For Immediate Release: 03/16/06
Statement of Historian Ed Bearss Regarding Importance of East Cavalry Field
World-renowned historian and preservationist calls East Cavalry Field an 'unsurpassed opportunity to walk in the footsteps of history.'
(Gettysburg, Pa.) - World-renowned historian and preservationist Edwin C. Bearss issued the following statement today about the historic significance of East Cavalry Field, an important component of Gettysburg National Military Park. Bearss is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT).
In recent weeks, Chance Enterprises, the investment group trying to build a new casino within a mile of East Cavalry Field, has tried to diminish the historic significance of the East Cavalry Field site, in order to improve their chances of getting a license for a slots parlor. As a result of the casino controversy, last month CWPT identified Gettysburg as one of the ten most endangered battlefields in the nation. Bearss' response follows:
"The East Cavalry Field fight is as much a part of Battle of Gettysburg as Little Round Top. The fight for East Cavalry Field underscored the coming of age of the Union cavalry. From here on in the Civil War, the Union cavalry in the east will achieve the same dominance over the Confederate cavalry that the Confederate cavalry heretofore had had over the Union.
"You can not divide the different parts of the segments of the Battle of Gettysburg. East Cavalry Field is as important to understanding the Battle of Gettysburg as the Angle or Little Round Top.
"The decision to include East Cavalry Field in the Gettysburg National Military Park was made by the veterans. Who has a better right to decide what was important and what was significant than those men who fought there? The fight on East Cavalry Field was a significant success for the Union horse soldiers and underscored that the Union cavalry could now meet the cavaliers in gray and best them. Henceforth in the Civil War, the Union cavalry in the east will become increasingly dominant over the Confederate cavalry.
"No place on the battlefield of Gettysburg possesses greater integrity to time and place than East Cavalry Field. You could bring one of Stuart's horsemen, or one of Custer's, back and he would recognize the landscape, the woods, the topography. And here today's visitor has an unsurpassed opportunity to walk in the footsteps of history."
Bearss is considered a national treasure. Tens of thousands of people, including many national figures, have toured battlefields and historic sites with Bearss, both here in America and overseas. He is an award winning author; having written or edited more than 20 books. In 1983, he received the Department of the Interior's Distinguished Service Award, its highest honor. Bearss was also the first recipient of CWPT's most prestigious national award, which is now named after him. In November 2005, he was identified in Smithsonian Magazine's cover story, "35 Who Made a Difference."
With 70,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation's remaining Civil War battlefields. Since 1987, the organization has saved more than 22,300 acres of hallowed ground, including 591 acres at Gettysburg. Most recently, CWPT partnered with the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association to protect the Daniel Lady Farm at Gettysburg. CWPT's website is located at www.civilwar.org.br.