National Park Service awards more than  $4.6 million to protect battlefields

More than $4.6 million in grants have been released by the National Park Service to help protect 783 acres in battlefields in Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia that are threatened with damage or destruction by suburban development.

The American Battlefield Protection Program’s Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant program provides up to 50 percent in matching funds for state and local governments to acquire and preserve threatened Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War battlefield land through the purchase of land in fee simple and permanent, protective interests in land. Eligible battlefields are listed in the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission’s 1993 “Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields” and the 2007 “Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States.”

Here’s a look at where the grants went:

Kentucky

Grantee: Boyle County Fiscal Court

Land Acquired: Perryville Battlefield, White Tract, 128.5 acres (Fee Simple) to be transferred to Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site

Project Partner: American Battlefield Trust and Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Parks

Amount: $520,261.50

The Battle of Perryville (also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills) was fought on October 8, 1862, in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky, as the culmination of the Confederate Heartland Offensive (Kentucky Campaign) during the American Civil War.

The battle is considered a strategic Union victory, sometimes called the Battle for Kentucky, since Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg withdrew to Tennessee soon thereafter.

The Union retained control of the critical border state of Kentucky for the remainder of the war. Considering the casualties relative to the engaged strengths of the armies, the Battle of Perryville was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. It was the largest battle fought in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

North Carolina

Grantee: North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

Land Acquired: Bentonville Battlefield, Denning Tract, 143 acres (Fee Simple)

Project Partner: American Battlefield Trust

Amount: $355,675

The Battle of Bentonville, the last battle between the armies of Sherman and Johnston, occurred from March 19-21, 1865 and resulted in Johnston’s surrender almost a month later on April 26 at Bennett Place near present day Durham, NC.

Pennsylvania

Grantee: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania/ Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Land Acquired: Gettysburg Battlefield, Lutheran Theological Seminary Tract, 7.32 acres (Easement)

Project Partner: American Battlefield Trust and Land Conservancy of Adams County

Amount: $241,425

Grantee: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania/ Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Land Acquired: Gettysburg Battlefield, United Lutheran Seminary Tract, .28 acres (Fee Simple)

Project Partner: American Battlefield Trust and Land Conservancy of Adams County

Amount: $168,550     

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war’s turning point.

South Carolina

Grantee: South Carolina Department of Archives and History

Land Acquired: Eutaw Springs Battlefield, Daniels Tract, 10.4 acres (Fee Simple)

Project Partner: American Battlefield Trust

Amount: $31,499.03

Grantee: Lancaster County, South Carolina

Land Acquired: Hanging Rock Battlefield, Horton IV Tract, 30.84 acres (Fee Simple)

Project Partner: American Battlefield Trust and Katawba Valley Land Trust       

Amount: $162,153

The Battle of Hanging Rock (August 6, 1780) was a battle in the American Revolutionary War that occurred between the American Patriots and the British.

It was part of a campaign by militia General Thomas Sumter to harass or destroy British outposts in the South Carolina back-country that had been established after the fall of Charleston in May 1780. Future President Andrew Jackson partook in the battle. The Battle of Eutaw Springs (September 8, 1781) was a battle of the American Revolutionary War, and was the last major engagement of the war in the Carolinas. Both sides claimed victory.

Tennessee

Grantee: Tennessee Historical Commission

Land Acquired: Shiloh Battlefield, Cotner Tract, 40.773 acres (Fee Simple)

Project Partner: American Battlefield Trust

Amount: $50,812.57

Grantee: Tennessee Historical Commission

Land Acquired: Stones River Battlefield, O’Reilly Tract, 42 acres (Fee Simple)

Project Partner: American Battlefield Trust

Amount: $2,075,000

Grantee: Tennessee Historical Commission

Land Acquired: Jackson Battlefield, Yarbro Farms Tract, 120 acres (Fee Simple)

Project Partner: American Battlefield Trust

Amount: $345,336.95

The December 19, 1862 Battle of Jackson, also known as the Battle of Salem Cemetery, was a small but locally significant Civil War engagement. Cotton Grove Road, a pioneer-era road, runs alongside the cemetery and remains largely unchanged since the Civil War, giving the area a high degree of historic integrity. The area is an example of how the Civil War’s military strategists used topography and existing landscape features to their advantage when time was scarce and earthwork construction was not an option.

At the Battle of Stones River in December 1862, Union and Confederate forces clashed near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. On December 31, Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s 35,000 troops successfully attacked the 42,000-strong Union force commanded by Major General William Rosecrans. Union troops withstood the assault, but retreated to a defensive position, which they would hold against repeated attacks over the next two days. On January 2, 1863, another Confederate assault was repelled by overwhelming Union artillery fire, forcing Bragg to order a Southern retreat.

With approximately 23,000 total casualties, Stones River was one of the deadliest battles of the war. Rosecrans claimed victory and the battle provided a much-needed boost to Union morale following their defeat at Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The Battle of Shiloh took place April 6 - 7, 1862 and was one of the major early engagements of the American Civil War (1861-65). The battle began when the Confederates launched a surprise attack on Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant (1822-85) in southwestern Tennessee. After initial successes, the Confederates were unable to hold their positions and were forced back, resulting in a Union victory.

Both sides suffered heavy losses, with more than 23,000 total casualties, and the level of violence shocked North and South alike.

Virginia

Grantee: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Land Acquired: First Battle of Rappahannock Station Battlefield, Engh Tract, 219.26 acres (Easement)

Project Partner: American Battlefield Trust

Amount: $311,075

Grantee: Virginia Department of Conversation and Recreation

Land Acquired: Fisher’s Hill and Cedar Creek Battlefield, Bullard Tract, 179.4 acres (Easement)

Project Partner: The Conservation Fund and Potomac Conservancy

Amount: $339,216.00

The First Battle of Rappahannock Station, also known as Waterloo Bridge, White Sulphur Springs, Lee Springs, or Freeman’s Ford, took place from August 22 to August 25, 1862, in Culpeper County and Fauquier County, Virginia, as part of the Northern Virginia Campaign. The Battle of Fisher’s Hill, occurred immediately after the Third Battle of Winchester from September 21-22, 1864. This strategic battle gave way to the Confederate defeat at Cedar Creek a month later and resulted in the complete retreat of Confederate forces out of the Shenandoah Valley.