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About the Civil War Trust: Our Mission & Guiding Principles

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Our Mission

The Civil War Trust is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of America’s hallowed battlegrounds.  Although primarily focused on the protection of Civil War battlefields, the Trust also seeks to save the battlefields connected to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812.  Through educational programs and heritage tourism initiatives, the Trust seeks to inform the public about the vital role these battlefields played in determining the course of our nation’s history.

Our Guiding Principles

From the beginning of the modern battlefield preservation movement in July 1987, it has been the charge of the Civil War Trust and its predecessor organizations to preserve American battlefields to educate the public about what happened on these hallowed grounds and why those remarkable events matter today.

Although, as our name suggests, our efforts are largely devoted to historically significant battlefields of the Civil War, we also protect battlefields of the American Revolution and the War of 1812 through our national “Campaign 1776” initiative.  The battlefields we target have been identified by the National Park Service and respected historians as priorities for preservation.

We see these battlefields as outdoor classrooms, teaching young and old alike about the sacrifices made during our nation’s turbulent first century to secure the precious freedoms we enjoy today.  They are the places where crucial chapters of the American story were written, where ordinary citizens — farmers, merchants and laborers — displayed extraordinary valor fighting for independence and freedom.  Incredibly, the vast majority of these hallowed battlegrounds remain unprotected.

We believe that history education is the foundation of good citizenship and a key ingredient in developing the leaders of tomorrow.  Visiting America’s battlefields enables people to connect with our history, learning firsthand about the citizen-soldiers who helped forge a nation.  We encourage parents to consider visiting battlefields an essential formative experience for school-age children.

Battlefield monuments and markers, including those on properties saved by the Trust, were primarily erected by veterans and their descendants. They were intended to teach future generations about the units and soldiers who fought on these hallowed fields.  We see these battlefield monuments and markers -- properly interpreted and put in their historical context – as educational tools for teaching valuable lessons about our nation’s story.

The United States is the oldest and most successful democratic republic in the world.  This did not happen by accident; it happened because citizen-soldiers, in their own times, came together and fought for what they believed in.  The Civil War Trust seeks to preserve this history — not to promote a single point of view, but to provide a comprehensive set of perspectives from America’s first century.

We maintain that it is vital for the future of our country that Americans understand the full scope of our nation’s complex story.  Our history – both good and bad, heroic and shameful – shaped who we are as Americans today.