Leesburg in Loudoun County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Ball’s Bluff National Cemetery
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 homes 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.
October 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
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 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 cemetery.
(Sidebar Quote): “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 and romantic historical interest, it seems to me salient enough to deserve to be retained.”
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.
Funds for this project were donated by the Loudoun County Civil War Round Table.
Erected by Ball’s Bluff Regional Park/Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the National Cemeteries, and the NOVA Parks series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1871.
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 39° 7.908′ N, 77° 31.65′ W. Marker was in Leesburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker could be reached from Ball’s Bluff Road, on the left when traveling east. Located next to the stone wall enclosure for the Ball’s Bluff National Cemetery. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Leesburg VA 20175, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. A different marker also named Ball's Bluff National Cemetery (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); Edward D. Baker (here, next to this marker); United States National Military Cemetery (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Edward D. Baker (a few steps from this marker); A National Cemetery System1st California Regiment (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Leesburg.
More about this marker. The marker has a “View of cemetery from site where Baker fell, Early 1900s,” which shows the stone wall enclosure.
The “Bivouac of the Dead” plaque next to this marker a standard type placed at most National Cemeteries.
Regarding Ball’s Bluff National Cemetery. 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. Ball’s Bluff National Cemetery. (Submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. 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 an excellent overlook of the park. (Submitted on November 11, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
3. Soldier's marker without memory. by Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun, May 29, 2006. Discusses the cemetery and James Allen. (Submitted on April 19, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.)
4. National Register Nomination Form(Submitted on April 19, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.)
5. In Our Backyard: Ball's Bluff National Cemetery. Article by Jim Morgan in Leesburg Today, Tuesday, November 11, 2008. (Submitted on April 27, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.)
1. 54 Bodies; 25 Graves
The cemetery plaque indicates that there are 54 bodies buried here. But there are only 25 graves. Forty seven bodies were buried under a flag of truce after the battle in 1861 but when the cemetery was constructed in 1865 the bodies had been scattered about by animals and weather. Jim Morgan in an article in Leesburg Today quotes Leesburg Postmaster James Rinker describing the situation in an 1877 letter: "There are 25 Boxes - 24 of them contain the remains of 50 men - 1 contains a Body that is identified the only one in the lot - rest all unknown. The Bones were thrown in promiscuously - some Boxes containing Portions of 2 or 3 bodies - some not more than one except the scull or rather 2 sculls."
— Submitted April 27, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 4, 2022. It was originally submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,291 times since then and 121 times this year. Last updated on March 27, 2022, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. Photos: 1. submitted on September 1, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2. submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 3. submitted on September 2, 2007, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 4, 5. submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on April 19, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.