Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park

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Ball's Bluff Road, Leesburg, VA, USA

Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park Leesburg Reviews

Andy99 Andy99
621 reviews
The Battle at Ball's Bluff on the Potomac Oct 10, 2011
Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park, maintained by the Northern Virginia Regional park Authority, preserved the location of the Civil War Battle of Ball's Bluff. The battle took place on 21 October 1861. Ball's Bluff National Cemetery is also located here.

The battle occurred by pure chance, but led to a Union disaster and grisly outcomes. A Union reconnaissance party thought it had discovered a Confederate encampment, but was mistaken. While awaiting further orders, a Confederate patrol happened along and engaged the Federals. Reinforcements were called from both sides and a battle ensued over a small piece of land ending in sheer cliffs. Union troops were bottled up between the Confederates and the Potomac River below. Many soldiers were shot while trying to scale the cliffs or fell into the river and drowned. (Few people could swim in that era. Bodies washed up downriver in Washington, DC, days later.) It was a Confederate victory and a solemn follow-up to the Battle of First Manassas the preceding July. Senator Edward D. Baker of Oregon had been leading troops from Pennsylvania and was killed. (The only U.S. Senator killed in battle.)

Ball's Bluff National Cemetery was established in 1865 and contains graves of 54 Union soldiers killed in the battle. (Senator Baker is buried at the Presidio in San Francisco, but has a commemorative marker here.)

I wanted to see Ball's Bluff and photograph it at the same time of year as the battle. We came in mid-October as the park would be crowded on the 150th anniversary weekend.

The park was very quiet when we visited, with only a few other people present. There are trails through the park and interpretive markers along the way. It is not large. The sheer cliffs are there, but are overgrown with vegetation. Still, you can get an idea of the landscape the soldiers were up against.

No admission charge. No facilities.
Ball's Bluff Battlefield
The Battle of Ball's Bluff
Ball's Bluff National Cemetery
Senator Edward D. Baker marker
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
missandrea81 says:
One of these days my history buff travel buddy and I will have to come back to VA and visit all the sites on your list.
Posted on: Aug 01, 2012
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