Save 49 Acres at Antietam and South Mountain

A Message from Jim Lighthizer, Civil War Trust President

Dear Battlefield Champion,

Jim LIghthizer You have already helped to save one priceless piece of the Antietam battlefield just a few months ago.

Today, will you help me preserve another must-have tract of that sacred place, literally only a stone’s throw away from the land you and I just saved?

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

Then – confronting one of the most pressing issues of the day – will you please read and consider signing the petition I have for you, asking Congress to prevent the removal or destruction of any and all veterans’ memorials?

The Civil War Trust is, as you know, a battlefield preservation organization. Today, with all that is going on in our country, I need to know if you stand with me in affirming that we are also an organization that fights to protect our nation’s history – including its memorials – so that future generations can learn that history.

I’ll go more into that topic in a moment. For now, let’s forget the year 2015 and 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 Burnside, Hooker and 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 eight momentous days.

By saving must-have acres at Antietam and South Mountain, 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 East Woods ground we are saving today.

Antietam Property
Target property at Antietam in yellow, with previously saved land in blue.

I really hope you have look at the battle maps (Antietam, South Mountain) and photo study I have for you today, because this opportunity is one for the history books. To save and restore these 49 crucial acres will cost $1,330,000. (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 $412,000!

That’s a multiplication factor of $3.29-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, earlier this year, well, the other dominoes have 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.

As recently as December of last year, it was discovered that another privately owned "in-holding" in the East Woods might be available. This was critical battlefield land over which the 10th Maine and 90th Pennsylvania – as well as eight other regiments from five other states – pushed through the East Woods, immediately adjacent to the Smoketown Road and Miller’s Cornfield, and to where Union General Joseph K. Mansfield was mortally wounded.

Our preservation friends in the area such as the Save Historic Antietam Foundation came to us asking us to get involved.

And I may be “old school,” but when friends who have helped me before come to me asking for my help, I feel an obligation to do all I can, especially when the cause is so noble.

South Mountain Property
Target property at South Mountain in yellow.

We sprang into action and bought the property outright, barn, house and all (and we will restore the land once we take ownership, demolishing the non-historic house, and replanting a portion of the historic East Woods.)

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 I did the right thing.

Perhaps “providentially,” other transactions have also fallen into place recently that allow us to save crucial land at Crampton’s Gap at South Mountain – the bloody prelude to Antietam – where you and I have already saved 541 acres at all three gaps.

When I look at those maps, quite frankly, I am astounded at all that you and I have been able to accomplish. I hope you are too. Heck, if you had told me 15 years ago that we would be this close to completing Antietam and South Mountain today, I would have said you’re smoking funny cigarettes!

But here we are, and thanks wholly to you and to your generosity, we are within striking distance of completing more battlefields than just these of the Maryland Campaign… we are getting so close at places like Shiloh, Manassas, Malvern Hill, Perryville, Chickamauga, even Gettysburg.

But back to the Maryland Campaign, here are the important numbers for you:

# Acres
& Restoration Costs
Matching Funds
Civil War Trust
 49  $1,330,000  $918,000  $ 412,000

Match: Every $1 you give turns into $3.29 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.

But there is another part of our nation’s history that I hope you will help protect forever as well, and that is our nation’s war memorials, many of which are currently in danger of being moved, removed or otherwise hidden from public view.

There is no use denying that over the past few months, ever since the tragic church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, passions are running high on the issue of how we as a nation should remember our history.

For me, that is what it all boils down to: Our History. Just as our nation’s battlefields are a part of that history, the soldiers who fought on both sides of that war are a part of that history. And the memorials those men erected to honor their fallen family and friends – both on the battlefields themselves and on town squares all across the nation – they, too, are a part of our history.

Those past generations, North and South, paid for these memorials out of their own pockets, many times when they did not have much money themselves, because they believed it was essential to transmit a very important message to us, and to all future generations.

They wanted us to remember their sacrifices... they wanted us to remember that – whatever we may think of their causes today – they believed they were fighting for honor and country.

They wanted us to remember and reflect upon the time in this country when we permitted the passions of the hour to divide us, and to remember that this break led to more than 620,000 lives lost, a number that, were a war of the same magnitude fought today, would cost over 6 million lives.

And it is my belief that if we as a nation start erasing any part of our past, that is a very dangerous thing to do. Because if we start down that road, what is to stop some future generation from destroying monuments from any war, including World War II, Korea or even Vietnam, just because they disagree with those of us who are alive today?

And as the old wisdom says, a nation that does not remember its past is doomed to repeat it.

Today, I would like to know if you agree with me. If so, please sign your name to this petition, stating that you are a member of the Civil War Trust, and that you oppose the removal, desecration or destruction of ANY American war memorial or monument, regardless of where it is.

As America’s only national battlefield preservation organization, I believe it is important for our lawmakers to hear your voice on this important and urgent issue, and I will ensure that your petition will do just that.

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 and South Mountain today?

Come along with me on this Civil War Trust “2015 Maryland Campaign.” You are the reason why we have been able to save over 41,000 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 $3.29-to-$1 match, and help save another 49 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. We are contractually obligated to close on the Antietam East Woods tract by mid-October, so if you could rush your generous support back to Civil War Trust HQ here within the next day or two, I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you again!

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