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Friday, 25 May 2018

Yorktown, Memorial Day, 20,000 Students on Battlefields, and More

Yorktown, Memorial Day, 20,000 Students on Battlefields, and More

On October 19th, 1781, General George Washington accepted the surrender of General Lord Charles, Earl Cornwallis, ending the last major battle of the Revolutionary War at Yorktown. The nearly three-week-long siege prior to this moment was the culmination of the Patriots' alliance with the Kingdom of France, whose navy bested the British on the Chesapeake Bay and cut off Cornwallis' escape. Several of Washington's French colleagues, including the Marquis de Lafayette and the Comte de Rochambeau, were present at the surrender, and the alliance that won the day at Yorktown continues to this day with the modern French Republic.

Eight decades after Cornwallis' surrender, Yorktown witnessed the roar of cannon once again. Southern forces blocked General George McClellan's Army of the Potomac as it embarked upon the Peninsula Campaign during the American Civil War. After a month-long stalemate that bought the defending Southerners valuable time, McClellan used the town as the base of operations against the Confederate capital at Richmond, in an operation that he and President Lincoln hoped would bring a swift end to the war. Unfortunately for both men, as well as the Union cause, General Robert E. Lee launched an audacious counteroffensive that resulted in the defeat of McClellan's army and ultimately saved Richmond.

More than 150 years after McClellan’s duel against Lee's Army, American Battlefield Trust members will be descending on Newport News, Virginia, for our 2018 Annual Conference. From May 30 through June 3, our members will explore Yorktown and other historic battlefields that shaped the nation we are today -- battlefields that you and other Trust members have helped to save.

If you are not attending in person, we welcome you to join us on social media as we explore Revolutionary and Civil War sites on the Peninsula. We’ll visit places like Fort Wool, which witnessed the first battle between ironclad warships; Richmond-area battlefields, including Gaines' Mill, Malvern Hill, and Cold Harbor; and historic Yorktown. There will also be tours through Fort Monroe, Seven Pines, and many more. Follow the action with the hashtag #BattlefieldsConference2018 or see live updates on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Commemorate Memorial Day

Each May, Americans gather to remember the fallen soldiers from throughout our country’s history, from the Revolutionary War to the present day. We have compiled a list of programs, events, and activities at some of America’s most famous battlefields and historic sites, from Georgia to New York.

20,000 Students on Battlefields!

Our Field Trip Fund has helped 20,000 students visit battlefields and historic sites! This fund allows students to experience the places where history was made, including sites like Gettysburg, Independence Hall, and Antietam. Because of our remarkable members, 20,000 students were able to experience some of the most important places in American history. We are deeply thankful for your support, and honored to reach this remarkable milestone.

Military Unit Lineage

We have compiled a collection of articles tracing the lineage of some of the most famous units in American military history. You can read about the 21st Infantry Regiment (the “Gimlet” regiment), Alexander Hamilton’s own 5th Field Artillery Regiment, the 7th U.S. Infantry ("Cottonbalers" Regiment), and more.

Clara Barton Collection

We recently met with the National Museum of Civil War Medicine to explore the museum’s Clara Barton collection. Watch our new War Department video to peek at artifacts found at Clara Barton’s office in Washington, D.C., including a book containing the names of Union soldiers who died at Andersonville prison.

A Message from Jim Lighthizer

This month, we announced the American Battlefield Trust an umbrella organization that encompasses the Civil War Trust and the Revolutionary War Trust. If you haven’t viewed the video yet, watch Jim Lighthizer describe this exciting new chapter in battlefield preservation story.

Amazon Smile

If you have used Amazon Smile to contribute to the Trust in the past, thank you! Your purchases have contributed more than $14,000 to battlefield preservation. You can continue to support battlefield preservation through your purchases under the American Battlefield Trust umbrella. Visit our site for instructions on how to change your charity selection, or how to sign up for Amazon Smile today.

Seminary Ridge

We have launched an effort to save 18 acres at Seminary Ridge at Gettysburg. This land saw fierce fighting on July 1, 1863, and is some of the largest and most significant unprotected acreage remaining at Gettysburg. Learn more about this initiative an effort of the Civil War Trust and help save Seminary Ridge today.

American Battlefield Trust