September 2022 Tour of the Battlefield

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 leads a tour of the Battle of Shepherdstown for Antietam Institute members and is shown in front of the farmhouse at the Far Away Farm.

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 Battlefield Park

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.

Battlefield Association Members Participate in the Shepherdstown Streetfest

On a sunny Saturday June 25, 2022, members of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association (SBPA) participated in the Shepherdstown Streetfest. We presented our fundraising effort to assist with the purchase of the Far Away Farm, battlefield maps, the FAF survey blueprint, and a report on the June 9 SBPA meeting. We had material from the American Battlefield Trust, National Parks Service, Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle and the Farmland Protection Board. We sold the shirts, haversacks and books and need to re-stock the merchandise.

It was an eventful day discussing the battle and our preservation efforts with hundreds of Streetfest attendees that included many friends and neighbors. Special thanks go to Cindy Jo Feeser, SBPA Streetfest event manager; Sara Smith, pamphlet labeler extraordinaire; and Jim Broomall, Director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War. Additional thanks to Rosemary Nickerson, Steve Alemar, Josh Alemar, Andy Feeser, Stephanie Unger, Sharon Capriotti, John Doyle, J.T. Moore, and others. The bake sale was successful at attracting donations, and Cindy Feeser, SBPA Treasurer, was able to deposit $8,600 from the bake sale, donations and checks in the mail to the SBPA and FAF accounts. President Mike Nickerson received a verbal commitment for another $5,000 to the FAF Fund. Most importantly, we met many, many people who are very interested in the battle and our preservation efforts.

– Dr. Mike Nickerson, SBPA President

SBPA members Sara Smith and Cindy Feeser setting up the booth in the morning.

Our first customer!

Later in the day we were in the shade which was very nice.

A beautiful view down the hill into town from our site!

Critical cooperation to preserve the Shepherdstown Battlefield

At our June 9, 2022 meeting with partner organizations battlefield supporters joined Dr Mike Nickerson, SBPA President, in welcoming author Tom Pawlak; Tom Moore and Kathy Robertson from American Battlefield Trust; Martin Burke, Director, Historic Landmarks Commission; Elizabeth Wheeler from the Farmland Protection Board; and Susan Trail, Superintendent, Antietam National Battlefield.

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April 2022 Faraway Farm Tour

April 2022

Starting our Far Away Farm tour at Ferry Hill, looking over the Potomac River at Shepherdstown.

Battle of Shepherdstown overview at the Cement Mill Kilns.

Our tour guide and board member Kevin Pawlak led the discussion and hike.

A view of the Osbourn House and Barn at Far Away Farms.

We are thrilled to be able to legally enter this property after so many years of fighting to protect this land from development.

Farm tour in the battlefield

March 19, 2022: Dr. Mike Nickerson, SBPA President, hosts a farm tour in the battlefield for a Beginner Farming class from the Jefferson Country Agriculture Extension Service.

Emily Morrow (right side of photo), Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, Jefferson County WVU Extension Service, listens as Dr. Nickerson (yellow hat) shows hothouse gardening of spring salad greens and a beef cattle operation. The tour of the Nickerson’s Blue Mountain Meadow Farm was one of 3 farms visited that day by the class. Photo: Rosemary Nickerson

Dr. Nickerson discussed the role of agriculture and conservation easements in preserving historic sites such as the Battle of Shepherdstown, where the farm is located.

Blue Mountain Meadow Farm produces organic vegetables and practices rotational grazing of beef cattle with 100% photovoltaic electric power generation.

Just a week after installation of 2 owl nesting boxes on trees in the battlefield, this barred owl welcomed us home one recent evening. A ‘Birds in the Battlefield’ project success!

Touring the Faraway Farm

On Friday, March 18, 2022, SBPA President Dr. Mike Nickerson toured the Faraway Farm property in the historic core of the Battle of Shepherdstown. After a meeting at the town’s Sweet Shop bakery, current farm owner Mike Boltz welcomed the group that included Kathy Robertson and Tom Moore of the American Battlefield Trust; Elizabeth Wheeler, Director of the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board and SBPA Vice-President Steve Alemar. Not shown is Martin Burke of the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission who attended the meeting but not the farm tour.

The ABT recently signed a contract with Mr. Boltz to purchase the farm and a fund-raising campaign is planned by the SBPA this summer.