Saving History Saturday: American Battlefield Trust Aims to Save Land at Four Battlefields

As one of its first battlefield preservation campaigns of 2020, the American Battlefield Trust is aiming to save over 600 acres of hallowed ground at four major battlefields – all in Virginia. Cedar Creek, Cedar Mountain, Sailor’s Creek, and Ware Bottom Church all have vital acreage needing to be preserved.

American Battlefield Trust map showing the target property and troop movements at Sailor’s Creek. Courtesy of the American Battlefield Trust.

At the heavily-threatened Cedar Creek battlefield, the Trust is trying to save roughly 30 acres on two tracts in order to “tell the story of one of the riskiest approach marches attempted during the Civil War and that of a surprise Confederate attack that broke the Union line.”

Also at great risk of development is Cedar Mountain. Luckily, as a part of this campaign, the Trust can save several acres associated with both opening and closing hours of the fight there. In a campaign letter to their members, the Trust expanded on what actually occurred on the target property, “Union troops advanced toward Jackson’s Confederates, as well as the closing hours of the fight, as the victorious but exhausted Confederates pursued the remnants of Banks’ corps across this land.”

The largest tract of land the Trust is pursuing in this campaign is at Sailor’s Creek with over 430 acres at the Lockett Farm property. “On April 6, the Union Second Corps attacked the Confederate wagon train near the farm of James Lockett, at the Sailor’s Creek crossing. Gordon’s troops sought to defend their critical supplies, and fighting continued around the house, resulting in heavy losses for what was a brief battle,” the Trust notes on their website. This will be a major addition to the Sailor’s Creek battlefield and will keep the threatened battlefield preserved for generations.

Finally, there are 53 acres of battlefield land at Ware Bottom Church, the last major section needed to be preserved there. The Trust has the “chance to add a very large piece of the battlefield to an existing local Civil War park, and one that contains some of the most pristine earthwork gun emplacements existing on any battlefield anywhere!”

This is a significant opportunity for preservationists to help save 600 acres at four major Virginia battlefields – all threatened by urban sprawl. For more information about this major American Battlefield Trust campaign and to donate, please click here.

 

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3 Responses to Saving History Saturday: American Battlefield Trust Aims to Save Land at Four Battlefields

  1. Donald Smith says:

    I’m surprised to hear that Cedar Creek, which is south of Winchester, and pretty far from the D.C. metro area, is threatened by urban sprawl. What proposed developments (residential or commercial) threaten that battle site?

    I’m not saying that the land should be preserved—of course it should. Cedar Creek is a fascinating, and underappreciated battle. I’m just a bit surprised to hear that the site is under immediate threat of encroachment by developers.

    • Cedar Creek actually sits at the crossroads of I81 and I66, making it desirable for commercial/real estate developers. Frederick County, Va sits just beyond the DMV area, but is still under threat for encroaching sprawl. This is due to its location along I66 – a major artery into DC through Virginia.

      In the Trust’s official appeal letter to supporters, Jim Lighthizer described the situation, “Another threat to this land is due to the rapid growth of residential development, as this battlefield is now within the ever-expanding Washington, DC, commuting area. Farms are being converted to commercial and residential use at a dizzying rate. Open space around Cedar Creek is also very attractive to developers due to the convergence of two major interstates on its eastern boundary. We need to save it now, while we still can.”

      I hope that makes a little bit more sense.

  2. Matthew J. Watros says:

    Always happy to see battlefield land being saved. I remember visiting Cedar Creek in the fall of 2004. I was just 16 years old then but a proud Union reenactor for the 140th anniversary of the battle. Good times.

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