The South: Confederate Leaders at Ball's Bluff

The South: Confederate Leaders at Ball's Bluff (HMTB)

Location: Leesburg, VA 20176 Loudoun County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 7.915', W 77° 31.676'

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Colonel Nathan George "Shanks" Evans
Nathan Evans was born in South Carolina in 1824. An 1848 West Point graduate, he was jokingly nicknamed "Shanks" by his classmates because he was knock-kneed. During the next decade he fought Indians with the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, eventually rising to the rank of captain. He resigned shortly after the secession of his native state. At First Manassas, Evans commanded the Confederate left and held the Federals in check long enough for Stonewall Jackson to arrive and make his famous stand. He earned promotion to brigadier general for his effective overall leadership at Ball's Bluff and later served at Second Manassas, Antietam, in the Carolinas, and in the Vicksburg campaign. A fall from a carriage in Charleston early in 1864 resulted in a serious head injury which kept him out of the war from that point. Evans died in Midway, Alabama, in 1868.

Colonel Eppa Hunton
Born in nearby Fauquier County, Virginia, in 1822, Hunton was a school teacher lawyer, politician, and militia general prior to the war. He commanded all Confederate forces in Loudoun County, Virginia, during the summer of 1861 and led the 8th Virginia infantry from First Manassas through Gettysburg. He deserves great credit at this battle for preserving the 8th Virginia's unit integrity. Following Gettysburg, he was promoted to brigadier general and given command of the brigade formerly under Gen. Richard Garnett who was killed in Pickett's Charge. Hunton led that brigade until his capture at Sayler's Creek on April 6, 1865. After the war, he returned to his law practice and to politics, serving in the House of Representatives from 1873-81 and in the Senate from 1892-95. Hunton died in 1908.

Colonel Winfield Scott Featherston
Born about 1820 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Featherston was living in Georgia where he fought against the Creek Indians during their uprising in 1836. He moved to Okolona, Mississippi, in 1840 and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1847-51 with both Abraham Lincoln and Edward Baker. Here at Ball's Bluff, he led the climactic charge that finally routed Baker's Union troops. He later commanded a Mississippi brigade in the western theater, participating in all the major battles between Vicksburg and the final surrender of Joseph Johnston's army in North Carolina. As a circuit court judge following the war, he conducted the impeachment trial of Mississippi's Reconstruction governor and former Union general Adelbert Ames in 1876. Featherston died in May, 1891.

Private Elijah Viers White
E.V. White was a Marylander, born in Poolesville, just across the Potomac from Leesburg, Virginia, in 1832. A private in Company G of Turner Ashby's 7th Virginia Cavalry, White was home on leave on October 21, 1861, when he heard the sounds of battle and reported to Col. Nathan Evans to serve in whatever capacity he could. Because of his familiarity with the area, Evans made him a courier and guide. Late in the evening, White led some 50 volunteers from the 8th Virginia to sweep the floodplain below Ball's Bluff for Union troops who might surrender. Some 300 of them did so. As a lieutenant colonel, White later commanded the 35th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, known as "White's Comanches." Following the war, he became a banker and sheriff of Loudoun County. He also purchased and operated Conrad's Ferry, known today as White's Ferry. White died in 1907 and is buried in Leesburg's Union Cemetery.

Colonel Erasmus Burt
Erasmus Burt was the Mississippi State Auditor. Something of a philanthropist, he had been instrumental in the founding of the Deaf and Dumb Institute of Mississippi. With the onset of war, he organized an infantry company known as the Burt Rifles which became Company K of the 18th Mississippi. Burt became the regimental colonel. At Ball's Bluff, he made a significant tactical error when he led his regiment directly into a crossfire that Elijah White later called "the best directed and most destructive single volley I saw during the war." One of the casualties of that volley, Burt took a bullet that penetrated his hip and entered his stomach. He was taken to a home in Leesburg where he died on October 26. He is buried in Jackson, Mississippi.

Colonel Walter Hanson Jenifer
Walter H. Jenifer was born in Maryland in 1823 or 1824. He briefly attended West Point as part of the same class of which Union General Stone was a member but was dismissed due to failing grades. Despite this failure, he served in the 2nd U.S. Cavalry from 1855-61 before resigning to join the Confederate forces. Shortly before the war, he patented a cavalry saddle which was used by some Confederates but became unpopular when it proved harmful to the horses' backs. Jenifer commanded the small Confederate cavalry contingent at Ball's Bluff and later commanded the 8th Virginia Cavalry for a few months. For most of the war he held minor administrative posts. In 1871, he briefly served in the Egyptian army under his former foe, General Stone, who was Chief of Staff to the Khedive of Egypt. Jenifer died in Richmond in 1878.

Captain William Lewis Duff
William Duff was a member of the Class of 1862 at the University of Mississippi but left school to join the army when war came. He became captain of Company K, 17th Mississippi. While on picket duty near Ball's Bluff, his company discovered the Federal crossing and eventually engaged a portion of the 15th Massachusetts in the opening skirmish of the battle. Later in the afternoon, Company K moved around the Federal right and engaged Company C, 42nd New York before retiring from the fight. In 1863, Duff was transferred to the western theater where he organized and commanded the 8th Mississippi Cavalry which served under Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Placed ByBall's Bluff Regional Park/Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at 12:44am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 281494 N 4334458
Decimal Degrees39.13191667, -77.52793333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 7.915', W 77° 31.676'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 7' 54.90" N, 77° 31' 40.56" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)703, 540, 571
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2-98 Unnamed Road, Leesburg VA 20176, US
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