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Pa. resident donates $30,000 to help secure Civil War battle site

July 18, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. — Fundraising efforts to secure a mountaintop site associated with the Civil War Battle of Monterey Pass received a major boost last week when a Washington Township, Pa., resident offered a $30,000 donation.

Battlefield preservationists and the Washington Township Supervisors are looking to spend about $100,000 for eight-tenths of an acre near Rolando Woods Lions Club Park. The site’s master plan includes an interpretive center, monuments and opportunities for educational programs.

“It’s so exciting. With such a major contribution, it makes it easier to go to other folks because the finish line is in sight,” Township Manager Mike Christopher said.

The township is in line to receive a $41,900 grant from the state if it can secure matching funds. Last week’s pledge, whose source is being kept anonymous, brings the preservationists $15,000 short of what they need.

The only battle to occur on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line started the evening of July 4, 1863. Darkness, a severe storm and rough terrain created conditions historians describe as very confusing.

The Union cavalry captured and destroyed nine miles worth of wagons and took 1,000 prisoners, historians say.

“It’s a remarkable story to be told, and it’s a story that has gone untold for many years. ... To see it is entirely different than to read it in books,” Christopher said.

Donations have been made locally, but they also have been mailed from Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio, New York, California, Louisiana, Florida, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia and Alabama, he said.

“The retreating soldiers from the Confederates were from all over the South,” Christopher said.

The Washington Township Supervisors continue to accept tax-deductible donations as preservationists secure their own nonprofit organization status.

For more information, call 717-762-3128 or go to www.washtwp-franklin.org.

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