For Immediate Release: 02/11/03
Civil War Preservation Trust Unveils Most Endangered Battlefields Report
'Gods and Generals' producer Ronald Maxwell, actor Stephen Lang, and author Jeff Shaara join CWPT to promote plight of America's battlegrounds
(Washington, D.C.) - At a news conference this morning, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) unveiled its annual report on the status of the nation's historic battlegrounds. The report, entitled America's Most Endangered Battlefields, identifies the most threatened Civil War sites in the United States and what can be done to rescue them.
"We cannot forget the sacrifices made by the soldiers who fought on these hallowed fields," warned CWPT President James Lighthizer during the news conference. "When a battleground is lost, a unique piece of America's heritage is lost as well."
The report was announced in conjunction with the world premiere of Gods and Generals, a Ted Turner Pictures major motion picture release. Gods and Generals is an epic tale of the first half of the American Civil War, and features two of the battlefields identified in this year's Most Endangered Battlefields report. Joining Lighthizer at the news conference was Ronald F. Maxwell, the film's producer and director; Stephen Lang, who portrays Stonewall Jackson in the movie; and author Jeff Shaara, whose best selling novel inspired the motion picture.
"In the 1860s a generation of Americans defended this ground with their blood," Maxwell noted. "Those who cannot understand or appreciate the awesome importance of sacred or hallowed places should not be allowed to forever destroy these treasures and to deprive them from those who do, the living and the yet unborn."
The Most Endangered Battlefields report is composed of two parts: the first section cites the 10 most endangered battlefields in the nation, with a brief description of their history and preservation status; the second section lists 15 additional "at risk" sites that round out the top 25 endangered battlefields in the country.
The sites mentioned in the report range from the famous to the nearly forgotten. However, all have a critical feature in common - each one or part of one is in danger of being lost forever. The battlefields were chosen based on geographic location, military significance, and the immediacy of current threats. "With so many battlefields under siege from sprawl, we could easily have selected a hundred," Lighthizer noted.
The top 10 endangered battlefields cited in the report are (in alphabetical order):
Bentonville, North Carolina
Champion Hill, Mississippi
Glorietta Pass, New Mexico
Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia
These battlefields are the last tangible reminders of the valor of those who donned the blue and gray," Lighthizer stated. "They must be preserved."
With 43,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds.
(Digital video is available upon request.)