Thursday, November 10, 2022

National Park Service awards $345K in new grants to help restore battlefields in Virginia and Pennsylvania

Huntsberry farm near Winchester, Va. (SVBF via NPS)
With a focus on restoring “day of battle” conditions at historic sites, the National Park Service has awarded $345,000 in grants for the study of and improvements at Civil War battlefields in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The agency this week announced the inaugural Battlefield Restoration Grants, emphasizing they will conserve open spaces and restore landscapes.

Here’s a brief look at the five projects that “build on collaborative conservation efforts among state and local governmental and nonprofit partners,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams in a news release.


Seminary Ridge at Gettysburg ($62,500 to the American Battlefield Trust): With financial support from a Battlefield Restoration Grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program, the American Battlefield Trust will synthesize research on the civilian landscape at Seminary Ridge, including the Mary Thompson House, the James Thompson House, the Dustman Barn and the ruins of the Alexander Riggs House; all properties that witnessed the opening stages of the battle. The Trust’s plan will build upon previous research to gain a complete understanding of the Seminary Ridge landscape and provide a roadmap to restoring day-of-battle conditions to a view shed essential to visitors’ experience at the Gettysburg battlefield.– Details here


Edwin Forbes' illustration of the clash at Brandy Station (Library of Congress)
Brandy Station 1863 cavalry battle ($175,000 to the American Battlefield Trust): “The American Battlefield Trust will develop a comprehensive report on the landscape features of the Brandy Station Battlefield, including the archaeological remains of fighting and historic buildings that witnessed the battle. The report will also explore lesser-known stories, such as the experiences of enslaved and freed African Americans as the battle came to Elkwood Downs plantation. The American Battlefield Trust hopes that the report’s findings will lead to the continued preservation of these resources and narratives ahead of the battlefield’s incorporation into Virginia’s new Culpeper Battlefields State Park.– Details here

Third Winchester in 1864 ($79,428 to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation): NPS’s award supports the foundation’s on-going restoration of the Third Winchester Battlefield with the installation of period fencing at both portions of the (Huntsberry) farm. The fences that once brought order to the property will now give a sense of place to the farm and help visitors understand the battlefield’s landscape: how it was used by the people who called this place home, how it was traversed by the soldiers who fought here, and how it can be a place of renewal today.– Details here

New Market battle in 1864 ($28,277 to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation):  “The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (SVBF) will pave the way to advance the New Market Greenway Trail, an interpreted greenway linking New Market’s downtown with nearly 400 acres of protected battlefield” – Details here

The federal money for the new grants program comes from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The NPS’s American Battlefield Protection Program administers the new program, along with Battlefield Land Acquisition, Preservation Planning, and Battlefield Interpretation grants.

“Battlefield Restoration Grants empower preservation partners to inspire wonder, understanding, and empathy at the places that witnessed some of our nation’s most challenging events,” the park service says.

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