For Immediate Release: 10/26/07
Civil War Preservation Trust Announces Campaign to Save Glendale Battlefield
Preservation group announces national fundraising campaign to save 319 acres of hallowed ground in historic Henrico County, Virginia
(Washington, D.C.) - The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), America's largest nonprofit battlefield preservation group, announced today the beginning of a $4.1 million national campaign to preserve four key parcels of land associated with the Glendale Battlefield in Henrico County, Va. According to historians, the area targeted for preservation witnessed some of the most intense close-quarters and hand-to-hand combat of the entire Civil War.
"We have a tremendous preservation opportunity at Glendale," remarked CWPT President James Lighthizer. "Until two years ago, practically none of the historic center of this battlefield was protected. Visitors had trouble finding so much as a place to pull off the road. If our campaign to save Glendale is successful, we will have saved nearly the entire battlefield from scratch."
Historians agree with Lighthizer's assessment that preserving this land at Glendale will be an unprecedented achievement. According to Robert E. L. Krick, historian at Richmond National Battlefield Park, "There has been nothing like it before in Virginia.... These acres do not fill in gaps or simply improve an existing picture. They are the core of the battlefield."
The battle of Glendale, also referred to as Frayser's Farm, was fought on June 30, 1862. Earlier that spring, the federal Army of the Potomac had launched an offensive up the Virginia Peninsula in an attempt to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond. After pushing with seven miles of the city Northern fortunes turned when Robert E. Lee took command of the Confederate Army and began steadily driving the invaders back from the capital during his famous Seven Days Campaign. Glendale was the fifth major engagement of the Seven Days Campaign.
The fighting at Glendale was Lee's last chance to inflict serious damage on the Union Army before it was out of reach. The Rebel attack, however, was poorly coordinated and, despite an initial rout, the Federal forces were able to regroup, withdrawing to a strategic defensive position at nearby Malvern Hill. The piecemeal nature of the Confederate attack led to enormous casualties -- more than 6,000 killed, wounded or missing on both sides -- and prevented Lee from achieving his goal of crippling the retreating Union Army.
Despite its historical significance, until recently nearly the entire Glendale battlefield remained vulnerable to development. The only areas protected were the tiny Glendale National Cemetery and a small preserved area on the outskirts of the main battle area. Citing numerous impending housing developments with names trading on the battlefield's history, Glendale was included in CWPT's annual list of most threatened battlefields in 2004 and 2006.
Late in 2005, the first piece of Glendale's remarkable reclamation puzzle fell into place when CWPT began moving to acquire a crucial 39 acre tract at the very heart of the battlefield. "For the first time we had cause to celebrate a preservation success at Glendale," Lighthizer said. "Suddenly doors were opened and we could hope that not all of this hallowed ground would be lost to development."
Today, preservationists stand on the cusp of preserving an additional 319 acres at the very heart of the battlefield. To get to this point, negotiations have stretched across many months and multiple meetings. However, CWPT is not yet ready to list the properties as saved; first, they must be paid for.
Since these lands lie entirely within the authorized boundary of the Richmond National Battlefield Park, federal matching grants are not available for acquisition of these parcels. Instead, this land will be purchased almost entirely through the donations of private groups and individuals. Initial commitments to the project are approaching $1.5 million, including an extremely generous donation of $100,000 from the Richmond Battlefields Association.
"Thanks to several preservation-friendly landowners, we have the opportunity to purchase these properties at a fair price," Lighthizer said. "But before we can declare the battlefield protected, we have a lot of fundraising work ahead of us."
In 2006, CWPT undertook the largest private battlefield preservation project in American history, purchasing the 208-acre Slaughter Pen Farm at Fredericksburg, Va. In addition to its incredible historical significance, the property also carried a $12 million price tag.
"I am constantly amazed by the generosity of the American people and their commitment to protecting these priceless battlegrounds for future generations. We have undertaken an ambitious project, but I know we will succeed. We must preserve these last remaining tangible links to our past and our heritage."
With 65,000 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 nearly 25,000 acres of hallowed ground, including 11,700 acres in Virginia. CWPT's website is located at www.civilwar.org.