Help Save 97 Acres at Three Battlefields
A Message from Jim Lighthizer, CWPT President
Because I know how valuable your time is, I will get right to the point:
Right now, CWPT has put together a series of transactions
that will turn every $1 you give into $7.35
and save 97.44 acres… at THREE battlefields!
Let me quickly outline them for you, from the biggest number of acres to the smallest:
1. Ream’s Station, Virginia:
CWPT can multiply your support here $6-to-$1 by utilizing federal and state grants, putting just $27,500 into a $165,000 transaction to save 70 more acres, adding dramatically to the 96 acres we already preserved.
As you can see from your official CWPT troop-movement map, the historic land that we are working to save at Ream’s Station gets us one step closer to complete preservation of this August 25, 1864 battlefield. It preserves a key Confederate artillery site, and joins with a parcel previously saved by CWPT.
This land still has excellent integrity, looking much the same as it did on the day of the battle – as Henry Heth's Confederates troops slammed into Winfield Scott Hancock's defense lines, causing one of the most stinging defeats in Hancock's military career. (For much more information on Ream's Station, please go to our website at www.civilwar.org/reamsstation).
After the war, Heth was invited to visit his old friend Hancock. Rather than hurt Hancock's feelings, Heth never brought up the subject of this battle, writing in his memoirs, "Knowing how sensitive he was about the battle of Ream's Station, we never touched on that…If Hancock's heart could have been examined there would have been written on it REAMS as plainly as the deep scars received at Gettysburg."
Plus, I'm sure you'll agree a $6- to-$1 match is nearly impossible to turn down.
2. Davis Bridge, TN:
Working with the State of Tennessee and, again, utilizing a grant from the federal Civil War Battlefield Protection Program, CWPT agreed to put the "last money in" – just $5,000 – into the total $107,700 transaction, saving an additional 20.44 key acres at this site where you and I saved 643 acres in 2009.
This means we can multiply every $1 of your support and turn it into $21.54!
As you can see on your map of this October 5, 1862 struggle – the final significant action of the operations around Corinth, Mississippi, and one of the most neglected theaters of the entire war – once we get this parcel, there isn't going to be too much more land we will need to acquire to declare this battlefield saved. Essentially, this one will be in the "Win" column. (See for yourself at www.civilwar.org/davisbridge).
I'll be the first to admit that Davis Bridge might be considered by many people to be a lesser-known battle. But completing this site, CWPT is fulfilling not only our preservation mission, but also our education mission, by bringing this important "outdoor classroom" back to life for all Americans.
Plus, with the convergence of matching grants that have aligned to save this site, it is crucial that we act immediately to save this pristine battlefield, while we still can. We don't get many chances like this one, my friend, making Davis Bridge one of the largest state parks in Tennessee.
3. Glendale, Virginia:
This tract, even at just 7 acres, will make a huge difference in the on-going effort to complete this battlefield, where 576 acres have already been preserved.
This parcel is on the highly threatened northern part of the battlefield, and we are putting up $17,430 to secure – yet again -- $87,147 in federal and state matching grants, meaning that for this effort, your $1 is multiplied in $5.43! (There's always more at www.civilwar.org/glendale).
This June 30, 1862, battle produced at least 6,000 casualties and saw some of the war's most chilling close-quarters fighting. It determined that the Battle of Malvern Hill would be fought the next day when and where it was. And with these 11 additional acres, we are "stealing a march" on the housing subdivision developers who are temporarily winded by the poor economy.
So there you have it … three key pieces of America's history … at battlefields in Eastern and Western theaters … Union and Confederate victories … forces under the command of generals like Hancock, Heth, Ord and Price, Lee and McClellan …
… 97.44 total acres worth a combined $367,312 – and you and I can save them all for $49,930. That is a combined multiplier of $7.35 for every $1 you give today!
CWPT needs to have the funds raised for all of these transactions as soon as possible, because there are several other major projects in our "pipeline."
Plus – and this is very important – we need to close these deals ASAP to show Congressional appropriators that we can raise enough funds to keep matching these generous grants.
If we don't show significant progress in matching the federal grants, well, in tough economic times like these, those crucial dollar-for-dollar grants could be taken away, severely crippling our efforts to save endangered hallowed ground.
Recently, there have been several other important national historic preservation programs that have been "zeroed out" of the federal budget. This battlefield preservation program has survived because – year after year – you and I have been successful in matching every dollar that has been appropriated. Congressmen and Senators can point to this matching grant program as one of the best and most effective public-private partnerships in all of American government – even as a model of how other programs should work. (Please remember, not a cent of this taxpayer money ever goes to CWPT rent, salaries or any other "overhead." Every penny goes into buying land for the benefit of the American people.)
I don't know what else I could say to convince you to join in this crucial effort, other than to tell you that any and every gift is both needed and appreciated.
As you know, a huge part of CWPT's success over the years has been our ability to secure federal, state and local matching funds for battlefield preservation
The federal Battlefield Preservation Program is authorized to receive up to $10 million per year for the next four years. (Wouldn't it be a great problem to have if we got that full amount, and had to raise the money to match it, and could save at least $20 million worth of battlefields every year?)
But the actual appropriation – what Congress actually puts in the pot to fund the program – could literally be any number between $10 million and ZERO!
That's why your urgent help today is so necessary. We need to let Congress know just how important Civil War battlefield preservation is to you and your fellow members, especially as America approaches the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, beginning next year in 2011.
If we can get the battlefield preservation matching grant program fully funded in 2011, chances are pretty good it will be in the budget through the end of the Sesquicentennial in 2015.
But quite frankly, if we get shut out, without these millions of dollars in matching funds available each year for land purchases, my ability to multiply your donation dollar is drastically limited, and our ability to save even more important sites will be severely diminished. That's the bottom line.
I know I am asking much of you and your fellow members of late… we have had many expensive, major acquisitions recently. All I ask of you now… all I would ever ask of you… is to decide for yourself how much of your donation dollar do you want to go to saving our nation's history, where you are making such an enormous and measurable difference.
We all have other charities that we support, and please don't think I'm trying to talk you out of donating to another worthy cause, but just consider this: CWPT is different from just about any other organization you will ever support, be it health-related, animal-related, political, social or arts-related…
… because everything CWPT does, you can absolutely measure.
At the end of the day, you can ask: Did my donation make a difference in the success of this mission? And with CWPT, once you walk on those 29,000 acres you have saved, the answer is a resounding, "Yes! My support, my generosity really did this – I can see it – and it will last forever!"
And finally, I would simply ask you to take a look at all of the other organizations you are involved with, and rationally evaluate all of the positive aspects of saving these 97.44 acres at Ream's Station, Davis Bridge and Glendale:
1. The value of your gift is increased about 700 percent! This is your "investment" in America's history, and I challenge you to find a higher "rate of return" anywhere!
2. CWPT is putting in the final 13.6 percent of the total cost, with 86.4 percent coming from other sources.
3. You are saving often neglected chapters of the story of the Civil War, and of our nation.
4. You are saving something that will last forever.
5. In each case, you are building on our past success, protecting even further the hallowed ground we have already saved, securing our victory!
6. It seems like everyone's going "green" these days; I can't even begin to calculate the number of trees on these 97.44 acres, so you can say you've certainly done your part to help protect the natural environment.
When I put all three of these important pieces of hallowed ground together, I calculate that you and I can save these 97.44 acres for just $512 per acre.
Again, I know I have asked a lot of you lately, but if you can please help once more with these crucial acquisitions, I would be eternally grateful.
You could save four acres for $2,048, two acres for $1,024, a half-acre for $256, a quarter-acre for $128, an eighth of an acre for $64 or 1/10th of an acre for $51.
I thank you very much for your time, and thank you for seriously considering making yet another major contribution to the cause of historic battlefield preservation.
Fighting for our history,