National Park Service to Preserve Civil War Battlefield in West Virginia

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Smith Collection/Getty Images)

On Friday, Nov. 18, the National Park Service announced that it is going to award $1.9 million to protect more than 200 acres of Civil War battlefield. This includes land in West Virginia.

Faraway Farm in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, was the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown in 1862. According to the National Park Service, the Jefferson County Landmarks Commission received $972,291 to preserve 122 acres of the battlefield. Jefferson County government, a local landowner, the Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle, and the American Battlefield Trust nonprofit all came together for the project. The aim is to preserve the land as it has been for the last 160 years.

According to a release from the National Park Service, the grant will also add 600 acres to Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Three other places also received funding, including Chickasaw Bayou Battlefield in Mississippi, Chancellorsville Battlefield and Cedar Mountain Battlefield in Virginia.

What Was the Battle of Shepherdstown and Why Was it Important?

The Battle of Shepherdstown occurred in 1862, two days after Antietam in Maryland, which is considered the deadliest one-day battle in American military history. As for the Battle of Shepherdstown, Major General Fitz John Porter crossed the Potomac River at Boteler’s Ford and attacked Brigadier General William Pendleton’s Confederate forces.

Essentially, the Battle of Shepherdstown was instrumental in ending Robert E. Lee’s Maryland campaign. Porter pulled his troops back to the Union side of the river, and Lee didn’t follow. The battle eventually led to Abraham Lincoln issuing the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22.

National Park Service Awards More Than $300,000 In Battlefield Restoration Grants

The National Park Service recently awarded $345,205 in Battlefield Restoration Grants for preservation projects in Pennsylvania and Virginia. The goal of the projects is to restore the historic areas to “day-of-battle” conditions from the American Revolution, War of 1812, and Civil War.

The resources come from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This fund repurposes money from offshore oil and natural gas leasing, using it to preserve and protect natural resources and historic areas. NPS Director Chuck Sams explained the significance of the grants in a statement.

“These new grants build on collaborative conservation efforts among state and local governmental and nonprofit partners,” said Sams. “By restoring landscapes, grant recipients can preserve important historic sites at the same time they are conserving open spaces, protecting natural resources, and providing public access to our shared heritage.”

There are four restoration projects which are splitting the grants, three in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania. Restoring a Gateway to Gettysburg will receive $62,500. Brandy Station Battlefield Restoration Plan is getting $175,000 while the Third Winchester Battlefield Huntsberry Farm Fence Restoration will receive $79,428. Finally, the New Market Battlefield Demolition of Non-historic Buildings is receiving $28,277.