Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park, Leesburg, VA

Over the weekend we went north for the Grapehound Wine Tour. On Sunday, the greyhounds took a walk at the Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park. To get there, take Route 7 west towards Leesburg, then Route 15 Bypass north. Turn right on Battlefield Parkway and left on Ball's Bluff Road. Travel through a housing plan and the park is located at the end of the street.
We were fortunate to have Jim Morgan, Chairman of the Friends of the Ball's Bluff Battlefield, give us a personal talk about the Civil War battle before the walk through the park.
There were about 20 greyhounds and their owners there for the walk.
PG and Sammy were ready to go! It was kind of chilly. And the pollen was miserable! Everyone's eyes were watering and sneezing all around. Even the dogs.
Finally the talk was over and we were on the trail! I am nowhere near as versed on the subject of this battle as Mr. Morgan--but I'll try to give you a rough overview. The battle at Ball's Bluff was one of the first battles of the Civil War and was an accident, not a planned attack. Union Brig. General Charles Stone took action against the Confederate troops because he was given faulty intelligence from a recon patrol. The recon patrol reported that a Confederate camp sat in a field but it was really just a row of trees. General Stone had his men maintain their position near Ball's Bluff; and he also ordered more troops across the Potomac River and put Colonel Edward Baker in command. The Confederate soldiers noticed the big troop movement--and this was also their back yard so they had a kind of home field advantage. The fighting began around 3pm on October 21, 1861 and raged almost non-stop until dark. The Confederate soldiers had a clear advantage and they pushed the Union Army back towards the bluff. 223 were killed, including Colonel Baker, who was a lifelong friend of Abraham Lincoln.
There is a tombstone at the spot where they think Colonel Baker was buried.  Colonel Baker was a US Senator from Oregon and was the only US Senator ever killed in battle.
The Union Army placed "mountain howitzers" on the knoll overlooking the field, but these were captured by the Confederate soldiers.
The cemetery at Ball's Bluff is a national cemetery, the third smallest national cemetery in the country. Although there are remains of 54 people in the cemetery, only one soldier was ever identified.

If you are interested in learning more about the battle, you can go to the Ball's Bluff Regional Park's website.

The park is a very pretty place to walk with views over the Potomac along the bluff. We enjoyed the interpretive walk with Mr. Morgan but now PG is ready to leave!

Wish you were here,
Sammy & PG

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