Historical Landscape Architecture

Battlefield Preservation

Cool Spring Battlefield

Bluemont, Virginia

Using KOCOA military terrain analysis, Commonwealth completed a rehabilitation plan for a portion of the site of the Battle of Cool Spring for Shenandoah University. The battle occurred July 17-18, 1864, between Federal and Confederate troops who fought over the contested ground of Cool Spring Plantation and adjacent properties. It was the precursor to Sheridan’s deadly march through the Shenandoah Valley. The battlefield is located on the banks of the Shenandoah River at the western foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Virginia. Shenandoah University owns and manages a portion of the battlefield as an outdoor classroom and public educational resource that interprets the events of the battle and provides opportunities for environmental conservation and restoration. Commonwealth developed a strategic cultural landscape rehabilitation plan for the protection and interpretation of historic resources at the site. Because of the importance of ongoing ecological restoration programs at the site and the close connection between battle events and landscape features, the interpretive concept and historic preservation plan identifies not only Civil War features, but related natural features that guided the course of the battle. The new interpretive trail leads to an overlook from which the western portion of the battlefield can be viewed.

Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville Battlefields

Loudoun and Fauquier Counties

Commonwealth developed a preservation plan for the sites of the cavalry battles of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville, fought between June 17th and 21st, 1863. The battles were part of a military campaign that began at nearby Brandy Station in early June and culminated in the Battle of Gettysburg less than one month later. The fighting that occurred in this area involved some 19,000 soldiers between the Federal and Confederate armies, and spread out fifteen miles along Ashby’s Gap Turnpike from Aldie to Upperville and into the countryside to the north and south. In preparation for the 150th anniversary of the battles, the Mosby Heritage Area Association (MHAA) was awarded a grant in 2012 from the American Battlefield Protection Program to prepare a preservation plan for these battlefields. With this funding and support, Commonwealth developed a community-based action plan to preserve the battlefields in collaboration with MHAA’s Preservation Committee. The plan, which was based on KOCOA military terrain analysis, recommends preservation of key battlefield landscape features, including rural roads, buildings and structures present during the battles, views of key battle locations, patterns of field and forest, and historic land uses. It also sets out preservation priorities and an action plan that can be used by the MHAA and the community to support future preservation activities.

Bristoe Station and Kettle Run Battlefields

Prince William County, Virginia

Commonwealth developed a preservation plan for the sites of these two battles in Prince William County. The Battle of Kettle Run occurred on August 27, 1862, as part of the Confederate Army’s Northern Virginia Campaign. Their successful action allowed Jackson to maximize capture of Union supplies at Manassas. The Battle of Bristoe Station on October 14, 1863, was a result of the Confederate Army initiating a flanking maneuver to prevent the Union Army from reaching fortification in Centreville and to defeat them in open fields. Afterwards, Lee’s Bristoe offensive sputtered to a premature halt. The two battles were fought in the same area of Prince William County. Prince William County asked Commonwealth to prepare a community-based study in collaboration with the county’s Preservation Study Steer¬ing Committee and local stakeholders. Commonwealth performed background research for the study, developed KOCOA mapping, and prioritized land parcels to be protected based on significance, integrity, and vulnerability. The preservation study defines the overall vision for preserving the battlefields and guiding future preservation work, and provides guidance for future land development.

Bennington Battlefield

Hoosick Falls, New York

Commonwealth completed an archaeological survey and interpretive plan for the site of this pivotal engagement of the Saratoga Campaign of 1777. Participants of the battle witnessed the near destruction of a multi-national force (German, British, Canadian, Indian) by the regional militias of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Working for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and funded by the American Battlefield Protection Program, Commonwealth completed the first systematic archaeological survey of the Bennington Battlefield. The survey included ground-penetrating radar, metal detection, archaeological excavations, and military terrain analysis. Commonwealth then developed an interpretive plan to educate the public about the battle and subsequent commemoration, and provide access to battle-related sites throughout the historic site. The interpretive plan also makes recommendations for rehabilitation that will assist the client in making decisions for future park developments. Extensive public engagement, including supervised metal detection, elementary, middle, and high school group tours, public presentations, and on-site demonstrations completed the project.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Kennesaw, Georgia

Commonwealth participated in the development of a cultural landscape report for this important battlefield. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park preserves the site of some of the heaviest fighting of the Atlanta campaign of the Civil War. The park contains approximately eleven miles of intact earthworks constructed along the crest of Kennesaw Mountain, a historic commemorative landscape at Cheatham Hill, and the site of a CCC camp established in the 1930s to design and construct roads, trails, and other visitor amenities within the park. Historic landscape features are overlain by modern facilities that support contemporary visitation needs. Commonwealth collaborated with historians to produce a cultural landscape report for the National Park Service regional and local staff. The report includes a physical history of the park, existing conditions documentation, integrity analysis, and recommendations for management and treatment of historic features. The larger part of the treatment section provides detailed recommendations for the protection, maintenance, and interpretation of the historic earthworks. Other recommendations address management issues associated with the heavy local public use currently experienced in the park. The park will utilize the report to identify particular projects in a phased schedule for funding future work.