News from American Battlefield Trust…
What do Hickenlooper’s Battery, Randol’s Battery, and Latimer’s Battery all have in common?
Each was part of key battle action near three crucial tracts on three 1862 battlefields – Shiloh in the west, and Glendale and Fredericksburg in the east.
Today, through a combination of grants, support from generous donors, and a tremendous landowner donation, a preservation opportunity has opened for these three crucial tracts – which have a transaction value of $1,178,000 – for $243,000, a $4.85-to-$1 match.
Here is why these three tracts are so important.
Hickenlooper’s Battery at Shiloh
The history: Early the morning of April 6, 1862, the Confederate General Adley H. Gladden’s brigade stepped off their advance across the 8-acre tract we are working to save, moving steadily north toward Colonel Madison Miller’s Union brigade. The Union artillery battery of Captain Andrew Hickenlooper (ancestor of today’s governor of Colorado and Trust member John Hickenlooper) was “located just to the right rear” of Miller’s brigade, and he worked his guns as quickly as possible to hold back the gray tide.
Gladden’s men pressed forward, and Captain Hickenlooper later wrote that a Rebel yell caused “an involuntary thrill of terror to pass like an electric shock through even the bravest of hearts.”
Miller’s brigade began to fall back, and joyous Confederates soon swarmed over the Union camps, many surely believing that the battle was all but won. But the two-day Battle of Shiloh was just beginning and would go on to become the bloodiest battle in American history up to that point.
The opportunity: Shiloh is one of those places where we are close to being able to say, “it is completely preserved” – but until we save the dozens of unprotected parcels in the southern sector of the battlefield, our work isn’t done. The good news is that this land is relatively inexpensive. With $33,000, we can preserve these 8 acres.
Randol’s Battery at Glendale
The history: In the spring of 1862, Union General George B. McClellan was inching ever closer to the Confederate capital at Richmond… General Robert E. Lee, elevated from his desk job, had been in command of the Confederate army opposing “Little Mac” for about 30 days.
On the night of June 29-30, General Lee put his forces in motion, seeking to cut off and smash McClellan’s army before it reached the sanctuary of the James River. Key to Lee’s plan was the critical crossroads at Glendale, also known as “Frayser’s Farm.”
The Union brigades were not expecting an attack. And Lee’s orders miscarried, meaning that he could only bring a portion of his army to bear against the Federals. Confusion reigned supreme, resulting in a furious battle that none of the combatants ever forgot. As Confederate Major E. Porter Alexander described that afternoon:
“No more desperate encounter took place in the war; and nowhere else, to my knowledge, so much actual personal fighting with bayonet and butt of gun. ?[Lieutenant Alanson M.] Randol’s battery, over which it began, was taken and retaken several times. Once, when in possession of the 11th Alabama Regiment of Wilcox’s brigade, it was charged by McCall’s Pennsylvania Reserves, and after a desperate bayonet fight each side fell back to the adjacent woods.”
Union General George G. Meade, leading his men in those 4th and 7th Pennsylvania Reserves throughout this frenzied battle, was severely wounded during the fight. Just imagine how different our history might be if Meade had not survived those wounds to go on to lead the Union Army at Gettysburg!
The opportunity: All the eyewitness accounts tell of desperate, brutal, savage combat on and around this land we are trying to save today. Like Shiloh, we are getting very close to declaring Glendale a preserved battlefield, and this 9-acre tract is critical to our success. Unfortunately, this land is not as affordable as Shiloh and will cost $195,000 to preserve.
Latimer’s Battery at Fredericksburg
The history: This sector was aflame with fighting on the afternoon of December 13, 1862. After a spirited charge by the 15th New Jersey regiment, which drove the 16th North Carolina – the regiment covering Captain Joseph Latimer’s artillery pieces – from the field, Latimer feared for the loss of his guns. In his book, Fredericksburg: Winter War on the Rappahannock, historian Frank O’Reilly writes:
“Latimer spotted Law’s Brigade in the tree line behind him. He bounded across the field furiously waving his cap. The artilleryman appeared ‘very excited,’ as he reined in front of the infantry. ‘Don’t come up here,’ Latimer shouted, ‘unless you will promise to support me.’ ‘Go back, Captain, to your battery,’ the foot soldiers assured him, ‘this is the old 4th Alabama.’ ‘Thank God, I am safe,’ Latimer allegedly answered as he hurried back to rally his command.”
Law’s Brigade would eventually advance to within just 300 yards of the Bowling Green Road until they ran into a Union column directed by – of all people – a newly elevated division commander named Daniel E. Sickles, who sent the Confederates back across the field.
The opportunity: This 11-acre tract, near the very “Slaughter Pen Farm” we’ve already worked so hard to preserve, is a crucial part of the Fredericksburg battlefield. Fortunately, the owner of this property intends to donate a conservation easement with a value of more than $900,000 to us. That means we can save this land by paying just $15,000 in closing costs, the equivalent of a $60-to-$1 match!
Together, these three tracts represent an amazing opportunity to preserve the integrity of key battlefields where preservation groups have already invested so much time and effort. Please consider making your most generous gift today to help American Battlefield Trust raise the $243,000 needed to secure these three transactions valued at $1,178,000.
For donation links and more information, please visit: https://www.battlefields.org/give/save-battlefields/save-three-1862-battlefields