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

15th Massachusetts Infantry

 
 
15th Massachusetts Infantry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 1, 2007
1. 15th Massachusetts Infantry Marker
The new marker placed in August of 2007.
Inscription. The 15th Massachusetts Infantry provided an initial scouting patrol on the night of October 20 and the troops for the raiding party the next morning. Five companies, roughly 300 men, were to attack a Confederate camp. Devens positioned his men several hundred yards west of here and sent a messenger to inform General Stone that there was no camp to raid. While waiting for new orders, a small portion of his force engaged Company K of the 17th Mississippi in the battleís opening skirmish.

The 15th Massachusetts was the only Federal unit involved in the three skirmishes that took place in the morning and early afternoon. Around 12:30 p.m., Devensí men were driven from their defensive position behind a heavy fence on the Jackson property. Around 2:00 p.m., Devens withdrew his men to this area and deployed them in the woods on your right, facing the then open field on your left, and deployed at a right angle to the main Federal line, the two wings of that line forming what, from the bluff, would have looked like a backward “L” covering the clearing and the cart path.

Following the 3:30 p.m. repulse of the 18th Mississippi which had advanced across the field between the two wings of the Union position, parts of the 15th Massachusetts eventually re-deployed along the Federal left in preparation for a breakout shortly
The Old 15th Massachusetts Infantry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 30, 2007
2. The Old 15th Massachusetts Infantry Marker
Replaced sometime in August of 2007.

It read: The 15th Massachusetts Infantry led the Federal advance at Ball's Bluff. Rebuffed in the morning's fight, the 15th fell back to the small field that existed here in 1861. Private Rowland E. Bowen of the 15th Massachusetts described the action here: "...it was evident to me at once that we had formed our last line of battle and if we lost this position, we were utterly ruined...Now the dirt and grass began to fly on top of the ridge and the bullets flew like hailstones...Colonel Devens came along behind us and said 'Fellow soldiers, if you wish to preserve your lives...form a line and stand still.' But it was the general impression among our men that our enemies were 5 to 1 [against us], which disheartened them."
Source: From Ball's Bluff to Gettysburg and Beyond" by Gregory A. Coco, 1994, Thomas Publications.
before dark. With the failure of that attempt, the 15th broke and, like the other Union units, was driven down the slope and into the river.
 
Erected by Ballís Bluff Regional Park/Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
 
Location. 39° 7.976′ N, 77° 31.755′ W. Marker is in Leesburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker can be reached from Ballís Bluff Road, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Located at trail stop 4, inside Ballís Bluff Regional Park. Marker is in this post office area: Leesburg VA 20175, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jeniferís Cavalry (within shouting distance of this marker); Battlefield Historic Restoration Project (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Thomas Clinton Lovett Hatcher (about 500 feet away); Clinton Hatcher (about 500 feet away); The South: Confederate Leaders at Ballís Bluff (about 500 feet away); Battle of Ballís Bluff, October 21, 1861 (about 500 feet away); The North: Union Leaders at Ball's Bluff (about 500 feet away); 8th Virginia Infantry (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Leesburg.
 
More about this marker. The marker has photographs of Colonel Charles Devens and Rowland
Looking from the Position Held by the 15th Mass image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 30, 2007
3. Looking from the Position Held by the 15th Mass
The ground in front of the 15th Mass. was open field at the time of the battle. The National Cemetery is in the center of what was the Federal Line.
Bowen.
 
Regarding 15th Massachusetts Infantry. 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. Brief Summary of the Battle of Ball's Bluff. (Submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Staff Ride Guide. Produced by the Center of Military History for Army Officer Professional Development. (Submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

3. 15th Massachusetts Infantry. A genealogy site with much background information about the regiment. Until mustered out of service at Petersburg in July 1864, the 15th was active in nearly all actions in the Eastern Theater of war. (Submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

4. 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.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Colonel Charles Devens image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 14, 2013
4. Colonel Charles Devens
Close-up of photo on marker
Kim Bernard Holion
Rowland Bowen image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 14, 2013
5. Rowland Bowen
Close-up of photo on marker
From "From Balls Bluff to Gettysburg and Beyond", Gregory Coco Editor.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,856 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on September 1, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2, 3. submitted on August 31, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4, 5. submitted on November 23, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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