Ball's Bluff National Cemetery
The 25 graves here in America's third smallest national cemetery contain the partial remains of 54 Union soldiers killed at the Battle of Ball's 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 home states for burial.
In the fall of 1865, Governor Andrew Curtin sought to have Pennsylvania's 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.
"Sir, I concur in this petition concerning the cemetery at Ball's 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
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., March 2, 1901, letter to Secretary of War Elihu Root. As a young man, Holmes fought at Ball's Bluff with the 20th Massachusetts.
Cemetery TimelineOctober 21: 1861: Battle of Ball's Bluff
October 22, 1861: Under a flag of truce, a Union burial detail inters 47 bodies and marks approximately 20 more than were 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 Ball's Bluff National Cemetery.
February 1871: Construction of first stone wall to replace the original 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 the cemetery.
Erected by Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park, Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
Topics and series. This historical Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Parks & Recreational Areas • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the National Cemeteries, the National Historic Landmarks, and the NOVA Parks series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1871.
Location. 39° 7.906′ N, 77° 31.649′ W. Marker is in Leesburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker can be reached from Balls Bluff Park east of Balls Bluff Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is 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 marker. Edward D. Baker (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Ball's Bluff National Cemetery (here, next to this marker); Battle of Ball's Bluff - October 21, 1861: The Union Collapse (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Edward D. Baker (a few steps from this marker); United States National Military Cemetery (a few steps from this marker); A National Cemetery System 1st California Regiment (a few steps from this marker); 13 Pounder "James Rifle" (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Leesburg.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. This marker has replaced the linked marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 6, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 83 times since then and 14 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 6, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 4, 5. submitted on March 7, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia.