Help Save 1,573 Acres at 8 Battlefields
A Message from Jim Lighthizer, Civil War Trust President
At the Civil War Trust, with the end of the year rapidly approaching, we are preparing to save a near-record number of acres of hallowed ground.
But even more important, I want to show you what you have already done – and it is amazing.
Let me prepare you:
The numbers and preservation opportunities I’m going to tell you about are so remarkable that, at first, you probably aren’t going to believe it.
But I can tell you that – from a matching grant perspective – we are looking at one of the most remarkable opportunities in the recent history of the battlefield preservation movement!
First things first. Here for your inspection is a listing of all of the projects we are working on right now, and hope to close by December 31:
|Carthage, Missouri||200 acres|
|Wyse Fork, North Carolina||91 acres|
|Bentonville, North Carolina||19 acres|
|Totopotomoy Creek, Virginia||2 acres|
|Second Bull Run, Virginia||3 acres|
|High Bridge, Virginia||115 acres|
|Kelly's Ford, Virginia||219 acres|
|Cool Spring, Virginia||924 acres|
I can anticipate your next question: How much will all this cost, Jim, and are there any matching funds to help pay for it?
Well, this is where it gets a little astonishing: Today, these 1,573 acres have a transactional value of $6,403,360. But you and I can save this land for just… $209,700!
Believe me, I have checked and re-checked all of these figures many times…
This means we have $6,193,660 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 96.7% of the total funds needed to save all this land.
If you and I can raise the final 3.3% -- just $209,700 – we will leverage and unlock this vault of matching money, and save 1,573 acres of hallowed American battlefield ground.
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 $30.53! That is powerful!
If you have ever wanted to save a lot of land – at eight different battlefields – for not a lot of money, this is your chance!
I know the holiday season will soon be upon us, and you are already very busy. Rather than write out page after page of the history of each piece of ground, I hope you will forgive me for giving you, in the interest of time, a quick one- or two-line explanation of why it is important for us to save each of these parcels. This ground saw combat that occurred from the time before Bull Run right up to Appomattox, saw over 34,000 casualties, and represents battlefields we’ve almost completed, and some where we are just starting out. Here goes:
1. Carthage, Missouri:
July 5, 1861; Operation to Control Missouri; 244 casualties; these 200 acres would be the first ground ever preserved at this key battle, one of the first fights of the War. (See Battle Map »)
2. Wyse Fork, North Carolina:
March 7-10, 1865; Campaign of the Carolinas; 2,600 casualties; this would also be the first ground ever preserved at this battlefield, one of the important clashes that led up to the Battle of Bentonville. (See Battle Map ») Speaking of which…
3. Bentonville, North Carolina:
March 19-21, 1865; Campaign of the Carolinas; 4,700 casualties; the last major battle fought by the Western Armies, and the biggest fought in North Carolina; the land we are saving today adds to our previous tremendous success at Bentonville. (See Battle Map »)
4. Totopotomoy Creek, Virginia:
May 28-30, 1864; Grant’s Overland Campaign; 2,200 casualties; this battle (also called Bethesda Church) saw Grant’s army hammering away on Lee’s Army in the days between the Battles of North Anna and Cold Harbor; we are adding significant key acres to what has already been saved. (See Battle Map »)
5. Second Bull Run, Virginia:
August 28-30, 1862; Northern Virginia Campaign; 22,180 casualties; this small but key piece is part of “Longstreet’s Line,” the attack that helped break the Union position on August 30, 1862. We are working to reclaim this portion of the battlefield one lot at a time, as it is currently a small subdivision of houses. (See Battle Map »)
6. High Bridge, Virginia:
April 6-7, 1865; Appomattox Campaign; 1,200 casualties; in the dramatic closing hours of this campaign, Union forces hit Longstreet’s rear guard attempting to fire the High Bridge and wagon bridge across the Appomattox River. The Federals were able to save the wagon bridge, which enabled Union forces to catch up with the Confederates at Farmville. By adding another 115 acres to this state park, with about a quarter-mile of river frontage, we are building on and protecting what has already been saved here. (See Battle Map »)
7. Kelly’s Ford, Virginia:
March 17, 1863; Cavalry Operations along the Rappahannock; 200 casualties, including the “Gallant” John Pelham; one of the cavalry fights that set the stage for Brandy Station and cavalry actions of the Gettysburg campaign. Twenty-one hundred troopers of Averell’s cavalry division crossed the Rappahannock to attack the Confederate cavalry. Fitzhugh Lee counterattacked with a brigade of about 800 men. The “Gallant” Pelham was killed very nearby. This acquisition would add another 218 acres to the 973 acres already saved here, and will just about complete this battlefield. (See Battle Map »)
8. Cool Spring, Virginia:
July 17-18, 1864; Jubal Early’s Raid; 820 casualties; after the Battle of Monocacy and the March on Washington, Early retired toward the Shenandoah Valley. Although brief in duration, the Battle of Cool Spring was desperately fought, checking Federal pursuit for several days. Last year, you and I were able to save 195 acres of this battlefield on the east side of the Shenandoah River. Today, we are working to save 924 acres on the west side, essentially completing this battlefield! (See Battle Map »)
So there you have it, my friend. Do you think it is worth it for us to raise $209,700 to save $6.4 million worth of hallowed ground, turning every $1 you send today by $30.53?
Obviously, I think so. But if you are still undecided, I ask you to let me demonstrate exactly what we are doing with the gifts you are entrusting us with this video and accompanying maps. These are much more basic than our usual battle maps, but I hope you will instantly grasp what they show.
I picked four battlefields where I could show you exactly what you have accomplished over the years. For each battlefield, I show you what the ground looked like “then,” before you and I started working to save this hallowed ground…
… and then I show you a “now” image, to show you the remarkable progress you have achieved.
At Brandy Station, Glendale and Malvern Hill in Virginia, and at Bentonville in North Carolina, I hope you agree that together, we have made amazing progress at saving this crucial hallowed ground. But for you and your generosity, this land could not have been saved, and could easily be housing developments, shopping centers, fast-food stores or any of a dozen other inappropriate forms of development, destroying its historical significance forever and denying it to all future generations.
But you did not let that happen, and on behalf of those future generations, I thank you.
I could have sent many more maps showing similar progress at places like Perryville, Chancellorsville, Antietam and even Gettysburg, where we are getting close to saving as much as can be saved. I cannot thank you enough for your support of this mission and this cause.
But as you can see by the list of eight battlefields we are working on today, in many more places, we still have a long way to go.
I hope I can count on your help, here as the end of the year rapidly approaches.
With a $30.53-to-$1 match for these historic properties, we can save these 1,573 acres at a cost to the Trust of just $133 per acre! (That may be one of the lowest per-acre costs we’ve ever had.)
That means you can save two acres for $266, four acres for $532, eight acres for $1,064 or fifteen acres for $1,995.
Please let me hear back from you as soon as possible with your urgent gift to help me raise the $209,700 we need to secure nearly $6,400,000 in hallowed ground at eight battlefields forever. Thank you very much for all that you are doing to save our nation’s crucial Civil War heritage.
Fighting for our history,