For Immediate Release: 09/14/07
Preservation Trust Celebrates Dedication of Sleettown Property at Perryville Battlefield
Civil War Preservation Trust partners with the Commonwealth of Kentucky to save 96 Acres of hallowed ground at the most famous battlefield in the Bluegrass State.
(Perryville, Ky.) - The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) today joined the Kentucky Department of Parks in celebrating the formal incorporation of the Sleettown property into Perryville Battlefield State Park. The acquisition joins two previously disconnected sections of the battlefield to form one contiguous unit. Now, visitors will be able to travel the entire length of Confederate Gen. William Hardee’s October 8, 1862 assault against Union forces.
CWPT president James Lighthizer praised both the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which authorized a $324,000 Transportation Enhancement grant for the purchase and study of the property, and CWPT’s membership, saying, “The enthusiastic support of state and local officials, together with the generosity of our dedicated members, has once again allowed us to save a vital piece of our nation’s history.”
Beyond contributions toward the purchase price, $41,000 in Transportation Enhancement grant funds were used to conduct archaeological studies and other surveys on the property, which contains a historic residence and a cemetery. State Parks officials plan to install trails and other interpretive features on the property in the coming years.
The Sleettown area adds significantly to the previously 570-acre Perryville Battlefield State Park, both in terms of physical area and the scope of history that the park covers. Beyond its connection to the battle, Sleettown also figures prominently into the area’s post-war history. From Reconstruction until 1931, the locale was home to an independent African-American community largely made up of the families of former slaves.
The largest military engagement in the strategically pivotal border state of Kentucky, the Battle of Perryville ensured that the region remained solidly in Northern control for the remainder of the war. The battle was a tactical victory for Confederate forces under Gen. Braxton Bragg. However, his concern about Union reinforcements, coupled with a shortage of men and supplies, led him to withdraw his army, leaving the field in Union hands. At the close of the day’s fighting, the two armies left more than 7,400 dead and wounded on the field.
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 more than 24,000 acres of hallowed ground, including 385 acres at Perryville. CWPT’s website is www.civilwar.org.