Archive for Shepherdstown
In early July, The Department of Interior released the final study documents of the National Park Service’s (NPS) Special Resource Study (SRS) of the Shepherdstown Battlefield. The Battle of Shepherdstown occurred on September 19 and 20, 1862 involving approximately 8,000 to 10,000 troops and resulted in 677 casualties.
The SRS concluded that the 510 acre site of the 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown would be preferably included within the Antietam National Battlefield Park. The SRS studied various options and possible boundary adjustments including an assessment of including the Shepherdstown site within the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. “As such, each of these boundary adjustment options is included in the study alternatives, with Antietam National Battlefield being the preferable option due to its historical and geographical connections to the Battle of Shepherdstown.”
The 1862 Maryland Campaign of the Army of Northern Virginia included battles of South Mountain, Harpers Ferry, Antietam and a battle ending near Shepherdstown in what is now West Virginia. The SRS concluded that: “The inclusion of the Shepherdstown battlefield into Antietam National Battlefield would provide visitors the opportunity to have an expanded understanding of the events directly following the Battle of Antietam and the culmination of the Maryland Campaign. The SRS further concludes it “would propose to adjust the existing boundary of Antietam National Battlefield to include areas of the Shepherdstown battlefield that contribute to an understanding of the significance of the Battle of Antietam and the Maryland Campaign.”
In early 2012, the NPS held two scoping meetings seeking public comments regarding the proposed SRS. “In total, approximately 136 people attended the scoping meetings. … Public response received by the National Park Service was predominately supportive of the study and enthusiastic concerning the interpretation and protection of the Shepherdstown battlefield.” The preliminary SRS was released in August 2014 and a public review period was conducted for two months. During this period, 334 individuals corresponded with the NPS. Two public meetings were held in September attended by approximately 93 individuals. “ Commenters expressed overwhelming support for” … the management option that the…“Antietam National Boundary Adjustment as the most effective and efficient way to preserve the Shepherdstown battlefield.”
“If Congress were to authorize a legislative boundary that would encompass the Shepherdstown battlefield as part of … Antietam National Battlefield, there would be no change to existing landownership…” “Any change to land ownership or use would be in the future as the National Park Service is able to acquire battlefield land from willing sellers and donors.”
The effort to involve the Federal government in helping to save and preserve the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown has been the result of the work of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association Inc (SBPA) and its individual members. SBPA is a non-profit corporation, organized in 2004 dedicated to saving and preserving the core of the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown. Approximately 105 acres have been saved through conservation easements and land purchases. Aproximately $1.1 million has been raised to save battlefield land through grants and membership contributions during the last ten years. If you would like to help save more of the battlefield and learn more about SBPA, please go to: www.battleofshepherdstown.org.
Since 1996, the Civil War Trust has sponsored Park Day, an annual hands-on preservation event to help Civil War — and now Revolutionary War — battlefields and historic sites take on maintenance projects large and small. Activities are chosen by each participating site to meet their own particular needs and can range from raking leaves and hauling trash to painting signs and trail buildings.
Consider volunteering at one of these West Virginia historic sites on Park Day, March 28, 2015: Shepherdstown Battlefield, Rich Mountain Battlefield, Droop Mountain Battlefield, Harper’s Ferry.
On Sunday afternoon, November 16, a sign was erected and dedicated to commemorate the purchase and preservation of two properties totaling 2.2 acres on the site of the 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown. The properties are contiguous to the historic Cement Mill property which was saved and preserved in 2011.
In late 2011, the Civil War Trust (CWT) purchased 18 acres of the Cement Mill property and in late 2013, another small parcel, contiguous to the Cement Mill property, was purchased. Early this year the CWT purchased another property contiguous to the Cement Mill property. All the properties were deeded to the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC). Ultimately, the HLC intends to donate the parcels to the National Park Service (NPS). A conservation easement has been placed on the properties and they have been included in the National Register of Historic Places.
The total cost of all the land purchases was $536,000. The funds to complete the recent purchases came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund administered by the NPS, Save Historic Antietam Foundation Inc., and the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association Inc. Importantly, all the properties purchased by the CWT are contiguous to 59 acres already saved through the use of conservation easements. In total, 104 acres of the core of site of the Battle of Shepherdstown have been saved and preserved.
This effort has been the result of the work of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association Inc (SBPA) and its individual members. SBPA is a non-profit corporation, organized in 2004 dedicated to saving and preserving the core of the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown. Almost $1.2 million has been raised through grants and membership contributions during the last ten years.
If you would like to help save more of the battlefield and learn more about SBPA, please go to: www.battleofshepherdstown.org.
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 Civil War Trust has negotiated to purchase a property on the Shepherdstown Battlefield and has asked for the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association’s (SBPA) help in funding the purchase. The property, with a house, is 1.6 acres and contiguous to the Cement Mill property. The price is $185,000. If the purchase is completed with SBPA’s help, it will mean that SBPA has helped to save 104 acres of the battlefield. In addition the purchase of this property will mean that 79 acres will be contiguous and contain about 1850 feet of river front property along the Potomac River and measure about 2100 feet south of the river.
The Board of SBPA would like to contribute as much as possible and asks your help in effecting this purchase. We continue to thank you for your past support and hope that you will continue to support our effort to save the battlefield.
-SBPA Board of Directors
Cement Mill Property Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Through the diligent work of the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission and Martin Burke, Chairman, the Cement Mill property has been included in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The effort was aided by Tom Clemens, who helped in obtaining the approval of the Washington County (MD) Historic District Commission (WCHDC). As you may know, thePotomac River is in MD which places the Cement Mill dam in the river and in MD. Consequently, the application for inclusion in the NRHP needed the approval of the WCHDC.
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.
The Civil War Trust recently had the chance to sit down with Nicholas Redding, author of a new book, Civil War Shepherdstown: Victory and Defeat in West Virginia’s Oldest Town. This new book describes and analyzes the story of a town caught on the border of north and south and the experience of its citizens. The book also offers driving tours of nearby sites, including the Shepherdstown Battlefield.
Nicholas Redding, executive director of Historic Long Branch in Clarke County, Virginia, is the Civil War Trust’s former deputy director for advocacy.
During a ceremony on March 2, 2012, at the Bavarian Inn in historic Shepherdstown, W.Va., the Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest battlefield preservation organization, recognized two outstanding advocates for the protection of historic sites with its Chairman’s Awards for Excellence. One of the awards, presented by the Trust’s chairman, Henry E. Simpson, honored Edward Dunleavy of Shepherdstown, W.Va., for his outstanding work with the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association.
The historic cement mill property in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, has been purchased by the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission. This important 18 acre site on the Potomac River is associated with the Battle of Shepherdstown.