Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Leesburg in Loudoun County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Ballís Bluff Masked Battery

...held to the bluff without room to retire.

 
 
Ball's Bluff Masked Battery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 21, 2007
1. Ball's Bluff Masked Battery Marker
Inscription. Two hundred yards to your right are the remains of a small earthwork that may have been part of a masked (concealed) battery which played an important role in the Battle of Ballís Bluff on October 21, 1861. The battery commanded the road from Edwards Ferry on the Potomac River to the town of Leesburg. Union Gen. Charles P. Stone, seeking to reconnoiter Confederate defenses near Leesburg, sent forces commanded by Col. Edward D. Baker across the Potomac about a mile north at Ballís Bluff. Baker, a U.S. Senator with little military experience, deployed his troops poorly and soon came under heavy attack by the Confederates, commanded by Col. Nathan P. “Shanks” Evans.

Whoever controlled the roadway behind you could control the flow of reinforcements to the battlefield from both Edwards Ferry and Confederate Fort Evans. As the battle began, Stone, then at Edwards Ferry, sent 35 cavalrymen of the 3rd New York Cavalry under Maj. John Mix to scout the road between the ferry and Leesburg. Having learned of the masked battery, Stone ordered Mix to reconnoiter the terrain around it to discover Confederate troop dispositions and to study routes “for the passage of troops,” then withdrew. Just east of here, Mixís detachment took fire from elements of Col. William Barksdaleís 13th Mississippi Infantry. The Confederates
Detail of Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 21, 2007
2. Detail of Map
The map has superimposed modern highway numbers over the older, Civil War era, road network.
held the road for the rest of the day, reinforced their troops facing Baker, and contributed to the defeat of the Union soldiers atop Ballís Bluff.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 39° 6.838′ N, 77° 31.594′ W. Marker is in Leesburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker is at the intersection of Edwardís Ferry Road and Battlefield Parkway North East, on the left when traveling east on Edwardís Ferry Road. Click for map. At the entrance to the Edwardís Landing sub-division. Marker is in this post office area: Leesburg VA 20176, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Ballís Bluff Masked Battery (within shouting distance of this marker); Two-Chambered Granary (approx. 0.9 miles away); Well House (approx. 0.9 miles away); Carriage House (approx. 0.9 miles away); Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park (approx. 0.9 miles away); Ice House (approx. 0.9 miles away); 17th Mississippi Infantry (approx. 1.1 miles away); 18th Mississippi Infantry (approx. 1.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Leesburg.
 
More about this marker.
Corner of Edwards Ferry and Battlefield Parkway image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 21, 2007
3. Corner of Edwards Ferry and Battlefield Parkway
The other earthwork section depicted on the marker are located behind the modern stone retaining wall. T-51, a state marker with the same title, can be seen just down Edwards Ferry Road on the left. In the winter of 1861-62, Confederate artillery units occupied winter encampments in what is today a wood lot behind the marker.
Marker includes a newspaper drawing depicting the Federal retreat from Ballís Bluff with the caption, “U.S. soldiers attempt to swim the Potomac while fleeing Ballís Bluff.”

A portrait of Col. Edward D. Baker carries the caption, “the noted orator and Senator took the field and was undone by the challenges he faced. The sight of Bakerís body being carried from the battle demoralized the Union troops.”
 
Regarding Ballís Bluff Masked Battery. This marker is one of a set along the Balls Bluff Battlefield walking trail. See the Balls Bluff Virtual Tour by Markers link below for details on each stop.
 
Also see . . .
1. Biography of Col. Edward D. Baker. (Submitted on July 2, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Official Reports of the Battle. (Submitted on July 2, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
3. Biography of Col. William Barksdale. (Submitted on July 2, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
4. Ball's Bluff Regional Park. (Submitted on July 2, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
5. Balls Bluff Battlefield Virtual Tour by Marker. Over twenty markers detail the action at Balls Bluff and related sites. Please use the Click to map all markers shown on this page option at the bottom of the page to view a map of the marker locations.
Entrance to Edward's Landing image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, June 22, 2007
4. Entrance to Edward's Landing
The earthwork remains of the masked battery are located behind the entrance sign. The heavy undergrowth obscures the area, and much of the works are on private land.
The hybrid view offers an excellent overlook of the park. (Submitted on November 11, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Section of the Earthworks image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, October 15, 2007
5. Section of the Earthworks
Edwards Ferry Road cuts through a portion of the earthworks. One can glimpse a profile of the works on the north side of the road.
Ballís Bluff Masked Battery image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
6. Ballís Bluff Masked Battery
The masked battery itself stands across Edwards Ferry Road, about 200 yards east of the marker location. The site is private property, but easily seen from the road.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,224 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   6. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement