Help Save 84 Acres of Crucial Maryland Campaign Hallowed Ground — Including 9-Acres Vital to Dunker Church

A message from Jim Lighthizer, Civil War Trust President

Dear Battlefield Champion,

Jim LIghthizerLast year, you and your fellow Civil War Trust members helped save several priceless parts of the Antietam battlefield.

Today, will you help me preserve another must-have tract of that sacred place, literally a stone’s throw away from one of the most iconic landmarks of not only that battle, but of the entire Civil War – the Dunker Church?

At the same time, will you stand with me and help save even more vital land at two of the other battlefields of the 1862 Maryland Campaign, additional crucial acres at South Mountain and Shepherdstown?

Let’s go back to September 1862, as the Army of Northern Virginia crosses over into Maryland...

You know the names... Lee and McClellan, Meade and Longstreet, Jackson and Hooker, Burnside and A.P. Hill...

... these leaders and the soldiers who served under them embarked on one of the most significant military campaigns in history, the Maryland Campaign, fighting four major battles over the course of seven momentous days.

By saving must-have acres at Antietam, South Mountain and Shepherdstown, you and I will honor the 41,000+ hero-casualties of this campaign, including those who fell on the bloodiest day in American history at the Battle of Antietam, many of them on the historic Dunker Church ground we are saving today.

This opportunity is one for the history books. To save and restore these 84 crucial acres will cost $1,525,500. (These lands have houses and other modern intrusions which need to be removed.)

However, through a combination of state and federal matching grants, some very generous donors including the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, as well as some crucial funding from the National Park Service, you and I can save this land for $413,375!

That’s a multiplication factor of $3.69-to-$1 for any donation you can make today. Given the significance of what happened on this land, that is a great deal!

Especially since, as you can see on your maps, in each case we are advancing a major goal of the Civil War Trust – completion of the major battlefields!


Once you and I saved the 44-acre Antietam Epicenter property, noted as a blue triangle in the middle of your map, last year, well, other dominoes started to fall.

As has happened at battlefields all across America, once word gets out that people like you – working through the Civil War Trust – are willing to put up their hard-earned money to save your nation’s Civil War battlefields from being developed, that gets a neighboring landowner’s attention.

And sometimes, it happens very fast. The owner of this “Dunker Church” tract (another of those privately owned “in-holdings” you and I have worked to save over the years) has given the Trust the opportunity to buy one of the most important unprotected properties on the Antietam battlefield, if we are able to move quickly to purchase the property.

This is critical battlefield land that was furiously fought over during the course of the morning and afternoon of America’s Bloodiest Day.

Before its costly charge to the nearby Cornfield, General John Bell Hood’s Confederate division encamped upon this ground. Before long, South Carolinians under Joseph B. Kershaw crossed this tract and slammed into Union soldiers in the West Woods.

For a time, this tract became a deadly no-man’s land with artillery shells from both sides flying overhead. Before long, though, Maryland and Pennsylvania soldiers from the Union Twelfth Corps occupied this parcel, only to be assaulted and driven away by North Carolinians and Arkansans.

The threat to this land is that instead of the one non-historic house and other structures that currently exist, a new owner could construct up to three large new “McMansion-type” houses… directly across the road from the current Antietam Visitor Center!

The good news is that the landowner is willing to sell the property to us, and the even better news is that our great local partner group – the Save Historic Antietam Foundation – has already volunteered to cover the estimated $35,000 cost to remove the modern structures!

I hope – given the importance of Antietam on world history, and the importance of this tract at the core of that historic battlefield – you agree that this is crucial “must-save” hallowed ground.

South Mountain
Portion of Battle of South Mountain map, showing the 65-acre track we are working to show in yellow.

Perhaps “providentially,” other transactions have also fallen into place recently that allow us to save another 65 crucial acres at Turner’s Gap at South Mountain – the bloody prelude to Antietam – where you and I have already saved nearly 600 acres at all of the crucial gaps.

When General George B. McClellan was given a mislaid copy of Lee’s Special Order 191, the Union army commander knew that a portion of Robert E. Lee’s divided army was vulnerable to attack and ordered his troops toward South Mountain.

A small Confederate force under D. H. Hill defended Turner’s and Fox’s Gaps, two vital passes through the South Mountain range. An early assault by the Union Ninth Corps at Fox’s Gap was initially successful claimed the life of Confederate General Samuel Garland, but lacked sufficient support to drive on to Turner’s Gap to the north. Union reinforcements, however, were slow to arrive, giving James Longstreet’s Confederates time to strengthen Hill’s position.

At 4 p.m. – seven hours after the fighting began – Union divisions under Generals George Meade and John P. Hatch made a relentless charge on the Confederates left flank. At the same time, Jesse L. Reno’s Ninth Corps made an effort to seize Turner’s Gap from the south. A bloody see-saw battle for control of the pass continued until dark, with Lee ordering all of his units to concentrate along Antietam Creek.

Portion of Battle of Shepherdstown map, showing the 11-acre track we are working to save in yellow.

Then, after the Battle of Antietam, a bloodied and battered Army of Northern Virginia sought to put as much distance as possible between it and the Army of the Potomac. On September 19, a detachment of General Fitz John Porter’s V Corps pushed across the Potomac River at Boteler’s Ford near Shepherdstown, attacked the Confederate rearguard commanded by General William Pendleton, and captured four guns.

Early on the 20th, Porter pushed elements of two divisions across the Potomac to establish a bridgehead. Hill’s division counterattacked while many of the Federals were crossing, inflicting 269 casualties, and discouraging Federal pursuit. Still, the campaign was victory enough for President Lincoln, who issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22. On November 7, Lincoln relieved McClellan of command because of his failure to follow up Lee’s retreating army.

Thanks wholly to you and to your generosity, we are within striking distance of completing these battlefields of the Maryland Campaign. Here are the important numbers for you:

 # Acres  Purchase &
Restoration Costs
 Anticipated Matching
 Civil War Trust
 84  $1,525,500  $1,111,125  $413,375

Match: Every $1 you give turns into $3.69 of preserved and restored battlefield land!

I hope you’ll agree this is an opportunity that is just too important to pass up, and I hope you see how much I need your help to protect this land forever. 

More and more, it seems like it is up to people like you and me to protect and defend our nation’s history. Well, I accept that challenge, and as long as you stand with me, I know we will be successful.

If possible, will you consider making your commitment of $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or more to save hallowed ground at Antietam, South Mountain and Shepherdstown today?

Whatever your commitment, please know that you have my deepest thanks for your on-going dedication to this sacred cause.

Come along with me on this Civil War Trust “2016 Maryland Campaign.” You are the reason why we have been able to save more than 43,000 acres of priceless hallowed ground, my friend; I appreciate everything you have done for our nation’s battlefields.

I hope you will join me in taking advantage of this historic $3.69-to-$1 match, and help save another 84 acres of the most important Civil War ground anywhere.

Please let me hear back from you as soon as possible, and please accept my deepest thanks for your generosity. You are my hero.

Awaiting your reply,

Jim Lighthizer

P.S. As always, I encourage you to explore all the information online on this effort to save 84 acres at Antietam, South Mountain and Shepherdstown — including more photos, videos, and much more! I want you to see what you are getting for your financial support. Thank you again, and again, and again.

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