Va. to spend $2.2 million to help save more battlefields

Gov. Bob McDonnell helps shoot off a cannon at the event. (WTOP/Hank Silverberg)

LEESBURG, Va. – Preservationists are so excited about $2.2 million in state grants, they’re setting off cannons.

Cannons were set off at the sites of the 1861 Battle of Ball’s Bluff in celebration of the funds. The grant money will be used to acquire 1,265 acres of land that was once part of 12 battlefields.

Jim Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Trust, says the 150th anniversary commemorations have made a big difference.

“What we’ve tried to do is use that public awareness or take advantage of it to save as much land as we can,” says Lighthizer.

He says they are working on a myriad of other battlefields including Brandy Station in Culpeper County, the site of the largest cavalry battle in the United States in June 1863.

Virginia has saved more than 4,587 acres of battlefield land since the general assembly approved a public-private effort to do so in 2010.

In addition to Ball’s Bluff in Loudoun County and Brandy Station in Culpeper County, the money will help acquire former battlefield land at the Second Manassas battlefield in Prince William County, Cedar Creek, Kelly’s Ford, Appomattox Courthouse, Chancellorsville, Deep Bottom, Malvern Hill, Rappahannock Station and Sailors Creek.

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