Mosby Heritage Area Association Newsletter--April 2016
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Welcome, New Members!

Jeffrey Browning
Beverly Bunn
Lori Connelly-DeFranco
Frederick J. Curran
Carey P. Gilbert II
Invisible Fence Brand of Hampton Roads
Marilyn Jones
Charles Rexroad
Jack and Mary Beth Richards
Todd Treichel
J. Marvin Watts


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Upcoming Events
SAVE THE DATE--June 12, 2016
Block off Sunday June 12 on your calendars and join the Mosby Heritage Area Association for a talk in Middleburg on that town's Civil War diarist Catherine Broun.  Diary editor Lee Lawrence will speak briefly about Broun before we proceed to Sunnybank, Broun's wartime home outside of Middleburg, for a tour and refreshments.  Stay tuned for more details.
Saturday, May 14, 7:30 p.m.
Legends by Lanternlight: Warrenton, the War, and After

Old Jail Museum
10 Ashby St.
Warrenton, VA 20186

The Mosby Heritage Area Interpretive Group is bringing back another installment of the popular Legends by Lanternlight series.  Historic downtown Warrenton is the setting for May 14.  The volunteer interpreters will bring Warrenton's Civil War experience alive with stories of the town's grueling experience, before, during, and after the war.  Warrenton changed hands between the Union and Confederate armies 67 times from 1861 to 1865.

This program will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Jail Museum.  Admission is $15 for adults and $7 for students.  Reservations are not required.  Call (540) 687-5188 for questions.

This event is co-sponsored by the Fauquier Historical Society. 

Sunday, May 22, 5:30 p.m.
Dream of a Good Death: A Civil War Folk Opera

Mt. Zion Historic Park
40309 John Mosby Hwy.
Aldie, VA 20105

The highly acclaimed Civil War folk opera "Dream of a Good Death" is coming back to the Mosby Heritage Area on Sunday, May 22 at Mt. Zion Historic Park.  

Clark Hansbarger and the Bitter Liberals bring the Civil War to life in this musical adventure and put a face to the heroes and victims of that conflict.  Hansbarger and his crew crafted ten original songs, each telling a story from the war.  In between the tunes, visuals and short vignettes bring the personal side of the Civil War to light, focusing on the war from the perspective of the common soldier.  You will not want to miss this show. For more information on the Bitter Liberals and Dream of a Good Death,
visit their website.

The program will begin at 5:30 p.m.  Come early and bring a picnic basket and blanket, then join us inside of the historic Mt. Zion Church for the concert.  Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door and $10 for students.  To reserve your seat, please call (540) 687-6681.
SAVE THE DATE--November 12, 2016 
when we will hold our annual fundraiser.  This year we will delight our guests with intimate supper parties in private, historic homes throughout the Mosby Heritage Area--a completely unique experience.  Invitations will be mailed in the late summer, but in the meantime, be sure to mark your calendars.
Since Our Last Newsletter
Saturday, March 19
A Walking Tour of Civil War Leesburg

Thomas Balch Library of History and Genealogy
208 W. Market St.
Leesburg, VA 20176

MHAA Executive Director Rich Gillespie led 33 hearty souls on a walking tour of downtown Leesburg, highlighting the many Civil War sites still extant in the historic district.  In case you missed it, here is a self-guided walking tour of the Civil War in Leesburg.  
Sunday, March 20
1866: Change, Resistance, and Uncertainty in the Northern Virginia Piedmont

Mt. Zion Historic Park
40309 John Mosby Hwy.
Aldie, VA 20105

Rich Gillespie kicked off our annual joint series with NOVA Parks.  He presented the audience with a thought-provoking view of what life was like in the Mosby Heritage Area the year after the Civil War.
Park Day at Historic Rector's Cross Roads
Saturday, April 2
Park Day: A Program and Clean-up at Rector's Cross Roads Battlefield and Mosby Rendezvous Site

Rector House
1461 Atoka Rd.
Marshall, VA 20115

MHAA took part in the Civil War Trust's Park Day, a nationwide volunteer effort to keep our nation's Civil War battlefields pristine.  Young and old alike helped clean the historic village of Rector's Cross Roads--site of a June 21, 1863 Civil War battle and frequent rendezvous site for Mosby's Rangers.  Following a brief introduction to the site, our volunteers moved through the village cleaning up roadside trash and windfall.  MHAA wants to thank all of those who participated in keeping the historic village clean.
Sunday, April 3
Five Tales and a Tour: Greengarden, Historic Mosby Safe House

Buchanan Hall
8549 John Mosby Hwy.
Upperville, VA 20184

Over 100 people joined MHAA and the Gettysburg Foundation for a program and tour of one of the heritage area's many unique and historic homes.  Several historical interpreters regaled the crowd with stories of the cavalry fighting in Upperville prior to the Battle of Gettysburg, tales of Mosby's Rangers operating in the area, and a history of the preservation of the Gettysburg battlefield.  The program then shifted to nearby Greengarden.

Historic Greengarden dates from 1833 and was used as a hospital during the Civil War and a safe house for Mosby's Rangers.  The home still includes the rare but incredible "hidey hole" used by some of Mosby's men to evade their Union counterparts.  It was an incredible opportunity to be able to tour the home, one of the best antebellum homes in the heritage area.
Sunday, April 10
Beyond the Mansion House Hospital: The Medical Civil War in Loudoun

Mt. Zion Historic Park
40309 John Mosby Hwy.
Aldie, VA 20105

The second program in this year's Adventures in History series featured living historians portraying surgeons and doctors of the Civil War and a talk by MHAA Education Specialist Kevin Pawlak about the historic landscape of Loudoun and Upper Fauquier Counties and its ties to stories of wounded soldiers, belabored surgeons, and the civilians caught between it all.  In case you missed the program, check out our
driving tour of Civil War hospital sites in southern Loudoun and Upper Fauquier Counties. 
2016 Aldie Triangle
Tuesday, April 19 and Wednesday, April 20
Aldie Triangle

MHAA and its partner NOVA Parks hosted over 400 students and their teachers and chaperones in a two day field trip to three historic sites around the village of Aldie.  The 4th grade students came from nine schools within Loudoun, Fauquier, and Clarke Counties.  Volunteers and staff brought the history of James Monroe's presidential retreat Oak Hill, Mt. Zion Church, and Aldie Mill to life for our visitors.

Each student who attended received one of our county scavenger hunts--one of our main tools to get students and their families out onto our historic landscape.  Speaking to the value of this educational experience, one teacher remarked, "This is an invaluable component, essential for our teaching."  Another simply said, "I have not had a better history field trip than Aldie Triangle."
News from around the Mosby Heritage Area
Community Conversations for Fauquier County--
Stepping Stones to our Future

The Fauquier County Development Department is hosting a series workshops in order to get input from the public about how the county can achieve its vision of preserving its abundant rural heritage, attracting new businesses, and centralizing development.  

The first meeting will take place May 17 at Fauquier High School, 705 Waterloo Rd., Warrenton, VA 20186.  It begins at 7:00 p.m. and will run until roughly 9:15 p.m.  We hope you will consider attending.

You can
visit their website for more information. 
Rev. Elijah Brockenbrough White III (photo courtesy of
The Mosby Heritage Area Association would like to extend our condolences to the family of Rev. Elijah "Lige" Brockebrough White III, who passed away late in March 2016.  Rev. White was one of our members, and was a descendant of Elijah V. White, commander of "White's Comanches," the 35th Battalion of Virginia Cavalry during the Civil War.
From the Window of MHAA's Executive Director...
Out my window on this cool late April day, I see a sea of vivid green, which tailors off into mist and fog over the fields rolling toward the Blue Ridge.  The light is such that the stone wall less than ten yards away is vibrant with texture and color, both of rock and moss, a variety of tones of green, gold, brown, and gray. 

The 1889 Rector House next door built for the storekeeper a quarter century after the Civil War is being worked on just now, so saws are buzzing and hammers banging.  We know the handsome Victorian will be a beauty once again before long.  The old black tin roof of the ancient log Angus Brown House across the old turnpike pokes out through the trees and shows in its rippling the sign of age graciously carried like the two-century-old Virginia dame she is.  Rector’s Crossroads (Atoka) is a place of wonderful color and texture, of authenticity and vibrancy.  Like the larger Mosby Heritage Area, it speaks to us, gets at our hearts, both from its scenic beauty and the stories that have graced its several roads.

The view looks particularly appealing because a large crew of volunteers hoovered the village during Park Day, April 2nd, a clean-up co-sponsored with the Civil War Trust.  Several dozen volunteered, and our staff and the Mosby Heritage Area Interpretive group charmed them with stories of the four Civil War sites we would clean before we scoured the roadways and lots.  We told them of the village as Mosby’s favored rendezvous site before Ranger missions.  We brought alive the June 21, 1863 artillery duel just east of us from opposing ridges, J.E.B. Stuart’s Horse Artillery versus the artillery of Alfred Pleasonton’s cavalry, and showed them where a young man from Lynchburg blown up by a shell was given a proper Virginia burial complete with a simple stone by the lasses of the next door Gibson farm.
We showed where Captain Angus P. Brown of the 1st South Carolina Cavalry made a stand just across from the village store in fields later owned by U.S. Senator John Warner, and where they beat a hasty retreat once stormed by infantry of Col. Strong Vincent’s Brigade, including the heroes of Little Round Top, the 20th Maine.  And we showed them the location of General J.E.B. Stuart’s headquarters after the Aldie-Middleburg-Upperville Cavalry Battles, right here on the grounds of the Caleb Rector House.  It was here Stuart received his orders from Robert E. Lee to proceed to Gettysburg, and where Mosby counseled him on the best route.

Two of our largest contingents on Park Day were from Loudoun Valley High School and Woodgrove High School.  We had just offered a lantern-light program to their History Clubs two nights before, a program examining local history through a sensory lens, and we’d reached some of them and their friends and their minds. 

It reminded me of the significant value of students in the act of “preservation through education.”  As Education Director, little Atoka was first brought to life for me by high school students.  These were seniors I’d taught as juniors.  We’d decided on a joint mission—to bring alive the stories of the Mosby Heritage Area with a first person dramatic flair and by good, creative story-telling--at Atoka and other locations.  Just as I saw high school students team up to take charge of two of the skirmish areas we cleaned on April 2, twelve years ago it was students who launched the venerable Gray Ghost Interpretive Group and saw to its success.  I’d like to warmly recognize the creativity and dogged determination provided by those students:   Katie Allen, Jeremiah Caldwell, Kyle Johnson, Alyson Moler, Sarah Quinn, Camilla Nusbaum, Zach Pruckowski, Ben Sedlins, Caleb Smith, Tony Soukup, Jerry Stewart, and Jacob Young.  All are still making a difference.  Thanks also go to Loudoun Valley High School history teacher Susan Stevens and the late Bill Étue who helped with those early Cavaliers, Courage & Coffee programs.

The Mosby Heritage Area is a place of stories, textures, and preserved historical places. It is also a place of amazing preservation efforts by individuals, non-profit organizations, and local governments, a model for the country.  With the launch of our new web site on April 8th— hope you are able to get a sense of what the Mosby Heritage Area Association is doing to contribute to seeing, saving, and passing on the heritage area, its stories, landscapes, and values to the next generation.
April 2016 Photo of the Month
Spring at Neers' Burnt Mill

Leesburg photographer J. Riley Stewart travels the backroads of the Mosby Heritage Area and shares the landscapes that make this region so special. Contact him at or 703-772-6035 for a fine art print of this mysterious scene.

Copyright J Riley Stewart (Contact the photographer at to acquire a print of this scene).

See our monthly chronicle of beautiful scenes from the Mosby Heritage Area at

Copyright © 2016 Mosby Heritage Area Association, All rights reserved.

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