Help Save Cedar Mountain and Second Manassas
A Message from Jim Lighthizer, Civil War Trust President
Dear Preservation Friend,
If you are like most Americans, I’m sure you are hearing a lot about the 2012 presidential election, maybe more than you care to.
So today, I ask you to take a break from this modern-day campaign, and come back in time 150 years with me, to the 1862 Northern Virginia Campaign, in particular, the epic battles of Cedar Mountain and Second Manassas.
Today, you and I have an exciting opportunity to save absolutely crucial parts of both battlefields, and with a combination of matching grants, I can turn every $1 you give to this effort into $5.00!
That’s an instant 500% return on your donation dollar, and you will be saving key parts of both of these iconic battlefields for future generations.
Let’s go first to Cedar Mountain, where you and I have already saved 154 acres of this battlefield, a large portion of where most of the hardest fighting took place.
Today, you and I have the chance to preserve six wooded acres at the absolute heart of the battlefield (which were wooded at the time of the battle, and which could be developed at any time), the site of “Stonewall” Jackson’s field command post…
… plus, we can reclaim an additional four acres – immediately adjacent to what we already own – and remove a modern house that has encroached upon this key part of the battlefield.
Please take a look at the Cedar Mountain battle map that I have you, and find the areas denoted in bright yellow.
As you can clearly see, these 10 acres are right in the center of the battlefield, and right in the heart of the action, at a key location known as “the Crittenden Gate.”
Confederate General Charles S. Winder was violently (and mortally) disemboweled a few paces from this land; surviving accounts of the battle place Jackson throughout this area on the sweltering afternoon of August 9, 1862.
Jackson came close to being killed or captured near “The Gate,” as he attempted to rally his demoralized troops. Here, I will let Jackson’s mapmaker, Jedidiah Hotchkiss, tell you the story:
“I recollect well his attempt to draw his long cavalry sabre to help him stop the rout, when he found it so rusted from non-use, that he could not withdraw it… so he deliberately unsnapped it from his belt holdings and used it scabbard and all on the heads of the fleeing panic stricken troops.”
Fellow Confederate General William Taliaferro could not believe his eyes, saying, “The escape of Jackson from death was miraculous. He was in the thickest of the combat, at very short range.”
Recalling the ferocity of the fighting at Cedar Mountain, John H. Worsham of the 21st Virginia tells us:
“… such a fight as was not witnessed during the war; guns, bayonets, swords, pistols, fence rails, rocks, etc., were used all along the line. I have heard of a ‘hell spot’ in some battles, this surely was one.”
A Rhode Island officer later wrote that the square mile at the center of the battlefield was “torn, trodden, cannon plowed, bloody; fences and corn fields obliterated; trees splintered and cut off by shot; dead men, dead horses, fragments of bodies, broken wagons, remnants of arms and equipage.”
We are preserving those bloody woods, and protecting forever the key intersection at The Gate, so that it can never be developed.
Historian Robert K. Krick, author of the definitive Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain, says, “No currently unprotected land at Cedar Mountain deserves preservation to the extent that this tract does. Its acquisition is another dramatic coup for the Trust!”
You should also know that our generous partners at the local Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield organization have already pledged the first $10,000 contribution toward the purchase of this hallowed ground. (Three hearty huzzahs for them!)
There is so much more I’d like to tell you about these historic 10 acres, but time is short, and I still need to tell you about the other crucial piece of ground we are working to save today, at Second Manassas. So, I will just tell you to go to our website at… www.civilwar.org/cedarmountain2012 and you will have immediate and unlimited access to more information on the battle than I could ever fit into any letter.
About three weeks after the firestorm of battle at Cedar Mountain, the armies under Robert E. Lee and John Pope clashed again on the “old battlefield at Manassas,” where North had fought South 13 months previously.
This time, at Second Manassas, the fighting and slaughter would be exponentially worse. One solider – who had just survived Cedar Mountain – called Second Manassas “the vortex of hell.” More than 22,000 men fell on the fields during three days of fighting, a casualty figure (at that point of the War) surpassed only by Shiloh. (Of course, that casualty mark would be shattered just three weeks later, at the Battle of Antietam / Sharpsburg.)
At the climactic moment of the battle on August 30, waves of attackers from James Longstreet’s corps, including Hood’s Texas Brigade, in one of the largest assaults of the War, slammed into the vastly outnumbered 5th New York (Druyee's Zouaves) and 10th New York (National Zouaves) regiments. Today, as you can see on your map, there is a portion of this crucial sector of the battlefield which is not preserved.
The 5th New York made a gallant stand, buying enough time for an exposed battery to escape with all its guns. However, in less than ten minutes, the Texans completely overwhelmed the 5th New York. Out of a total strength of 594 men, the 5th New York lost 197 men killed, wounded and missing. The 10th New York suffered the loss of 115 men out of 510.
The blood of dead and wounded Zouaves was spilled throughout the area we are buying and it makes this hallowed ground absolutely worthy of reclamation and preservation.
Why do I say “reclamation”? Well, many years ago, before the battlefield preservation movement even got started, a subdivision of about 25 houses (I kid you not, actually called “Zouave Hills Estates “) was built directly on this battlefield land, and the boundaries of the Manassas National Battlefield Park were simply drawn around this cluster.
It is sometimes difficult to understand how bureaucracies view these things, but because of the somewhat-arbitrary way the boundary lines are configured, this land – even though it is a key part of the battlefield, and is surrounded on all sides by protected national park land – it is still considered “outside” the “official” or “authorized” boundary of the Manassas National Battlefield Park.
It is privately owned property that, due to its incredible historic significance, should be preserved, restored to its wartime appearance and eventually incorporated into the national park.
You may recall we had a similar situation at this same battlefield just last year when we stepped in to save a nearby 44 acres at a privately owned cemetery that is also surrounded by the battlefield but is still “outside the boundary.”
Today, after many years of work, we have the opportunity to win our first victory in this cluster of “Gen. Longstreet’s Line” houses, a 3-acre tract that is immediately adjacent to the park.
Much like the piece of ground at Cedar Mountain, these 3 acres of land contain a modern house; that’s why the price is higher than if we were buying farmland or woods.
Still, I have been able to put together a collection of matching fund opportunities to create another $5-to-$1 return on your preservation dollar.
The price for these 13 acres at two crucial battlefields is $750,000. That’s expensive, to be sure, but recall that we have to buy two intrusive houses, which will eventually be removed. PLUS, through a combination of federal and state grants, and the $10,000 from the Friends of Cedar Mountain…
… I expect to have $600,000 – or fully 80% -- of that cost covered! If you can help me raise the final $150,000, we can save these crucial 1862 Northern Virginia Campaign lands, almost on the 150th anniversary of the battles!
As a token of my deep appreciation, if you make a gift of $50 today (which with the $5-to-$1 match actually buys $250 worth of hallowed ground!), it will be my honor to send you one of our new “Made in the USA” Civil War Trust logo caps.
Made from rugged twill, these handsome caps feature our unique fully embroidered logo, depicting Union and Confederate soldiers, who we seek to honor, both standing on the ground that they have hallowed, and which we are working to save.
The caps come in either blue or gray (perhaps we could have a little competition to see which is the most-requested color?), and as I mentioned, these top-quality caps are proudly “Made in the USA.”
They cost us a little more to produce, but I believe you will be thrilled with the results, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that with your gift, you are getting not only a $5-to-$1 return on your donation dollar while preserving American heritage battlefield land, you are also helping to preserve American jobs.
In fact, if you can give an additional $18.62, in honor of the 1862 Northern Virginia campaign, for a total gift of $68.62 or more, I will send you a second hat, again, in either blue or gray.
Wear it with pride on your next trip to a battlefield, a ballgame or just running errands; just be prepared… I’ve heard plenty of stories about members being stopped and asked “What is the Civil War Trust?” I hope you will proudly say, “We are the national organization that is saving America’s Civil War battlefields. Check out our website at www.civilwar.org – that will tell you everything you need to know!”
Please let me hear back from you as soon as possible with your urgent gift of $50, $68.62, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or more, to help me raise the $150,000 we need to secure $600,000 in matching funds and save this land at Cedar Mountain and Second Manassas. Thank you very much.
Yours, ‘til the battle is won
P.S. I almost forgot; please go to www.civilwar.org/secondmanassas2012 for more information about the land we are working to save. We’ve put together a unique and informative slideshow on the actual battle flags that were carried over this land – I think you’ll enjoy it. Thanks again.