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This marker is trail head for a set of markers along the Balls Bluff Battlefield walking trail. Please use the related markers list here to see a "virtual tour" of the battlefield by markers. Use the ďFirst >>Ē button above to see these markers in sequence.
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — F-1 — Battle of Ballís Bluff
One mile east occurred the Battle of Ballís Bluff, October 21, 1861. A Union force, which had crossed the river at this point, was driven back over it by the Confederates. — Map (db m985) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — A Divided America, A Divided Loudoun County
On April 12, 1861, with the firing on Fort Sumter, America went to war with itself. Just as the country was divided, so were Virginia and Loudoun County. The western portion of Virginia became the separate state of West Virginia in 1863. Here in Loudoun County, the division was based largely on the original settlement patterns, with the northwestern part of the county in opposition to the secessionist majority. The Potomac River formed a dividing line and to most Southerners, Maryland was . . . — Map (db m2251) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — The Battle at Ballís Bluff
On the night of October 20, 1861, a small Federal scouting party crossed the Potomac River from Maryland to determine whether recent troop movements indicated a Confederate withdrawal from Leesburg. Advancing inland from Ballís Bluff, the Federals moved past this point, crested a low ridge near the Jackson house, and saw in the dim moonlight what appeared to be a Confederate Camp. Upon learning of this, the Federal commander, Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone, saw a target of opportunity and quickly . . . — Map (db m2205) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Battle of Balls Bluff ó October 21, 1861
6 AM - After crossing the river, the 15 MA (Colonel Devens) advanced to the area near the Jackson house, leaving the 20 MA (Colonel Lee) on the bluff to guard the exit path to the river. 8 AM - Captain Duff's (17 MS) Company ran into Devens (15 MA) and fighting began around the Jackson House. 9A M - 10 AM - General Stone ordered Col. (Senator) Baker to take command of all forces on Ball's Bluff and either advance more troops or withdraw, as he deemed appropriate. Baker arrived on . . . — Map (db m27590) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Additional Area Civil War Sites
1. Sugarloaf Mountain - This was the site of a Union Signal Corps station that remained in operation throughout much of the war. 2. White's Ferry - Originally called Conrad's Ferry, this crossing was established in 1817 about four miles north of Leesburg. After the war, the ferry was bought by Confederate veteran Elijah White and became known as White's Ferry. It is the only operational ferry on the Potomac. 3. Harrison's Island - About two miles long and four hundred yards wide, . . . — Map (db m27839) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — 8th Virginia Infantry
The 8th Virginia Infantry was a local unit made up of six companies from Loudoun, two from Fauquier, and one each from Fairfax and Prince William counties. Commanded by Colonel Eppa Hunton, the Regiment arrived on the field about 12:30 p.m. initially deploying west of the ridge near the Jackson house. With the withdrawal of the 15th Massachusetts from that area, the 8th Virginia moved cautiously forward and deployed on the battlefield. Shortly thereafter, the right wing of the unit clashed . . . — Map (db m2211) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Jeniferís Cavalry
Lieutenant Colonel Walter H. Jenifer commanded the 300-man cavalry force in Colonel Nathan “Shanks” Evanís Confederate brigade. Jenifer had some 70 troopers with him at Ballís Bluff, including portions of the Chesterfield Light Dragoons, the Loudoun Cavalry, and the Wise Dragoons. After breaking the Union line near the Jackson house, a portion of the cavalry dismounted because of the rough and wooded terrain. An estimated one-third of these men joined several companies of . . . — Map (db m2213) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — 15th Massachusetts Infantry
The 15th Massachusetts Infantry provided an initial scouting patrol on the night of October 20 and the troops for the raiding party the next morning. Five companies, roughly 300 men, were to attack a Confederate camp. Devens positioned his men several hundred yards west of here and sent a messenger to inform General Stone that there was no camp to raid. While waiting for new orders, a small portion of his force engaged Company K of the 17th Mississippi in the battleís opening skirmish. The . . . — Map (db m2223) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Union Artillery
The Federals crossed three pieces of artillery to Ballís Bluff. Two mountain howitzers from the 2nd New York State Militia, detached under Lt. Frank French of Battery I, 1st U.S. Artillery, occupied this area for much of the afternoon. A 12-pdr James rifled cannon from Battery B, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, commanded by Lt. Walter Bramhall of the 6th New York Independent Battery, was near today's cemetery. Being in the open, many of the artillerists were shot down and replaced by . . . — Map (db m2224) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Ballís Bluff Overlook
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 . . . — Map (db m2829) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — 20th Massachusetts Infantry
Companies D and I of the 20th Massachusetts (the “Harvard Regiment”) followed the 15th Massachusetts across the Potomac with orders to serve as a rear guard and cover the withdrawal of the 15th Massachusetts following what was hoped would be a successful raid. Those two companies, led by regimental commander Colonel William R. Lee, deployed along the bluff here and waited. They spent much of the day in the area immediately beyond this sign. While waiting, Colonel Lee sent out . . . — Map (db m2229) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — 1st California Regiment
The 1st California was one of four regiments that made up the “California Brigade” commanded by Colonel Edward D. Baker, U.S. Senator from Oregon and close friend of President Lincoln. In April, 1861, Baker helped to organize what was intended to be a single regiment to represent California in the Union Army. The response was so large, however that four regiments were created and numbered 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th California (there was no 4th). As most of the recruiting was done around . . . — Map (db m2230) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Edward D. Baker
Colonel Baker is buried at the Presidio in San Francisco, California. This memorial stone was placed here to mark what was believed to be the location of Bakerís death and to honor the memory of the only U.S. Senator to have died on the field of battle. Prior to the placement of the stone, a simple wooden fence rail, supported by a pile of rocks and a small sign, was the only monument to Baker. The stone was placed where that fence rail once stood. — Map (db m2237) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Ballís Bluff Battlefield and National Cemetery
Has been designated a National Historic Landmark This site possesses national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America 1984 National Park Service United States Department of the Interior — Map (db m2236) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Ballís Bluff National Cemetery
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 . . . — Map (db m2235) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — The North: Union Leaders at Ball's Bluff
Brigadier General Charles Pomeroy Stone As the overall commander of Union forces at Ballís Bluff, Stone was a rising star in the Union army at the time of the battle. He become the scapegoat for the defeat. Stone was born September 30, 1824, in Greenfield, Massachusetts. An 1845 West Point graduate, he won two brevets for gallantry in Mexico. Early in 1861, he organized the defenses of Washington and oversaw security arrangements for President-elect Lincolnís inauguration. Arrested on . . . — Map (db m2238) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — The South: Confederate Leaders at Ballís Bluff
Colonel Nathan George “Shanks” Evans Nathan Evans was born in South Carolina in 1824. An 1848 West Point graduate, he was jokingly nicknamed “Shanks” by his classmates because he was knock-kneed. During the next decade he fought Indians with the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, eventually rising to the rank of captain. He resigned shortly after the secession of his native state. At First Manassas, Evans commanded the Confederate left and held the Federals in check long enough for . . . — Map (db m2241) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Battle of Ballís Bluff, October 21, 1861
The Battle of Ballís Bluff was the result of a mistake. The previous evening, Capt. Chase Philbrick, Co. H, 15th Massachusetts, led a small reconnaissance patrol across the river to determine the results of some earlier Confederate troop movements. Philbrick soon spotted what he thought was an enemy camp and reported this news. The “camp,” in fact was a row of trees mistaken for tents. On orders from Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone, Col. Charles Devensí crossed a 300-man force to raid . . . — Map (db m2252) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Thomas Clinton Lovett Hatcher
20 December, 1839 – 21 October, 1861 Standing over 6'4" and wearing a full red beard, Clinton Hatcher was a memorable figure. Despite his Quaker upbringing, he joined Company F of the 8th Virginia at the beginning of the war and became the regimental color bearer. This combined with his height and notable beard to make him quite a target and he was, in fact, killed during the battle. This memorial stone was placed here to honor his courage. Hatcher is not buried here but rests in the . . . — Map (db m2243) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — 42nd New York Infantry
The 42nd New York (“Tammany Regiment”) was commanded by Col. Milton Cogswell, the only West Point-trained officer among the senior Union commanders at Ballís Bluff. Five companies of the 42nd participated in the battle. With the death of Colonel Baker between 4:30-5:00, Colonel Cogswell assumed command of the Federal force. He attempted to organize a breakout and move downriver toward the other Union troops at Edwardís Ferry. The attempt fell apart almost before it started. . . . — Map (db m2231) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — 17th Mississippi Infantry
The 17th Mississippi Infantry was the last Confederate unit to arrive on the field. These 600-700 fresh troops showed up late in the afternoon and tipped the balance of what had been a hard but evenly fought contest up to that point. The Mississippians had double-timed much of the way from their positions near Leesburg and were, according to Pvt. Robert Moore, “very near run down when we got there.” To let them catch their breath and to protect them from still heavy Union fire, . . . — Map (db m2234) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — 18th Mississippi Infantry
The 18th Mississippi Infantry was sent from nearby Edward's Ferry and arrived near here around 3:00 p.m. Colonel Erasmus Burt ordered his men forward across the then open field unknowingly into a deadly crossfire between the two winds of the Union formation. This was the single major tactical error made by the Confederates during the battle. About half of the 18th Mississippiís 85 casualties that day came during this brief encounter. Among the wounded was Colonel Burt who was shot through the . . . — Map (db m2233) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Aftermath of Ballís Bluff
Ballís Bluff is the only battlefield where on which a United States senator was killed in combat. Edward Dickinson Baker, senator from Oregon, was also a colonel and one of Brig. Gen. Charles Stoneís three brigade commanders. Baker was a long-time friend of President Lincoln and was known as a brilliant orator. His canvassing efforts during the 1860 election campaign helped win both California and Oregon for Lincoln. Bakerís death here and three Union defeats in 1861 resulted in the creation . . . — Map (db m2203) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Ballís Bluff Masked Battery ó ...held to the bluff without room to retire.
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, . . . — Map (db m1517) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — T 51 — Ballís Bluff Masked Battery
Nearby is the likely site of the Confederate “masked battery” (concealed artillery) that was an object of Federal concern early in the Civil War. On 21 Oct. 1861, elements of the 13th Mississippi infantry near there engaged 35 horsemen of the 3rd New York Cavalry sent to draw attention from the Union force upriver at Ballís Bluff and to reconnoiter Confederate positions in the direction of Leesburg. After a brief firefight, the New Yorkers withdrew to Edwardís Ferry. The Confederate . . . — Map (db m1491) HM
Virginia (Loudoun County), Leesburg — Battlefield Historic Restoration Project
In 2004, Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park began a restoration project on the battlefield where you stand today. The objective of the effort is to return about 12 acres of the battlefield to its approximate appearance in 1861. First hand accounts from soldiers like Lt. Colonel Isaac Wister of the 1st California describe the battlefield as "an open field of oblong shaped...entirely surrounded by woods". The photograph below was taken in 1886 of the Veterans from the 15th . . . — Map (db m19329) HM
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