Published on April 29, 2021

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Help Save Second Winchester

Save 153 Acres of this Key Part of the Gettysburg Campaign!

Click image to see map of battle and target property

You and I are on the cusp of saving a critical battlefield property – key to the Gettysburg Campaign – and in almost pristine condition – and over 150 acres! Not only that, but with the deal we’ve been able to pull together, we can leverage every dollar that you invest to save this core battlefield, multiplying the buying power of your contribution more than 53 times!

I am coming to you with one of the best preservation opportunities that I have ever heard of and I’m asking for your help to get it done. If we can raise $144,450, you and I can save more than 150 acres of the Second Winchester Battlefield – land valued at over $7.6 million dollars! That’s a match of more than 53 to 1!

Financially, this is the largest transaction we have ever tackled – the most expensive deal that we have ever attempted to close. This amazing opportunity only exists because of the extreme generosity of the landowners; the funds available through the American Battlefield Protection Program; an $80,000 contribution from our partners at the American Battlefield Trust; and significant contributions from several of our long-term donors.

View of the target property looking south from above Old Charles Town Road on its northern border. Click image to see larger version.

And this is our last chance… the last chance to save a property that the preservation community first attempted to protect almost two decades ago. This property, the McCann Farm, has remained virtually untouched and unchanged since the great armies of the Gettysburg campaign raged across it in June of 1863, but development has steadily crept ever nearer. Now, with the economy booming in Frederick County and the City of Winchester growing in leaps and bounds, this property, just minutes from the center of the city, has become extremely valuable and is slated for development. The time to save it – the last chance to save it – is now.

Because of its location, the property was enveloped by fighting during three battles, including Rutherford’s Farm and Third Winchester – but it was during the Second Battle of Winchester that the property figured most prominently into the history of the war. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had climbed over the Blue Ridge into the Shenandoah Valley on what would be their route of invasion into Pennsylvania. While much of his force marched further east through Front Royal to Berryville and on toward the Potomac River crossings, Lee sent Gen. Richard Ewell’s Corps farther west to address the threat presented by the Federal force at Winchester, commanded by Union Gen. Robert H. Milroy. If Lee was to continue his advance into Pennsylvania, the Federals at Winchester would have to be captured, destroyed, or driven north.

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee

The action that ensued – the Second Battle of Winchester – stretched over three days (June 13-15, 1863) and culminated with the Federals desperately trying to escape the city, only to be cut off by a part of Ewell’s force under the command of Gen. Allegheny Johnson. When Johnson’s Confederates opened fire on the Union soldiers marching in desperation northward on the Valley Pike, the Federals made one last desperate attempt to cut and slash their way out – a maneuver that played out on the target property. The fighting roared across the McCann Farm with Louisiana troops filing in behind the railroad embankment and leveling fire across the farm toward the Federals on the pike. On the north end of the target property the fighting became desperate; while on the southern end Federals attempted to break out to the east by charging across the McCann Farm, only to be captured before they could escape.

To see the complete letter from SVBF CEO Keven Walker, click here.






“This battle of Winchester was one of the most perfect pieces of work the Army of Northern Virginia ever did.” – Confederate Maj. Robert Stiles

The Battle and the Target Property

Union Gen. Robert H. Milroy

In June of 1863, Confederate forces under Gen. Robert E. Lee were on the march toward Pennsylvania for their second invasion of the north. Leading the advance was the 2nd Corps commanded by Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell. As part of their advance, Ewell was given the task of clearing the Shenandoah Valley of all Union opposition. That Union opposition was in the fortified defenses of Winchester. On June 13th, Ewell’s 2nd Corps reached Winchester and went to work in clearing the way for the rest of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Following two days of fighting south and east of Winchester, Union Maj. Gen. Robert Milroy was forced to abandon his forts and the town. On the night of June 14th, Milroy ordered his men to quietly move out of their defensive positions and head north using the darkness as their cover. The guns in the forts were spiked and all supplies destroyed.

As Milroy’s army moved north, Confederate Maj. Gen. Edwards “Allegheny” Johnson anticipated the attempted retreat and moved to cut it off. Moving his men east on the Berryville Pike, Johnson then turned north and marched his men along the Charlestown Road. The Charlestown Road lead his men toward Stephenson’s Depot and the Valley Pike, directly into the route of Milroy’s retreat.

Col. Gen. Edward “Allegheny” Johnson

At 3:00 AM on the 15th, Confederates reached a bridge crossing over the Winchester & Potomac Railroad (northeast corner of the Target Property). Johnson deployed his men to the north as they tried to ascertain the position of the Union forces moving toward them. The 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry made contact with the Confederates near the bridge and the fighting began.

As the Union infantry moved north on the Valley Pike, Confederate infantry and artillery deployed north of the Charlestown Road and began to engage the Union forces along the pike. As more Confederate infantry and artillery arrived, the line began to deploy on the south side of the Charlestown Road (on the Target Property) along the railroad bed. With their route of retreat blocked by Confederates, Union forces attempted to break out by attacking the Confederates posted along the railroad bed to their east. Confederate artillery commanded by Lt. Col. Richard Snowden Andrews positioned near the bridge (northeast corner of the Target Property) blocked the Charlestown Road and helped drive back the Union assault…

For more on the battle and the actions on the target property, click here.