Travis Shaw, the Education Director of the Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area, recounted the fateful luck of a local soldier named Luther W. Slater during the 1861 American Civil War.

Aspiring Minister to Novice Soldier

While most Loudoun County residents supported the Confederacy in 1861, a few locals, including Luther Slater, remained loyal to the United States Army.

Slater was 21 years old when the war began. He intended to study at a seminary in Salem, Virginia, before moving to Pennsylvania to become a Lutheran minister. But, like all other men during this time period, Slater had to put his career on hold to participate in the Civil War.

Unlike many of his Northwestern Loudoun County neighbors, Slater enlisted in the Federal Army in the summer of 1862 and was commissioned as First Lieutenant of the pioneering Loudoun Independent Rangers under the command of Samuel C. Means. The Loudoun Rangers were formed to act as Union army scouts and anti-partisan troops against men such as Elijah White and John Mosby. They were also tasked with assisting unionists in the area. Slater was appointed as the First Lieutenant despite his inexperience on the battlefield.