June 16, 2023: Here are Officer Mike Moats and I this morning extending the educational effort about the battlefield to our partners, the Shepherdstown Police.
“Capito announces nearly $500,000 for Preservation of Shepherdstown Battlefield”
June 2, 2023 from The West Virginia Daily News
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced on June 2, 2023, that the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board will receive $492,097 for preservation of 149.6 acres at Shepherdstown Battlefield in Jefferson County, W.Va. This funding was made available through the National Park Service’s (NPS) American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP), which receives support from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Senator Capito voted to permanently authorize LWCF through the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020.
“The preservation of battlefields is an important aspect of maintaining our country’s history, and I’m encouraged to see NPS providing funds to do just that in West Virginia. Protecting the Shepherdstown Battlefield will help generations to come learn about West Virginia’s formation in 1863, and the role our state has played in the foundation of our nation,” Senator Capito said.
SBPA Director and Author Kevin Pawlak to speak at the Opera House, and long-time member Jim Surkamp receives the Price Preservation Award!
Historic Shepherdstown Speaker Series Presentation, Awards Scheduled
May is Historic Preservation Month, and the first Historic Shepherdstown Commission Speaker Series presentation and annual Historic Preservation Awards ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 17 at the beautifully renovated Opera House on German Street in downtown Shepherdstown.
Author Kevin Pawlak, a Shepherd University graduate and local history expert, will discuss the recently released book “John Brown’s Raid: Harpers Ferry and the Coming of the Civil War, October 16-18, 1859”, which he co-authored with Jon-Erik Gilot.
The Preservation of Historic Legacies(James C. Price) Award is going to Jim Surkamp, for his years of actively promoting and preserving the local history, sharing his knowledge of historically significant families, and creating numerous videos about historic events in Shepherdstown.
Please consider attending to show your support of these Preservation Heroes!
May 20 – 21 and May 27 – 28
Battlefield Artifact Display with Historic Shepherdstown
The SBPA and Historic Shepherdstown will have ‘Pop Up’ displays at Evolve on May 20 – 21 from 10 am to 5 pm and on May 27 – 28 from 11 am to 5 pm. The SBPA will display artifacts from the Battlefield that are on loan from members. These include a partly restored 1842 Springfield Musket found in the Potomac River below Packhorse Ford, a cannon ball, bullets and unknown objects. We will present maps and books about the Battle of Shepherdstown and have merchandise for sale.
Evolve is located at 106 West German Street, near the Sweet Shop. Historic Shepherdstown is an active, non-profit, membership organization dedicated to preserving Shepherdstown’s architectural character, and building public understanding of Shepherdstown’s distinctive history.
Volunteers are needed for all four days. To participate, please contact Mike Nickerson for a time slot (304-995-6975).
The SBPA has secured a booth at the Shepherdstown Streetfest!
Once again this year, the SBPA will promote education about the Battle at the Shepherdstown Streetfest with a booth in front of the Mary Tyler Moore Civil War Center on West German Street. We will be handing out information, discussing the battle, recruiting volunteers, accepting donations and selling merchandise. Volunteers are needed for 2-hour time slots from 10 am – 8 pm. Please contact the SBPA to participate.
April 17, 2023
Hello Battlefield Supporters,
We had a great Park Day 2023 cleanup on Saturday, April 15 with over 24 participants from Shepherdstown and Jefferson County, WV, as well as Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. We had a good weather day with only 20 minutes of light rain. Both the Cement Mill Riverside Park and the Far Away Farm were significantly improved and maintained, with loads of brush and deadwood, and many bags of trash collected on River and Trough Roads. Thank you to all the participants for a great day of community improvement of this key historic site.
This Park Day cleanup was followed by an exceptional 3-hour tour of the battlefield led by Dr. Tom McGrath, Author and Professor. Tom started at the farmhouse providing context for the events that led the Shepherdstown battle’s climax on the afternoon of September 20, 1862. We followed A.P. Hill’s men’s route where they marched across the Far Away Farm towards the ridge where the Union forces were massed. The tour angled down the ridge onto Trough Road, then we travelled up a driveway to the bluffs where the 118th Pennsylvania fought. After a very intense closing presentation and discussion, tour participants hiked back down to Trough Road and up to the farm on the ‘old wagon road’ in a large circuit of the battlefield core.
A great day was had by all doing community service for Park Day in the battlefield then participating in a historic tour that included the Far Away Farm. Thank you to Martin Burke and John Demer of the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission, Dr. McGrath, the day’s participants and all battlefield supporters!
Dr. Mike Nickerson
Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association
Email: [email protected]
April 4, 2023
The SBPA receives congratulations on the listing of the Osbourn Farm to the National Register of Historic Places
In early May, the SBPA received letters of congratulation from Patricia Rucker, WV Senate, and Susan Pierce, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, WV Department of Arts, Culture and History, informing us that the historic James Osbourn Farm was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on April 4, 2023. Both letters similarly stated, ‘This designation identifies your property’s significant contribution to the history of West Virginia. Congratulations on the honor.’
Yes, Battlefield Supporters we are doing it! Step by step by step we are working together, year after year, to preserve the Battle of Shepherdstown. This is an incredible honor that we have helped make happen by our continued efforts! Every SBPA member and Battlefield Supporter should be congratulated and be immensely proud of this formal recognition that the Osbourne Farm will be forever preserved as the site of the Battle. Congratulations and a HUGE thank you go to John Demer and Martin Burke at the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission for their tireless efforts on behalf of the Battlefield and who submitted the National Register application. Thanks also to the Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle, the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Program, and neighbors and supporters of the Battlefield.
The SBPA gratefully welcomes this recognition. Battlefield supporters can be very proud of our achievements to protect, maintain and improve this incredible and historic site in Jefferson County, WV along the Potomac River. This was a Civil War conflict catalyzed by geography- a wide river ford that had been used for 15,000 years by Native Americans, 250 years by settlers on the Wilderness Trail, decades by industries such as the C&O Canal and the Boteler Cement Mill, and then by the retreating Confederate Army on September 18 after the Battle of Antietam. Union Army pursuit made the Battle of Shepherdstown unavoidable on September 19 – 20, 1862. Even though a victory for A.P. Hill’s Confederate troops, the fight ended Robert E. Lee’s hopes of re-crossing the Potomac and continuing his Maryland campaign. The Battle remains the bloodiest battle to take place in the future state of West Virginia and offered Lincoln the opportunity of issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.
Thank you to WV Senator Rucker and Deputy Pierce for these valued Letters of Congratulations and for your continued support of our efforts to preserve the Battlefield!
Celebrating the 161st Anniversary of the Battle of Shepherdstown on September 19 & 20, 2023!
Available locally, contact President Dr. Mike Nickerson.
We’ve partnered with VistaPrint to provide quality branded merchandise to support the Shepherdstown Battlefield Association. More items will be coming soon!
Available locally, contact President Dr. Mike Nickerson.
The next tour of the Shepherdstown Battlefield will be led by SBPA Director and VA Park Ranger Kevin Pawlak on Saturday, March 18, 2023.
Kevin will lead the Virginia Forum on a walking tour of several parts of the battlefield out of the Cement Mill parking area from 1:30 – 3:30 pm.
Unfortunately, the tour is at capacity at this time but stay tuned for additional spring tours coming up!
Dr. Mike Nickerson, President, SBPA