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Six West Virginia State University students, working with two history professors and an archaeologist, have spent the past two weeks on a hilltop overlooking downtown Charleston.
They’re digging into the task of learning more about one of West Virginia’s best-preserved yet least-known Civil War forts — despite the fact that two men who would later be U.S. presidents served together there.
Built in May 1863 by men from three Union regiments under the command of Col. Rutherford B. Hayes, who would go on to become the nation’s 19th president, Fort Scammon was named in honor of Hayes’ predecessor as commanding officer of the 23d Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Col. Eliakim Parker Scammon, who left the regiment in October 1862 after being promoted to brigadier general.
When the West Virginia Bill was introduced into the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, statehood supporters soon discovered that passage was improbable without adequate provisions affecting slavery.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Park Service News Release
National Park Service Seeks Public Comment on the Shepherdstown Battlefield Special Resource Study/Boundary Study/Environmental Assessment
WASHINGTON – Today, the National Park Service (NPS) released the Shepherdstown Battlefield Special Resource Study/Boundary Study/Environmental Assessment for public comment through October 3, 2014. The NPS will hold two public meetings during the comment period.
The NPS preferred alternative -Alternative 2A- proposes a boundary adjustment of Antietam National Battlefield to include the Shepherdstown battlefield. The special resource study determined that the battlefield does not meet NPS criteria to become its own stand-alone unit of the national park system.
During the public meetings the NPS planning team will explain the study outcomes, answer public questions and take public comments. Historian Thomas McGrath, author of Shepherdstown: Last Clash of the Antietam Campaign, September 19-20 1862, will present research on the events that occurred during the two-day Shepherdstown battle. McGrath served as an advisor to the NPS planning team, providing historical information and research.
The meetings are as follows:
Tuesday September 9, 5 to 8 p.m.
(with presentations at 5 and 6:30 p.m.)
Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center
5831 Dunker Church Road, Sharpsburg, Md.
Thursday, September 11, 5 to 8 p.m.
(with presentations at 5 and 6:30 p.m.)
Clarion Hotel & Conference Center
233 Lowe Drive, Shepherdstown, W.Va.
Congress directed the NPS to complete the special resource and boundary studies to evaluate the national significance of Shepherdstown battlefield and its suitability for inclusion in the national park system. The law specifically directs the NPS to assess the suitability and feasibility of designating Shepherdstown battlefield as a stand-alone unit of the NPS or adjusting the boundary of either Antietam National Battlefield or Harpers Ferry National Historical Park to include Shepherdstown battlefield. The special resource study evaluates Shepherdstown battlefield as a potential new stand-alone unit while the boundary study evaluates its potential addition to Antietam or Harpers Ferry.
The public comment period is open August 8 to October 3, 2014. The NPS invites the public to share thoughts on the alternatives, the proposed boundary and to identify concerns with the study. Comments will be accepted electronically at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/SHBA, orally or in writing at the public meetings and written comments can also be by mailed to:
Regional Director, National Capital Region
C/O Jordan Hoaglund-Planning
National Park Service, Denver Service Center
12795 West Alameda Parkway, PO Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287
Mailed comments must be postmarked by October 3, 2014, to receive consideration.
Before including a personal address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in a written comment, commenters should be aware that their entire comment-including their personal identifying information-may be made publicly available at any time. While anyone wishing to comment may ask the NPS in their comment to withhold their personal identifying information from public review, the NPS cannot guarantee it will be able to do so.
For more information visit parkplanning.nps.gov/SHBA.
For more information on the Shepherdstown Battlefield, visit Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association.
The year 1863 and West Virginia are featured at the B&O Railroad Museum’s exhibit “The War came By Train,” a five-year exhibition of railroad equipment and artifacts that changes annually during the sesquicentennial.
West Virginia’s statehood — June 20, 1863 — is due in large part to the operations of the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad in what was western Virginia.
The B&O was involved in the Civil War from the beginning — the April 19, 1861, Baltimore Riot to April 21, 1865, when President Lincoln’s funeral train left from Baltimore for Springfield, Ill.
The exhibit is in the museum’s National Landmark Roundhouse. Many locomotives, including the largest collection of trains that actually saw service in the Civil War, are displayed.
For more information on the B&O Railroad Museum: Visit borail.org.
For further reading, we highly recommend The War Came by Train, by Daniel Carroll Toomey.
For the past nine years, the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association Inc (SBPA) has worked to save and preserve the site of the September 19-20, 1862, Battle of Shepherdstown. Its goal has been to save 300 acres in the core of the battlefield and so far SBPA has helped preserve 102 acres. In late 2011, SBPA aided the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission in purchasing 18 acres of core battlefield land on the Potomac River. In addition, with the aid of the late Senator Robert Byrd, SBPA began the process whereby the Shepherdstown site could become a part of an existing National Park.
The members of SBPA have expended about $165,000 in legal costs challenging a real estate developer who is attempting to build 152 houses on 123 acres in the core of the battlefield. A recent Circuit Court decision ruled in favor of a SBPA petition that the Jefferson County’s Planning Commission violated the WV Open Government Proceedings Act by granting the developer a 3 year extension to build the proposed development. In saving the 102 acres, SBPA has raised more that $800,000 through grants and funds provided by the West Virginia state government, the American Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park Service, the Civil War Trust, the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Program, and the Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle. In December 2012, another battlefield property has been placed on the market and SBPA has pledged to donate $10,000 to aid the Civil War Trust in its purchase.
by Rick Steelhammer, for the Charleston Gazette
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For some Civil War soldiers, the motivation for enlisting had as much to do with satisfying a sense of adventure and helping to shape history as it did with patriotism and regional pride.
Such was the case with Private Harry Fitzallen, who went to extraordinary lengths to join the 23rd Kentucky Volunteer Infantry and serve in two other Union Army regiments before his military career hit a series of serious snags, including his arrest in Charleston 150 years ago today.
Fitzallen, as it turned out, was really a 19-year old woman named Marian McKenzie, a native of Scotland, and a former acting student.
The Cool Spring, Virginia, battlefield is one of five that the Civil War Trust is endeavoring to save during a year end campaign that includes an incredible $109 to $1 match! The campaign seeks to preserve 1150 acres of the battlefield where George Crook’s Army of West Virginia fought. West Virginia units at the battle included the 1st, 11th, 12th, and 15th West Virginia Infantries, as well as the 1st West Virginia Light Artillery Battery E.
To learn more about the campaign and to donate, visit: http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/yearend2012/a-message-from-jim-lighthizer.html
For more info on the Battle of Cool Springs, click here….
On November 13, 2012, Dr. Kenneth R. Bailey presented ‘“Scratch ‘em and Sue ‘em’: Post Civil War Legal Issues” at the Tuesday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston.
Civil War legal issues consumed much of West Virginia’s court system for several years following the war. Using a PowerPoint program, Bailey discussed legal cases at the Supreme Court dealing with Reconstruction Era issues of voting, false arrest, belligerent rights, acts of Confederate county officers, the value of Confederate money, etc., from the end of the war until rights were restored to former rebels. Former Confederates were “scratched” from the voting rolls and sued for alleged wrongs on civilians during the war. Pictures of individuals and documents were used to illustrate topics covered.
Dr. Bailey is a graduate of West Virginia Institute of Technology (now WVU Tech), Marshall University, and The Ohio State University, from which he received a Ph.D. in 1976. He is retired Dean of the College of Business, Humanities and Sciences and Emeritus Professor of History and Geography at WVU Tech. Bailey is the author of Kanawha County Public Library: A History (2004), Alleged Evil Genius: The Life and Times of Judge James H. Ferguson (2006), Raising the Bar: A History of the West Virginia Bar Association (2007), and Mountaineers are Free: A History of the West Virginia National Guard (1979, revised and expanded 2008).
On October 11, 2012, Greg Carroll presented “Applying for a West Virginia Civil War Medal” at the Thursday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library in the Culture Center in Charleston.
The Civil War medals were authorized by the state legislature in 1866 as “tokens of respect” for Union veterans of West Virginia military units. Many were unclaimed, however, and eventually were turned over to Archives and History, which began a program to distribute remaining medals to descendants who file a properly documented line of descent from the veteran to themselves.
Greg Carroll is a graduate of Marshall University and recently retired as a staff historian at West Virginia Archives and History, where he worked for 23 years. He had been working with the Civil War medal claims for about two decades.
For more on the West Virginia Civil War Medals, click here….