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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Leesburg in Loudoun County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

1st California Regiment

 
 
1st California Regiment Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 1, 2007
1. 1st California Regiment Marker
Inscription.  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 Philadelphia, the Governor of Pennsylvania objected to those men not counting in his state’s quota of volunteers, and had these four regiments renamed the 71st, 69th, 72nd, and 106th Pennsylvania following the death of Colonel Baker here. Thus, the “California Brigade” became the “Philadelphia Brigade.”

There are numerous accounts of Colonel Baker’s death but no historical consensus or definative version. Confederate veteran Elijah White accurately summed this up when he wrote, “General (sic) Baker was killed ... no one knowing really who did it, although there was much romancing at the time.”
 
Erected by
The Old 71st Pennsylvania Infantry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 30, 2007
2. The Old 71st Pennsylvania Infantry Marker
The current marker replaced this one in August 2007. The unit name was changed as well as the text. It read:
The 71st Pennsylvania Infantry, also known as the First California Regiment, was commanded by Colonel Edward D. Baker. Baker, a seated Republican senator from Oregon and close friend of President Lincoln, arrived on the field at about two o'clock in the afternoon. With their backs to the bluff, Baker attempted to rally his troops. Captain Francis Young of the 71st Pennsylvania described Baker's final moments: "Colonel Baker was at all times in the open field walking in front of the men...about five o'clock he was standing near the left of the woods and was shot with a cavalry revolver by a private of the enemy. At the time he was shot, he was looking at a mounted officer...who appeared to be falling from his horse. Colonel Baker, turning about, said, 'See, he falls,' and immediately fell, receiving four balls, each of which would have been fatal."
Source: Battle of Balls Bluff by Kim Bernard Holien, 1989, Rapidan Press
Click or scan to see
this page online
Ball’s 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. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1861.
 
Location. 39° 7.901′ N, 77° 31.637′ W. Marker is in Leesburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker can be reached from Ball’s Bluff Road, on the right when traveling east. Located at trail stop 7, inside Ball’s Bluff Regional Park. Touch for map. Marker is 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 marker. Edward D. Baker (a few steps from this marker); Ball's Bluff National Cemetery (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Ball's Bluff National Cemetery (a few steps from this marker); Battle of Ball's Bluff - October 21, 1861: The Union Collapse (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Edward D. Baker (within shouting distance of this marker); United States National Military Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); 13 Pounder "James Rifle" (within shouting distance of this marker); The North: Union Leaders at Ball's Bluff (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 color print depicting the death of Colonel Baker.
 
Regarding 1st California Regiment.
The Spot Where Baker Was Shot image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 30, 2007
3. The Spot Where Baker Was Shot
The 71st Penn Regiment (1st California Regiment) line ran between here and the bluff to the east.
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.
 
Also see . . .
1. Staff Ride Guide for the Battle of Balls Bluff. (Submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. The California Regiment. The 71st Pennsylvania's colorful history. (Submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
The Bluff image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 30, 2007
4. The Bluff
Dropping off sharply to the river some 80 feet below, the regiments back was literally against this bluff.
Col. Baker Memorial Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bradley Owen, October 19, 2020
5. Col. Baker Memorial Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,599 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on September 1, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2, 3, 4. submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   5. submitted on March 7, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 21, 2021