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Concert to benefit battlefield preservation

By Staff | Sep 16, 2011

Plenty of people have heard of Antietam, the biggest battle of the Maryland Campaign and the single bloodiest day in American history. Many know about Gettysburg, and maybe some hold Bull Run closest in their minds as a famous and significant battle of the Civil War. What many may not know about Shepherdstown occurred just down River Road along the Potomac, west of Trough Road and south of Engle Molers Road.

Ed Dunleavy, president of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association, knows all too well about the Battle of Shepherdstown and can answer the question, “When did that happen?”

As part of the SBPA’s effort to raise money to save this relatively unknown historic site, the group will host a benefit concert at the Train Station in Shepherdstown. While the goal of this concert at its basic level is to raise money, the association also has a deeper priority.

“Being a nonprofit, we’re always trying to raise money. But, just as important, we try to advertise what we’re doing to keep the community aware of our effort,” Dunleavy said.

Dunleavy discussed the historical importance the Battle of Shepherdstown played in ending Robert E. Lee’s Maryland campaign.

“What if he had gone to Williamsport? Crossed back into Maryland? With Stonewall Jackson still alive, what might have happened?” he asked.

Economics is also a driving factor for Dunleavy and the SBPA.

With 120,000 visitors to Antietam annually, the group would like to direct some of that traffic to the Shepherdstown Battlefield. However, Dunleavy stated, “There is nowhere to send them.”

Dunleavy reinforces a mode of development that much of the Eastern Panhandle has chosen to utilize – tourism.

“It’s economic development, and it’s green. It doesn’t require smokestacks or gambling tables. It’s there,” Dunleavy said.

As a veteran, Dunleavy not only believes a preserved battlefield would be good for Shepherdstown economically, he also emphasizes that teachings in history can also be teachings in humanity.

“Make people think what a war meant, that 677 people died out there … The more you can have battlefields preserved, the more you can try to have people understand.”

The Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association will host a benefit concert at the Shepherdstown Train Station today, Sept. 16. This is the seventh year the SBPA has hosted the event.

Frederick-based blues band, Hard Swimmin’ Fish, will play three sets. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and music begins at 8. There is a $10 donation for entry to the concert. Food is provided.

In addition to music, there will be an auction of items donated by various businesses. These include “baskets full of wine and cheese, wine tastings, that sort of thing,” said Stephen Alemar, vice president of the SBPA.

Alemar described the benefit concert not only as a way to raise money but also as a way to keep up the organization’s membership.

“We’ve been doing (concerts) for a number of years now … It’s an opportunity to recruit new members to our organization,” he stated.