History

In 1810, the Virginia General Assembly acted to authorize the Ashby’s Gap Turnpike to be constructed from Aldie to the Shenandoah River. This bridge became part of that private toll road.  In June of 1863, in the weeks before Gettysburg, Lee’s army was traveling north from Richmond. Confederate Cavalry General JEB Stuart was sent to keep the Union Cavalry from getting through Ashby Gap before the Confederate Army could make their way towards Maryland via the Shenandoah Valley. Roughly equal numbers of primarily cavalry forces clashed three times in four days in the Battles of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville. On June 21st, the Confederate forces just west of the bridge held off a Union advance for several hours.

Eventually, Col. Strong Vincent and the 20th Maine under the command of Joshua Chamberlain took the bridge and forced Stuart’s forces to regroup to the west. Just 10 days later, the Battle of Gettysburg started. Strong Vincent and Joshua Chamberlain are credited with making the key decision to hold Little Round Top, winning the battle of Gettysburg for the Union, and sealing the fate of the war.

Related Battle Sites

  • At the battles of Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville largely the same forces were fighting in three sites over four days.
  • 2006: the Virginia Outdoor Foundation donated Aldie Mill to NOVA Parks. The Battle of Aldie took place primarily in fields to the west of town, but also included fighting close to the mill.
  • 2009: Loudoun County transferred Mt. Zion Historic Church to NOVA Parks to run as a historic site. Mt. Zion served as a hospital during these battles. Gilbert's Corner, across the road and a considerably larger property that also saw limited action during this period, was added shortly thereafter. 
  • 2015: the Civil War Trust partnered with NOVA Parks to acquire and preserve Mt. Defiance, the center of the Battle of Middleburg.

Preservation timeline

  • 1974 - The Goose Creek Stone Bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1995 - Senator John W. Warner donated 12 acres and a portion of the bridge to the Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club.
  • 1995 - 2016 - The Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club preserved the bridge, provided historical interpretation of the Battle of Upperville, and protected the natural resources. Anne MacLeod was a driving force behind the club’s great stewardship of this resource.
  • 2016 - 2017 - The Civil War Trust acquired the 12 acres from the Garden Club and later transferred that land to NOVA Parks, and the Virginia Department of Transportation transferred 7 acres east of the bridge to NOVA Parks creating a larger park.

About the photography

The above photo as well as the vertical shot below it were shot by Robert Szabo in 1998 using reenactors. Szabo used a method called wet plate collodion, which replicates the available camera technology available during the Civil War. Szabo generously donated the use of these two photographs for the NOVA Parks website. To see more of Szabo's work or to learn more about the process visit www.robertszabo.com