Gettysburg, Antietam, Manassas, Fort Sumter are all names of historic Civil War battlefields familiar to many Americans. It was these hallowed grounds that saw the bloodiest war our nation has ever fought. It is on these hallowed grounds that the most tragic history of our country was written.
In 2010, the country was losing battlegrounds at a rate of 12 hectares per day. To counter that, the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) is working to save these important lands by giving grants to help states and local communities acquire and preserve threatened Civil War battlefield land outside the boundaries of National Park units.
On January 22, 2013, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis announced the award of more than $1.8 million in grants to help with 310.79 acres of land acquisition at six Civil War battlefields.
“We are pleased to provide this grant funding so that our state, local and private preservation partners can protect these important American landscapes in their communities,” said Director Jarvis. “The preservation of Civil War battlefields will allow future generations of Americans the opportunity to understand the important role these sites played in our nation’s history.”
ABPP grant projects can be fee simple or easement purchases. Fee simple transactions are when the land changes ownership, either by sale or donation. A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and an eligible organization (qualified land trust or state entity) that limits activities on the land to protect its conservation values. The landowner still retains ownership of the property, but the permanent easement protects the land from future development.
The sites chosen to receive funds are: Mansfield, Louisiana (.79 acres/fee simple/$40,900); Appomattox Court House (49 acres/fee simple/ $139,528); Virginia; Cedar Mountain, Virginia (4 acres/fee simple/$129,309); Chancellorsville, Virginia (81 acres/fee simple/ $289,999); Sailor’s Creek, Virginia (126 acres/ easement and fee simple/$106,042); and Buckland Mills, Virginia (50 acres/ easement/$1,160,000).
Consideration is given to battlefields listed in the National Park Service’s Civil War Sites Advisory Commission Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields (CWSAC Report). The money was made available by the Appropriations Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-74), which appropriated $8,985,600 for the Civil War battlefield land acquisition grants program. The funds were awarded based on the property’s location within CWSAC-defined core and/or study areas, the threat to the battlefield land to be acquired, and the availability of required non-Federal matching funds.
Applications for the balance of the funds are accepted at any time. Criteria to consider in the applying for the Civil War Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants include:
—The LWCF Civil War Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants are awarded through a competitive process to units of state and local governments.
—Private non-profit groups may apply in partnership with state or local government sponsors;
—Each grant requires a dollar-for-dollar non-Federal match.
—Grants are available for the fee simple acquisition of land, or for the acquisition of permanent, protective interests in land at Civil War battlefields listed in the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission's (CWSAC) 1993 Report on the Nation's Civil War Battlefields.
—Higher consideration will be given to proposals for acquisition of endangered lands at battlefields defined as Priority I or II sites in the CWSAC report.
Complete guidelines for grant eligibility and application forms are available online.
For further information, contact Kristen McMasters, Grants Manager, at 202-354-2037 or [email protected].