16 Jun 2018

Yorktown: 50 Acres, Two Wars

Over the years, I have written to you many times about saving priceless Civil War battlefield land from destruction. Since 2014, I have also written to you about saving irreplaceable battlefield land from the Revolutionary War and War of 1812.

Today, however, is the first time I have ever written to you about one piece of highly threatened hallowed ground that was significant to both the Revolutionary and the Civil War!

The place: Yorktown, Virginia. The action: Two sieges, separated in time by 81 years. The people: Two very different generals named “George.”

The Threat

An unprotected 50-acre parcel of land on the Yorktown battlefield and surrounded by the Colonial National Historical Park, has been zoned and platted for a subdivision of 100 houses. This enormous subdivision would be named “Battlefield Bluffs” for its historical “significance,” but its construction would completely destroy the integrity of this sector of the battlefield.

Archaeological fieldwork has been conducted only on a very small portion of the parcel, meaning that important stories may still lie hidden beneath its currently undisturbed soil.

Experts tell us that based on what is known of other sites in the area, it is highly likely that the archaeological integrity of this site is intact. But if the bulldozers and road graders roll over these tracts, those artifacts, and the stories they tell, could be lost forever.

What You Can Do

Fortunately, we have an amazing opportunity to save this land and the history it holds.

The total cost to preserve this land is $5,645,000, but we need to raise only $74,000 to complete the acquisition. How is this possible? Through a combination of extraordinary state, local, and federal matching grants, we have $5,571,000 – fully 98.7 percent – either applied for or already lined up! This means that if you and I can raise just 1.3 percent of the transaction’s total value, we will prevent the loss and destruction of this crucial land at Yorktown.

I have been in the battlefield preservation business for more than 20 years, and I honestly cannot recall an opportunity like this, first, to save a piece of ground associated with our nation’s two most important wars, and second, to save crucial land while stretching the value of your donation dollar by $76-to-$1. Trust me, this just does not happen very often, so I believe we need to act now while we can.

Why It Matters

Here’s a little of what we know about this land:

In October 1781, Gen. George Washington, with the aid of the French fleet and French soldiers, bottled up British Gen. Lord Charles Cornwallis in his defenses at Yorktown. The tract you’ll save was part of the camps of our French allies during this siege, which eventually forced Cornwallis to surrender and effectively ended the Revolutionary War.

In April and May of 1862, Union Gen. George B. McClellan, inching up the Virginia peninsula in an effort to capture Richmond, attempted a siege of the Confederate forces at Yorktown. This time, however, there was no surrender, and the war continued for another three years.

Today, in June 2018, you and I have the chance to save 50 acres of land associated with both of these key moments in our country’s history.

For The Next Generation

Today, I ask you to please consider making your most generous gift to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to save 50 acres at Yorktown.

Experiencing a place like the battlefield of Yorktown has the power not only to educate about the sacrifices that secured our freedoms, but also to inspire us all to be better citizens and better people. I thank you for all you do for this cause of saving the most important places where our country’s history was made.

Please visit our website right now to learn more about Yorktown and take advantage of the $76-to-$1 match, an unprecedented opportunity. Make your gift securely online today!


American Battlefield Trust

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