NVRPA, Civil War Trust, Close In On Purchase of Jackson House, October 19, 2012
The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is close to acquiring the Jackson House property, which is adjacent to Ball’s Bluff Battlefield. The venture was made possible via a partnership with the Civil War Trust, who will help with the purchase and then donate the property to NVRPA to manage.
“We are so thrilled to be in partnership with the Civil War Trust in preserving a number of significant Civil War properties,” said NVRPA Executive Director Paul Gilbert. “Today, we are working on the acquisition of the Jackson House and the expansion of the Ball’s Bluff Battlefield. Recently, we celebrated another joint NVRPA/Civil War Trust project in preserving Mt. Defiance, a key site in the Battle of Middleburg.”
In addition to increasing the area of the Ball’s Bluff Battlefield property, the house also has a significant place in the battle’s history. James Morgan, author of “A Little Short of Boats: The Fights at Ball's Bluff and Edward's Ferry” notes that the house was a key landmark during the conflict. Adjacent to the current battlefield park, the house was a key landmark around which the morning phases of the battle of Ball’s Bluff were fought,” Morgan said. “Union troops centered their initial line of battle around it. The widowed Mrs. Margaret Jackson, her seven children, and part of a neighboring family are known to have taken shelter in the basement as Union and Confederate troops fought around and through the house on the morning of October 21, 1861. A Union soldier later wrote of hearing the cries of the women and children below.”
According to Brian Knapp, Chairman of the NVRPA Board, the Jackson house would most likely exist as a simple rental property. However, NVRPA has much larger plans for the property down the road. “In the long term, we plan to turn the Jackson house into a visitor center for Ball’s Bluff, and the public in Northern Virginia and elsewhere will be able to learn more about this battle and how the Civil War shaped and influenced our region,” Knapp said. “ We look forward to working with our many partners in the region – especially the Friends of Ball’s Bluff Battlefield - to make this vision a reality.”
Morgan, who also chairs the Friends of Ball’s Bluff Battlefield, added “The Friends of Ball’s Bluff Battlefield would consider the acquisition of the Jackson house to be a dream come true. The property was the center of the morning skirmishing but, up to now, has not been part of the battlefield park. This purchase would allow us, for the first time, to properly interpret that phase of the battle on the actual site. We hope eventually to see the house become the Ball’s Bluff visitor center and museum.”
Ball’s Bluff Battlefield is located at the end of Ball’s Bluff Road in Leesburg. The park is open during daylight hours year round. The park was also one of the primary subjects in the recent documentary “Region Divided: Civil War in the Northern Virginia Regional Park,” created by NVRPA and Fairfax County Government Access Television, and narrated by Roger Mudd. The Balch Library in Leesburg will hold a public screening of the film on Sunday, October 21, 2012, from 2-4 p.m.
Text and Image Source: Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority