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Leesburg in Loudoun County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Battle of Ballís Bluff, October 21, 1861

 
 
Battle of Ball's Bluff, October 21, 1861 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 1, 2007
1. Battle of Ball's Bluff, October 21, 1861 Marker
Inscription.  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 this “camp” but soon discovered the mistake. Devens remained where he was and sent word to General Stone. His decision to stay led to the battle. On hearing of the mistake about the camp, Stone sent Devens the remainder of his regiment with orders to reconnoiter closer to Leesburg. He also ordered Col. Edward D. Baker, a U.S. Senator and friend of President Lincoln, to take command of the force, evaluate the situation and use his own discretion about whether to advance more men across the river or to retire those already there.

Unknown to either Stone or Baker, Devensí original raiding party had already engaged pickets of the 17th
Three Markers Near the Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 1, 2007
2. Three Markers Near the Cemetery
The Battle of Ball's Bluff Marker is flanked by one profiling Northern leaders (on the left) and one for the Southern leaders (on the right).
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Mississippi while waiting to hear from General Stone. The fighting thus began without Stoneís knowledge. From there, both sides gradually reinforced during the day. Thus, a small reconnaissance became a battle.
 
Erected by Ballís Bluff Regional Park/Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the NOVA Parks 🏞️ series lists.
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 39° 7.915′ N, 77° 31.674′ W. Marker was in Leesburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker could be reached from Ballís Bluff Road, on the left when traveling east. Located to the west of the National Cemetery, the center of three markers beside the path to the cemetery enclosure. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Leesburg VA 20176, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. The South: Confederate Leaders at Ballís Bluff (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Ball's Bluff, October 21, 1861 (here, next to this marker); The North: Union Leaders at Ball's Bluff (here, next to this marker); Thomas Clinton Lovett Hatcher
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(a few steps from this marker); Clinton Hatcher (a few steps from this marker); 13 Pounder "James Rifle" (a few steps from this marker); United States National Military Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); Edward D. Baker (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Leesburg.
 
More about this marker. The marker displays a map depicting the operational unit maneuvers during the battle. A newspaper drawing depicts the “Charge of the 15th Massachusetts Regiment” from London News, November 23, 1861.
 
Regarding Battle of Ballís Bluff, October 21, 1861. 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.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has been replaced with the linked marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. Brief Summary of the Battle of Ballís Bluff. (Submitted on September 1, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Staff Ride Guide to the Battle. (Submitted on September 1, 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
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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.) 

4. A Union error with deadly results. 2011 Washington Post article by Carolyn Reeder. “If the raiding party had returned to the island, the day would have had a different ending. Instead, the men waited while messages were carried back and forth to their generalís headquarters in Maryland. While they waited, they were discovered by the Confederates — a small group at first, but then more of them. After hours of minor fighting, the outnumbered raiding party headed back to the bluff.” (Submitted on October 5, 2011.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 1, 2007. This page has been viewed 1,731 times since then and 29 times this year. Last updated on October 8, 2020, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 1, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 21, 2021