Camp Bartow Battlefield Public Dedication -At Noon on Saturday, October 5th
One of the best preserved, but least known, Civil War battle and camp sites in West Virginia, Camp Bartow, will be formerly opened to the Public at a dedication ceremony at noon on Saturday, October 5th. The site has been acquired by the WV Land Trust and outfitted with a trail and interpretive signage from which you can view original trenches, cannon emplacements and tent sites. To tell us more, we talked with Ashton Burdine of the Land trust.”
“About three years ago, the West Virginia Land trust was made aware that historic property there in Bartow was up for auction –the entire farm there around what is called Travelers’ Repose. And the West Virginia Land Trust has always been aware of the importance of this site, in historical values for protecting this civil War site of the Battle of the Greenbrier River, which occurred in 1861.”
“Local author and historian, Hunter Lesser, who has written a book called ‘Rebels at the Gate’ which is a terrific account of the early campaign of the Civil War, which included this Battle of the Greenbrier River. Hunter acquainted many folks with the value of this site, and it became apparent this was an important place for conservation. The West Virginia Land Trust has typically been involved in projects that protected wildlife habitat; family farms; and working forests and recreational access for boaters and hunters and fisherman. This was a new kind of project for us. We’ve never done a project protecting historical or cultural sites.”
“At the auction, though, we came prepared to buy the farm and we didn’t quite have enough money, though. Though the property was divided among a number of winning bidders, and we were acquainted with the one who obtained probably the most maintained and most protected earthworks. And that particular landowner was willing to work with us in selling a portion of his new property for providing an interpretive place to let the public know what happened at the Battle. The West Virginia Land trust worked for many years to raise the money to purchase the site, and hasn’t had the ability to open it to the public yet until this year. We have gotten a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council to put up signage and build an interpretive trail that explains what happened on the knoll overlooking Bartow -where the cannons were placed, where the trenches were dug, where the tents and camps were placed. There will be a good bit of history on the signs. There will be a new kiosk down at the intersection of (routes) 250 and 92. People can park along the road right there by the gate. There will be a nice trail up to the overlook looking down on Bartow, where there was in 1861, a cannon that guarded the Stanton -Parkersburg Turnpike and was involved in the battle.”
What do you have planned for us on Saturday, October the fifth?
“On October 5th at noon, we are doing a dedication event, showing off to the public, the preserve and the new interpretive signs. There will be a cannon up on the hill firing, kind of reminding of what it was like a hundred and some years ago to hear the sound and the echo of the cannon in that valley.”
“there will be a little bit of finger food there at lunch time. There won’t be a full-fledged reenactment of the battle, there will be a number of Reenactors to talk about the history and how the soldiers lived at the time. Hunter Lesser will also be speaking and telling stories about people who were at the battle and were camped there.”
“this should be about a two- or three-hour event. After a little bit of food and speakers, we will walk the trail up to the top, and continue the interpretive hike and see the new signs. We encourage everybody to come.”
“these preserves and these sites that we protect, really add value to the community. It enriches the community and it adds economic value. We hope it draws visitors that learn about the history and are going to stick around for the day and eat at local restaurants and visit other sites. The West Virginia Land Trust would like to get to know the community better and have locals on an advisory committee offer advice on how we should manage the site, and we are always open to talking to others about their own conservation options on their own property.”
So, we hope to see you for the dedication near Travelers Repose in Bartow for this free event at noon on Saturday, October 5th.