Save 5 Acres at Gettysburg
A Message from Jim Lighthizer, CWPT President
“In July 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg, the largest battle ever fought on American soil,
became enshrined forever as part of our nation’s rich history.
Today, CWPT can turn every $1.00 you donate into $4.13
so you can help save a crucial part of Gettysburg’s hallowed ground!.”
Dear Trusted Friend,
Will you help me save five vital acres at the heart of America’s Battlefield – Gettysburg – especially since I can multiply every $1 you send today into $4.13?
I don’t have to tell you that, for many people – perhaps even you – Gettysburg is THE most hallowed ground in America.
And earlier this year, CWPT members like you rallied to help save a two-acre part of the battlefield on the historic Emmitsburg Road.
Today, we have another tremendous opportunity to save five acres of unprotected land at the heart of this battlefield, with connections to hallowed places like Culp’s Hill and the Baltimore Pike. (Please see the enclosed battle map to locate the exact position of the land you would be helping to save.)
I cannot ever recall a 12-month span where we had the chance to save two crucial parcels at Gettysburg – this is truly an unprecedented opportunity.
And it is an urgent one, too, because land like this is just what developer is looking to snatch up, with the idea of building several houses on it once the economy rebounds.
This land sits directly on the historic Baltimore Pike, is a crucial part of “Power’s Hill,” and was an exceedingly important Union position during the Battle of Gettysburg.
You want military significance? How about this -- Power’s Hill was the most important Union artillery position guarding the Union right flank… so important that Commanding General George Meade ordered it held “at all hazards.”
Confederate General George Steuart called his position near Spangler’s Spring “artillery hell” because of the pounding he took from the Union guns on Power’s Hill. Literally tens of thousands of Union troops marched right past this land as they approached the battlefield via the Baltimore Pike.
This five-acre property is called an “in-holding,” that is, a privately owned tract of land within the boundary of a National Park. An in-holding is absolutely core battlefield land that the Park Service was never able to acquire before.
In this case, the National Park Service owns the rest of Power’s Hill, and they desperately want this piece to help complete the preservation of this part of the battlefield.
The July 1863 drawing below shows a hub of activity around Power’s Hill (shown at the left; in this view, we are looking north). The tract we seek to save is just beyond and extending to near the crest of the hill. Culp’s Hill is the largest eminence in the right distance. The Baltimore Pike is at right foreground and then traverses the center distance.
Union General Henry Slocum had his headquarters very near this property. Historian (and CWPT Director of Education) Garry Adelman has this to say about this hallowed ground:
“The stakes were very high on the Union right at Gettysburg. Had the Southerners either captured nearby Culp’s Hill or the Baltimore Pike, which fronts the property, it is ‘game over’ for the Union at Gettysburg—they would have simply had to leave, if they even could.
“The tract on Power’s Hill was a key artillery position that helped to not only protect the Union right on July 2nd and the morning of the 3rd (these guns truly helped to keep or at least dissuade Southerners from reaching the Baltimore Pike), they materially assisted with the Union recapture of Lower Culp’s Hill, erasing Southern gains from the day before. The Southern failure on that flank helped cause General Lee to change his plan of attack on July 3rd from attacking both flanks to attempting a grand charge in the center instead—Pickett’s Charge.”
The cost for this incredibly significant five acres, which includes a modern house, is $310,000. The good news is that Gettysburg National Military Park has $235,000 in land-acquisition funds to help acquire the property.
This, of course, is where CWPT comes in… To prevent the sale of this key land to a developer who could come in, tear down the old house, and build several huge, modern and totally inappropriate “McMansions,” we negotiated directly with the owners, securing a contract for $310,000.
Then, just as we did earlier this year, I asked our all-volunteer Board of Trustees to approve CWPT buying this property for that price, with the understanding that the Gettysburg Park would put in their $235,000, leaving us with the final $75,000 to raise. (Unfortunately, because this property lies within the park boundary, under Congressional rules it is not eligible for a penny of additional federal matching funds. We’ve got to do this all on our own.)
Bottom line: As soon as we can raise the final $75,000, CWPT will buy the property for $310,000, then we will sell it to the Gettysburg National Military Park for $235,000. That’s still a multiplier of $4.13-to-$1, a great return on your “investment” in preservation.
Your $50 gift saves $206.50 worth of Gettysburg hallowed ground, $100 saves $413.00 worth of Power’s Hill, $250 saves $1.032.50 worth of historic land, and $500 saves $2,065 worth of irreplaceable Gettysburg land!
It is not often – if ever – that you and I who care about saving America’s Civil War battlefields get the opportunity to protect something so important. It is even rarer to be able to do so when I can increase every $1 you give today by a factor of 413 percent!
I hope I have convinced you to join in this important effort today – I truly need your help.
But I realize that, in these difficult economic times, you may want even more information about a project like this before you commit your hard-earned resources. That’s fair enough: let me give you some website addresses, so that you can thoroughly check out this effort from top to bottom before you decide to make your gift.
First, to show you that CWPT does exactly what we say we are going to do with the donations we collect from our members, I encourage you to visit this part of our website (www.civilwar.org):
There, you will see several photos taken just a few weeks ago of the demolition of one of the non- historic homes on the two-acre tract we saved at Gettysburg earlier this year. Already, Gettysburg National Military Park is well on the way to restoring the integrity of that part of the battlefield!
Be sure to look for Little Round Top in the distance, and remember that, but for the generosity of the members of the Civil War Preservation Trust, you might be looking at the construction of a new, massive, intrusive house, instead of seeing that site being restored to its 1863 appearance.
Next, to learn even more about the property we are working to save right now, please visit: http://www.civilwar.org/gettysburg10
There you will find even more historical information than I could ever afford to print up and put into an envelope. Plus, if you are so inclined, you can even go ahead and securely make your generous donation on-line, saving yourself the cost of a stamp and putting your gift to work immediately.
Finally, if you’d like to see two wonderful, professionally produced new videos featuring Ken Burns, David McCullough, Stephen Lang and several others – as they recite the Gettysburg Address and speak very movingly on their opposition to the casino at Gettysburg – please also visit these links:
In the end, though, it all comes down to this: if I can raise $75,000 from CWPT members like you before the end of this year, we can save yet another five crucial acres at Gettysburg, a place that is not only an unsurpassed outdoor classroom, but also a place of solemn reverence where, even today, lives are often changed forever.
So please, if you possibly can, will you help me raise the last needed $75,000 so that I can add that to the funds the Gettysburg National Military Park is ready to commit, and save this crucial five-acre piece of hallowed ground?
As soon as we raise our $75,000, we can close on this $310,000 property – again, that’s a wonderful $4.13-to-$1 multiplier of your donation dollar!I want you to be a part of this historic effort, with a gift of any amount that you can afford. You are the reason why CWPT has been able to save more than 29,000 acres, my friend; I appreciate everything you have done for our nation’s battlefields.
Please join me in taking advantage of this great $4.13-to-$1 match, and help save a critical five acres of the most important Civil War ground at any battlefield anywhere.
Please let me hear back from you as soon as possible, and accept my warmest thanks for your generosity.
Awaiting your urgent reply,
P.S. Believe me, I appreciate how much you have done to help preserve our nation’s battlefields already this year. I am humbled by your generous commitment to CWPT. I hope you don’t hold it against me for doing my duty as I see it: to keep you fully informed of the important battlefield preservation projects we’re working on, and to ask that you will continue to support our efforts. Any amount that you can send today is truly valued. If I haven’t said it enough times before: Thank you!