State Grants will Help to Protect 530 Acres Associated with 10 Battlefields ~Preserved Tracts are Associated with Battles in the Counties of Dinwiddie, Frederick, Hanover, Henrico, Orange, Prince William, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Spotsylvania~
RICHMOND – In recognition of the kick-off year for the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, Governor Bob McDonnell today announced 10 state grant awards to organizations working to conserve historic battlefield lands for present and future generations of Americans. The grant awards are drawn from the Civil War Historic Sites Preservation Fund that Governor McDonnell and the General Assembly permanently established in 2010. Funds for the awards, this year totaling $1 million, are distributed by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which assigns the awards based on a rigorous evaluation process.
This year’s awards will provide vital assistance in protecting more than 530 total acres associated with battles at Cross Keys in Rockingham County, Second Manassas in Prince William County, Gaines’ Mill in Hanover County, Deep Bottom and New Market Heights in Henrico County, Chancellorsville in Spotsylvania County, Wilderness in Orange County, Cedar Creek in Shenandoah and Frederick counties, and The Breakthrough in Dinwiddie County.
The grant recipients include the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, Civil War Trust, Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, Richmond Battlefields Association, and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. These organizations will match state funds dollar for dollar to either purchase lands approved as part of the awards process or to obtain easement rights on the tracts. All awards will result in the donation of perpetual easements to the Virginia Board of Historic Resources.
“Virginia is a premier destination for tourists from around the nation and the world, thanks to our legacy of renowned historic sites, including those connected with the American Civil War,” said Governor McDonnell in announcing the awards. “When we preserve battlefields, we strengthen an important revenue generator in Virginia – heritage tourism – while also keeping historic lands protected.”
Battlefield lands that will be protected through the grants are geographically and militarily diverse and include sites of significant Union and Confederate victories. They cover farmlands, wetlands, and woodlands and range from the mountainous northern and central Shenandoah Valley to the rolling hills of the Piedmont and to the flat coastal plain of south central Virginia.
“Battlefield preservation protects not only Virginia’s historic legacy but also vital open spaces. Battlefield preservation conserves working farms and forests, and wetlands that offer habitats for fish and wildlife,” said Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech.
“Many of these protected lands are near urban or rapidly-growing areas where these open spaces offer Virginians opportunities for recreation and educational activities,” Domenech added. “Protecting battlefield lands goes towards Governor McDonnell’s commitment to conserving 400,000 new acres of open space and scenic rural lands in Virginia.”
In awarding the grants, the Department of Historic Resources based its evaluations in part on each battlefield’s significance as determined by the Congressionally-commissioned “Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields” originally issued in 1993 and subsequently updated, including a 2009 update on Virginia battlefields. Other factors considered by the department included the proximity of each parcel to other protected lands; the threat of loss due to encroaching development, and the potential for education, recreation, research, or heritage tourism, among other factors.
“The Sesquicentennial of the Civil War offers Virginia an opportunity to pass forward a great legacy, namely the conservation of open space, natural resources, and historic hallowed ground of national significance through the protection of battlefields,” said Kathleen S. Kilpatrick, director of the Department of Historic Resources.
“The Department of Historic Resources looks forward to securing that legacy through the support and leadership of Gov. McDonnell and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, which is chaired by Speaker of the House William J. Howell,” Kilpatrick said.
“This year’s awards will allow us to secure places with the power to connect us and future generations to the lessons of a defining period of our history,” said Kilpatrick. "Time is running out,” she noted. “Each year, battlefield lands are lost forever.”
Civil War Battlefield Grant Awards 2011 Summaries of Battles and the Affiliation of Preserved Land Tracts
Shenandoah Valley Campaign, 1862: Cross Keys Battlefield
Preserved Property: Miller Farm (83 acres) Sponsor: Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation Location: Rockingham Co. Civil War Sites Advisory Committee (CWSAC) ranking: Priority II.2 Class B
Twin victories at Cross Keys (June 8, 1862) and Port Republic (June 9) were the culmination of Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign. Jackson’s legendary campaign allowed Confederate forces to retain undisputed control of the upper and middle Shenandoah Valley. Miller Farm, located in the core area of the battlefield, was the scene of intense fighting as Confederate regiments under Gen. Isaac Trimble pursued fleeing Union troops of the 8th New York who had been surprised by Trimble’s regiments. Miller Farm is located adjacent to five other farms associated with the Cross Keys battlefield with land under preservation and totaling 501 acres in all.
Peninsula Campaign, Seven Days’ Battles (1862), Gaines’ Mill Battlefield
Preserved Property: Boyette Tract (3.21 acres) Sponsor: Richmond Battlefields Association Location: Hanover Co. CWSAC ranking: Priority I, Class A
Gaines’ Mill was the third battle of the Seven Days’ Battle. On June 27, 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee renewed his attacks against Union Brig. Gen. Fitz John Porter’s V Corps, which had established a strong defensive line behind Boatswain’s Swamp north of the Chickahominy River. Porter’s reinforced V Corps held fast for the afternoon against disjointed Confederate attacks, inflicting heavy casualties. At dusk, however, the Confederates finally mounted a coordinated assault that broke Porter’s line and drove his soldiers back toward the river, which Union troops retreated across during the night. Defeat at Gaines’ Mill convinced Gen. George B. McClellan to abandon his advance on Richmond and begin a hasty retreat to the James River. Gaines’ Mill thus saved Richmond for the Confederacy in 1862. The entire 3.21 acres of the Boyette Tract is within the core area for the Gaines’ Mill battle.
Peninsula Campaign, Seven Days’ Battles, 1862: Glendale Battlefield & Richmond-Petersburg Campaign 1864-1865: Deep Bottom 1 Battlefield
Preserved Property: Mansfield Woods Tract (104 acres) Sponsor: Civil War Trust Location: Henrico Co. CWSAC ranking: Priority I.3, Class B / II.3, Class C
The Mansfield Woods Tract is affiliated with two battlefields, Glendale and Deep Bottom I, and is located within the core area for both battlefields.
The Battle of Glendale took place on June 30, 1862 and was the fifth of the Seven Days’ Battles, part of Union Gen. George B. McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign. The battle was Gen. Robert E. Lee’s best and last opportunity to trap and isolate roughly half of McClellan’s Army of the Potomac as it rapidly retreated to the James River. Confederate divisions under generals Huger, Longstreet, and A.P. Hill converged on the retreating Union Army at Glendale and penetrated Union defenses near Willis Church, routing Gen. George A. McCall’s division and leading to his capture. Counterattacks by Union divisions under generals Hooker and Kearny’s sealed the break and saved the Union line of retreat.
The Deep Bottom I, July 1864, battle was part of Gen. Grant’s Siege of Petersburg. During the night of July 26 and 27, the Union Army II Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. Winfield Hancock and two divisions of Gen. Phil Sheridan’s cavalry crossed to the north side of James River to threaten Richmond and divert Confederate forces from an impending attack by Grant at Petersburg on July 30. Sheridan began his raid on July 28 but was almost immediately counterattacked by Confederate Gen. Richard H. Anderson’s infantry, which gained initial advantage. Anderson pursued Union forces until his men were driven from the field on the Mansfield Wood Tract (then part of the Enroughty or “Darby” farm) when dismounted Northern troopers, with repeating carbines, demonstrated that they could beat southern infantry. Union forces subsequently abandoned efforts to turn the Confederate position at New Market Heights and Fussell's Mill after Confederates strongly reinforced their lines and counterattacked. During the night of July 29, the Federals re-crossed the river, leaving a garrison to hold the bridgehead at Deep Bottom. The Mansfield Woods Tract is also adjacent to other land preserved by the Civil War Trust, including the 125-acre Butler Tract at Deep Bottom I acquired by the organization in 2008.
Northern Virginia Campaign, 1862: Second Manassas Battlefield
Preserved Property: Soldier’s Rest (55.4 acres) Sponsor: Northern Virginia Conservation Trust Location: Prince William Co. CWSAC ranking: Priority 1.2, Class A
The Battle of Second Manassas (August 28–30, 1862) was a decisive victory in Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Northern Virginia Campaign against the Union’s Army of Virginia under the command of Maj. Gen. John Pope. The battle marked the height of Confederate power and opened the way for the first Confederate campaign in the North and involved forces under Confederate generals James Longstreet, “Stonewall” Jackson, A.P. Hill, Richard S. Ewell, and William B. Taliaferro, among others. Soldier’s Rest is located along the battlefield’s Stony Ridge and is the place where Jackson’s dispersing troops camped after the Battle of Second Manassas. The property is also associated with intense fighting during successive phases of the three-day battle as it was the locale for Confederate positions, advances, and perhaps batteries, especially during fighting on two fronts --- the Brawner Farm, which Soldiers’ Rest adjoins, and “The Unfinished Railroad,” a primary battle area during Second Manassas located about 1,000 feet from the Soldier’s Rest. The 55-acre property borders more than 3,750 feet of the Manassas National Battlefield Park. Significant visible connections between the Battlefield Park and Soldier’s Rest exist from equestrian-pedestrian trails and from the common fortifications along The Unfinished Railroad. A Civil War-era road bed is still visible on the property.
Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville Campaigns, 1862-1863: Chancellorsville Battlefield
Preserved Property: Partain Tract (13.95 acres) Location: Spotsylvania Co. Sponsor: Central Virginia Battlefields Trust (CVBT) CWSAC ranking: Priority I.2 Class A
Chancellorsville was fought near the village of Spotsylvania Courthouse from April 30 to May 6, 1863. The battle, pitting Union Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker’s forces against Gen. Robert E. Lee’s, “is arguably the most important Civil War battlefield in Virginia,” according to historian John S. Salmon. “It is the site of Lee’s greatest victory and of [Gen. “Stonewall”] Jackson’s mortal wounding, and it had greater consequences for the Confederacy than any other battle fought on Virginia soil,” writes Salmon in The Official Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide. The battle is notable for Lee’s counter-intuitive decision to divide his smaller army (of roughly 60,000) prior to attacking Hooker’s larger force (of more than 133,000). Lee's daring plan and Hooker's timid response led to a Confederate victory. During an important phase of the battle, Jackson led a mighty flank attack on the evening of May 2, 1863—the last military maneuver of his storied career—that roared eastward down the Orange Turnpike (today’s Va. Rte. 3), straddling the road with three divisions. A sturdy Georgia brigade under Brig. Gen. George Doles jumped off with its left anchored on the turnpike. A few hundred yards after they struck their enemy, Doles's men hurried past the Talley House, and then scrambled on toward the intersection with the Orange Plank Road. The Partain Tract encompasses most of the south shoulder of the Orange Turnpike from the Talley House to the Plank Road intersection, and the Wilderness Church stands just across the turnpike from the intersection. The tract is adjacent and near to approximately 45 acres previously saved by CVBT, and also near the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park and the Wagner Tract previously preserved by the Civil War Trust.
Overland Campaign, 1864: Wilderness Battlefield
Preserved Property: Carr Tract (1.39 acres) Sponsor: Civil War Trust Location: Orange Co. CWSAC ranking: Priority 1.2, Class A.
The Overland Campaign was Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s two-month pursuit of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, during which Grant attempted to cut Lee off from Richmond. The Battle of the Wilderness took place May 5-7, 1864 when Lee surprised Grant by aggressively attacking the Union army’s larger force. The Carr Tract at the Wilderness battlefield is located down slope from the crest of Grant’s command-post knoll, occupying part of that knoll and an upper terrace of the overall rise. It was here that Grant and Maj. Gen. George B. Meade and their staffs monitored the course of events during the two-day battle. The Carr Tract is adjacent to the existing Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park and land previously preserved by the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust.
Shenandoah Valley Campaigns, 1864-1865: Cedar Creek Battlefield (2 properties):
Preserved Property: Island Farm (174 acres) Location: Shenandoah Co. Sponsor: Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation CWSAC ranking: Priority I.1, Class A
Occurring in October of 1864, the Battle of Cedar Creek was a crucial Union victory that nearly annihilated the Confederate army in the Shenandoah Valley. The Union victory at Cedar Creek also played a significant role in President Lincoln’s reelection only weeks later. As part of the opening forays of the battle, on the morning of October 19, Confederate Maj. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw’s division of more than 5,000 men marched down Bowman’s Mill Road to cross Cedar Creek just south of Island Farm. The troops fanned out before attacking Union Col. Joseph Thoburn’s division across from the Island Farm property. While Island Farm was not intensively involved in the battle, the frontage on Cedar Creek and the oxbow curve that bounds the property helped shape the combat. The view of Island Farm from Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park and Island Farm lies entirely within the study area of the Cedar Creek Battlefield. Initially included within the proposed boundaries of the national historical park, Island Farm lies adjacent to the park. The farm also provides an important visual buffer for park visitors in that it obscures modern development in Strasburg.
Preserved Property: Rienzi Knoll Track (64 acres) Location: Frederick Co. Sponsor: Civil War Trust Civil War Sites Advisory Committee (CWSAC) ranking: Priority I.1 Class A
This 64-acre tract of land, located at the northern end of the Cedar Creek battlefield, was part of the historic W. Dinges farm, which witnessed significant military events during the battle. The battle, which was initiated by a pre-dawn Confederate attack that surprised and routed Union forces, appeared by mid morning of October 19, 1864 to be an imminent Confederate victory. With their army bloodied and battered and driven across five miles of rolling Virginia fields and woodlots, most Union officers and soldiers thought the battle was over. It was on the Dinges farm and the adjoining farms around it, however, where the Union army began to rally and solidify its line. Union commander Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan arrived on the scene, after his legendary ride on horseback from Winchester, and rode along the length of his army’s battlelines to rally his troops, and no doubt he crossed the Dinges property, where some of the heaviest fighting occurred in the Union effort to turn the tide of battle. Ultimately, Union forces delivered a crushing defeat to the Confederates under the command of Gen. Jubal Early. The Rienzi Knoll Tract is located within the battlefield’s core area and it is entirely within the study area. The tract is also adjacent to the Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historic Park and includes a Civil War-era house in good condition, and a barn and silo.
Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, 1864-1865: New Market Heights Battlefield
Preserved Property: Fort Gregg Tract (7.154 acres) Sponsor: Civil War Trust Location: Henrico Co. CWSAC ranking: Priority I.3, Class B
Fort Gregg was one of the smaller artillery positions along the line of Confederate defenses for Richmond at Chaffin’s Bluff and it sits intact on the western boundary of the property. The Richmond National Battlefield Park owns roughly one-third of Fort Gregg, while the balance of the fort is on this 7-plus acre tract. On Sept. 29, 1864, Union troops seeking to penetrate Confederate defenses attacked from east to west against the entire curtain of southern fortifications, including (most famously) Fort Harrison, about two-thirds of a mile to the south, and Fort Gilmer to the north. As part of that line of defense, Fort Gregg was subject to Union attacks as well. It remained in Confederate control and served as a link in the chain of fortifications that directly protected Richmond for the remainder of the Civil War, with Union forces permanently situated less than a mile to the east until April 1865.
Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, 1864-1865: Peebles’ Farm Battlefield (1864) & The Breakthrough Battlefield (1865)
Preserved Property: Dunford Tract (23.9 acres) Sponsor: Civil War Trust Location: Dinwiddie Co. CWSAC ranking: Priority II, Class B / 1.1, Class A
The Dunford Tract is associated with two separate battles during the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign: The Battle of Peebles’ Farm and The Breakthrough or Fall of Petersburg. The tract is located within the core area of both battlefields.
The Battle of Peebles’ Farm took place Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 1864. It resulted from Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s attempt to extend his army’s left flank at Petersburg and cut the Confederate army’s last rail link into Petersburg from the west. The Dunford Tract is located on the battlefield where one of three fights took place, the battle of Jones’ farm on Sept. 30. The northern most portion of the Dunford Tract is located 400 feet south of the site of the Jones’ farmhouse. The initial fighting was centered just north of the house where Union forces had advanced. As the fighting unfolded it culminated in a Confederate pincer movement that took place on the Dunford Tract and which ultimately forced Union troops to retreat and give up ground they had gained at Jones’ farm. Confederate brigades moving to the east and then south crossed the Dunford Tract and continued south to a point where the third battle of the day took place at the Pegram farm. The Battle of Peebles’ Farm allowed Grant to extend his lines significantly offering an important strategic victory for Grant, although Confederates were able to protect the vital South Side Railroad.
The Dunford Tract also lies within the core boundaries for The Breakthrough at Petersburg. That battle took place on April 2, 1865 and marked the end of the Siege of Petersburg and the beginning of the Appomattox Campaign, which ultimately ended the Civil War.