Antietam: The Battle of Mile Hill (September
1. J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry was sent in advance to screen
the army's movements and to clear Loudoun of enemy resistance. The 2nd Virginia
Cavalry, under the command of Col. Thomas T. Munford, was sent out on September
1 to Leesburg to secure the river crossings in its vicinity.
2. The following day, as Munford approached the eastern
end of Leesburg, he split his command, sending a squadron under the command of
Captain Irving directly through town, while he with the rest of his regiment
turned north off the Leesburg Pike (present day Route 7) towards the river
3. Irving and his command rushed into town to find Samuel
C. Means and his Unionist Loudoun Rangers guarding the courthouse. The Rangers,
having been severely manhandled by E.V. White and his Rebels a few days prior at
Waterford, put up little resistance before retreating north up King Street
(Route 15), though not before suffering four wounded.
4. The Rangers fell back on Cole's Maryland Cavalry, who
were positioned to the north of town near the big spring (near present day Tutt
Lane), with Irving's command in hot pursuit. Cole's dismounted command began to
engage Irving, but moments later Munford's command attacked from their rear
flank, having been able to circumvent the Union position via Smart's Mill Lane,
which Cole had foolishly left unguarded.
5. Cole attempted to mount his command to engage Munford,
but many of his troops were killed or captured before they could reach their
horses. Those that did briefly engaged Munford before retreating towards the
Catoctin Mountain and the Old Waterford Rd which cuts through a gap in the
ridge. Munford gave chase for two miles, driving the Federals through the gap
into Loudoun Valley before retiring, having successfully cleared Leesburg and
the river crossings in its vicinity.
6. Of Munford's 163 troops on the field, he suffered 2
killed and 5 wounded, while of the Loudoun Rangers 30 or so men, 1 was killed, 6
were wounded and 4 captured. Cole's Cavalry, estimated at 150 strong, reported 6
killed, 27 wounded, and 11 captured, though a significant amount of those
casualties were officers.
7. The main portion of the battle started approximately
where the present day U.S. Rt. 15 Bypass converges with Business Rt. 15 near the
Harrison Farm (this being Cole's initial position). The battle then moved
southwest across present day Morven Park and Ida Lee Park to Old Waterford Road.
None of the battlefield is protected, but Morvin Park remains undeveloped, as
does much of Ida Lee Park, so if one follows the Civil War Trails signs to the
historical marker off of Tutts Lane, a good feel for the setting of the battle
can be had.