Archived Press Releases


Group Constructs Historic Fence at Stumpy’s Hollow

 A local preservation group has constructed a new split-rail fence to mark a Civil War battlefield in north Berkeley County.

 Gary Gimbel, president of the Falling Waters Battlefield Association (FWBA), said his group placed the split-rail fence at Stumpy’s Hollow to draw attention to the historical significance of the site.  He said that many people drive by it every day, but do not realize that anything happened in the area.  It is hoped that this new fence will help change that.

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Falling Waters Battlefield
By Gary Gimbel

From the January 2010 “Civil War New” - Preservation Column

Anyone who is familiar with the Battle of Falling Waters knows that with the exception of a parcel of land at the center, this battlefield has already been heavily developed. However, even some Civil War buffs may not know exactly the engagement I am referring to.

Falling Waters was the first Civil War engagement in the Shenandoah Valley, fought on July 2, 1861,

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Falling Waters Battlefield remains on Endangered List

The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) has kept the site of the July 2, 1861 Battle of Falling Waters, also known as Hoke's Run, on its annual list of threatened battlefields.   Released last week, the report "History Under Siege: A Guide to America's Most Endangered Civil War Battlefields" includes Falling Waters for the second year in a row.

The following excerpt from the CWPT report summarizes the current status of the Falling Waters / Hoke’s Run battlefield:

"Despite the recent preservation of two small land parcels and the installation of several interpretive signs, the first battlefield in the Shenandoah is threatened by its proximity to Interstate 81 and burgeoning commercial development in the area. The historic Porterfield House, built by Davy Crockett’s grandfather and a major landmark of the battle, has been on and off the market several times."

In 1993 when the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission was prioritizing sites according to their historic significance and state of preservation, they chose to call the Battle of Falling Waters by one of its other names. The name Hoke’s Run was used in order to differentiate it from the Battle of Falling Waters Road fought in Washington County, Maryland. That battle had no alternate name to use. The CWPT has continued to use the lesser known name Hoke’s Run.

The first Civil War engagement in the Shenandoah Valley was fought north of Martinsburg along present day Route 11.  Substantially outnumbered the Confederates retreated, but the intensity of their resistance led the Union forces to over estimate their strength.  In the weeks following the battle the Union commander, hesitant to attack what he believed was a much larger force, allowed the Southern troops to slip away and re-enforce the Confederate forces near Manassas.  Although Falling Waters is considered a Union success, it contributed to the major Confederate victory at Bull Run less than three weeks later.

At Falling Waters the Southern troops were led by "Stonewall" Jackson, before he had earned that nickname.  A granite monument commemorating his presence under fire was erected on the battlefield.  The Union forces included George Thomas, who later gained fame as the "Rock of Chickamauga".  Also in this fight Confederate cavalry under J.E.B. Stuart were able to surprise and capture almost an entire company of Pennsylvania Infantry.

Falling Waters Battlefield Association (FWBA) president Gary Gimbel observed, "Unfortunately being included on the list is somewhat of a dubious honor.  We are excited that the Falling Waters Battlefield continues to receive this much needed attention, but we wished more of the site was already protected."

Gimbel said that the mission of the FWBA is to preserve and interpret the battlefield. He says in the past year the association has been very fortunate to work with the West Virginia Civil War Trails Signs program and the local Visitor’s Bureau in placing two markers on the Falling Waters battlefield. However saving the Porterfield House and surrounding land is still the FWBA’s primary goal.

The CWPT has protected more than 25,000 acres of battlefield land in 19 states and is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States.  In partnership with several national and local preservation groups, such as the FWBA, the CWPT has been working to save historic properties at endangered sites. The entire "2009 History Under Siege" report may be found on line at .




From I-81 take Spring Mills Exit 20, then proceed West on Hammonds Mill Road (WV 901).  T.J. Jackson Drive is the first road on the left (south side) approximately 300 yards west of I-81.  The library is on the corner, next to, but set back from the CNB Bank, across the street from the Shell Gas Station & Convenience Store.  Library Phone Number: (304) 274-3443.