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Property donated for Antietam battlefield

September 12, 1997

By BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

A land conservation group announced Thursday it has donated 11.6 acres near Antietam National Battlefield to the National Park Service, preserving an area that was the site of fighting during the famous Civil War battle.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation, assisted by The Conservation Fund, recently acquired the land, said Jack Lynn, senior associate for the Arlington, Va.-based conservation fund. It was Mellon's fifth donation to the battlefield, he said.

The deal, which has been in the works for about a year, dovetails conveniently with this weekend's commemoration of the battle, Lynn said.

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"It will add to the battlefield. It really marks the 135th anniversary," he said.

The land, which is nestled along Md. 65 and Mondell Road, was in the field of fire as Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's artillery slowed Gen. Joseph Hooker's attacking Union troops in September 1862.

Lynn said the donated land was in danger of development that could potentially have spoiled the historic site.

"It was already platted for three house sites," he said.

The Conservation Fund's efforts are not universally cheered, however.

Several people who live near the battlefield urged U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., in March to address their concerns. They said they feared land near their homes would be given to the National Park Service. That could eventually threaten their property, they said.

Since 1987, The Conservation Fund and its partners have preserved 1.3 million acres of land, including property on 27 Civil War battlefields, Lynn said.

The nonprofit group acts in concert with public agencies, foundations, corporations and individuals to buy and save land and water.

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