For Immediate Release: 04/10/12
Civil War Trust, Georgia Preservation Groups Join Forces to Protect 51 Acres at Resaca Battlefield
Georgia Battlefields Association, Friends of Resaca and The Trust for Public Land partner with Civil War Trust to protect 51 acres of hallowed ground in Gordon County
(Resaca, Ga.) – The Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest battlefield preservation organization, today announced the purchase of 51 acres on the Resaca Battlefield, scene of fighting during the Atlanta Campaign in May 1864. The site contains the location of Captain Max van den Corput’s battery, whose four guns were captured by the Federals during one of the most pivotal moments of the battle. The Trust plans to deed the property to Gordon County, which will interpret the site and provide visitor services. Two local nonprofit groups, the Georgia Battlefields Association (GBA) and Friends of Resaca Battlefield, also contributed toward the acquisition.
“Ensuring that historically significant land like this is protected forever and open to members of the public who want to explore it is at the very heart of the Civil War Trust’s mission,” said organization president James Lighthizer. “We are exceedingly grateful to our local partners, without whom this achievement would not have been possible.”
In 2011, the Trust and its Georgia partners worked with The Trust for Public Land (TPL) — a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places— to place a permanent conservation easement on a 474-acre swath of the Resaca battlefield, essentially doubling the amount of preserved land at the site. TPL had initially purchased the land in 2008 to prevent a bank foreclosure and subsequently worked with a variety of partners in the preservation and conservation field to ensure its long-term protection. This new transaction relates to a portion of the larger property’s northeastern corner; by purchasing it from TPL and donating it to Gordon County, the preservation community has opened the door for the creation of a parking area, walking trails and other visitor amenities.
“We are pleased to see such a happy outcome for this once-endangered property,” said Rick Wood, director of The Trust for Public Land’s Tennessee office. “I know that with Gordon County overseeing this property, local residents and visitors alike will gain newfound understanding of its history.”
“The Georgia Battlefields Association members are always ready to support preservation of a battle site,” said GBA president Charlie Crawford. “In addition to contributing toward the previous easement effort, thanks to the extraordinary gift of a major donor, we were able to fund nearly half of the purchase price for this critical 50 acres.”
Ken Padgett, president of Friends of Resaca, which also contributed toward the purchase, noted that this was just the latest step a renaissance for the battlefield. “The last several years have been exciting ones for us at Resaca,” he said. “We know that with such a solid foundation and dedicated partners, many more successes are yet to come.”
The battle of Resaca was fought May 13–15, 1864, and played a crucial role in the dramatic fighting between Union forces under Maj. William T. Sherman and Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston during the Atlanta Campaign. The rapid growth of the Atlanta suburbs in recent decades has led to the destruction of many battlefields in the region, making the protection of remaining pristine areas a top priority for preservationists.
Although the Trust has closed on the property, it still must raise $75,000 before the project is fully completed. In addition to Resaca, the Trust is currently engaged in active fundraising efforts to save significant battlefield properties at Bentonville, N.C., Cedar Creek., Cross Keys, Va., Fredericksburg, Va., Gaines’ Mill, Va., Mill Springs, Ky., Perryville, Ky., Shiloh, Tenn., and Tom’s Brook, Va. To learn more about current fundraising projects and the Trust’s ambitious sesquicentennial preservation effort, Campaign 150: Our Time, Our Legacy, please visit www.civilwar.org/campaign150.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s remaining Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. Since 1987, the organization has helped save more than 32,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states. Learn more by visiting www.civilwar.org, the home of the Sesquicentennial.