Published on June 30, 2015

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Foundation Raising $50,000 For Shenandoah County Site
Posted: June 30, 2015
By KELLY CLARK

The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation is seeking help from the public to save a piece of Civil War history that’s threatened by development.

The New Market-based foundation is trying to buy a 24-acre parcel of the Tom’s Brook Battlefield that has been residentially zoned.

Rob Aitcheson, director of policy and communications for the foundation, said a private Shenandoah County resident, whom he declined to name, owns the land and plans on building eight residential lots on it.

Aitcheson said the landowner has been “very receptive to preserving the land.”

State and federal grants will cover “a good deal” of the $250,000 needed to buy the land, but that fundraising is necessary to bridge the gap, he said.

“We need to raise $50,000 in private donations in order to close on the land by the end of September,” he said.

The parcel is adjacent to 161 acres of the battlefield that were preserved via a $425,000 land easement in 2012.

A letter posted Thursday on the battlefields foundation’s website by Chief Executive Officer Keven Walker urged people to help preserve the battlefield land before it’s too late.

“If we don’t do it now, this land will be lost forever,” the letter read.

Aitcheson said SVBF is working with a local Realtor to buy the land, and that he is confident that the foundation can raise the money by the fall.

“Our supporters have always come through for us,” he said. “Hopefully, we can report a happy ending.”

The 6,600-acre battlefield is the site of the Battle of Tom’s Brook, which took place on Oct. 9, 1864.

During the battle, Union Gen. Philip Sheridan’s 6,300 forces routed 3,500 Confederate soldiers under Gen. Jubal Early and sent them scattering from Tom’s Brook south to Mount Jackson.

The battle marked the largest cavalry conflict in the Shenandoah Valley, as well as the end of Sheridan’s march through the Valley that would come to be known as “The Burning.” During The Burning, federal troops destroyed crops, mills and barns to demoralize the home front.

For information about the Tom’s Brook battlefield or to make a donation, visit www.shenandoahatwar.org.

Contact Kelly Clark at 574-6290 or kclark@dnronline.com