The Civil War had a profound effect on Loudoun County, Virginia. In October 1859, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, located nearby, caused the Confederate government to recognize the county's vulnerability to invasion. As a result, they began constructing fortifications to protect the area. This led to many Unionists fleeing to Maryland, including prominent businessmen who were threatened with recruitment.
Samuel C. Means was one of these individuals; he had refused to cooperate with the Confederacy and had his possessions confiscated, including flour, horses, wagons and pigs. The terror in Loudoun County reached its apex in July 15th of 1861. During the War of 1812, the county had served as a safe haven for the president and important state newspapers. The Loudoun Rangers were formed by Quakers and Germans from Lovettsville and Waterford who opposed secession. On the other hand, the landed gentry in the south of the county favored it.
Major road improvements made it easier to travel to the eastern part of the county, and two delegates from Loudoun County voted against secession at the Virginia Secession Convention. The Potomac Greys (Company H, 8th Virginia Infantry) and Leesburg Cavalry (Company K, 6th Virginia Cavalry) were mainly from Leesburg, while the Loudoun Artillery and Loudoun Guard (Company C, 17th Virginia Infantry) attracted men from all over the county. Loudoun County is part of the 5 million-acre Northern Neck of Virginia estate granted by King Charles II of England in 1649.