For Immediate Release: 02/24/04
Civil War Preservation Trust Unveils Most Endangered Battlefields Report
Bestselling author Jay Winik joins CWPT to promote plight of America's hallowed 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.
"Our Civil War battlefields are vanishing at an alarming pace," warned CWPT President James Lighthizer during the news conference. "Once lost, these fragile links to America's past can never be replaced or replicated."
Joining Lighthizer at the news conference was award-winning author and historian Jay Winik. Winik is perhaps best known for his widely acclaimed New York Times bestseller, April 1865: The Month that Saved America. Winik is also a popular speaker and frequent television guest.
Winik describes the American Civil War as one of the defining moments in our nation's history. "These battlefields are living breathing monuments that tell us stories about the war and the people who fought it," Winik noted. "They deserved to be saved and cherished."
Also participating in the news conference was historian Benjamin Franklin Cooling, the author of several books on the Civil War era. Cooling likes to refer to battlefields as "outdoor classrooms." According to Cooling, "There is hardly a discipline that cannot be embraced by using these sites for the study of people, events, ecology and environment."
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 ten endangered battlefields cited in the report are as follows:
-- Chancellorsville, Virginia;
-- Fort Donelson, Tennessee;
-- Franklin, Tennessee;
-- Glendale, Virginia;
-- "The Hell Hole" (Pickett's Mill, New Hope Church and Dallas), Georgia;
-- Mansfield, Louisiana;
-- Morris Island, South Carolina;
-- New Bern, North Carolina;
-- South Mountain, Maryland; and
-- Wilson's Creek, Missouri
"These battlefields are the last tangible reminders of the valor of those who donned the blue and gray," Lighthizer stated. "They must be preserved for future generations of Americans."
With 50,000 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.