Supporters gathered on August 26 at the James Osborne Farm (also known as Mountain View Farm and Far Away Farm), to celebrate the results of diligent efforts by the Shepherdstown Battlefield Protection Association (SBPA) to preserve this 121-acre property at the core of the Shepherdstown battlefield site. In late 2022, the American Battlefield Trust acquired this property through the efforts of the SBPA. By the end of this year, SBPA expects title to be transferred to the Jefferson County Landmarks Commission, culminating a 19-year effort led locally by the SBPA that involved a complex mix of coordination and funding involving the American Battlefield Trust, the National Park Service, the US Department of Agriculture, the Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle, and the Jefferson County Landmarks Commission.
The event’s festivities included presentation of the 2023 Conservation Award to the SBPA from the Two Rivers Giving Circle. The citation of this award highlighted the SBPA’s wide-ranging efforts over the past two decades to preserve the battlefield. Leading up to the event, the SBPA also announced the results of recent efforts to fund ongoing preservation of the site, with recent funding sponsored by both of West Virginia’s US Senators. In the past 18 months, SBPA’s efforts have directed $2.5 million to the battlefield preservation effort.
Both Senators provided statements that underscored the significance of this work. Senator Capito said: “Our state’s proud tradition of service extends all the way to its very inception. Maintaining the Shepherdstown Battlefield is an important duty we owe to the legacy of those who sacrificed so much, and it will inspire West Virginians who learn of their bravery and sacrifice.”
Senator Manchin noted that, “We are fortunate in West Virginia to have such a vibrant wealth of history and culture. Born out of the fiery turmoil of the Civil War, our state was founded by courageous patriots who risked their lives in a united pursuit of justice and freedom. Shepherdstown Battlefield is truly a unique and integral piece of West Virginia history. One hundred and sixty-one years ago, the battle took place on this land. Because of the efforts seen here today, it will continue to be a wonderfully preserved part of our state’s identity for generations to come. Today’s event represents the type of unique, community-based thinking that keeps our Great State on the map. I appreciate the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association and all who work to shed light on this region’s treasured past.”
Mike Nickerson, president of SBPA, remarked that this event celebrates a major preservation achievement that extends beyond this property to protect a significant portion of the entire battlefield. Now that the property is protected, the SBPA’s next tasks are to develop a plan to manage the property and enable visitors to access and enjoy the site, which may include trails for walking, biking, and bird watching.
The Shepherdstown Battlefield Protection Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. The SBPA can arrange tour guides for the extended battlefield site and welcomes new members and donations to support ongoing efforts to preserve the battlefield site and provide public education about the battle. More info at ShepherdstownBattlefield.org.By Staff Contributor