Save 6 Acres at Cedar Mountain
A Message from Jim Lighthizer, Civil War Trust President
Culpeper County, Va., was a crossroads of conflict during the Civil War, as armies in both blue and gray marched, camped and fought their way across its rolling hills. In the summer of 1863, it was the site of the largest cavalry battle ever fought on the North American continent.
But the bloodiest day in Culpeper history was August, 9, 1862 — the Battle of Cedar Mountain, opening clash of the Northern Virginia Campaign, which would culminate at month’s end with the masterful Confederate victory at Second Manassas.
Recalling the ferocity of the fighting, John H. Worsham of the 21st Virginia later recalled:
“By this time, the road was full of Yankees and there was such a fight as was not witnessed during the war; guns, bayonets, swords, pistols, fence rails, rocks, etc., were used all along the line. I have heard of a "hell spot" in some battles, this surely was one.”
Today, I am pleased to announce that to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Mountain, the Civil War Trust is partnering with our long-term partners at the Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield on a new effort to preserve 6 additional acres on this storied battlefield.
The purchase price of the property is $120,000. But our generous partners at Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield have already pledged the first $10,000 contribution!
And when I take into account the matching grant funds from the Virginia Civil War Sites Preservation Fund and the Commonwealth’s transportation enhancement grant program that the Trust has already applied for, I anticipate only needing to raise an additional $24,000 in private donations to complete this acquisition. That’s a remarkable 5-to-1 match on your donation dollar!
The Battle of Cedar Mountain occurred when Maj. Gen. John Pope’s Army of Virginia marched south into Culpeper County and confronted Confederate forces led by Maj. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Brooks at Cedar Mountain. During the fighting, which was particularly intense in the area known as Crittenden’s Gate — including the new target property — Union casualties reached 30 percent. It was here too that Stonewall Jackson personally rallied his faltering command and led them to final victory.
Like me, I know you firmly believe that protecting the hallowed ground on which the outcome of the American Civil War was decided is the most appropriate legacy of the sesquicentennial commemoration that we can hope to leave. Not only is doing so meaningful, but it will stand the test of time — once the land is saved, it’s saved forever. This is the idea at the heart of Campaign 150, our ongoing sesquicentennial preservation effort, and it’s why I take particular satisfaction in announcing projects like this as we mark the individual battle’s anniversary.
Even better, this new fundraising effort gives me the chance to tell you a little bit about Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield, one of the outstanding partner groups without whom the Trust would be unable to achieve our mission. Working with FCMB, we have previously protected 154 acres on this beautiful battlefield (land that, as you can see on our battle map, is contiguous to the new parcel).
If you’re ever in the Northern Virginia area, I highly encourage you to visit Cedar Mountain and walk the land that you’ve helped protect; it’s open to the public and has an interpretive trail we installed so you can take a self-guided tour.
You’ll also see some of the other ways FCMB keeps busy, besides simply keeping the property looking its best — the 2,000 trees they’ve planted to recreate 6.5 acres of wartime woods, the portion of the Orange-Culpeper Road they’ve restored and the split-rail fencing they’ve built.
To further mark Cedar Mountain’s 150th anniversary, Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield have planned a series of special events from August 3–12, 2012. And since profits raised from these events goes toward preservation, I hope some of our members in the region will consider attending. Highlights include the world premiere of “Marching through Culpeper,” a stage adaptation of Virginia Morton’s novel of love and divided loyalties amid the swirling chaos of war, as well a variety of tours covering both the battlefield and historic downtown Culpeper. On Thursday, August, 9, noted historians, including Todd Berkoff, Clark B. “Bud” Hall, Greg Mertz, Nicholas Picerno and Jeffry Wert will participate in the “Battle of Cedar Mountain Symposium” at Germanna Community College. For more information on these and other special anniversary programs, visit www.friendsofcedarmountain.org.
Please join me in this $5-to-$1 match, and help save another 6 acres of this important battlefield land. Please let me hear back from you as soon as possible, and please accept my deepest thanks for your generosity.
Yours 'til the battle is won,