American Battlefield Trust


Walk the Perryville Battlefield with Actor Steve Zahn

As hundreds of American Battlefield Trust members and staff prepared to gather in Lexington, Kentucky for our Annual Conference in May, I was delighted to learn that actor Steve Zahn would be joining me to make a video for an incredible opportunity to save the proverbial "hole in the donut" at Perryville.Zahn, whom you might know from That Thing You Do, Sahara, Reality Bites, Rescue Dawn, Dallas Buyers Club, Saving Silverman and other films, lives near Lexington, and is not only a history nerd but a preservationist—with a penchant for Perryville. He had already helped the Perryville Battlefield Association in numerous ways.I spent several hours with Steve over the course of three days and I can tell you he knows his stuff and is super passionate about history and preservation. He needed no coaching as we walked the battlefield and he told me about which regiment or which battery fought where at which time of day! Throughout our discussions he marveled at the possibility of preserving this key tract of land.In

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Four Easy Steps to Make Preservation Your Legacy

Creating your estate plans may seem daunting at first.  In reality, creating your estate plan is not only important, but may also be easier than you think.By remembering the American Battlefield Trust in your estate plans, you create your own legacy of battlefield preservation. In just four easy steps you can leave a legacy gift to the Trust, and help ensure that future generations can visit America’s battlefields for years to come. Our planned giving staff are available to provide assistance and guidance every step along the way.If you have questions about making a legacy gift to the American Battlefield Trust, you can request free estate planning guides or contact our planned giving office directly at legacy@battlefields.org or (202) 367-1861 ex. 7219.Thank you for being a proponent of battlefield preservation.The Honor Guard is our legacy giving society for those who have included the American Battlefield Trust in their estate plans. To learn more about the Honor Guard, visit our website.DonateAmerica

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A Happy Independence Day: 94 Acres Saved at Saratoga and Newtown

243 years ago today, the Continental Congress representing all 13 American colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence to proclaim themselves independent from Great Britain. But gaining sovereignty wasn't as simple as declaring it - the colonies would have to fight for 5 more long years to gain their freedom from British rule.And fight they would. In Brooklyn. In Trenton. At Cowpens, Charleston and Yorktown. And at the Battles of Saratoga and Newtown in New York State, where Trust supporters like you can now declare victory on saving 94 acres of Revolutionary hallowed ground.Thanks to the generosity of modern-day patriots, these 94 acres will help generations present and future better understand the rich, complex story of our nation's founding. Just like those brave citizen soldiers who risked life and limb to make the Declaration of Independence more than words, you keep fighting to preserve our country's legacy.I truly can't thank you enough for your continued dedication to this cause. I hope this Inde

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The Legacy You’ve Built at Gettysburg

In 1890, 27 years after the devastating battle that some see as the turning point of the Civil War, Senator Joseph Hawley of Connecticut described the potential of a national park at Gettysburg to “offer the grandest study in the world for students of the military art, and for lovers of patriotism and admirers of magnificent valor.” Five years later, Gettysburg National Military Park was born — but the work was just beginning.From dance pavilions to train tracks, Gettysburg has faced some of the most destructive and invasive examples of development of any battlefield in America. As the scene of the largest battle ever fought in North America, perhaps it's not surprising that Gettysburg's fame sometimes makes it a target for exploitation. From 1972 to 2000, the 307-foot National Tower stood on private land on Cemetery Hill, spoiling the battlefield viewshed. In 2005 and again just a few years later, the Trust joined forces with local residents to block attempts to build a casino near the park.Fortunately, supp

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Today’s Lesson in Never Giving Up Hope: 42 Acres at Stones River

Have you ever found something that you thought you had lost forever? Perhaps a photograph, a letter, a piece of jewelry, or something else of great value to you?If so, then you know exactly how I feel at this moment about the 42-acre tract we have a chance to preserve on the Stones River Battlefield (a.k.a. Murfreesboro) in Tennessee. The parcel is in the core of the fighting and, if saved, would help to connect two widely separated wings of the battlefield that are already protected by the National Park Service. On this land, the soldiers closed out a bloody 1862 and entered the new year with three days of fighting and nearly 25,000 casualties. The Union's strategic victory at Stones River set the stage for campaigns into the heart of the Confederacy, while providing a much-needed northern morale boost.We've had our eye on this particular tract for years, but when a private company purchased it for development, we thought all hope was lost.Fortunately, we were wrong. The company that bought the tract, O'Reil

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America’s Burning History Questions, Answered by Our Experts

How do you fire a Civil War cannon? What is a casualty of war? Did African Americans fight in the Civil War?These are just a few of the American history questions we hear time and again, online and off. If you’re passionate about history, as so many of our supporters are, you might be surprised to learn that many people turn to YouTube to get their questions answered.Frequent questions about these common topics are why we publish articles like Civil War Quick Facts and 10 Facts: What Everyone Should Know About the Civil War — and why in the last year those two articles combined were viewed almost a million times (with the average visitor spending more than five minutes on the page!).Today, we’re launching Battlefield U to reach even more people with accurate information about our nation’s first century. This new YouTube video series will provide lightning-strike answers to common questions about American history, from the American Revolution through the Civil War.Each video tackles one question in about a min

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156th Anniversary: Brandy Station

One hundred fifty-six years ago, on June 9, 1863, Brandy Station became the site of the first engagement of the storied Gettysburg Campaign – and the location of the largest cavalry battle ever fought in any war waged on this continent. More than 20,000 Americans in blue and in gray clashed in Culpeper County, Va., that day, including atop Fleetwood Hill, the battle's epicenter, which has since been preserved, restored and interpreted by the American Battlefield Trust.On Friday, June 7, the American Battlefield Trust and the Brandy Station and Cedar Mountain State Park Alliance partnered with the Liberty Rifles to place 500 luminaries along the full length of the Fleetwood Hill interpretive trail, with the event and many moving images from it featured in the Culpeper Star-Exponent on Sunday to coincide with the exact date of the battle anniversary.Additional images from Friday's event, courtesy of award-winning photographer Buddy Secor, can be viewed here. We are grateful to the Fredericksburg National Cemete

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Celebrating Father's Day

Was there a father in your life who helped inspire your love of history? Maybe it was your dad, your great uncle, a teacher or that wise veteran who lived next door. Maybe he told you stories, gave you a treasured book or took you to your first battlefield. Whomever you're picturing, you can be sure he would understand the value of preserving the hallowed grounds that define our history.This Father's Day, honor a father by making a donation to save a battlefield or support a history educator. Then, choose one of our e-cards to share your gift with the father you are honoring or his family!We are currently working to save 73 acres at Shiloh and South Mountain, 31 Revolutionary War acres in the Carolinas and 143 acres at the Plank Farm in Gettysburg. Does the father in your life have a connection to one of these places? Did you visit one of them together as a child? You can also support U.S. history education by sponsoring a teacher to attend our National Teacher Institute in his name.When you make a contributi

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Save Hallowed Ground at the Plank Farm at Gettysburg

Have you ever considered how much history took place at any given family farm on a Civil War battlefield? Take, for instance, the Plank Farm at the Battle of Gettysburg. From the arrival of Union reinforcements under General John Reynolds on the morning of July 1 to the burial of more than 60 fallen soldiers long after the armies departed, this once-ordinary land witnessed every stage of an incredibly consequential moment in our nation's history.Today, we have the chance to help save 143 acres at this critical site. While the full value of the transaction is $435,000, thanks to federal and local grant sources and a generous landowner donation, the Trust only needs to raise $40,000 to meet our commitment – which means every $1 you invest in this property is matched up to $10.88! This transaction is truly a team effort, with the Trust joining forces with the Land Conservancy of Adams County and other partners.By securing this land now, you are proactively protecting this part of the battlefield from the spread

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Remembering Waxhaws: Defeat on the Road to Victory

239 years ago today, Banastre Tarleton with his British Legion and Dragoons caught up with Abraham Buford and a column of Patriots in a place called Waxhaws, on the border of North and South Carolina. There, a small but brutal battle would have a huge impact on the outcome of the American Revolution.On the heels of a British victory at Charleston, Tarleton’s force marched more than 105 miles in 54 hours in pursuit of Buford’s retreating troops. Buford had been on his way to reinforce Charleston but turned back when he learned that the six-week siege there had ended in Patriot surrender.Overtaking Buford by the afternoon of May 29, Tarleton sent Captain David Kinlock to demand Buford’s surrender. Tarleton’s message stated, “Resistance being vain, to prevent the effusion of human blood, I make offers which can never be repeated.” Buford is reported to have responded, “I reject your proposals, and shall defend myself to the last extremity.” Ordering his heavy baggage and weapons to continue moving northward, Buf

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Rise and Fight Again for Southern Revolutionary History

"We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again."– Major General Nathanael GreeneAs our work on the Liberty Trail gains momentum, it becomes higher priority to focus on battlefields that will make this virtual tour of Revolutionary history so meaningful.Southern Campaign battleground is often available at an incredible value.To put it plainly, many of the best-known battles of the American Revolution were fought in densely developed northeastern states where property is at a premium. While important battlefield land remains to be saved in these places, prices are high, and acreage is often very small.In the Southern Campaign, it is just the opposite. Not only are there hundreds or even thousands of acres of battlefield land still to be saved, but those acres are much more affordable, meaning your donation dollar will have an exponentially greater impact.Which brings me to the land at stake today. This excellent opportunity involves tracts in both Carolinas – one at Hanging Rock in South Carolina, the other at Guil

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Spark a Lifelong Love of History

A recent study concerning education in America asked participants to use one word to describe their experience in a history classroom. "Boring" was the single most frequent descriptor used by the respondents.If you are anything like us, you'll agree that the story of America is far from boring, and a strong classroom experience is fundamental to a lifelong love of history. Without history education, many of you would not have found the spark which ignited your passion for the past, and for battlefield preservation.So, how do we spark this same interest in the next generation of students? We do it by making history fun, relevant and engaging—and we start with the people who are educating our kids—teachers. If we can provide educators with innovative ways to teach this vital subject, they will have a dramatic impact in the classroom.For the past 19 years, the American Battlefield Trust has hosted our annual National Teacher Institute—a free event for K-12 educators, sponsored by members like you. At the Institu

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Remembering "Stonewall" Jackson: The Man and the Myth

156 years ago today, Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson succumbed to pneumonia a week after leading his men in an audacious flank attack at the Battle of Chancellorsville. During that fateful battle, Jackson had been accidentally fired upon by his own men. After the amputation of his left arm, Jackson was transported 27 miles south to the rail depot at Guinea Station. After arriving at Guinea Station, Jackson and his staff were made aware that the tracks to Richmond had been torn up by the general's West Point roommate and Union cavalry commander George Stoneman. Jackson spent the last six days of his life in the office building of Thomas Coleman Chandler's sprawling plantation—Fairfield. At 3:15 on the afternoon of May 10, 1863, with his wife and members of his staff by his side, the 39-year-old Jackson uttered his final words. "Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees."Between his humble roots, battlefield glory, evocative nickname and untimely death, Jackson's mythical status as

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Save Hallowed Ground at Four Civil War Battlefields

I don't know if you prefer studying or visiting the battlefields in the East or the West — but today, we've got you covered either way.In the East, Reams Station and The Breakthrough at Petersburg, Virginia. In the West, Champion Hill in Mississippi and Jackson (or Salem Cemetery) in Tennessee.These 226 acres span four Civil War battlefields and are valued at $1,350,000 total. Fortunately, thanks to some amazing matching opportunities, we can save them all for $180,500, a $7.48-to-$1 multiplier of your generosity.That's the good news. The bad news is that each of these projects has a different closing date between now and the end of 2019, with the first of those dates only two months away — so we need to move quickly to save these properties.You can visit our website to learn the history of these four properties but allow me to whet your appetite with a few recurring themes. Supply lines. Devastatingly effective sieges. Triumph in the face of incredible odds. And Union General Ulysses S. Grant.These four trac

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Next Stop on the Liberty Trail: Victory at Hanging Rock

More great news about our endeavor to secure South Carolina's awesome and underappreciated Revolutionary history: thanks to you and your fellow Liberty Trailblazers, 18 acres at Hanging Rock will be forever preserved from development. These 18 acres include 15.5 acres from a Southern Campaign effort a couple of years back and an additional 2.4 acres from this year.Hanging Rock was an outpost established by the British during the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War. As the site of a small but consequential Patriot victory on August 6, 1780, Hanging Rock is one of 16 primary battlefields selected for the first phase of the Liberty Trail, a mobile-based tour and driving route that will use cutting-edge technology to connect and tell the stories of the most important Revolutionary War battlefields of South Carolina.Please visit our website to learn more about the importance of the Battle of Hanging Rock to American independence and stay tuned for updates on how you can help shine a much-needed historical s

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