Sunday, June 10, 2018

. . . And Mud at Ball's Bluff

I took a trip early this afternoon to the Ball's Bluff battlefield. The bluff in question is on the Virginia side of the Potomac, not too far north of Washington DC. The battle took place in the fall of 1861, and it was a massive disaster for the Union forces. A U.S. Senator, who happened to be a good friend of Abraham Lincoln's, was shot dead, and the battle ended with a pellmell retreat off the bluff by terrified Union soldiers.

It was damp today and has been unconscionably damp and rainy for the last, oh, forever and a half, so the wooded battlefield was sticky and thronged with the most voracious mosquitoes I've ever had the displeasure of meeting. They followed me on the guided tour, followed me down the narrow cow-path that is the same exact cow-path Yankees took up and down from the river, and the damn mosquitoes followed me back up from the river and to my car. They did not, as far as I can tell, follow me home.

In any case, going down the cow-path, things started getting muddier and muddier until I was slip-sliding down the sloping path. I decided not to go on because I didn't feel like losing my flip-flops or falling on my butt in the mud. So the last picture here is as close as I got to the river. You can see the water, nice and muddy, through the trees.

I didn't get a picture of it, but there is a marker for Edward Baker, the Senator who was killed.

The national cemetery at Ball's Bluff.

Ahead: the river trail, down to the Potomac. This is the trail Union troops
took up and down from the river during the battle.

Just a snake skin hanging from a branch.

Washed out, very muddy gully; we've had a lot of rain
and flooding here recently.

The super-muddy path to the river. The brown
strip is the river. I didn't want to lose my shoes in the muck.