Local historians sat down in front of the historic Harrison Hall and shared some American Civil War stories in Loudoun County, Virginia.

At the second fundraising event sponsored by the Loudoun County Museum on October 14, 2021, Travis Shaw, Education Director of Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area; Joseph Rizzo, Executive Director of Loudoun Museum; Anne Marie Chirieleison, Executive Director of Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum; and Dana Shoaf, editor of the Civil War Times Magazine, passed on the microphones at the theatre to tell their historic accounts, both popular and unpopular, of events that took place during the 1861 war.

Glenfiddich House October 2021
Speakers (left to right) Rizzo, Shaw, Chirieleison, and Shoaf at the Loudoun County Museum fundraising event recorded on October 14, 2021. (Screenshot from C-Span)

Chirieleison shared a brief history of Harrison Hall, also known as the Glenfiddich House, and one of its well-known guests at the times, R. Burt.

AuthorShoaf  Shoaf, on the other hand, told an amusing story about a lone Union soldier—whose diary he discovered while waiting for a friend at Pittsburgh’s John Hines Regiotory Center—and his chance encounter with a Confederate guerilla.

Education Director Shaw recounted the story of a local soldier Luther Slader and some of the extraordinary circumstances this ordinary gut found himself in. At the same time (both bad and good), Rizzo described the fates of political prisoners of Loudoun County during the Civil War.

The Origin of Harrison Hall

Harrison Hall had its humble beginnings in the last part of the 18th century, somewhere in the 1780s, when Leesburg was barely a town. So named, a gentleman by the name of Henry Tazewell Harrison moved into the house with his second wife, Mary Jones Harrison, and their eight children.

Henry was responsible for expanding the property to what it is now to accommodate his growing family of 8 children and provide them with comfort. Not to mention that the family also had slave workers living with them, working on their huge estate.

Harrison Hall
Harrison Hall in the 21st century. (Image source: piedmontheritage)

The Harrison patriarch belonged to Virginia’s well-known clan, while his wife, Mary, was not only the daughter of a prominent attorney but also the granddaughter of Charles Lee. It is safe to say that they lived a relatively normal, happy life—until the Civil War.