News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, December 5, 2011

Flashback Monday: Brother Against Brother, Commuter Against Commuter

Civil War.jpegWe've looked at Reston's Civil War past before. But did you know the Battle of Dranesville was fought over a very familiar intersection, where skirmishes between Yankees entitled Great Falls residents and Confederates Loudoun cut-through commuters continue to this day?

Lay it on us, fancy "news paper" article:

In December 1861, a Union Army led by Gen. Edward O. C. Ord encountered Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s forces at the intersection of Leesburg Pike and Georgetown Pike. The resulting Battle of Dranesville was one of only a handful that happened in Fairfax County, and it is the subject of the Reston Museum’s next presentation commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Civil War.

The battle, which was fought with five regiments on each side, was fought between Confederates coming from Centreville and Union soldiers coming from Langley.

"The battle was fought because both sides were looking for forage for their horses and they kind of bumped into one another," Waggoner said. "The Confederate soldiers that died were mostly hit by friendly fire, and there were about 150-200 wounded, many of whom probably died later."
Replace "forage for their horses" with "midscale minivans stuffed with imported olives from Wegmans," and things haven't changed all that much in the last 200 years.

The Reston Museum presentation will be at 7 this Thursday.


  1. And they're still fighting over that area. The folks from Fairfax County call the intersection of Dranesville Road and Route 7 as "Herndon Junction" but the folks from Loudoun call it "Sterling Junction". Using the wrong name to the wrong person is akin to fighting words.

  2. There were two actions at Dranesville. Although tactically unimportant, First Dransville was the first Union victory of the war.

    Second Dranesville is more entertaining. Union cavalry trapped Mosby's Rangers in a fenced field. They rode in, closed the gate behind and charged with sabers. Mosby's Rangers armed with Colt revolvers shot them out of the saddle.

    Sadly, the army did not learn. As late as WW-I US cavalry still carried sabres. Against machine guns. The last US cavalry sabre was designed by none other than then Lt. George S. Patton.

  3. Maybe 150 years ago is the right number?

  4. Convict,

    Maybe we should simply pass out the Colt revolvers and sabers to both sides, and finish it once-and-for-all. I'm putting my money on the "Loudouns", as the "Fairfaxers" will be too busy shooting themselves in the foot.


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