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Battlefield gets National Park Service designation

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Validation has come for Nash Farm Battlefield's role in the American Civil War.

The battlefield has been designated by the National Park Service as one of 384 core battlefields of the Civil War, according to Julie Hoover-Ernst, communications director for Henry County.

"This is the highest validation a battlefield can receive, and the designation was given upon the completion of the comprehensive update to the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission [or CWSAC] Report on the Nation's Civil War Battlefields published in June 2010," Hoover-Ernst said, in a written statement.

The updated report, from CWSAC's American Battlefield Protection Program, was based on interviews with historians and experts, and includes the designation of the Battle of Lovejoy's Station in Clayton County, according to Henry County Civil War Historian Mark Pollard.

Pollard said the new report was based on a 2008 survey of the Battle of Lovejoy's Station, which prompted surveyors to redraw the battlefield boundaries originally set during a 1993 survey. The civil war historian said the expanded boundaries incorporate parts of Lovejoy and Hampton, providing a more accurate and complete picture of the Union's advance into Lovejoy's Station in late August of 1864, when Union Soldiers were met by Confederate Soldiers along the Macon and Western Railroad, in present-day Lovejoy.

He said the battle continued to move eastward into Hampton, expanding into the wavy terrain of Nash Farm Battlefield toward Walnut Creek in unincorporated Henry County. "When they resurveyed in 2008, they expanded the battlefields to reflect the calvary battles that stretched from Lovejoy to Walnut Creek," said Pollard. "The biggest change in the survey is the overall size of the battlefield, which has been increased to reflect the approach at Nash Farm Battlefield, the only portion of the battle that has been preserved."

Nash Farm Battlefield was acquired by the Henry County Board of Commissioners in 2005, he added. The property now serves dual purposes as a venue for county events, as well as recreational and educational Civil War re-enactments. He said a segment of land across Jonesboro Road from the Nash Farm Battlefield site, was also recently designated by the National Park Service as an endangered battlefield site.

The 204-acre Nash Farm Battlefield, on the other hand, is the only segment of the roughly 1,180-acre Lovejoy's Station core battlefield area that is preserved, according to John Culpepper, chairman of the Georgia Civil War Commission. Culpepper, who also took part in the 2008 survey, noted that the battlefield is one of only 27 battlefields in the state eligible for a listing in the National Register of Historic Places. "You've got a treasure here," Culpepper said. "It used to be a well-known place locally, but now it's getting worldwide attention."

"It basically puts Nash Farm Battlefield on the radar of the world," added Pollard. "Nash Farm Battlefield was a significant part of the Battle of Lovejoy's Station. And anybody can look up that battle, and come and see a portion of that battlefield that has been preserved."

Pollard said he believes Nash Farm's designation is reason to continue preserving the property for future generations to experience. "Just to be recognized by the National Park Service is an awesome thing," he said. "It would be hard to imagine a battlefield when the landscape has been changed. At Nash Farm Battlefield, you can imagine what took place so many years ago. You can connect the landscape to the history, and the history to the actual soldiers who were mounted on the horses that charged across that field."