25 Mar 2019

A Big Investment in American History: Saving Slaughter Pen Farm

A Big Investment in American History: Saving Slaughter Pen Farm

If there's one thing my passion for history and battlefield preservation has taught me, it's that some things are worth fighting for. And when you make sacrifices for one of those things, you never regret it. That's how I feel about the Trust's purchase of 208 acres at the Slaughter Pen Farm on the Fredericksburg battlefield back in 2006.

Zoned for industrial use, this farmland was described as "one of the best industrial sites" in Virginia when it went on the market in 2005. The land was priced at $12 million, money the Trust did not have. But we couldn't let this hallowed ground be destroyed.

You see, this is the place where more than half the casualties of the entire Battle of Fredericksburg were inflicted in just a few bloody hours. While the lopsided assaults on the Sunken Road at Marye's Heights tend to get more attention, the fighting on the southern end of the battlefield is where the Confederates suffered the majority of their casualties and where no less than five Medals of Honor were awarded for heroic actions.

A map showing Medal of Honor awarded on Slaughter Pen Farm land saved by the American Battlefield Trust

It so happens that on this day, 156 years ago, the very first Medals of Honor were presented to six individuals who fought in the Civil War. Since then, it has been used to bestow honor to American heroes who put country and cause above all in the face of combat. Brave individuals like these Medal of Honor recipients inspire us to pursue our mission today, at any cost.

And when we set out on our ambitious campaign to save the Slaughter Pen Farm at Fredericksburg, we knew the cards were stacked against us. To purchase this $12 million landmark property, we had to get a significant loan in addition to using the cash we had on hand and raising millions from our steadfast donors as well as our partners in preservation at the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust. By working together and drawing from multiple resources, we managed to meet this unprecedented preservation challenge.

Almost a decade later, we're nearly 75% of the way to the finish line thanks to the enduring generosity of our partners and supporters. But we're not there yet. Until the remaining debt of $3.3 million is paid off completely, this battlefield is not truly saved.

But there's good news. To meet our commitment of $300,000 for 2019, a dedicated battlefield preservationist (who wishes to remain anonymous) has agreed to match dollar-for-dollar every gift made by members like you up to $150,000! That means if just 1,500 of our members answer my call today with a gift of $100, we'll be one annual payment closer to saving this hallowed ground forever.

We've come so far together on this worthy endeavor. I hope that you will continue to build on your legacy at the Slaughter Pen Farm in Fredericksburg by making your most generous gift today.

Today is National Medal of Honor Day. You can explore the medals of honor that were earned on our Slaughter Pen Farm property at Fredericksburg. Or watch modern day Medal of Honor recipients walk the hallowed ground that the Trust has saved. Please help us get to the finish line to save this land, forever.


American Battlefield Trust

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