Save 1139 Battlefield Acres
A Message from Jim Lighthizer, Civil War Trust President, Civil War Trust
Be Part of the Historic Effort to Save 1,139 Acres of Hallowed Ground at Appomattox, Sailor’s Creek and Kelly’s Ford!
Let me caution you right up front:
The incredible battlefield preservation opportunities I’m going to tell you about are so amazing that, at first, you aren’t going to believe it.
I know this because, at first, I didn’t believe it. But, now that I know all the details, I can tell you that you and I are looking at one of the most remarkable opportunities in the history of the battlefield preservation movement!
I know you are busy, so let me quickly explain the details of three current and urgent transactions so that you will immediately see that I am not just blowing smoke:
QUESTION 1: How many acres are we saving, and where are they?
ANSWER: We have a chance to save 45 acres at Appomattox, 130 acres at Sailor’s Creek, a crucial battle of the Appomattox Campaign, and (are you sitting down?) 964 acres at the Battle of Kelly’s Ford, for a total of 1,139 acres in one fell swoop.
QUESTION 2: How much will all this cost, and are there any matching funds to help pay for it?
ANSWER: Well, this is where it gets a little astonishing: Today, these 1,139 acres have a transactional value of $4,657,490. But you and I can save this land for just… (still sitting down, I hope)… $82,548!
Believe me, I have checked and re-checked all of these figures many times…
Today, we have worked out a series of transactions that saves more than $4.6 million worth of core Civil War battlefield land, totaling 1,139 acres, at three crucial Virginia battlefields, for just $82,548 from the Civil War Trust.
This means we have $4,574,942 in matching funds lined up and ready to go – through a combination of federal grants, state grants (received and “to-be-applied-for”) and a landowner’s donation – which gives us fully 98.2% of the total funds needed.
If you and I can raise the final 1.8% -- just $82,548 – to leverage and unlock this “Niagara Falls” of matching money, we will:
- Save another 45 acres at historic Appomattox Court House (in addition to the 185 acres we’ve already saved there), bringing that essential American historical site one step closer to being completely preserved…
- Add another 130 acres to Sailor’s Creek, where 755 acres have already been saved, and where Robert E. Lee watched in horror as his defeated men streamed away, saying, “My God, has the army been dissolved?”
- Preserve 964 acres at Kelly’s Ford (roughly 50% of the main battlefield), where on March 17, 1863, Union and Confederate horsemen clashed in one of the early large-scale cavalry fights of the war, one that set the stage for the battle at Brandy Station and the cavalry actions of the Gettysburg Campaign, and is where the rising young Confederate officer, the “Gallant” John Pelham, was mortally wounded.
And do you want to talk about a matching opportunity? How about this: I can take every $1.00 you send today and turn it into $56.42!
How big of a deal is this? Well, think about it this way… what if you could personally get a $56.42-to-$1 match on the things that you buy for your family?
With a $56.42-to-$1 match, you could buy $150 worth of groceries for a mere $2.66! You could buy a new $25,000 car for just $443. Is that a good deal?
With a $56.42-to-$1 match, you could buy a $300,000 house for just $5,317.26… that’s not the down payment or the mortgage… that would be your total cost for the whole house!
It’s an overused cliché, but with this amount of matching funds on the table, this truly is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to save so much battlefield land at so relatively little cost.
In the past, there were some entire years where the Trust struggled to save 1,100 acres; today, we have the chance to preserve that much hallowed ground in just this one bundled opportunity!
If you care about saving real American history (and I know you do)…
If you care about saving our country’s Civil War heritage for future generations (and I know you do)…
And if you care about getting the absolute maximum return on the power of your charitable donation dollar (and you should), then I can’t imagine a better opportunity than this.
I must ask you to act quickly, though; two of the properties must close at the end of this year, and the third one closes about 90 days later. I need to have all of the matching funds in hand by then, just to make absolutely sure we can close the deals and save the land.
It is difficult to fit three large Civil War battlefield maps onto one piece of paper, but that is what I’ve done today, to show you exactly where these crucial properties are at Appomattox, Sailor’s Creek and Kelly’s Ford.
You know what happened at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. On that day the heroic tenacity of Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia finally succumbed to the dogged determination of Ulysses S. Grant’s Armies of the Potomac and the James.
You can see in your mind’s eye, I am sure, the scene of the roughly dressed Grant and the immaculately uniformed Lee, sitting down together and talking quietly in Wilmer McLean’s parlor, beginning the process of “binding the nation’s wounds” after four years of unprecedented warfare.
But before there was a surrender at Appomattox, there was a Battle of Appomattox.
And I am sure that you would agree with me that this battlefield – one of the most important and significant of the entire war – is worth preserving at almost any price. But unless you join me in taking immediate action, this part of the battlefield could still be carved up into a subdivision.
The property we are saving is significant as the scene of the last fighting in the vicinity of Appomattox Court House. It is the ground over which Confederate General Martin Gary’s 7th South Carolina Cavalry charged and, when repulsed, were pursued back across it by General George A. Custer’s cavalry division. It is also the area where Custer received the first Confederate truce flag.
Seventy-two hours before Appomattox, nearly one fourth of Lee’s army was cut off and captured at the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, and the key acres we are saving there would be the first land saved that tell the key “Marshall’s Crossroads” part of the story of this battle.
It was at Marshall’s Crossroads that Lee’s forces under generals Richard Anderson, George E. Pickett and Bushrod Johnson aligned their troops to receive the onslaught of Federal cavalry led by General Wesley Merritt.
Merritt’s divisions were under generals Custer (again), Thomas Devin and George Crook. In the fighting, the Confederate troops were eventually scattered as they fell back toward Rice’s Depot and the rest of Lee’s army. Seeing this retreat from Big Sailor’s Creek overlook, the commanding general remarked, “My God! Has the army been dissolved?”
Finally, for your consideration, we can save 964 acres at Kelly’s Ford where, on St. Patrick’s Day, 1863, 3,000 Union troopers clashed with 800 Confederate horsemen, in one of the largest cavalry clashes of the war, and a fight which was the “coming out” party of the re-energized Union cavalry.
Custer didn’t splash across the Rappahannock River to get into this fight, but Confederate General Fitzhugh Lee and Union General William Averell, West Point classmates, were here, their respective forces squaring off against each other, under the watchful eye of General Jeb Stuart.
The land we are preserving today is the site of some of the heaviest fighting, and where the Union suffered most of their casualties that day.
I could fill up another few pages talking about the important history of these properties that you will be helping to save, but this letter is already getting long, and you can (and should) go to our website for more information on each of these key sites: www.civilwar.org/appomattox2012, www.civilwar.org/sailorscreek2012, and www.civilwar.org/kellysford2012.
As an expression of my appreciation for all you have done for this great and noble cause, for your gift of $100 or more, I will do something that the Trust has done with great success at several other battlefields around the nation, such as The Slaughter Pen Farm at Fredericksburg, the First Day at Chancellorsville, Harpers Ferry, Parker’s Cross Roads and more:
For your donation of just $100 or more today, I will include your name on a permanent display that will stand on the hallowed ground at Appomattox.
Everyone who gives $100 or more to this effort will have his or her name included on this commemorative display!
Those who are motivated and able to give a higher donation will have their name listed in a progressively larger size; we’ve done that before, and I think it’s a fair thing to do. I hope you agree.
This is my humble way of offering you a small piece of on-site Civil War immortality, and identify for future generations those 21st century heroes like you who came together with The Civil War Trust to save the land where 19th century heroes hallowed the ground forever.
As an additional special “Thank You!” for helping to preserve land at these three key battlefields, for your gift of $36 or more today, I will send you a FREE copy of our exclusive 2013 wall calendar featuring the stunning battlefield images taken by members just like you.
These digital photos were among the more than 2,000 entered into the Civil War Trust’s Annual Photography Contest, to help advance the cause of battlefield preservation. You will be proud to hang this beautiful calendar in your home or office, and it is filled with great Civil War facts on each day of the year!
There’s lots of space to keep track of appointments, and it will serve as a constant reminder of your crucial role in saving America’s Civil War heritage. It’s yours for a gift of just $36 or more today.
Please let me hear back from you as soon as possible with your urgent gift of $36, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or more, to help me raise the $82,548 we need to secure nearly $4,600,000 in matching funds and save this land at Appomattox, Sailor’s Creek and Kelly’s Ford forever. Thank you very much for all that you are doing to save our nation’s crucial Civil War heritage.
Yours, 'til the battle is won,
P.S. Remember, before you make a gift, I urge you to fully investigate these battlefields via our website at www.civilwar.org/appomattox2012, www.civilwar.org/sailorscreek2012, and www.civilwar.org/kellysford2012, then decide if you want to be a part of this historic effort. I truly hope you will.