The New Market-based Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation announced the preservation of 16 acres in an event in Staunton on Thursday.

The 16-acre acquisition is part of the McDowell Battlefield. Terry Heder, the director of interpretation, education and history for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District, said in a phone interview following the event that the property was at a spot where "there was a lot of activity" between Union and Confederate soldiers fighting.

Heder added that the property connects to some other parcels the battlefield foundation already owns. That, he said, will allow the battlefield foundation to add more interpretation at the battlefield site.

"[The property] provides additional access and then helps tie together not just the physical properties but also the ability to tell the story of the history that happened there," Heder said.

The battlefield foundation held Thursday's event in Staunton because they have recently been emphasizing the significance of Staunton during the Civil War.

"It was the union threat to Staunton coming from the mountains to the west that brought Stonewall Jackson to Staunton first where he gathered all his troops before heading west to confront the Federals and drive them back from the threat to Staunton," Heder said. "Staunton was critical throughout the Civil War."

Heder added that Staunton's historical significance during the Civil War often gets overlooked because its streets were not the site of any battles.

"That doesn't make it any less pivotal" than the sites of Civil War battles, Heder said.

He said that the battlefield foundation spent several years working on finalizing the acquisition, something that he said is not unusual for the foundation.

Contact Max Lee at mlee@nvdaily.com