New Preservation Activity Marks 161st Anniversary of Battle of Cedar Mountain
Mary Koik, (202) 367-1861 x7231
(Culpeper, Va.) — Virginia bore witness to more than 40 percent of Civil War engagements, more than any other state, and Culpeper County was at the center of the action. Historians have assessed that it was the “most marched upon, camped upon, and fought upon” county in the nation throughout the conflict, but its bloodiest day came on August 9, 1863, amid the Battle of Cedar Mountain. As local residents and preservationists finalized details for the fight’s 161st anniversary this summer, they rejoiced in the National Park Service’s announcement of a $429,372.50 matching grant toward the protection of 7 further acres at Cedar Mountain.
“The American Battlefield Trust has long been committed to the protection of important historic landscapes at Cedar Mountain, Brandy Station and other battlefields in this region,” said organization president David Duncan. “Projects like this help us bolster those holdings and create the critical mass of battlefield necessary for robust interpretation, especially as we approach next summer’s opening of Culpeper Battlefields State Park.”
Thanks to the availability of grant funds, the Trust took ownership of the property prior to the battle anniversary. Although other steps remain before full “victory” can be declared on the project, local battlefield boosters share the Trust’s excitement for this latest addition — and the broader attention being paid to the battle.
“Local residents as well as history buffs are visiting the battlefield in increasing numbers to learn about the events that occurred here and enjoy new programs and amenities. This year’s anniversary events unveiled the Cedar Mountain Battlefield Foundation’s Kids Camp, which brought families and spectators to the field to learn more about both battle and everyday life in camp through drill and even a taste of hardtack,” said CMBF’s Diane Logan. “Preservation of this additional battlefield land creates more opportunities for research and enhanced interpretation – what a marvelous anniversary present!”
Earlier this year, the American Battlefield Trust launched a campaign to preserve a combined 104 acres at Brandy Station and Cedar Mountain, pursuing federal and state matching grants to leverage against member donations toward the goal. The Cedar Mountain property is immediately south of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s command post near Crittenden’s Gate and contiguous to other protected lands, making it a key addition to the future battlefield park. Previously, the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation also awarded a grant toward the project.
Administered by the National Park Service, the ABPP Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant aids in the permanent protection of hallowed battlefield land. The successful program also administers grant programs in Preservation Planning, Battlefield Interpretation and Battlefield Restoration. This awards package included a total of $2.2 million to aid in the protection of 238 acres across seven battlefields including Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina, as well as Virginia. In announcing the grants, NPS Director Chuck Sams noted “[NPS] is proud to help these state organizations and their partners to preserve and protect the irreplaceable historic and cultural landscapes in their communities through local stewardship of these hallowed grounds.”
Set to open next year, the Culpeper Battlefields State Park was brought to fruition in 2022 after the Commonwealth of Virginia approved the budget for a new unit of the state park system. The park will be formed through a 1,700-acre donation of Trust-owned land on the Brandy Station, Cedar Mountain, Kelly’s Ford and Rappahannock Station Battlefields. While master planning and features of the upcoming state park continue in anticipation of the opening, the seven additional acres will further enrich the story and history told in the region.
The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 57,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War. Learn more at www.battlefields.org.