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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Saving the Slaughter Pen Farm

Saving the Slaughter Pen Farm

No project that the Civil War Trust has embarked upon has ever been more ambitious than our bid to save the Fredericksburg battlefield's Slaughter Pen Farm in Spotsylvania County.

This property was put on the market in 2005. Zoned for industrial use, this farmland was described as “one of the best industrial sites” in Virginia. The land was priced at $12 million, money the Trust did not have. But we refused to let this hallowed ground be destroyed.

Few spots have been witness to more dramatic events. On December 13, 1862, John Gibbon’s Union division advanced across this land and temporarily broke "Stonewall" Jackson’s Confederate line. Virtually unsupported, Gibbon eventually had no choice but to fall back, hotly pursued by Jackson’s men. The fighting that followed was vicious, with both sides charging across the Slaughter Pen. Five brave Americans later received the Medal of Honor for their actions on this land. By day’s end, the Confederate line held firm and the Federals had lost their best chance of success.

Drawing upon our available cash and a large bank loan, we were able to purchase this $12 million landmark property. Since the acquisition, we've managed to raise nearly 70 percent of the cost, including a $1 million pledge from our partners in preservation at the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust — a colossal commitment for an organization its size. True to form, the undaunted men and women of CVBT have since paid this sum in full.

There is still more work to do, however. Until the remaining debt of $3.6 million is paid off completely, this battlefield is not truly saved.

To make our annual payment of $300,000, we need your help. I know paying off a loan is not many people’s idea of "exciting." But we owe it to the brave men on both sides who fought and died at this site to finish the work of preserving the Slaughter Pen Farm forever.

The Civil War Trust