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Civil War Trust

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Subject: Siege of Vicksburg, Battle of Gettysburg, Battle of Chickamauga, Battle of Shiloh, Battle of Antietam
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Civil War Trust

The Civil War Trust
Founded 1999
Focus American Civil War battlefields
  • Washington, D.C.
Area served
United States
Method Land preservation
"nearly 200,000 members and supporters"[1]
Key people
Jim Lighthizer, President
$26,997,468 (2013)[1]
Slogan "Saving America's Civil War Battlefields"

The Civil War Trust is a charitable organization (501(c)(3)) whose primary focus is in the preservation of American Civil War battlefields. The Civil War Trust also promotes educational programs and heritage tourism initiatives to inform the public of the war's history and the fundamental conflicts that sparked it.


  • History 1
  • Civil War Trust's preservation methods 2
  • Battlefield preservation achievements 3
  • The Civil War Trust's grassroots activities 4
    • No Casino Gettysburg 4.1
    • Chancellorsville rezoning 4.2
    • Morris Island 4.3
    • Stop the Wilderness Walmart 4.4
  • Educational Programs 5
  • Organization 6
  • Awards 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Logo of the Civil War Preservation Trust, a name used until 2011.

The modern Civil War battlefield preservation movement was first undertaken by the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (APCWS), which was founded in 1987.[2] APCWS not only protected thousands of acres of battlefields from destruction, but offered educational tours and seminars with prominent historians.

The Civil War Trust, another non-profit focused on preserving Civil War battlefields, was formed in 1991. The Civil War Trust helped save 6,700 acres (27 km2) of land in the eight years of its existence and conducted education and heritage tourism programs to educate the public about the significance of the war and the vital importance of battlefield preservation.

The Civil War Preservation Trust was created on November 19, 1999, through the merger of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (APCWS) with the Civil War Trust. The merger, which was propelled by a unanimous vote of both boards, was effected in order to streamline and strengthen efforts to protect America's most endangered parcels of Civil War history. On January 11, 2011, the Civil War Preservation Trust shortened its name to the Civil War Trust, and added a new logo.[3]

On November 11, 2014 (Veterans Day), the Trust partnered with the Society of the Cincinnati to launch "Campaign 1776", a subsidiary project designed to protect endangered battlefields from the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Federal matching grants for this program were enacted by Congress in December 2014.[4]

The President of the Civil War Trust is O. James Lighthizer, a former Maryland county executive and Secretary of Transportation who pioneered the concept of using Transportation Enhancement highway funds to protect thousands of acres of Civil War battlefield land in Maryland.[3]

Since its formation, the Civil War Trust has grown to nearly 200,000 members and supporters and has permanently saved more than 40,000 acres (160 km2) of American Civil War battlefield land.[5]

Civil War Trust's preservation methods

Antietam Battlefield, Maryland

The Civil War Trust is a membership-driven organization that uses donated funds to protect Civil War battlefield land. Land is acquired by the Civil War Trust from private sector parties at fair market value or by donation. Once land is acquired, the Civil War Trust is responsible for land stewardship and interpretation, often with assistance from local governments and other preservation groups.

In cases where a landowner wants to retain ownership the Civil War Trust can arrange a conservation easement to protect their property. Conservation easements ensure that the property remains free of development in future years.

In its effort to preserve Civil War battlefields, the Civil War Trust attempts to leverage federal and state programs designed to foster preservation of historic and natural resources. The primary source of federal support for the preservation of Civil War battlefields is the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program (CWBPP), administered by the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP), an office of the National Park Service. CWBPP is designed to promote the preservation of significant Civil War battlefields by offering competitive matching grants for qualifying preservation opportunities.[6] Other federal sources include the Transportation Enhancement program and the Farm and Ranch Protection Program. The Civil War Trust has also leveraged funds made available by state and local governments.

Battlefield preservation achievements

The Civil War Trust has preserved more than 40,000 acres (160 km2) of Civil War battlefields at more than 120 Civil War battlefields in 20 different states within the United States.[5]

Key battlefield preservation achievements include:

Jim Lighthizer at Slaughter Pen Farm
The campaign to preserve the 208-acre (0.84 km2) Slaughter Pen Farm is the most expensive private battlefield preservation effort in American history.[7] the Civil War Trust, working in partnership with Tricord, Inc., SunTrust Bank, and the Central Virginia Battlefield Trust, was able to purchase the property for $12 million in 2006. To support the preservation efforts at the Slaughter Pen Farm the Department of the Interior awarded a $2 million CWBPP grant based on the significance of the land and the availability of non-federal matching funds. The Slaughter Pen Farm was the largest remaining unprotected part of the Fredericksburg Battlefield. It is also the only place on the battlefield where a visitor can still follow the Union assault from beginning to end.
In October 2010, the Civil War Trust announced a new and ambitious campaign to save 49-acre (0.20 km2) of the Wilderness Battlefield in Orange County, Virginia. This Middlebrook Tract includes the eastern edge of Saunders Field and land associated with the May 6, 1864 flank attack by Confederate forces under John B. Gordon. Historian and author Gordon Rhea stated that this land "witnessed some of the Wilderness' most brutal combat". After reaching its $1,085,000 fundraising goal in under three months, the Trust acted as a steward for the land until May 2014, when it was transferred to Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Building on this success, in 2011, the Trust was also able to secure a 49 acres (0.20 km2) parcel that was the site of Union commander Ulysses S. Grant's daytime headquarters during the fighting.[8]
While the Richmond, Virginia, suburbs remain a prime area for development, the Civil War Trust has made significant strides at the Glendale battlefield, preserving 319 acres (1.29 km2) in 2007 and 675 acres (2.73 km2) overall. Over 80 percent of the battlefield is now preserved. When combined with previous efforts at nearby Malvern Hill, the Civil War Trust has now created a three mile (5 km)-long continuous corridor of protected battlefield.[9]
Unique preservation strategies allowed the Civil War Trust to protect 144 acres (0.58 km2) at the heart of the Champion Hill battlefield in 2007. This key portion of the field is still owned by the Champion family, for whom the area and the battle were named, but now is also under conservation easement. As a result, the Champion family will maintain ownership of their historic land, while ensuring that their intentions of seeing it protected are realized in perpetuity.
As the United States marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh, the Civil War Trust announced it had the opportunity to purchase a 504-acre (2.04 km2) property on and around Shiloh Hill, including significant frontage on the Tennessee River. After completing a $1.25 million fundraising campaign, the Trust swiftly deeded the land to Shiloh National Military Park, the largest addition to the park since it was founded in 1894. Cumulatively, the Trust has protected 1,160 acres (4.7 km2) at Shiloh, much of which has been integrated into the national park.
CWPT Preserved Land at Chancellorsville
The Civil War Trust has a record of working with preservation-friendly developers to protect battlefield land. In 2004, the Civil War Trust worked with Spotsylvania County officials and family-owned Tricord, Inc., to protect 134 acres (0.54 km2) of land associated with the First Day at Chancellorsville Battlefield. Two years later, a similar deal was worked out with Spotsylvania County and Toll Brothers, Inc. to protect another 74 acres (0.30 km2) of this historic battleground.[10] Thanks to these efforts, more than 2 miles (3.2 km) of contiguous battlefield land along the historic Orange Turnpike have been preserved.
In addition to its efforts at the First Day at Chancellorsville site, the Civil War Trust has helped protect an additional 108 acres (0.44 km2) at Chancellorsville, including 85 acres (0.34 km2) on the site of Stonewall Jackson's famous flank attack.
The Civil War Trust has been an active participant in a wide variety of projects at the Gettysburg Battlefield, leading to the protection of 943 acres (3.82 km2). Most recently, in July 2014, the Trust announced one of the most ambitious projects in its history: a $5.5 million national fundraising campaign to acquire a 4.14-acre (0.0168 km2) site that witnessed some of the heaviest fighting of July 1, 1863, and includes the Mary Thompson house, where Gen. Robert E. Lee made his headquarters during the battle. Previous high profile projects at Gettysburg in which the Trust was involved include the purchase of the 145-acre (0.59 km2) Daniel Lady Farm and the former Gettysburg Country Club, 95 acres (0.38 km2). The organization has also saved a significant amount of land associated with strategic cavalry actions: 283 acres (1.15 km2) at East Cavalry Field and 114 acres (0.46 km2) at Fairfield. A number of other transactions, while small individually, have made a visible difference in the status of preservation at the park, as they allowed for landscape restoration at critical vistas.

As of late 2014, the Civil War Trust has preserved battlefield land at the following sites:[9]

The Civil War Trust's grassroots activities

A Billboard Drawing Attention to the Proposed Casino at Gettysburg

To further its aim of preserving American Civil War battlefields, the Civil War Trust has engaged in a wide range of grassroots and community outreach efforts.

No Casino Gettysburg

The Gettysburg Battlefield has faced two separate threats from proposed casinos.

In 2005 a proposal was put forward to build a casino with 3,000 slot machines less than a mile from the Gettysburg Battlefield. Soon after the proposal was announced, the Civil War Trust joined forces with a local concerned citizens group called No Casino Gettysburg to advocate against the proposal. Later, the Civil War Trust formed the Stop the Slots Coalition, a collection of national and local groups opposed to the casino.

As a result of these grassroots efforts, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted on December 20, 2006, to reject the Gettysburg casino proposal.[12]

In 2010 a new Gettysburg Casino application was filed and the Civil War Trust, with a broad coalition of partners, undertook a successful campaign to prevent approval of this new application. Nearly 300 prominent historians wrote to the Pennsylvania Gaming Board, urging the rejection of the application. Susan Eisenhower, Emmy award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough, Medal of Honor recipient Paul W. Bucha, composer John Williams, and actors Matthew Broderick, Stephen Lang (actor), and Sam Waterston were all featured in a Jeff Griffiths produced video declaring their opposition to the proposed Gettysburg casino.[13]

On April 14, 2011, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted to reject this second proposal to bring casino gambling to the doorstep of Gettysburg National Military Park.[14]

Chancellorsville rezoning

In May 2002, a regional developer announced a plan to build 2,300 houses and 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2) of commercial space on the 790-acre (3.2 km2) Mullins Farm, site of the first day of fighting at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Soon thereafter, the Civil War Trust formed the Coalition to Save Chancellorsville, a network of national and local preservation groups, that waged a vocal campaign against the development.

For nearly a year, the Coalition mobilized local citizens, held candlelight vigils and hearings, and encouraged residents to become more involved in preservation. Public opinion polling conducted by the Coalition found that more than two-thirds of local residents opposed the development. The survey also found that 90 percent of local residents believed their county has a responsibility to protect Chancellorsville and other historic resources.

As a result of these efforts, in March 2003 the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors denied the rezoning application that would have allowed for the development of the site.[15] Immediately following the vote, the Civil War Trust and other Coalition members began working to acquire the battlefield. By working with county officials and developers, the Civil War Trust acquired 140 acres (0.57 km2) in 2004 and another 74 acres (0.30 km2) in 2006.[10]

Morris Island

With the help of the Civil War Trust, the Morris Island Coalition was formed in early 2004 to oppose development on historic Morris Island outside Charleston, South Carolina. Morris Island was the scene of the charge of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry on Fort Wagner, famously depicted in the film Glory.

The Coalition, led by local resident Blake Hallman, was very successful in generating local government support for preservation of Morris Island.[16] Press reaction was favorable as well, and public opinion polls found that an overwhelming number of Charleston residents wanted to see the barrier island remain undeveloped. Hallman earned the Civil War Trust's "Preservationist of the Year" award for his efforts to save Morris Island.[17]

At one time, development plans called for a 20-unit luxury house development on Cummings Point (the site of Fort Wagner). In early 2005, the landowner tried unsuccessfully to sell the property on eBay. At the end of 2005, a preservation-friendly developer acquired the property. He later agreed to sell it to the Trust for Public Land (TPL) for preservation purposes a few months later.

In 2008, the Civil War Trust engaged in fundraising efforts in support of the State of South Carolina, City of Charleston, and the Trust for Public Land's $3m effort that would preserve an additional 117 acres (0.47 km2) of Morris Island.

Stop the Wilderness Walmart

Together with the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Piedmont Environmental Council, the National Parks Conservation Association, Preservation Virginia and a group of concerned local residents, the Civil War Trust opposed the construction of a Walmart Supercenter on the Wilderness Battlefield in Orange County, Virginia. Following a nationwide outcry from preservationists and historians alike, Walmart Stores, Inc. announced in January 2011 that it had "decided to preserve" rather than develop the historic site where local officials had given the company permission to construct its newest superstore in 2009. Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian James McPherson had identified the site as part of "the nerve center of the Union Army during the Battle of the Wilderness."

Civil War Trust President Jim Lighthizer praised Walmart's decision, noting that founder Sam Walton, a veteran of the Second World War, would have been "proud" of his company's move to preserve the hallowed ground. "We stand ready to work with Walmart to put this controversy behind us and protect the battlefield from further encroachment," Lighthizer stated. "We firmly believe that preservation and progress need not be mutually exclusive, and welcome Walmart as a thoughtful partner in efforts to protect the Wilderness Battlefield."[18] in November 2013, Walmart donated the historic site comprising more than 50 acres (0.20 km2) to the Commonwealth of Virginia.[19]

Educational Programs

Volunteers Help Clean up the Battlefields on Park Day

In addition to preserving Civil War battlefield land, the Civil War Trust conducts programs designed to inform the public about the events and consequences of the Civil War, foster an understanding of the need for preservation, and create a personal connection to the past.

  • – The Civil War Trust's web site provides comprehensive American Civil War educational information, including numerous battle maps, primary sources, lesson plans, photos, animated maps, and 360° panoramic battlefield views.
  • Hallowed Ground – the Civil War Trust's quarterly magazine, includes articles on history, preservation techniques and upcoming events.
  • Civil War Trust Teacher Institute Series – The Civil War Trust conducts an annual event featuring teacher workshops and visits to Civil War battlefields, as well as regional sessions focusing on resources available locally.
  • Public Education – the Civil War Trust maintains a two-week curriculum for use in classrooms.[20]
  • Civil War Battle Apps – GPS-enabled battlefield touring applications for smartphones and other mobile devices.
  • Civil War Discovery Trail – a heritage tourism initiative that links more than 600 Civil War sites in 32 states,[21] and promotes visitation through themed itineraries; it is one of the White House Millennium Council's sixteen flagship National Millennium Trails.
  • Battlefield Interpretation – The Civil War Trust works to interpret many of the battlefields that it saves with wayside exhibits, walking trails, and smartphone GPS-enabled battlefield touring applications.
  • Park Day – The Civil War Trust's annual volunteer clean-up day for the Civil War Sites throughout the United States.
  • Teacher and Student Programs – The Civil War Trust hosts numerous contests, workshops, and programs for students and teachers. The Field Trip Fund helps send classrooms to visit historic sites in person.


The Civil War Trust is located in Washington, D.C., with a field office in Hagerstown, Maryland.

The President of the Civil War Trust is O. James Lighthizer. Lighthizer was a former partner, Miles and Stockbridge; former Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, Anne Arundel County Executive, and member of the Maryland General Assembly.[22]

In December 1999, Mr. Lighthizer accepted the presidency of Civil War Preservation Trust, a new organization created by the merger of two other national battlefield preservation groups, the Civil War Trust and the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites. Mr. Lighthizer had previously served as a member of the Civil War Trust's Board of Trustees.

When Lighthizer became president at CWPT in 1999, the fledgling organization had 22,000 members and its predecessor organizations had protected 7,500 acres (30 km2) in the previous 13 years. During Lighthizer's tenure as President of the CWPT and the Civil War Trust, the group has added more than 32,500 acres (132 km2) of protected land, and now boasts 200,000 members and supporters nationwide.[1] Lighthizer was also the architect of the 2006 rescue of the Slaughter Pen Farm on the Fredericksburg Battlefield, the most expensive private battlefield preservation effort in American history.[22]

The chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Civil War Trust is Michael Grainger, elected in May 2013. Grainger is a graduate of the University of Montevallo in Alabama, and former president and chief operating officer of Ingram Micro, Inc., the world's largest wholesale technology products distributor.[23]

To commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, in 2011 the Trust began a significant fundraising initiative. By April 2014, the organization had met the initial $40 million fundraising goal of Campaign 150: Our Time, Our Legacy more than a year early, and had chosen to raise their goal to an unprecedented $50 million.[24]


The Civil War Trust was a recipient of a 4-Star award from

  • The Civil War Trust website
  • Civil War Battlefield Preservation FAQs
  • History Under Siege: Most Endangered Civil War Battlefields Report for 2010
  • Washington Post Magazine Feature on CWPT & Jim Lighthizer
  • Civil War Trust's Battle Apps program for iPhone and iPod Touches
  • Blue, Gray, and Green: A Battlefield Benefits Guide for Community Leaders
  • Civil War Discovery Trail website
  • Gambling with History – New York Times
  • National Geographic Magazine, April 2005 – Civil War Battlefields: Saving the Landscape of America's Deadliest War
  • Manassas Rescue Fueled Preservation Movement

External links

  1. ^ a b c Annual ReportCivil War Trust 2013 , accessed July 12, 2014
  2. ^ Bob Zeller, The Birth of the Civil War Trust
  3. ^ a b Civil War Trust History
  4. ^ "Historians and Preservation Groups Announce Landmark National Campaign to Save Revolutionary War Battlefields", November 11, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "Completion of North Anna Acquisition Pushes Civil War Trust Past 40,000 Acre Milestone", January 24, 2014.
  6. ^ National Park Service description of the ABPP program
  7. ^ Interior Secretary Announces $2 Million Grant For Historic Slaughter Pen Farm; $2m Federal Money Goes to Slaughter Pen Farm – Civil War News, December 2006
  8. ^ "Overland Campaign Anniversary Begins with Expansion of Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park", May 3, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Civil War Trust, "Battlefield Land We've Saved", accessed July 12, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Spotsy board vote brings cheers – The Free Lance Star November 15, 2006
  11. ^ "Civil War Trust Celebrates Another Successful Year for Battlefield Preservation", January 7, 2015.
  12. ^ Casino Group Rolls Snake Eyes in Bid for Gettysburg Site – ABC News
  13. ^ Our Gettysburg Legacy – Civil War Trust Online Video
  14. ^ "Proposed Gettysburg Casino Location Rejected by Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board"
  15. ^ Board OKs Plan That Will Save 143 Acres At Chancellorsville – Civil War News
  16. ^ Morris Island plan faces major foe – Charleston Post & Courier
  17. ^ Great day for Morris Island – Charleston Post & Courier
  18. ^ CWPT's Campaign to Stop the Wilderness Walmart
  19. ^ , November 10, 2013.Washington Post"Wilderness Battlefield land donated by Wal-Mart",
  20. ^ Civil War Trust's Civil War Curriculum
  21. ^ Civil War Discovery Trail Website
  22. ^ a b Lighthizer background, CWT Website, accessed July 12, 2014.
  23. ^ Civil War Trust board of trustees website, accessed May 20, 2014; Bloomberg Businessweek article on Grainger, accessed July 12, 2014.
  24. ^ "Initial Target Achieved, Civil War Trust Announces $50 Million Stretch Goal for Campaign 150", April 10, 2014.
  25. ^ Charity Navigator Report on the Civil War Preservation Trust
  26. ^ "Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance"
  27. ^ "Civil War Preservation Trust Receives Interior Department's Partner in Conservation Award"
  28. ^ "Hallowed Ground Magazine Wins Sixth Consecutive Apex Grand Award For Publication Excellence", July 14, 2014.
  29. ^ "Wide Awake Films Wins Silver Telly Award for Production of Battle of Gettysburg Animated Map", April 24, 2014.


The Trust's Gettysburg Animated Map, produced by Wide Awake Films, received a 2014 Silver Telly Award in the Online/Historical Programs category.[29]

The Civil War Trust's membership magazine, Hallowed Ground, has received the APEX Grand Award for Publication Excellence every year since 2009.[28]

The Civil War Trust was awarded the "Partner in Conservation Award" by the United States Department of the Interior in 2010.[27]

The Civil War Trust received a 2012 accreditation from the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance.[26]


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