For Immediate Release: 09/12/03
Civil War Preservation Trust Receives State Grant for Bentonville Battlefield
(Bentonville, N.C.) - a news conference today, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) announced a $414,000 North Carolina Natural Heritage Trust Fund grant for battlefield preservation at Bentonville Battleground. The grant is the key ingredient in a $1.3 million fundraising campaign to save 313 acres along historic Harper House Road.
"We are delighted by this generous example of North Carolina's commitment to protecting its history," remarked former Congressman J. Alex McMillan, a longtime CWPT trustee. "This grant from the Natural Heritage Trust Fund will help us more than double the size of the Bentonville Battleground State Historic Site."
Earlier this year, CWPT began a nationwide fundraising campaign to raise both private and public money to protect battlefield land at Bentonville. In addition to the Natural Heritage Trust Fund grant, CWPT has secured a $683,000 grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program, an arm of the National Park Service. According to McMillan, "We are pleased to be able to leverage the Natural Heritage Trust Fund grant with federal battlefield preservation dollars."
Joining McMillan at the news conference were Bentonville Battleground Historic Site Manager Donny Taylor and author and historian Mark A. Moore. Both were excited at the prospect of expanding the current battleground park. According to Taylor, "We hope this grant marks the beginning of a trend toward protecting even more battlefield land here at Bentonville." Currently, only 280 acres of battlefield land are protected at Bentonville.
The three-day struggle at Bentonville was the largest battle fought in North Carolina. It marked Confederate General Joseph Johnston's final attempt to halt the march of Union General William T. Sherman through the Carolinas. The battle, fought March 1921, 1865, erupted less than three weeks before General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox. According to Moore, "Bentonville Battleground is a monument to the valor and sacrifice of the men who fought here."
McMillan concluded his remarks by noting that CWPT has a long history of preserving hallowed ground in the Tar Heel State. In addition to Bentonville, CWPT has helped protect battlefield land at New Bern and nearby Averasboro.
CWPT is a 45,000-member nonprofit battlefield preservation organization. Its mission is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds.