Virginia and North Carolina Civil War battlefields receive thousands in federal funding

Posted at 12:10 PM, Mar 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-04 14:17:30-05

Virginia and North Carolina have been awarded thousands in National Park Service (NPS) money to protect and enhance two Civil War battlefield in each state.

This is a look at the Battle of Fisher’s Hill now. Photo provided by the American Battlefield Trust.

According to a release from the National Park Service, Virginia is being granted $748,298 for battlefields at Fisher’s Hill and Opequon. The money will be used to acquire portions of land at both sites.

As for North Carolina, $166,360 in grants are being appropriated by the National Parks Service to protect 51 acres of the Civil War battlefields at Averasboroug and Bentonville.

The money from the National Park Service is being allocated through the American Battlefield Protection Program. NPS says the money is being granted to these four battlefields because they are being threatened with damage or destruction by urban and suburban development.

“Some of the most defining moments in our nation’s history were decided by conflicts that played out on hallowed grounds like these battlefields,” National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith said. “In partnership with local communities and the American Battlefield Trust, these grants will help preserve these battlefields for future generations.”

Between the two Virginia battlefields, the Fisher’s Hill Battlefield is being awarded $357,565.83 and the Opequon Battlefield will get $390,732.00.

Between the two North Carolina battlefields, Averasborough will receive $108,869 and the Bentonville Battlefield will acquire $43,411.

The Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant Program is administered by the ABPP, one of more than a dozen programs operated by the National Park Service that provide states and local communities technical assistance, recognition, and funding to help preserve their own history and create close-to-home recreation opportunities, according to NPS.

About the two Virginia Civil War battlefields: 

The Battle of Opequon occurred on September 19, 1864 between Confederate forces under Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early and Union forces under Major General Philip H. Sheridan. Considered the most important battle of Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Union forces halted the Confederate advance and pushed them out of the city of Winchester in what came to be known as “whirling through Winchester”.

The Battle of Fisher’s Hill, the last battle of campaign, occurred immediately after the Battle of Opequon, from September 21-22, 1864. Fisher’s Hill resulted in the complete retreat of Confederate forces out of the Shenandoah Valley allowing Sheridan to control the entire region.

About the two North Carolina Civil War battlefields:

The Battle of Averasborough occurred on March 16, 1865 and was the prelude to the climactic Battle of Bentonville, the other North Carolina recipient of a Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant. At the Battle of Averasborough, Confederate forces under General Hardee slowed the advance of a portion of Union Major General William T. Sherman’s army north from Fayetteville. This action enabled Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston to amass a larger force at Bentonville.

The Battle of Bentonville, the last battle between the armies of Sherman and Johnston, occurred from March 19-21, 1865 and resulted in Johnston’s surrender almost a month later on April 26 at Bennett Place near present-day Durham, N.C.