The Cedar Creek battlefield in Middletown, Va. just gained 29 acres of land at the northern end of the battlefield where two regiments of the XIX Union corps held off a Confederate advance in the early morning hours of Oct. 19, 1864.

Cedar Creek reenactment (National Park Service)

The land, known as the Northern Reserve, was a gift to the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation from Cameuse Line & Stone which operates an active quarry on the battlefield.

Jim Bottom, area operations manager for Cameuse, said the company, which bought the quarry operation in 2008, had decided this parcel had no industrial value. It recognized its importance to Civil War history and gave it to the foundation for preservation purposes.

The land, which is northwest of Belle Grove Plantation and along both sides of Meadow Mills Road, was the camp site of the 90th New York and 29th Maine regiments of the Union’s XIX Corps. At a press conference announcing the donation, Clarence Grier who is an archaeology professor from James Madison University and is leading an extensive survey of 500 acres owned by Cameuse, said that it’s new information that those two regiments were at that location.

Until now, it was believed the VI Corps was camped on that land when it was actually located to the east of it.

This is important because it corrects the record as to what happened on that part of the battlefield on the morning of Oct. 19, 1864. In the predawn darkness, Confederates under Lt. Gen. Jubal Early conducted a surprise attack in retaliation for Union’s destruction of the Valley known as the Burning . The New York and Maine regiments were able to form a line of battle and, along with others, hold off the Confederate advance long enough for the rest of the army to retreat and reorganize. Later in the day, Union forces under Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan counterattacked and took back the land lost in the morning.

Although the foundation is a partner in the Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park, it continues to own, acquire and manage its own property as do the other partners. This is the only such public/private national park in the country.