The Journey Through Hallowed Ground

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Ball's Bluff Regional Park and National Cemetery

Confederate and Union troops met in battle at Ball’s Bluff in 1861. A Union raiding party crossed the Potomac at Ball’s Bluff with the mission of raiding a Confederate camp that was actually a row of trees that had been mistaken for tents. While awaiting their new orders, the Union raiders encountered a Confederate patrol and in the ensuing skirmish were driven down the steeply sloping bluff and into the Potomac River. Many drowned, weighed down by their clothes and ammunition, while others were shot by Confederate troops firing down from the top of the bluff. The bodies of Union soldiers washed ashore downstream in Washington, D.C. for days following the battle. As a result, the U.S. Congress created a committee that developed standards on the conduct of war.

The Ball's Bluff National Cemetery, one of the nation's smallest military cemeteries, was established in 1865 as the burial place of 54 Union casualties of the battle; only one of whom has been identified. A memorial to Union commander Col. Edward D. Baker, a close friend of President Lincoln who was killed during the battle, is located at the cemetery.

The cemetery and battlefield are part of the 223-acre Ball's Bluff Regional Battlefield Park. A one-mile long loop trail features displays interpreting the battle; self-guided tour brochures are available at a kiosk near the park’s entrance and audio tours can be downloaded from the park’s website. Civil War re-enactments and special events are scheduled periodically.

Open:

The park and cemetery are open year-round from dawn to dusk.

Tour Information:
A one-mile long loop trail features displays interpreting the battle; self-guided tour brochures are available at a kiosk near the park’s entrance and audio tours can be downloaded from the park’s website.
Free Battlefield tours are conducted by expert volunteer tour guides on Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm (April-October) with additional tours on Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day.
Address:
Balls Bluff Rd. NE
Leesburg, Virginia 20176
Phone:
703-737-7800
Directions to:
Here

More about the area:

  • Leesburg, VA

    Leesburg has been the county seat since 1757 and was once named "George Town" honoring King George II. Leesburg was established in 1758 from land originally held by Lord Fairfax, then renamed...

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Local Tourism Resources:

  • Visit Loudoun and Loudoun County Visitors Center
    Market Station 112-G South St. SE
    Leesburg, VA 20175
    703-771-2170 ext. 11 or 800-752-6118 ext. 11
    Daily 9:00 am - 5:00 pm / Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Days http://www.visitloudoun.org
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