Help Save 10 Acres of Second Winchester and Third Winchester
We are on the cusp of completing a deal to forever protect 10 acres of core battlefield – hallowed ground central to two major battles, the Battles of Second and Third Winchester; the place where a Medal of Honor was earned and the site of our next preservation victory.
These 10 acres, located under the ramparts of the already-preserved earthen fortification of Star Fort, have been slated for development, but we have one last opportunity to protect this land.
This parcel – adjacent to ever-expanding industrial facilities – is the last piece of available battlefield ground in this area and lies between those industrial lands and the already-preserved Star Fort. Located right on the Winchester city limits, adding these ten acres to the already-preserved Star Fort land will create an almost 20-acre interpretive site from which to tell of the sacrifice and heroism of two battles.
That’s where we need your help. We’re asking you to consider making a gift to help save this property – a gift that will be matched 47 to 1. No other current battlefield preservation project that we know of can leverage your gift to such a remarkable extent.
This is a great opportunity to save a piece of American history…to save land that was part of two pivotal battles. Without your help, these battlefields will not be saved; they won’t be opened to the public; and the lessons of these places will be lost.
With your help, we can make a difference. With your help, we can save our history.
To learn more, click here to read a letter about this preservation effort from SVBF CEO Keven M. Walker.
“We had to work our guns on our knees, the shells killing our horses and wounding our men… but we gave them as good as we sent.” – Union artilleryman in Star Fort, Second Winchester
Guardian of Civil War Winchester
During the Civil War, Winchester had the misfortune to be highly prized and difficult to defend. Located on the Valley Turnpike at the northern end of the Valley, where the tides of war changed quickly and military movement was swift, the city changed hands over 70 times. Because of its importance and vulnerability, both sides attempted to strengthen its defenses, most notably in the trio of forts that were constructed northwest of the city – Fort Milroy, West Fort, and Star Fort.
The first works on the Star Fort site were erected in 1861, when Confederate troops in the 4th Alabama constructed a series of gun emplacements called “Fort Alabama.” When Union forces under Gen. Robert Milroy occupied the city in early 1863, they constructed a new, much larger, and more imposing fortification on the site: “Star Fort.”
Milroy’s stay in the city ended with the Second Battle of Winchester (June 13-15, 1863), the Confederate victory that opened the way for Robert E. Lee’s second invasion of the north. During that battle, Federal defenders manned the fort and the rifle pits around it, and exchanged furious artillery fire with the Confederates that had captured West Fort.
Star Fort again played a key role at the Third Battle of Winchester on September 19, 1864, but this time the Confederates were defending the fortifications and the Federals were the attackers.
“Had we not taken the Star Fort, it is equally certain we would not have won the fight that day.” – Union Col. James Schoonmaker