The Battle of Ball's Bluff, October 21, 1863

Day Tour on October 23, 2021
Photography by John Ciccone, et al. 


About the Battlefield:

The Battle of Ball’s Bluff was a simple accident that resulted from a faulty report provided by an inexperienced officer who led a reconnaissance patrol and thought he saw something that was not there. By later Civil War battle standards, it was a very minor affair, soon to be overshadowed by larger, bloodier battles.  In late 1861, however, it mattered for a number of reasons, which Jim Anderson will explore during his presentation. 

Jim Anderson gave a presentation to the Civil War Round Table of the District of Columbia on October 12, 2021.  His talk is posted at  

Jim Anderson also organized a tour of the battlefield on October 23, 2021, during the annual event at the battlefield organized by the Friends of Ball's Bluff (FoBB).  The tour and events were photographed by John Ciccone.

The FoBB offers free battlefield tours each Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 1pm from April; through November.  No registration is required.  Just show up.  For information and directions, Google:  NVRPA Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park.

The FoBB guides also would be happy to arrange special group tours for organizations and large family groups.  Just send an email request to: 

About the Speaker and Guide: 

Jim Anderson holds history degrees from Rhodes College (BA) and the University of Memphis (MA).  He also has done post-graduate work at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Virginia. 

After college, Jim served for 3 years in the Air Force as Chief of Air Intelligence Operations for a squadron of F-111D fighter-bombers. Upon leaving the service, he was “recruited” by the CIA, where he spent the next 27 years. His career included a variety of operational and management positions; and six overseas duty tours in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia.    

Jim's interest in the Civil War grew out of his experiences growing up on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line, and it was enhanced by his discovery that some of his ancestors wore “blue” and others wore the “gray.” 

After retiring from the CIA Senior Intelligence Service in 2005, Jim started his own leadership training business.  He has conducted over 200 seminars for corporate and government management teams, which featured day-long tours of Civil War battlefields as part of the curriculum. 

In retirement, Jim teaches classes and leads tours focusing on the Civil War and the American Frontier at the George Mason University Osher Life-Long Learning Institute (GW/OLLI).  He also leads church group tours to Israel and Palestine, and he volunteers with local youth and non-profit organizations. 

Jim is a member and past Board Chairman of the Friends of Ball’s Bluff Battlefield, and he belongs to the Loudoun Country Civil War Roundtable and the Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association. 

Bike Tour and Photography by Ed Murphy

The Irish Brigade under General Thomas Edward Meagher played an important part in the Civil War battle of Antietam (17 September 1862).

Antietam was the bloodiest single day engagement. (Gettysburg was bloodier, but lasted three days.)

The outcome was enough of a Union victory that president Lincoln was emboldened to issue the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation --- making the Civil War an effort not only to preserve the Union, but also to end slavery.