Please Urge Senator Manchin to Support Saving The Shepherdstown Battlefield
Please Urge Senator Manchin to Support Saving The Shepherdstown Battlefield by visiting this web site and sending a “Letter to Joe”.
Dear Senator Manchin,
I urge you to introduce legislation to expand the boundary of the Antietam National Park in order to continue the process of saving the site of the Battle of Shepherdstown.
There are two significant reasons to introduce legislation to expand the boundaries of the Antietam National Park to include the 510 acres of the Shepherdstown Battlefield as cited by the National Park Service’s (NPS) Special Resource Study (SRS).
First is the importance of the battlefield to both West Virginia’s history and that of the United States. The Battle of Shepherdstown was the bloodiest Civil War battle fought on West Virginia soil. The two-day battle involved 8,000 to 10,000 troops with 677 casualties. After retreating from Sharpsburg and previous to the Shepherdstown battle, Robert E. Lee intended to continue his Maryland Campaign by sending his cavalry to Williamsport so that the Army of Northern Virginia could cross the Potomac River back into Maryland. The Battle of Shepherdstown on 9/19 and 9/20 1862 was one of the significant reasons that caused Lee to reverse his orders and retreat toward Winchester. President Lincoln could then declare a military victory in repulsing Lee’s incursion into the North and, on September 22, the President was able to release, on a preliminary basis, the Emancipation Proclamation.
Second, the inclusion of the Shepherdstown site in the Antietam Park would be “green” economic development. As the SRS pointed out, between 1998 and 2011 annual visitors to the Antietam Park rose by 109,602 to 384,987. During the same time period, annual visitors to the Harpers Ferry Park declined by 115,746 to 255,348. Importantly, tourists who visit Civil War battlefield parks do not necessarily visit Harpers Ferry. Consequently, the state and Jefferson County are failing to capture significant tourist dollars.
Moreover, during the process of research for the SRS, the NPS held 4 meetings open to the public. Attendance at the meetings totaled 229. Also the NPS received correspondence from 334 individuals regarding the SRS. From the SRS: “Public response received by the National Park Service was predominantly supportive of the study and enthusiastic concerning the interpretation and protection of the Shepherdstown battlefield.”