Help Save Shiloh - Fallen Timbers
Extremely Urgent Message from Jim Lighthizer, Civil War Trust President
Dear Fellow Preservationist,
To get right to the heart of the matter, I need your immediate help, hopefully before the end of the year, to allow the Civil War Trust to take advantage of an incredible opportunity to save 267 acres of hallowed ground at the Fallen Timbers battlefield at Shiloh!
With this incredible transaction – years in the making – we are preserving nearly 75% of the entire battlefield in one fell swoop, where not one single acre was protected before!
I cannot recall a time when we have had the chance to save nearly all of a crucial unprotected battlefield – where literally nothing was saved before – all at once. This truly is unprecedented.
Especially when you consider the importance of this ground. It is the final, furious chapter in the story of Shiloh, where on Tuesday, April 8, 1862, immediately after the biggest battle that had ever been fought on this continent up to that time, a brigade under then-Brigadier General William T. Sherman came up against a small, 350-man cavalry rear guard under then-Lt. Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest.
As Sherman wrote in his official report following the battle:
“About half a mile from the forks was a clear field, through which the road passed, and, immediately beyond that, a space of some two hundred yards of fallen timber, and beyond that, an extensive rebel camp. The enemy’s cavalry could be seen in this camp… The enemy’s cavalry came down boldly in a charge, led by General [sic] Forrest in person, breaking through our line of skirmishers; when the regiment of infantry, without cause, broke, threw away their muskets and fled.”
The broken Union forces would rally on the rest of the brigade, formed into line of battle, and Forrest soon found himself far ahead of his men, in the midst of a swirling mass of angry soldiers. “Shoot him!” they screamed. “Knock him off his horse!” “Kill him!"
One infantryman got close enough to Forrest to shoot him in the hip. One early Forrest biographer describes how his “horse flinched beneath him as he faced it round, and, his pistol spitting bullets, drove home spurs, and found a way opened… a cloud of bullets came zipping past his ears as he breasted and crowned the slope of the ridge… The Federal bullet, which had struck him at point-blank range, had passed in just above his left hip-bone, penetrated and gone round the spine, and lodged in the left side.” He would need an emergency operation several weeks later to remove it and save his life.
Later in life, Sherman was reported to have remarked on just how close Forrest’s had come to capturing him and many of his force on that day.
Just imagine how differently the entire Civil War might have played out had Sherman been captured and / or Forrest been killed at this place called Fallen Timbers. Both of these towering figures of the Western Theatre might have been little more than footnotes had events turned out differently on that Tuesday in April, 1862.
But today, you can help save this large and crucial piece of America’s history so that future generations will be able to learn about this crucial chapter of the War’s history, and the men who fought there.
The purchase price for these 267 acres: $935,000. However, we will be applying for a Federal grant of $400,000, leaving us with a still-formidable $535,000 to raise before the end of this year.
We are approaching at least one major prospect who has a huge appreciation for Forrest, with the expectation that this individual should be willing to donate half of this amount, which would leave us with the final $267,500 to raise.
Another way of saying it: for every $1 you give today, I can multiply it into $3.50 worth of historic hallowed ground.
I’ll say that again -- $3.50-to-$1.
It is amazing to think that – here in 2011 – there is still an entire battlefield like Fallen Timbers at Shiloh where nothing has ever been preserved before. It’s even more amazing, I think, that we can save nearly all of it at one time.
This land is vitally significant to our history, and is worthy of our best efforts to save it.
Again, $267,500 saves $935,000 worth of hallowed ground, and saves nearly an entire Shiloh campaign battlefield. I hope you will agree that we cannot let this chance go to waste.
If we had to pay for the full price ourselves, it would have cost us $3,500 per acre! But once the several matching fund sources are put in place, you can now help save this land for just $1,000 per acre!
The economy is keeping us all guessing. And I know I ask much of generous members like you… we have major fundraising efforts running at the same time for this land, as well as Gaines’ Mill in Virginia, and Perryville in Kentucky. But to me, it seems to be a “no-brainer” to spend $1 to save $3.50 worth of unprotected Shiloh battlefield land.
So today, will you join with me and take advantage of one of the most unique situations we have ever faced: a $3.50-to-$1 multiplier to save the majority of a major battlefield where nothing has ever been saved before?
I sure hope so… I ask you to be as generous as you can, given your other obligations, and help the Civil War Trust save this crucial piece of history, and substantially complete the preservation of the Shiloh campaign.
Most Sincerely Yours,
P.S. I have no substitute for your generosity. You have my deepest thanks for all you are doing to save our nation’s history in some of the most challenging economic times we have ever faced together. You are a hero.