Aldie Mill was built between 1807 and 1809 for Charles Fenton Mercer, a prominent statesman, who took commercial advantage of the nearby Little River and proximity to three major turnpikes. It was an active hub of the community that consisted of a merchant mill, country mill, and granary, has Virginia’s only known tandem water wheels. During the Civil War, the mill provided grain for both Federal and Confederate troops. President James Monroe was an early customer while living in nearby Oak Hill. Confederate raider Col. John Singleton Mosby captured several Union soldiers at the mill during the course of the war.
Early on the morning of March 2nd, 1863, members of the 1st Vermont Cavalry heading west along the turnpike stopped here to water the horses and make coffee. They were caught here by John Singleton Mosby and his Rangers, out to retrieve citizens arrested in Middleburg earlier that morning by a Pennsylvania unit now heading east. Mosby led the charge himself, getting well ahead of his fellow Rangers on a new horse. He was forced to "fall off his horse" just beyond the mill to avoid being taken by the Vermonters as the new horse would not slow. Mosby fell over the stone wall of the still-present Little River Bridge into a mudbank below. A number of the Vermonters ended up looking little better, for they sought refuge in Aldie Mill’s flour bins. Meanwhile, just east of here, the uneasy Pennsylvanians discharged their prisoners and several slaves freed in Middleburg, who now headed west and came upon the mill. It was quite an entourage that Mosby led back to Middleburg. The famous incident is known as "the Aldie Races."
The June 17th, 1863 Battle of Aldie was part of the Gettysburg Campaign. Confederate Col. Thomas T. Munford’s 2,000-man cavalry had been on a scouting mission to Aldie when the day began. Meanwhile, Union Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick’s 1,200-man cavalry had slowly been moving toward Aldie from the west. A short but nasty saber fight erupted when the federals unexpectedly came upon the 2nd Virginia Cavalry near Aldie Gap. Both sides initially withdrew to assess the situation, then resumed a bloody skirmish that would last four hours. The 5th Virginia Cavalry soon joined the battle and chased the Federals back down the road past Aldie Mill. As additional Federal units arrived, the Confederate fighters withdrew west to toward Middleburg. By the time it was over, the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry had suffered more than 200 casualties, the most losses of any Union regiment on a single day in the entire war. Just west of Aldie, at a bend in the Snickersville Turnpike, is a historic marker erected in 1880 attesting to the sacrifice of the northern soldiers, the only monument to Union forces on southern soil.
Visiting here on weekends in season features milling demonstrations when water level permits. It is special to see the double overshot millwheels working, and the water-powered technology grind and bag corn.
Cavaliers, Courage, and Coffee - The Haunted Turnpike
The living historians of the Gray Ghost Interpretive Group present a series of unnerving sketches