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County Transfers 194 Acres At Fisher's Hill To Foundation

- (November 2007) NEW MARKET, Va. - Shenandoah County recently transferred 194 acres of county-owned battlefield land to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. The Ramseur's Hill tract lies at the western end of the Fisher's Hill battlefield.

It is the site of the battle's turning point, where Union troops overwhelmed Gen. Stephen Dodson Ramseur's entrenched Confederate units, ultimately forcing the Southerners from nearby Fisher's Hill.

The project is the latest in an ongoing partnership between the foundation and county. In 2004 and 2005, they collaborated with local landowners on a preservation plan for the Fisher's Hill and Tom's Brook battlefields. In 2001 they worked together for the foundation's first acquisition of battlefield land, also at Fisher's Hill.

The county Board of Supervisors wanted to preserve the open space and not see it developed. Battlefields Foundation Board Chairman Irvin Hess said that with the four properties the foundation will be able to further and better interpret the battlefield.

Howard Kittell, Executive Director of the foundation, reported that the foundation will work with local organizations and landowners to create an interpretive plan for the battlefield that will connect protected sites on the battlefield and help visitors get a full understanding of the story of the battle.

The Sept. 22, 1864, Battle of Fisher's Hill was one of the last major battles fought in the Shenandoah Valley. After delivering a crushing defeat at Winchester on Sept. 19, U.S. Gen. Philip Sheridan faced Confederate Gen. Jubal Early just south of Strasburg at Fisher's Hill, where the Valley is at its most narrow, an area called the "Gibraltar of the Valley." Sheridan's troops circled around the thinned Confederate lines at Ramseur's Hill, leading to a hasty retreat.

The Union victory opened the Shenandoah Valley to Sheridan's campaign of "total warfare."

In the 1990s, the area where the Union flanking attack occurred was protected by the former Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, now the Civil War Preservation Trust. The Strasburg Guards developed a walking trail and interpretation at the site. The land was eventually deeded to the county.

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