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Posted on: January 13, 2017

Expansion of Ball’s Bluff National Historic Landmark Approved

Image of map of Ball's Bluff Battlefield
Loudoun County’s nomination for expansion of the Ball’s Bluff Battlefield National Historic Landmark has been approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Earlier this week, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced the expansion of the Civil War landmark from its current 76 acres near Leesburg to include over 3,300 acres of riverfront land on both sides of the Potomac River and including Harrison Island, Maryland.

Approval of the expansion marks the successful culmination of a long-term project spearheaded by the Loudoun County Heritage Commission as directed by the Board of Supervisors. The original designation included only the land on which the final and most intense fighting took place and the steep bluffs that Union troops moved down as they tried to flee. The expanded Ball’s Bluff National Historic Landmark now includes: 
  • The land and earthworks along both sides of Edwards Ferry Road where cavalry units ranged; 
  • The earthen fort from which the Confederates observed and directed the battle; 
  • The federal artillery positions on the heights above the Maryland shore from which the Confederate positions were bombarded; and 
  • Harrison Island which served as a staging area for the Federal troops trying to cross the storm swollen Potomac.
“This is a significant designation for our county and region,” said Historic Preservation Planner Heidi Siebentritt of the Loudoun County Department of Planning and Zoning.  “It recognizes the historical importance of the battlefield as well as the beauty of the land along Edwards Ferry Road and along the Potomac shores near Leesburg.”  Siebentritt adds that the expansion does not reduce the rights of any property owners within the landmark boundaries, but it does convey a sense of the national importance of the land.
National historic landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. About 2,500 historic places across the United States bear this distinction.  In addition to the Ball’s Bluff Battlefield and National Cemetery, four other Loudoun properties are national historic landmarks; Oak Hill, Oatlands, the George Marshall House and the Village of Waterford.

More information about the Ball’s Bluff Battlefield and the expansion effort is online at www.loudoun.gov/BallsBluff.

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