“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Middleburg in Loudoun County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

The Battle Concludes: Buford's Flanking Movement & Stuart's Withdrawal

Battle of Middleburg/Mt. Defiance

The Battle Concludes: Buford's Flanking Movement & Stuart's Withdrawal Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By T. Elizabeth Renich, June 1, 2019
1. The Battle Concludes: Buford's Flanking Movement & Stuart's Withdrawal Marker
Inscription.  Under pressure to drive the Southern cavalry through Ashby’s Gap and thereby locate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, Union General Alfred Pleasonton had determined to attack on June 19th along two fronts. General David Gregg’s division confronted J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry west of Middleburg along the Ashby’s Gap Turnpike here at Mount Defiance. General John Buford’s division, meanwhile, would swing around Middleburg in an effort to outflank Stuart’s position and reach Snicker’s Gap to the northwest, where today’s Virginia Route 7 crosses the Blue Ridge. At this time, across the mountain, Lee’s forces were streaming north through Berryville, reached through that gap. To accomplish the task before him, Buford split his division, sending one brigade to Middleburg and then north and northwest toward the tiny village crossroads of Pot House (off to your right, three miles north of here), while the remainder moved from Aldie (east of us) northwest along the Snickersville Turnpike, past the site of the June 17th Aldie bloodbath, continuing along back roads to Pot House.

Buford’s wing, facing Confederate skirmishers at Benton’s
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Bridge over Goose Creek a mile beyond Middleburg, fought successfully, left defenses at the bridge, then pressed on along the narrow sunken roads. As the day progressed, Buford’s brigades converged on Pot House as planned, three miles north of Mt. Defiance. But here, Buford began to encounter elements of Col. Thomas Rosser’s 5th Virginia Cavalry, as well as the 7th Virginia Cavalry coming east from the village of Union (today’s Unison). Rosser was ordered not to bring on a full engagement, so he made a series of “spoiling attacks,” pinning Buford to the small crossroads and hindering further movement west toward Snickers Gap in the Blue Ridge—his goal. Fighting continued around Pot House into the evening.

But at the same time, the sounds of battle from here at Mt. Defiance echoed across the rolling hills and forced Buford to a decision. He chose to send a part of his force south to Mt. Defiance to assist Gregg. The Reserve Brigade he sent included the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 6th U.S. Cavalry, units of the Regularly Army. Heading south, they splashed across Goose Creek at tiny Millville then continued along Kirk’s Branch Road towards the Ashby’s Gap Turnpike, in our right distance 3/8 mile away.

In the meantime, J.E.B. Stuart’s forces abandoned their position at Mount Defiance and were being reposted along the north-south ridge immediately west
Facing Route 50 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By T. Elizabeth Renich, June 1, 2019
2. Facing Route 50
of us. As Buford’s men came south, Stuart became aware of this new Union threat coming towards his left flank along the road from Millville. Soon, cavalrymen from both sides were charging toward each other, meeting in a field a half-mile north of the turnpike to your right in the distance. The race ended in a draw when the two sides confronted each other behind two stone walls along the crest of a prominent knoll in the field. After trading several desultory volleys, a building thunderstorm from the heat of that steamy day struck. Federal and Confederate cavalry alike were forced to settle in for “a very cold and rainy night.”

It would continue to rain for most of the next day, June 20th, hindering significant efforts. But Sunday, June 21st would bring continued Federal probes, with fierce fighting all around Upperville to the west. It would be the concluding day of the Aldie-Middleburg-Upperville cavalry campaign.

General John Buford Library of Congress
The Road to Millville Courtesy of Richard Gillespie
Battle Knoll map
Erected 2019 by NOVA Parks. (Marker Number 7.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the NOVA Parks series list. A significant historical date for this entry is June 19, 1863.
Entrance to Mt. Defiance Historic Park on Route 50 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By T. Elizabeth Renich, June 1, 2019
3. Entrance to Mt. Defiance Historic Park on Route 50
38° 58.084′ N, 77° 45.82′ W. Marker is in Middleburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker is on John Mosby Highway (U.S. 50) west of Zulla Road (Virginia Route 709), on the right when traveling east. Marker Hunters might not see the marker before they see the NOVA Parks Historic Site sign, but it's located in the field alongside Route 50. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 35945 John Mosby Highway, Middleburg VA 20117, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mount Defiance (within shouting distance of this marker); Mt. Defiance, the Turnpike, and Middleburg (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Mount Defiance (about 400 feet away); The Prussian Warrior Heros Von Borcke Goes Down (about 400 feet away); Horse Artillery at Mt. Defiance (about 500 feet away); Phase Two of the Battle: Fighting Along the Turnpike (about 500 feet away); The Battle Begins: Fighting East and Southeast of Mt. Defiance (about 500 feet away); Battle of Middleburg (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Middleburg.
Also see . . .  Battle of Middleburg: Mt. Defiance Historic Park. NOVA Parks (Submitted on June 3, 2019.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 3, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 2, 2019, by T. Elizabeth Renich of Winchester, Virginia. This page has been viewed 324 times since then and 70 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 2, 2019, by T. Elizabeth Renich of Winchester, Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 23, 2023