For Sale: Haunted House Where Gen. Robert E. Lee Slept Aug 6, 2016 13:43:03 GMT -5 madeline likes this
Post by Graveyardbride on Aug 6, 2016 13:43:03 GMT -5
For Sale: Haunted House Where Gen. Robert E. Lee Slept
LEESBURG, Va. – In the front hallway of her historic home (above), Melanie Miles stands next to a grainy black-and-white image of a stern-faced Confederate officer and talks about their many encounters. One night in the mid-1990s, she saw an apparition “standing here in his full regalia,” she recalls. “He looked right at me.” She believes the spirit to be that of Col. Erasmus Burt (inset), of Company K of the 18th Mississippi Infantry known as “Burt Rifles.” During the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, he was shot in the hip and the bullet entered his stomach. He was removed from the battlefield to Harrison Hall, where he died October 26, 1861. Mrs. Miles insists Col. Burt’s spirit is “a very positive energy.”
“The Colonel” is just a part of the lore surrounding Glenfiddich House, a 1-acre property on the market for $3.75 million with Engel & Völkers Lansdowne. In addition to the main dwelling, there’s also a new four-bedroom house, a modest office building, a spring house built around 1800 and an 1850s smokehouse.
Originally called Harrison Hall, the estate is known for its place in the history of Leesburg, Va., a small town on the Potomac River about 40 miles outside Washington, D.C. The home’s claim to fame is that Gen. Robert E. Lee was treated there September 4, 1862, for a broken hand and sprained wrist sustained when he was thrown when his horse, Traveler, shied from a courier in the Second Battle of Manassas. During this stay, he met with generals, including Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart, in the dining room to make plans for what culminated in the Battle of Antietam.
A century later, the home was rented by author James Dickey, who wrote much of the novel Deliverance in an upstairs room overlooking the magnolia trees, according to his son, author/journalist Christopher Dickey.
Mrs. Miles and her husband, David, have owned the house since the early 1990s. Public records show they paid $690,000 for the property and spent around $1.5 million to restore it.
The home has eight bedrooms, with original pine floorboards and a fireplace in almost every room. Approximately 13-foot ceilings have allowed the Miles family to bring in towering Christmas trees for the holidays. In the entryway, a tiny metal bell is attached to a white cord running under the floorboards to the front door, where it served as a doorbell. “We hope we’re going to pass this on to somebody who’s going to have as much interest and respect as we do for the property,” Mrs. Miles says. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
The earliest part of the house was a one-room cabin dating to about 1780. The structure, since altered, still has its original handblown glass windows. Outside, the log-and-cement spring house, used to cover a spring and store ice, has a dirt floor and hand-hewn beams.
The home gets its name from local merchant Henry Harrison, who bought the property and built a grand Italianate mansion next to the cabin. The edifice, completed around 1850, was constructed with handmade bricks from soil on the property; fingerprints are still visible on some bricks, according to David Miles. “It was certainly the finest house in Leesburg at the time,” says Virginia-based historian Eugene Scheel.
The dining room, where Gen. Lee held his meeting, still has its original moldings and Tennessee marble fireplace and a painting of the scene hangs next to the fireplace.
In the 20th century, the cabin and house were connected to create the roughly 5,500-square-foot dwelling of today. The property remained in the Harrison family for more than 100 years before being sold in the 1950s. Mr. Dickey rented the house for his family from 1966 to 1968 while he was poetry consultant for the Library of Congress.
A fire resulted in the home’s abandonment before consultant Lou LeHane bought it around 1979. He and his wife made repairs and used it as headquarters for their strategic-management consulting business. When Mr. and Mrs. Miles bought the house for $690,000, they also bought the business and renamed it Miles LeHane. The couple has lived in the house off and on. In the early 2000s, they moved into a four-bedroom home they built on the site of a long-gone stable on the far side of the property, careful to design it to appear it is from the same period as the mansion. A two-story garage and office building is similarly designed. (Certain parcels can be bought separately.) The two have hosted Civil War re-enactors and other groups and Mrs. Miles often gives impromptu tours to passers-by. They’re selling because they no longer need the house for business. “We’re ready to make our lives a lot simpler,” says Mrs. Miles, adding they plan to build a one-story home in Leesburg. They hope the next owner will use the historic estate as a museum or nonprofit concern.
Sources: Candace Taylor, The Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2016, and Thomas Balch Library, Leesburg, Va.