Saving History Saturday: 158 Acres for the Gettysburg Campaign

The following preservation details are adapted from American Battlefield Trust’s news and website:

Today, we have the chance to secure a $28-to-$1 match to ensure the preservation of two key parcels of hallowed battlefield ground that figure prominently in the Gettysburg Campaign of 1863 — one of which you may know and have seen and the other sits on a new-to-us battlefield. Second Winchester and Gettysburg!

Together, the parcels add up to nearly 158 acres, the equivalent of 119 football fields, if you can imagine that. And this is truly essential battlefield land, having a combined value of $9.8 million!

Thanks to expected federal and state government grants, a generous landowner donation, a grant from the HTR Foundation, and a great local partner organization, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, 96.4% of the total has been raised. We need to raise the final $350,000 to help save this land and that any dollar you can commit today towards our goal is the equivalent of $28 — all the way up to a total value of $9.8 million!

The first parcel, almost 154 acres, is a site at Winchester where three different battles raged, but let’s focus on the Battle of Second Winchester, June 13-15, 1863. General Ewell the new commander of the Confederate Second Corpswon the day decisively. Union Genreal Milroy’s army suffered more than 4,400 casualties with about 2,500 of his men surrendering. The defeat destroyed Milroy’s army as a fighting force for the remainder of the war, and the Shenandoah Valley was cleared for Lee’s northward march (and we know where that led!).

The next tract is a four-acre, exceptional piece of historic land, which figured prominently on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. This property is known to generations of Gettysburg visitors as the site of the Battlefield Military Museum.

The tract is located on the slopes of East Cemetery Hill, abutting the Baltimore Pike and sitting just below the crest of the Union artillery position on Stevens Knoll. Today, the four acres contain the large, 1960’s-era Battlefield Military Museum. Last year, the family that has owned this property for many years sold an adjacent one-acre tract to the Trust that contained the historic McKnight House. Now, the Trust has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to purchase the four-acre remainder of the family’s property for preservation and eventual restoration to its 1863 appearance. Tens of thousands of Union troops marched right in front of, paused on, passed over, or fought on McKnight’s property and the four-acre tract the Trust is now working hard to save. The National Park Service has restored the historic wood line around Stevens Knoll, making this four-acre parcel we want to save even more visible and important.

To read more historical details, view maps, or make a donation to American Battlefield Trust to save these acres related to the Gettysburg Campaign, please visit: https://www.battlefields.org/give/save-battlefields/protect-158-acres-two-key-gettysburg-campaign-sites

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