At the outbreak of the Civil War in spring 1861, Maj.Gen. Robert E. Lee sent orders to Col. Eppa Hunton in Loudoun County. Anticipating Federal seizure of the Alexandria to Leesburg railroad, Lee told Hunton to tear up track, burn bridges, and destroy or capture rolling stock.
One of the railroad's three locomotives happened to be here in Leesburg on a freight run. Rather that destroy the valuable machine, Hunton took it apart and loaded it on a wagon. He later described how it was "hauled across country and put upon the Manassas Gap Railroad at Piedmont (Delaplane, Virginia). It took twelve yoke of oxen to move it, and it was used by the Confederates during the war. I felt gratified that I had not destroyed it."
Although no one knows for sure, the locomotive was probably returned to the railroad after the war, then retired in the 1880s.
(Caption) Below: The Clarke, a twin of the locomotive that Hunton captured, spent the war in Union hands.