Over the last couple of weeks, the Civil War Trust has posted a flurry of press releases highlighting successful preservation efforts on Civil War Battlefields.
Back in August, the Trust announced an effort to purchase the ground at Reed’s Bridge on the Chickamauga battlefield. The price was $1.4 million for 109 acres, but after counting matching grants, the effort required just $140,000. Donations quickly closed that to just $23,000 in September. And on October 11, the Trust could announce this effort as a victory.
Another victory, also announced this month, was at Mill Springs, Kentucky. An effort to raise $832,000 for 95 acres of ground on that 1862 battlefield reached a successful conclusion, with the addition of $440,000 in private-sector donations. The victory was announced in a press conference at Mill Springs on October 21.
But, the Trust took that time to announce another effort at Mill Springs. South of the battlefield is the site of the Confederate winter campsites and final defensive line before retreating over the Cumberland River. This new effort aims to add 102 more acres to the nearly 600 already preserved on this battlefield. After matching grants, the Trust needs $361,475 to close this deal.
Back east, an effort to preserve 69 acres on three Richmond battlefields – Malvern Hill, Glendale, and First Deep Bottom - stands very close to completion. The Trust has 83% of its goal of $271,675 needed. Well on the way.
Another Eastern Theater preservation effort involves four battlefields of the 1862 Maryland Campaign. The Trust has a new effort aiming at four separate tracts of land, totaling 318 acres, on the Antietam, Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, and Shepherdstown battlefields. With an 11-to-1 match, the effort needs $197,500 for completion.
If you ask me, the best legacy we can leave behind from the Sesquicentennial is preserved battlefield lands. Those still around fifty years from now will thank us for our efforts to set aside these lands. Among the best gifts we can hand down are these grounds on which to study and contemplate the deeds of the past.