Kirkby Farm, site of Civil War Battle of Unison, now protected by conservation easement
Historic Kirkby Farm near Upperville is now permanently protected by a conservation easement placed with the Old Dominion Land Conservancy by Mary Welby Brown, Mary Welby McGill, and Lucy Brown Armstrong.
According to the Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association, the historic significance of this property cannot be understated. During the Battle of Unison, the 190-acre property saw sporadic cavalry skirmishing on Nov. 3, 1862, as the 9th Virginia Cavalry engaged in a slow retreat down Trappe Road, pursued by the 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry. This tactic of Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart delayed the Federal advance long enough to screen the movements of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. So successful was the move that it prompted President Lincoln to remove Major Gen. George McClellan from command.
The following year, on June 21, 1863, Federal troops under the command of Major Gen. John Buford, engaged in vicious fighting with Confederate units at the Battle of Upperville. That battle cost the Union army 88 men killed or wounded while Confederate casualties were between 50 and 100 men killed or wounded.
The Kirkby property also has tremendous natural resource and open space values. The property has over a half-mile of frontage on Trappe Road, is adjacent to three other properties under conservation easement, and contains excellent agricultural soils (over 80 percent of the property). The farm also contains over a half-mile of Pantherskin Creek, as well as dozens of acres of associated floodplain and wetlands.
Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association contributed toward the stewardship costs associated with the Kirky Farm easement with a distribution of its Bondi Family Land Conservation and Battlefield Preservation Fund.
The Bondi Family Fund has also assisted with the costs of additional Unison battlefield easements placed by the Land Trust of Virginia. VPHA contributed funds to the easement costs of the Battle of Upperville/County Park in Fauquier County site and Walker’s Hill in Waterford.
The mission of the Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association is Preservation through Education—to educate about the history and advocate for the preservation of the extraordinary historic landscape, culture, and scenery in the Northern Virginia Piedmont for future generations to enjoy. For more information, visit www.piedmontheritage.org