Civil War Trust
For Immediate Release: 05/09/12
Governor McDonnell Announces Commonwealth of Virginia Grant to Protect Middleburg Battlefield
Exciting partnership between the Civil War Trust, the Commonwealth of Virginia and Northern Virginia Regional Parks Authority to preserve historic Mt. Defiance battle site
(Middleburg, Va.) – At a news conference this morning, Gov. Bob McDonnell joined the Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest battlefield preservation organization, at the National Sporting Library and Museum to launch a national campaign to protect historic Mount Defiance on the Middleburg Battlefield. The cornerstone of the campaign is a public-private partnership between the Civil War Trust, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Northern Regional Park Authority.
“Our ongoing collaboration with the Commonwealth of Virginia is among the most fruitful partnerships in the annals of the historic preservation movement,” said Civil War Trust president James Lighthizer. “Thanks to the vision of the McDonnell administration and the foresight of the legislature in Richmond, we are working together to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to visit these sites undisturbed by inappropriate modern intrusions.”
The five-acre Mount Defiance property sits on present-day Route 50, an important transportation artery crucial to both the Union and Confederate armies during the Gettysburg campaign. Opposing cavalry clashed along the roadway on June 17–19, 1863, as the two armies struggled for control of Middleburg and the Loudoun Valley. Today, the landscape is largely undisturbed, with the high ground defended by Confederate horse artillery clearly visible. The site also includes three buildings dating to before the Civil War — an antebellum manor house-turned-tavern, a blacksmith’s cottage and the small blacksmith’s shop where well-documented hand-to-hand combat occurred during the June 19 fighting. Learn more about the Battle of Middleburg by visiting www.civilwar.org/middleburg.
Alongside the many successful initiatives of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, the Commonwealth has made historic battlefield preservation a key element of its efforts to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. These efforts will result in a permanent protection of hundreds of acres of battlefield land through easements held by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
Most often, the Commonwealths’ participation in battlefield preservation projects comes through one of two matching grant programs — the Virginia Civil War Sites Preservation Fund, administered through the Department of Historic Resources and the only state-level endowment of its kind in the country, and the Transportation Enhancement program, awarded by the Commonwealth Transportation Board under the direction of the Secretary of Transportation.
In the case of Mount Defiance, the project received a $432,000 Virginia Transportation Enhancement grant, leaving the Civil War Trust to finance the remainder of the $540,000 purchase price from other public and private sector sources. A lead gift of $10,000 has already been pledged by local historian and former Civil War Trust board member Childs Burden and his wife Elaine, of Middleburg.
Once fundraising is completed, the Civil War Trust will place a permanent conservation easement on the property, ensuring that any future alterations to the land and its structures maintain the site’s historic integrity. This perpetual, legally binding covenant will be held and overseen by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
Ultimately, the Mount Defiance property will be transferred to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, which maintains nearly three dozen individual park properties totally more than 10,000 acres across Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, as well as the Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church. Among those holdings is the popular Balls Bluff Battlefield Regional Park and nearby Mt. Zion Historic Park and Aldie Mill Historic Park.
In addition to the Middleburg property, the Trust is currently engaged in active fundraising efforts to save significant battlefield properties at Bentonville, N.C., Cedar Creek., Cross Keys, Va., Fredericksburg, Va., Gaines’ Mill, Va., Mill Springs, Ky., Perryville, Ky., Shiloh, Tenn., and Tom’s Brook, Va. To learn more about current fundraising projects and the Trust’s ambitious sesquicentennial preservation effort, Campaign 150: Our Time, Our Legacy, please visit www.civilwar.org/campaign150.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 32,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states. Learn more at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.