Published on June 19, 2017

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Together, we have a chance to achieve a crucial preservation victory on long-overlooked parcels in the center of one of the most famous battlefields of the Civil War.

The Clinedinst home, as it looked at the time of the battle. Painted by Jacob Clinedinst in 1890. (Crim Collection)

Thanks to your help, we’ve already preserved 204 acres at New Market and now we have the chance to preserve 25 additional acres of core battlefield – acres that are currently slated for commercial use and high-density, multifamily residential development.

And, if we act now, we can match every dollar you contribute by almost 8 to 1!  The total cost of this preservation project will be just over $730,000, but by leveraging every dollar you contribute with state and federal funding we’ll be able to preserve this hallowed ground with a private investment of only $92,000!

The three target properties in this project include…

The Clinedinst-Crim Property (2 acres) – Site of early-morning fighting as the battle moved through the town; a key position for a section of Snow’s Federal artillery battery; the site of one of the most widely-known stories of the battle; and a focal point of post-war commemoration.

The River Road Property (13.5 acres) – The site of early-morning skirmishing; the first federal defensive line of the battle; and the climax of the Confederate attack through town, with fighting sweeping across this property and involving unit such as the Union 1st West Virginia and the Confederate 62nd Virginia – and elements of the VMI Cadets.

The Rice Property (9.5 acres) – The northern-most parcel on the maps, this property includes the historic Rice House – used as a headquarters by Union Gen. Franz Sigel during the battle – and was the scene of heavy fighting during the battle when the 123rd Ohio mounted a desperate attempt to hold the Federal line.  The house was also used as a headquarters by Union Gen. Nathaniel Banks during Stonewall Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign.


Thomas Garland Jefferson and Lydie Crim
Thomas Garland Jefferson and Lydie Crim

The property I am asking you to preserve includes the site where Lydie Clinedinst cared for the VMI cadets, including Thomas Garland Jefferson, following the battle. (Please see the “Historic Sketch” for more information.)  The house that stands there now, constructed in 1881, was Lydie’s last home and a gathering place for veterans of the battle during decades of reunions and commemorative events.  Included with the purchase are the priceless letters and correspondence from hundreds of soldiers and veterans who wrote to Lydie through the years; mementoes and artifacts related to the battle and the war; clothing and furnishings from the time of the battle; and commemorative period memorabilia – an unbelievable collection of artifacts, documents, and furnishings that will help to forever humanize the horrors of that war.  And this collection will be used for the public benefit, with curated items being used in exhibits and interpretive and education programs at our museums and sites across the Shenandoah Valley.

When we complete this preservation effort, you and I will have preserved 25 acres of core battlefield land, 2 historic homes, and hundreds of museum-quality artifacts, furniture, and mementos related to the Battle of New Market and its post-war commemoration.  We will have protected an entirely new section of the New Market battlefield; expanded the interpretive opportunities across the broader battlefield; and brought much-needed heritage tourism into the heart of the historic town. This will be a sweeping preservation victory, and a landmark expansion of the interpretive and visitor experience at the battlefield that sits at the very center of the Shenandoah Valley.

This is battlefield preservation at its best, and I know that you’ll want to be a part of it.  I need you to join me and the others who are leading this fight and support this campaign today.  I’m asking you to contribute all that you can. This is a fight that we can’t afford to lose, and I’m counting on you to save these 25 acres in the heart of the New Market battlefield. I can’t do it without you, and I know you won’t let me down – or, more importantly, you won’t let down the soldiers and civilians who were here on that fateful day.  Together, let’s honor their memory by preserving the land where many gave their all.