern Loudoun. Devin made his headquarters at this farm, Linden Hall.
Here, earlier in the war on March 12, 1863, in a storied incident of Loudoun history, Armistead Filler’s early spring ball was invaded by members of the 35th Virginia Cavalry seeking to arrest Taylorstown miller Henry Williams to appear in a murder trial. They found members of the Unionist Loudoun Rangers at the ball, and Sgt. Flemon B. Anderson was captured immediately. Anderson’s lovely sister Mollie intervened, promising to dance with Lt. Richard C. Marlowe of the 35th for the rest of the evening if he would parole her brother rather than send him on to Richmond to be a prisoner-of-war. Marlowe took her up on it, and was good to his word. Anderson would later be exchanged. But he later led a Loudoun Ranger raid on a Confederate winter ball at Washington Van Deventer’s at Locust Grove (“Liberty Hall”) east of Hamilton on March 4, 1864 in which there were significant Confederate casualties among members of the 6th Virginia Cavalry—Gabriel Braden wounded, his brother Hector killed, and a female cousin wounded among others. Flemon B. Anderson would be seen as no gentleman by his Southern counterparts thereafter, which will bring an awful end to this story at STOP 13 on Christmas Eve, 1864. Typically for this area, Anderson and the Bradens were cousins.
Directions: Arriving across the bridge from Berlin into the Old Dominion, drive 1.3 miles to the first large farmhouse on your left. In yellow with a red roof and surrounded by stone ruins, this is Linden Hall Farm. Linden Hall Farm as of 2013 is a self-catering bed and breakfast.
Lovettsville,
Unionist Stronghold
Three miles south of the Potomac is the town of Lovettsville, known as “the German settlement” due to its colonial antecedents. The Loudoun Rangers--a Union cavalry and scouting unit raised in the summer of 1862 by Captain Samuel Means, a Unionist miller from nearby Waterford, actively recruited here. Union troops crossing the Potomac often noted the Union flags flying here as they entered this first Virginia village on the road south. While the town has grown somewhat in recent years, the main street (“Broad Way”) still clearly shows the German origin of the settlement. Mosby’s men despised the Loudoun Rangers, and particularly these non-slave owning German-Virginians that would support the invading federal enemy. The 2,500-strong Union cavalry under General Thomas C. Devin based about Lovettsville during the winter of 1865 was hit in an ill-fated January 17th nighttime attack on a camp a mile-and-a-half from town. Some of Mosby’s men, the infamous John Mobberly, and members of the 35th Virginia Cavalry came from over the Short Hill to the west, not aware of the vast size of the federal encampment. The federal cavalry “cleaned their clock.” The locals were rather pleased.
Directions: Coming into Lovettsville, another mile south from Linden Hall, you will be met by the infamous “squirkle”—a roundabout of sorts, with stop signs. You will see a Virginia Civil War Trails sign on your left coming into the squirkle; pull over to the right to park in order to read the sign which pertains to the Unionist Loudoun Rangers raised in the town. To see Lovettsville and continue your tour, go almost completely around the squirkle until you are facing a 7-11 store; there turn right onto Lovettsville’s main street, Broad Way. You will see homes of German architecture and a Virginia Civil War Trails sign on your right at Loudoun Street.
launching point for the Point of Rocks Calico Raid, July 1864
Standing along the Potomac River at McKimmey’s Landing, you can brilliantly see the Point of Rocks across the river, a well-known native-American landmark and trading place. The current lane into the boat launch is placed almost exactly where the road wound to the Point of Rocks Bridge until it was destroyed on General Thomas J. Jackson’s orders in mid-June 1861. On picket post, the first man to die in the Civil War on Loudoun soil died here August 5, 1861 where the boat launch lane intersects with the paved Route 672 from Lovettsville. Cumberland George Orrison was a member of the Loudoun Cavalry (Confederate) killed by members of the 28th New York “Niagara Rifles” who had crossed the river for a dawn attack. Crucially, the New Yorkers were guided by Union-sympathizing Waterford miller Samuel Means. This might explain the subsequent enmity Mosby’s men had for Means and his later Unionist unit, the Loudoun Rangers. It was also from McKimmey’s Landing on July 4, 1864 that Mosby’s men launched an attack against the Union garrison at the Point of Rocks, working to coordinate with Confederate General Jubal Early’s July 1864 attack on Washington. Mosby’s men forded just below the island to your left that divides the river west of this location. Meanwhile, Mosby had a 12-pounder cannon placed on the raised plateau behind you to cover his troop movement.
Mosby’s command successfully crossed, cutting telegraph lines along the B & O Railroad, running off some 250 Union cavalry of Cole’s Cavalry and the Loudoun Rangers, and disrupting a U.S. Treasury Department employees Fourth of July picnic on the C & O canal boat Flying Cloud. The federal camp was destroyed and Point of Rocks’ mercantile establishments were looted, giving rise to the name “Calico Raid”—many a girl in Mosby’s Confederacy received cloth, a new dress, or the latest hat after the raid. Point of Rocks merchants were friendly with Loudoun’s Unionists, and a few were escapees from Confederate Loudoun, so bore the wrath of the Rangers. Unfortunately, a young woman watching the skirmishing from her porch across the river was hit by a stray round. The death of the bullet-pierced maiden, 18-year-old Hester Ellen Fisher, did little to build support for Mosby or the Confederate cause on the Maryland side of the river. Skirmishing continued back and forth across the river the following day with the 8th Illinois Cavalry.
NOTE: When leaving the site, events were put in action ending with the Mount Zion Church fight July 6th (Tour 1, STOP 1).

Directions: Continuing west down Broad Way, the main street of Lovettsville, follow the road curving left just beyond the community center. This becomes Lovettsville Road, Route 672, and heads to the next stop. Approximately 7 miles east of Lovettsville, Route 672 ends at U.S. Route 15, but immediately before it does, a Virginia public boat landing is on the left. Turn left down this lane to McKimmey’s Landing, park in the parking lot, and walk to the river. The actual “Point of Rocks”, an Indian landmark, is clearly visible as a large rock outcrop across the Potomac. The village of Point of Rocks is to the right of the outcrop.
Unionist James Downey
and a failed raid
home of prominent Virginia
James Downey was a forthright Unionist, elected Speaker of the House of Delegates of the Unionist Virginia government that met in Alexandria even after the departure of Virginia’s western counties into the new state of West Virginia in 1863. Here, he ran a mill as well as a distillery. Downey’s son-in-law, Charles Webster, who had lived here for a time, was the sometime drillmaster for the Unionist Loudoun Rangers. Ultimately, Webster was arrested for the murder of James Simpson, captain of Company I of the local 8th Virginia Infantry (Confederate), tried and sentenced to hang in Richmond. He tried to jump from the third floor of Libby Prison the night before his slated execution, broke both legs, and was therefore hanged while sitting in a chair the next day, April 10, 1863. Downey’s distillery was frequented by soldiers of both sides, and Downey’s daughters had a good ear for intelligence, often passed on to federal authorities. Now John S. Mosby was a teetotaler, working to keep his Rangers from drinking “the hard stuff,” though often with minimal success. [Mosby referred to his band as “my Tam O’Shanter Rangers” in reference to Scottish poet Robert Burns poem about a rough night’s walk home after a night at the pub by one Ranger-likeTam.]
Further, whiskey used grain, crucial as fodder for Confederate cavalry and Mosby’s large number of captured horses. On March 30, 1865, a small detail of Rangers led by Quartermaster Wright James was sent on a “corn raid” to James Downey’s distillery, known locally as “Downey’s Still House,” along the Catoctin Creek near Taylorstown. Their orders were to burn it, as the distillery used grain needed for forage for the hundreds of horses of Mosby’s command, and because Downey was the Speaker of the House of the Unionist government of Virginia at the time. Before they burned the still house, the Rangers decided to drink their fill of the fine stuff. It was “good stuff” but their downfall; for impaired, they easily fell victim to an attack of the local Unionist Loudoun Rangers and seven--including Quartermaster Wright James--were captured. Neither the mill nor distillery are still standing, but Downey’s house opposite Catoctin Creek is still a handsome landmark. You can see where the mill and distillery once were.
Directions: Coming out of the lane from McKimmey's Landing, look for a road visible across the paved rpad heading up the mountain - Furnace Mountain Road. Take this windy three-mile road to Taylorstown. This road was used regularly by Mosby's Rangers and the Loudoun Rangers as a way along the side of Furnace Mountain. Turning right onto the paved Taylorstown Road from the gravel Furnace Mountain Road, go through the village of Taylorstown, past Loudoun’s oldest house (Hunting Hill, 1737, on the right just past the closed store) and the 1798 stone Taylorstown Mill (just before the bridge over Catoctin Creek on the left). On the far side of Catoctin Creek, turn left onto Route 663, Downey Mill Road. This lovely gravel road follows Catoctin Creek to Downey Mill, just under a mile down the road. Many people park in the lot beside the bridge, where Downey Mill Road begins, and walk to the Downey home and mill/distillery site. It is one of the Mosby Heritage Area’s most scenic walks. The Downey house sits where the road today presents a horseshoe; the mill and distillery were across the road.
The
site of a Christmas Eve tragedy in 1864
Here on Christmas Eve 1864, Sergeant Flemon B. Anderson and two friends of the Loudoun Rangers returned to visit his mother at a house between Taylorstown and Waterford, unionist country. A celebration was soon put together, with food, music, and dancing. Anderson fiddled, with his new fiancée beside him. At just after 10:00 p.m. a patrol from Mosby’s Rangers and E.V. White’s cavalry battalion went by and saw the federal cavalry saddles on the horses tied outside the house. They crashed the party, led by Wes Auldridge and Gabe Braden. Mosby’s men knew Anderson, with whom they had a history (see STOP 9). Anderson bolted, heading to the back kitchen. His saber hook caught on a kitchen chair, making it impossible to get out the back door. He turned to face his pursuers and was gunned down as his mother screamed. Suffice to say, he never saw Christmas day. Flemon was buried in Union Cemetery in Waterford the day after Christmas as his mother and fiancée watched. These men all knew each other before the war.
Directions: Return to Taylorstown Road at the bridge from the Downey home, turning right and climbing the hill into the village to the first right, Loyalty Road (Route 665). Some three miles south through lovely countryside, you will come to Bald Hill Road on the left. Loyalty Road then pitches downhill and curves to the right; there on the left set back behind an elaborate stone wall is the now Victorianized Flemon B. Anderson house where “FB” died across the road from the house.
House and Mill
Samuel C. Means
at Waterford
of Loudoun Rangers
Captain
Sam Means had bought the 1831 Waterford Mill in 1857, and moved into a stone and brick house on Bond Street that overlooked the mill. Married to a Quaker wife—Waterford had been founded as a Quaker settlement and still had many Quakers by 1861--Means had ambivalent feelings about the coming war, except as to how it might impact his business. Ultimately, excessive Confederate pressure to declare his sympathies caused him to bolt across the river in early July 1861. He would help lead a raid of federal soldiers across the Potomac against a Confederate picket post at McKimmey’s Landing early on August 5, 1861 (see STOP 11), earning the enduring enmity of many Loudouners, as the victims of the raid were local boys. Confederate forces subsequently had the Means’ house watched should “the traitor Means” return. Pt. William E. "Billy" Grubb of Co. K 6th Virinia Cavalry watching the house in late October 1861 was found dead the next morning, increasing the stories about Means. Samuel Means approached federal authorities about establishing a Loudoun Unionist cavalry unit early in 1862 that could act as scouts for the Union army entering the region, but also act as protection for northern Loudoun’s Quaker and German populations in the Waterford-Taylorstown-Lovettsville area.
The unit was authorized on June 20, 1862, and men were recruited at Waterford, Lovettsville, Goresville (across the Catoctin mountain range to the east, near today’s Lucketts), and Taylorstown. The Independent Loudoun Rangers would be a constant thorn in Mosby’s side, although more often than not, they were bested by the highly skilled horsemen of Mosby’s command. The Waterford Mill was spared by Union troops during the Great Burning Raid of late autumn 1864. For a time a century later, the Means house was the home of noted Civil War historian John E. Divine. The village of Waterford would become the first National Historic Landmark village in the United States, its restoration a labor of love of its citizens guided by the non-profit Waterford Foundation.
Directions: Continue south on Loyalty Road from the Flemon Anderson House until entering the village of Waterford about two miles further on. At the “V” in the road just beyond the modern elementary school, bear right, and continue to the stop sign in the middle of the village. Turn right again, and in several hundred yards where the road curves, you will see the four-story mill on the left, the stone and brick Means house across the main street on the dirt Bond Street. Don’t confuse it with the stately brick Mill End, an earlier mill owner’s home across the street on a towering hill. Today, a white clapboard African-American church of 1891 sits across the lane from Means’ house, between the mill and Sam and Rachel Means’ home. There is a place to park just a little beyond the mill on the right, and you can walk back to read the interpretive signs.
Loudoun
Rangers
Ambush
south edge of Waterford
Mosby
on the
on the
Here on Tuesday May 17, 1864 Mosby’s Rangers did battle with their local nemesis, the Unionist Loudoun Rangers, many of them from Waterford, Taylorstown, and Lovettsville. Rangers lured the Unionists encamped that day at Waterford several hundred yards south out of Waterford to an ambush. Secondary fighting later developed on the ridge by today's modern Waterford Elementary School. The Unionists received a drubbing. Loudoun Ranger Charles Stewart lay in this road after the fight, and local doctor Bond was run off by the arrival of the renegade Confederate guerilla group led by John Mobberly, who cruelly trampled the badly wounded Unionist by going back and forth over him with his horse. Stewart survived, thanks to Dr. Bond. He would be one of three local men hired to ambush Mobberly in April 1865, which they succeeded in doing, killing Mobberly at the Luther Potterfield Farm west of Lovettsville on April 5th (see STOP 5 earlier in this tour).
Directions: Reversing direction and retracing your way through the village, at the confusing intersection by the post office where you are faced with three roads, take the right-hand one. Being careful not to speed and to actually stop at the traffic-calming stop signs, take this road to the “T” intersection at Clarke’s Gap Road, Route 662. Turn right, and you are immediately in the midst of the ambush site.
Stop 16:
"Katy’s Hollow”
the Mosby ambush near Hamilton,
Tuesday, March 21, 1865

They did heavy damage. Mosby’s men pursued the federal cavalry as far as Hamilton. Two over-eager teenaged Rangers charging on were killed when they hit a defensive line of Union infantrymen hastily organized at the village outskirts. Lt. John Black, the badly wounded Union leader, was left behind on the road near where the attack had begun. He was snatched up in a driving rain by a Quaker mother and three daughters, who nursed him back to health. To this day, no one knows which family saved Lt. Black, or to which farmhouse he was taken, or to where he was moved. Black would later write home to his wife of his courageous and kind treatment at the hands of Quakers after being left to die by Mosby’s men:

"I have been at two different houses. The first place I was at was an old lady and her three daughters. They treated me as a mother and sisters would treat a person . . . For fear some rebels might chance along and move me south, I was one night moved to where I now am . . . I am receiving every care and attention that can be given anyone . . . Since I have arrived here I have noticed an account of my death in one of the papers of the western part of
Pennsylvania, but when I heard of it I did not believe it."

On March 21, 1865, when some 1,000 federal cavalry and infantry under Colonel Marcus Reno marched out of Harpers Ferry again burning barns to complete the unfinished work of the November-December 1864 Great Burning Raid, Mosby’s men prepared to ambush them. A six-man squad of Mosby Rangers shot at the expedition at Heaton’s Crossroads on the east end of Purcellville, repeated the gesture half way to Hamilton, and then attacked at St. Paul Street in the middle of Hamilton. Company G of the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry gave chase up St. Paul Street and on to Sands Road, the old road to Lincoln. Mosby's men were hiding in a tree line set back from the road in a hollow locally known as " Katy's Hollow" a mile out of town. The Rangers ambushed the Pennsylvanians just as the first major thunderstorm of the spring hit, adding a touch of otherworldliness to the proceedings.

Directions: Continue on Clarke’s Gap Road several hundred yards beyond Waterford to Hamilton Station Road, Route 704, on the right. Take this road across Route 9 where there is a stoplight, beneath the Route 7 Bypass on to the stop sign in Hamilton at East Colonial Highway, Business Route 7. Turn right here, and go through this small town about ½ mile to a downhill curve in the road where St. Paul Street can be seen on the left opposite a business block. Here Mosby’s Rangers lured federal cavalry up this street and on towards the Quaker village of Goose Creek, now Lincoln. Follow them onto St. Paul Street. You will be looking for Sands Road (Route 709) in about 0.9 mile, a left turn which then continues on to the village of Lincoln. On Sands Road, you will very soon come to Battle Peak Ct. on the left. Just past it, the road curves right, but on the left-hand side, the land falls off into a hollow with some trees, now partially developed. This is Katy's Hollow, as best as can be currently determined, where 122 Mosby Rangers hid in ambush on March 21, 1865. Six decoy Rangers galloped past towards Lincoln, with an unsuspecteing company of the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry in hot pursuit.
Ball.”
Stop 17:
Creek
heart of the Unionist settlement of Goose Creek
Meeting,
Goose
Friends
Directions: Continue on Sands Road, Route 709 for approximately a mile beyond the Katy’s Hollow ambush site. You will arrive at a stop sign at the settlement of Goose Creek, now known as Lincoln. You will see tiny Oakdale School to your left, Goose Creek Friends Meeting to your right, and the stone house-like Friends Meeting of 1765 next to the parking lot across the asphalt-paved Lincoln Road. Park across the street by the cemetery. You can look into the current meetinghouse through the windows, and into the school, too. You can walk through the cemetery, too, and see those who endured Mosby’s Confederacy as Unionists. If you drive south down the paved Lincoln Road away from the village, you will see first Samuel Janney’s large white house on your left—it also served as a girl’s school, “Springdale,” which he ran—and mapmaker/abolitionist Yardley Taylors’s “Evergreen” beyond that on the same side. Both are reputed to be stops on the Underground Railroad—sort of Mosby “safe houses” in reverse. Turn around at the next intersection and return to Lincoln.
The 18th century saw many settlers come to Loudoun of Quaker origin, and here at Goose Creek—today’s Lincoln—you will see a stone 1765 Friends (Quaker) meeting next to the cemetary. Across the street in brick is the new Goose Creek Friends Meeting, built in 1817-19, and the tiny brick one-room Oakdale School of 1815 that shows their emphasis on learning. Here in Loudoun, most Friends learned to “play it cool” by bringing as little attention as possible to themselves. Some, such as Samuel Janney and Yardley Taylor, were reputed to have helped with the Underground Railroad. Others, when the Civil War came, just farmed and fed the Confederacy, providing (however reluctantly) fodder regularly to Mosby’s Quartermaster “Major” Hibbs in return for Confederate currency or IOUs. Loudoun’s Quakers believed in neither slavery nor war, but the War found them.
When 5,000 federal cavalrymen came over the Blue Ridge on November 28, 1865 on their infamous burning raid to “burn Mosby out” and turn citizens against him, the pacifist Quakers were harshly targeted as well. The area around the Goose Creek Meeting was a mass of burning mills and barns—even those of Loudoun’s most famous abolitionist, Yardley Taylor. As General Sheridan wrote to General Wesley Merritt who would execute the burning order, “Those who live at home, in peace and plenty . . . when they have to bear their burden by loss of property and comfort, they will cry for peace.” Left in a pitiful state, less than a year later during the summer of 1865 Goose Creek’s Quakers offered to name their proposed new post office “Lincoln” in honor of the recently murdered President who had been in charge of the war that had destroyed them. It worked, and Lincoln,Virginia became the first “Lincoln” in the United States named for Father Abraham rather than for the major English city of Lincoln. These hardy farmers rebuilt quickly after the War, and their rural roads and villages have survived in a marvelous state of preservation through the efforts of many.
Springdale
SpringdaleSpringdal
Springdale,
before we head out, here's a quick
Tour
Tip
Many of these sites are private properties and homes. Please mind these symbols along your way.
Private Property
. Be respectful. Have a look but do not trespass.
Public or public access.
Have a look around!
:
The train they’d attacked and burned (shown) had included a U.S. Army paymaster’s chest with some $173,000 in greenbacks to compensate soldiers. The Rangers divided their spoils here—some $2100 each—and soon the influx of greenbacks in Loudoun and Fauquier caused an enormous spike to the local economy — an example of Rebel monetary policy!
DRIVE-BY MOSBY VIEWSCAPE TO NOTE:

Directions: Continue another several hundred yards down the hill from Cole’s headquarters on Route 671 to its intersection with U.S. Route 340 at the stoplight. Turn right and cross the bridge to Maryland. Here is a superb view from the bridge upriver towards Harpers Ferry. Once in Maryland, you will be taking the third exit in about a mile—for Knoxville and Brunswick, Route 478.
The federal bastion of Harpers Ferry on the Potomac River.
Crossing the Route 340 bridge from Virginia into Maryland, as you look to your left, you will see Harpers Ferry upriver, nesting along the Potomac at the confluence with the Shenandoah. This crucial federal bastion sent federal troops against Mosby again and again. Mosby attacked federal units and trains near Harpers Ferry, but it was foolhardy to ever attack the town itself. By 1863-64, its surrounding mountain tops were heavily defended. In 1864, when General Jubal Early in roared north down the Shenandoah Valley in late June and early July, federal troops simply retired to these mountain bastions.
and Distillery,
home of abolitionist
Samuel Janney
Evergreen,
home of abolitionist Yardley Taylor
Full transcript