8 Nov 2018

Four States. Five Civil War Battlefields. Save 317 Acres Today

It may feel like 2018 is already drawing to a close – but we have something big to accomplish before it does. Right now, we have the chance to save 317 acres spanning 5 Civil War battlefields in 4 states!

Here are the details about the tracts we need to protect this year.

6 acres at the Wilson's Creek Battlefield, Missouri

The History: Wilson's Creek was among the first battles of the Civil War, fought on August 10, 1861, just weeks after First Bull Run. Here, Nathaniel Lyon became the first Union general killed in combat when he was shot in the chest while trying to rally his outnumbered soldiers.
The Opportunity: The addition of this small tract will get us one giant step closer to being able to declare this battlefield fully saved!

59 acres at Fort Blakeley, Alabama

The History: Many have called the Battle of Fort Blakeley on April 9, 1865, "the last stand of the Confederate States." After a week-long siege, the Confederates laid down their arms just a few hours after General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox.
The Opportunity: Much of Fort Blakeley has been preserved, but the most significant area of combat, where African American (U.S.C.T.) soldiers overran Confederate defenses, is still unprotected. Confederate trenches, gun emplacements, batteries, and other landmarks are prominent and intact, but the property's location high on a scenic bluff overlooking the Delta puts it at high risk of development.

201 acres at the Rappahannock Station Battlefield, Virginia

The History: Two battles were fought on this land, the first in August of 1862, the second on November 7, 1863. The latter, much larger battle was fought directly on this tract, when the entire Army of the Potomac quickly advanced south in a daring attack on the entire Army of Northern Virginia. Confederate artillery fired into the attackers, but the Federal charge carried the day. Retreating Confederates fell back to the south, leaving many dead and wounded lying upon the shell-torn ground.
The Opportunity: Historian Clark “Bud” Hall tells us that from March 1862 to May 1864, this ground was “fought over, marched over, and camped upon almost continuously.” Wartime trenches are still evident today near the river and it's likely that the remains of fallen soldiers rest throughout these 201 acres that the Trust has a chance to acquire.

51 acres at Averasboro and Bentonville, North Carolina

The History: Union troops under General William T. Sherman faced Confederates first at Averasboro on March 16th, 1865, then again at Bentonville, where fighting raged over thousands of acres and three bloody days. These two battles marked the end of significant fighting in the Carolinas.
The Opportunity: Together, we have already saved nearly 2,400 acres at these two 1865 battlefields. At Averasboro, we're looking to save two contiguous tracts totaling 49 acres at the northern end of the battlefield near a significant landmark known as “The Ravine,” where Union soldiers entered a deep ravine intending to sneak up on their Confederate foes. (Instead, they became trapped and were easy targets for General Joseph Wheeler's dismounted cavalry.) At Bentonville, a two-acre addition to the 1,861 acres we've already protected will bring us one small but significant step closer to saving this crucial part of our history forever.
These 317 acres of hallowed ground represent key puzzle pieces to help us better understand a conflict that claimed more than 600,000 American lives and continues to captivate us today.

These tracts are within our grasp thanks to federal and state matching-grants, a landowner donation, and large gifts from fellow donors. The original value of the five transactions combined would be $4,460,280 – a hefty lift for our organization. Fortunately, these generous matching funds will allow us to save all 317 acres for just $136,222. That means every $1.00 you can commit today, I can multiply into $32.74.

I hope you'll join us in taking advantage of this opportunity to safeguard priceless American history. Please visit our website to learn more about these 5 battlefields and donate to preserve them today.

Take a look at the parcels we are trying to save on our battle maps for Wilson's Creek, Rappahannock Station, Bentonville, Averasboro, and Fort Blakeley.

American Battlefield Trust

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