Ball's Bluff National Cemetery
Battle of Ball's Bluff
On October 20, 1861, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, commander of the Army of the Potomac, ordered Brig. Gen. Charles P. Stone to scout Confederate forces on the Virginia side of the Potomac River near Leesburg.
Early on the morning of October 21, Union forces crossed the river to attack what was reported to be an unguarded Confederate camp. Instead, they came upon Southern troops under the command of Confederate Col. Nathan "Shanks" Evans and fighting ensued.
Senator Baker's Command
Stone ordered Col. Edward Baker, a U.S. senator, to Ball's Bluff to take charge of Union forces. Baker attempted to reinforce the troops but was delayed crossing the Potomac River. Only four small boats were available to transport soldiers. This extra time allowed Evans to call additional Confederate forces from Leesburg. By late afternoon Baker was dead. Panicked Union soldiers retreated. Many drowned as they tried to swim across the river. The Union dead were buried on the battlefield in shallow, hastily dug graves.
Creating a National Cemetery
In April 1862, a surgeon with the Pennsylvania
By 1871, the remains of fifty-four soldiers had been interred in twenty-five graves arranged in a semi-circle around a central path. A red sandstone was built to enclose the cemetery. Attempts to have the remains moved to Arlington National Cemetery, the last in 1882, were ultimately rejected. Pvt. James Allen, Co. H, 15th Massachusetts Infantry, is the only known burial in the second-smallest national cemetery. The battlefield and cemetery were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1984.
Erected by National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites • War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the National Cemeteries, and the National Historic Landmarks series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1862.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Ball's Bluff National Cemetery (here, next to this marker); Edward D. Baker (here, next to this marker); Battle of Ball's Bluff - October 21, 1861: The Union Collapse (here, next to this marker); United States National Military Cemetery (a few steps from this marker); A National Cemetery System (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Edward D. Baker (a few steps from this marker); 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.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 6, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 82 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 6, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 3, 4. submitted on March 7, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. 5, 6, 7. submitted on March 6, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.