Home Governor McAuliffe announces Civil War battlefield preservation grants

Governor McAuliffe announces Civil War battlefield preservation grants


virginia-newWith one year remaining in Virginia’s official commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced 13 grant awards to organizations working to preserve historic battlefields for the enjoyment of Virginians for years to come.

The grants originate from the Civil War Sites Preservation Fund, established by the General Assembly as a permanent fund in 2010. Funds for this year’s grants, totaling $1,173,225 will be awarded by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, which determines the awards based on a rigorous evaluation process. This year’s awards will assist in protecting more than 277 total acres associated with battles at Brandy Station, Glendale, North Anna, Rappahannock Station (I and II), Ream’s Station, Second Manassas, Second and Third Winchester, The Breakthrough, Trevilian Station, and White Oak Road.

The grant recipients are the Brandy Station Foundation, Civil War Trust, Manassas Battlefield Trust, Piedmont Environmental Council, and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. These organizations will match state funds either to purchase lands approved as part of the awards process or to obtain easements on specific tracts. All awards will result in the donation of perpetual preservation easements to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

“These Civil War sites are important pieces of our Commonwealth’s history, and preserving for future generations is good for our economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “As we approach the final year of the Sesquicentennial, now is the time to do all we can to preserve these sites and pass them forward.”

Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward commented, “Preservation of our battlefields serves not just history but conservation goals as well. These preserved lands will protect wetlands, timberlands, wildlife habitats, and open-space landscapes and agricultural lands still in use. Many sites will serve recreational needs near to our growing urban areas.”

The battlefields protected through the grants are geographically and militarily diverse. They cover areas ranging from the northern Shenandoah Valley and Virginia’s northern and central Piedmont to Southside’s Dinwiddie County. They include sites of Union and Confederate victories as well the site of the largest cavalry fight to occur during the war, the Battle of Brandy Station in Culpeper County.

In awarding the grants, the Department of Historic Resources based its evaluations in part on each battlefield’s significance as determined by the Congressionally-commissioned “Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields” originally issued in 1993 and subsequently updated. Other factors considered by the department included the proximity of each parcel to other protected lands; the threat of loss due to encroaching development, and the potential for education, recreation, research, or heritage tourism, among other factors.

Department of Historic Resources director Julie Langan commented, “Heritage tourism plays a vital role in Virginia’s annual $20 billion tourism industry. The preservation of these battlefields not only serves historic preservation and conservation goals but also adds to the growing allure of Virginia as a must-see destination for families, citizens, and foreign visitors seeking to connect with this nation’s epic history.”


Civil War Battlefield Grant Awards 2014

Summaries of Battles and the Affiliation of Preserved Land Tracts

(Battlefields Listed Alphabetically)


Brandy Station Battlefield, Culpeper County

Preserved Property: Fairfield Views (134 acres)

Sponsor: Piedmont Environmental Council

On 9 June 1863, the Union’s Army of the Potomac’s cavalry corps attacked the Confederate cavalry corps under Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown (J.E.B.) Stuart in Culpeper County in an effort to find Gen. Robert E. Lee’s infantry. The Union troopers managed to surprise Stuart, and the fighting over the course of the day took on the aspects of a melee, with charge after charge followed by countercharge. At the end of the day, Brig. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton and the Union cavalry withdrew across the Rappahannock River. Although the Union troops suffered some 900 casualties, compared to 500 by the Confederate cavalry, for the first time the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac had managed to fight on par with Stuart’s men. The Fairfield Views tract lies entirely within the study area and partially within the core area of the Brandy Station Battlefield.


Breakthrough, Dinwiddie County

Preserved Property: Mignogna Tract (2.52 acres)

Sponsor: Civil War Trust

The Breakthrough near Petersburg marked the end of the Siege of Petersburg and the beginning of the Appomattox Campaign, which ultimately ended the Civil War. The battle took place on April 2, 1865 when Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ordered an attack along the entire front. The Union VI Corps advanced from the former Confederate picket line and was successful at breaking through the main Confederate defenses and scattering Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army in this sector. That night, Lee pulled out of both Petersburg and Richmond. The Mignogna Tract is on Church Road within the core area of the battlefield.


Glendale, Henrico County

Preserved Property: Budjinski Tract (1.1 acres) and Parker Tract (34.3 acres) and Jenks Tract (1 acre)

Sponsor: Civil War Trust

The Battle of Glendale took place on June 30, 1862 and was the fifth of the Seven Days’ Battles, part of Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign. The battle was Gen. Robert E. Lee’s best and last opportunity to destroy roughly half of McClellan’s Army of the Potomac as it retreated to the James River. Confederate divisions under major generals Benjamin Huger, James Longstreet, and A.P. Hill converged on the retreating Union Army at Glendale and penetrated Union defenses near Willis Church, routing Brig. Gen. George A. McCall’s division and leading to his capture. Counterattacks by Union divisions under generals Hooker and Kearny sealed the break and saved the Union line of retreat. The Budjinski, Jenks, and Parker Tracts are each within the core area of Glendale Battlefield, occupying the area where Hill and Longstreet’s divisions attacked Kearny and McCall’s divisions along Darbytown Road.


North Anna, Caroline County

Preserved Property: Bowie Tract (10.5 acres)

Sponsor: Civil War Trust

The Battle of North Anna was part of the Overland Campaign, during which Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant maneuvered his Army of the Potomac toward Richmond. On May 23, 1864, Union Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock’s II Corps captured the Chesterfield Bridge over the North Anna River. Upstream, near Jericho Mill, Maj. Gen. Gouverner K. Warren’s V Corps crossed the river and fought to hold its ground. In response, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee repositioned his defensive line, pulling back some troops but continuing to occupy a strong position at Ox Ford, on the river. In heavy fighting on May 24, the Confederates repulsed several Federal attacks. Lee was ill and did not follow up with an offensive strike. After some skirmishing onMay 25 and 26, Grant withdrew from the North Anna and began moving his army around Lee’s right flank, pushing toward Richmond. The Union forces suffered 2,600 casualties, while the Confederates lost 1,800. The Bowie Tract lies within the core area of the battlefield.


Rappahannock Station I and II, Fauquier County

Preserved Property: Rector Tract (1.76 acres)

Sponsor: Brandy Station Foundation

In the winter of 1863, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee drew his forces south across the Rappahannock River except for a bridgehead at Rappahannock Station that was protected by earthworks. On November 7, 1863, Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade put his troops in motion in an attempt to spark a major engagement with Lee. The Union VI Corps under Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick struck the Confederate outpost at Rappahannock Station. The Confederate defenders under Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early held on throughout the day, but a rare night attack by Sedgwick’s men overran the Confederates. More than 1,600 Confederates became casualties while the Union lost around 400 men. The Rector Tract lies entirely within the core area of the Rappahannock Station II Battlefield.


Ream’s Station, Dinwiddie County

Preserved Property: Baird Cole Tract (10.5 acres)

Sponsor: Civil War Trust

On June 22, 1864, Federal cavalry divisions under Brig. Gen. James H. Wilson and Brig. Gen. August V. Kautz began a week-long raid to the south and west of Petersburg. They tore up about 60 miles of railroad track in an effort to disrupt the Confederate supply line. On June 29, pursued by Confederate cavalry, they arrived at Ream’s Station on the Petersburg Railroad, south of that city. They hoped to find support from Union infantry but instead encountered Maj. Gen. William Mahone’s Confederate division. Mahone’s men attacked Kautz’s troops, while two other Confederate brigades made their way past two Union regiments stationed along the Stage Road to the northwest. The Union forces hastily retreated, leaving behind equipment and about 300 escaped slaves. The Second Battle of Ream’s Station took place in August 1864, when Union troops occupied the area while destroying miles of railroad track. Gen. Robert E. Lee ordered cavalry and infantry units to dislodge the Federals. The attack on August 25 resulted in a Confederate victory, including the capture of about 2,000 prisoners. The Union troops retreated to Petersburg, where a long siege was underway. The Baird Tract is situated within the core area of the first and second battles at Ream’s Station.


Second Manassas, Prince William County

Preserved Property: Yeates Tract (2.58 acres)

Sponsor: Manassas Battlefield Trust

At the Second Battle of Manassas, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia soundly defeated Union Maj. Gen. John Pope’s Army of Virginia. Split into two wings—that of Maj. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and that of Maj. Gen. James Longstreet—Lee’s army had captured the Union depot at Manassas Junction. On August 28, 1862, Jackson’s men encountered elements of Pope’s army and attacked them. The following day, Jackson’s wing held off attacks by Pope until Longstreet could arrive on the field. The next day, Pope launched even more attacks against Jackson, until Longstreet delivered a crushing flank attack against the advancing troops, sending Pope’s men into a retreat eastward. Pope lost nearly 14,000 men, while Lee’s army suffered about 8,400 casualties. The Yeates Tract lies within a pocket of land that is surrounded by the Manassas National Battlefield Park.


Second and Third Winchester, Frederick County

Preserved Property: Kirby Tract (5 acres)

Sponsor: Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Trust

In June 1863, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia moved toward the Shenandoah Valley in preparation for an advance into Maryland and Pennsylvania during the Gettysburg Campaign. Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell’s corps reached the area of Winchester on June 13. Just north of town, Union Maj. Gen. Robert H. Milroy’s command occupied a string of fortifications. On June 14, Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early, leading one of Ewell’s divisions, attacked Milroy’s position from the west and captured West Fort. Milroy abandoned Winchester and retreated to the northeast. In the early morning hours of the 15th, Maj. Gen. Edward “Allegheny” Johnson, leading another of Ewell’s divisions, attacked Milroy’s column just south of Stephenson’s Depot and captured about half of Milroy’s men. The Second Battle of Winchester, a resounding Confederate victory, cleared the way for Lee to move forward into Maryland. About 4,000 Union soldiers were captured and another 450 were killed or wounded, while the Confederates sustained about 250 casualties. On September 19, 1864, the same area was the scene of the Third Battle of Winchester, also known as the Battle of Opequon. Union Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan’s forces attacked Winchester from the east and wrested control of the Lower Shenandoah Valley away from Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early. The Kirby Tract is located within the study area of the Second Winchester and Third Winchester (Opequon) battlefields.


White Oak Road Battlefield, Dinwiddie Co.:

Preserved Property: Scheid Tract (4.61 acres)

Sponsor: Civil War Trust

The engagement at White Oak Road took place in the early stages of the Appomattox Campaign. On March 31, 1865, Union Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren’s V Corps advanced on Confederate earthworks lining White Oak Road, southwest of Petersburg. His objective was to isolate Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett, who was engaged in battle at Dinwiddie Court House, from the rest of the Confederate army. Warren sent two Federal divisions toward the intersection of White Oak Road and Claiborne Road, but a Confederate counterattack—orchestrated by Lee—forced them to retreat across Gravelly Run. Federal troops pushed the Confederates back toward the intersection by late afternoon. When the day’s fighting ended—resulting in about 1,780 Union casualties and between 900 and 1,240 Confederate casualties—the Confederates were still stretched along White Oak Road, but Union forces were well-positioned for the next day’s advance. On April 1, Federal troops again attacked along White Oak Road on their way to a decisive victory at nearby Five Forks. Confederate defeats that day and the next forced the evacuations of Petersburg and Richmond. The Scheid Tract, occupying the northwestern corner of the intersection between White Oak and Claiborne Roads, lies within the core area of the White Oak Road battlefield.



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