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 National Cemetery

 
 
Ball's Bluff National Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 1, 2007
1. Ball's Bluff National Cemetery Marker
Inscription. The twenty-five graves here in one of Americaís smallest national cemeteries contain the partial remains of 54 Union soldiers killed at the Battle of Ballís Bluff, October 21, 1861. All are unidentified except Pvt. James Allen of Northbridge, Massachusetts, who served with the 15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

The majority of Confederate dead were removed to Leesburg. Most of the fallen Union soldiers found on or near the battlefield were temporarily buried in shallow mass graves between the current cemetery and the Clinton Hatcher marker just to the west. Some of the dead from both sides were shipped to their homes for burial.

In the fall of 1865, Governor Andrew Curtin sought to have Pennsylvaniaís dead removed and returned home. Individual remains could not be identified four years after the battle, so the U.S. Army decided to establish a cemetery here for the Union dead. Work was completed on December 18, 1865.

Cemetery Timeline

October 21, 1861: Battle of Ballís Bluff

October 22, 1861: Under a flag of truce, a Union Burial detail inters 47 bodies and marks approximately 20 more that were
Old Ball's Bluff National Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 30, 2007
2. Old Ball's Bluff National Cemetery Marker
The current marker replaced this one in August 2007.
later buried by the Confederates.

Spring 1862: Examination of field by Union authorities and temporary reinterment in mass graves.

Fall 1865: Authorization of national cemetery and beginning of permanent reinterments.

December 18, 1865: Completion of Ballís Bluff National Cemetery.

February 1871: Construction of first stone wall to replace picket fence.

September 1901: Construction of current stone wall.

August 1984: Cemetery and battlefield designated National Historic Landmark.

June 1986: Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority assumes ownership of battlefield immediately surrounding cemetery.

(Sidebar Quote): “Sir, I concur in this petition concerning the cemetery at Ballís Bluff, Virginia so far as to hope that there will be no abandonment of what is there or has been done. As a local point of patriotic and romantic historical interest, it seems to me salient enough to deserve to be retained.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., March 2, 1901, letter to Secretary of War Elihu Root. As a young man, Holmes fought at Ballís Bluff with the 20th Massachusetts.

Funds for this project were donated by
Three Markers at Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 7, 2007
3. Three Markers at Cemetery
the Loudoun County Civil War Round Table.
 
Erected by Ballís Bluff Regional Park/Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
 
Location. 39° 7.908′ N, 77° 31.65′ W. Marker is in Leesburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker can be reached from Ballís Bluff Road, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Located next to the stone wall enclosure for the Ballís Bluff National Cemetery. Marker is in this post office area: Leesburg VA 20175, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 12 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ballís Bluff Battlefield and National Cemetery (here, next to this marker); Edward D. Baker (here, next to this marker); 1st California Regiment (a few steps from this marker); The North: Union Leaders at Ball's Bluff (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle of Ballís Bluff, October 21, 1861 (within shouting distance of this marker); The South: Confederate Leaders at Ballís Bluff (within shouting
The Twenty-five Gravestones in the Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 30, 2007
4. The Twenty-five Gravestones in the Cemetery
distance of this marker); Thomas Clinton Lovett Hatcher (within shouting distance of this marker); Clinton Hatcher (within shouting distance of this marker); 20th Massachusetts Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); 42nd New York Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Artillery (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); 18th Mississippi Infantry (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Leesburg.
 
More about this marker. The marker has a “View of cemetery from site where Baker fell, Early 1900s,” which shows the stone wall enclosure.

The “Bivouac of the Dead” plaque next to this marker a standard type placed at most National Cemeteries.
 
Regarding Ballís Bluff National Cemetery. This marker is one of a set along the Balls Bluff Battlefield walking trail.
From <i>The Bivouac of the Dead</i> image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 30, 2007
5. From The Bivouac of the Dead
See the Balls Bluff Virtual Tour by Markers link below for details on each stop.
 
Also see . . .
1. Ballís Bluff National Cemetery. (Submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. 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. The hybrid view offers an excellent overlook of the park. (Submitted on November 11, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

3. Soldier's marker without memory. by Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun, May 29, 2006. Discusses the cemetery and James Allen. (Submitted on April 19, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.) 

4. National Register Nomination Form. Ball's Bluff National Cemetery (Submitted on April 19, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.) 

5. In Our Backyard: Ball's Bluff National Cemetery. Article by Jim Morgan in Leesburg Today, Tuesday, November 11, 2008. (Submitted on April 27, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. 54 Bodies; 25 Graves
The cemetery plaque indicates that there are 54 bodies buried here. But there are only
Cemetery Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 14, 2013
6. Cemetery Plaque

United States
National Military Cemetery
Ball's Bluff
Established 1865
Internments 54
Known 1
Unknown 53
25 graves. Forty seven bodies were buried under a flag of truce after the battle in 1861 but when the cemetery was constructed in 1865 the bodies had been scattered about by animals and weather. Jim Morgan in an article in Leesburg Today quotes Leesburg Postmaster James Rinker describing the situation in an 1877 letter: "There are 25 Boxes - 24 of them contain the remains of 50 men - 1 contains a Body that is identified the only one in the lot - rest all unknown. The Bones were thrown in promiscuously - some Boxes containing Portions of 2 or 3 bodies - some not more than one except the scull or rather 2 sculls."
    — Submitted April 27, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.

 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesWar, US Civil
 
Sons of the Confederate Veterans plaque<br><small>on the back of the Cemetery Plaque</small> image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 14, 2013
7. Sons of the Confederate Veterans plaque
on the back of the Cemetery Plaque

This Ball's Bluff National Military
Cemetery Plaque was replaced and the gate
restored in 1996 by the
Clinton Hatcher Camp No. 21
Sons of the Confederate Veterans
Leesburg, Loudoun County, Virginia
to commemorate the battle fought here
October 21, 1861
with cooperation of the
Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority
and the
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
James Allen image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 14, 2013
8. James Allen
Co H 15 Regt
Mass Inf
October 21 1861

James Allen is the only identified person buried in the Cemetery. He was bootmaker and a member of Company H of the 15th Massachusetts Infantry.
National Register Plaque<br><small>at the base of the flagpole</small> image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 14, 2013
9. National Register Plaque
at the base of the flagpole

This National Cemetery
has been listed in
The National Register
of
Historic Places
by the
United States Department of the Interior
1996
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,866 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.   4, 5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement