3rd Winchester Battlefield Secured
WINCHESTER--Sept. 18. A small army of preservation group representatives, Virginia government officials and Sen.Jim Webb (D-Va) stood on the very ground where some of the fiercest fighting of 3rd Winchester took place on Sept. 19, 1864, and declared victory in saving a piece of that battlefield.
Although the purchase of the 209-acre Huntsberry Farm was announced last year, settlement did not take place until August, when the funding of the $3.35 million purchase was in place.
"As someone with ancestors who fought on both sides of the American Civil War, the preservation of these battlefields has personal significance," Webb told a small crowd of reporters, re-enactors and school children.
"This is a grand place," he said. "People will come here to remember the sacrifice to duty made here. It is a wonderful gift."
Webb and others spoke of the close cooperation between government and private organizations that made the purchase possible.
Webb's support of the legislation that became the Civil War Battlefields Preservation Program, that makes grants available for battlefield purchase, was key to closing the deal with the Kingsberry family, according to those involved. The Preservation Program gave a $1.23 million matching grant to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and the Civil War Preservation Trust, the nonprofits making the purchase.
The Virginia Land Conservation Foundation contributed $1 million to the effort and Frederick County, where the battlefield is located, donated $112,000 to help pay for the land.
This purchase is considered particularly important because it links two other parcels already preserved from development. Together, the three properties equal 567 acres of battlefield park land.
Although the sound of traffic on I-81 can be heard, the land looks much as it did in 1864, when Union Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan launched his destructive Valley Campaign across the farm fields of Frederick County. Shortly after the war, the land resumed its agricultural character. Even today, the fields are covered with a stubble left from the last crops, and dirt roads are the only way to cross the land.
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