Byline: Steve Meserve
Although the Civil War in Virginia's Loudoun County never approached the level of brutality experienced in Missouri and Kansas, the conflict was very much a "brother's war" that divided families and pitted longtime friends against one another on the battlefield. The fratricidal nature of the conflict was typified by the histories of two military units, one Union and one Confederate, raised largely in Loudoun County.
The Confederates scored first in the recruiting competition in northwestern Loudoun when Elijah V. White, a Poolesville native living near Leesburg, received permission to raise an independent company for service "on the border." Throughout the war, he drew his recruits mostly from Loudoun, Frederick, Page and Shenandoah counties in Virginia and from Montgomery and Frederick counties in Maryland.
White originally enlisted in a company of Rangers recruited by Angus MacDonald in the Lower Shenandoah Valley. MacDonald was a rather unorthodox West Point graduate who believed tomahawks were more appropriate weapons for cavalrymen than sabers. MacDonald also believed horsemen should strike without warning and retire swiftly in small groups rather than in the massed ranks so popular with officers trained in Napoleonic tactics and with artists who specialized in painting heroic battlefield scenes.(spade)
Because he was 62 when he raised his company, MacDonald soon relinquished his command to a younger, if equally unorthodox, cavalryman - Lt. Col. Turner Ashby. "Lige" White was still a member of "Ashby's Rangers" when he served as a volunteer scout and …