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New historic site remembers Civil War battle

Wednesday, Apr. 27 by Laura Peters | 31 comments | Email this story

The Civil War may have happened 150 years ago, but it’s not a forgotten war, especially when it
comes to the battles in Loudoun County, most of which are unknown to the larger public.

The Battle of Unison, which happened between two towns in western Loudoun – Philomont and
Unison – and Upperville in Fauquier County, spread over 8,000 acres of land, directly following
the Battle of Antietam.

On Oct. 10, 1862, Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia (South) made their way
through the Shenandoah Valley, while J.E.B. Stuart reentered Virginia through White’s Ford in
Loudoun County and made it to the Shenandoah Valley.

By Oct. 27, 1862, George McClellan and the Army of the Potomac (North) crossed into Virginia
through Berlin, Maryland and over the Potomac River. The Union army made it’s way through
the Loudoun Valley. By Oct. 30, Stuart re-entered Loudoun County to reach the enemy.

“There was an article about Lincoln ordering McClellan, just after the battle of Antietam to
march down the Loudoun Valley,” Paul Hodge of the Unison Preservation Society said. “Which
is right where Unison and Philomont are. They would be more than 50 miles ahead of the
Confederates to Richmond, and by doing this, [they could] take over the Confederate capital.”

This battle is said to be one of the turning points of the war, according to Hodge.
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“It’s very rare for a president to act as commander as chief. McClellan didn’t move fast and was Tuesday, Apr. 26 | 9028 views
stopped by J.E.B. Stuart for three days,” Hodge said. “It created a great national controversy.” Lansdowne resident charged in
connection with alleged hit-and-run
During the Battle of Unison, the North’s entire army was able to force Stuart out of Loudoun Monday, Apr. 25 | 7092 views
County, but he also succeeded in that he was able to kill and capture more Union men and slow UPDATE: Leesburg man dies; son
down the North. Stuart was joined during this battle by a young staff officer, John S. Mosby, charged with DUI/DUID
whose name is quite familiar in Loudoun County. Wednesday, Apr. 27 | 2819 views
Snakehead found off White’s Ferry
McClellan’s actions were what ultimately gave way to the War Department’s decision to remove
Wednesday, Apr. 27 | 2639 views
McClellan from command.
Deputies searching for missing teen
and her 2-year-old daughter
But this was not the only battle encountered on this land. Hodge said that they had their own
battle of about six years against a housing division over making the land a historic landmark Thursday, Apr. 28 | 2327 views
and not allowing development. The land is now put under a conservation easement that allows Time ticks slowly in detection of Lyme
the owners of the land to get tax credit. But, according to Hodge, there wasn’t a lot known about
the battle fought there.

“We wanted to learn more about the Battle of Unison and had a panel of historians to visit
Unison. They all said that this battle was much more significant than anyone had thought,”
Hodge said. Connected

The 8,000-acre land is being nominated to Virginia and National Historic registers. It’s won two
awards, the Mosby Award for the “Heritage Hero” for the Unison Preservation Society and the
Alliance Award naming the Unison Battlefield Historic District as a “Regional Conservation
Priority for 2011.”
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“What’s unusual about the battlefield it’s one of the best preserved rural historic battlefields. News | Sports
Most of the roads are still dirt roads,” Hodge said. “This battlefield has more dirt roads than any
other historic battlefield district.”

Three new Civil War Trail signs will also appear on the Unison Battlefield in Philomont, Unison
and Upperville, starting in May. Like Us
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The National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program awarded the Unison News | Sports
Preservation Society three federal grants, one to study the battle and two to help nominate the
battlefield to the Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historical Places.
The battlefield was just honored by the Washington Sustainable Growth Alliance as one of
several Washington area projects that “contribute to the region’s future quality of life.”

Another point, Hodge added, is that the land has barely changed. The creek they crossed at – Subscribe
North Fork Creek—remains basically the same. via RSS
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“It’s so like it was 150 years ago, amazingly still,” Hodge said. “Very picturesque place, it’s just
what it looked like 150 years ago.”

There will be a celebration on April 30 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Llangollen in Upperville for the new
Unison Battlefield Historic District to be designated. Join Our
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Sun, May 01 at 02:41 PM by Sorry Jeffrey:

RP McMurphy, I am not sure how using a moniker from a central character in

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest makes you any less cowardly than anyone else The Loudoun Times-Mirror
that blogs anonymously. The PEC should know who cut down all of those trees
for the racist developer Wasn’t it 5 to 6 acres along the Potomac? Good thing
the PEC backed CBPO was not in place yet. Walk it like you talk it, friend.
is an interactive, digital replica
of the printed newspaper.
Sun, May 01 at 12:17 PM by RP McMurphy:
Open the e-edition now.

No, I am not and no, I did nothing of the sort. I’m just a Loudoun native who View our other print publications available online.
actually cares about how this county grows and is sick of the lies being tossed
around about PEC and the land conservation movement by cowardly internet

Sun, May 01 at 10:34 AM by James Watts:

Weekly Hello Loudoun Taste
Homes Guide County of Loudoun

RP, Aren’t you Jeff W. and LI? Didn’t you help developer Donald Trump clear
cut 5 acres of trees along the Potomac? I doubt the PEC would like that.

Sun, May 01 at 09:12 AM by RP McMurphy:

Actually, there is oversight in place. I don’t know why you Tea Party fabricators
Bridal Future Health
insist on conflating a historic preservation tax credit in Richmond with a Guide Leaders and Beauty
completely separate land conservation program. It speaks volumes about the
weakness of your case that you rely on strawmen and baldfaced lies to attempt to
get your points across. The IRS oversees federally-claimed donations and the
Virginia Dept. of Taxation oversees state claims. Both departments routinely
refuse easements if they have any suspicion that the appraisal is inflated or
otherwise flawed. Audits are pretty common too… in fact nearly every easement Summer Home Historic Downtown
Camps and Garden Leesburg
in the State of Colorado was audited back in the early 2000s and their easement
program today is stronger than ever. A number of easements have been audited
in VA as well, the vast majority of which are successfully defended.

For the last time, Tea Party friends, the VA Dept. of Taxation has oversight on
whether or not to accept conservation easement appraisals. To assert that the Coming Coming Coming
landowners just throw a number out without any sort of oversight is plainly a lie, Soon Soon Soon
but you anti-PEC folks don’t care. Your MO is simply to keep throwing crap
against the wall until something sticks (case in point: your new-found interest in
African American history in Loudoun). Absolutely shameless.

Sun, May 01 at 06:38 AM by Tax Crdit Abuse - FBI Bust:

There was a recent FBI bust regarding a multi-million dollar fraud regarding
historic preservation tax credits. At least the guy pleaded guilty. No oversight in
place to make sure we do not keep paying for such abuse.

Sun, May 01 at 06:31 AM by Right Thing:

I fully support preservation and open-space, but do it because it is the right

thing to do (for yourself) and at private expense. No need to re-write history to
justify your hefty tax credits. It is a drain on the public purse.
Sat, Apr 30 at 02:44 PM by must we really do this again???:

geez…everybody get over it already! Who needs to develop every square inch of
the county? We have more than enough housing, retail space and office space
——you can’t miss all the signs. We need other things—-things that developing
this property will NOT bring. So instead of belly-aching get out there and work
on something beneficial to those you are supposedly whining for.

Sat, Apr 30 at 10:29 AM by Perry:

SO why aren’t any of the African American Historical groups represented nor
sponsoring the Unison festivities at Llangollen? (btw - Llangollen apparently
failed to pull appropriate permits well in advance for the festivities - apparently
permits, zoning and such violations only apply to the poppers. In fact,why isn’t
African American Heritage specifically commemorated or honored in any of the
Unison puffery to date? Why does the royal throne continue to violate
easements, zoning and other licensing laws and requirements when it comes to
their events? Oh no they aren’t hypocrits. But just in case an accounting of all
the PEC BOD members and associates and county official properties will be
anyalyzed to make sure that all are compliant with zoning and state
requirements as well as easement properties. And while we are at it, lets get an
accounting of exactly how much money is really given to the poor, homeless and
needy in comparison to all of those sacred historic trees. Oh wait I forgot,
according to JT3 the poor, homeless and struggling are condemned for “not
remembering the past”. Guess hunger, shelter and jobs just aren’t as important
but it is a medical known fact that hunger does cause memory loss in studies
done with poor homeless children lacking in nutrition necessary to stimulate
brain stimulus reactions. But that is okay PEC, please do continue to get $30
million dollars for your legal defense fund, your head quarters and preserving
more historic trees - those poor suffering children don’t need your money. Oh
yeh, forget about the great significance of African American heritage in the
piedmont too - even though it is of great historical signficance and should never
be ignored. It sure is easy to hide behind alleged historical treasures but that
sacred ground is tainted with the tears and hunger of the poor, homeless and
needy in our very own county and communities living today - and ultimately we
are judged on how we treat and care for those less fortunate amongst us. I dare
say it is a moral crime to spend millions and billions of dollars on preservation
when there are so many in need amongst us. So please go enjoy your festivities
and do try not to think about all of those children that will go to bed hungry
tonight in our county and try not to hear those tears - but instead think about all
of those beautiful trees and be filled with joy knowing you saved a tree not a

Fri, Apr 29 at 10:14 PM by RP McMurphy:

These anti-PEC posts are reaching Flat Earth levels of paranoia and falsehood. I
always anticipate you Tea Partyers coming here and trying to invent issues, but I
didn’t think you’d have the gall to create these race-based fabrications. Of
course, none of you give half a damn about Loudoun’s black communities until
you can use it to paint a good organization as bogeyman. I guess it’s easy enough
to you to ignore that PEC does work with affordable housing authorities in the
Piedmont. It’s also easy to paint conservation easements as a “land grab” when
they are wholly and voluntarily entered into by willing property owners.

I was proud to read of the uncovered history of the Unison battle. Two of my
ancestors fought there. It is a beautiful area and truly hallowed ground. Of
course, that’s difficult to see for those of you who have no sense of historical
context and choose to worship the almighty dollar. Please, Tea Partyers, take
your reactionary, misguided, paranoid politics elsewhere and stop trying to ruin
the few good efforts at preserving Loudoun’s heritage and history.

Fri, Apr 29 at 01:32 PM by RTK:

“Let them eat cake!” so say the royal swine from the historic PEC thrones to the
poor and humble.

Fri, Apr 29 at 06:14 AM by George:

“The Piedmont Foundation” is PEC’s latest creation and has nearly achieved its
$30 million goal in PEC’s “capital campaign” - in case you wanted to know
where all that money goes…and PS: some of the money is spent on expanding
PEC’s headquarters and a fat legal defense fund and “community outreach” -
but apparently accordingy to AFF - that should not include African American
Heritage or the poor because those suckers are crazy coo-coos and not deserving
of the “good guys” money. Congratulations on getting the $30 million PEC! You
must be so proud. Yup - and the poor folks continue to be jobless, homeless and
without shelter and forget about African American Heritage too - after all, you’ve
saved a lot of sacred “beautiful” historical trees and that is what is really
important and the rest of us poor suckers are all coo-coo crazy bad folk. Below
are Piedmont Foundation Board of Directors (Don’t these names look familiar?)
Be sure to thank them when you see them for the great contributions to the

William M. Backer, President

John H. Birdsall III, Vice President
John H. Snyder
Charles Akre
George deGarmo
Tony Vanderwarker

Thu, Apr 28 at 08:32 PM by JT3:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

We have enough shopping centers and homes. Kudos to the preservation


Thu, Apr 28 at 08:02 PM by African American Heritage:

That’s right AFF - you are the voice of the PEC for sure - they must be proud!
Guess according to the PEC, any citizen is a “crazy coo-coo” for wanting to feed
the poor and appreciate our African American Heritage. You sure did put us all
in our place! Showing your true colors by not supporting African American
Heritage in the piedmont or providing shelter to the poor and homeless? How
many African Americans are there on the PEC BOD exactly? None. But you sure
have saved a lot of trees. How many PEC employees are Afican American? None.
But you sure do have a “beautiful” viewshed. Exactly how much environmental
community outreach does PEC do for the poor and homeless? None, but thanks
for flying around in jets and helicopters and all those fancy fundraisers. fun fun
fun. We owe PEC a debt of gratitude for sure. In fact, will you feed all the
homeless and hungry poor folk that are showing up at Llangollen that can’t
afford the $50 per person “donation” fee so they can be fed on that protected
easement land that is for the public good? Perhaps you could spare some of
those hundreds of thousands of acres to the tune of billions of dollars to provide
suitable shelter, job training facilities, rehab centers and food banks for the poor,
homeless and needy? Oh wait, I forgot the poor folk and African American
Heritage supporters are “crazy coo-coos” according to PEC’s embassador.

Thu, Apr 28 at 05:34 PM by JT:

Aff - you do have it in you and you sure did prove all the crazies wrong didn’t
you by your harsh posts here and elsewhere. You good guys sure know how to
convert the doubters. We will all be sure to avoid your evil eye and swerve our
cars out of your way in those historic cross streets or we may all turn to stone.
Good thing you are the embassador of good will and poster child for
preservation. Yup, you sure make us all proud. Keep up the good work AFF

Thu, Apr 28 at 05:14 PM by AFF:

See what I mean Barbara? You can practically see the spittle all over the
computer screen when the crazies post.

I read my comment and I didn’t mean to come off quite so harshly, to you. I
disagree with you often and completely, but I admire your tenacity and
perseverance and I respect you putting yourself out there publicly. I just wish
you fought for the good guys.

Thu, Apr 28 at 04:39 PM by Save Humans not Trees:

Hey Mitchy Diamond - your missing the point and clearly you are misguided by
all of the green laced koolaid you have been consuming. Think Big Picture my
friend - the conservation movement is in a state of chaos and embroiled in
scandal and Virginians do not trust the puppet masters controlling millions of
dollars of our money. Transparency is lacking and we demand answers and
frankly want those piedmont dirty pig heads to roll for all of the corruption. It is
easy to waive the history flag but folks are very angry and have been betrayed by
the local pork puppets spending money like it grows on those sacred trees on
frivolous litigation and other nonsense. Another historic site is the last thing we
need. Jobs, shelter, food, clothing for the poor and homeless are desperately
needed. Humans must be saved before even one more tree, “viewshed” or
“beautiful”(barf) landscape. Folks are disgusted at the gross hypocricy and want
reform. A tribute to African Americans would have been more appreciated by all
instead of yet another historic (barf) district. And the “celebration” for Unison at
Llangollen in Upperville - what a joke! Lets pull the conservatin easement for
Llangollen and see how many violations are taking place and if permits are being
pulled - I doubt it. Laughable but it is just pathetic and sad.

Thu, Apr 28 at 04:23 PM by AFF:

It’s sad.

Truly sad.

A story about an important historical site, a local site, brings out the ape sh*t
crazy in some of our neighbors. As soon as I saw this story I knew, like flies
drawn to manure nasty smears would soon be attached to this story in the form
of “comments”.

Barbara, you should be embarrassed. Congressional Panels and study groups

given the task of identifying our most important battles fought on US soil in
danger of being lost to history picked these sites. The cavalry battle you site
between Aldie and Middleburg had bodies so thick between the stone walls on
Snickerville turnpike passage on foot was impossible.

Barbara, you’re very consistent in your opposition to local historical preservation

and you can be depended on to post some crazy conspiracy theories about the
Piedmont Environmental Council not necessarily based in fact . However, you
use your name and you’re nowhere near the crazy unbalanced types that
preservation efforts brings out demonstrated below.

I try not to look the crazy in the eye because what I see disturbs me. You’re not
crazy, but I’d forward that Va Historian/Donate to the Poor not to Pig/History
re-writ is one unbalanced individual- Coo-coo for coco puffs. A few cards short
of a full deck.

You’ll never know what pushed this person off the deep end; giving them such
hatred for beauty, history and heritage but in the end it doesn’t matter. They’re
best avoided in a cross the street when you see them coming sort of way.

I think this is wonderful news for Unison and Loudoun County as a whole.
Tourism dollars are pure gravy for the tax base and we should do anything we
can to encourage their presence.

Thank you to all the people who did the hard work in making this designation
happen. Enjoy the festivities this weekend.

Thu, Apr 28 at 03:13 PM by Mitch Diamond:

Oh, and I forgot - someone must have expended a lot of time and effort going
around and burying the hundreds of fired bullets, exploded shell fragments,
buckles, buttons and bits of harness found by archeologists and others all over
the battlefield. Do I need to go on?

Thu, Apr 28 at 03:07 PM by Mitch Diamond:

I think this battle is important, but not so important that a dozen different
newspapers would have conspired in 1862 to print a false account, dozens of
Union and Confederate officers would have deliberately falsified their individual
reports, and coordinated so that they all made sense taken together and many
old diaries and letters from different people at the time were all faked too. Get

Thu, Apr 28 at 01:48 PM by Julie M.:

Mitch Diamond, Do you really think what you read in the newspaper is true and
that the NPS is the authority of truth?

Thu, Apr 28 at 01:43 PM by History re-write:

Gee, the history re-writes/embellishments are troubling. Here is another fiction

—- The Waterford Foundation website states the village was founded in 1733—-
An act of the Assembly dates Waterford to 1801. Eugene Scheel says that there is
no recorded deed to the underlying land to Waterford, 400 acres. Roberto
Costantino, an author that relies on real records only, says the same thing.
Without the underlying deed, how does the Waterford Foundation claim the
village was founded in 1733? No deed, no ownership, no village.

Thu, Apr 28 at 12:53 PM by Mitch Diamond:

I think all the skeptics who see vile plots in everything ought to read the very
good and detailed history of this battle done by the US National Park Service just
two years ago. It documents the significance of this event in our history and the
beautifully well preserved state of the old battlefield. This is something we
should be proud of and honor. Shame on those who want to demean efforts to
remember and honor our history and those who fought and died here.

Thu, Apr 28 at 12:25 PM by Donate to the Poor not to Pigs:

What is really needed instead of fillng the pockets of the rich with bogus
conservation easements and funding dirty pigs are lower income subsidized
housing projects for the poor. A better use of our money would be shelters and
homeless facilities instead of “saving” the trees. I’m sick of the Dirty rotten
Corrupt land trust pigs and corrupt politicians and county officials perpetuating
the land grab when those billions of dollars should go to “saving” humans in our
very own county - yes friends - humans are more important than trees. It is a
dirty secret indeed. So all of you PEC donors that give millions to preservation,
take a good look at yourself in the mirror because the community has no respect
for turning a blind eye to the homeless or those in need of shelter, food and
clothing or heat and electric. Shame. Shame. Shame. Makes me sick indeed.
For example, PEC is off flying around in helicopters and private planes to save
the viewshed and preserve the “beautiful” environment. Hypocrits. Donors give
your money where it matters - donate to shelters and provide shelter to the
homeless and needy - this is the legacy you want to be known for and respected.
Do you really want to be associated with or remembered for funding dirty rotten
filthy pigs?

Thu, Apr 28 at 11:47 AM by PAVE LOUDOUN NOW:

We really need to stop preserving battlefields and start building shopping malls.
Who cares about another civil war battle? Billy Yank and Johnny Reb are dead
and gone. I personally would like to see a Unison Town Center complete
townhouses, apartments and McMansions. You know just like the way Chantilly
Battlefield turned out. I think Loudoun should consider building a monument
to development and make builders pay no taxes. They add so much to our

Thu, Apr 28 at 10:29 AM by Va Historian:

Another land grab fueled by enviro-radical extremists - probably run by the

PEC? JTHG is a cute pet idea to hide behind, but “Conservation easements” are
a ticking time bomb in Virginia run by extremist radical wolves (sounds like the
PEC?) in my opinion embroiled in scandal and controversy. It is time for VOF to
step up and spank their out of control puppet child PEC once and for all. PEC
alleges to preserve agriculture and yet harasses farmers to prevent farm stands
(and yes there is proof) and engages in conflict of interest back door politics (not
just in Loudoun- see Peter Schwartz “Pig of the Year” in Fauquier). Dirty politics
has no place in Loudoun or anywhere in Virginia to the tune of billions of dollars
and we don’t want our tax dollars supporting fraudulent conservation tax
credits, inflated appraisals or frivolous litigation. It is time to clean house and
rid local politics of the rotting noxious pigs oozing corruption and make
conservation easements transparent in every respect. Shame on the donors that
give money to PEC for supporting PEC’s antics!

Thu, Apr 28 at 08:28 AM by Mitch Diamond:

You may want to demean the exploits of the soldiers who fought here - but what
happened is clearly recorded in the newspapers of 1862 and in the “Official
Records” of the US Civil War written by the officers who fought this battle. Sorry
if it is inconvenient for you to acknowledge the truth, but there it is.

Thu, Apr 28 at 07:37 AM by Marge Geneverra:

It’s election time for the board of supervisors.

Time for developers to take out their checkbooks and get approval to develop
wherever they want.

Wed, Apr 27 at 04:48 PM by Barbara Munsey:

RP, the original paperwork filed years ago for the Unison Historic District details
the “three day battle”:

The actual action described here primarily took place in the Shenandoah Valley,
with a caisson having been pursued through Snickers Gap, and finally being
caught and destroyed three miles north of “Union”, as it was either then-called,
or misdesignated in the one dispatch which named a location for the skirmish
involving the caisson.

Over the years, through diligent action, it has grown into the current “three day
battle”, “turning point in the war”, and the reason Lincoln fired McClellan.

Just as the Historic Cavalry Battles of Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville (no
small real estate there either) have now become “the largest cavalry action of the
war, and “the precursor to Gettysburg”.

When I was in school, “precursor” implied causation, not just predating


Totalling all cavalry movements on Rte 50 and Rte 15 during the war surely
WILL give impressive totals.

It doesn’t mean Loudoun is responsible for Gettysburg, any more than a wagon
north of Unison was a three day struggle that got a general canned.

Sam, yes, do some research: that original paperwork is hard to come by these

Wed, Apr 27 at 04:33 PM by RP McMurphy:

Sam, do some research. Most of this area has the strictest zoning allowed in

Wed, Apr 27 at 03:32 PM by Sam:

Hmm… A developer wants to build in an area and suddenly the area of a minor
skirmish becomes an “historic battlefield”. Something doesn’t smell right about

I HATE what developers have done to this county but let’s fight them off with
sane and strict zoning laws instead of trying to change history.

Of course, this means vote out the conservative/developer-owned Supervisors

and put in people that want to slow or stop the practically unmanaged growth
going on.

Wed, Apr 27 at 03:27 PM by James Watts:

Get over it!!!. It was 150 years ago.

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