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Loudoun County | Rappahannock County

Fauquier County and Warrenton

For information about Fauquier's Civil War sites, stop at the visitor center located just off Route 17 in Warrenton. More info: 800-820-1021.

The following sites in Warrenton and Fauquier County are marked by Civil War Trails interpretation unless otherwise noted:

Warrenton Cemetery
Located across the street from the visitor center off Route 17
 Road map 
    A dramatic new memorial to more than 600 Confederate soldiers who died in nearby makeshift hospitals stands near the grave of Confederate raider John S. Mosby. Civil War Trails sign.

Spilman-Mosby House
Trails signs located at the house (173 Main St, Warrenton VA 20186) and the Warrenton/Fauquier County visitor center.
 Road map 
   Constructed 1859-1861 by Judge Edward Spillman, this home was owned by the famed Confederate cavalryman John S. Mosby, who bought the house in 1875. When his wife died Mosby sold the home to another famous Confederate Eppa Hunton.

Old Jail Museum
10 Ashby St, Warrenton VA 20186
 Road map 
    Good Civil War displays, with some great Mosby items, are included in the excellent small museum. Jail dates to 1808. 10 am–4 pm Wednesday-Monday, closed Tuesday. Free. Civil War Trails sign begins a walking tour of the town.

Thoroughfare Gap
Trails sign located on Route 55 on south side of I-66, near intersection with Beverleys Mill Road
 Road map 
    Major route through the Bull Run Mountains was the site of dramatic Civil War events including those leading up to the Second Battle of Manassas. Trails sign located on Route 55 between The Plains and Haymarket.

Chapman’s Mill
Trails sign at the mill near Haymarket
To get there from Haymarket: Take Route 55 west, then north onto Turner Road, cross I-66, then turn left (west) into Beverley Mill Drive parking
    Built between 1737 and 1742, this massive mill served as a Confederate curing and distribution center early in the war. The mill changed hands several times as the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap swirled around it on Aug 24, 1862. The battle, a Confederate victory, immediately preceded the Battle of Second Manassas.

Sky Meadows State Park (Mount Bleak)
On Route 17
 Road map 
    Beautiful vistas and the historic Mount Bleak, home of the Abner Settle family, are highlights in the park. Stonewall Jackson's troops camped here before leaving for the Battle of First Manassas. Many Mosby associations. Trails sign at house. Park open 8 am–dusk. Inquire about house tours at the visitor center.

Rappahannock Station
Business Route 29 just outside Remington
    The Orange and Alexandria Railroad crossed the Rappahannock River here, making this place a strategic goal for both armies. Fighting Nov. 7, 1863, put the crossing under Union control for the rest of the war. Driving tour information at the Fredericksburg National Park visitor center.

Catlett's Station
Trails sign near the intersection of Elk Run and Fernridge roads in Catlett VA 20119
 Road map 
   J.E.B. Stuart's cavalrymen attacked this Union supply depot Aug. 22, 1862, capturing, among other things, Federal commander John Pope's cloak, hat and dispatch book. Intelligence gathered here helped Stonewall Jackson plan his Second Manassas campaign.

Delaplane (Piedmont Station)
Trails sign located at the tracks near US 17 and Delaplane Grade Road in Delaplane VA 20144
 Road map 
    Stonewall Jackson's Confederate troops boarded trains here July 19, 1861, to travel to Manassas. It was the first time in history railroads were used to move soldiers to an impending battle. Many of the buildings here date to that time.

Buckland Races
Trails sign located on Colonial Road in Park-and-Ride lot just off US 29
 Road map 
   Trap sprung by Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry on approaching Union counterparts Oct. 18–19, 1863, resulted in precipitous Federal withdrawal. Part of the end of the Bristoe Station campaign.

Marshall (historic Salem)
   Trails sign features John Singleton Mosby's Confederate raiders who fought (Oct. 5, 1864) and finally disbanded (April 21, 1865) here. Stonewall Jackson marched through here and was cheered silently on his way to the Battle of Second Manassas. More information at the nearby Fauquier Heritage Society.

Trails sign located at intersection of Maidstone and Lost Corner roads in Rectortown VA
 Road map 
    Sprawling Union campground around the small railroad town where Federal commander Gen. George McClellan was relieved of command, replaced by Gen. Ambrose Burnside, Nov. 7, 1862.

Town of The Plains
Trails sign located at Fauquier Avenue and Main Street, The Plains VA 20198
 Road map 
   Located on the Manassas Gap Railroad and the Warrenton Turnpike, The Plains was a busy place during the war. Spies of all sorts reported on the movements of campaigning armies (including Second Manassas) as they marched through. Trails sign at intersection of Routes 55 and 626.

See also Upperville in the Route 50 Corridor tour.

Jump back to Fauquier County and Warrenton

Loudoun County

Loudoun Museum
16 Loudoun St., Leesburg
 Road map 
   Exhibits cover history of this rapidly changing area. Much Civil War content including information about Ball's Bluff and the county's role in the no-man's-land of the war. Changing Civil War exhibits. Walking tours of Leesburg available May–October. Open Friday–Saturday 10 am–5 pm; Sunday 1–5 pm. Adult/$3.

Morven Park
Trails sign located at the mansion, 17263 Southern Planter Lane, Leesburg VA 20176
 Road map 
    Confederate troops used the land surrounding the mansion Swan’s Castle as a training ground from the summer of 1861 to March 1862. The soldiers were stationed here and elsewhere in Leesburg to guard the many Potomac River fords in the area. They built log structures here that winter. More than 50 of those sites have been located on the property. See the website or call about visiting the site.


Ball's Bluff Battlefield
Park located west of the Route 15 bypass north of Leesburg (route takes you through a large housing development)
 Road map 
   A tiny National Cemetery and a 223-acre park represent this small but significant battle fought Oct. 21, 1861. Federal troops tried to cross the Potomac River here but were overwhelmed. Pushed off the bluff on the Virginia side, the Union soldiers made easy targets for Southern guns as they tried to re-cross the river. Bodies floated downstream to Washington. Lincoln's good friend Senator Edward Baker was killed in the battle. Walking tours of the battlefield are given April–October on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 am and 1 pm.
   In addition to the park, a Civil War Trails sign locates a possible concealed Confederate battery that controlled the approach to Leesburg from Edwards Ferry. (Note: The “battery,” if it even existed at the time of the battle, which is not known for sure, was not attacked nor defended on the day of the battle of Ball’s Bluff. However, there was a brief exchange of fire a short distance to the east.) The sign is located about 3/4 mile from the bypass on Edward's Ferry Road.

White's Ford Regional Park
43646 Hibler Road, Leesburg
 Road map 
    Two Trails signs tell the Civil War story of this strategic crossing of the Potomac River. Most of the Confederate army crossed here on the way to Maryland in September 1862. The campaign ended at the Battle of Antietam. Almost two years later, Confederate Gen. Jubal Early led his troops back into Virginia here after threatening Washington DC.

Town of Leesburg, interpretation at the visitor center – Trails sign here offers a chronology of Leesburg-area events including stories about the Antietam campaign and the adventures of Mosby's Rangers and their pursuers. More information at the Loudoun Museum.

Lee Comes to Leesburg
Trails sign at 205 N King St, Leesburg VA 20176
 Road map 
    Confederate commander Robert E. Lee arrived here Sept. 4, 1862, five days after his smashing victory at Second Manassas. Lee was suffering from injuries to his hands after his horse, Traveller, bolted during the battle. He met here Sept. 5 with Stonewall Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart and others, planning the advance into Maryland.

Edwards Ferry
Trails sign at 43944 Riverpoint Drive, Leesburg VA 20176
Road map
    Over three days in late June 1863, 80,000 Union infantrymen, 12,000 cavalrymen, 370 artillery pieces and 3,000 supply wagons moved through here to pontoon bridges over the Potomac River. The column, estimated at 80 miles long, was headed north, following Robert E. Lee's army as the Confederates headed toward Pennsylvania. The armies met at Gettysburg July 1-3.

Mile Hill, at Morven Park, north of downtown Leesburg – A surprise attack led by Confederate Col. Thomas Munford on Sept. 2, 1862, routed Federal forces. Trails sign at Tutt Lane, 1/4 mile west of Route 15, north of Leesburg.

Guilford Signal Station
Site in Claude Moore Park (north section) in Sterling, entrance on Cascades Parkway just south of Route 7
 Road map 
   The First Corps of the Union Army of the Potomac commanded by Gen. John Reynolds camped here June 18-24, 1863, keeping a Federal force between Washington and the Confederate army then known to be on the move. The armies collided a few days later at Gettysburg. A telegraph/flag signal station was located on high ground here with a commanding view of the Potomac River Valley. Information about the Civil War history is available at the visitor center. The site of the signal station, its view still commanding, is a short hike away. Free. Visitor center open 9 am–5 pm daily.

Anker’s Shop
Trails sign at NOVA Community College, 1000 Harry Flood Byrd Highway, Sterling VA 20164
 Road map 
    About 160 men under the command of Confederate Lt. Col. John S. Mosby, ambushed Union Capt. J. Sewall Reed’s cavalrymen here Feb. 22, 1864. Reed’s men had been pursuing the partisans for days without success. They were returning to their base when ambushed. Twelve Union soldiers were killed, more than 50 captured.

Trails sign and mansion located at 20850 Oatlands Plantation Lane, Leesburg VA 20175
 Road map 
    Confederate troops preparing for another Union attack after the Battle of Ball's Bluff in October 1861 concentrated on the grounds here. Gen. Nathan "Shanks" Evans made the house his headquarters. Civil War Trails interpretation planned.

Ambush at Heaton's Crossroads,
Trails sign at the Loudoun Valley High School, 340 N Maple Ave, Purcellville
 Road map 
    Union cavalry attacked a column of Confederates under Gen. Jubal Early here July 16, 1864, after the Southerners ended their campaign into Maryland, which briefly threatened Washington DC. The attack captured or destroyed dozens of Confederate wagons, many of which were filled with booty from the campaign.

The Loudoun Rangers
Trails sign at Route 287 and 673 on the Lovettsville Town Square
 Road map 
    The Rangers, composed of fewer than 200 men from Waterford and Lovettsville, were the only organized body of Union troops raised in present-day Virginia. The Rangers clashed frequently with Confederate units with the Southerners mostly getting the upper hand. An estimated 40 Rangers died in Union service.

Loudoun County Court Square
Trails sign at 18 E Market St, Leesburg VA 20176
Road map
    This Leesburg gathering place saw slave auctions, militia recruiting and a skirmish during its Civil War history. The square also served as prison for more than 500 Union soldiers following the Oct. 21, 1861, Battle of Ball's Bluff fought nearby. The Confederate-leaning citizens cheered when Gen. Robert E. Lee and his army marched by in September 1862.

Trails sign at 24 E Broad Way, Lovettsville VA 20180
Road map
    Located just south of a Potomac River ford favored by the Union Army of the Potomac, Lovettsville saw lots of blue-clad soldiers during the war. The army passed through here following the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg in pursuit of Robert E. Lee's army. Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside spent the night in a local hotel.

John W. Mobberly

Trails sign at 36888 Breaux Vineyards Land, Purcellville VA 20132
Road map
    Confederate partisan John W. Mobberly raided Federal outposts and conducted ambushes in the area 1863-1865. Reckless and fearless, he was said to have killed more "Yankees" than any man in Lee's army. A price on his head, Mobberly was ambushed and killed April 5, 1865, and buried just south of here at Salem Church.

"Martin Buchanan, USCT"
Trails sign at the Unitarian Church of Loudoun, 20460 Gleedsville Road, Leesburg VA 20175.
Road map
    When the U.S. Army began recruiting free blacks and slaves for service in the United States Colored Troops, Martin Van Buren Buchanan enlisted. Buchanan, considered a free man, was the son of a free mother and a slave at Oatlands. His unit was assigned to Florida, where Buchanan fought in several engagements. He returned to his family at Oatlands after he was mustered out of service Jan. 5, 1866.

"The Burning Raid"
Trails sign located at the Goose Creek Friends Meeting House, 18204 Lincoln Road, Purcellville VA 20160
Road map
    In response to raids by Confederate partisan John S. Mosby's men seeking forage to feed their horses, Union Gen. Philip Sheridan ordered 5,000 cavalry to burn mills, barns and crops in Loudoun and Fauquier counties. On Nov 30 and Dec 1, 1864, the Union horsemen stormed through the area with torches. The raid is remembered by the Goose Creek Friends, who lost barns, crops and farm equipment and more.

"Mosby's Last Company"
Trails sign located the North Fork Baptist Church, 38130 North Fork Road, Purcellville VA 22132
Road map
    On April 5, 1865, as Lee's army moved west from Petersburg and Richmond, 52 members of Confederate partisan John S. Mosby's rangers gathered at this remote church. From here, Mosby's men launched their final forays, routing the Union Loudoun Rangers April 6 and unsuccessfully attacking a Union wagon train April 9-10. Mosby disbanded his rangers at Salem April 21.

"First Clash on Loudoun Soil"
Trails sign located at McKimmy's Landing, 12449 James Monroe Highway, Lovettsville VA 20180
Road map
    On Aug 5, 1861, a Union raid from Maryland surprised a group of local Confederates keeping their eyes on nearby Potomac River crossings. One of the Confederates, George Orrison, was killed in the raid, the first soldier to die on Loudoun soil.

For more Loudoun County sites, see Mosby Country, Route 50.

Rappahannock County

The following four Trails signs are located at the visitor center, 3 Library Road, Washington VA
Road map
Union Army of Virginia – Nearly 30,000 Union soldiers, part of the newly formed Union Army of Virginia, camped across much of Rappahannock County in July and early August 1862.  The commander of this new army arrived in late July proclaiming, among other things that "...if any person, having taking the oath of allegiance, be found to have violated it, he shall be shot and his property seized and applied to the public use."

Banks's Camp – Following a series of defeats at the hands of Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley, the 16,000 men under Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks settled here in near Washington in July 1862. Banks' army became part of the newly formed Union Army of Virginia under John Pope. They enjoyed a month-long respite here before meeting Jackson again at Cedar Mountain near Culpeper Aug 9.

Charles C. Nordendorf – Capt. Karl Sauer Csaky von Nordendorf, an Austrian composer and military engineer had strange and interesting journey during the Civil War. He served here in the Union army as an aide to Gen. Nathaniel Banks, was captured near Warrenton and taken to Richmond as a prisoner. He became a Southern sympathizer, was released and helped plan the Confederate defenses at Danville.

The Rappahannock Old Guard – Many of the more than 1,000 Rappahannock County men enlisting in the Confederate service, joined up here in Washington. One of the units formed was the Rappahannock Old Guard. The group carried a unique dark flag that was mistaken for a policy of "take no prisoners" at the Battle of Front Royal in May 1862. The flag was retired after that.

Bank's Grand Review
Trails sign located at 6 School House Road, Washington VA
Road map
Union soldiers under Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks camped in and around Washington in July and early August 1862. On July 28, Banks conducted one of several "Grand Reviews" of his troops in the fields here. Within a few days, Banks's troops would do battle against  Stonewall Jackson again at Cedar Mountain near Culpeper.

Corbin’s Crossroads
Trails sign at Amissville Baptist Church, 776 Viewtown Road, Amissville VA 20106
 Road map 
Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart fought a series of running cavalry battles while screening Robert. E. Lee’s infantry march through the Blue Ridge following the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. The last fight was here. Stuart escaped but got a “close shave” when a bullet clipped his moustache.

Sister Caroline
Trails sign at footbridge, 12018 Lee Highway, Sperryville VA 22740
 Road map  
Born a slave, “Sister” Caroline Terry lived most of her life in Rappahannock County. Her owner bought several buildings in town including the Sperryville Hotel (now Hopkins Ordinary), which housed many famous generals during the war. Over the war years, when thousands of soldiers from both sides camped here, she managed to collect many war relics and stories.

“Twlight of Slavery”
Trails sign in parking lot, intersection of US 211 and VA Route 729, Rappahannock VA 20106
 Road map 
Slaves in this area fled to Union lines when the Federals occupied the region in the summer of 1862. Commanding Gen. Robert Milroy put the men to work in various capacities and created a construction company composed of the ex-slaves. A year later, a local slave became a cook for Union Gen. George A. Custer.

Confederate Monument
Trails sign at the Rappahannock County Courthouse, 250 Gay St, Washington VA 22747
 Road map 
More than 1,000 county men served in the Confederate army and at least 115 died during the war. This monument was erected in the early 20th century.

"Kitty Payne"
Trails sign on the Rappahannock County Courthouse grounds, 250 Gay St, Washington VA 22747
 Road map  
Born in 1816 to her owner, Samual Maddox, and one of his slaves, Katherine Payne had to deal with the physical and legal constraints of slavery her entire life. She married a freedman and was emancipated by her owner; yet she and her children had to struggle in the courts over their status. They eventually used the "Underground Railroad" to freedom in Gettysburg PA.

The following two Trails signs are located Route 665 near its northern intersection with Route 522:

  • Chester Gap – This gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains was of strategic importance throughout the Civil War. Both sides sparred for control of the area both before and following the 1862 Battle of Antietam. Union cavalry camped here briefly in December 1864.
  • Minding the Gaps – Confederate troops under Gens. Richard Ewell and A.P. Hill and Gen. James Longstreet’s wagon trains — more than half of Robert E. Lee’s army — passed through here June 11–19, 1863, on their way to Pennsylvania. Following the Battle of Gettysburg, July 21–22, a fight broke out here during the Confederate retreat. Although slowed, Lee’s troops were able to move on to Culpeper.

A Tale of Two Mills
Trails sign located between U.S. Business 211/522 and Rappahannock County Library on the rise above the Rush River
 Road map 
    According to local tradition this area was an informal trading area among Union and Confederate soldiers. The site of large Union camps, the Jett Mill area became a burial ground. The Federal soldiers buried here were relocated later to National Cemeteries.

Mosby and Sneden
Trails sign located at 914 Hawlin Road, Woodville VA 22749 (St. Paul's Episcopal Church)
    Union Pvt. Robert Knox Sneden, who had been captured by Confederate Col. John S. Mosby at Brandy Station, was marched through here Nov. 27, 1863. Sneden was imprisoned eventually in Richmond. Sneden, an artist, mapped and sketched this area and others during the war. His art, some of it used in the Battles and Leaders series, remained largely unnoticed until purchased by the Virginia Historical Society in 1994. Sneden’s art, diary and maps now illustrate many exhibits and books.

Albert Gallatin Willis
Trails sign located at 630 Zachary Taylor Highway, Flint Hill VA 22627 (Flint Hills Baptist Church)
 Road map 
    Burial site of Willis, who fought with famed Confederate partisan John S. Mosby. Willis was captured near here and, after volunteering to take the place of a friend, was hanged by Union troops.

Gaines Crossroads (Ben Venue)
Trails sign located at 13890 Lee Highway, Amisville VA 20106
 Road map 
    About 70,000 Confederate soldiers, members of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, marched past here June 11-20, 1863, on their way to Pennsylvania. Many of them marched back thorough here July 23-24 following the Battle of Gettysburg.

Encounter with Lee
Trails sign located at 698 Laurel Mills Road, Amisville VA 20106
 Road map 
    Confederate soldiers passed near this spot following the Battle of Gettysburg. Oral tradition has it that Robert E. Lee and other officers stopped here a hot July 23, 1863, asking 11-year-old Samuel Browning for water. Young Samuel directed the group to a spring near his home nearby. Confederates used this route many times during the war including marching to and from Gettysburg.

Battle Mountain
Trails sign located at 698 Laurel Mills Road, Amisville VA 20106
 Road map 
    Following the Battle of Gettysburg, the Union army pursued Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and marched south through this area. On July 24, 1863, Union cavalry under Gen. George A. Custer attacked the Confederate column here. A Confederate counter attack nearly trapped Custer's men… but the Federal cavalryman escaped having to make an early "last stand."

Dangerfield Newby
Trails sign located at 698 Laurel Mills Road, Amisville VA 20106
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    This is the early homeplace of Dangerfield Newby, the first of John Brown's raiders killed at Harpers Ferry Oct. 16, 1859. Newby was a free mulatto born to a slave and Henry Newby, who built the house across the road in the 1770s.