The Richmond Register

Local News

June 5, 2010

Members of Civil War Preservation Trust visit Battlefield Park

RICHMOND — About 50 people who are attending the Civil War Preservation Trust’s annual conference in Lexington this week visited Madison County’s Battlefield Park on Friday.

Another group is scheduled to visit today.

The visitors, who came from across the country — from California to Connecticut, were served lunch by Clark-Moores Middle School history students dressed in period costumes.

The students, in American History classes taught by Sharon Graves, often participate in living history events at the park.

The conferees also visited the site of a small pre-battle engagement and burial site near Big Hill, as well as the county’s Visitors Center and Museum near the entrance to the Bluegrass Army Depot.

“It’s fabulous what has been accomplished here in just eight years,” said Anne Fry of Mt. Washington, Ohio, as she and a group of other conferees looked over the battlefield from a cemetery that sits on the highest point in the park.

The laser-lighted map of the battlefield in the visitors center is “stunning,” said Fry’s husband Norm.

Norm Sondheimer of Avon, Conn., said the Richmond Battlefields was more well preserved than some Revolutionary War battlefields in the Northeast.

“It’s a great honor for the Civil War Preservation Trust to visit Kentucky,” said Phillip Seyfrit, Madison County Historic Properties director, “and especially the Richmond Battlefield.”

The Civil War Preservation Trust was instrumental, Seyfrit said, along with a string of other partners, in preserving the land where Union and Confederate soldiers clashed in late August 1862 during an ill-fated Confederate attempt to bring Kentucky into the Southern fold.

The trust alternates its annual conference between sites in the Eastern and Western theaters of the war. Last year’s conference was conducted in Gettysburg, Pa., said Kevin Mulligan of Bryan, Texas, who visited the Richmond Battlefield on Friday.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see what has been accomplished here and just how many local people were involved in the preservation effort,” Mulligan said.

A native of Dayton, Ohio, he said he previously had been unaware a Civil War battle was fought here.

Win Ahrens of Louisville said he was impressed by the cooperation of the Blue Grass Army Depot in making a portion of the battlefield on its property accessible to the public.

“It’s also great to see the school kids involved in activities at the battlefield,” he said.

Ahrens said he got involved with the trust because of its emphasis on battlefield preservation.

Richmond was the only Civil War Battlefield in Kentucky that he had not visited, Ahrens said.

“I hadn’t visited before because I didn’t think there was anything here to see,” he said. “But, an excellent job has been to preserve the site and make it interesting for visitors.”

Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@richmondregister.com or at 624-6622.

Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@richmondregister.com or at 624-6622.

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