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

Guilford Signal Station

Tracking the Confederates

 

—Gettysburg Campaign —

 
Guilford Signal Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 6, 2007
1. Guilford Signal Station Marker
Inscription. During the Civil War, signal stations served as early warning posts, observation points, and communication centers. On June 19, 1863, 10,000-15,000 Union troops commanded by Gen. John Fullerton Reynolds, I Corps, Army of the Potomac, marched along the Alexandria, Loudoun & Hampsire Railroad from Herndon here to Guilford Station. Reynolds made his headquarters at the Lanesville house, erected a signal station on the northwestern portion of the property – at 442 feet, one of the highest points between Washington, D.C. and Leesburg – and ran a telegraph wire to Fairfax Court House. The signal officer here constantly communicated with nearby signal stations attempting to locate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Gunfire echoed from the west as Confederate cavalry chief Gen. J.E.B. Stuart screened Lee’s infantry from probing Federal cavalry at Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville. Lee slipped through the Blue Ridge Mountain gaps to the safety of the Shenandoah Valley, but U.S. Signal Corps nonetheless detected him as he began his second invasion of the North. On June 24, Reynolds’ corps decamped in pursuit. The two armies met on July 1 in the little college town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where Reynolds died in the first day’s fighting.

To reach the Guilford Signal Station site, follow the Little Stoney
Close Up of the Maps image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 14, 2009
2. Close Up of the Maps
The main map shows routes for driving tours of the Federal and Confederate advances into Maryland. The smaller map shows the trail route to the overlook mentioned on the marker.
Mountain Trail (the White-Blazed Trail) behind the Visitor Center. Reynolds’ headquarters still stands to the east just off the old Vestal’s Gap Road.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 39° 1.146′ N, 77° 24.231′ W. Marker is in Sterling, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker can be reached from Old Vestal's Gap Road. Touch for map. The marker is in the Claude Moore Park, of the Loudoun County Parks System. From VA 7, go South on Cascades Parkway, VA 637. Turn left onto Old Vestal's Gap Road, the park entrance. Marker is at or near this postal address: 21544 Old Vestal's Gap Road, Sterling VA 20164, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Braddock Campaign (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Vestal's Gap Road (about 400 feet away); Lanesville Historic Area (about 500 feet away); Lanesville House and Vestal's Gap Road (about 500 feet away); Lanesville Architecture (about 500 feet away); Lanesville Outbuildings (about 500 feet away); Lanesville Families (about 500 feet away); George Washington (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sterling.
 
More about this marker.
Claude Moore Park Visitor's Center image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 6, 2007
3. Claude Moore Park Visitor's Center
The marker displays photographs of Gen. Reynolds and a typical signal station of the Civil War. One large map details Civil War Trails marker locations associated with the early phases of the Gettysburg campaign. A smaller map displays the trail up to the signal station site.
 
Regarding Guilford Signal Station. The view from the signal station site mentioned on the marker is worth the short walk. From there on a clear day Sugarloaf Mountain, MD and Point of Rocks are clearly visible, along with the Catoctin Mountains, Leesburg, and the Potomac River crossings. The signal platform afforded the operators a view to the South also, with the Bull Run Mountains and Manassas Junction in view.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Guilford Signal Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 14, 2009
4. Guilford Signal Station Marker
View from the site of Guilford Signal Station image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 6, 2007
5. View from the site of Guilford Signal Station
The tall mountain in the distance is Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland. There another set of signal stations observed movement on the Maryland side, and provided Union commanders a communications network during the early stages of the Gettysburg campaign.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 6, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 4,230 times since then and 152 times this year. Last updated on July 4, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. Photos:   1. submitted on June 6, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on June 17, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3. submitted on June 6, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on June 17, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   5. submitted on June 6, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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