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Grants to preserve battlefields
Cedar Mountain, Kelly's Ford, Chancellorsville battlefields to benefit from Virginia preservation grants

Date published: 9/21/2012

BY CLINT SCHEMMER

Pieces of eight Civil War battlefields across Virginia, including three in the Fredericksburg area, will be protected for posterity thanks to grants announced yesterday by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The GOP executive said the state will award 11 grants to private groups working to conserve sites from Spotsylvania to Appomattox.

Up to $2.62 million, taken from the Civil War Historic Sites Preservation Fund that McDonnell and the General Assembly made permanent in 2010, will be awarded by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to secure 2,792 acres.

The properties include land at Cedar Mountain and Kelly's Ford in Culpeper County, the Chancellorsville battlefield in Spotsylvania County and Appomattox, Cool Spring, Peebles Farm, Port Republic and Second Manassas.

"Virginia is a premier destination for tourists from around the nation and the world, thanks to our legacy of renowned historic sites, including those connected with the American Civil War," McDonnell said.

Locally, the sites include:

the 964-acre "Triple S Tract" at Kelly's Ford, to be acquired by the Civil War Trust. Its March 17, 1863, battle was one of the war's biggest cavalry battles, setting the stage for the Battle of Brandy Station and the Gettysburg Campaign.

the 81-acre Charles Link Trust Tract on the Chancellorsville battlefield in Spotsylvania County, secured by the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust. Chancellorsville, fought April 30 to May 6, 1863, raged along present-day Route 3 and the farmland to either side.

Ten acres on the Cedar Mountain battlefield in Culpeper, sponsored by the Civil War Trust, where Union Maj. Gen. John Pope faced Confederate Maj. Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson on Aug. 9, 1862.

Doug Domenech, Virginia's Secretary of Natural Resources, praised battlefields' ability to inspire and educate people about their American heritage.

"I can think of no more appropriate way to honor our brave ancestors who fought in the Civil War than to set aside the physical landscapes where that conflict was decided," Domenech said.

Thursday's action will also help McDonnell achieve his commitment to conserve 400,000 acres of open space and scenic rural lands, the Cabinet member said.

In making the grants, the Historic Resources Department evaluated each battlefield's significance as determined by the congressionally commissioned "Report on the Nation's Civil War Battlefields," first issued in 1993 and updated since.

"The sesquicentennial of the Civil War offers Virginia an opportunity to pass forward a great legacy, namely the conservation of open space, natural resources and historic hallowed ground of national significance through the protection of battlefields," said Kathleen S. Kilpatrick, the department's director.

She praised the leadership of McDonnell and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, chaired by House Bill Howell, R-Stafford.

Clint Schemmer: 540/368-5029
Email: cschemmer@freelancestar.com