Rafuse dedicated an entire chapter to McClellan's last campaign, which took place in Loudoun Valley, Virginia in late October and early November 1862. Very little has been written about this period, including the cavalry battles at Philomont and Unison. Given that the 1862 Loudoun Valley Campaign largely occurred a places within 25 to 45 minutes drive from my home, I figured it might be interesting to read more about it, and to explore the ground where the marching and fighting actually occurred. As an added bonus, it is a postscript to the Antietam Campaign, which has been a focus of my studies on the war in the East.
|Fighting occurred near the Unison United Methodist Church (1832) on November 2, 1862. Union casualties were treated in the church following the fight.|
Aside from Rafuse's chapter, two resources have quickly become invaluable. In winter 1999, Blue & Gray published an issue featuring "Little Mac's Last Stand: Autumn 1862 in Loudoun Valley, Virginia" by Patrick J. Brennan. The article is accompanied by a driving tour on the campaign. More recently, the National Park Service, in conjunction with the Unison Preservation Society, published Civil War in Loudoun Valley: The Battle of Unison, November 1-3, 1862. This little book contains invaluable maps of all the fighting that took place between forces under Jeb Stuart and Alfred Pleasonton, as well as photographs of landmarks related to the battle. As far as I know, this book can only be obtained by sending a check directly to the Unison Preservation Society. It is well worth the price -- it contains detailed information that likely exists nowhere else in a secondary source.
I've already done some preliminary exploring at Unison and Philomont, and you may have seen pictures of my site visits on Facebook or Twitter. I may do a few blog posts as I dig deeper, but for now I am undecided about what direction my research will take. Sometimes it is just fun to get back to the basics and do a deep dive into a local topic that is a bit more obscure. As an added bonus, I get to tour some of the most historic and scenic countryside in the United States!