The Civil War Trust , state of Virginia and the Northern Regional Park Authority have joined forces to protect the five-acre Fort Defiance section of the Middleburg Battlefield. The project was announced Wednesday at a joint press conference in Middleburg.
Located on busy Rt. 50, an important transportation road both during the Civil War and now, the five-acre property includes an antebellum manor-house-turned-tavern, blacksmith house and shop. It played a key role in the successful efforts by the Confederates to keep Union forces from interfering with the Army of Northern Virginia as it moved through the Blue Ridge Mountains heading for Maryland in 1863.
Financing for the property, valued at $540,000, is already well underway with a $432,000 Virginia Enhancement Grant of $432,000 and a $10,000 private gift. Once fundraising is complete, the Trust will put a permanent conservation easement on the property and eventually hand it over to the Park Authority which already maintains other Civil War sites including the Balls Bluff Battlefield.
The battle of Middleburg took place between June 17 and 19, 1863, when Union and Confederate cavalry clashed in and around the towns of Middleburg and Aldie as the Federals sought out the location and strength of the Southerners in the area. Middleburg changed hands several times and by the 19th, the fighting had moved one miles west to Fort Defiance where Confederates under Major General J.E.B. Stuart had taken a commanding position atop a high ridge.
Union forces under Brigadier General David McMurtrie Gregg Jr. attacked the position and almost took it before being pushed back. Union forces eventually took Fort Defiance and the Confederates moved west to another high ridge closer to the town of Upperville, continuing their mission to impede Union advances in the area.