The Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defenses of Washington is pleased to announce that on Feb. 5, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced H.R. 4003, the Civil War Defenses of Washington National Historical Park Act.

The Alliance strongly supports this bill and has worked diligently to have it introduced. It will redesignate the Civil War Defenses of Washington (CWDW) as a national historical park comprised of certain national park lands and, by affiliation and cooperative agreements, other historically significant resources, located in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland that were part of the Civil War defenses of the nation's capital and related to the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864. It would also provide for a study of ways in which the Civil War history of both the North and South can be assembled, arrayed, and conveyed for the benefit of the public.

The legislation is very timely, as this year is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Stevens in Washington DC (July 11-12, 1864) and the related battles of Monocacy near Frederick Maryland and Harpers Ferry West VA (July 9, 1864) and battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia (October 19, 1864) . The Fort Stevens (off Georgia Avenue and 13th Streets NW) was the scene of the only Civil War battle in the nation’s capital and the only time a sitting president (Abraham Lincoln) came under targeted enemy fire. Major events will be held this year to commemorate these battles.

H.R. 4003 was cosponsored by Representatives who have affected sites in their Congressional Districts: Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), all CWDW national park units in Washington DC; Frank Wolf (R-VA), Cedar Creek; and James Moran (D-VA), all CWDW sites in northern VA (Forts Marcy, Ethan Allen, C.F. Smith and Willard).