We have a cool piece of news from some of ECW’s friends in the Shenandoah Valley:
On Monday, November 1, Shenandoah University’s McCormick Civil War Institute (MCWI) and the Fort Collier Civil War Center in Winchester, Virginia, established a partnership, or perhaps more accurately resurrected a relationship.
More than two decades ago, when the site of Fort Collier— an approximately ten-acre site on the wartime farm of Isaac Stine, located on the east side of the Martinsburg Pike north of Winchester—came up for sale, the founding director of MCWI, Brandon Beck, proved an important figure in the preservation and interpretation of the property. At the time of Fort Collier’s preservation, MCWI’s current director, Jonathan Noyalas, was an undergraduate student of Beck’s at Shenandoah University and had an opportunity to work with him on the initial interpretation at the site. Now, approximately two decades after that work began, MCWI will aid the Fort Collier Civil War Center in expanding interpretative efforts at the site and in creating educational programs throughout the year. “I am appreciative to the Fort Collier Civil War Center for the opportunities this will offer students in Civil War Era Studies program at Shenandoah University,” Noyalas said.
Fort Collier, an earthen fortification constructed in the summer of 1861, is perhaps best-known as a part of the scene which marked the climactic moment of the Third Battle of Winchester. Late on the afternoon of September 19, 1864, five brigades of Union cavalry struck that portion of Confederate general Jubal Early’s line which faced to the north. The weight of the Union assault proved too much for Early’s veterans to endure. “Our cavalry, in deep column, with sabres drawn,” one Union officer wrote, “charged over the Confederate left… This charge was the most stirring and picturesque of the war.”
While MCWI will look to enhance the interpretation of the site’s important connection to the Third Battle of Winchester, it will also explore other aspects of the site, including a deeper examination of its construction and its place as one of many earthwork fortifications constructed around Winchester during the conflict.
Additional interpretive efforts will examine the war’s impact on the Stine family and what that reveals about the broader impact of the conflict on Winchester’s population.
Various programs are being planned for the summer and autumn of 2022. Please follow @McCormickCWI on twitter for updates about programming.
If you are interesting in learning more about the Fort Collier Civil War Center or becoming a member please contact the center’s president, John Stevens, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For details about MCWI please email email@example.com.