[Press release, reposted from TalkAntietam]


In an update of the 1993 Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields, the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission (CWSAC) has provided information that sites the location of the 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown and provides more information about the actual size of the core of the battlefield. The report concludes that the core of the battlefield, as defined, is 1,534.4 acres; 1,034.64 acres in West Virginia (WV) and 499.76 acres in Maryland (MD). More importantly, the study concludes that the potential National Register boundary amounts to 4,259.32 acres; 2,502.71 acres in WV and 1,756.61 acres in MD. The report notes that four WV battlefields, including the Shepherdstown site, “have the largest percentages of Study Area land to land potentially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places land. The ABPP (American Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park Service) believes that all of these battlefields should be viewed as higher priorities for preservation.

Edward Dunleavy, speaking as President of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association Inc. (SBPA) stated that: “this report should finally put to rest the insistence by some that the battle took place only on the bluffs over looking the Potomac River. Not only was the fighting over a large area of northern Jefferson County, the importance of the battle is not to be under-estimated. General Robert E. Lee intended to continue the Maryland Campaign and, on September 19, 1862, after retreating from MD, issued orders to the Army of Northern Virginia to cross the Potomac back into MD at Williamsport. An important reason that Lee changed those orders and retreated south was the Battle of Shepherdstown which convinced Lee that the Union Army of the Potomac was pursuing his troops aggressively. Two days later President Abraham Lincoln was able to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.”

Shepherdstown Battlefieldclick to see larger image

The Civil War Battlefield Preservation Act of 2002 directed “the Secretary of Interior acting through the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) of the National Park Service, to update the … (CWSAC) Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields.” Funding for the update was provided by Congress in Fiscal Year 2005 and 2007.Early this month the report for WV was released and provided information about each battlefield relative to the size of: 1) the study area; 2) the core area; and 3) the potential National Register boundary area.

“The Study Area represents the historic extent of the battle as it unfolded across the landscape.” It contains the area in which the troops were maneuvered and deployed immediately before, during and after combat. In the case of the Battle of Shepherdstown, the study area totals 4,549.21 acres; 2,792.6 in WV and 1,756.61 in MD. “Historic accounts, terrain analysis and feature identification inform the delineation of the Study Area boundary.”

“The Core Area represents the areas of fighting on the battlefield. Positions that delivered or received fire, and the intervening space and terrain between them, fall within the Core Area.” This is frequently described as “hallowed ground”. “On current WV maps,” Dunleavy stated, “this area is approximately from Teague Run in the west to Rattlesnake Run in the east and as far south as Engle-Moler Road and Aspen Pool Farm. In MD, the area runs from Ferry Hill in the west to about Millers Sawmill Road in the East and approximately 3/8 of a mile north of the Potomac.

SBPA continues to focus on trying to save the “core” of the “core” or about 300 acres. “Our focus is on that area where most of the fighting occurred in WV”, stated Dunleavy, “it remains in relatively pristine condition and would be perfect for a Civil War Battlefield Park, not only preserving `hallowed ground’ but encouraging heritage tourism in Jefferson County.

Dr. Thomas Clemens, a noted Civil War historian, a Board member of SBPA and the President of Save Historic Antietam Foundation (SHAF) commented that “much of the battlefield site in MD is included within the C & O Canal National Park. In addition, many historians view the Shepherdstown Battle as the end of the Battle of Antietam and the SHAF has been active for more than 20 years in preserving battlefield land in MD.”

A copy of the CWSAC report can be obtained at: http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp/CWSII/CWSIIStateReportWV.htm

For Immediate Release – February 17, 2010
Shepherdstown, West Virginia

For more information, contact:
Edward E. Dunleavy
Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association Inc.
(917) 747 – 5748

The Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association Inc. (SBPA), organized in 2004, is a non-profit, Section 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to saving and preserving the site of the 1862 Battle of Shepherdstown. SBPA has preserved 84 acres by way of conservation easements granted by members who own property on the site. For more information and to purchase the book entitled: Shepherdstown: Last Clash of the Antietam Campaign September 19 – 20, 1862 ; please visit www.battleofshepherdstown.org

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