Monday, August 2, 2010

The Siege of Harpers Ferry 2010

From SHAF Tour 2010

Colonel Dixon S. Miles positioned his Federal troops along Bolivar Heights to defend Harpers Ferry against Stonewall Jackson's wing of the Army of Northern Virginia. He faced long odds in what many historians consider an indefensible position.

We face those same odds today in the wake of development plans for the section of Bolivar Heights pictured above. The cleared section of the ridge has been slated for industrial / commercial development. In the words of Dr. Dennis Frye, "picture a super-Wal-Mart, then picture 16 buildings of that size and cover that ridge in the distance with them." This is the threat.

If you had heard the passion in Dennis's voice when he spoke about this, you would understand his frustration with recent attention given to the Wilderness Wal-Mart, sited close to the Wilderness Battlefield, when actual battlefield land at Harpers Ferry is about to be paved over and lost forever.

How we got to this point is irrelevant. And it's possible this battle may be lost. The zoning is in place and the preservation community does not seem to be mobilized for this fight. So consider this a call to action. As soon as I find out more, I will post it here. Let's hope CWPT is aware of this crisis and planning a campaign to prevent the destruction of a critical portion of a battlefield that witnessed the largest surrender of united States forces prior to World War II.

UPDATE: Check out Harry Smeltzer's post over at Bull Runnings, which has some additional detail on the developers responsible for this mess.


Jim Rosebrock said...

This is one we all have to get behind and support. This is ON the battlefield, not next to it.

Jim Rosebrock

goodgirlnow said...

This is sickening-it will take a passionate effort to stop it, but it can be done.

Steven Mynes said...

Here's a link to CWPT's Speak Out page -

You will note there is nothing on the page about Harpers Ferry. While I am disappointed in this, I think our best hope is to make CWPT aware of the importance of this to its membership. If you are not a member, please consider becoming one.

CWPT really is our best resource on this. They are involved in some very high profile struggles right now that have garnered much more attention (Gettysburg and the Wilderness). And these are important efforts in their own right.

Use the resources they provide to speak out. And let them know we need them to lead yet another charge to save a critically endangered battlefield. An this is not just a battlefield. Harpers Ferry is one of the most beautiful places on the East Coast. So this is not just about history.