Published on August 19, 2015

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August 19, 2015

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation has preserved another acre at the Third Winchester battlefield off Redbud Road, northeast of the city.

The foundation, which is dedicated to preserving and interpreting Civil War sites, owns 570 acres of core battlefield land north of Berryville Pike (Va. 7) and east of Interstate 81.

The recently acquired acre is located at 460 Redbud Road, adjacent to the foundation’s existing battlefield property.

“We normally don’t go after one-acre properties,” John Hutchinson, conservation director for the foundation, said Tuesday. “But it will increase the integrity of the much larger property that surrounds it.”

Since 2009, the nonprofit organization has invested millions of dollars into the preservation, interpretation and restoration of the Third Battle of Winchester site, where one of the largest battles was fought in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War.

The foundation purchased the one-acre property for $110,000 using a short-term bridge loan from Winchester-based United Bank, according to Hutchinson.

He said the foundation plans to pay off that loan using money it hopes to receive through a matching state grant from the Virginia Battlefield Preservation Fund, which it applied for a couple weeks ago and would be awarded through the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

Those state funds would then be matched by a grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program, which is managed by the National Park Service, along with private funds and donations, according to a news release from the foundation issued last week.

If the foundation is awarded the grants, a conservation easement would be placed on the property.

The foundation purchased the one-acre plot from Winchester business partners Jacob H. “Rocky” Yost and Melissa Elliot, according to the news release.

“This is a perfect example of why we must continue to receive public support,” Keven Walker, the foundation’s CEO, said in the news release.

Walker said the foundation used about $4,200 of donated funds, which helped cover the legal fees and closing and appraisal costs for purchasing the one acre.

He said if foundation members and donors “had not made up the difference between the state and federal funding, this property would not have been protected.”

There is an occupied mobile home and a vacant concrete block house on the property, Hutchinson said, and the tenant will be asked to leave after the lease ends.

According to the foundation’s news release:

“The newest parcel protected at Third Winchester saw significant action during the September 19, 1864, battle. Fighting erupted there between Fitzhugh Lee’s Confederate command and the 156th New York Infantry that had been sent across Redbud Run in an attempt to clear a path toward the left flank of Gen. Jubal Early’s Confederate line. The New Yorkers were driven back while the Confederate artillery and cavalry from the high ground around property exacted a deadly fire upon Union troops who were forcing their way across the famed Middle Field. By mid-afternoon, Brig. Gen. George Crook’s VIII Corps and cavalry turned the Confederate left flank and Early ordered a general retreat.”

— Contact Raya Zimmerman at rzimmerman@winchesterstar.com