Confederate and Union cavalry draw their swords in a re-enactment of the Battle of Trevilian.

The National Park Service recently announced it will contribute about $2 million to help protect 229 acres of Virginia battlefields threatened by development, including Civil War sites in Fauquier and Louisa counties.

The Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program is providing $240,306 toward the purchase of a .85-acre parcel at the Second Battle of Rappahannock Station battlefield in Fauquier and $47,751 to help buy a 12.5-acre site at Trevilian Station battlefield on U.S. 33 in Louisa.

The Civil War Trust is under contract to buy the two sites, but must raise additional money in order to complete the purchases. The nonprofit expects to announce a fundraising campaign later this year.

“Some of the most defining moments in our nation’s history were decided by conflicts that played out on hallowed grounds that include these battlefields,” Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith said in a statement.

To date, the Trust has preserved 856 acres at Rappahannock Station and 2,226 acres at Trevilian Station.

The Second Battle of Rappahannock Station occurred Nov. 7, 1863.

Union troops overwhelmed the Confederates at a bridge crossing, killing or capturing most of its defenders. Lt. Col. Walter Taylor, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s assistant adjutant general, called it “the saddest chapter in the history of the Army of Northern Virginia.”

The Battle of Trevilian Station took place June 11, 1864. It is at the heart of “Custer’s First Last Stand,” when Union Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer and his troops ran into trouble as they attempted to capture a Confederate wagon train. A Confederate cavalry encircled the men, who narrowly escaped thanks to a Union counterattack.

The National Park Service’s recent grants also include $910,500 toward the purchase of 2.25 acres at Opequon battlefield in Winchester and $519,515 to help buy 166 acres at Second Manassas battlefield in Prince William County.

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Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402

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