“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 Overlook

Ball's Bluff Overlook Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, October 8, 2007
1. Ball's Bluff Overlook Marker
Inscription. Ball's Bluff is a 600 yard long shale and sandstone cliff. It rises up a shallow bell curve from two ravines approximately 300 yards north and south of where you are standing. At this point, it is about 100 feet high, though just to the north (left) of this spot, it reaches its highest elevation of 110 feet above the river.

Note that the Potomac flows due south here. Thus, as you look across the river into Maryland, you are not looking northward as you might expect, but to the east.

Directly below you, more or less visible depending on the foliage, are the river and the floodplain on which Union troops landed on the morning of October 21, 1861. The landing point was upriver to your left some 300 yards. The Federals worked their way down the floodplain to the path at the southern end of the bluff which winds its way upward and comes out near the cemetery.

The Virginia channel of the river below you is, at normal water, some 75-80 yards wide. Beyond that channel is Harrison's Island which was picketed by Federal troops before the battle, and was the refuge sought by those same troops following the route at the end of the day. The island is two miles long and perhaps a quarter-mile wide.

Beyond it is the roughly 350 yard wide Maryland channel of the river on the other side of which, where you see several farm
Marker at the Overlook image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, October 8, 2007
2. Marker at the Overlook
buildings, is Maryland proper. Follow the horizon to the right and you will see a water tower that marks the site of Poolesville, the small town that was General Stone's division headquarters from August, 1861, until his arrest in February, 1862. His approximately 10,000 troops were camped at various locations some 8-10 miles north and south of Poolesville so as to cover the river and watch for any Confederate activity.
Erected by Ball's Bluff Regional Park/Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
Location. 39° 7.978′ N, 77° 31.606′ W. Marker is in Leesburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker can be reached from Ballís Bluff Road, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Located at the overlook trail stop, inside Ballís Bluff Regional Park. Marker is in this post office area: Leesburg VA 20175, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Union Artillery (within shouting distance of this marker); 20th Massachusetts Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); Ballís Bluff National Cemetery (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ballís Bluff Battlefield and National Cemetery (about 500 feet away);
The Overlook in Winter image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 28, 2006
3. The Overlook in Winter
Looking directly across the Potomac, the farmland of Maryland is easily seen. The Virginia channel is at the bottom of the photograph, with Harrison's Island the low ground in the center.
Edward D. Baker (about 500 feet away); 1st California Regiment (about 500 feet away); The North: Union Leaders at Ball's Bluff (about 500 feet away); Battle of Ballís Bluff, October 21, 1861 (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Leesburg.
More about this marker. The marker displays a photograph of Balls Bluff as seen from the river.
Regarding Ballís Bluff Overlook. 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. Brief Summary of the Battle of Ball's Buff. (Submitted on October 8, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Staff Ride Guide to the Battle of Balls Bluff. (Submitted on October 8, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
3. 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
The Virginia Channel image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 30, 2007
4. The Virginia Channel
Seen from the floodplain below the bluff, Federal forces had to cross here after their rout at the top of the bluff.
an excellent overlook of the park. (Submitted on November 11, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,522 times since then and 107 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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