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Marking battlefield's 'heart and soul' page 2
Historical markers, walking trail going in at Fredericksburg's lesser-known battlefield

 Jason Shaffer of the Civil War Trails program levels an interpretive sign he and David Cumbea put at Slaughter Pen.
PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 7/7/2009

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Four markers in front of Slaughter Pen's farmhouse will orient arriving visitors. Yet to come there is a 6-foot-tall, four-sided kiosk that will list major donors to the $12 million campaign to preserve the battlefield, now about halfway to its goal. The Civil War Preservation Trust bought the 205-acre farm, its most expensive single effort to date, in 2005 with help from local partners and a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The remaining eight markers, set between the farmhouse and the railroad behind which Confederate troops were massed, will lead visitors on a loop trail.

One marker points out the farm's historic "ditch fence," a wide trough that Union soldiers had difficulty crossing as they advanced across open fields toward the Southern defenders.

The loop trail traverses the part of the battlefield nearest the railroad, where the courageous actions of four Union soldiers earned them the Medal of Honor. Five such medals were awarded to soldiers at Slaughter Pen--one indication of the intensity of the conflict there, Adelman said.

The Slaughter Pen markers follow by a few months the installation of similar signs at another site owned by the Preservation Trust, Chancellorsville's "First Day" battlefield along State Route 3 west of Fredericksburg, said Mary Goundrey Koik, CWPT's deputy communications director.

"Ideally, visitors can go out on a battlefield with a wonderful historian. But given people's time constraints, that's not feasible for everybody," Koik said. "This way, you can just go out there, at your own pace, and gain a greater appreciation of what happened there."

Given safety concerns because of the adjacent railroad tracks, people who wish to visit Slaughter Pen Farm are asked to call the Preservation Trust ahead of time at 800/298-7878.

ON THE NET:

civilwar.org

civilwartrails.org

historyassociates.com

Clint Schemmer: 540/368-5029
Email: cschemmer@freelancestar.com


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