Fisher’s Hill Battlefield gets $192K preservation grant

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

STRASBURG — A Shenandoah County Civil War battlefield has been named one of four such sites to benefit from state grant money for preservation efforts.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources announced the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation as a recipient of $192,000 for the preservation of part of the Fisher’s Hill Battlefield near Strasburg.

Keven Walker, chief executive officer of the New Market-based foundation, said the money will be used to buy 67 acres of land known as the Lyon Farm.

The purchase is part of a larger effort to buy 177 acres of battlefield land by the end of 2017.

The Lyon land lies on one of the battlefield’s tallest hills, according to the DHR. Walker said it held one of the first Confederate lines to break during the Battle of Fisher’s Hill on Sept. 21-22, 1864.

“It was of extreme significance in the outcome of the battle,” Walker said. “It was considered very defensible by the Confederates, but it ended up being rendered very weak. The men there broke and ran relatively early in the battle.”

The battle resulted in a combined 1,700 casualties and the effective surrender of the Valley to the Union.

The DHR also awarded Capital Region Land Conservancy in Richmond $400,000 for the preservation of 950 acres of the Malvern Hill Battlefield in eastern Henrico County and western Charles City County.

Additionally, the Washington, D.C.-based Civil War Trust received $200,000 to preserve 353 acres of Spotsylvania County land near the sites of the battles of Chancellorsville and the Wilderness.

The DHR received 16 preservation requests totaling $2.9 million, which exceeded the $792,000 available to distribute, according to its website.

The state group analyzed each battlefield applicant according to the “threat level” of development and the significance of the battle, Walker said.

“We’re very, very lucky and grateful that Fisher’s Hill was chosen,” he said.

The foundation’s preservation push is vital, Walker said, to protect Fisher’s Hill from the “sleeping threat” of increasing development.

“We’ve very close to Northern Virginia, and the land is pretty attractive to people looking to move here,” he said. “People can have their little piece of heaven, and that sneaks up on local planners and governments because it’s happening one house at a time.

“We’re hoping to keep that part of the Shenandoah Valley agricultural for a long time,” he said.

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