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Civil War Trust

Our Accomplishments

The Civil War Trust has worked to save and preserve more
than 34,000 acres of battlefield land at 110 battlefields in 20 different states.
See our list of saved land »

2012 preservation achievements

In 2012, the Civil War Trust saved more battlefield land than ever before… over 3,000 acres in a single year. With our capital campaign, Campaign 150: Our Time, Our Legacy, now in full swing, our goal of preserving an additional 20,000 is well within reach and we are continuing to pave the way in creating exciting Civil War educational opportunities for students and adults across the country. The next three years will be challenging, exciting, and absolutely critical to the success of battlefield preservation. We cannot thank you enough for your unwavering support.

Key battlefield preservation achievements

Fredericksburg, Virginia: 222 Acres

The campaign to preserve the 208-acre (0.84 km2) Slaughter Pen Farm is the most expensive private battlefield preservation effort in American history. The Trust, working in partnership with Tricord, Inc., SunTrust Bank, and the Central Virginia Battlefield Trust, was able to purchase the property for $12 million in 2006. To support the preservation efforts, the Trust partnered with the Department of the Interior and the Commonwealth of Virginia, which provided matching grants to acquire the property. The Slaughter Pen Farm was the largest intact unprotected part of the Fredericksburg Battlefield, and remains the only place on the battlefield where a visitor can still follow the Union assault on that bloody day from beginning to end. As of the summer of 2011, the Trust had raised more than $7 million toward this project, but $200,000 in mortgage payments remain due annually until the final sum is raised. 

Beyond the 208 acres at the Slaughter Pen Farm, the Civil War Trust has also worked to save an additional 14 acres at this key 1862 battlefield.  In May 2011, the Trust unveiled a popular BattleApp of Fredericksburg, offering visitors the chance to take 4 individual GPS-enabled smartphone tours of the battlefield, including the critical urban fighting.

Seven Days Battles, Virginia: 1,565 Acres

While the Richmond, Virginia, suburbs remain a hotbed for development, the Civil War Trust has made significant strides in protecting land associated with the Seven Days Battles, fought in the summer of 1862. 

Thanks to our efforts, 581 acres of the Glendale Battlefield -- fully 75 percent of the battlefield -- is now preserved. This is a far cry from just one decade ago, when only a few acres had been set aside. Robert E.L. Krick, Chief Historian at the Richmond Battlefields Park, stated that "the recent preservation success at Glendale defies comparison... There has been nothing like it before in Virginia... Never before in modern times has anyone preserved a major battlefield virtually from scratch.” 

When combined with previous efforts at nearby Malvern Hill, where we’ve saved 952 acres, the Civil War Trust has now created a three-mile-long (5 km) continuous corridor of protected battlefield. Already, much of this land has become part of Richmond National Battlefield, and plans are in place to transfer additional acreage in the future.

As the 150th anniversary of the Seven Days Battles approaches, the Civil War Trust has begun a hugely ambitious $1.2million fundraising project on the Gaines’ Mill Battlefield.  While the Trust has previously only purchased 32 acres on that particular field, if successful, this new effort will set aside 285 acres of that battlefield forever — expanding the preserved section of the site by more than 400%!  In addition to witnessing Longstreet’s massive assault during the battle, this land also has a profound place in aeronautical history, as it was the site of the Union balloon camp that played a critical role in the unfolding action.

The Wilderness, Virginia: 211 Acres

The Civil War Trust has been an active partner in working to save and preserve the Wilderness Battlefield.  This battlefield, where Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant first met in combat, has faced enormous and growing developmental pressures at its edges. Since our inception, we have worked to save 211 acres at the Wilderness.

In October 2010, the Civil War Trust announced a new and ambitious campaign to save 49-acre (0.20 km2) of the Wilderness Battlefield in Orange County, Virginia. This Middlebrook Tract includes the eastern edge of Saunders Field and land associated with the May 6, 1864 flank attack by Confederate forces under John B. Gordon. Historian and author Gordon Rhea stated that this land "witnessed some of the Wilderness' most brutal combat." Speaking at an event announcing the project, historian James McPherson said, “The Battle of the Wilderness was a true turning point of the Civil War. Although the cessation of hostilities was still a year in the future, those days of trauma in the Wilderness marked the beginning of that end.”   

In January 2011, the Civil War Trust announced that it had reached its $1,085,000 fundraising goal for this historic property in under three months.  Building on this success, the same year, the Trust was able to secure a four-acre parcel that was the site of Union commander Ulysses S. Grant’s daytime headquarters during the fighting.

The Trust was also deeply involved in a large-scale advocacy effort to protect the Wilderness Battlefield from inappropriate development.  In 2009, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved construction of a Walmart Supercenter in a historically sensitive area just outside the national park.  Following public outcry and outspoken opposition from the Trust and its partners in the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition, on January 26, 2011, Walmart announced that it would it would find a new location for its store and see that the battlefield property would be preserved.  Officials acknowledged that this responsible course of action was, simply, “the right thing to do.”

Champion Hill, Mississippi: 406 acres

Unique preservation strategies allowed the Civil War Trust to protect 144 acres (0.58 km2) at the heart of the Champion Hill Battlefield in 2007. This key portion of the field is still owned by the Champion family, for whom the area and the battle were named, but now is also under conservation easement. As a result the Champion family will maintain ownership of its historic land, while ensuring that it is protected in perpetuity.

In addition, the Trust has helped protect a further 262 acres at Champion Hill.

Chancellorsville, Virginia: 316 Acres

Civil War Trust has a record of working with preservation-friendly developers to protect battlefield land. In 2004, the Trust worked with Spotsylvania County officials and family-owned Tricord, Inc., to protect 134 acres (0.54 km2) of land associated with the First Day at Chancellorsville Battlefield. Two years later, a similar deal was worked out with Spotsylvania County and Toll Brothers, Inc. to protect another 74 acres (300,000 m2) of this historic battleground. Thanks to these efforts, more than 2 miles (3.2 km) of contiguous battlefield land along the historic Orange Turnpike have been preserved and the site is home to a popular interpretive walking trail.

In addition to its efforts at the First Day site, the Civil War Trust has helped protect a further 108 acres (0.44 km2) at Chancellorsville, including 85 acres of battlefield land associated with Stonewall Jackson's famous flank attack.

To further its aim of preserving American Civil War battlefields, the Civil War Trust has engaged in a wide range of grassroots and community outreach efforts.  In 2011, the Trust unveiled a Battle App for Chancellorsville, a GPS-enabled mobile battlefield tour designed to help visitors explore the site using the latest technology and multimedia. 

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: 812 Acres 

The Civil War Trust has been an active participant in a wide variety of projects at the Gettysburg Battlefield, leading to the protection of 812 acres of hallowed ground.  Moreover, the Trust has led the charge against several major, high-profile threats to the battlefield’s integrity.

The Trust has been involved in several well-publicized efforts, including the purchase of the Daniel Lady Farm (145 acres) and the Gettysburg Country Club (95 acres).  Almost 400 acres of that total is land associated with strategic cavalry actions — 283 acres at East Cavalry Field and 114 acres at Fairfield.  A number of other transactions, while small individually, have made a visible difference in the status of preservation at the Park, as they allowed for landscape restoration at critical vistas.

In 2005 a proposal was put forward to build a casino with 3,000 slot machines less than a mile from the Gettysburg Battlefield. As a leader of the Stop the Slots Coalition together with other local and national preservation groups, the Civil War Trust pursued an aggressive media and advocacy campaign to raise public awareness about the proposal, ultimately leading to its dismissal in December 2006.  In late 2009, a similar group of investors again proposed opening a casino in Gettysburg — this time just a half-mile from the edge of the national park.  By working together with dedicated local volunteers, partner organizations and even a cohort of impassioned celebrity volunteers, the Trust used economic data to demonstrate the inadvisability and inappropriateness of such a proposal.  On April 14, 2011, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board again determined that Gettysburg was no place for a casino.

Morris Island, South Carolina: 117 Acres 

With the help of the Civil War Trust, the Morris Island Coalition was formed in early 2004 to oppose development on historic Morris Island outside Charleston, S.C., scene of the charge of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry on Fort Wagner, famously depicted in the movie Glory.

At one time, development plans called for a 20-unit luxury house development. In early 2005, the landowner tried unsuccessfully to sell the property on eBay. But by the end of the year, a preservation-friendly developer acquired the property and agreed to sell it for preservation purposes.

Throughout this process, the Coalition was successful in generating local government support for preservation of Morris Island.  Press reaction was favorable as well, and public opinion polls found that an overwhelming number of Charleston residents wanted to see the barrier island remain undeveloped.

In 2008, the Trust engaged in fundraising efforts in support of the State of South Carolina, City of Charleston, and the Trust for Public Land’s $3 million effort to permanently preserve 117 acres (0.47 km2) of Morris Island.

Franklin, Tennesse: 175 Acres

A decade ago, Franklin, Tennessee was the poster child for what can happen when a community fails to protect its historic resources. Since then, however, Franklin has begun reclaiming historic properties that had once been given up for lost — turning back the asphalt and taking back its legacy.  Key to that success was the formation of Franklin’s Charge, a broad-based coalition created by Franklin residents Robert Hicks and Julian Bibb, dedicated to recapturing Franklin’s Civil War legacy and promoting heritage tourism.

The new group’s first major effort was working with the Civil War Trust to purchase the battlefield’s Eastern Flank of the battlefield, which had spent decades as the Country Club of Franklin’s golf course.  Their efforts were featured in the April 2005 issue of National Geographic, which helped push the preservation groups’ coffers over the $5 million threshold necessary to complete the project. Soon Franklin’s Charge and the local government began the arduous process of buying up individual slices of the battlefield, often commercial properties, and restoring them to more closely resemble their wartime appearance.

Since those early efforts, Franklin has become widely regarded as the greatest battlefield reclamation project in American history, with 175 acres now protected, including some of the most blood-soaked ground at Franklin, land once thought lost forever. Yet, the miracle that took place there cannot be measured in acres alone.  The situation has come full circle — today, it is representatives of Franklin’s Charge who make headlines when they visit other historic communities, issuing a preservation challenge.

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