CWTrust American Battlefield Trust buys area’s Cedar Creek Campground


1st Lieutenant
Mar 16, 2016
American Battlefield Trust buys area’s Cedar Creek Campground
By ONOFRIO CASTIGLIA | The Winchester Star
Aug 18, 2018

MIDDLETOWN — The 13-acre Cedar Creek Campground off Valley Pike (U.S. 11) has been purchased by the American Battlefield Trust in Washington, D.C.

The campground, on land where the Battle of Cedar Creek was fought Oct. 19, 1864, is split between Warren and Frederick counties. It fronts a wide portion of Cedar Creek on the northern end of the U.S. 11 bridge. Shenandoah County begins on the other side of the creek.

Clint Schemmer, a spokesman for the American Battlefield Trust, said Wednesday that the “long-range” goal is to preserve the property as part of the historic battlefield.

“Eventually, there will be public access to the site,” Schemmer said in a Friday email, although he said there is no time frame for that. “In time, we envision this historic land being incorporated into Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, via a transfer to the park.”

The American Battlefield Trust (ABT), which focuses on the preservation of battlefields of the Civil War, the War of 1812 and the Revolutionary War, has helped purchase 714 acres of Cedar Creek Battlefield land over the years, most of which has been turned over to park interests, Schemmer said. The group now owns 51 acres of battlefield land, including the campground.

According to Frederick County tax records, ABT bought the land June 4 for $850,000. The land was last sold to Steven A. Schetrom in November 2008 for $395,000 by Randy L. Orndorff. The total assessed value of the land and several small concrete structures on it is $267,200.

According to a news release on the ABT website, the 13-acre Cedar Creek purchase brought the group beyond the milestone of 50,000 acres preserved.

“With its acquisition of 13 acres at Cedar Creek in Virginia’s picturesque Shenandoah Valley, the American Battlefield Trust has reached a historic milestone: 50,000 acres of hallowed ground saved,” the release states. “The achievement was announced at the opening of the Trust’s Annual Conference ... in Newport News.”

The land on Cedar Creek includes an eastern bridge abutment (a stone bridge pillar) of the old Valley Pike, which spanned Cedar Creek, as well as the pike’s original 1830s roadbed.

Schetrom said he had some sense of the historic nature of the property when he bought it, but only recently learned “how important it was.”

Fought Oct. 19, 1864, between Lt. Gen. Jubal Early’s Confederates and Maj. Gen. Phil Sheridan’s Union forces, the Battle of Cedar Creek was an important Union victory that helped re-elect President Abraham Lincoln.

“The streamside tract along Cedar Creek saw significant combat in both the morning and afternoon phases of the seesaw battle,” the ABT website states.

Shannon Moeck, a park ranger at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historic Park, said Friday that the core battlefield area is 3,700 acres, less than half of which is preserved. About 1,500 acres are preserved among six partners: the National Park Service, Belle Grove Inc., the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation, Shenandoah County and the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historic Park.

The remaining 2,200 acres of battlefield land are held by other private owners, like Carmeuse Lime & Stone, a mining corporation permitted to dig for limestone in the area.

“The Trust definitely plans to partner on future projects in the area with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation,” Schemmer said in his email. “Both the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and the HTR Foundation of St. Petersburg, Fla., helped financially in acquiring the campground property.”

Full article with pics can be found here -



1st Lieutenant
Mar 16, 2016
Cedar Creek National Park growing slowly
"MIDDLETOWN — Eventually, visitors to Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park may enjoy an experience similar to that of Antietam National Battlefield or Gettysburg National Military Park, but it’s likely to be a long process.

The Union army’s victory at the Battle of Cedar Creek on Oct. 19, 1864, is credited by historians with bolstering the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln and initiating a retreat that would hasten the end of the Confederacy.

But the site was not preserved in the same manner as other Civil War battlefields. Places such as Shiloh and Vicksburg national military parks in Tennessee and Mississippi, respectively, were prioritized for preservation by veterans groups and the federal government before the year 1900. The same is true for Antietam and Gettysburg.

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historic Park wasn’t established by Congress until 2002, though some private preservation efforts began well before that. The Visitor Contact Station, at 7712 Main St., didn’t open until

Sixteen years after the park’s establishment, five different land preservation partners continue to collect parcels of land — either through purchase or donations — as they become available in a long-term plan to complete the park piecemeal. This is a stark difference from other major battlefield parks, which are typically owned and operated exclusively by the National Park Service.

Recently, the American Battlefield Trust purchased 13 acres along the banks of Cedar Creek, near Valley Pike (U.S. Rt. 11).

About 1,500 acres is owned by five partner agencies — the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Belle Grove Inc., the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Shenandoah County government — all of which operate independently.

But more than half the park’s 3,700 designated acres is in private hands with no public access.

Impediments to preservation are many, although the greatest is likely the pressure from housing developments, Beck-Herzog said. Single family homes under construction at the northern end of Middletown are being built where the final Confederate line stood in the battle. Other core battlefield lands around the town are also zoned residential. “The development pressure that Frederick County is facing is certainly a challenge to land preservation,” she said.

Other private uses of core battlefield land include the large limestone mines operated by Carmeuse Lime and Stone.

There is no use of eminent domain in acquiring battlefield land, Beck-Herzog said. That restriction was written into the legislation establishing the park. The land partners purchase certain parcels according to their significance and whether they are contiguous with other preserved lands. Landowners can also place their land in conservation easements.

Because Cedar Creek park was founded so much later than other battlefield parks, Interstate 81 had already been built right through the core battlefield area.

“[Cedar Creek] is never going to be the same as other battlefields because it started different,” Beck-Herzog said. “The intent is to create an environment with enough land preserved that visitors... will experience what they experience at other battlefields.”

Right now, visitors are limited to portions of the battlefield and Belle Grove Plantation along Valley Pike. All of the land owned by the preservation partners is is not open to the public yet. Much of the preserved land is posted with signs warning against trespassing.

This is a key difference from other parks, which use their contiguous land to offer activities such as interactive hikes and driving courses."

Full article with pics can be found here -