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Cannons and a split-rail fence on the Cedar Mountain Battlefield

Cedar Mountain Battlefield, Rapidan, Va.

Buddy Secor

Save 48 Acres at Cedar Mountain & Cedar Creek Forever

The Opportunity

Combined, these 48 acres of hallowed ground at Cedar Creek and Cedar Mountain in Virginia have a transaction value of $939,153 — nearly $1 million. Thanks to a combination of state and federal grants and major gifts, each $1 you give will be multiplied by a factor of $29!  

The first tract consists of 3 acres at Cedar Creek, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the site of the savage, bloody battle that Confederate and Federal troops both won and lost in the same day. It’s also one of the most threatened battlefields in America.  

The second tract is 45 acres at Cedar Mountain, in the Virginia piedmont, where Confederate General Stonewall Jackson rode into the heart of the battle to rally his faltering troops ... and when his rusted saber refused to come out of the scabbard, Jackson wielded it, scabbard and all, to turn the tide of battle.             

Cedar Creek, Virginia: October 19, 1864                      

Following one of the riskiest approach marches ever attempted during the entire Civil War, the outnumbered Confederate Army of the Valley, commanded by General Jubal Early, launched a devastating surprise attack around 5:00 a.m. against the left flank of the Union Army of the Shenandoah, commanded by General Philip “Little Phil” Sheridan. 

Aided by the predawn gloom and a dense fog, the success of the attack was complete, as Confederate General Joseph Kershaw’s division routed Colonel Joseph Thoburn’s 1st Division of the 8th Corps on the bluffs above Cedar Creek.                  

Shortly after 5:30 a.m., the Confederate assault continued, as Ramseur’s Southerners, part of General John B. Gordon’s command, struck like a hammer, driving the surprised Union troops from their camps, which were located on ground that is now Interstate 81, and took position on a ridge to their rear.  

At some point after 6:00 a.m., Union troops commanded by Colonel and future President of the United States Rutherford B. Hayes, along with Colonel Howard Kitching, retreated across the 3-acre tract we hope to save today, located in the heart of the Cedar Creek battlefield.   

By 10:30 a.m., the Union Army of the Shenandoah was bloodied, battered, and on the verge of defeat. It had been driven across five miles of rolling Virginia terrain during five hours of combat. To most Union soldiers and their officers, the battle was over. Cedar Creek appeared to be a stunning Confederate victory. 

Cedar Creek is one of the most highly threatened Civil War battlefields in America. This is because an international mining company owns more than 500 acres of pristine battlefield land that will be destroyed over time by mining activity.  

And as the Washington, D.C. metro area continues to expand, the land around Cedar Creek is becoming increasingly appealing to residential and commercial developers.                         

Cedar Mountain, Virginia: August 9, 1862                         

On the afternoon of the 9th, with temperatures near 100 degrees, Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson saw an opportunity to attack a portion of Union General John Pope’s army before all his widespread forces consolidated near Culpeper, Virginia. 

The resulting battle pitted Jackson’s forces against the corps commanded by Union General Nathaniel P. Banks. Federal troops gained the advantage early on. At one point, Jackson saw that he urgently needed to rally his flagging troops. So he rode into the midst of his fleeing men.  

But when he tried to draw his sword, he couldn’t. Because he drew it out so infrequently, it had rusted to its scabbard. Undaunted, Jackson waved both sword and scabbard together, inspiring his men.                      

Fellow Confederate General William B. Taliaferro couldn’t believe his eyes, later stating, “The escape of Jackson from death was miraculous. He was in the thickest of the combat, at very short range.”                      

A Confederate counterattack led by General A.P. Hill on the Union right repulsed the Federals and won the day.                      

The battle at Cedar Mountain gave Confederate General Robert E. Lee the strategic initiative and led directly to the Second Battle of Manassas and, later that fall, the Battle of Antietam.                  

The 45 acres we hope to save at Cedar Mountain include the site of the brutal, hour-long artillery duel that ended the battle with infantry positioned there. These acres — as you can see on your enclosed battle map — add significantly to both interpretive opportunities of the land already preserved at this crucial site, and also go a long way toward substantially completing this battlefield, a major goal of the Trust over the next five years.  

This land is also targeted by both residential and utility-scale solar developers — just imagine this piece of history lost forever, buried under modern, close-set, single-family houses or baking beneath endless rows of solar panels! 

Please help the American Battlefield Trust do that with your most generous gift right away. Remember, each $1 you give will be matched and will have the impact of an incredible $29 multiplier. 

Donate Now

Save Two Crucial, Threatened Civil War Battlefields!

48
Acres Targeted
$29-to-$1
32,200