For Immediate Release: 07/13/12
Civil War Trust Declares Victory at Cedar Creek and Tom's Brook in the Shenandoah Valley
A variety of partnerships help set 238 acres of hallowed ground aside forever
(Washington, D.C.) – The Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization, has successfully completed land acquisition projects at two battlefields in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley — Cedar Creek and Tom’s Brook. Together, these projects account for 238 acres of newly preserved battlefield land. To complete these transactions, the Trust solicited donations from its members, partnered with regional preservation groups and successfully applied federal and state matching grants.
“It gives me enormous pride to announce the successful conclusion of our campaigns to protect critically important battlefield land at Cedar Creek and Tom’s Brook,” said Trust president James Lighthizer. “We announced these opportunities only within the last five months, and now, thanks to the boundless generosity of our members, future generations will have the opportunity to walk this hallowed ground.”
The Trust first announced its $1.3 million campaign to protect 77 acres at Cedar Creek during a February 9, 2012, news conference. The two properties — the Vermont Monument site and Rienzi’s Knoll — are located on opposite ends of the battlefield, but each represents a critical moment in the October 19, 1864 Union victory that clinched Abraham Lincoln’s reelection to second term as President. The first property is a 12.5-acre tract associated with the pre-dawn Confederate attack that overwhelmed an unsuspecting Union army. While Union lines attempted to reform, a single, vastly outnumbered brigade held its ground for a crucial half-hour, with the 8th Vermont losing 110 of its 164 men in the brutal, often hand-to-hand fighting. The second property covers 64.5 acres on the northern end of the battlefield, where no land has previously been protected. It was here that Union Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan, arriving after a brutal 13-mile ride to the sound of the guns, rallied his men and launched a devastating counterattack that nearly destroyed the Confederate army.
Acquisition of these properties would not have been possible without the assistance of the American Battlefield Preservation Program (ABPP – an arm of the National Park Service) and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR). Additionally, the Trust was able to apply federal transportation enhancement funding allocated specifically for land preservation projects at Cedar Creek by former Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT) toward acquisition of the Vermont Monument site, which has already been transferred to the care and ownership of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. The Trust has now preserved a total of 687 acres at Cedar Creek.
The 8th Vermont Monument at Cedar Creek (Photo: Rob Shenk)
Meanwhile, the Trust partnered with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (SVBF) on an additional project at the Battle of Tom’s Brook, also known as the “Woodstock Races.” Fought on October 9, 1864, it was the largest cavalry engagement of the 1864 Valley Campaign and is considered by some historians to be the most complete Union cavalry victory in the eastern theater. In addition to contributions from the Trust and SVBF, this 161 acre transaction was supported by matching grants awarded by the federal American Battlefield Protection Program and the Virginia Civil War Sites Preservation Fund. With this transaction complete, the Trust has now helped preserve 489 acres at Tom’s Brook.
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 sesquicentennial.
Tom's Brook Battlefield (Photo: David Duncan)