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First donation made to Falling Waters battlefield preservation

July 03, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. -- Advocates of preserving land where the Battle of Falling Waters was fought 147 years ago in northern Berkeley County announced the first donation to the cause Wednesday, the anniversary of the Civil War engagement.

The donation of less than a half acre (0.43 acres) along Hammonds Mill Road near St. Andrew's Drive near Spring Mills, W.Va., was finalized in February, said Gary Gimbel, president of the Falling Waters Battlefield Association.

Allen Henry made the donation on behalf of Panhandle Builders & Excavating Inc., the company he leads.

"Mr. Henry has always been a strong supporter of the community and we are extremely grateful for his company's generosity in donating this important piece of the battlefield to the association," Gimbel said in a press release.

The land donated is known as Stumpy's Hollow, according to Gimbel, and was where the battle began and where Confederate Col. J.E.B. Stuart and members of the 1st Virginia Cavalry were able to surprise and capture almost an entire company of Union infantry.


The Battle of Falling Waters was the first Civil War engagement in the Shenandoah Valley, and helped start building the "mystique" that would surround Stuart, Gimbel said.

The developer's land donation came just before the Civil War Preservation Trust in March placed the battlefield site, also known as Hoke's Run, on its list of threatened battlefields for the first time, Gimbel said.

An interpretive Civil War Trails marker has been approved by state officials for the battle site, which Gimbel said many Falling Waters area residents have admitted not knowing anything about.

"We hear that all the time," Gimbel said.

Stumpy's Hollow is less than a half-mile west of Interstate 81 at Exit 20. It is the low spot where St. Andrew's Drive splits as it intersects Hammonds Mill Road (W.Va. 901), creating a triangle containing a number of large oak trees.

Gimbel said the battlefield association still hopes to preserve the Porterfield house, a historic home built, in part, by Davy Crockett's grandfather in the 1700s. The home is part of the battlefield area not far from the intersection of U.S. 11 and W.Va. 901.

"We haven't given up," Gimbel said.

On the Web

More information about the Falling Waters Battlefield Association's efforts is available at

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