The Martinsburg (WV) Journal today reported US Senator Byrd’s support of a request that the Park Service study the creation of a new National Park at the site of the Shepherdstown fight of 19 – 20 September 1862. The Senator remarked

West Virginia is home to many great landmarks that are a significant part of our nation's history… I am pleased to be working with the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association to help initiate this National Park Service study.

Federals on the Potomac at Boteler's Ford
Federal Artillery at the ford near Shepherdstown (Leslie’s Illustrated, October 1862)

The Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association (SBPA) and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation (SHAF) have been working for some years to protect key sites associated with the battle. According to the article:

Since 2004, SBPA has raised $644,000 and has secured 84 acres of the core battlefield property through conservation easements … and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation is attempting to purchase 13 acres of what was the Boteler Cement Mill.

The Cement Mill property lies parallel to the Potomac near where Union troops crossed the river at Boteler's Ford, which is also known as Pack Horse Ford. The mill started operations in 1829 to provide natural cement for the construction of the C&O Canal.

Union troops deployed on the mill property to advance on the Confederate Army as it retreated from Antietam. Confederate forces eventually pushed the Union troops back, causing some of the Union soldiers to leap from high bluffs near the mill property and the river. Roughly 9,000 troops fought in the battle and about 640 were killed, wounded or missing.

I encourage you to visit SHAF and SBPA to see what you can do to help protect this historic site.


Added 9/20: Dimitri adds comment and questions on the subject.

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