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Balls Bluff Battlefield Regional Park - Leesburg, VA

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
2.6 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
2.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
200 ft
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Park at the Balls Bluff Battlefield Regional Park parking. 39.13055, -77.53080

Located in the heart of Loudoun County between the Potomac River and Leesburg VA, the Balls Bluff Battlefield Regional Park was the location of a battle that effected the course of the Civil War. There are many things to see in the park including the National Cemetery, Potomac River, and views from the sandstone shale bluffs. Make sure to print the trail map provided by the NVRPA as there are so many trails to explore having a trail map with you will make it a lot easier to navigate the park.

Battle of Balls Bluff - October 21, 1861

Early on the day of October 21, 1861 a Union raiding party from the 15th Massachusetts advanced on a presumed Confederate camp based on information provided by a patrol the previous night. This information was inaccurate, and the camp was actually a tree line misidentified as tents in the low light. Company K of the 15th Mississippi advanced from the southwest and clashed with the Union troops shortly thereafter. The Union army was then hampered by the slow arrival of reinforcements caused by too few boats able to transport troops across the river.

The battle turned into a rout of the Union when more reinforcements from the Confederate's Virginia Cavalry and Virginia 8th Infantry arrived by 12:30p.m. The now 700 strong Confederate soldiers attacked the 650 Union troops who then retreated back to the southern point on the bluff. At this time some of the fiercest fighting occurred, with 236 Union soldiers killed and 553 captured, and 36 Confederate soldiers killed with 3 captured.

Battle of Balls Bluff Troop Movement Map

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Mid December
Balls Bluff Battlefield Hike Comments
Archived Comments

By: Tom Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 17, 2017
Recommended more than the "3" implies. We didn't do the trail as described. We started at the south end of the park (Edwards Landing Park) hiked up close to the northern edge, and back - about 4.6 miles - a full loop with only 50 yards on the same path we came. A very pleasant hike. The trail climbs up and down a number of ravines to give some nice variety and some workout. The winter trees provided good views of the Potomac, and the Civil War battleground and cemetery have lots of informative signs with an incredible amount of detail. Definitely bring a copy of the trail map - there are so many trails and intersections that wrong turns are likely, but no big deal. The large number of crossing trails also make it easy to choose how long to walk - you can turn around at any number of places.

By: Brian S Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, December 4, 2016
I have hiked this one a few times now in the last several months after living in Leesburg for over 15 years and not really know about it. Mostly wooded and quiet trails except around the cemetery. I have taken my dogs with me and they enjoy it too. There are usually a few other hikers and some dogs out for a walk but not very crowded. A couple of my visits it was a little muddy on the trail down by the Potomac and the hills to get down there can be slippery so be careful of your footing and bring something to clean the mud off the pups when you get back (lots of red clay.) Some up and down in ravines but nothing to serious. Nice little park with some interesting history markers to stop and read (cemetery is full of almost all Unknown soldiers).

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