Kirkby Farm, a Civil War Battle Site, Placed Under Easement

The owners of Kirkby Farm near Upperville have placed the 190-acre property under conservation easement with the Old Dominion Land Conservancy.

The property has more than a half-mile of frontage on Trappe Road, is adjacent to three other properties under conservation easement, and contains excellent agricultural soils on more than 80% 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.

The easement preserves land that was part of the Battle of Unison, seeing sporadic cavalry skirmishing on Nov. 3, 1862, as the 9th Virginia Cavalry engaged in a slow retreat down Trappe Road, being pursued by the 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry as Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart worked to delay the Federal advance long enough to screen the movements of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

The property was featured more prominently the following year during the prelude to Gettysburg, in the late stages of the Battle of Upperville on June 21, 1863. During that battle, a large column of U.S. cavalry pushed the Confederates west along the Ashby’s Gap Turnpike, today’s Rt. 50, while another column under the command of Gen. John Buford maneuvered across the fields and lanes north of the turnpike. As Buford’s men advanced, Confederate cavalry under Gen. John Chambliss deployed along Trappe Road and in the surrounding fields. The two sides engaged in fighting around the stone farmhouse, known as the Thomas Farm, and in the intervening fields. Confederate artillery fire from the north side of the farm had a devastating impact on the advancing Union troops. Fighting raged back and forth across the farm until a final push by Union cavalry under Col. Thomas Devin drove the remaining rebels south and west toward Ashby’s Gap. The battle around the Thomas Farm and Trappe Road cost the Union army 88 men killed or wounded while Confederate casualties were between 50 and 100 men killed or wounded.

The easement transaction was completed with the assistance of CPA and broker D. Brook Middleton. The Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association contributed toward the stewardship costs associated with the easement with a distribution from its Bondi Family Land Conservation and Battlefield Preservation Fund.

“We are excited to assist with the permanent protection of this historic property for future generations, including the preservation of the all-important battlefields,” ODLC Executive Director Henry Stribling stated.   

The Bondi Family Fund has also assisted with easement costs with the Land Trust of Virginia for the Ellis-Cohen property and eastern parcel of Corotoman, both located in the core of the Unison Battlefield. VPHA additionally contributed funds to the easement costs of the Battle of Upperville/County Park in Fauquier County site and Walker’s Hill in Waterford.  

Information on the Bondi Family Fund can be found at piedmontheritage.org.  

4 thoughts on “Kirkby Farm, a Civil War Battle Site, Placed Under Easement

  • 2021-12-02 at 7:46 am
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    I’m glad this land is being preserved. It’s sacred. So many souls lost their lives there. I believe their spirits remains with us to this day. A big thank you to Kirkby Farm & everyone associated with this fine effort. Happy Hanukkah Loudoun!

  • 2021-12-03 at 2:36 pm
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    A concise account of the fighting. Well done LN.

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