Help Save 608 Acres at Chattanooga and Rappahannock Station
A Message from Jim Lighthizer, Civil War Trust President
Dear Fellow Preservationist,
Please let me take you back to November 1863 . . . two Civil War battlefields separated by 526 miles of mountains, rivers, valleys and roads . . .
At Chattanooga in Tennessee, one general named Grant hurled his forces against another general named Bragg, carrying seemingly impregnable positions on Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain . . .
At Rappahannock Station in Virginia, within shouting distance of Brandy Station, one general named Meade hurled his forces against another general named Lee, capturing 1,600 Confederates and forcing the southern army to cross another river to find safe ground for winter quarters.
Today, you and I have a chance to save a total of 608 acres at these two November 1863 battlefields, on the 150th anniversary of each clash.
Even better, I can turn every $1 you give for this effort into . . . $36.00!
I hope you will agree that a $36-to-$1 opportunity to save 608 acres at two major Civil War battlefields is too good to pass up.
Total combined casualties from the November 7 Battle of Rappahannock Station and the November 23-25 Battles of Chattanooga: More than 15,000. So these were no little skirmishes, especially to those killed, wounded or captured in these fights, and their families.
Both battlefields also face unique threats today. At Chattanooga, the land we seek to save has already been subdivided and platted for houses. It is only through the grace of God (and a poor real estate market over the past few years) that this hallowed ground has not already been destroyed. We must move now.
At Rappahannock Station, likewise, residential and “mixed-use” threats are attempting to encroach on the battlefield.
One high-density housing development (71 houses on 24 acres) is already proposed for part of the Rappahannock Station battlefield, and a mixed-use project was recently approved by the county on another part. We are trying to block any further destruction of this key 1863 site.
And just to orient you, parts of the Rappahannock Station battlefield literally overlaps portions of both the Kelly’s Ford battlefield and the Brandy Station battlefield . . . so much of this entire area is wall-to-wall hallowed ground. (Don’t forget the majestic heights of nearby historic Fleetwood Hill at Brandy Station that you and I saved earlier this year!)
Our experience with developers and casino operators has taught us that we can never let down our guard, and that the battlefields are never fully preserved unless you and I protect the land ourselves.
As I mentioned to you, there is significant American history associated with both of these sites, and I hope you agree with me that it is our responsibility to save them:
At Chattanooga, from the last days of September through October 1863, Gen. Braxton Bragg’s army laid siege to the Union army under Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans, cutting off its supplies.
On October 17, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant received command of the Western armies; he moved to reinforce Chattanooga and replaced Rosecrans with Maj. Gen. George Thomas. The new “Cracker Line” allowed supplies to get into the city. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman arrived with his four divisions in mid-November, and the Federals went on the offensive.
On November 23-24, Union forces struck out and captured Orchard Knob and Lookout Mountain. On November 25, Union soldiers assaulted and carried the seemingly unconquerable Confederate position on Missionary Ridge, including the key land which we are saving today near Tunnel Hill and the preserved “Sherman Reservation.”
One of the Confederacy’s two major armies was routed. The Federals held Chattanooga, the “Gateway to the Lower South,” which became the supply and logistics base for Sherman’s 1864 Atlanta Campaign.
Four months after the Battle of Gettysburg, (as President Lincoln and Edward Everett prepared their speeches), at Rappahannock Station, as part of the Bristoe Campaign, on November 7 the Union army forced passage of the Rappahannock River at two places. A dusk attack overran the Confederate bridgehead at Rappahannock Station, capturing more than 1,600 men of Jubal Early’s Division.
Robert E. Lee’s Confederates were forced to retreat, allowing Meade’s Federals across in force. On the verge of going into winter quarters around Culpeper, Lee’s army was compelled instead to retire into Orange County south of the Rapidan River. The Army of the Potomac occupied the vicinity of Brandy Station and Culpeper County, setting the stage for the 1864 Overland Campaign.
You know all about this history. But what you probably don’t know is that if we act before the end of 2013, we can save 42 key acres at Chattanooga and 566 acres at Rappahannock Station – 608 total acres with a value of $5.58 million – for just $154,438!
As we always do, my team and I here at the Trust (who work for you) have put together a financing package consisting of Federal and State grants (both Virginia and Tennessee are putting in some serious money), some very generous landowner donations, and even the participation of another national land preservation organization, The Trust for Public Land.
You and I, and our personal contributions, are the last piece of the puzzle. If we can raise $154,438 before the end of the year, we can save $5.58 million worth of hallowed ground!
If, as you begin your holiday shopping, you find a better bargain than $36-to-$1, I wish you would let me know about it!
Now I know $154,438 is a lot of money, especially with the holidays right around the corner. But let me remind you what you and I have already accomplished in the last year:
Going back to November 2012, we needed to raise $339,000 to help buy a “strip center” in Franklin, Tennessee, so that the battlefield there can be reclaimed and restored: We did it.
In January of this year and then again in July we needed to raise a total of $424,000 to save 124 acres of absolutely key battlefield land at Gettysburg: We did it!
In April, we needed to raise $315,000 to save the first hallowed ground the Civil War Trust had ever saved at Vicksburg, and just one month later, we needed to raise $193,000 to save Fleetwood Hill at Brandy Station: Both times, we did it!
In August, we needed to raise $140,000 to save Reed’s Bridge at Chickamauga, where that monumental battle started, and also the first hallowed ground we had ever saved there: Today, I am honored to announce to you that we did it!
Some of your fellow members made a gift to one or two of these campaigns, some made a gift to all of them. The point is . . . when you and I work together, we cannot lose!
When you and I work together, there is no other land preservation organization in this country that is as successful as we are.
And when you and I work together, we can save America’s hallowed ground as an everlasting legacy for future generations. I think that’s pretty remarkable.
So will you stand with me one more time today, and help add another 608 acres to the “Saved Forever” column? Will you please join me in taking advantage of a terrific $36-to-$1 matching opportunity, the biggest one we have had for a while?
And will you stand with me during this 150th anniversary year, and prevent hallowed ground at Chattanooga and Rappahannock Station from ever being desecrated by housing developments or worse?
Today, because of the $36-to-$1 match, we can save an acre of this hallowed ground for just $254. You can help save a half-acre for $127, a quarter-acre for $63.50 and an eighth of an acre for just $32.
Or perhaps you can help save two acres with a gift of $508, three acres for $762, four acres for $1,016, or ten full acres for $2,540.
As my special “Thank You!” for helping to preserve land at these two key 1863 battlefields, for your gift of $18.63 or more today, I will send you a complimentary copy of our exclusive 2014 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. I guarantee that 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!
We design it so there is plenty of space to keep track of your appointments, and it will serve as a daily inspiration of your crucial role in saving America’s Civil War heritage. It’s yours for a gift of just $18.63 or more today.
Please let me hear back from you as soon as possible with your urgent gift to help me raise the $154,438 we need to secure $5.58 million of hallowed ground at Chattanooga and Rappahannock Station forever. Thank you very much for all that you are doing to save our nation’s crucial Civil War heritage.
P.S. Remember, before you make a gift, I urge you to fully investigate these battlefields on our website at www.civilwar.org/chattanooga2013. Then decide if you want to be a part of this historic effort. I truly hope you will. Thank you again.