With all the activity of late, I almost forgot to highlight a preservation effort by the Civil War Trust at Chickamauga. The effort targets 109 acres around the site of Reed’s Bridge, where the battle’s first actions took place on September 18, 1863. As the historical articles on the Trust’s site indicate, this was an important clash that framed one of the war’s great battles. The action involved Federal cavalry under Colonel Robert Minty (the best cavalryman you’ve never heard of) and Confederate cavalry under Brigadier-General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Among the units deployed was the Chicago Board of Trade Battery, which was one of the best horse artillery batteries of the war. Some time back, Don wrote a nice post on the actions of the 4th US Cavalry in the fighting at Reed’s Bridge.
All good historical background and justification to preserve the site. As the Trust’s site also notes, the veterans recognized the significance of Reed’s Bridge and wanted it in the park’s original boundaries. That didn’t happen. So now over 100 years after the formation of the park, we have an opportunity to re-address that shortfall.
In recent days the Trust has announced they have made significant progress towards preserving Reed’s Bridge. The original price tag was $1.4 million. But as explained in Jim Lighthizer’s introduction to this effort, grants have set this up as a 10-to-1 donation match:
…thanks to a matching grant of $700,000 from the federal American Battlefield Protection Program, and wonderful grant from the Williams Family Foundation of Georgia, another generous grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation in Chattanooga, plus additional major gifts from other local organizations such as our friends at the Georgia Battlefields Association and a former member of our Board of Trustees…
… we already have $1,260,000 in matching funds lined up and ready to go – which gives us fully 90% of the total funds needed.
If you and I can raise the final 10% – just $140,000 – to leverage and unlock this tide of matching money, we will save the most important unprotected ground at the biggest and arguably one of the most important battlefields of the entire Civil War.
Now, the Trust is reporting they are only $23,000 short of their goal. Once again, the Trust is closing in on a significant preservation purchase. I urge you to consider contributing to this worthy effort.