Whether it was the big, influential battles or one of the countless small engagements that are not household names, Virginia and West Virginia played pivotal roles in our Civil War. What we now call West Virginia was still part of the Old Dominion in 1861 when Union and Confederate forces lunged blindly at one another in an effort to control the region. Just east of the Alleghenies, the verdant fields of the Shenandoah Valley were also vital to the strategies of Northern and Southern armies, leading to a seesaw struggle that lasted nearly the entire war. And, of course, the land surrounding the Confederate capitol of Richmond became one vast battleground in 1864 and 1865 as the blue and the gray grappled with one another in the war’s desperate final months. The Civil War touched every part of the United States, but its impact on Virginia and West Virginia was immense.
The Civil War Trust now has the opportunity to save 243 acres at four battlefields in Virginia and West Virginia. We are saving a vital tract at the heart of the Cedar Creek battlefield in Virginia, as well as additional acres at another Virginia battlefield, New Market Heights—a battle in which 23 members of the United States Colored Troops received the Medal of Honor. In the Mountain State, we are preserving a massive 200-acre tract at Harpers Ferry, which figured prominently in the 1862 battle and siege. Lastly, we are saving the first acres ever preserved at Greenbrier River, scene of an early war clash in West Virginia.