The National Park Service will hold two public hearings this month on the possibility of including the Shepherdstown, W.V., battlefield in the national park system as an addition to either the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park or Antietam National Park . The hearings are part of a special resource study that will evaluate the battlefield on its significance to U.S. history and whether it should be managed by the federal government. Congress will make the final decision.

The hearings are scheduled for Feb. 23 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Stephen T. Mather Training Center in Harpers Ferry, W.V., and Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel, Shepherdstown, W.V.

The battle at Shepherdstown on Sept. 19 and 20, 1862, came after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s defeat at Antietam. Lee and his men retreated across the Potomac River at Shepherdstown (then Virginia), and left behind a rear guard on the west side of the river to discourage the Union from following. Federal forces did cross the river on Sept. 19 and again on Sept. 20 and attacked the rear guard, resulting in a loss of 363 men while the Confederates sustained a loss of 261.

The Shepherdstown battle marked the end of Lee’s Maryland campaign. It was also the end of Gen. George B. McClellan’s command; President Lincoln fired him for his failure to pursue the retreating Confederates after Antietam.