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There is only one national organization working to save America's Civil War battlefields today and for future generations: The Civil War Trust. We can't save these threatened battlefields alone—we need help from concerned citizens like you.
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Why Support the Civil War Trust?
We are Effective
The Civil War Trust has saved more than 40,000 acres of Civil War battlefield land. Since 2001, the Civil War Trust has saved four times more battlefield land than even the National Park Service.
Index of Saved Land »
We are Efficient
The Civil War Trust prides ourself on being an efficient, high-output organization. We employ a minimum of paid staff and our offices are certainly not high-end. We prefer to put every dollar we can into saving battlefield land. Civil War Trust has earned our fifth consecutive 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator »
We Magnify your Donations
Through the innovative use of matching grants, we routinely multiply every $1 donated by our members by a factor of three or more; meaning, the power of your donations will be greatly magnified towards saving battlefields. See our list of current preservation opportunities »
We are Accountable
Simply put, we do what we say we are going to do. Compare us to other groups you support; success in our mission is tangible, measurable and verifiable. Judge our success by walking every acre of hallowed ground you help save. Our results will last forever.
Read what our donors have to say »
Also to be Noted…
The Civil War Trust doesn't accept government funds for operating expenses, and because the battlefields are so threatened, we don't have an endowment to fund—there is no time. All gifts are put to work purchasing and protecting Civil War battlefield land immediately.
Q: Haven't all of the Civil War battlefields been saved already?
A: No. Only about 20 percent of the actual land upon which the Civil War was fought is currently preserved either by the Trust or in national, state or local parks the remaining 80 percent is either unprotected or has already been destroyed. We are racing the developers to save what is left. Find out about our latest preservation efforts »
Q: How much hallowed ground has already been lost?
A: According to a study done by the U.S. Congress, fully 20 percent of the hallowed ground of the Civil War has already been destroyed forever, covered by roads, housing developments and other inappropriate development. Battlefields such as Chantilly, in Virginia, Murfreesborough in Tennessee, and the battles around Atlanta in Georgia are gone forever.
Q: How quickly are we losing key battlefield sites?
A: At current rates of development and with rapidly increasing land prices, our nation loses approximately one acre of hallowed ground every hour. We calculate that the fate of the remaining unprotected ground will be determined within the next five to fifteen years, depending on its location.
Q: Does the Civil War Trust ever get involved with “taking”? land, or with eminent domain issues?
A: Never. We deal only with willing sellers and pay fair market value for properties.
Q: Is the Civil War Trust “anti-development”?
A: Not at all. We recognize that communities need new economic development to remain strong, and that people need places to live, work and shop. The Civil War Trust works to ensure that such development is well planned in such a way as to protect the irreplaceable historic resource that a preserved battlefield represents for a community, as well as for the entire nation. Preservation is the only viable choice for a battlefield; it cannot be moved or reconstructed somewhere else. Its historic significance is fixed permanently in place by events that happened upon previously unexceptional ground. Commercial development can be moved, but we cannot change where history happened, not when so much of the story is told by the ground itself.
Q: Does the Civil War Trust promote heritage tourism?
A: Absolutely, and we have conducted several economic impact studies which clearly report excellent economic growth for those communities that preserve, protect and promote the existence of a saved Civil War battlefield. Read the Trust's Economic Impact Studies »
Q: How does the Trust buy hallowed ground?
A: The Civil War Trust has been one of the most successful non-profit organizations in America in securing federal, state, local and private matching funds to save battlefields. We then multiply those funds with money raised from our members around the world. What this means to you is that every dollar you, as a member, give to preserve America's history is multiplied many times over. In fact, over the past six years, the Civil War Trust has multiplied our members' donations by a factor of 4—every $1.00 spent for land preservation has been matched by outside grants and turned into $4.00 and, in total, our members have saved more than 40,000 acres of hallowed ground.
Q: Where is the land that the Trust has saved?
A: Civil War Trust members have saved more than 40,000 acres at 90 battlefields such as Antietam (the bloodiest single day in American history), Fort Donelson (where a future U.S. president earned his nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant) and Manassas (the site of the first major land battle)—plus dozens of other sites in 20 different states. See a list of Saved Sites. Chances are the Trust has saved land at every battlefield you're familiar with, and maybe even some you're not!
Q: What happens to the land once the Trust saves it?
A: Whenever possible, we seek to turn the land over to a responsible long-term steward who can properly protect and maintain the land, such as the National Park Service or a state park system. If this is not possible, the Civil War Trust will hold and manage the land in trust for the American people, investing significant resources into creating walking trails and safe parking areas, installing interpretive signs and restoring the landscape to its wartime appearance so that visitors get the full benefit of these irreplaceable outdoor classrooms.
Q: Why is it so important to save these places?
A: Can you imagine a fast-food restaurant in the middle of Arlington Cemetery? Can you imagine paving over the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial? Can you imagine destroying the remaining original copies of the Declaration of Independence or The Constitution? Of course not. But with each square foot of battlefield land that is consumed, like whole chapters of America's history being ripped out of the book of our national memory, another irreplaceable piece of our important heritage is lost forever. The Civil War Trust needs you to help save our history! Saving battlefields not only preserves our history, but also creates valuable open space; in the not-to-distant future, these preserved Civil War battlefields will be the "urban parks" of their communities, just like Central Park is to New York City.
Q: What makes the Trust unique?
A: Several reasons:
- We are the only national organization of its kind in America.
- We provide tangible, measurable results.
- We are here for a limited purpose and time, but our results will last forever.
Our Legacy of Preservation
Listen to President Jim Lighthizer discuss the impact the organization and its members have had in reclaiming key battlefields to date since 1987.
More about the Civil War Trust »
Civil War Trust's Ratings
The Civil War Trust has recently earned more top honors — include the fifth consecutive 4-star rating by Charity Navigator. Learn More »
- Charity Navigator: Civil War Trust »
- Guidestar: Civil War Trust »
- BBB: Civil War Trust »
- Great Nonprofits: Civil War Trust »
- Annual Report - PDF (2013) »
- Annual Report - PDF (2012) »
- Annual Report - PDF (2011) »
- "Leading the Charge: Roll Call of Honor" - PDF (2013) »
- Civil War Trust 990 - PDF (2013) »
- Preservation FAQs »
Benefits of Membership
The best benefit of joining the Civil War Trust is knowing you've helped preserve endangered Civil War battlefields—forever. But there are other benefits too—from your subscription to our award-winning Hallowed Ground Magazine to our acclaimed Civil War battle maps and more.