Star Fort Winchester- 10 Acres

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Jan 12, 2016
Save 10 acres at Star Fort Winchester

SHENANDOAH VALLEY BATTLEFIELDS FOUNDATION P.O. Box 897 ● 9386 Congress St. ● New Market, VA 22844 ● 540.740.4545 ● KEVEN M. WALKER CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Dear Friend of American History, Things are happening on the preservation front here in the Valley. We’ve stayed the course through the holidays, the political wrangling, and the ice and snow of old man winter – and we are saving battlefields! Right now, we are on the cusp of completing a deal to forever protect 10 acres of core battlefield – hallowed ground central to two major battles, the Battles of Second and Third Winchester; the place where a Medal of Honor was earned and the site of our next preservation victory. These 10 acres, located under the ramparts of the already-preserved earthen fortification of Star Fort, have been slated for development, but we have one last opportunity to protect this land. This opportunity is possible thanks to the landowners, who have agreed to donate 50% of the property’s value. Without their generosity, preserving this property might not have been possible. Before we talk numbers, let me tell you why I think it is worth your investment to save this property. Winchester is an ever-growing and quickly-changing city. It is one of the most vibrant communities in the Valley, with an economy that is fostering both residential and commercial development. This parcel – adjacent to ever expanding industrial facilities – is the last piece of available battlefield ground in this area and lies between those industrial lands and the already-preserved Star Fort. Located right on the Winchester city limits, adding these ten acres to the alreadypreserved Star Fort land will create an almost 20-acre interpretive site from which to tell of the sacrifice and heroism of two battles. The Second Battle of Winchester was waged in June of 1863 during the first days of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Gettysburg Campaign. Union defenders of the Fort and its surrounding camps suffered under the artillery fire of Confederates who had overrun fortifications immediately to the west and turned the guns on the Federals. When Union General Robert Milroy decided to abandon Winchester, this parcel was in the middle of the chaotic scene with Union troops struggling across it through the darkness in a desperate attempt to escape the city. When war returned to Winchester in 1864, the Third Battle of Winchester – the largest battle ever fought in the Shenandoah Valley – raged across this property. It was on this parcel that Confederate defenders tried desperately to hold the extreme left of their line. Against all odds, the southerners held – until the largest cavalry charge ever mounted in the western hemisphere broke their lines. As the blue clad horseman thundered down on their position, it was on this property – the property that you and I can now save – that north and south collided. The clash of arms…the roar of cannon…the thunder of hooves…the screams and the shouts of men… And then the property was carried; the Confederate defenses shattered, and the southerners sent streaming through the streets of Winchester. Please take the time to look at the maps that I’ve included with this letter and read Terry Heder’s historic sketch that I’ve sent along as well. This is a property that we must save, hallowed ground that must be forever protected, and if we act now you and I can do just that. So here are the numbers I promised: This is a $750,000 property. As mentioned, the owners are donating half of the value, leaving a purchase price of $375,000. When you add the costs of the transaction (appraisals, survey and legal fees), the total cost of this project is just over $400,000. Here’s the good news: we have already been awarded a federal grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program that will cover almost the entire cost of preserving this property! Because of that, we only have to raise $16,000 to forever protect this property. That’s where I need your help. I’m asking you to consider making a gift to help save this property. With the value donated and the grant already secured we can match your gift by over 47 to 1! Every $1 you contribute will have the purchase power of over $47! No other current battlefield preservation project that we know of can leverage your gift to such a remarkable extent. This is a great opportunity to save a piece of American history…the place where the Confederates made their last stand in Winchester; where the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry made their heroic charge; where shot and shell once rained down on Milroy’s men. Without your help – and the help of friends and supporters just like you – these battlefields will not be saved; they won’t be opened to the public; and the lessons of these places will be lost. With your help, we can make a difference. With your help, we can save our history. Our important work here in the Valley would not be possible without you. Thank you for all that you have done. I very much look forward to hearing from you . . . Keven M. Walker Chief Executive Officer