We did it! Today is the historic day when the Far Away Farm (FAF) is forever protected from development! The Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association (SBPA) contributed substantially to this effort. Today American Battlefield Trust (ABT) closed on the transfer of the farm from the former developer. Work begins immediately to establish a conservation easement to be administered by the Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle, and for an early to mid-2023 transfer of the property from the ABT to the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission, current holder of the other battlefield property deeds.
Since 2003, SBPA members and supporters have vastly increased recognition of the key role of the Battle of Shepherdstown as the culmination of the Confederate Army’s 1862 Maryland Campaign. We’ve hosted educational meetings and fund-raising parties in town, information tables at town events, and participated in battlefield and road cleanups, battlefield tours, crossings of the Packhorse / Boteler’s Ford, and Battlefield BBQs! FAF will now be preserved as a permanent monument to the Battle of Shepherdstown, and an indisputable part of our Local, State and National history.
Our knowledge of the battle, farm, and Cement Mill continues to increase! Just this year we met an 80-plus- year-old gentleman who found a Union canteen on the cliffs above the river- when he was just 14 years old! An iron head from a sledgehammer was found at the Cement Mill kilns by a passing kayaker, who was kind enough to contribute it for a future artifact exhibit. Many battlefield tours have been conducted by Dr Tom Clemons and Kevin Pawlak, SBPA board members. This included a first ever tour of FAF.
As public awareness of the battlefield continues to increase, so will issues related to traffic, parking, garbage and vandalism, among others. Our continued participation in battlefield cleanup days, Trough Road garbage pickup, public education programs and battlefield tours is essential to the preservation of the battlefield until an eventual transfer to the National Park Service. Until that is accomplished, we must continue our efforts so these properties are worthy of “National Battlefield Park” status.
Please follow us on our Facebook page and on our website; Sherdstownbattlefield.org. for news and updates as they occur.
We must say Thank You to all SBPA Donors, Officers, Directors and Advisors, Members and battlefield supporters past and present. You have all contributed to a “History Worth Saving”!
On behalf of the SBPA officers and board members,
Michael L. Nickerson
Dr. Mike Nickerson
Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association
“Great job folks, especially donors, in getting this done. Congratulations!”Mike Nickerson, President of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association.
Message from The National Park Service regarding its November 18/22 New Release:
The Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission has been selected to receive American Battlefield Protection Program Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant (BLAG) for the acquisition of the Far Away Farm Tract at Shepherdstown Battlefield.
The SBPA is fortunate to announce the addition of two National Park Service professionals (now retired) to our boards.
Mr. Terry Lindsay lives in Kearneysville, WV and has joined the Board of Directors. He worked in the National Park Service for 33 years as a park ranger at the C&O Canal NP, Everglades NP, Okefenokee NWR, Shenandoah NP, and Isle Royale NP. He worked as an Exhibit Planner at the Harpers Ferry Interpretive Design Center creating local exhibits for Bolivar Heights, Schoolhouse Ridge, and Murphy’s Farm, and at the Monocacy NB near Frederick, MD. He also created exhibits in the Grand Canyon NP, Glacier Bay NP, Joshua Tree NP, Death Valley NP, and the Selma to Montgomery Trail. Terry’s insight on park design and management, and interpretive history is already proving invaluable.
Ms. Pamela Underhill has joined the SBPA Board of Advisors. Pam lives in Bakerton, WV and was the Superintendent of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail for the NPS for 17 years. She focused on securing a permanently protected corridor for the Trail from Maine to Georgia, one of the most complex and successful public/private land conservation efforts in our country’s history. She interacted with trail hikers, volunteer workers, landowners, and State and Federal officials so has a large network of professional and personal contacts whose expertise may be helpful to our new park.
The Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association is currently raising $100,000 to assist the American Battlefield Trust (ABT) with the $2,000,000 purchase of the Far Away Farm, located within the battlefield on Trough Road.
This comprises only 5% of the farm purchase price which will benefit Jefferson County in perpetuity.
The ABT was recently awarded a $300,000 WV State Outdoor Heritage Grant for the purchase of the Far Away Farm. The ABT and the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission plan to apply for additional funding from the National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program.
The SBPA promotes education about the battle and helps manage the battlefield through member activities, including the Birds in the Battlefield Program. Please donate today.
A new display will soon be open to the public in the Local History Room of the new Shepherdstown Library. When you visit, ask to see the battle maps and fund-raising efforts to preserve the Far Away Farm.
A large, mounted map shows troop movements during the battle at the Cement Mill and on Trough Road, created by the American Battlefield Trust (ABT).
There are free smaller maps, SBPA pamphlets and information about our partners including the ABT, Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission and Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board.
In recognition of the 160th Anniversary of the Battle of Shepherdstown on June 19 and 20, 2022, an article about SBPA efforts to preserve the Far Away Farm has been published in the October issue of the WV Independent Observer (wearetheobserver.com).
A tour of the Shepherdstown Battlefield was conducted by SBPA Director Kevin Pawlak for members of the Antietam Institute on Saturday, September 10, 2022.
He first described the Union artillery position at Ferry Hill, off Rt. 34. Then Pawlak described the heavy fighting and Union casualties at the Cement Mill kilns and dam. Finally, at the Far Away Farm, he presented A.P. Hill’s Confederates drive across the Farm to drive Union troops back across the Potomac River to Maryland late in the afternoon on September 20, 1862.
Kevin Pawlak is a Historic Site Manager for the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division and is a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Antietam National Battlefield, as well as guiding tours of the Battle of Shepherdstown.
Mowing of the Battlefield Park along the Potomac River is planned by SBPA members ahead of the 160th Anniversary of the Battle on September 19-20, 2022. What an auspicious time to be raising funds to permanently secure the Far Away Farm in the core of the battlefield.