First Clash On Loudoun Soil Historical

First Clash On Loudoun Soil Historical (HM1WGV)

Location: Leesburg, VA 20176 Loudoun County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 16.277', W 77° 32.936'

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Dawn Ambush on the Potomac River Frontier

You are standing within the foundation of a shed used for a bunkhouse early in the war. In the spring and summer of 1861, twenty-one men of Capt. William W. Mead's Loudoun Cavalry (Co. K, 6th Virginia Cavalry) were posted here. The lane behind you which goes to McKimmey's Landing, then let to the Point of Rocks toll bridge over the Potomac River. Mead's men partly burned the bridge on June 9 on orders of Col. Thomas J. (later "Stonewall") Jackson, then kept their eyes on the Union troops on the Maryland side of the river.

On the evening of August 4, Loudoun County Unionist Samuel Means of Waterford guided sixty en of the 28th New York Infantry across the Potomac from Maryland below Berlin (present-day Brunswick). On reaching the Lovettsville Road, they turned east toward this outpost.

At dawn, Sgt. Boyd Barrett and Pvt Cumberland George Orrison emerged from the shed to feed their horses. Barrett shouted, "There are the Yankees!" as the Federals charged across the field behind you. Barrett and Orrison dashed for the cover of Furnace Mountain just across the road to your right; however, Orrison was killed, and Barrett was wounded. He and thirteen others escaped, but the Federals captured six men, twenty horses, and two civilians at the bridge tollhouse.

The next day, the New Yorkers burned the tollhouse
and bridge remains as Orrison was buried at nearby New Valley Church. The minister there intoned, "Every soldier that gives his life in this cause will go straight to heaven. George Orrison is in heaven today." The heaven-bound Orrison was the first man killed in Loudoun County in the war.

With crucial roadways, twelve fords, and four ferries across the Potomac River, Loudoun County was "the highway of the armies" during the war. Confederate Col. John S. Mosby's Partisan Rangers crossed here at McKimmey's Landing on July 4, 1864, during Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early's campaign on Washington. Mosby's men cut telegraph wires and looted the Point of Rocks village in what became known as the Calico Raid. You can walk down to the water and see that the river is shallow here.
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Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 at 9:01am PST -08:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 280114 N 4349979
Decimal Degrees39.27128333, -77.54893333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 16.277', W 77° 32.936'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 16' 16.62" N, 77° 32' 56.16" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)703, 540, 571
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 42682-42708 State Rte 672, Leesburg VA 20176, US
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