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Letter to Editor Suttenfield

By Staff | Mar 16, 2012

Diana Suttenfield


In 1911 the United Confederate Veterans, Jefferson County Company, No. 123, published “Military Operations in Jefferson County,Virginia(Now West Virginia) 1861-1865”.

“It’s purpose was to serve as a guide to twenty five monuments (markers) recently erected, throughout the county marking where skirimishes or battles took place.”

The booklet has been reprinted fives times; the most recent issue was 2004, edited by James C. Holland. On page fourteen (2004 edition) is ” Marker Number Four, Slaughter at the Cement Mill on the Potomac.”

There is a description of the action on “the twentieth of September,1862”. Near the end of this chapter, page 15, is the sentence “this battle is known as the Battle of the Cement Mill, or Butler’s (Boteler’s) Ford.

“The effort to create the monuments began in 1910 when funds for the purpose were collected throughout Jefferson County, with Camp No. 123, not only making a major financial contribution, but also assuming responsibility for the production and placement of the markers.

“Those inevitably diminishing ranks of Confederate veterans, old men who believed that a worthy posterity would not forget the sacrifices of its ancestors, hoped that the monuments would help to keep alive the memories of the war.”

The Civil War veterans, newspaper articles and other historical references, gave a name to the battle. So why are current “save the battlefield” enthusiasts changing the historical name?

Why is the emphasis only on “saving the battlefield”?

Why not save/promote all the history of this particular riverfront area, which is significant and unique, not only to West Virginia, the Lower Shenandoah Valley, but to the development of the United States, as we know it?

Limiting the history to a one day battle is dismissing hundreds of years of history; Native Americans/the Warrior’s Path, Packhorse Ford town and trail (the road name still exists in Berkeley County), the Philadelphia Wagon Road, the 1775 Beeline March (including men from Shepherdstown) and the Boteler Cement Mill. None of those histories should be treated as footnotes or after thoughts.

Since the Boteler Cement Mill had a long association with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, wouldn’t it be logical that the riverfront mill property come under the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park’s jurisdiction?