For Immediate Release: 02/07/08
CWPT Announces National Campaign to Save Hallowed Ground at Parker’s Cross Road
The Civil War Preservation Trust teams up with the state of Tennessee and local preservationists to save 88 acres of historic battlefield land
(Parker’s Cross Roads, TN) - The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), the nation’s largest nonprofit battlefield preservation group, today announced its first land acquisition campaign of 2008, the protection of 88 acres of hallowed ground at Parker’s Cross Roads, Tenn., site of one of the war’s most daring cavalry actions.
On New Year’s Eve 1862, Confederate cavalry commander Nathan Bedford Forrest found himself in a precarious position. After doing battle all day with one Union force, the Confederates were surprised by federal reinforcements attacking their rear and hampering their movements toward the Tennessee River. According to legend, Forrest was nonplussed by the tenuous situation and ordered his horsemen to “Charge ‘em both ways!” The brazen strategy worked; Forrest repelled the new threat and rushed past his initial, demoralized foe.
“Another key piece of battlefield puzzle at Parker’s Cross Roads is falling into place,” remarked CWPT president James Lighthizer. “Once we have secured this property, we can claim that 75 percent of the battlefield is now permanently protected.”
Such success is particularly remarkable at Parker’s Cross Roads, where the battlefield is bisected by Interstate 40 and contains a major highway interchange. Further threatening the area’s preservation outlook, State Highway 22, which borders the newly preserved property, is being widened to four lanes. However, thanks to CWPT’s ongoing efforts and the dedication of a variety of preservation partners in Tennessee, there is now a nearly-300-acre battlefield park at the site.
Longtime advocates of the Parker’s Cross Roads battlefield include both state and local officials as well as volunteer organizations. Tenn. State Representative Steve McDaniel, who represents the city of Parker's Crossroads, took the lead in facilitating an extraordinary partnership of national, state and local organizations to initially preserve land at the site. McDaniel has subsequently taken a personal role in a variety of landscape restoration projects, while continuing to champion the site and historic preservation in the legislature.
Fred Prouty, Director of the Tennessee Wars Commission, and Mike Baumstark, Land Planning Management and Funding Resources Manager with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, have shepherded acquisition projects at the site. Similarly, the City of Parkers Cross Roads has remained constant in its support for the preservation and interpretation of its nationally significant historic resource, while the volunteer members of the Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield Association have given countless hours to restoration and interpretation projects at the site.
Thanks to generous matching grants from the state, the current fundraising campaign offers CWPT members an impressive 8-to-1 leverage factor on their donations. The State of Tennessee Heritage Conservation Trust Fund is committing $300,000 to the project and the State of Tennessee Lands Acquisition Fund an additional $400,000. This means that for only $100,000 in private funds, donors have the opportunity to protect $800,000 worth of hallowed ground.
“The foresight of Tennessee’s preservation-minded officials is truly admirable. They have demonstrated a clear understanding of the importance of the Volunteer State’s Civil War battlefields,” said Lighthizer. “Through their generosity, we are able to protect an irreplaceable slice of history for only a little more than $1,100 per acre! I challenge you to find any other situation anywhere in America where you could buy land for that price.”
This latest fundraising campaign is CWPT’s fourth at Parker’s Cross Roads. As a result of preservation initiatives in 2003, 2004 and 2005, the nonprofit group has helped protect 126 critical acres at the site. CWPT has now contributed to 72 percent of the total acreage currently preserved at Parker’s Cross Roads.
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 25,000 acres of hallowed ground. CWPT’s website is located at www.civilwar.org.