The Battle of Ball’s Bluff

Feb 12, 2020

This story comes from the book Spirit’s of Frederick by Alyce T. Weinberg. The images are not my mine…

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Ball’s Bluff Battlefield and Cemetery

“After the embarrassment of Battle of Bull run, in mid-October of 1861, a series of unrelated and poorly coordinated events brought the Northern and Southern forces together just a few miles outside of Leesburg, VA., at Ball’s Bluff.”

The Battle of Ball’s Bluff is a little known battle of the American Civil War…

A 1985 graduate of Hood college (Frederick, MD) did research on the battle for a history class. It is believed that Col. Edward Dickinson Baker still roams around the fields. Back in 1861, it was thought that a main Federal attack would occur.

According to the research done, Baker started his career in Illinois, where he and Abe Lincoln were law partners and representatives in the state legislature. Lincoln named his second son after Baker – Edward Baker Lincoln. It is said that Baker dined at Annington on the night before the battle and is supposed to have said, “Tomorrow night, I will dine in Leesburg or in Hell.” His fate was not the former. He took a turn at loading the cannon, which he knew nothing about, and was shot to death by a tall, burly, red-headed sharpshooter while cheering on his men.

The untried Federal (Union) troops were easy prey. They took off their fancy gray coats with bright red linings and hung them in the trees, making them perfect targets. Screams of pain and terror filled the air and the cliff was worn smooth by fleeing troops. The (Potomac) river ran red. Dying soldiers lay in the field, struggling.

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Annington House

Annington house is a Federal style brick manor house, built in 1800 on the north side of a sweeping bend in the river by David Trundle for his daughter, Ann. It has a demanding view of the countryside…13 rooms, seven fireplaces and three chimneys. There is a tenant house which was probably formerly slave quarters, an elaborate gazebo and basically nothing has changed except the removal of the front porch because of rot. This is where, Col. Baker dined his last dinner.

The current residents believe Baker’s ghost roams the halls. Pictures get turned towards the walls, dogs and cats act strange at times, and small items get switched around. There is a feeling of someone in the room, when no one else is there, doors open and close by themselves, and an attic window has fallen out and down three floors to the ground where it did not break. A construction worker claimed once that he saw a man in a battered uniform riding a horse across the property.

There is a bend on the C & O Canal called Haunted House Bend (lock #25?) …workers of the canal, back in the day, said they wouldn’t tie up their boats or mules here, the mules wouldn’t eat their grain… “The ghosts of the unknown soldiers rise up. they float through the air, the mules won’t eat their grain, they are that scared.” (excerpt from the book ‘Hey-Eg-Eg-Eg-Lock’ by Morris Fradin)

Image result for Haunted House Bend on the C & O canal

Every year, the stories get revived by the local newspapers, or at least they used to back in the day…

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4 Comments on “The Battle of Ball’s Bluff

  1. Pingback: Spirit of Frederick – Holly'sWorld

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